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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!

solarwater

Power Your Water Heater With Free Heat From the Sun

  • 05/10/17

Most homeowners understand the two key benefits to having solar panels installed on their roofs: they save money by harnessing free energy and they reduce environmental impact by generating power with zero harmful emissions. While most residential solar panels are connected to the electrical grid or to home batteries, others
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waterheater

Is Your Water Heater Telling You It’s Time for Replacement?

  • 05/03/17

For most of us, on-demand access to hot water isn’t optional -- we count on our water heaters to get us through every shower and sinkful of dishes. But even top-of-the-line water heaters aren’t built to last forever, so unless we want to see our hot water access disrupted, we
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pipeinsulation

Should You Insulate Your Water Pipes?

  • 03/29/17

For most homeowners, whether to insulate a home’s hot water pipes is a fairly easy decision. When you can purchase effective insulating pipe sleeves for a few feet per dollar, it’s hard to resist the simple energy savings that will pay off for years. But not all homeowners know about
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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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showerhead

What is a Hot Water Circulation Pump?

  • 01/18/17

Eliminate the Wait for Hot Water When You Need It Most

One of the worst feelings in the morning is when you step into the shower to get ready for work – only to be sprayed with ice-cold water. If you're lucky, you catch yourself in time to not scream as
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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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waterheaterrepair

Maintain Your Water Heater to Extend Its Life

  • 11/09/16

Unless you like taking cold showers, it’s important to inspect and maintain your water heater on a regular basis. A thorough check-up every six months can minimize the chance of a sudden breakdown that could leave you with nothing but
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Hot water heater controls

Wrap Up Your Old Water Heater for Winter

  • 10/05/16

Water heater design has come a long way in the last two decades. One of the most significant advances has been built-in insulation, which helps conserve energy while sparing homeowners the hassle of installing and replacing insulation on tank exteriors.
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Saving water saves money

Smart Water Heaters Make Micromanagement Easy

  • 08/03/16

Unless you have a tankless water heater that heats water on demand, you’re probably paying continuously to maintain hot water that you won’t need for hours. It’s through this energy use that water heaters account for such a large slice
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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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drip

Hard Water is More Than Just an Annoyance

  • 07/13/16

Throughout North America, hard water is a regional phenomenon. If you’ve spent most of your life in an area without much in the way of mineral sediment, you may not know much about hard water problems at all. But if
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Hand under running faucet

When Is It Time to Go Tankless?

  • 07/06/16

Most homes have conventional tank water heaters, which store dozens of gallons of hot water and maintain a steady temperature so that the water is ready when you need it. But there’s another type of water heater -- tankless --
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vacation

Plumbing Planning for Summer Vacation

  • 05/25/16

If you’re planning a big summer vacation (or even just a weekend getaway) you probably have a list of tasks to get your home ready for your absence. But it’s not enough to just stop the mail and reprogram the
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rust

How Can a Metal Rod Save Your Water Heater?

  • 05/11/16

You might be surprised to learn that there’s some serious drama going on inside your hot water heater tank. While you’re showering or doing the dishes, on the other end of the water line is a metal rod sacrificing itself
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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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waterheaterrepair

Signs that Your Water Heater is on the Fritz

  • 03/30/16

Your water heater is one of the most important parts of your household plumbing installation. Without it, your washing machine and dishwasher would be virtually useless – and imagine having to take an ice-cold shower every day. That means that a breakdown in your water heater is mission
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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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ecosetting

Do Economy Settings on Your Appliances Really Save Money?

  • 01/28/16

If you've purchased a washing machine or dishwasher in the last few years, your model probably includes economy settings. Now is a good time to ask yourself if you have ever used the appliance in conservation mode. Why or why not? There can be very good reasons to use, or
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waterheaterrepair

This Hot Water Heater Repair is a DIY Job

  • 12/29/15

When your hot water heater goes on the fritz, it’s an emergency. Without hot water, the dishwasher and washing machine won’t function properly, and showers become tortuous. Unfortunately, plumbing repairs involving hot water heaters can be expensive, which could tempt
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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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hotandcold

Tips for Keeping Your Water Heating Bill Low this Winter

  • 12/01/15

Winter is well on its way, which for many households means bitter temperatures, snow on the ground and sky-high utility bills. People who live in colder areas of the country inevitably see their heating bills rise during the frosty winter months, no matter how many efficiency measures they take. That's
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waterheater

Inspect Your Water Heater to Prolong Its Life

  • 11/12/15

Your water heater is one of the main cogs in your home comfort system gears. It supplies hot water to your household plumbing for use in the dishwasher, washing machine, sinks and showers. It also uses up more energy than any other piece of equipment other than your HVAC gear.
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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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showerhead2

Save Water and Energy with a Thermostatic Shower Head

  • 09/24/15

There's a tricky balance to getting your shower temperature just right. Too cold, and you're in for an unpleasant shock. Too hot, and you can scald yourself. That's why most people turn the shower on before getting in and wait for it to reach their preferred temperature. Unfortunately, that means
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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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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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waterearth

Smart Devices Let You Save Money With Your Household Plumbing

  • 08/11/15

Utility costs can eat away at your household budget, diverting money that you could otherwise use for recreation, education or savings. The savvy homeowner is constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce spending on utilities like water consumption by modifying their household plumbing. To that end, a
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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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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

While parts of the Western United States are stuck in a prolonged drought, other parts of the country have seen extraordinary rainfall this summer. Some of the resulting flash flooding has done extensive damage to homes in affected areas. If you live in one of these areas with the potential
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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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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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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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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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hot water heater

Tips for choosing a new hot water heater

  • 04/28/15

Whether it’s sooner or later, every water heater eventually needs replacing. There are numerous factors to consider, and one of the most critical is the size of the equipment. If the water heater is too small, you won't have enough hot water and could get stuck in a cold shower.
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Hot water heater controls

New water heater rules could lower your energy bills

  • 03/12/15

Looking to replace your home water heater? New federal rules governing the appliances' efficiency go into effect April 16. The results might leave you paying more at the outset for a new model -- and with a little less space in your basement – but will result in lower energy
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Conventional water heater

Prevent cold-weather damage to your water heater

  • 01/15/15

Arctic temperatures this winter could affect your plumbing in unexpected ways. You probably already know the dangers of frozen pipes, but frigid conditions can also cause problems where you least expect it: in your water heater. Cold temperatures can cause the metal to expand and contract, and if
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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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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 heater information

Water heaters: what you need to know

  • 12/04/14

Can you imagine life without hot water? Water heaters typically get little attention -- until they fail. Yet regular maintenance can extend the life and efficiency of your water heater. How much do you know know about this indispensable appliance you rely on every day? The U.S. Department of Energy's
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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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Washer full of money

Wring energy savings from your washer and dryer

  • 11/17/14

Laundry is a thankless chore. Worse yet, washers and dryers can be energy gluttons, driving up your utility bills. But don't let frugality stand in the way of having clean clothes. Following best practices can help reduce the amount of energy you use in the laundry room. Check out these
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Hot water heater controls

Money-saving tips for your water heater

  • 11/10/14

Don't let your water heater drain away your nest egg. In a typical household, the hot water heater uses more energy than any other appliance except for the heating and cooling systems, so it's important to maximize its efficiency in order to realize the most savings. 

The first step is
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