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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!

Baking soda, lemon juice and water

Removing Rust Stains From Sinks, Tubs and Toilets

  • 10/04/17

Last week, we covered some of the ways that rusty pipes, fixtures and water heaters can lead to rust particles in your water supply. This week, we’ll talk about what you can do about the brown stains this water can leave on your sinks, tubs and toilets over time.

These stubborn
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rustypipes

When Rusty Water Appears, Find the Source Fast

  • 09/27/17

You count on the water coming from your taps to be clean and clear. So what if the color and taste are suddenly a little off? The culprit could be rust, and depending on the age of your pipes and water heater, it could be coming from inside your house.

There’s
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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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whitebathtub

How to Fix A Chipped Sink or Bathtub

  • 07/19/17

Porcelain and enamel sinks and bathtubs are some of the most resilient fixtures in the typical home, but they’re not invincible. If you accidentally drop something hard and heavy like a cast iron skillet, you could easily chip the surface. Fortunately, the repair job is easy, too.

First Aid

Your DIY sink
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kitchensink

Two Sinks or Not Two Sinks? That is the Question

  • 06/21/17

Kitchen remodels tend to be major undertakings, but well worth the trouble when cooking and entertaining goes from being a chore to being a joy. New appliances and countertops can transform the feel of the room, and a new layout of cabinets and islands can improve the flow of your
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limescale

Removing and Preventing Limescale

  • 06/07/17

Do your plumbing fixtures seem like they need cleaning all too often? If the source of all that extra work is a white or green chalky coating on your faucets and showerheads, you may have a problem with limescale -- mineral-rich deposits that look unsightly and wreak havoc on your
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The Time to Find Your Shut-Off Valves is Now

  • 03/08/17

If your household plumbing suddenly springs a major leak, do you know what you would do? Calling your local plumber is a smart move, but it shouldn’t be your first instinct when your home is flooding by the second. This is a time to shut off your home’s main water
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hardwater

How to Tell if You Have Hard Water

  • 12/14/16

Some lucky homeowners have never experienced hard water in their homes. It’s largely a regional problem, with the hardest-hit areas in the Upper Midwest. But for those who live in a hard water zone, it can be one of the
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showerhead

Save Water When Making Household Upgrades

  • 12/07/16

Being a homeowner means your home is never really “finished”. Fixtures, appliances and other components are always aging, breaking down or falling out of fashion -- upgrades just come with the territory. And when those upgrades involve your plumbing, the
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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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pressure

Water Pressure Problems Are Worth Fixing

  • 10/26/16

When it comes to household water pressure, there’s a pretty generous range for what’s considered not too low, not too high, but “just right”. But there are still all sorts of circumstances that can push your pressure out of that
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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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drought

Water Conservation Sticks Around in California

  • 08/31/16

Virtually the entire state of California has been affected by historic drought for the last several years. But last winter was wetter than expected, and as a result, the state eased several water use restrictions that carried steep fines for
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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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earth

Get Serious About Water Conservation on Earth Day

  • 04/20/16

Celebrate Earth Day this year by establishing some new water conservation habits and making some small changes to your home plumbing. Water is a precious resource, and it takes energy to sanitize it and deliver it to your home -- so anything you can do to minimize the amount of
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expensive

Plumbing Leaks Could Cost You $100 Per Year

  • 04/13/16

Drip, drip, drip. If you have plumbing leaks in your home, now is the time to address them. Even small leaks can add up over time, with some families spending as much as $100 per year on water that gets wasted right down the drain – or worse, leaks out
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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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faucet

Faucets Are the Next Wave in Smart Technology

  • 01/14/16

Smart technology is taking over the North American home, appliance by appliance. First we had smart thermostats and smart lighting. Then came appliances like refrigerators and CONTINUE READING >

What to Do About a Noisy Faucet

  • 01/12/16

A noisy faucet can drive a family nuts. When you have to brace yourself for an annoying sound every time you wash your hands, it's time to get to work to remedy the problem. Fortunately, noisy faucets
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gasket

How to Prevent Cracked Plumbing Seals

  • 12/17/15

Your household plumbing system is more than a collection of pipes. You also have your hoses and fixtures, and notably, the rubber gaskets that connect them to the pipes. Gaskets are essential for creating airtight seals in your fixtures and
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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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mildew

How to Combat Mold and Mildew in Your Bathroom

  • 10/20/15

Mold and mildew can be serious scourges in your bathroom. Showing up as black specks or floral bodies around your shower and sink, these nasty growths are unattractive and can cause health problems if left unaddressed. Mold and mildew occur when you have moisture buildup in your bathroom, either from
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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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pressure

How to Test Your Home Water Pressure

  • 10/08/15

Homeowners must walk a fine line when it comes to water pressure. You need sufficient pounds per square inch (psi) of water coming out of your faucets to take comfortable showers and fill your cooking pots in a reasonable amount of time. On the other hand, if the pressure in
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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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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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bacteria2

Could Your Household Plumbing Harbor Legionnaire's Disease?

  • 09/08/15

Legionnaire's disease is making headlines in a big way. A recent outbreak that struck New York City left 12 people dead and more than 120 ill in the worst case of the disease the city has ever seen. In fact, although outbreaks are rare, Legionnaire's does infect thousands of people
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rustypipes

Avoid Health Hazards from Decaying Municipal Water Pipes

  • 09/03/15

Water is among the most essential substances for sustaining human life. Crucial to the advance of urban civilization has been the ability to bring abundant clean water to population centers while safely removing sewage and wastewater. In fact, many municipalities have been pumping drinking water to  residents' household
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dirtywater

How to Get Impurities Out of Your Tap Water

  • 09/01/15

There's nothing worse than filling up what should be a refreshing glass of water from the tap, only to spot debris or black specks floating in the liquid. It’s not only unpleasant, it can be unhealthy – so it’s important to investigate and correct the problem. Fortunately, there are ways
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pressure

What is Causing Your Low Water Pressure?

  • 08/27/15

When your shower slows to a trickle, or it seems like it takes forever for the washing machine to fill up, low water pressure might be the culprit. A strange whistling coming from the pipes could be another sign that your pressure isn't up to snuff. However you
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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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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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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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tapwater

Tap Water From Your Plumbing Installations is Clean, Cheap and Safe

  • 06/23/15

The bottled water industry is ubiquitous, spouting healthy-sounding slogans promising clean water fresh from mountain streams. Implicit in that message is the idea that your tap water is somehow unclean or unhealthy. Don't be fooled by the hype – the municipal water that comes from most people's plumbing installations is
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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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ElderBath

Customize Your Bathroom for Older Residents

  • 06/16/15

One in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the bathroom is a likely place to suffer a spill due to the slippery surfaces. If you are advancing in age, or have older relatives and
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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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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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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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Little girl loading dishwasher

Could your dishwasher give your child asthma?

  • 03/02/15

Using a dishwasher in your home could contribute to your child's asthma, according to a recent study. The research, which took place in Sweden, found that children in families that washed dishes by hand had lower rates of asthma, eczema and allergic diseases compared to children in families
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Mother and child drinking water

Get clean drinking water through reverse osmosis

  • 02/26/15

Worried about contaminants in your drinking water? You never know what kinds of bacteria, chemicals, waste particles and other undesirables are coming out of your faucet. Reverse osmosis is one option that can give you the taste of clean, fresh water in your home. Save money by avoiding bottled water
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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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Hand under running faucet

8 water conservation tips for the bathroom

  • 01/22/15

As concern for the environment grows, many of us are looking for ways to go green. One of the best things you can do for Mother Nature is to use less water - a surprisingly easy task when it comes to the bathroom. Here are some simple ways to conserve. 


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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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Remodeled bathroom

Trends in bathroom remodeling

  • 12/29/14

Are you tired of the same old toilet and outdated sink fixtures? That means it's time to upgrade your bathroom. Projects can range from simple cosmetic touch-ups to a total tear-down renovation. No matter what the scope of your bathroom remodeling job, you can improve the room's aesthetics and function,
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Water recycling

The scoop on home water recycling

  • 12/15/14

Say you're an environmentally-conscious homeowner. You've got solar panels on your roof, and you've followed all the tips for an energy-efficient house. You feel great about helping the environment, and the big savings on your utility bills don't hurt, either. So what's the next step?

If you want to
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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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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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A dripping faucet may be a sign to call a plumber

5 Signs you need to call a plumber

  • 10/27/14
There are plumbing problems you can handle on your own, but others are too big to tackle. Do you know when you need to call in professional help? The five scenarios below may surprise you.
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