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During the month of February we can't help but think of love - love for your pipes that is. With the fluctuation in temperatures in Richmond this winter it is important to pay close attention to your pipes. The G-Man wants to share some quick ways to show your pipes some love:

pipe1. Schedule in preventive maintenance. We tend to only pay attention to pipe clogs after they become a big problem and we never have drain cleaner on hand. Schedule in time every month to show your pipes love. Use two cups of drain cleaner per drain and follow the instructions on the bottle. Once you get in a regular habit of this, not only will your pipes be healthier, but you also won't have such a stressful time when a big clog occurs.

2. Insulate exposed pipes. While we are experiencing a mild winter, that can change at any moment. Take advantage of the warm weather and insulate any exposed pipes around your home. Take a trip to your local hardware store and get some insulation. There are various types you can purchase depending on the pipes you want to cover. Consult with the specialist at the store. Take an hour or so this weekend and cover all your exposed pipes. You will have peace of mind during the next cold snap!

3. Assess the health of your pipes. No matter how much we care for our pipes, they are bound to age. It is important to keep a checklist, mental or documented, of the health of the pipes throughout your home. This is easiest with the pipes you can see. It is more challenging to know the health of those that are in the walls or under the house. Scheduling a plumber to come out to do a check up once a year will save you time and money in the long run.

We hope these tips are helpful. In the event of an emergency with your plumbing the G-Men at Gilman are here for you and your family!

Richmond has notoriously crazy weather. We can go from snow to 60 degrees in one day. That fluctuation can make it difficult to plan. Regardless of the temperature outside right now, we know cold weather can be right around the corner.

Here are 7 tips to keep you ready for winter weather:

  • Check Your Windows - do they seal tight? Not only can windows let cold air in, but can let your heat out - heat that you are paying for. Checking your windows can not only keep you warm, but also save you money!
  • Check Your Heating System - this one sounds obvious, but many people don't check until it is too late. Have a Gilman professional come out and do an all points system check to ensure your heat is ready to roll when you need it. Some visits require a quick and easy tune-up, which we can take care of as well.
  • Check for Gaps - look for insulation gaps, think faucets, plumbing, etc. Just like the windows, these small gaps can let your warm air out and the cold air in.caulk
  • Get an Energy Audit - this can identify opportunities in your home. An energy efficient house is not only better for the environment, but can also save you money in the long run. Learn more about Gilman's energy audits here.
  • Don't Forget Your Yard - remember to go outside while preparing for winter weather. If you have large trees, be sure limbs are trimmed. If you have a home generator, be sure there isn't junk around it and you can easily access it in the event of bad weather. 
  • Stock Up on Supplies - do you have everything you need in the event of snow? Remember to get salt and sand for deicing and getting your car out, batteries for flashlights, extra food and water, etc. Don't be that last minute person in the store searching for these things. Use the warmer weather to prepare ahead of time.
  • Drain Exterior Faucets - make sure to drain and turn off outdoor water sources. If these pipes freeze, they can cause problems both outside and inside your home.

We hope you and your family stay safe and warm this winter. Give the G-Men at Gilman a call for all your heating and plumbing problems!

This holiday we want you be safe and have fun with your family. Here are a few safety tips to have the best possible holiday from the G-Man:G Man Santa

1. Make sure your string lights are safe. Be sure the cord is not frayed, the bulbs aren't cracked or broken and the connector is in tact.

2. Always turn lights off when you leave the house. From the Christmas tree to lights in the window, make sure they are all off before you head out to your holiday parties!

3. Keep your tree green! Make sure to keep your tree healthy and fresh by watering it on a regular basis (or buy a fake one and never worry). Dry trees are more likely to catch fire.

4. When hanging lights make sure you are being safe. Use a regulation ladder or step stool to give you the extra height you need.

5. Be sure your furnace is clean and running well. Have one of our certified techs come do an inspection to make sure you and your family are safe as the temperatures dip.

6. When going out at night to neighborhood parties, caroling, etc. be sure to be well lit and visible to cars. 

Plumbing problems are some of the most annoying issues a homeowner can have. At Gilman, we are committed to high quality plumbing repair and service.

Here a few signs it may be time to upgrade or replace your plumbing:pipe

  • Foul Smelling Water - if your water smells foul, that is a serious sign it's time to replace your water heater. Over time bacteria can enter your pipes and cause this foul odor.
  • Old Pipes - different pipe materials last different lifespans. Galvanized steel and brass pipes have the longest life at 80 to 100 years. Copper pipes last 70 to 80 years and PVC can last 25 to 40 years. Knowing how old you pipes are and what material they are made of are essential. (Note: you should not have any lead pipes, as these are dangerous!)
  • Corrosion - if you notice your pipes having bubbles or other problems on the outside, this is a sign that they need to be replaced. If pipes look bad on the outside, the inside is only worse.
  • Trouble Spots - if you have frequent leaking (more than once a year) it is time to replace that pipe. While minor leaks are natural wear and tear on a house, frequent leaks are signs of a bigger problem. Getting the pipes fixed will save you in the long run.

If you have any plumbing questions, call the G-Men!

To avoid large plumbing issues, often it just takes a little work on your end to keep your systems in tip top shape. Read on for some common plumbing issues and how you can fix them at home.

leakypipe1. Dripping Faucet - a common problem that can really escalated the cost of your water bill. Often the drip is caused by an old washer. Try replacing that to see if the leaks stop.

2. Low Water Pressure - surely one of the most annoying plumbing issues. Low water can be caused by calcium build up over time. A quick solution to this is rinse your faucets with vinegar. To do this affix a plastic bag filled with vinegar over the faucet head overnight.

3. Running Toilet - a toilet that is constantly running can be a nuisance. Often the issue is the flapper does not close all the way. There are simple toilet repair kits for this. 

4. Leaky Pipes - usually a sign of a bigger issue, but can sometimes be a quick fix. Start by checking and tightening the joints. If this doesn't solve the problem, please call a professional.

5. Clogged Drains - often an easy fix for a homeowner. Take out your trusty plunger or drain cleaner and this will generally clear up. 

If any of these issues persist or you do not feel comfortable with the repair, always call a professional like Gilman to help you out. Regular maintenance checks, like ones with our comfort plan, are a great way to get ahead of bigger issues to save time, money and hassle in the long run.

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