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Plumbing Tips & Tricks Blog

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Welcome to the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Tips & Tricks Blog! See what’s new or pore through our archives to pick up tips for water conservation, learn about simple repairs you can do on your own, understand what to expect from plumbing professionals, and a whole lot more. You can also find out about the latest fixtures, designs and appliances for your kitchen and bath, so bookmark this page and come back if you’re ever considering upgrades or remodeling.


We’ll also bring you articles about the plumbing outside your home, like sprinkler and irrigation systems, swimming pools, fountains and outdoor drains. And if you need water treatment, such as water softening or on-site recycling of greywater, you can start here to learn about your options and how they function.


But perhaps the biggest benefit of reading the Tips & Tricks Blog is that you’ll gain a better understanding of -- and appreciation for -- the plumbing systems in your own home. With your newfound knowledge, you’ll be able to look after your pipes, drains and fixtures with the confidence that you’ll recognize potential problems at the earliest opportunity.


Check back often to keep up to date with the latest water-saving strategies and DIY techniques!

ecosetting

Know What Is Dishwasher-Safe

  • 09/13/17

The dishwasher has become an indispensable appliance for many North American households, helping us to save both time and water. Modern dishwashers also tend to be fairly hardy and powerful appliances, but that’s a double-edged sword -- they may tackle tougher food stains, but they can wreak havoc on delicate
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flood

Repairing Your Plumbing After a Flood

  • 09/06/17

The immediate danger of Hurricane Harvey has passed, but we are still in the midst of hurricane season. Floridians are preparing for Irma to make landfall, and there are likely more storms on the way. Recovery after a hurricane is a long and arduous process. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is committed
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disposal

How to Replace the Splash Guard on a Garbage Disposal

  • 08/23/17

That flappy rubber gasket around your garbage disposal drain can last for years if you clean it regularly and only use your disposal sparingly. But when it becomes cracked or brittle, there’s no excuse not to go ahead and replace it. New gaskets usually cost less than $10 at your
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washerbubbles

Save the (Laundry) Day with Quick Washing Machine Fixes

  • 05/24/17

Few homeowners relish the thought of schlepping loads of dirty clothes to the laundromat, and even fewer want to go back to the days of scrubbing out stains at the river’s edge. So when problems arise with your washing machine, ignoring them is not an option. 

Washing machines are becoming more
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waterrecylcing

Recycle Your Water on World Water Day

  • 03/22/17

Today is World Water Day, a day to emphasize the importance of freshwater access and advocate for sustainable freshwater management around the globe. There are currently more than 663 million people who lack a supply of clean, safe water near their homes, and solving all of their water
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Floor drain

Preventative Drain Care Keeps Clogs at Bay

  • 03/01/17

You have a variety of options when it comes to clearing clogged drains -- there are chemical cleaners, organic solutions, plumbing snakes, plungers and more. But why go to the trouble when it’s cheaper and easier to just prevent clogs in the first place?

Taking care of a drain mostly just
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ecosetting

Simple Care for Your Dishwasher

  • 01/04/17

There are few things more satisfying than saving time and money simultaneously, and your dishwasher is one appliance that makes this possible. Not only do you get your dishes clean in a fraction of the time, dishwashers generally use less
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disposal

A Thanksgiving Tradition You Want to Avoid

  • 11/16/16

The night before Thanksgiving, plumbers all across America make a point of getting a good night’s sleep. That’s because history has taught them that Thanksgiving day and the day after are typically the busiest days of their entire year, and they tend to spend most of their time on a
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Think Twice Before Using Liquid Drain Cleaners

  • 11/02/16

When you discover a drain that is slow or clogged, calling a plumber might not be your first reaction. After all, using a bottle of commercial liquid drain cleaner is cheaper and requires minimal effort, so why call for professional
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Floor drain

Are Stinky Sewer Smells Wafting Out of Your Drains?

  • 09/28/16

The miracle of indoor plumbing allows us to effortlessly wash and flush waste away from our homes -- but that pipeline isn’t always a one-way street. When various problems arise, noxious sewer odors can come marching right back up the
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drainplug

Clearing a Drain Can Be a DIY Triumph

  • 09/14/16

Every home needs the attention of a professional plumber from time to time, because there are some jobs that are just too big, complex and potentially dangerous for amateurs to attempt. But one of the most common problems, a clogged
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8 tips for using less water in the bathroom

Save Water All Over the Home

  • 09/07/16

Anywhere you regularly use water, there’s a good chance there’s something you can do to reduce your use. And there are three areas of the home you can make changes with the most impact: the bathroom, the kitchen and the
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sumppump

Keep Your Sump Pump Clean, It’ll Keep You Dry

  • 08/17/16

Multiple regions have experienced record rainfall this summer, and those storms likely left more than a few flooded basements in their wake. Unfortunately, this disaster occasionally strikes homeowners who thought they were protected by a functioning sump pump, only to
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Money going down the drain

Taking the Waste Out of Wastewater

  • 07/20/16

You probably already know that your hot water heater is one of the biggest energy users in the average home. But after using all that energy to make the water hot, we only use the water for a few moments
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plunger

Seal the Deal With Proper Plunger Technique

  • 06/22/16

Indoor plumbing has become an indispensable creature comfort, and when it’s suddenly taken away due to a drain clog, it can feel like an instant emergency. Some clogs do require professional assistance to clear, but others are minor enough that
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disposal

Keep Your Garbage Disposal Fresh, Clean and Functioning

  • 06/15/16

Not every homeowner has a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink, but those who do usually love the convenience of being able to flush food scraps directly down the drain. One of the biggest benefits is that a disposal can keep rotten food odors out of the garbage can, but
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cockroach

Plumbing Leaks Attract Household Pests

  • 05/18/16

Nobody likes a plumbing leak -- it wastes water, drives up your monthly bill, makes a mess and is an all-around hassle. But there’s one more awful consequence that might not immediately spring to mind: household pests.


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broke

Make Sure You Have Cash to Cover Plumbing Emergencies

  • 05/04/16

You never know when you will need an emergency plumbing repair. Even homeowners who pay attention to preventative maintenance can find themselves facing an unexpected problem in their pipes, and the issue usually needs to be addressed right away, particularly if it involves flooding. Unfortunately, many consumers don't have the
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washerhose

How to Safely Hook Up Your Washing Machine

  • 04/06/16

A new washing machine can be an expensive but worthwhile investment. When you purchase a brand-new model, you can take advantage of better performance and more efficient operation. Of course, before you can enjoy your new clothes-washing technology, you need to hook up the machine to a water source. Fortunately,
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drip

Putting Off Plumbing Repairs Costs More in the Long Run

  • 03/23/16

There are countless reasons to put off performing a plumbing repair. Perhaps you’re short on cash, or you don’t have time to do it yourself or accommodate a plumber. With so many demands on our time, it’s easy to forget about fixing a leaky faucet or
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stoppers

Install a Drain Plug in Your Bathtub

  • 03/02/16

The bathtub drain stopper plays an unheralded but important role in the hygiene routines of many Americans. If you exclusively take showers to get clean, you probably don't think twice about the drain plug, and might not even own one. For a relaxing bath, however, the drain plug is even
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disposal

Avoiding Garbage Disposal Clogs During Holiday Party Season

  • 12/15/15

The Thanksgiving leftovers may be long gone, but for many American families, the memories of garbage disposal failure are still fresh. The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers, who are often
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Frozen pipe bursting

Your Insurance May Not Cover Pipes Broken Due to Negligence

  • 12/08/15

Homeowners insurance can be a lifesaver. If you have a major disaster, like a fire or a flood, you could be out tens of thousands of dollars for repairs or renovations. Fortunately, in most circumstances, your insurance should be there to pick up most or all of the cost. However,
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oldhouse

Plumbing Damage is a Major Concern in Historic Homes

  • 11/10/15

Purchasing a historic home can be a rewarding process. You and your family have the privilege of living in style and elegance, enjoying features and architecture that are unavailable in modern construction. Buying an older home can also be an expensive minefield, however, especially when it comes to water damage
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bigshower

Tips for Expanding Your Shower

  • 11/03/15

Most Americans shower every day. Add it up, and that's a lot of time spent in an enclosed space – so you might as well get comfortable. Unfortunately, home shower stalls are often three by five feet or even smaller – barely large enough for adults to spread out their
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How to Retrieve Items that Wash Down the Drain

  • 10/15/15

Valuable items can vanish down the drain in the blink of an eye. That beautiful engagement ring you took off to do the dishes? An earring that slipped down the bathroom sink? You might think that they are lost forever, but with a little luck, you can retrieve them with
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drip

Water Sensors Can Help Detect Plumbing Leaks

  • 10/06/15

Hidden plumbing leaks are a pernicious household problem. They can run up your water bill, and if you don't find them quickly, the water can cause mold and mildew to grow in your walls, requiring extensive remediation work. Finding hidden plumbing leaks can be a big challenge because
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pipecamera

Diagnose Sewer Line Problems with a Camera Inspection

  • 09/22/15

One of the absolute worst places to need plumbing repairs is in the sewer line. That's the main outtake pipe that removes all the used greywater and waste from your home and into the municipal sewage system. When that waste water starts backing up into your house, not only is
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confused2

Avoid Common Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Plumbing

  • 09/15/15

It's not so hard to pick up do-it-yourself plumbing skills with a bit of practice. If you are careful and dedicated, you can save yourself big money on repair bills by taking care of small problems on your own. But be forewarned – just owning a pair of channel-lock pliers
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basementbath

How to Add a Bathroom to Your Basement

  • 08/13/15

Anyone who comes from a large family can tell you horror stories about waiting in line for the bathroom. Everybody loves to take their time showering, brushing their teeth, applying makeup and answering nature's call, but if you only have one or two bathrooms in your home, you are liable
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showerhead

How to Save Water When You Shower

  • 08/04/15

Showering is part of everyday life. Be it a luxurious hot shower in the middle of winter, or a cold shower in the summertime to wash the sweat away, we love to get clean. In fact, showering accounts for 17 percent of all indoor household plumbing use in the country,
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badplumber

You Can Be Liable for Unlicensed Plumber Services

  • 07/30/15

Remodeling your bathroom can be a blast. You get to pick from the latest in modern bathroom installations and design your space to align perfectly with your tastes and needs. When planning your dream bathroom, however, or preparing for any other major plumbing renovation or installation, don't neglect
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flood

How to Plan for a Flood

  • 07/21/15

Whether it's caused by hurricane storm surge or torrential rains, flash flooding can become a destructive force in an instant. If you live in an area with the potential for flooding, it’s important to plan ahead and know what to do in the event of such conditions. Use these tips
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confused

When Do You Need to Hire a Plumber?

  • 07/16/15

There's a fine balance when it comes to plumbing repairs. On the one hand, if you do it yourself, you can save a lot of money, learn something about your home systems and feel the satisfaction of a job well done. On the flip side, if you mess up a
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leak

How to Find Hidden Plumbing Leaks

  • 07/14/15

Plumbing leaks are annoying under any circumstances, and they're at their worst when you don't even know they exist. Somewhere in your home, water could be dripping from your pipes, running up your water bill and propagating the growth of mold, mildew and rot in your woodwork. If you fail
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waterrecylcing

Reuse Greywater From Household Plumbing During a Drought

  • 07/07/15

Droughts are plaguing the United States. Water is becoming scarce, and is poised to get more expensive as well. One way to handle present or future water shortages is to reuse gray water from your household plumbing, which reduces your overall consumption. This technique is useful even for people outside
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drainplug

How to Adjust the Sink Stopper in Your Drain Plumbing

  • 07/02/15

The bathroom sink stopper is a handy little gadget, allowing you to fill the basin with water to help with shaving or washing your face. However, like most household systems, the stopper isn't perfect and it can become maladjusted over time, causing the sink to drain instead of holding the
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hardwater

Water Softener Can Prevent Household Plumbing Damage

  • 06/25/15

Hard water in your household plumbing is no picnic. The mineral-laden liquid can gum up your appliances and shorten their lifespans, while degrading the functionality of your pipes as well. In certain circumstances, hard water can even contribute to a health hazard. Fortunately, you can confront the challenges that hard
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watersavings

Can You Achieve Net Zero Water Use With Your Household Plumbing?

  • 06/18/15

Nobody likes paying water bills. There are a number of measures you can take to increase savings through water conservation, but the real prize would be to do away with the bills entirely. That doesn't mean you have to give up your indoor toilet or other household plumbing
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fancybath

Get Form and Function From Stylish Plumbing

  • 06/09/15

Are you bored with your bathroom? Same old sink fixtures, same old showerhead. If you have a little spare time and money, there's no reason to dull your senses with old, drab plumbing fixtures. Instead, take a tour of stylish and decorative options available to transform your bathroom from pedestrian
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bacteria

Try a Bio-Digestor for Free Compost, Energy

  • 05/26/15

Here's a novel idea for people into sustainable living: How about installing a bio-digestor in your plumbing? A bio-digestor will collect all the waste from your kitchen and bathroom alike and transform it into two useful substances: compost for the garden and methane gas for your appliances. That's about as
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confused

Avoid These Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

  • 05/21/15

There's nothing like a little do-it-yourself knowledge when it comes to your home's plumbing system. You can save money and feel good about completing a project using your own skills and ingenuity. Unfortunately, things don't always go as easily as planned – and when plumbing work goes wrong,
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sink-trap

How to Clean Out Your Sink Trap

  • 05/12/15

Are you struggling with a clogged sink? If you're lucky, you can resolve the problem by using a plunger or  using a plumbing snake to clear the drain, but a tougher clog might require you to remove the trap in the pipes. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple
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plumbing-pipes

What Do Those Funny Plumbing Noises Mean?

  • 05/08/15

When your plumbing system is working properly, you don't have to think about it. Water comes in, water and waste get removed – that's the end of the story. Unfortunately, things don't always go so smoothly. Sometimes, the plumbing can break down – noisily. Here's a primer on the possible
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floor-drain

Diagnose and Fix Problems in Your Floor Drain

  • 04/30/15

Floor drains can be a lifesaver. If you break a pipe, or your house floods from an outside source, a drain in the basement floor gives the water a way out without lingering and damaging the woodwork or provoking mold growth. They also relieve pressure on your pipes by allowing
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Hug a Plumber Day

Celebrate National Hug a Plumber Day

  • 04/24/15

Have you hugged your plumber lately? If not, now’s your chance. Saturday, April 25 is National Hug a Plumber Day, a time to take a moment to appreciate those brave men and women who unclog our drains and keep our toilets flowing. Even if you don't want to
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Hand water pump and wooden tub

A brief history of plumbing

  • 03/17/15

Did you take the time to appreciate your toilet today? Some Americans might take their bathrooms for granted, but we've only enjoyed the benefits of indoor plumbing for a relatively short period of human history. Next time you're fighting a clog or cursing at a frozen pipe, take a moment
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Baking soda, lemon juice and water

All-natural drain and bathroom cleaner recipes

  • 02/05/15

Have you ever read the ingredients in a commercial drain cleaner? It's a pretty caustic collection of chemicals - lye, acids or bleach, depending on the kind of cleaner you buy. There's no question that chemical drain cleaners get the job done, but has the potential to damage your pipes.

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Woman plunging sink drain

DIY tips for clearing a clogged drain

  • 01/29/15

It’s an ominous sign most of us know all too well: You’re standing in the shower and you notice that instead of draining, the water is rising around your feet. Or maybe the kitchen sink takes forever to drain after you do the dishes. Clogged drains are a plague for
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Woman Cleaning Shower Floor

Biofilm in your plumbing can be hazardous to your health

  • 01/26/15

Has it been awhile since you’ve cleaned your sinks and showers? You could be putting yourself at risk of biofilm. Biofilm is the sticky goo that turns up on your plumbing fixtures and other moist places in your home. The slimy ring around the end of your faucet? Biofilm. The
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Money going down the drain

Avoid potential plumbing pitfalls when buying a new home

  • 01/08/15

You think you've found your dream house: A big yard, ample bathrooms, great price for the neighborhood. Before you sign on the dotted line, however, make sure you check out the plumbing. There could be problems lurking within the pipes and walls of your new home that could eventually cost
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Hot and cold faucets

Debunking common plumbing myths

  • 01/05/15

So, you've purchased your own home and want to educate yourself on prudent and effective home maintenance. You've learned the basics about your plumbing system and have even brandished an adjustable wrench a time or two. Kudos on taking responsible steps to safeguard your home investment. However, make sure you
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Green, energy-efficient home

Energy-efficient homes sell for more money

  • 12/22/14

Homes that come with money-saving efficiency features have a big advantage in the housing market. According to several studies, green houses sell faster and for more money than similar houses that lack upgrades to keep the utility bills down. If you are thinking about selling, it may be worth it
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Municipal code

Does your plumbing meet building code standards?

  • 12/11/14

Just because you own your house doesn't mean you can do anything you want to it. Local building codes detail what you can and can't do to modify your home, and what requirements you have to meet when it comes to plumbing, electric wiring, structural integrity and other features. The
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Clearing a clogged sink drain

Tips for avoiding a Black Friday plumbing emergency

  • 11/20/14

Gobble, gobble, stuff, stuff and uh-oh… stuck. It’s a common scene plumbers see every year on Black Friday. All the cooking, eating and clean up that comes with the Thanksgiving meal can create problems for your plumbing. Calls to our plumbers typically increase more than 50 percent on Black Friday
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Leaking sink

Preventing a plumbing emergency

  • 11/13/14

Homeowners can save money with a little do-it-yourself spirit when it comes to minor plumbing projects. However, tread carefully, because with a single misstep you could make things worse than before or even flood your house. Plumbing disasters can be a huge hassle and end up costing much more than
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Four ways to clear a clogged shower drain

The best ways to unclog a shower drain

  • 11/06/14

There are many reasons why you might need to call a plumber, but a clogged drain doesn’t necessarily have to be one of them. Shower drains can clog often, and you may be able to clear it yourself using some  simple tricks. Of course, you should always keep the number
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Replacing washing machine hoses can save you repairs

Neglected washer hoses are a recipe for disaster

  • 11/03/14

Washing machine hoses — those python-like lengths of rubber or metal that attach your washer to your water source — are one of the most neglected and potentially damaging maintenance monsters in your home. Taking time to check your washer’s hoses
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Tree roots can clog and damage pipes

Small roots, big problems: Preventing Pipe Damage

  • 10/20/14

Believe it or not, your landscaping could be a danger to your plumbing system. Tree roots will travel long distances to find water, especially when drought conditions persist. When trees and shrubs get thirsty, they follow the trail of moisture vapors
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