Gas Piping Repairs & Replacements

Gas leaks are the most dangerous leaks to have, and should never be overlooked. Call us as soon as you smell or hear gas leaking. We also install and replace gas appliances; stoves, ranges, dryers as well as space heaters, gas logs, decorative stoves, along with other heating and hot water equipment.

What everyone should know about plumbing

Everybody should know where the main water shut off valve is located. Make sure everyone understands how to identify the valve and shut it off. It is usually located in the front of the house at the foundation wall where the water line enters the building from the main street service line.

High water bill:
Check all faucets and fixtures: for dripping water or damp spots. Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or leaks in both drain and water lines. Repair all leaks promptly (leaks can not only cause large quantities of water loss, but if not repaired promptly can lead to further more expensive repairs or cause a fixture to need to be replaced entirely)
Check outdoor water faucets: (water spigots for outside use, i.e. garden hoses) both inside the house at supplying branch for spigot, and outside to see if they froze over the winter or if the valve deteriorated and is leaking
Check the basement: for puddles, or leaks in any of the overhead pipes.

Check your toilets for leaks

  • Place a few drops of food coloring in the tank – not the bowl.
  • Check the toilet after about 20 min to half an hour. If the water in the bowl has some of the color in it, the tank is leaking and the flapper or valve seat may need to be replaced.

Checking for leaks in the house:
Locate the water meter. It is usually located in the front of the house at the foundation wall where the water line enters the building from the main street service line.
When no one is using water examine the trickle indicator/ low flow indicator on the water meter dial. On many meters it is a small red triangle right of center; if it is slowly turning you have a leak.
An alternative way is to write down the numbers on your water meter before you go to work or leave the house. Compare the numbers on the meter when you return; if the number on the meter has increased since you originally wrote it down more then likely there is a leak somewhere in the house.

Hot Water Heater:

Make sure your water heater is insulated: If your water heater has a tag on the tank which reads ASHRAE / EIS rating of 90, then it is already factory insulated and does not need additional insulation. If not insulate it (huge energy saver)
• To maintain your water heater and avoid internal corrosion, drain out sediment that accumulates at the base of the water heater. (do this about every 6 months)
 Get a bucket or hose and connect it to the valve located at the base of the water tank. Carefully open the valve and watch as the water drains let the water run out until it runs clear. The water heater will fill it’s self. Make sure the valve is tightly closed once water has begun to run clear of sediment.
Use extreme caution when draining or working on a hot water heater the water is very HOT.

Instant hot water heater: Instant hot water heaters can be a real money saver; they also are compact and easily fit into tight areas. These units are unique and very efficient; however are not the right fit for all houses. Unlike traditional hot water heaters, instant hot water heaters only heat the water which is being used and when no water is being used, i.e. at night or when people are on vacation, the instant water heater is off and is using no energy. Traditional water heaters hold hot water in them at all times. Instant hot water is a great option for a summer home, Jacuzzis, hot tubs, bathtubs, and fixtures which require large quantities of hot water. They will also work well in many other situations. Give us a call and we will be glad to send someone out give you a free estimate or we can just walk you through your options over the phone.

Frozen Pipes:

Each year disconnect all garden hoses before freezing temperatures arrive. Close the shut-off valve on the pipe (in the basement) which leads to your outdoor faucet. Open the outdoor faucets, to allow all the water still remaining in the pipe to drain. Once all the water is drained shut off the faucet.

If your indoor faucets sometimes freeze in very cold weather:
Try to allow them to get a little more heat from the house by opening the cabinet doors or opening access to the pipes so the house can heat those areas to avoid freezing. .
In extreme situations let the water drip very slowly out of the faucet/ fixture.

Insulate water pipes: which could freeze in cold temperatures or wind. Water pipes which aren’t used during the winter months should be drained for the winter to avoid freezing.
If you have any plumbing in your garage, keep your garage door closed on cold days. All water pipes in unheated garages or basements should be insulated. (pipes can also freeze due to drafts of cold air from cracks in the foundation or doors left open)
If your pipes end up freezing:
Shut down the water at the main shut-off valve, so nothing will crack/ spray as the ice melts.
Leave the faucets on to reduce the pressure as the ice melts.
Use a heat gun or blow dryer to thaw frozen pipes (or turn up the heat in affected areas).

Drains/ Clogs:

Unclog a drain mechanically rather than chemically.
Never use chemical drain cleaners, especially if your pipes or traps are brass, steel, or cast-iron; chemicals may corrode metal pipes and in may cases over time will cause serious leaks in your plumbing system.
Preventative measures:
Place strainers over drains to avoid unwanted items/debris from getting into system and clogging the drain. Clean the strainer regularly.
Pour a cup of baking soda and then a cup of vinegar down your drain every couple of months.
Drains for showers and bathroom sinks typically need extra care; try pouring some boiling water down the bathroom drains about once a month which will help clear out hair and greasy particles.
Kitchen sinks:
Do not pour fats or cooking oils into your sink. Liquid fats can solidify in cold drain pipes, trap food particles, and clog the drains.
Don’t pour coffee grounds down the drain.
Rice is another no, it expands in the drain resulting in a sever clog.
If your drain is plugged up:
Try a plunger first. (For tubs and sinks make sure the overflow is plugged with either your hands or a wet rag. Use Gloves)
If the plunger doesn’t unplug the drain. Give us a call.


• Use cold water instead of hot when you run your disposal. Let the cold water run as long as the motor is running, and be sure to avoid overloading the disposal.
• Corn husks, artichokes, onion skins, celery, and other high-fiber material can clog your disposal. Some items are better thrown in the trash or composed instead of grinding them in the disposal, this will also extend the life of the disposal.

If your disposal is clogged: turn off the motor and the water.
Use the service wrench that came with your disposal, insert it into the hole on the bottom of the disposal. Turn it back and forth until it will freely turn.
Remove whatever caused the disposal to jam.
Finally, press the red “reset” button located on the bottom of the disposal.

Any Questions:
Was any of the information above confusing?
Still have questions?
Have any ideas of how to improve this section or helpful tips of your own?
Feel free to give us a call anytime! 617-436-5229 or shoot us an email.

Frozen Pipes

Boston winters are very cold at times and on cold nights un-insulated or exposed pipes can easily be frozen especially in basements or drafty areas. We deal with these situations every winter. We locate and repair any type of frozen pipe or fixtures. Be sure to call us as soon as you start to experience a problem with a frozen or slow water line, for sometimes, simple measures can reverse the problem. The longer a line is left, the more it will freeze making the problem bigger and more expensive.

Heating Basics

Everybody should know where their heating system is located in the house, the type of system it is, what type of fuel the system burns and how to shut the system down. There are many different types of heating systems, and every house heats differently. It is also important to know how old the unit is and what units in the building the furnace supplies. Knowing how to manage your heating system and having a general knowledge of how it works is incredibly important. Every home owner should assess their heating system and the operating cost and determine if they have an older system or high heating bills.

Determine the following factors to identify your heating system:
I. Fuel/heat source i.e. (Natural gas, oil, electric)
II. Type (steam, hot water, hot air)
III. Delivery system (how does the heat get distributed throughout the house)

Give us a call anytime and we will walk you through the steps to find out!

I. Heating systems need fuel to operate:

Coal – Coal is no longer in use and any units which still use coal should be replaced.
Oil – Is good for some applications if gas is not available to the building. We would suggest replacing unit with high efficiency gas unit; however we will service an oil unit and always respond to any no heat calls.
Propane – Used in rural applications.
Natural Gas – This is the most common and preferred way to heat a house in an urban setting. Many oil heating systems have been switched to natural gas. It is very clean and allows for low maintenance high efficiency heating systems.
Electrical – The system simply uses electricity as opposed to fuel.
Solar – Many more modern houses and green buildings are taking advantage of this power source. It is usually utilized in rural areas however it is becoming a more prominent heating option.
Geothermal – Although rarely used this heating system, is extremely cost efficient. Expensive for initial installation but it is a very clean and environmentally friendly system.

II. & III. Different types & delivery methods of heating systems:

Steam – Radiators
There are many ways a steam heating system can be designed, but they all function the exact same way. The boiler heats the water and the steam is pushed through the pipes to the radiators. Then the condensate from the cooling steam flows back down the same pipe. The condensate runs all of the way back to the boiler and is re-used.

Gravity Hot Water – Radiators
Gravity hot water heating systems work off of the upward flow of hot water, as heat rises. The boiler heats the water in the pipes and radiators throughout your home. The heat from the water in the radiators is transferred first to the metal radiators and then to the air. As the water loses its heat, it sinks and flows back to the boiler through the same supply pipe. Gravity systems tend to heat unevenly and have to use larger size pipes. Many of these systems are changed to forced hot water system.

Gravity Hot Air – Ducts
Gravity hot air heating systems work under the same principals the gravity hot water system. However, they utilize hot air as opposed to hot water. The process occurs just like the gravity hot water system above. Cool air is heated and unaided, rises through the air ducts and is distributed throughout the house. When the air cools, it falls back down through the same ducts to the furnace to be heated again. Gravity systems tend to heat unevenly and have to use larger duct sizes. Many of these systems are changed to forced hot air systems.

Forced Heating Systems – All forced systems will have a pump or blower motor on the boiler or furnace.

Forced Hot Water (hydronic) – Radiators, Baseboard, Convectors, Runtal Radiators
Forced hot water systems are usually heated by gas- or oil-fired boilers. Occasionally, they may use immersion-type electric resistance heating coils. Forced hot water pressurized the heating lines and pumps the hot water throughout the house to heat it more evenly and allow for all heating units to receive the same quantity of hot water.

Forced Hot Air – Ducts
In forced hot air heating systems, the furnace pulls air into the heat exchanger through the cold air return. The air is heated inside the furnace, and then returned into the home through additional ductwork. The heat is directed into the various rooms by heat registers. It is possible to have more heat in one room than another by opening and shutting heat registers throughout the house. Forced air home heating systems can run off of gas, oil or electricity. Sizing the cold return is very important to protect the integrity of the heat exchanger.

Radiant Heat – PEX floor piping (under slab or sub floor)
A radiant heating system is a modern way of heating a building. Each of the floors or just sections of the floors in a building are heated from directly underneath. It is most commonly used in new construction work where the floors and ceilings are already open to allow for easy installation. Hot water runs through the plastic PEX tubing and the heat from the hot water rises into the room above.

Solar – Solar power is a source of energy that continues to grow but has not reached a point where it can be efficiently harnessed and utilized in a productive manner. There are some buildings with the latest technology that do utilize this type of energy for heating systems. However, it is uncommon and expensive. These systems can be either forced hot water of forced hot air.

Geothermal – Like solar heating, this system can run off of both water and steam. Geothermal heat pumps are an energy-efficient way to heat your home, as it uses the natural occurring heat below the surface of the earth to heat the home. With a geothermal home heating system, water is pumped through coils below the earth’s surface where it is heated naturally by the heat below the surface of the earth. This warmed water returns to the geothermal unit, where the heat is extracted and pumped into the home. The initial cost of a geothermal unit is high, but they are extremely energy-efficient. This makes a geothermal unit less expensive to run on a monthly basis.

Give us a call anytime! 617-436-5229

heating problems no worries

We specialize in any and all no heat calls. Our technicians are experts at problem solving. Loosing heat in the winter can be one of the most difficult, painful, and expensive problems a home owner faces. That.s why when your boiler or furnace shuts down you should know who to call. We repair boilers every day throughout the winter and will find a quick cost effective way to get your heating system back up and running as soon as possible. When a heating system shuts down the building is exposed to freezing and if the heating issue is not addressed quickly it could lead to far more expensive and involved repairs. We are quite familiar with this dynamic, and won.t let that happen. Want to learn about your heating system, determine what kind of system you have or how to eliminate simple problems? Try the FYI heating page.