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10 Things Never to Flush Down the Toilet

May 19, 2017

American Standard Toilet Pictured

Every so often homeowners flush something they shouldn’t, causing the toilet to overflow and maybe even harming the pipes in the process. When the “unsinkable” happens, they’re left with an unwelcome mess, a visit from the plumber, and a hefty bill. Avoid all that cost and inconvenience, by making sure you never flush these 10 things down the toilet.

By Glenda Taylor

  1. “Flushable” Wipes

    Even when they’re advertised as “flushable,” most moist towelettes should never go down the toilet. The wipes don’t disintegrate in water, leading to clogs and backed-up sewer lines.

  2. Feminine Hygiene Products

    There’s a good reason public bathrooms post signs warning users not to flush feminine hygiene products. Pads and tampons, which are designed to expand and retain fluids, won’t dissolve after being flushed down the pipes. To properly dispose of personal items, wrap them in toilet paper and throw them in the garbage can.


  3. Paper Towels

    Paper towel manufacturers often tout the strength of their products. But there’s a downside to all this durability: Because the paper is meant to stay strong when exposed to liquids, it won’t break down like toilet paper does, making it likely to clog the toilet. Always throw used paper towels in the trash.

  4. Condoms

    Not even a plumber relishes fishing used condoms out of clogged sewer lines. These latex prophylactics won’t biodegrade for years, so don’t introduce them into the water treatment system. Instead, wrap a used condom in toilet paper and dispose of it in a waste receptacle.


  5. Disposable Diapers

    A single disposable diaper—even in a tiny newborn size—is likely to clog the commode. To get rid of a dirty diaper, roll it up and secure the ball with the diaper’s adhesive strips. Slip the diaper into a small plastic bag, then toss the whole thing into the trash.

  6. Cotton Swabs

    After you’ve cleaned your ears or dabbed away errant streaks of eyeliner, dropping your used cotton swab in the toilet may seem convenient. Resist the urge! Cotton swabs are notorious for getting stuck in drain pipe bends and catching everything else you flush, resulting in a huge clog.


  7. Kitty Litter

    Kitty litter—especially the “clumping” varieties—contain clay and sand that bind to moisture. When Fluffy does his business, the moisture transforms into hard chunks that can clog toilets and pipes. Instead of flushing, slip the waste and soiled litter into a disposable bag and secure it shut before throwing away.

  8. Dryer Sheets

    If you uncover a hidden dryer sheet in your sweater sleeve or pant leg, refrain from flushing it down the toilet. Dryer sheets don’t dissolve in water, and they’re also loaded with harmful synthetic chemicals that can seep into the water system if flushed.


  9. Hair

    Those big clumps of hair on your brush belong in the waste receptacle, not the toilet. Another non-dissolver, hair is quick to catch on any projections inside pipes. Those stringy pieces then snag other bits of waste, leading to formidable clogs. Toss that tangle in the trash!

  10. Dental Floss

    After completing your dentist-recommended daily flossing, don’t drop the used piece in the commode. Long strands of waxed or unwaxed floss can wrap around other items in the drainage system, quickly turning a little string into a big headache for a plumber. Plus, dental floss isn’t biodegradable.


Clogged?  Contact us today!

Jim Lavallee Plumbing
Serving Eastern Massachusetts and the Boston area
Phone: Toll-free (888) 884-4122

Finding The Right Shower Style For Your Bathroom

May 19, 2017

A luxurious bathroom can be large or small, believe it or not. It often depends on the features you have included. Showers are one of the largest features that can either become a place you can’t wait to relax or turn your bathroom into a space you hate.

While there are some simple fixes you can do to improve your shower, it might not always be what’s needed. A new shower can be just what’s needed to make the most of the space in your bathroom. If you’re considering a bathroom remodel, this is not a feature you want to overlook. From a walk-in shower to a bathtub shower combo, it’s time to find the right style for your bathroom.

Shower Installation Costs

Shower Installation Costs

If you’re remodeling the entire bathroom or just changing your current space with a new shower, it’s important to budget appropriately. After all, a new shower is a large investment to be adding to your home. The average cost to install a shower is $2,997, with most homeowners spending between $1,420 and $3,411. However, there are many factors that impact those costs. Will you be replacing any of the current fixtures or moving any piping? A tile shower may cost more depending on the materials you choose. These factors and more will impact the final cost of your shower.

Walk In Shower

Walk-In Shower Ideas

If you’re updating to save space or want a trendy new addition to your bathroom, a walk-in shower can be the perfect choice. For small bathrooms, it’s a great way to save space if you don’t need a bathtub. They also can be extremely versatile in how you want to remodel them. Often, walk-in showers are accompanied by a glass door rather than a shower curtain, but there are plenty of unique options to fit your style.

Walk-In Showers Without Doors

While many walk-in showers have doors, many homeowners are opting for a divider wall instead. This wall can be a partial or full barrier to reduce any water from leaving the shower area. While some are straight, others have an artistic curve to give the space a unique flair.

Walk-In Showers With Seat

Unlike other shower styles, walk-ins provide an opportunity for a shower seat or bench to be included. This is a great option for those with accessibility needs or simply if you want a place to rest in your shower.

Bathtub Shower Combo

Bathtub Shower Combo

While walk-ins can provide the size shower you may need for a small bathroom, you’d miss out on a bathtub that can be extremely useful. Bathtub shower combos are among the most popular for homeowners, especially those with younger children. With this, you truly get the best of both worlds.

Bathtub shower combos are typically against a wall and come in various sizes, so it’s easy to find one to fit your bathroom and add a bit of luxury.

Freestanding Tub & Shower Combo

When you think of elegance in the bathroom, what do you envision? Many of us picture a classic claw foot tub in the room. Freestanding or claw foot tubs are a great way to give any bathroom a vintage feel, but it can be tricky if a shower is a necessity. Some opt to have a handheld shower head to use without mounting it. However, most homeowners choose to mount it above the tub and enclose it with shower curtains, keeping the vintage look.

Corner Shower

Corner Shower

If you’re biggest concern is saving space in your bathroom, a corner shower might be the answer. Often, bathroom corners go unused, so this is a way to make the most of your useable space. This small, walk-in style shower can fit in any sized bathroom with an available corner. Often, they are smaller than other styles, but are unique. Depending on the size, you may opt for a small door or simply to close it off with a shower curtain.

Accessible Shower

Accessible Shower

In this day and age, having a versatile home is key to both longevity in your home and an ROI when it comes time to sell. One feature homeowners are looking for is an accessible shower. While bathtub shower combos are nice, they often lack the accessibility. Even the smallest edge on a shower tray for a walk-in shower can be an issue for families with accessibility needs. Barrier-free showers are the safe bathroom solution. Barrier-free showers come in many sizes to fit any kind of bathroom

It’s a good idea to also consider grab bars and seating that can be utilized. Grab bars and benches can be an easy DIY project to complete on your own, adding additional accessibility benefits.


During a bathroom remodel, you’ll have many choices to make. Your shower should be of the highest considerations considering the investment you’ll be making. Think about the needs of your family and the size of your space to determine what shower style is best for you.

Ready to remodel your bathroom?  Contact us today!

Jim Lavallee Plumbing
Serving Eastern Massachusetts and the Boston area
Phone: Toll-free (888) 884-4122

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What Do Homeowners Like Best About Radiant Heat?

May 12, 2017

As the mercury continues to drop, heralding the arrival of the colder months, Mother Nature prods homeowners to think ahead. Winter is coming, and the weather’s only going to get worse. It’s time to turn your attention to the best ways to keep the inside of your house toasty warm. There are numerous options to consider, including traditional HVAC, radiators, and baseboard units as well as an army of space heaters and, less commonly, radiant heating. While each comes with its own set of pros and cons, radiant-heating systems also come with a surprisingly long track record that dates all the way back to ancient Rome. But it’s the technology’s modern advantages that are really getting people talking and making radiant heat ever more popular here in the United States. Keep reading for 5 important reasons that homeowners who installed a radiant heat system from industry leader Warmboard have remained warm and fuzzy about the decision—even on the coldest nights of the season.

By Steven Fox

  • Overall Savings

    “Our winter weather can drop to 20 degrees below zero, and, in our previous home, fuel heating with propane cost us $6,000 to $7,000 a year. [With radiant heat], this past winter it cost us only a thousand.”
    With traditional forced-air heating systems, warm air sneaks out through leaky ductwork and electrical outlets on its journey from the furnace to your living space, forcing your boiler to work harder. Radiant heat, by contrast, is designed to warm your space from the ground up through panels installed beneath your flooring. No ductwork, no heat loss. Compared with forced-air systems, radiant heat operates at least 25 percent more efficiently to get heat right where you need it most, significantly lowering your energy bill month after month.


  • Even Comfort

    Radiant heat panels

    “When you walk through our main floor, there are no hot or cold spots or obvious sources of heat—just a nice comfortable warm feeling.”
    No registers or space heaters to tie yourself to here! When you install radiant heat at home, hydronic tubes spread boiler-heated water throughout panels beneath the flooring so that every square foot warms evenly. In years past, these panels were typically made of concrete, a poor conductor of heat, but today’s technology has evolved and the market has expanded to include aluminum panels, which are 232 times more efficient. For the astute homeowners who choose radiant heating, that means more heat, more quickly, for less energy (and less money).

    Photo: warmboard.com

  • Heat Where You Need It

    “We built a log home with cathedral ceilings and have always felt like the lower the heat to the floor, the better. With radiant heating, it can be less than 30 degrees outside and my living room stays comfortable at 70 to 71 degrees.”
    In homes with high ceilings, standard heating options tend to fall short. Because hot air rises, the gusts of warmth generated by a forced-air heating system naturally travel toward the ceiling, prompting homeowners to crank up the thermostat just to feel any heat on the main level. Radiant heat, however, doesn’t get so carried away. Its thermal radiation warms what it encounters first—the floor, furniture, and people standing or sitting in the living space—keeping even a vast, open space cozy.

  • More Design Options


    “The home has a variety of flooring types—tile, hardwood, and some carpet—so the flexibility in flooring that comes with choosing radiant heat is definitely a benefit.”
    As the system runs beneath the surface and out of sight, there’s virtually no need to compromise your home’s design for your heating system. Radiant heat lets you arrange your furniture the way you want, without worrying about blocking a register or having to sacrifice square footage to a bulky, immobile radiator. Moreover, a high-efficiency radiant hydronic system allows flexibility in the types of flooring you can install over it. Panels manufactured by Warmboard, for example, are so conductive that they can generate ideal room temperatures while warming the water that runs through them to temperatures 30 degrees less than the competition—safe enough to sit below thick wool carpets, ornate tile and marble, and even patterned hardwood!

    Photo: warmboard.com

  • Fewer Allergy Flare-Ups

    “The room’s a comfortable temperature, without feeling stuffy. And it doesn’t blow cat hair around the room!”
    Forced air blowing through ductwork cycles allergens—and worse, cold-causing germs—through your home. As well, breathing dried-out, stale air can irritate nasal passages and lungs. Give your humidifier a rest! Ear, nose, and throat specialists and allergy doctors alike recommend radiant heat over most other systems because it won’t stir up trouble.


    Quiet Operation

    “There’s no noise, no air blowing around, yet as soon as you walk inside you’re warm.”
    Functioning completely out of sight, the hydronic tubes beneath your floors operate also out of earshot. Radiant-heating systems silently and stealthily distribute the constant, uniform comfort your household desires. After winters of noisy stop-and-start blasts of air interrupting conversations, and creaking radiators disrupting sleep, this whole-room heat is as soothing to the ears as it is warming to the body.


    Ready to install radiant heat?  Contact us today!

    Jim Lavallee Plumbing
    Serving Eastern Massachusetts and the Boston area
    Phone: Toll-free (888) 884-4122


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