Roto-Rooter Blog

  • New Prototype Rolls Out in 2014

    Roto-Rooter’s corporate office has been working hard to develop a new prototype design for it service branch locations. The design takes into account all of the unique needs of a large scale plumbing company that provides a high level of both residential and commercial plumbing services. For instance, the location will have a huge warehouse large enough to allow for indoor storage of trucks and equipment. The warehouse also incorporates multiple with drive thru doors that allow trucks to pull into one side of the building and right out the other side. This system eliminates the need to use the reverse gear to back large trailers through bay doors.

    Additionally, the new branch design has more than adequate office space, a large classroom for the Roto-Rooter plumbing school that can seat dozens of student plumbers at a time. The adjacent hands-on plumbing school is described as “huge” with working plumbing fixtures of all kinds that allow students to work on piping behind the walls and on every major type of plumbing fixture.

    Rick Arquilla, Roto-Rooter President and COO is leading the project’s development. “We want to encourage innovation and a dedication to continuing education. It is important to Roto-Rooter to bring expertise and cutting-edge technology to customers, as well as, foster the professional development of future generations of tradesmen,” Arquilla said.

    The first updated service location built from the ground up is located outside of Dayton, Ohio. It will be the first of the new branch facilities with a scheduled completion date in April 2014. It will easily be the largest plumbing shop in the nation. The newly designed branch will also incorporate a wash bay with a heavy duty drainage system so all Roto-Rooter vehicles can be washed in-house. This is especially important for excavation equipment, which frequently get covered with caked on mud.

  • Testing Blog

    It’s not a a joke, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house. Each year more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are treated for non-fatal injuries suffered in the bathroom. Think about it, tile floors and sturdy plumbing fixtures make of porcelain, steel and granite are Showerunforgiving if you slip and hit your head. Hot water should be no hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit but it’s not uncommon for us to find water heaters turned up to 150 degrees and hotter. If a child or elderly person accidentally turns up the hot water while showering or bathing, they could easily be scalded. These are the reasons Roto-Rooter wants to spread the word about National Bathroom Safety Month.

    It’s tempting to use towel bars as a handle when steadying ourselves but most are only screwed into the drywall so they’ll pop right out under the weight of a 150 pound person. A better option is to install one of the better models of suction cup-mounted grab bars. Better yet, hire a handyman to install high-quality stainless steel grab bars that are screwed directly into wall studs.
    Anyone who has kids knows that children won’t hesitate to use the toilet or sink as a step stool to reach a medicine cabinet. A fall from such a height will bruise at the very least when landing on a tile floor. As an Emergency Room doctor about some of the injuries he/she has heard about from bathroom accidents. The stories will boggle one’s mind. My own brother once put his foot onto a ceramic soap dish that was part of a tile wall. He wanted to see out the bathroom window so that seemed like a ready-made step until it popped right off the wall and he fell right across the width of the bathtub. Other children have been known to find mom or dad’s razor and cut themselves. Still others have ingested cleaning products kept under the vanity.

    At Roto-Rooter, we’ve put together a web page dedicated to bathroom safety. We hope you’ll review the tips and watch the helpful videos so that you can become familiar with the many ways you can make your own bathroom a safer place for everyone.

  • Impact of Polar Vortex Cold Blunted U.S. Economy...Except for Plumbers

    Winter storms are nothing new. They've been known to cause big problems in individual cities and even entire regions. However, the early January winter event impacted more than half of the U.S. It brought commerce to a crawl in many cities and states. Our trade at Roto-Rooter is Frozen Pipe collageplumbing and nobody in our company can remember anything like the Polar Vortex deep freeze on such a wide scale. Roto-Rooter has well over 6000 plumbers and service technicians between its company-owned locations and independent franchises and our manpower was simply not large enough to handle all of the incoming calls for service. A widely circulated newspaper article from the Associated Press appeared in Minneapolis, St. Paul and dozens of other cities around the nation. It pointed out that the extreme cold may have cost the economy about $5 Billion! the story featured quotes from Roto-Rooter of Minneapolis plumbing manager, Paul Teale.  Teale said told the reporter that Roto-Rooter in Minneapolis and elsewhere had been inundated with calls about burst pipes and even frozen sewer lines.

    Roto-Rooter locations from the Pacific Northwest to Georgia to Maine all experienced the same issues as the vortex swooped down into the lower 48. Though our staff worked around the clock, the number of customers needing our help outstripped our a long shot. For the record, that has never happened to the largest plumbing repair and sewer & drain cleaning company. Ever. Was the storm good for business? Yes and no. Because the weather was so cold, our excavation work came to a standstill. Our high-pressure water jetters could not be used in such a cold environment because the water in them would simply freeze, creating more of a mess than most of the original problems we were trying to solve. But Roto-Rooter plumbers fixed thousands and thousands of frozen and damaged pipes and when the ice finally melted we had our busiest week since we can't remember when.

    In the end, we're pretty sure we came to the rescue of more families that week than during any week in the history of our company. But we're bothered by the fact that thousands of others called us and we simply could not help them as quickly as they wanted us too. It took us days to reach all of them but many had given up on us and found other people to help them. This is shocking when you consider that Roto-Rooter's normal customer response time is two hours or less from the time they call. The entire polar vortex episode was so surreal that our collective heads are still spinning trying to figure out how we might've done better. Could we have found news ways to expedite the work and reach more of our customers? In all honesty, we probably could not have improved our processes by much. But some meteorologists have indicated that we may get another chance to find out. At least one report this morning predicts that the polar vortex may edge southward into the U.S. before the end of January and come back again. Are you ready, America? Check out these tips to prepare your home for the cold weather. It's good advice that may just save your pipes from another frozen catastrophe!

  • Bitter Cold Temperatures Causing Frozen Pipes

    When most of us hear warnings about frozen water pipes, we don't usually panic. After all, how often do pipes freeze? Well, when temperatures get down in the teens and single digits as they are this Frozen Pipeweek, you should heed the warnings. Extreme cold combined with wind chill substantially increases the chances that water supply pipes are going to freeze and that means one or more of your pipes may require a leak repair when the temperatures drop and your pipes begin to thaw.

    Don’t throw in the towel, prepare your home and do everything possible to prevent your water pipes from freezing. The best weapons include insulation, the foam sleeve kind that fit over pipes as well as the fiberglass kind, which can be stuffed around pipes and into spaces near the pipes to keep them warm. If you have a trailer or a pier and beam home that is elevated off the ground, you’ll want to visit your local hardware store or home center and buy thermostat-controlled heat cables or “heat tape” that can be wrapped around exposed pipes and plugged into an electrical outlet. Once turned on, they’ll heat up and prevent water in the pipes from freezing. Word to the wise though, heat cables often sell out fast once people hear the weather forecast calling for extreme cold.

    What can be done if the pipes freeze? Plenty. The battle isn’t over yet. Park a space heater near the frozen pipe. If it’s behind a wall, face the space heater a couple of feet away from the wall and begin to heat the wall. Don’t put it too close, you don’t want to start a fire! You can also use a hair dryer to great effect but never use an open flame. At Roto-Rooter, our plumbers are equipped with professional-grade pipe thawing equipment. We can usually thaw frozen pipes much faster than you can on your own. Unfortunately, if they are frozen solid, that could mean your pipes have suffered damage that could necessitate a repair. Often, people don’t know the pipes have been damaged until they thaw and begin spewing water. Remember that when water freezes and turns into ice, it expands. Something has to give and that often means the pipe splits or bursts. Did you ever put a can of beer in the freezer and forget about it? The can probably split open and so will your pipes.

    Visit the Frozen Pipe Prevention Tips page on our website and follow the tips to the letter. They could save you a lot of money over the next few days. If you need fast emergency service, call Roto-Rooter at 1-800-768-ROTO-911 (1-800-768-6911)

  • Regular Maintenance is Needed for Your Home's Plumbing and Other Systems

    Becoming a homeowner is a big responsibility. No longer can you call your building super to come and fix any little problem that may crop up, like a leaky faucet or a broken dishwasher. If you are a do-it-yourself type, this is not a problem. In fact, it is a little bit exciting to take care of your own property and have confidence in yourself to know that you can manage anything that comes your way.

    Confidence in Roto-Rooter

    Sometimes though, problems arise that require the expertise of a professional. Even if you have an idea of what is wrong and how to go about fixing it, you may lack the tools or knowledge necessary for a successful solution. This is when you should call us at Roto-Rooter. We have trained technicians standing by to assist you with any plumbing needs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

    Your Home—an Important Investment

    While the freedom of owning your own property and doing what you want with it is great, sometimes all the regular maintenance tasks become overwhelming and you fall behind on keeping things up. Your home and yard are likely the biggest investment of time and money you will ever make, so it is only smart to keep it in tip-top condition. Well-maintained homes grow in value over the years and are a desirable commodity in the competitive real estate market.

    Home System Inspections

    To help you to keep up with all the household maintenance and repairs, you need to make a maintenance schedule. Spreading the various tasks over an easy to follow schedule makes it easier to keep up with them. All systems in your home, such as plumbing and heating and cooling, also need regular checks and services by technicians and can be scheduled in the appropriate months.

    There are other yearly tasks, such as staining the fence and servicing your lawn mower, which need to go on your schedule too. Make room for unexpected jobs that need immediate care. A leaking faucet should not be left indefinitely. It wastes water, costing you money, and the dripping can keep you awake at night. If you find that you don’t have time to do it, or lack the know-how, you can always count on Roto-Rooter to get it fixed in a jiffy.

  • Season's Greetings from Roto-Rooter

    The holiday season is upon us and each of us at Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service would like to extend the season’s greetings from our family to yours. As North America’s largest provider of plumbing repair and sewer & drain services, millions of you have invited Roto-Rooter into your homes and businesses this year to take care of your plumbing. We know you have many choices when you call a plumber and we’re grateful that you picked us more often than any other plumbing company.

    This year Roto-Rooter decided to make a fun Christmas video with Santa Claus himself. Nobody works harder than Santa and nobody has as hectic a schedule as him either. With all those special snacks families leave out for Santa, it’s easy for him to overdo it on the sweets and treats. That’s the subject of our video, Santa Overdoes It. We hope you’ll watch it and share it with anyone who needs a chuckle.

    Christmas pipers pipingOn a more serious note, it has been a hectic year for many families. Like you, we work hard and go out and give it our all every day. That’s why it’s so important to take time at year’s end to rekindle family relationships and special friendships. Those special times of togetherness remind us how fast our kids grow up, how quickly our parents and grandparents age, how special friendships are and how short life really is.

    A special person once said: “try not to live for work! Remember, the reason we work is so we can live, really live.” That’s not always easy to remember when we’re busy commuting, working long hours, paying bills and providing for our families. However, our sincere wish for you is that you have the opportunity to really reconnect with the people who are most important to you this during the holidays. So from all of us at Roto-Rooter, from the West Coast to the East Coast and every state and Canadian province in between, have a safe and meaningful holiday season, a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

  • Winterization & Frozen Pipe Tips

    Frozen PipeWinter is here and Roto-Rooter recommends winterizing your homes if you haven't already done so. Our plumbers have helped many homes and businesses across the country repair cracked or split pipes throughout the winter months. However, there are many things you can do to prevent pipes from freezing. Most people don’t consider the effects of colder weather on their plumbing, but we know a little preventative maintenance can go a long way.

    Follow these plumbing tips to help minimize the risk of frozen pipes, and to help prevent damage and expensive repairs:

    • Open cabinet doors under sinks and in storage areas to allow heat from the room to circulate around uninsulated pipes. Allow a trickle of hot and cold water to drip overnight; however, be careful not to run the water into a drain line that is exposed to the extreme cold because that line might freeze.
    • Insulate all pipes in unheated areas or against uninsulated outside walls, in garages or crawl spaces. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing.
    • Make sure the heat is turned on in a building and is set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you are experiencing issues with frozen pipes we recommend the following tips:

    • Shut off the water main leading into the structure to reduce pressure on frozen pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst.
    • Use a hair dryer to thaw the ice blockage if the frozen pipe is exposed and visible. (Do not use an open flame to thaw!) If frozen pipes are not visible, contact your local Roto-Rooter plumbers, who use professional pipe-thawing equipment.
    •     If you currently notice slower water flow and expect frozen pipes, you should call a plumber immediately. Typically, issues like this can be resolved before any damage occurs.

    Watch our home winterization video for more helpful tips and as always, if you are in need of plumbing or drain assistance do not hesitant to give us a call at 11-800-ROTO-911 (1-800-768-6911) or schedule service with us online.

  • Pool drains clog but Roto-Rooter unclogs them

    <p>the seasons are starting to change here in the Mid-South and leaves are about to fall everywhere. Although these leaves are beautiful they can cause huge problems if you have a swimming pool. The Memphis plumbers at Roto-Rooter have the right equipment and experienced plumbers to solve any outside pool drain stoppage you may have. A clogged<a href=""><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-805" style="margin: 4px;" title="swimming pool" src="" alt="" width="198" height="148" /></a> drain on a pool can stump a lot of companies, but we know how to clear any clog quickly and safely.</p>

    <p>Roto-Rooter Plumber, Jermaine Ray, is our "go-to guy" on all pool drains. He has the necessary experience to solve your pool drain problems and help you get your pool prepared for the winter. If you have leaves, dirt or debris blocking your pool drain, call the Memphis plumbing company that is preferred by more people than any other, Roto-Rooter of Memphis. We will take good care of you. You may visit our <a title="Roto-Rooter of Memphis home page" href="">home page</a> for more information or just give us a call at <strong>901-323-4285. </strong></p>

  • Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips

    Roto-Rooter Turkey BlogThanksgiving is right around the corner! A combination of holiday guests, meal preparation and cleanup can easily put a strain on your home's plumbing system.  The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for the residential plumbers at Roto-Rooter and we are always prepared to tackle a variety of plumbing problems surrounding this holiday season.

    Roto-Rooter suggests following the tips below to reduce the chance of a plumbing emergency this Thanksgiving:

    1. Never pour fats or cooking oils down drains as they solidify in pipes. Instead, wipe grease from pots with paper towels and discard in the trash.
    2. Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal. Poultry skins, celery, fruit & potato peels, for example, cannot be sufficiently ground up.
    3. Make sure the disposal is running when you put food into it. Don't wait until it's full to turn it on.
    4. When hosting guests, it's a good idea to wait ten minutes between showers so slow drains have time to do their job and water has time to reheat.
    5. Never flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or facial scrub pads down a toilet. They don't dissolve and will cause clogs.
    6. Try to address any plumbing problems before the holiday and before guests arrive.
    7. As always, know your limits. Often, minor plumbing problems turn into plumbing catastrophes if not handled properly.

    If you are in need of plumbing service this Thanksgiving, don't hesitate to call Roto-Rooter at 1-800-ROTO-911 (1-800-768-6911) or schedule service online.

  • Why the day after Thanksgiving is so busy for plumbers

    It's not a myth; the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for America's largest provider of plumbing, sewer and drain services, Roto-Rooter. Think about the reasons why. The holiday is all about a big meal. When cooks get busy in the kitchen preparing a feast, lots of food and scraps end up down the kitchen drain and into the garbage disposal. Turkey drippings. It’s just grease. Hot drippings may be in liquid form when poured down the drain but the liquid will solidify like candle wax once it cools down inside the pipes. Turkey2Rice and pasta swell when introduced to water. Worse, they’ll break down into a starchy gel and clog the pipes. Toss in some poultry skin, dressing, vegetable peels and a bone or two and you’ve got a sewer or drain clog of monumental proportions.

    Many Thanksgiving hosts have overnight guests who take showers, baths, flush toilets and might even do a laundry load or two. This extra strain on the plumbing system is like the proverbial last straw that breaks a camel’s back. Chances are that the house already had a partially clogged drain or two but the problem was not altogether noticeable yet. However, once a few more guests show up, the drains become overwhelmed. Worse, the actual problem might be past the sink drain down in the main sewer line under your front yard. Tree roots grow into the pipe at the joint and catch all of the grease, toilet paper, food scraps and wet wipes that go down your drains. Eventually, every drain in the house backs up with raw sewage. It can be a very nasty mess that threatens to ruin the holiday mood of even the most delightful host.

    Never fear, Roto-Rooter is here. We staff up on the Friday after Thanksgiving and maintain an unmatched state of readiness all weekend long because we’ve learned a thing or two about Thanksgiving clogs after 78 years in business. That means that we’re ready to help on short notice if you have a plumbing or drain problem. And get this, most Roto-Rooter locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even better, most Roto-Rooter offices do not charge extra for service at night, on weekends or on holidays. That means you’ll probably pay the same rate no matter when you call us. Note that there are some independent Roto-Rooter offices who don’t follow this pricing practice so just ask the customer service representative about holiday rates when you call 1-800-ROTO-911 (1-800-768-6911).

    Watch our award-winning Thanksgiving preparation video and check out our multimedia page to learn more about avoiding Thanksgiving plumbing problems. You’ll be glad you learn these lessons before the holiday. 

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