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Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Your Home?

Is your old water heater making strange noises, running out of hot water, or experiencing a leaky tank? These are all signs of failure. Replacing your water heater doesn’t have to be a hassle, though; it can be an opportunity to improve your day-to-day life.

Continue reading “Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Your Home?”

DIY: Fix a Leaky Faucet in 10 Simple Steps

A leaky faucet is hardly an emergency, but the constant dripping can be a nuisance and run up your water bill over time. Many of us choose to ignore our leaky faucets because we don’t know how to fix them ourselves and don’t want to spend money on a plumbing service near Ivyland.

Many faucet leaks have a simple solution that any homeowner can handle with a standard toolset and a quick trip to the local hardware store.

In this blog, we’ll explain how you can fix most leaky faucets in just a few simple steps. You’ll learn how to safely take apart your faucet, identify the source of the leak, and repair the fixture without having to pay for a plumber.

By following this step-by-step guide complete with handy pro-tips, you can stop any nagging faucet leak and save money doing it.

Before You Begin

Before you start to take apart your leaky faucet, you’ll want to do a few things. First, you’ll need to identify what type of faucet you have. For most faucets, the repair process is the same: take apart the fixture, identify and replace the broken part, and put it back together again.

You’ll also want to take a few extra measures before you begin to ensure you don’t lose any parts and that you have the right tools for the job.

Now that you have your tools and know what you’re getting into, you can begin taking apart your faucet. Be sure to read each step carefully as damaging certain parts can be costly and require a call to a professional plumber.

1. Locate and Shut off the Water Supply Valve

The first step to fixing a leaky faucet is to locate and shut off your water valve. For many sinks, the valve or valves will be located directly underneath the fixture. Shut off your water valve by turning it clockwise (to the right). Check to make sure the water is off before continuing to the next step.

If you do not see a shut-off valve under the sink, follow the pipes until you find it. If all else fails, you can shut off the main water supply to your home while you repair the leak.

2. Remove the Screw Cover to Expose the Handle Screw

Now that the water to the faucet is turned off, you can begin to take apart the sink fixture to search for the root of the problem. To remove the inner workings of the faucet, you’ll first need to access the handle screw. Typically, the handle screw is covered up by a decorative screw cover.

This often looks like an “H” or “C” to indicate the handle controls either hot or cold water. Using a flathead screwdriver or another tool, gently pry off the screw cover to expose the handle screw.

This step may require you to be careful and creative. If you cannot remove the screw cover, a plumber will have to find a way. If you cannot locate the screw cover, search the brand and style of faucet online to identify it.

3 Loosen the Screw and Remove the Handle

At this point, you should have already placed a damp towel or stopper over the drain to avoid losing any parts.

Once the screw cover is removed and the handle screw is accessible, take a screwdriver and carefully loosen the screw. It is crucial that you not strip the screw. Apply steady pressure directly downward on the screwdriver and rotate slowly until it loosens.

After the handle screw dislodges, place it aside and remove the handle. This should uncover the adjustable ring below.

4. Inspect the Adjustable Ring

Before continuing, take a look at the adjustable ring. If it is loose, try tightening it with a pair of needle-nose pliers and check to see if that fixes the leak.

While worn washers or other damaged parts cause most leaks, a simple turn of the adjustable ring may be all it takes to repair your faucet.

5. Remove the Cartridge and Check for Worn or Damaged Parts

If the adjustable ring was not loose or tightening it did not solve the issue, it is time to remove the cartridge underneath the handle to look for the root of the problem.

Using a wrench, loosen the nut on the adjustable ring by turning it counter-clockwise (to the left).

When you remove the cartridge, you’ll want to inspect the parts for wear or damage. The washer at the bottom will wear out over time, causing a leak. This is most likely the root of the problem. However, the retainer ring may be worn or damaged as well.

6. Purchase Replacement Part(s) at Your Local Hardware Store

Remove the screw holding the cartridge together, being careful not to strip the screw, and take the washer or other damaged part to your local hardware store to purchase a replacement.

If you are unsure of which part needs to be replaced, take the entire cartridge with you and ask an associate at the store for help. They will likely be able to identify the problem and find the exact replacement part needed.

You may also want to bring the screws you’ve removed and purchase replacements for them if they are worn as well.

7. Replace the Old Part(s) with the New One(s)

After you’ve returned home with your replacement parts, you can reassemble the cartridge and begin to put everything back together.

For additional protection against leaks, you can apply a thin layer of plumber’s putty to the bottom of the cartridge. This helps to create a tight seal when you tighten the nut and replace the handle.

During this stage, it is once again critical that you do not strip your screws, as the fixture may not seal properly.

8. Put the Faucet Back Together

With the worn and damaged pieces fixed and installed, reattach the handle, handle screw, and screw cover to their original positions.

9. Turn on Faucet, Then Water Valve

At this point, the leak should be fixed. Turn your faucet on before re-opening your water valve. Let the water flow until all air is out of the pipes. You should be able to tell if the leak is repaired or if there is a further issue causing the leak.

10. If the Leak Persists, Give Us a Call

These steps should resolve most common faucet leaks. If this does not fix your situation, you may need to call a plumbing company near Warminster to inspect the leak.

At Ben Franklin Plumbing of Doylestown, PA, we’ll gladly inspect your faucet and locate the source of the leak. Give us a call today at 267-328-4935.

4 of the Biggest Plumbing Myths Debunked

Today we live in a world where there is no shortage of information. Whether this information is true or not is an entirely different story; and when it comes to plumbing, the wrong advice or information can end up being costly.

Continue reading “4 of the Biggest Plumbing Myths Debunked”

Is Your Plumbing Prepared for Spring and Summer? Make Sure You’re Ready with These 6 Tips

Don’t let the frigid nor’easters fool you: spring will be here before you know it. Once you no longer have to worry about calling your local Buckingham emergency plumbing service because your pipes have frozen over, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to make sure that your system is fully functional and up-to-date. When you’re ready, use these tips to help your system run optimally in the upcoming months.

Test Your Sump Pump

Especially when the last of the snow melts and April showers begin to arrive, you’ll want to make sure your sump pump functions properly. Run a test — for example, pour a 5-gallon bucket of water into the sump pit and carefully watch the water level — and don’t forget to make sure your pump is plugged into a working outlet!

Clear Debris

Over the winter, your downspouts and storm drains have had plenty of time to collect leaves, twigs, and other debris. Make sure you clear as much buildup as possible to prevent potential flooding.

Check Your Septic System

If your system uses a septic tank, evaluate the area where it’s stored once the snow clears. If you spot any odd wet spots or puddles, call a professional plumber — your tank may be damaged.

Inspect Outside Pipes and Faucets

You may not be safe from winter weather damage just yet. Check any exposed pipes or plumbing for cracks or other imperfections. Leaking pipes — even if they’re outside your home — can cause tremendous damage to your property.

Drain Your Water Heater

Once the weather warms up, drain the tank of your water heater to eliminate sediment buildup and mineral deposits. Now is also a great time to consider upgrading to a modern tankless water heater.

Schedule Seasonal Maintenance

Last but not least, make an appointment with a plumbing professional. Regular maintenance is not only the best way to prevent leaks and malfunctions — it also prolongs the life of your system! Consider opting in to our plumbing repair and maintenance essentials plans. They make our convenient services even more affordable.

For reliable plumbing services in Doylestown and the surrounding areas, call Ben Franklin Doylestown today at 267-328-4935.

Don’t Get Stuck: Preventing Clogged Drains

As homeowners, we’re all familiar with the sinking feeling that comes with a clogged drain. Whether you’re hearing a few gurgles from your kitchen sink or seeing the water in your toilet rise at an alarming rate, you have an idea of what’s coming next. Plumbing blockages can pose a major inconvenience, rendering sections of your house completely without running water for days at a time.

If you’re experiencing a clogged drain, give Ben Franklin Doylestown a call. We have you covered for everything from sewer blockages to water heater repair in Buckingham and the surrounding areas. In the meantime, here are some handy ways to prevent such clogs from ever occurring.

Smart Garbage Disposal Use

Certain food items tend to be repeat offenders when it comes to blockages in kitchen sinks. Cooking grease is one of them. When grease goes down the drain, it tends to stick to the sides, catching other food particles over time. Coffee grounds are another common culprit of sink blockages. Some people believe that they serve to eliminate odors and even help to clear garbage disposal clogs. On the contrary, they tend to only clump together and create even more problems. Instead of letting coffee grounds and grease or other fats and oils go down the drain, try to throw them in the trash. If you really want to cut down on garbage disposal orders or build-up, consider using lemons and ice.

Install Screens or Filters

Grates or other kinds of filters can save you a lot of trouble with your bath or shower drains. Typically, hair, toothpaste, or soap scum tends to build up in these drains. With a screen, you can catch these problem materials before they have a chance to cause a clog. If you aren’t sure what kind of filter you need, consider taking a picture of the fixture in question and bringing it to your local hardware store.

For help with a clogged drain, call Ben Franklin Doylestown today. To learn more about our company and the other services we provide, like water heater repair in Warminster and elsewhere throughout Bucks County, contact us at 267-328-4935.

Which Boiler Is Right for You?

Nobody wants their heat to fail in the middle of a record-breaking winter storm. Unfortunately, this happens to countless Americans almost every day around this time of year. Without regular maintenance, it is easy to allow boilers to fall into disrepair. Often, age is enough to put a boiler out of commission. If you suspect that your boiler is on its last legs, it may be time to start looking for a new unit.

When considering a new boiler unit, property owners need to take a number of factors into account. What is the size of the structure that the unit will heat? Does your building or household often use multiple taps at the same time? Do you want to save more on your utility bills by purchasing a more energy-efficient unit? If you call Ben Franklin Doylestown, one of the most trusted plumbers in the Bucks County, PA area, we can help you choose the best option for your property.

    • Electric Boiler – Electric units provide property owners with quiet, consistent performance that eschews the need for more traditional fuels. They also often take up little space.
    • Conventional Boiler – Traditional boilers heat water using a tank, which helps ensure consistent performance for larger residences or businesses.
    • Combination Boiler – Smaller residences or storefronts can save money by using a combination boiler, which forgoes a storage tank. Instead, it receives water directly from water mains while still providing both heat and hot water on demand.
    • System BoilerFor structures of average size, a system boiler can give many of the same benefits as a conventional unit. By storing water in a cylinder, it helps to maintain consistent water pressure to multiple taps at the same time.
    • Commercial BoilerFor large businesses, educational institutions, or office buildings, commercial boilers provide the capacity and power necessary to perform consistently.

Interested in purchasing a new boiler unit? Call us at 267-328-4935 to learn more about all the options available to you. For boiler installation and other professional plumbing services in Doylestown, PA, and the surrounding areas, you can rely on our team here at Ben Franklin Doylestown.

Know the Signs of Winter Plumbing Damage

That sound was just the wind – right? Listen closer – that clanging probably isn’t a ghost, but it could be coming from your pipes.

Falling temperatures can pose a threat to the integrity of your plumbing system. Extreme cold causes the metal in your plumbing to contract, sometimes leading to cracks and leaks. Even worse, frozen pipes may rupture, potentially inflicting thousands of dollars of water damage.

 

As a plumbing contractor in Ivyland and the wider Doylestown area for over 30 years, we’re more than familiar with the signs of an imminent plumbing catastrophe. Thankfully, it’s easy to recognize these warnings. Even if you don’t see any of these signs, you may want to consider taking preventative action by opting for one of our maintenance plans.

 

If you recognize any of the indications of winter plumbing damage below, call us as soon as possible to avert disaster.

 

Visible Faults

 

Unnatural bending, bulging, cracks, and other imperfections that you can see on exposed pipes, water heaters, and other plumbing fixtures are some of the most obvious signs of damage. These can be symptoms of serious issues. If you already see visible deformities in your system, you should call a professional plumbing service before something breaks and wreaks havoc on your property.

 

Low Water Pressure or Leaks

 

Although leaks provide you with a clear sign that you have a plumbing problem, they are not always easy to find. Weak water flow can indicate that a pipe has already ruptured. Pay close attention to your water bill, as well – unusually high charges might serve as further evidence that something is wrong.

 

Trust Your Senses

 

Lastly, if you smell unusual odors or hear strange sounds in your home, your plumbing may be to blame. Pipe blockages can lead to sewage backups, producing foul odors and gurgling noises. Rumbling, clanging, or grinding sounds can also indicate that pipes have come loose, potentially creating points of friction and tension.

 

If you recognize any of these signs with your own system, call Ben Franklin for prompt and affordable service. In the case of an emergency, our expert plumbers are available 24/7: just call us at 267-328-4935.

For the best chance of avoiding emergencies altogether, consider signing up for one of our maintenance plans. With regular check-ups, you’ll mitigate seasonal damage while simultaneously prolonging the life of your system, saving you money in the long run.

 

To schedule an inspection or learn more about the plumbing services we provide in Buckingham and elsewhere in Bucks County, call us at 267-202-0647.

Avoid This Plumbing Disaster With a Few Simple Steps

Thermostat at 72 degrees? Check. Holiday decorations decking the halls? Check. Slippers, blankets, and cup of tea? Check, check, and check.

Could anything possibly go wrong with this cozy scene? We hate to break it to you, but if you haven’t winterized your plumbing system, the answer is most definitely yes.

Right behind frostbite, frozen pipes are the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with this winter. Not only can they wreak havoc on your plumbing system, but they can also burst and cause costly water damage, meaning you’ll spend that Christmas bonus on emergency plumbing services for your Bucks County home.

If you think that sounds like a miserable way to spend the holidays, prevent frozen pipes by taking the following steps:

Insulate pipes. There are two ways to do this: One is to insulate the exterior of your house, particularly in basements and attics, which are less likely to be insulated and more likely to hold exposed pipes. The other is to insulate the pipes directly with heat tape or heat cable, which is a relatively inexpensive DIY project. We recommend doing both.

Seal leaks and circulate warm air. Openings that let cold air in near pipes increase the potential of freezing. Be sure to seal any leaks and drafts with caulk or another sealing and insulating material. While you’re at it, if your garage houses water supply lines, keep the garage doors closed, and open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to keep warm air circulating around pipes.

Be smart about your thermostat. You might balk at the idea of keeping your thermostat on throughout the night, with visions of heating bills dancing through your head. But if your home temperature drops too drastically, those visions might turn into genuine plumbing nightmares. Keep your thermostat above 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times to prevent frozen pipes – especially if you plan on going on vacation. (Now’s a good time to get your heating system inspected, too.)

Mind the tap. During cold snaps – i.e., when temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit – let cold water drip from any faucets that are served by exposed pipes. Allowing water to trickle through the pipe, instead of standing still, will help prevent it from freezing within the pipe.

But What If My Pipes Are Already Frozen?

If you see a layer of frost on exposed pipes, have trouble running faucets, or notice unusual odors from your drains, your pipes may be frozen. If that’s the case, call Ben Franklin Doylestown at 267-328-4935 for emergency services in New Hope, PA, and the rest of the Doylestown area. We are available 24/7 for your emergency plumbing needs, so act quickly to prevent the problem from worsening and get your home back into the cozy shape it deserves to be in.

3 Small Signs that You Need Your Water Heater Inspected

The temperature is starting to drop, children are going back to school, and the leaves are beginning to change colors. Fall must be officially here! Fall is one of the times of year in which we use the highest amount of hot water, and we depend upon our hot water heaters more than ever starting in September. Before you turn up the usage on your water heater, make sure your preventative maintenance is up to date!

If you notice any one of these minor warning signs, be sure to call your local plumbers in Montgomery County PA so you won’t have to go a day without hot water!

  • Water that takes a long time to heat up. If your water heater is taking a longer time than usual to heat up, it’s possible that a heating element is broken. Letting the problem go for too long can cause the issue to become more serious, eventually leading to the need for a new water heater installation in Doylestown. Therefore, please make sure you are keeping track of your water heater’s temperature time, and definitely call a plumber if you notice that something is wrong.
  • A water heater that’s leaking. If you notice that there’s moisture piling up around your water heater, it’s possible that you have a crack in your tank. This is an immediate issue that you’ll want to get taken care of as soon as possible or run the risk of having your water heater fail altogether. You definitely don’t want that to happen especially when the weather is cooling down!
  • Noises from the inside of your water heater. As your water heater gets older, sedentary material can settle in the bottom on the tank, causing a rumbling or banging sound when you run your heater. Over time, this will cause your heater to lose efficiency and take more time to heat the water. Preventative maintenance can help to remove this material before the heater breaks down.

It can also be difficult to detect these signs if you are not experienced in recognizing them. That is why it is also important to undergo regular maintenance or inspection for your water heater. Please give us a call today and we will be happy to make sure your water is always hot enough this fall.