6 Ways to Prevent a Plumbing Catastrophe

If you’re a homeowner, you’re a learner. Within a few months of ownership, most homeowners have gotten a taste for a variety of home repairs and maintenance. Some of these are more simple and may put you in the realm of interior decorators or even landscapers. Some of them are difficult and potentially dangerous and may have you feeling ready to take an electrician’s trade exam. (more…)

6 Important Things to Check in the Spring

Spring, in the midwest especially, is a time of big important changes. Flowers bloom, grass turns green, allergies may be returning for some. It also means spring cleaning – that wonderful feeling that after a winter of hiding inside and sprinting over icy parking lots to avoid your face turning numb, you must not spend hours cleaning your house and yard. (more…)

Laws of Water Heaters 2015

The laws of water heaters are changing at the turn of the new year, January 1, 2015.

We want you to be educated on the new laws. Please read the PDF that outlines the new regulations. We would be happy to help you understand these new laws – Contact Us!

About the new NACEA Guidelines – Page 1
About the new NAECA Guidelines – Page 2

NAECA Guidelines here there are a number of different recources that you can look over.

A Look Back.. “Burnham Helps Wisconsin Homeowner Go Back to Basic Comfort”

In 1989, Ted Galloway wanted to find a way to heat his home on the Lake Winnebago in Neenah, WI. He needed to find the best in the area to create a system that would withstand temperatures of 90 degrees in the summer to below -20 in the winter. He decided that using hydronic heating was the best way to go.

Jim Dennee, heating department manager at W.S. Patterson Co. (now First Supply/Gerhard’s), teamed up with Robert Keyes, then, president of Keyes and Sons Plumbing and Heating to help Galloway create his hydronic heating system.

Sadly, Bob Keyes has since passed away, but the partnership between First Supply/Gerhard’s and Keyes and Sons Plumbing continues. He would be very proud of his team.

Read the full article here.

Flushmate III Recall

Flushmate III Safety Recall Notice

**Updated** We received another letter for this recall

Flushmate issued a safety recall notice for their Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted System.

“Affected units can burst at or near the vessel weld seam, releasing stored pressure.  This pressure can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, posing impact or laceration hazards to consumers and property damage.”

It includes Flushmate III units manufactured from October 14, 1997 to April 30, 2011. 

Click here to download the full recall notice and how you can get a free repair kit.


Essential Plumbing & Heating Maintenance Tips For Every Home

If you own a house or rental properties, following these maintenance tips will save you a lot of money and headaches.

1.  Water Heaters:

  • Flush once a year.
  • Leave your water heater on to keep pressure on the tank.
  • Four times a year (if water condition warrants it) put a hose at the water heater drain and run water into a white clean pail to check water debris.  Five gallons is usually sufficient.
  • Clean the vacuum intake screen.  You need air to make fire, and all the air comes through this screen, so make sure it’s clear to get a good, efficient flame.  It’s typically plugged with dryer lint and / or pet hair.
  • Keep surrounding area clear.  Do not store anything within a 3’ radius of the heater.  Keep snow & ice clear of the exhaust for power vented water heaters.

Is gas or electric the best water heater for you?  Consider the stats.  The national average to operate a gas water heater is $200.00 per year @ 41 gallons per hour @ 90° rise.  The cost of an electric water heater is $475.00 per year.

To change from electric to gas please call us at (920) 725-2494 for an estimate.

2. Building Shut-Offs:

  • In case of an emergency could you shut your water off to your home? We coordinate with your municipality and arrange to change the old gate valves to ball valves.

3.  Dryer Vents:

  • Use aluminum pipes, not flex pipes.
  • Flex pipes can get plugged up and cause a fire
  • We have a tool to clean it out from both the inside and the outside.  Using a hanger is not long enough; you have to make sure the whole line is clear.

4.  Outside faucets:

  • Keep them properly drained.
  • Turn shut off valve inside & then open faucet outside.  If it doesn’t shut off all the way, then change its parts.

5.  Sump pumps:

  • Remove flexible discharge.
  • In the winter, install a hard pipe like PVC.  Typical sump pump lines are flexible with ribs.  In the winter, water sits in these ribs and freezes.  Eventually it gets plugged with ice, and will burn out your pump.
  • If your sump pump seems to be running more often, but there isn’t any water (rain), then check the discharge line – it’s probably frozen.
  • Use Sonin water alarms to alert you when your sump pump overflows.
  • Add a battery back-up if you are in a high water table.

6.  Toilets:

  • To find leaks between the tank and bowl, add food coloring to the water.
  • Add a new gasket to the bottom of the flush valve
  • Use Santeen to clear holes under the rim of bowl.
  • Use Flush-n-Sparkle.  It’s a new product that fights stains every time you flush without deteriorating the gasket.
  • Don’t use chlorine tablets because they wreck gaskets.
  • Touch the flapper.  If your fingers get dirty when you touch it, replace it.

7.  Drains:

  • To clear your drains, pour baking soda (2 tablespoons) & vinegar (2 cups) in the drain & let it sit for 1-2 hours.
  • Then run hot water.  If that solution doesn’t work, try pouring Coca-Cola into the drain.
  • Try bio-clean for toilet outhouses and floor drains, drain clear for lavatory drains or shower drains
  • DO NOT use liquid plumber or Drano!  They are corrosive and will eat holes in old galvanized or cast iron piping.

8.  Disposals:

  • If your disposal only hums, it may be jammed.
  • To unjam it, use an allen wrench.
  • If the wrench doesn’t do anything, press the reset button.  It’s on the bottom, just off center.  The easiest way to do so is to take the eraser end of a pencil, put it in the hole, and push the reset.

9.  Faucet Leaks:

  • Try replacing the O-rings, bib washers, seat & springs, retainer cup, or bib seat.
  • Are the handles covered in film?  Clean with vinegar or put them in your dishwasher.

10.  Shower heads

  • Not as powerful as they used to be?  Try soaking them in vinegar.

Welcome to our brand new website!

We are pleased to have reached the point that we are ready to launch our brand new site!  We hope you find it easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye.  Hope you are all having a great start to 2013.