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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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Toilet side view

Common Causes of Toilet Clogs

  • 09/20/17

Inadvertently clogging the toilet -- or discovering too late that it’s already clogged -- is one of the more embarrassing plumbing mishaps. And it can also be a tricky one to address because there are so many potential causes.

The good news is that most toilet clogs can be avoided altogether
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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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toilet2

What to do When Your Toilet is Overflowing

  • 04/05/17

If there’s one thing you should be able to count on, it’s that the toilet should flush properly when you need it to. But life isn’t fair, toilets clog, and to make matters worse -- they can overflow.

Preventing raw sewage from spilling over onto your bathroom floor can be failsafe,
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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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plunger

5 Ways to Unclog a Toilet

  • 02/08/17

They happen to the best of us. Toilet clogs are just a fact of life. And while your trusted local plumbers will always be there for you, this is often a job you can take care of yourself. All it takes are a few household supplies and a little know-how.

Take
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toilettank

A Simple Test for a Leaky Toilet Tank

  • 12/21/16

A running toilet may not seem like a big deal at first, but just wait until the water bill arrives. If you allow this problem to continue untreated, it can cost you big in the end.


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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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removetoilet

Is It Time to Replace Your Toilet?

  • 10/12/16

You use it every day, but there’s a good chance you’ve never considered replacing it. It’s your toilet, perhaps the most indispensable element of your household plumbing. And toilets are built to last, so if replacing one has never crossed
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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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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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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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leak

Celebrate Fix a Leak Week with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

  • 03/16/16

Have you been putting off fixing plumbing leaks in your home? Consider this your call to action. The Environmental Protection Agency's Water Sense program is celebrating Fix a Leak Week from March 14 to 20 this year, encouraging households across the nation to hunt down and repair plumbing
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toilet3

How to Flush the Toilet When the Water is Off

  • 02/24/16

Modern indoor plumbing is a necessity for the health and sanitation of nearly every American household. And for many families, the bathroom toilet plumbing works perfectly 99 percent of the time, performing its essential function with a simple pull of the handle. However, when the water supply gets cut off,
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ingroundpool

In-Ground Pools and New Bathrooms Add Value to Your Home

  • 01/19/16

When you decide to renovate or remodel your home, it’s a good idea to make upgrades that both improve your comfort level and raise the value of your property at the same time. Two plumbing installations that are likely to
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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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toilet2

Smart Toilets Add Prestige to Your Bathroom

  • 12/03/15

Are you worried that you don't have enough smart technology in your home? Never fear, because the bathroom is the next great frontier in the evolution of the Internet of Things. Upscale homeowners can enjoy features like smart tubs and showers, but the product we've all really been
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removetoilet

How to Remove an Old Toilet from Your Bathroom

  • 11/24/15

Sometimes, working with pipes can be nasty business, especially when it comes to your bathroom toilet plumbing. When it's time to replace your toilet, removing the old throne from its privileged spot in the bathroom can be a bit unpleasant. However, it's also a relatively simple job, one that you
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toilet

How to Install a New Toilet

  • 11/19/15

New toilet day is an exciting time for any household. Many families might replace a toilet only once, or never, during their residence in a particular home.  When you do make a new addition to the bathroom toilet plumbing, it's important to do it right. Read on for tips on
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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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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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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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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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waterdamage

Water Damage from Plumbing Leaks is Common Homeowners Insurance Claim

  • 08/06/15

Plumbing leaks are one of the most subtly dangerous disasters that can befall a household. A small leak hidden somewhere in the walls can slowly undermine your home over years and promote mold and mildew growth. A large, abrupt leak, on the other hand, can flood the home, destroy furniture
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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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toilettank

How to Stop Your Toilet from Running

  • 07/23/15

Is your toilet running? You might not have to run and catch it, as the old joke goes, but you should act quickly to stop the leak and prevent major damage to your water bill. Fortunately, putting a stop to wasted water in your bathroom toilet plumbing can be a
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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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toiletflush

Flushing Trash Can Ruin Your Bathroom Toilet Plumbing

  • 06/30/15

Indoor plumbing is one of the most crucial public heath advances of modern times. The toilet, in particular, offers a seemingly miraculous waste disposal system – just pull the lever, and whatever is in the bowl is whisked away and out of your life forever. Unfortunately, that's only
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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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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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whitehouse

LBJ's Amazing Shower and Other Celebrity Bathroom Quirks

  • 06/04/15

The toilet is often referred to as the throne. Indeed, even kings themselves, as well as music stars, actors and other titans of society all need to use the bathroom just like us. Sometimes, however, the rich and powerful like to go the extra mile to make their bathrooms stand
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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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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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Earth Day

Earth Day water conservation tips

  • 04/21/15

Earth Day is a great excuse to look for ways to conserve the planet's natural resources, including water. Your plumbing system is crucial for the health and sanitation of your family, but it can also send gallons of clean, fresh water down the drain. With droughts becoming an annual problem
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Saving water saves money

Water-efficient plumbing fixtures can lower your bills

  • 03/26/15

When it comes to reducing your utility bills, don't neglect your water consumption. Most of the attention around conservation in the home is focused on energy efficiency, but there is still space to find savings in your plumbing system as well. Take a glance at water-efficient plumbing fixtures to save
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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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diagram of septic system

How to care for your septic tank

  • 03/05/15

If your home isn't connected  to a sewer system, you still need a way to safely  remove waste water. About a quarter of homes in America use a septic system, according to the EPA, and many homeowners find that it is a satisfactory solution. However, you need to
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Toilet side view

5 Signs you need a new toilet

  • 12/08/14
You rely on your toilet daily, but you probably don't think much about it until something goes wrong. Just like other major appliances in your home, your toilet will probably need to be replaced after years of use. How do you know when it’s time to call a plumber to
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Water conservation helps the environment

Winter water conservation tips

  • 12/01/14
Don't let snowy days and freezing nights distract you from conserving water this winter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average family in the United States uses a staggering 400 gallons of water per day. You may not be watering the lawn again for a while but
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Cleaning the toilet bowl

7 Tips for a cleaner toilet

  • 11/24/14

The holiday season often includes entertaining more guests, requiring even more upkeep than usual. Cleaning the toilet is no one’s favorite chore, but here are seven ways to make the job quicker and easier and keep your bathroom cleaner during this busy time of year. 


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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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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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A plunger may help clear a clogged toilet

3 Easy fixes for a clogged toilet

  • 10/20/14
Is your toilet clogged? If so, this is one plumbing repair you may be able to tackle yourself. While some more serious clogs require the intervention of a professional plumber, there are some things you can try before you pick up the phone.
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There are several ways to detect a leak

6 Ways to find hidden water leaks

  • 10/20/14

Early detection of a water leak can save you money and avert potential disaster. Here are some signs that you may have a leak and should consider contacting a plumber. 


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