Gibson's Heating and Plumbing
Serving Northeast Indiana,
Northwest Ohio & Southeast Michigan


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Perhaps you have experienced it...you're enjoying a nice, relaxing hot shower when all of the sudden the water turns ice cold. This unpleasant surprise is brought to you by uneven water pressure between the hot and cold water supply. When the hot water is running in the shower or bath, other demands such as the flushing of a toilet or turning on a washer can cause the water temperature to drop as the pressure is diverted.

Water Pressure Balancing

A pressure-balancing tub and shower faucet is designed to balance the incoming hot and cold water pressure to compensate for fluctuations in water flow. By keeping the temperature at a constant ±3°F of the set temperature, even if other water supplies are turned on and off, the temperature in the shower will remain constant and comfortable.

It's important to understand that a pressure-balance valve is only designed to prevent temperature fluctuations by sensing and controlling the ratio of hot water to cold – it's not designed to prevent scalding. To safeguard against thermal shock and scalding, the most effective measure is to install and anti-scald device. We recommend installing anti-scald devices in all homes with young children.

Have questions about your home's plumbing? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call. We're here to help.
Hot water scalds account for 20% of all burns and every year more that 2,000 U.S. children are treated for scalding. Scalding can also lead to secondary injuries such as heart attacks, falls, and broken bones, particularly among the elderly. Most scalding accidents occur in the kitchen and bathroom, and the vast majority are preventable.

Hot Water Safety

Because infants, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to burns when exposed to overly hot water in the bath, one of the most important ways of preventing scalding is to ensure your water heater temperature is set to a safe temperature.

In addition, you should always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub and never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.

Most water heaters come factory set between 120°F to 140°F - this temperature may be too high for many households. The chart below shows how the scalding risk and time it takes to cause a burn.

Water Heater Thermostat Setting Exposure Time Effects of Exposure to Hot Water at High Temperatures
Water at 100 degF or below - Most water heaters are unlikely to scald an adult
Water at 120 degF 5 minutes 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 130 degF 30 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 140 degF 5 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 150 degF 1.5 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 160 degF .5 second 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin

Scald Protection Devices

Scald protection devices are a must in homes with young children, the elderly and physically challenged. In many areas they are required to be installed to meet code requirements. While caution is the first line of defense to scald prevention, scald protection devices can help to maintain safer water temperatures.

Have questions about preventing hot water scalding in your home? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help answer all your questions.
Performing plumbing projects around the home can be a satisfying way to improve your home and save a little money. However, before tackling those plumbing projects it's important to understand the potential pitfalls to stay safe and avoid damaging your home.

4 DIY Plumbing Mistakes To Avoid


1. Chemical Drain Cleaners

When a drain becomes clogged the first thing many homeowners think of are the commercials they have seen for chemical drain cleaning products. While they can be very effective at clearing certain kinds of clogs, they come with important safety warnings.

The same chemicals that quickly dissolve organic matter like hair and grease can cause chemical burns to your skin or even blindness if they come in contact with your eyes. They can also damage metal pipes, plumbing fixtures, and other finishes in the kitchen and bathroom if not used correctly.

A far safer way to clear a clogged drain is with a little elbow grease and a plumbing auger. There are also natural drain cleaning products that use enzymes to break down organic material. Baking soda, vinegar and hot water is another natural method to clean out a drain. These natural methods may take a little longer to do the job, but can just as effective as more caustic drain cleaners.

If none of the above options work for those stubborn clogs, your plumber can solve the toughest clogged drain problems safely and quickly.


2. Not Shutting off the Water Supply

Most plumbing projects require turning off the water. Forget this step and you'll be dealing with gushing pipes and a big mess. Local shut-off valves can be found under the sink and behind the toilet. If you can't locate the local shut-off valve near a fixture, shut off the water supply at the water main.


3. Not Getting a Permit

You've just had your brand new hot tub delivered and you're all ready to install it in your new sun room. Before you begin the plumbing and electrical work, do you need a permit? Some municipalities allow homeowners to pull their own permits, while others will require a contractor to pull the permit. Always check before you begin any remodeling or installation project that you have all the required permits. This will ensure that the project is up to code and done safely. You'll also avoid the hassle of potential fines or red flags down the road when you try to sell the home.


4. Bad Pipe Connections

In homes with copper pipes, it's important to understand the proper way to connect copper to galvanized pipes. If the two metals are connected directly, they can quickly corrode, leading to water leaks. This type of connection requires a special fitting called a dielectric union, which prevents the two metals from contacting each other.


Ask the Pros First!

If you're not sure you have the necessary skills to tackle your next plumbing project, give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call. We would be happy to explain what's involved in completing the project. After all, there's no replacement for experience.
How often should a water heater be flushed?If you have a tank-style gas or electric water heater you can extend the lifespan of the unit by regularly flushing the tank to remove sediment build-up. Over time minerals in the water can accumulate on the bottom of the tank above the burner, reducing heating efficiency. This sediment can also increase the chance of corrosion and leaks, shortening the lifespan of the unit. Flushing the tank regularly will remove the sediment buildup and help the burner work more efficiently.

How often you should flush the tank depends on a number of factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people in the household and how hard your water is. Here is a general guide for how often you should flush your tank.
  • 1 or 2 person household - Inspect the water heater every 6 months and flush the tank every 12 months.
  • 3 or 5 person household - Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 8 months.
  • 6 or more person household: Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 6 months.
Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help with all your hot water maintenance needs.
Save WaterLooking for ways to reduce your water bill? Toilets are one of the most water-intensive plumbing devices in the home, using as much as 7 gallons of water with each flush. By comparison a low-flow toilet uses just 1.6 gallons. If you aren't ready to replace all your toilets with low-flow toilets quite yet, but want to reduce the amount of water your toilets are using, there are a few easy to install options available that will make your toilets more eco-friendly.

Install an Adjustable Flapper

An adjustable flapper give you control over the amount of water used to refill the tank. It can save up to three gallons of water with each flush and is simple to install. First, check that the flapper is compatible with your toilet model. Once installed, adjust the flapper to get the right amount of water needed to do the job.

Install a Tank Bag

You may know about the old trick of placing a brick to the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water per flush. Unfortunately, a brick can erode over time, leaving damaging grit inside the tank that can wear out rubber and plastic parts. A better solution is to use a tank bag. You simply fill the bag with water and attach it to the toilet tank. By displacing water it will reduce the amount of water needed to refill the tank after each flush. Of course, the amount of water you save is equal to the amount of water you put in the bag, so experiment to find the right amount to effectively flush the toilet.

Install a Fill Cycle Diverter

Because the toilet bowl fills faster than the tank and the fill valve doesn't shut off until the tank is full, excess water is fed into the bowl. A fill cycle diverter can eliminate this waste, saving a half-gallon or more per fill, by diverting water back to the tank when the bowl is full.

TIP: Many utility companies offer water-saving devices to their customers for free, so be sure to check with your local utility company before purchasing a water saving device.


Bathroom Remodeling

If you're planning on remodeling your bathroom and plan on updating your shower, tub, vanity and other features, it's important to ensure that your home's plumbing is up to the job and can handle the upgraded fixtures. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Do your supply and drain pipes need to be updated?

When old fixtures are taken out and the floor and walls  are ripped open to expose the pipes, take a moment to assess the condition and size of the pipes. It's a good idea to ensure that supply pipes are ¾” in order to have good water flow to several fixtures, such as multiple shower heads or sprayers in the shower.

2. Will there be enough hot water?

Large soaking tubs and showers with multiple spraying heads are a nice luxury, but can also put greater demand on your water heater. Will you need a larger water heater tank to meet additional demand?

3. Conserving water

Spa-like bathroom can use a lot of hot water. Thankfully, many new plumbing fixtures are designed with efficiency in mind. Dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads can save many hundreds of gallons of water over the course of a year. Tankless water heaters, while initially more expensive than conventional water heaters, heat water only when it's needed, conserving energy while providing a virtually endless supply of hot water.

Need help with your bathroom plumbing? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing.

6 Times When You Should Call a Plumber

Some plumbing problems are easy to spot – a dripping faucet, an overflowing toilet, while others can be more subtle. Here are some signs to look for that could indicate a serious plumbing, sewer or drain problem.

When to Call a Plumber
  1. Water is draining slowly out all sinks, tubs, toilets, dishwasher etc. This usually indicates a blockage in the main line rather than a localized blockage. A plumber should inspect the main line for blockage.
  2. You hear water running but nothing is on. While a running toilet is a fairly common plumbing noise, if you hear dripping or running water and you can't determine the source, call a plumber to have the cause identified and to ensure there isn't a damaging water leak.
  3. You see signs of a leak. If you see mildew or mold, dark surfaces or puddles of water it could be a sign of a water leak behind the wall.
  4. Your water bill has unexpectedly jumped. This could indicate a hidden water leak. Check your water meter to see that amount of water used.
  5. Your Toilet is gurgling or bubbling after flushing. This could be a sign of a backed up sewer line. A video inspection can find the cause of sewer line stoppages.
  6. Water pressure has dropped. If the water pressure has only dropped for a single source, such as a faucet or shower head. Try cleaning the aerator with vinegar to remove mineral deposits. Ensure that all supply valves are completely open. If the water pressure has dropped throughout the entire home, have a plumber inspect the plumbing.
Have plumbing problems? Call Gibson's Heating & Plumbing. We can help.
If your home's water pressure doesn't seem strong enough there are a number of possible causes. First, if the water pressure is only low in a few places, such as a shower head or faucet, it could be that the shower head or faucet aerator are clogged with mineral deposits. Soaking the fixture in vinegar overnight will dissolve the buildup and get the water flowing.

Low Water Pressure

If low water pressure is a problem with all plumbing fixtures, inside and outside the home, consider the age of the home. If the home was build in the 1960 or 1970s it may have galvanized steel pipes. The galvanization was designed to prevent corrosion of the steel pipes. However, when the galvanization wears away, rust can build up over time. The result is reduced water pressure. To fix the problem, the pipes will need to be replaced. If the house was built in the 1980s or later, there is likely another issue with the plumbing. Check that the main water shut-off valve is fully open.

Perform a Water Pressure Test

Water pressure can be tested using a pressure gauge on an outside water spigot. Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), and normal water pressure is typically between 30 and 80 PSI. If the reading is less than 40 psi, the city may be delivering water at a low pressure. If the city can't boost the pressure, consider installing a water pressure booster system.

Have questions about water pressure in your home? Call Gibson's Heating & Plumbing. We can help with all your plumbing needs.
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 20:44

Reducing Water Waste In the Home

Written by
97 percent of the earth's water is salt water, leaving only 3 percent of the earth's water fit for human consumption. While water is a renewable resource, the best way to ensure there will be enough fresh water in the future is to start conserving water today.

Saving water around the home

The average U.S. family uses 127,000 gallons of water each year. One of the best ways to reduce water waste is to use low-flow plumbing fixtures and appliances. For example:
A normal faucet will use 4,000 gallons a year when run just 4 minutes a day. A low-flow faucet would reduce that amount by a quarter... a savings of 1,000 gallons of water a year.

A washing machine that washes 2 loads a week will use 5,000 gallons a year... while a water saving unit will use 3,000... a savings of 2,000 gallons a year.
A shower head that is used 15 minutes a day will use 19,000 gallons of water a year... a low-flow shower head would use just 9,000 gallons a year... a savings of 12,000 gallons per year.

The largest source of water use in the home is toilets. If a toilet is flushed 15 times per day it will use 33,000 gallons of water per year. By comparison, a water saving or dual-flush toilet would save over 24,000 gallons of water every year.

The total savings for using low-flow, water efficient fixtures and appliances is 40,000 gallons a year, a 30 percent savings on water bill.
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