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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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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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showerhead2

Watch Your Wintertime Humidity

  • 02/15/17

We tend to think of humidity as a summertime problem, when the air outside is often hot and sticky. But as uncomfortable as outdoor humidity can be during the hottest months, indoor humidity can be an even bigger problem during the winter months.

It’s during the coldest season when we spend
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disposal

How to Find the Source of a Garbage Disposal Leak

  • 01/25/17

Even if you take great care of your garbage disposal, leaks can develop over time. You could find yourself reaching into the under-sink cabinet for dishwashing detergent only to discover an expanding pool of water! To complicate matters, it may not be immediately clear where the leak is coming from.

If
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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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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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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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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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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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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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washerhose

Make Laundry Day Great With Routine Washer Maintenance

  • 08/10/16

Your washing machine is among the most valuable major appliances in your home, and its repairs can be expensive in more ways than one. In addition to parts and labor, some washing machine problems can result in water flooding your
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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sumppump

When Is it Time to Replace a Sump Pump?

  • 02/02/16

A sump pump is an essential household plumbing component for many families, although it is separate from the main plumbing system. Instead of bringing in water for drinking and washing, the sump pump prevents flooding by removing storm water from under a home. Since the pump lives in the basement,
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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fancy-bathtub

Get the Latest in Bathtub Technology

  • 05/05/15

A good bath can be the ultimate in relaxation after a tough day. But sometimes, candles and fancy soaps aren't enough to get the mood just right. Fortunately, when you want to take your bathing experience to the next level, there's a whole array of technologically-advanced bathtubs to enhance your
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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