Tips to Help Prevent Holiday Plumbing Embarrassments

What is the fastest way to have party guests leave your home? Announce you have a clogged toilet and see them running for the door. You might even have a family member or two try to sneak out the back door. A clogged toilet is no laughing matter!

Here’s a few tips to try to keep the unimaginable from happening to you!

Take the time to do a basic check on your toilet. Flush it. Does the tank refill in a timely manner? Does the water continue to run after the tank is full? If you think you might have any toilet issues, now is the time to do a little DIY maintenance or to call Waldman Plumbing for help.

No matter what you do, sometimes a toilet clog just can’t be avoided. To prepare for those unexpected clogs be sure to have the proper plunger on hand for guests to find. The typical orange suction cup plunger is great for use in the kitchen, but a toilet clog needs a different type of plunger to be able to work effectively. A ball-shaped or foldout-cup style is created to be more efficient in handling toilet clogs.

Holidays often mean small guests with curious hands. Be sure to remove items from the back of the tank that could accidentally fall into the toilet.

Don’t let your guests ever run out of toilet paper! We often forget that the most obvious location for a spare roll to us, might not be where they would think to look. Leave an extra out in plain sight.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Lynn and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their plumbing repair and installations. If you need help with any plumbing issues this holiday, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.  Don’t let plumbing issues ruin your holidays!

It’s Time to be Thankful for Our Heating System

Winters can sure get cold here in the North Shore area! Can you even imagine spending a Thanksgiving and Holiday season here without having a heating system to keep your family warm and toasty? Or more importantly, our Thanksgiving dinner would be getting cold the minute it landed on our dinner table!

We often times take our heating system for granted. It is such an important part of our homes, and they deserve a special thanks for helping to keep us warm.

Throughout time humans have never wanted to be cold, but especially in our homes. The Romans are believed to be at the forefront of the central heating system by using a system that would move hot air from a furnace through pipes under their floors and through their walls. The early Koreans expanded on that idea and used their cooking stoves to generate extra heat to be dispersed.

From the radiators in 1895 to the use of electrical heating elements in 1919, heating our homes has always been a priority for the comfort of our families. Streamlining that process to save both time and money continues to be the goal for heating companies across the country.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating would like to thank you for allowing us help keep your heating systems running as efficiently as possible through tuneups and regular maintenance.

We have been serving the North Shore area for over 100 years and we will continue to strive for excellent customer service. Thank you for letting us continue to work towards that endeavor.

We’d like to wish everyone a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season.

Basic Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Most of us lead very busy lives, and when it comes to home maintenance, we tend to think more about tune-ups for our heating system and water being wasted by dripping faucets, then we do about making sure our tank style water heater is running efficiently. Here’s a few simple maintenance tips that are not costly or too time consuming for the average homeowner.

Temperature
Do you know what temperature your water heater is set at? The Dept. of Energy suggests a temperature of 120 degrees for the average home. Water heater manufacturers often ship their units with a setting of 140 degrees. You may save yourself some dollars by checking.

Your particular unit may have a gauge easily visible on the side of the tank, or it may have a cover that needs to be removed. If it is covered, unscrew it and use a flathead screwdriver to adjust the temperature setting. Then replace the cover. Easy enough?

Insulation
A water heater produces hot water. So it makes sense that we want to keep that heat from escaping as much as possible. Pipe insulation can be added to the pipes, and water heater blankets can be found at most hardware stores. Just remember, do not cover any of the gaauges, valves, caps or covers so that you can still have easy access when you need it.

Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve
Your T&P valve is a safety feature that is built into your water heater and should be tested every year. It is located at the top or side of the unit and will have a discharge tube that runs down toward the base of the water heater.

Place a bucket under the discharge tube.Open the valve by lifting up on the valve. You may hear a hissing sound from the pressure being released. Hot water should drain down into the bucket. Hold this open for a few seconds, then release it. Did the water shut off correctly? Is it leaking?

Small Water Heater Flush
Empty the bucket you just used and then place it under the drain valve. You should find that near the bottom of the heater tank. Open the valve and run about 1-2 gallons of water into the bucket. Close the valve. Is the water cloudy or clear? If the water is not clear you should plan time for a more complete flush to remove sediment that may affect the life and efficiency of your water heater.

Visual
The easiest thing that any home owner can do is to make a regular visual inspection of their  water heater. Look for rusting or leaks that you didn’t notice before. They are warning signals that your water heater may need maintenance or is nearing the end of its usefulness.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Lynn and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their water heater repair and installations. If you’d like help with your water heater maintenance, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

How to do I unblock a sink trap?

Today most sinks have a pipe underneath that have a “U” shape called a sink trap. That is an important part of the pipe running from your sink. It has two important jobs.

1. To trap debris  coming from your drain. It is much easier to deal with a clog under your sink, then further down the plumbing system.

2. A sink trap keeps filled with water in order to form a seal against sewer gas. I don’t think any of us want to smell that coming up from our sink.

Checking the Sink Trap

A plugged drain can be caused by many things. And if  the sink trap is next on your list to check, here’s a few steps to help you unblock it. You will need a few things before you get started:

  • Bucket
  • Cleaning brush that will fit inside the pipe
  • Clothing suitable for sitting under your sink.

First, have your bucket underneath the sink trap.  Then after you are sitting as comfortably as possible under your sink, begin to loosen that part of the pipe. Be prepared for water  and debris to make this a dirty job.

Use the brush to check for any blockages inside the pipe. Hopefully you’ll be able to solve the problem. Once you’ve done all you can from that part of the pipe, return the sink trap to its original position.

Now, test your work and see if that has solved the problem by running the water. Is it flowing freely down the drain now, or is there still a clog somewhere in the system? If your sink still begins to fill up, you may need professional assistance. Give us a call and we’ll get your drains running smoothly again.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Swampscott and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their plumbing system repairs and installations. Check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

How long will it take my water heater to heat up?

Have you ever ran out of hot water while in the shower? I bet that was not how you thought you were going to start your morning. A cold brisk shower may get your eyes wide open, but it may not put you in the best of mood to tackle your day.

If running out of hot water is a constant threat in your home, I’m sure you have often wondered just how long you will have to wait before feeling secure enough to take a nice long relaxing hot shower.

Electric Water Heater

We cannot live without electric … as least not comfortably. Unfortunately, an electric water heater will take up to 1 hour and 20 minutes to get your hot water tank to full capacity.

Gas Water Heater

Gas ranks first as an energy source for heating water. A gas water heater will have a full 40 gallon tank of hot water ready for you in 40 minutes or less.

Solar Water Heater

Go green with solar power! It will power that solar water heater, but will only heat it as quickly as electric normally would.

Tankless Water Heater

This is the perfect answer for some families, in order to help keep their households running smoothly. A tankless water heater heats the water as you need it. You won’t be waiting for a full tank to heat up before you can take your turn under the showerhead.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Lynn, MA and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their water heater service and installation.

If you’d like to find out about the many hot water solutions available, check out our  coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

Why isn’t my furnace turning on?

Did you decide to take the chill off your North Shore home a few nights ago? If your furnace didn’t start for you, it is always better to know that before cold weather sets in. Here’s a few things to check before giving your local HVAC professional a call.

Thermostat

Yes, we know the thermostat is a pretty obvious thing to check, but never overlook even the simplest solution to what could be a major headache. As thermostats become more advanced in what they can do, they also become more of a priority to keep in good working condition. Make sure they have the power they need to function properly.

Circuit Breaker

Your heating doesn’t have to be powered solely by electricity to be at the whim of your circuit breaker box. Even gas and propane furnaces need electricity in order to operate. Checking the circuit breaker is another one of those simple solutions that should be checked.

Pilot Light

Older furnaces, and even some of the newer models, rely on a pilot light that could go out. If that happens, the safety feature on the furnace would keep it from turning on. If you don’t know if your furnace has a pilot light that can be checked, reach for your manual and take a quick look.

Gas

If you have a gas or propane furnace, check other appliances that use that same energy source. If they are working, then you know your service has not been interrupted. If you smell gas while checking on the status of your furnace, go outside and call for emergency service. All gas leaks should be taken seriously!

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Marblehead and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their heating repairs and installations. If you’d like to discuss your comfort system options, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

 

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

Water Heaters! We put them in a corner, decorate around them, hide them in the darkest sections of our homes. We truly do not give them the respect they deserve for providing hot water for our use at the drop of a hat. They are the forgotten appliance in our homes. … at least until they stop working correctly.

How long should it last?
The common tank-style water heater can be expected to last from 8 to 12 years. A more efficient tankless water heater can often times last up to 20 years.

How Can I find out how old it is?
Find the serial number of your water heater, it will begin with a letter and have a 2 digit number. The letter will tell you the month, the 2 digit number the year. A = January, B = February, C = March, D = April, and continues on. B16 would translate to February 2016, C09 would mean March 2009.

When should a water heater be replaced
As your water heater nears the last 2 years of its expected life, it’s a good time to start planning when and with what type you are going to replace it. But if you notice any symptoms before that, you should certainly give us a call. An aging water heater can do more than just stop producing water, it can send leaking water into your house when you least expect it.

Failing Water heater symptoms
Odd Noises – Calcium can build up, harden and form a crust in your water heater. If you have hard water, this can be an especially common issue. That crust will cause your water heater to produce odd banging noises and send ot the alarm that it is time to be replaced.
Rusty Water – Do your own detective work before you call the plumber. Is only the hot water rusty, or is it affecting the cold water as well?
Performance – If you begin to notice that the water isn’t as hot or last as long as it once did, it may be trying to tell you that its age is catching up with it.
Leaking – If water leaks develop around the bottom, check to see if there is a loose connection or if its seems to be leaking from around the bottom. Don’t ignore it! If you can’t solve the leaking, give us a call!

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Lynn and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their water heater repair and installations. If you’d like to find out about the many choices available, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

It is a Good Idea to Switch from Oil to Natural Gas?

Hands holding a flame gas on black

Reduced Heating Costs

There are 2 main ways that switching from oil to natural gas should save you money. Natural gas is generally a cheaper fuel source. Natural gas is a more efficient energy source.

Flexibility

Natural gas users enjoy the flexibility that oil users cannot offer. Have you thought about cooking on a gas stove or installing a gas fireplace? Perhaps you’d like to use natural gas to heat your swimming pool. Natural gas will give you many options to use in your home that fuel oil does not.

Go Green

Natural gas burns cleaner than oil, reducing carbon dioxide by up to 40% and sulfur dioxide by 99.9%.
Is it Time?

If you are considering updating your heating system, now is the time to decide. Switching from oil to natural gas does require an investment. But future savings and comfort should return that investment over time and then begin to save you money as a bonus. We can assess your unique situation and energy usage to show you if switching from oil to gas will be worth the expense.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Swampscott and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their heating system repairs and installations. If you’d like to find out about the many choices available, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

 

 

Ready to Switch to a Low Flow Toilet?

The 1990s were not a good time for the toilet industry. When the new law went into effect that limited the amount of water a toilet could use (down to 1.6 gallons), consumers were in for a bad surprise.

7 Gallons per Flush? Oh my!

Toilets had typically used up to 7 gallons of water per flush. While that might have given a bathroom user a sense of security, it wasted an unimaginable amount of our precious water resource each time we pushed down the handle in Lynn, MA.

It was imperative that toilet manufacturers came up with a design that would not only adhere to the EPA water conservation guidelines, but would also “do the job”.

Gravity

What still makes our toilet work the best? Good old-fashioned gravity remains the defining power to make our toilet do its job completely. The difference is that now manufacturers have taken the time to combine gravity with design to produce the most power per flush.

Pressure

Another type of toilet is also available. Pressure-assisted toilets use pressurized air to couple with the maximum 1.6 gallons of water to produce more flushing power. This type of toilet produces a bit more noise, but the extra power can be a benefit.

Dual Flush

I’m sure you’ve heard about them. Australia has always needed to be water conscious. They developed the dual flush toilet. The light flush is only .8 gallons of water, while the full force flush uses all 1.6 gallons of water.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Lynn, MA and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their plumbing repairs and installations. If you’d like to find out about the many choices available, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

Tips to Save Water This Summer

SAhhh, water! We rely on water for so many facets of our daily life in Lynn, MA. And while the summer is when we seem to truly appreciate it the most, it is also the time of year that can be extra wasteful.

Here’s a few tips to remind us that saving water should be an every day routine in our lives.

Water the Yard in the Cooler Part of the Day
The hot afternoon sun is no time to water your lawn. The water will begin to evaporate before it gets a chance to soak into the ground. Try the morning or evening when outdoor temperatures are lower.

Toilet Leak Test
The toilet is one of the most common places that will find water leaks. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest to check for. Click here for a Simple Toilet Leak Test that you can do yourself.

Cover the Pool
It only takes a few minutes to cover and uncover the pool. That extra time will help keep water from needlessly evaporating.

You Deserve a Dishwasher
You not only deserve the extra help doing the dishes, it will also save water and energy. Energy star rated models can use as little as 3 gallons of water per load. Washing dishes by hand can use up to 27 gallons.

Car Wash
While washing a car in the driveway to some is a family tradition, an automatic car wash can often use only 40 gallons of water.

Rain Barrel for Your Gutter
Putting a rain barrel under gutter is an excellent way to help the environment. You can then use that water to water plants around the yard.

Shower or Bath?
The relaxing nature of bath is something that cannot be duplicated. But did you realize that the average tub will take between 30-50 gallons of water to fill with hot water. The average shower is only 20 gallons. Today’s latest achievements in shower heads can bring that down to even less … which saves you both water and energy

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Lynn and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their plumbing repairs and installations. If you’d like to discuss new fixtures for your home, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.