What do I need to do to get the plumbing in my home ready for the winter?
The big piece of plumbing that touches the outside of your home is your hose spigots. You will want to remove all the hoses (and try to drain any water out of them as well.) There should be a shutoff valve for each spigot in your basement, and you will want to shut those. Then open the spigot outside to let any water drain out.
I have a well system. When should the pump kick in?
Well pumps are typically set to kick in when the pressure falls to 40psi. It runs until it brings the pressure in the tank back to 60psi and then it stops. You can watch this on the guage near the tank. Run a faucet in your home and watch the pressure fall to 40psi. You should hear the pump start and bring the pressure back to 60psi, then it should shut off.
My water heater is 10 years old. It seems fine, but how long will it last?
It is really difficult to tell. It could be 10 days, it could be 2 years or more. 10 years or so is what we consider to be the normal life of a water heater, but they can last much longer.
Is there anything I can do to make it last longer?
Not really. Some people open the drain once in awhile in an attempt to drain any sediment, but there's no guarantee that will help.
I have a well system. How do I check the air pressure of the air bladder in my pressure tank?
This is a bit of a pain because you have to shut off the water to your home and empty the tank before you can check the pressure. Turn off the well pump switch, and turn on the water in your home and let it run until there is no pressure. There is usually a faucet drain at the bottom of the tank. You can open that to a sump crock or drain to empty it completely. Then find the air valve, usually on the top of the tank perhaps under a cover. Check it with a tire gauge. The air pressure should be 39psi (just under the pressure where the well pump kicks in.) If it’s low, add air until it gets to 39psi. You can use a bicycle pump, but it will take forever. A small air compressor is better. If it will not hold pressure, you may have a damaged air bladder.
I have a faucet that is leaking. Can it be fixed or do I need a new one?
Many faucets have washer or bearings that can be replaced. Sometimes it’s difficult to get parts for older ones. If you can find the replacements, you can keep the current faucet going, but if you're sick of it, you can replace it with a new one.
Why is your company called 'Big Dog Plumbing'?
When Gary was starting his business, his dog Cody would come along on jobs. Usually Cody would stay in the truck, but sometimes his clients would ask if Cody could come out and play. Gary hadn't named his company yet, and the dog was out playing with the client's children. A neighbor stopped by and Gary overheard them say, "Oh yeah, we use the Big Dog Plumber too!" Just like that, Gary found a memorable name for his company.