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Heating

Heating (72)

Tips and advice to keep your home's heating system working smoothly.
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Plumbing

Plumbing (145)

Tips and advice to keep your home's plumbing system working smoothly.
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Sewer and Drain

Sewer and Drain (37)

Tips and advice to keep your home's sewer and drain lines working smoothly.
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Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning (55)

Tips and advice to keep your home's air conditioner working smoothly.
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Electric

Electric (94)

Tips and advice to keep your home's electrical system working safely and reliably.
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Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality (43)

Tips and advice to keep the air in your home comfortable and healthy.
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While the EPA has worked to remove lead from drinking water over the years, it can still exist in trace amounts in drinking water. Here are the most common sources of lead in drinking water.

If your home was built prior to the 1980s, it's likely to have lead solder connecting the copper water pipes. Lead found in tap water often comes from corrosion of plumbing fixtures or the solder connecting the pipes. Today's plumbing fixtures must pass rigorous tests and be certified to contain levels of lead that are below safety thresholds.

Some major U.S. utilities use lead pipes to supply water from to homes and businesses. Because the pipes have been in use for a long time, they have formed a natural oxidation barrier that prevents lead from leeching into the water. Utilities will often add lime or orthophosphates as an additional barrier to prevent lead from getting into drinking water.

If you're concerned about lead in your home's drinking water, regular testing can help ensure that levels are safe to drink. In addition, EPA has an online guide called “How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products” that can help you choose the right plumbing fixtures for your home.



















In response to water conservation concerns in the 1990's, low-flush (or high efficiency) toilets were introduced to significantly reduce the number of gallons used per flush (GPF). Low flush toilets use 1.3 gallons per flush, while a regular toilet 1.6 or more gallons per flush. The average US home will save US$90 per year, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet, according to the EPA. To be eligible to the EPA's Water Sense label, a toilet cannot be more than 20 percent less than the maximum allowed.

As the name suggest, a dual-flush toilet is uses two buttons or handles to flush different amounts of water. Depending on the design, the amount of water can be cut in half. While they can save a significant amount of water, the downside to dual-flush design is added complexity with more parts, as well as higher initial cost.

Have questions about low-flush toilets or other high-efficiency plumbing fixtures? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We can can help with all your home plumbing installation, repair and maintenance needs.


For over 60 years, ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric has been entrusted by thousands of Chicagoland residents with their most valuable possession - their home. We take this responsibility very seriously. Don’t believe us? See what some of our recent customers are saying about our work and our technicians, below:

“We are very happy with prompt and professional services over the past few days. We discovered a clogged sewer line tuesday, had initial assessment Wednesday morning. After repeated attempts to clear the line, complicated by lack of proper access, the solution was carefully explained. Within hours Chicago permits were obtained, underground lines were mapped. This morning workers arrived promptly to begin excavation and installation of proper clean out. Work is not completed yet but most importantly our line is now clear. Assuming the work is finished at this level, we have nothing but thumbs up for ABC. Thank you.”
– Howard S.

“Thank you ABC and Mike G! I needed someone to install a laundry sink and faucet. Mike G did an awesome job with the installation. Very happy with his work. I would recommend.”
– Diane Y.

“Mike G and Chris were two gentlemen who took care of all of my plumbing needs with a smile. They were on time, fast workers and made sure I took advantage of any available coupons to save money. I would recommend their excellent customer service to anyone. ps Mike could have been a little less harsh on Chris, his helper. (private joke) Thanks again guys!”
– Kathleen B.

Whether it’s plumbing, heating, cooling or electrical work you’re in need of, you can rest assured knowing that we’ll provide you with the highest level of professionalism and we put you first! Give ABC a call today at to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook!
If you’ve ever come home to a burst pipe or a flooded house you’ve probably wished you knew where your main water valve was located. And even if you already had an idea about where it was, you may not have known how to turn it off which could have prevented you a huge headache. This is one of those things every homeowner should know in case of an unexpected emergency.

Where is the Main Water Shut-Off Valve?

It all depends on the type of house you have:
  • If your house is on a slab, the main water valve is likely located near your water heater tank. Take a look underneath it or on top of it - it should be shaped like a ring or it could be a lever.
  • If your house has a basement, this is likely where you’ll find the valve. Picture where you would attach a hose to the outside of the house and the valve is usually located on the opposite wall.
  • If your house has a crawl space, this is where the valve might be located. Check the front wall of the house underneath the crawl space.
Still can’t find it? This could mean the water has to be shut off from the main city water line which can usually be found at the front of your house in a covered box. Check coat- or bathroom closets near the front door.

How do I Turn the Water Off?

If you find the circular-shaped valve, turn it clockwise until you can’t spin it any further. If it’s a lever, turn it so it’s perpendicular to the pipe.

The plumbing system in your home is complicated and one of the most important parts in providing comfort and making life easy for you and your family. One call to ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric and the problem is taken care of quickly and professionally. Our plumbers are the best of the best in the Chicagoland area, so you know you can count on us!
Calling all foodies! Meet Chicago Restaurant Week is making its way back into town and bringing some of the city’s finest plates and delicious dishes along with it! So grab a fork and a knife and let’s dig right in.

It’s time to let the foodie inside you come out to play, or should we say eat? Take advantage of 10 straight days of price-fixed menus, discounts and deals from February 24th through March 5th. Keep in mind that this event only happens once a year!

Here’s a list of a few participating restaurants:
  • Benihana: if you’re looking for a personalized experience, this is the spot for you. From succulent seafood and tender chicken to juicy meats prepared right in front of your eyes there’s something for every palate.
  • Chef Vince’s Zeal: a new restaurant in the Woodfield-Schaumburg area serving a tasty variety ranging from burgers and pasta to steak and fresh fish.
  • Chicago Prime Steakhouse: award-winning Prime USDA cuts and a notable wine list. Need we say more?
  • Ditka’s Arlington Heights: steaks, chops and memorabilia give this restaurant it’s charm and yes, it’s named after the famous Chicago Bears Coach, Mike Ditka.
  • Granite City Food & Brewery: made-from-scratch recipes and craft beers - come hungry and thirsty and leave full and happy.
  • Realtime Sports Bar: this is a restaurant unlike any other. They’ve recreated the feeling of being at a live sporting event and they’re serving up awesome food. Check out the live band on Friday and Saturday nights.
Please Note: restaurant menus are subject to change and tax and gratuity are not included in most pricing models. Be sure to let your server know you are there for Restaurant Week!
VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, are gases emitted by solids or liquids inside the home. The sources of VOCs in the home are numerous and include:
  • Household cleaning products
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Wood preservatives
  • Wax that contain organic solvents
  • Disinfectants
  • Cosmetics
  • Hobby products
All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and to a lesser degree when they are stored.The possible health effects of exposure to VOCs include:
  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Loss of coordination and nausea
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Some VOCs are also suspected carcinogens
The extent of the health effects depend on many factors such as the level and length of exposure. According to the EPA, concentrations of VOCs (https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality) indoors are up to 10 times higher than outdoors. So what can you do to limit your family's exposure to potentially harmful VOCs? The EPA recommends taking the following steps:
  • Use good ventilation when using products that emit VOCs
  • Read and follow product instructions and warnings carefully
  • Store opened containers of unused products in a safe location and ensure they are tightly sealed and not leaking
  • If a product is leaking, discard of the container as directed. Do not transfer the contents to another container
  • Plywood furniture and flooring should be sealed to reduce potential exposure to formaldehyde
Backup generators are become more popular in the Chicagoland area as homeowners look to keep the power running during prolonged outages. If you are considering installing a whole house standby generator or even using a portable generator, you'll want to make sure that you have an automatic transfer switch (ATS) installed. A transfer switch is an important safety device that links the generator to the home's service panel. It works by switching electrical load between the generator and the utility source. The switch works automatically and is triggered when it senses one of the sources has lost or gained power.

Without a transfer switch dangerous current could be sent back to the generator to appliances in the home and even endanger utility workers. It is recommended that a qualified electrician install the transfer switch.

Have questions about transfer switches or other electrical systems in your home? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We can help answer all your questions.
Thermal Imager For Smart PhoneFor years professionals have used advanced thermal imaging cameras to identify problems with pipes, ductwork, insulation and other systems in the home. Thermal imaging works by converting infrared light into an visible image on a video screen called a thermogram. Temperature differences are easily seen as a range of warm and cool colors. Aim a thermal imager at a window and cold air leaks become easily visible. By performing a thermal inspection of your entire home you can locate leaking air ducts, drafty doors and attics with insufficient insulation.

The advantages of thermal imaging are not limited to home heating and cooling. Problems with plumbing and electrical systems can also be identified. Water leaks inside walls and ceilings, and clogs inside pipes can be detected through thermal imaging. Overheating electrical systems can also be quickly located and diagnosed.

Inexpensive Thermal Imaging for Homeowners

Until recently the high cost of thermal imaging systems meant they were used almost exclusively by professional contractors. Today, inexpensive thermal imaging cameras are in reach of the average homeowner. One example is the Seek CompactXR®, a portable thermal imaging camera that plugs directly into your smartphone. It works by translating thermal energy (infrared light) into a visible image right on your phone.  So the next time you're weather sealing your your home tracking down water leaks, or checking for overheating electrical systems, you can take the guesswork out of the equation by using a thermal imaging device to pinpoint the source of the problem.
Click. Click. Click. Sound familiar? No, we’re not talking about your car or that strange bug outside - we’re talking about your furnace. Sure, you’ve probably heard lots of noises coming from your home’s heating system, but this one seems to be something out of the ordinary. What could it be? Find out below:

Different noises could mean there’s a variety of things going on inside your furnace, we’re going to focus on clicking noises here:
  • The Ignition System: if you’ve got a gas furnace and are noticing a clicking noise, it could mean the spark igniter isn’t working properly. The spark igniter is the piece that lights the burners in order to produce heat.
  • Worn Out Bearings: if you opened up a furnace’s motor, you’d find a number of bearings. And if the bearings are worn out, they can produce a clicking sound. You’ll want to get them replaced right away otherwise the motor can burn itself out.
  • Gas Valve: notice the sound at random times throughout the day or night without any sort of pattern? Chances are it’s a problem with the gas valve. In most areas, it’s required by law for your gas company to come out to inspect this problem and replace your home’s meter if it’s not operating properly.
Need an expert to come take a look at your home’s heating system. You’ve come to the right place! The professional heating technicians at ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric have years of experience under their belts and are more than happy to help! Call us to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook.
Many homes have rooms that go unoccupied for long periods of time. Guest rooms, bedrooms and basements make up a large percentage of the air volume in the average home. So it seems like a simple question: if the room is unused, why not close the air registers to save energy? The reality is that closing vents can actually waste energy, harm your furnace and AC while also making occupied rooms less comfortable.

When your central heating and cooling system was installed your HVAC technician carefully measured the volume of air in your entire home, then matched the size of your furnace and air conditioner to provide the best performance. Reducing the air volume by closing vents will not make your AC cool less or the heating system heat less, it will simply send the same amount of air to the open air ducts and vents throughout your home. In addition, during normal operation a home's ductwork will lose 20-30% of the air though leaks. Closing vents will simply cause more conditioned air to leak, wasting energy.

Closing air vents also increases the pressure inside the ductwork, which in turn will make the blower fan work harder to push the air through. The result is an increased risk of the AC evaporator coil freezing or the furnace's heat exchanger overheating.

Of course, closing one or two air vents is not going to cause major issues, but for each vent that is closed the performance of your central heating and cooling system will be diminished.
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ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric • 220 W Campus Dr, Arlington Heights, IL • 60004 • 888-903-4070 • State of Illinois Plumbing License Number 055-013536

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