Monday, October 30, 2017

Gross Old Plumbing That No One Misses

Modern plumbing can be pretty gross. For example, flushing the toilet can spray bacteria and aerosolized waste up to 15 feet. However, that's nothing compared to old school plumbing. Here are three plumbing methods that everyone is glad don't exist anymore.

Chamber Pots 
Rusty pipes on a rock bed leading out into water in West Yarmouth, MA

Some of the first plumbing services, chamber pots, were used as early as the 6th century BC. They were essentially containers that stored human waste until emptied. Often, people tried to hide them in other pieces of furniture. A popular option was to stash them in cabinets, called commodes. Another common storage place was under the bed. When the chamber pots were full, they were emptied into privies or cesspits beneath the house until sewage collectors called night soil men emptied the tanks. Not every home had a cesspit, however. As a result, many people simply emptied their chamber pots onto the street. Pedestrians, beware!

River Sewers

As plumbing services evolved ever so slightly, sewer systems were developed to move waste away from cities and their inhabitants. In medieval Europe, sewers were built by paving over natural rivers, and building gutters or drains to direct wastewater from the street into the rivers. Perhaps the most famous European river-turned-sewer is the River Fleet, which runs beneath Fleet Street in London. While in Anglo-Saxon times the river was known for its healing qualities, London's current Environment Agency doubts that the river will ever be clean enough to be uncovered. Thankfully, modern sewers now involve water treatment plants, which significantly decrease pollution and waterborne disease.

Questionable Pipes

While most of today's plumbing pipes are made of plastic, copper, or other non-toxic materials, this was not always the case. Lead has been widely used for piping since the days of the Roman Empire—although most cases of Roman lead poisoning were actually due to cooking with lead utensils or using lead as a wine preservative. Wood was also used to build pipes in London during the 16th and 17th centuries. These pipes were joined together with hot animal fat. Luckily for public health and animal welfare, neither of these materials is standard anymore.

Rusty's Inc.'s plumbing services are here to repair and replace outdated plumbing—though hopefully nothing quite this outdated! To learn more about us, call (508) 775-1303 or fill out the contact form.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sniffling and Sneezing? Avoid These Five Massachusetts Allergens

Allergy symptoms are sometimes mistaken for those of the common cold, such as a runny nose, chest congestion, and cough. However, allergen exposure is differentiated by itching eyes or an itchy throat. People who are affected by seasonal allergies might not know exactly what substances trigger their symptoms—they just know that at certain times of the year, the sneezing and itching start. In this area, the chances are likely that one of these top allergens in Massachusetts caused the symptoms.

A garden

Believe it or not, common grasses are one of the most prevalent allergens in the state and beyond. Grass species are wind-pollinated and produce large amounts of pollen, accounting for their severe contribution to seasonal allergies. The pollination season for grass ranges from spring to fall.


Not to be confused with the banana-like plantain, this weed is a significant pollen creator throughout the East Coast, causing moderate allergy problems in the spring and summer months. Plantain, or Plantago Major, is an annual that grows to about a foot tall, producing small greenish-brown flowers at the center and oval-shaped leaves at the base.


This species of weed creates pollen that spreads far and wide with the wind, creating problems for seasonal allergy sufferers that affect both the skin and respiratory system. Dock/Rumex can be either an annual or perennial and produces small, dense yellow and brown flowers.


One of the primary contributors to fall allergies, ragweed generates up to a billion pollen grains each season from a single plant—and each grain can travel up to 400 miles. While there are many species of ragweed, they typically have small, yellow or white flowers and lacy, lance-shaped leaves.

Annual Wormwood

With a pollen season spanning from summer to fall, all species of wormwood create havoc for allergy sufferers thanks to producing copious amounts of wind-spread pollen. Common wormwood is a woody shrub that produces small yellow-white flowers. Other species common in Massachusetts include dragon wormwood, pacific wormwood, and southern wormwood.

Understanding allergy triggers and avoiding these substances can prevent uncomfortable symptoms from occurring. Services like indoor air quality testing and air conditioner maintenance performed by a qualified provider can also mitigate the effects of these allergens.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Choosing an HVAC System: Homes vs. Businesses

HVAC systems for homes and businesses can differ in major ways. However, qualified technicians can install the appropriate unit for a particular space.

Design and Maintenance of HVAC Equipment 
Grey colored HVAC unit kept in the backyard of a building

Flexibility is a key component that differentiates the design and maintenance of residential versus commercial units. Residential units are designed to be used at a particular capacity with no modifications to be made in the future. Commercial systems are designed so that components can be added or removed to adjust the system’s cooling and heating capacity. Should a tenant move out of a large business building, the HVAC system can be altered to reduce energy waste.

While annual maintenance is always recommended for a residential unit, a commercial HVAC system demands more maintenance by its amount of workload alone. Failing to maintain a home unit may seem like a costly mistake when it comes time to replace it, but commercial units can potentially have replacement costs up to 5-10 times more expensive.

Location of HVAC Equipment

Due to the large size and noise of commercial HVAC units, they are often built in enclosed areas or on places like rooftops. Homes, on the other hand, can have their units installed adjacent to their structure or in places like the attic. Most HVAC companies can perform residential installations with ease. For commercial applications, though, it's best to make sure the company is certified and experienced in taking on this large task.

HVAC Temperature Control

Homes tend to have only one or two temperature gauges for managing comfort. Typically, an HVAC system for a home will only need to keep a few residents comfortable—possibly a dozen or more during holidays or family gatherings. However, commercial units need to keep hundreds of workers comfortable. Larger cooling and heating demands mean more custom and complex temperature controls. Some large buildings have a synchronized temperature control from a front desk or operations room, while others opt for individual controls on every floor of the building.

When choosing between HVAC installation companies, it's best to stick with one that knows the appropriate type of unit to deliver for every kind of customer. Rusty's Inc. has been providing quality installation and maintenance of residential and commercial systems for more than 61 years. Call (508) 775-1303 or fill out our contact form to schedule a service for your home or business.