Gibson's Heating and Plumbing
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Northwest Ohio & Southeast Michigan

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Buying a Home? Be sure to Check These Plumbing Systems

Buying a home is a big investment, and on of the most important parts of any home is the plumbing system. From hot water to sewer and drain lines, many problems can go undetected until a major failure occurs. By doing your research and ensuring that the plumbing system is working correctly, you can avoid making costly mistakes. Here's what to check:

1. Hot Water System. Ask the realtor or homeowner the age of the water heater. A water heater will typically last 10-15 years. Inspect the tank for leaks, excessive rust and other signs of age and deterioration.

2. Water Leaks. Check taps, pipes, appliances (including dishwashers, clothes washers, ice makers) for signs of leaks. Check for stains or signs of mildew that could indicate a hidden water leak. Because many leaks go undetected and can get worse over time, have a plumber check the system and repair any leaks prior to closing.

3. Test the Sump Pump. A inoperable sump pump can lead to serious water damage. Slowly fill the sump pump pit with water. It should turn on and remove the water.

4. Water Saving Toilets. Check toilets to see if they are newer, low-flow models. Toilets manufactured since the last 90's are mandated to use less than 1.6 gallons per flush. A low flow toilet will save thousands of gallons of water each year.

5. Sewer and Drain Lines. Ask about the current age of the sewer line and whether it has been inspected within the last two years. Ensure that all drains empty quickly. A video sewer line inspection is cheap insurance that will help find potential problems like tree root intrusion, cracks, blockages and other problems

Need a plumbing inspection before your next home purchase? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help ensure your plumbing system is in top shape.
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 00:35

Solving Sewer and Drain Odor Problems

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Solving Sewer Drain Odor Problems

If you notice a smelly sewer odor in your home, there are several possible causes. Here are some things to check:
  1. Check the floor drain trap. Without water to block the sewer gas from escaping, odors will enter the room. Pour water down the drain to refill the trap.
  2. Check the clean-out plug inside the floor drain. Remove the grate that covers the drain and make sure there's a plug inside the drain bowl. If the plug is missing, sewer gas will be able to bypass the water trap. A replacement plug can be bought at most hardware stores.
  3. Check the toilets. When toilets are unused for a long period of time the water in the trap can evaporate. Simply flushing the toilet will refill the trap.
  4. Worn toilet wax ring. The wax ring seals the toilet flange to the toilet base. If the wax ring leaks, sewer gas will escape from under the toilet. If the ring is broken, the toilet will need to be removed and and the wax ring replaced. If the toilet is loose on the base, shims can be used to ensure that a rocking toilet doesn't break the new wax ring.
  5. Other possible causes of sewer odors include a broken or cracked sewer line or, less often, a loose connection joint in an interior wall. If you've checked the other possibilities above, it may be time to contact your plumber to hunt down the cause.
Have sewer and drain line questions? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help.
Tuesday, 14 November 2017 23:04

What Causes a Toilet To Fill Slowly?

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What Causes a Toilet To Fill Slowly?

Toilet Filling Too SlowlyOne of the more common plumbing problems we see is a slow filling toilet. Depending on your home's water pressure and the size of the tank, a toilet should refill in under 3 minutes in most cases. If it takes longer than three minutes there are a couple of things you can check.

1. The first thing to check is the shut-off valve located behind the toilet. Make sure it is fully open for maximum flow.

2. Next, try cleaning the pump and valve inside the toilet tank. Mineral buildup can cause the parts to stick. If the toilet has an older-style ball cock assembly, we recommend replacing it with a new fill valve and float cup design.

If none of the above fixes work, call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can can find the cause of your slow filling toilet and recommend effective solutions.

Tips To Prevent Winter Plumbing Problems

Winter Plumbing TipsDuring the winter months frozen pipes and backed up sewer lines can be a real concern. One of the most common causes of home damage, and expensive insurance claims, is water. While some insurance policies cover catastrophic damage from frozen pipes, basement flooding, and more, gradual water damage from leaks is usually not covered. Here are some tips to protect your home from water damage during the winter.

1. Test your sump pump and water backup valve regularly. Slowly pour a few gallons of water into the sump pit. It should start up and begin removing the water. If it fails to start, have Gibson's inspect the sump pump.

2. Notice changes in your plumbing. If you're experiencing low water pressure, have Gibson's inspect the plumbing system for undetected leaks.

3. Have your sewer and drain lines inspected. A video camera inspection is cheap insurance against a sewer line failure and backups.

4. Check your water heater. A tank storage water heater will last around 10 years. You can extend the life with regular maintenance, including flushing the tank and inspecting the anode rod. For extra peace of mind, consider installing a drain pan under the water heater to drain potential leaks to the floor drain.

5. Clean out your gutters and downspouts and ensure that there is adequate drainage away from the foundation of the home.

6. Seal cracks and ensure there is sufficient insulation on exterior walls near pipes. This will help reduce the risk of frozen pipes.

Need help maintaining your home's plumbing? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We are here to help.
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 19:11

How to Drain a Home Plumbing System

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There are several reasons you may need to drain your home's plumbing system. You may have a vacation home that will be unoccupied during the winter months, and the water needs to be drained to prevent damage from frozen pipes. You may be undertaking a major plumbing, repair, or you need to drain the lines to fix water hammer or another issue.

1. The first step is to locate the main water shut-off valve. This is usually located near the water meter.

2. Next, go to the highest floor in the house and open the sink faucets.

3. In the basement or lowest level of the home, open the laundry tub faucet.

4. Return the the top floor of the house and turn on the shower and tub drains.

5. Next, flush the toilets on every floor.

6. All the faucets should be left open and the water should be drained now.

Need help draining your plumbing system? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help with all your plumbing and drain needs.
One of the major causes of damaging water leaks in the home is from a failed washing machine supply hose. If the washer is on an upper level of the home, it can lead to major flooding and many thousands of dollars of damage – an expense that may not be covered by homeowner's insurance.  If your washer hoses are plain rubber, we recommend that you replace them with braided stainless hoses for extra security.

Water Alarms

Because water leaks often go undetected, stopping the leak early is essential. That's where a water alarm can be invaluable. A water alarm can detect even the smallest water leak and send a signal to shut off the hot and cold water supply valves to the washing machine. 

Another application where water alarms can prevent a water leak disaster is with water heaters. When a water heater tank fails, the amount of water released can flood a basement. A water alarm is cheap insurance against major water damage.

Need help with water alarms or other plumbing safety devices? Give us a call, we're here to help.
Having pipes that make strange noises is not just annoying, it can also be a sign of a plumbing problem. If severe cases, loose pipes can disconnect from mounting brackets stressing the pipe and causing a water leak. 

Water Hammer

If a banging noise is heard when turning the water on and off, water hammer is the likely cause. Water hammer occurs when the water chamber that normally cushions the water pressure becomes filled with water. The condition can usually be fixed by draining the pipes in the home to restore the chambers with air. 

Pipe Rattling Sounds

Rattling noises from your plumbing system are often caused by pipes that have come loose in anchoring brackets or are making contact with a wood joist or other object. Tighten the lose brackets, or add additional brackets as needed to support the pipe.

Vibration Noises

As pipes pass through holes in joists they can come in contact with the wood framing. If you're lucky and can access the pipe where it's contacting the joist, it can be cushioned with pieces of foam insulation.

Squeaking Pipes

As hot water passes through metal pipes they cause them to expand. The pipe may then rub against the metal mounting straps as the pipe expands and contracts. Adding foam of rubber cushioning to the mounting anchors will quiet the noise.

Have noisy pipes or other plumbing problems? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help with all your home plumbing repairs.
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 21:09

Tips For Designing a Laundry Room

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Having a dedicated laundry room in your home is a great convenience. Whether your redesigning your current laundry room or designing a new space, here are some tips to ensure everything goes smoothly and that the room fully meets your needs.

Where Should a Laundry Room Be Located?

Traditionally, laundry rooms were located in the basement of a home. A basement offers a number of advantages. There will be a floor drain to handle overflow if a hose breaks. Noise and vibration will also be better isolated on a basement floor. However, it's not always convenient on a multi-level home to have the laundry room located far from the upstairs bedrooms.

The main level of the home off a garage or back door is another popular location. Combining a laundry room with a mud room you have the advantage of utility sinks and a washer where it they are most convenient.

If the laundry room is going to be added to an upper level of the home, it's important to ensure that the washer is placed on a drain pan to prevent water damage. In addition, strong, stainless steel braided hoses should also be used for extra protection against leaks.

If the laundry room is near bedrooms look for a washer and dryer that is insulated and has lower decibal rating.

Gas and Electric Hookups

In addition to hot and cold water supply and drains, you will need 120-volt circuits for the washer and, if you have a gas dryer, a gas supply line and ventilation line. These hookups should be left to a licensed plumber and electrician.

Lighting and Ventilation

Laundry rooms will generate a significant amount of heat and humidity. If the washer and dryer are in a large space, such as a basement, a ventilation duct that vents the dryer outside may be sufficient. On upper levels or smaller spaces, an exhaust fan should be installed to prevent mildew growth and unhealthy air.

Having good lighting is also important. Consider recessed LED lighting directly over the washer and dryer and sinks.

Need help installing or upgrading your laundry room? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call.
One of the most energy intensive appliances in the home is the water heater, second only to the air conditioner and furnace in annual energy costs for the average home in Indiana. Even if it's a newer, high efficiency model, there is still radiant heat loss from the tank. One simple way to prevent heat loss is to install a water heater blanket. Usually made from fiberglass or other insulating material, water heater blankets are available at most home improvement stores for $20-$40 depending on the size of the tank. Water heater blankets are simple to install and will pay for itself in just a year or two in increased efficiency.

You may be thinking, can a blanket help save energy when my tank feels cool to the touch? Yes. Because it takes more energy to heat water than air, insulation will help. Still not convinced? Once the blanket has is installed for a few hours, put your hand under the blanket. You'll notice that it's nice and warm to the touch. That's heat that will keep the tank warmer for a longer period of time rather than radiating out.

One word of caution on water heater blankets: some manufacturers advise against using them because if they are not properly installed they can block controls, ventilation and valves. So be sure to cut away around controls and the pressure relief valve and follow the instructions on the package carefully.

Have hot water questions? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we can answer all your water heater questions.
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