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  • Grease Trap Installation and Cost | Roto-Rooter

    Grease Trap Installation and CostMore people each day are cutting corners by performing do-it-yourself installations in their homes. And yet, there are some instances when installation should be left in the hands of a professional, one of those being adding grease traps to your plumbing system. A residential grease trap installation was almost unheard of a few years ago but some large homes with professional style kitchens are now being equipped with them. But for the most part, a grease trap installation is usually done for a restaurant, or institutional kitchens such as in schools, hospitals and even churches. Here is the lowdown on the need for grease traps and how to budget for their installation costs:

    About grease traps

    Most of the substances that go down drains are easily broken down. However, heavy amounts of oil, grease or food can quickly cause drain and sewer clogs and when grease and cooking oil goes down a drain it can be harmful to the environment and cause problems at the water treatment plant.  A grease trap is a device designed to intercept and prevent most greases and solids from entering plumbing systems and causing clogs and plumbing problems along the way.

    Restaurants can benefit from the installation of a grease trap and many municipalities have plumbing codes that require grease traps in commercial kitchens. Understanding the plumbing codes before installation will save you a ton of trouble later because in most cases, a plumbing permit will be required and an inspection will be conducted by your code enforcement authorities to ensure the job is done correctly.

    Who needs them?

    Both residential and commercial buildings alike can benefit from the installation of a grease trap. However, the fixtures are mainly prevalent in restaurants because of the kitchens' high percentage of food and grease waste. With these traps, food and debris particles are caught before they pile up and pose an environmental or plumbing threat. Once full, grease traps are professionally pumped out and the grease is recycled or repurposed.

    In order for grease traps to be effective, they must be properly sized, constructed and installed into your plumbing system. Because of these specific requirements, grease traps are traditionally more expensive than other plumbing operations.

    How to budget

    The commercial or residential grease trap installation cost can be expensive, but the building could benefit from it. There are plenty of ways you can budget for them. Here are some examples so, in a short time, your system can have a new grease trap:

    • Fix leaks on the spot. If you notice a leaky faucet, don't wait. Although those drips may seem insignificant, if the problem persists, it can add cost to your water bill.
    • Hire a professional. Sometimes the best way to approach a plumbing issue is to hire professionals. With their experience, they can get in and out easily, follow all plumbing codes, provide warranties and save you money and time in the long run.

  • Protect Your Worcester, MA Plumbing for Winter | Roto-Rooter

    Protect Worcester Plumbing
    Winter time can be a lot of fun. There are plenty of cold weather activities to partake in, like ice skating, skiing and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows. These are the great memories that come to mind when you think of winter. On the other hand, this kind of weather in New England can have its downfall. Snow and ice make the roads hard to drive on, shoveling can be exhausting and below-zero temperatures can get old fast. In addition, winter in Worcester is the time when your home can experience some of the most extensive and expensive wear and tear. This year, winterize your plumbing and protect your home this season with these simple tasks:

    Begin with your pipes

    When it comes to protecting your home during the winter, the water fixture you should be most worried about is your pipes. If not insulated properly, the water inside these tubes can freeze over time. As a result, you could find your home without running water. But it doesn't stop there. When water turns to ice, it expands and puts a strain on your pipes and possibly leading to them to split open. This water leakage - regardless of how little or big – won’t show itself until the pipes thaw. Water from a burst pipe can quickly damage your home, resulting in expensive and extensive repairs. So, what can you do to prevent frozen pipes?

    To protect your plumbing and prevent frozen pipes, insulate your water pipes! You can easily do this alone, or if you don't trust yourself, call a professional plumber. Insulation will provide an outer layer of fibrous material to keep your pipes warm. This is especially important in places where your pipes are exposed to cold air, no heat and hardly any insulation, like basements, garages and attics. A simple, easy and inexpensive layer of insulation will greatly reduce the chance of any pipe-freezing issues. Learn more about protecting your plumbing all year round with our helpful seasonal plumbing tips.

    Drip those faucets

    Most people find it surprising that letting your water fixtures drip can actually help prevent plumbing complications. Allowing your faucets to drip water during the coldest periods will help prevent ice from forming inside your water pipes and prevent frozen pipes. View our plumbing basics to learn more about the plumbing throughout your home.

    Check your heat

    Protecting your plumbing systems won't do the trick without proper heat in your home. Run your furnace no lower than 55 degrees. In addition, check all your vents to ensure they're not covered by furniture or rugs. Opening your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinet doors will help the warm air circulate around your plumbing fixtures. Consider heating devices for rooms that are always cool.

  • How to Winterize Your Home’s Plumbing in Boise, ID | Roto-Rooter

    How to Winterize Your Home Plumbing in BoiseNot many cities experience all four seasons like Boise, Idaho. The spring is bright, the summers are warm and the fall is cool and crisp. However, that also means that the winters can be cold and dreary! The city usually gets snow in the winter, especially close to the mountains.

    If you're a homeowner in Boise, it's important to protect your plumbing as best you can, especially during the winter months. The more preparation you take, the more you reduce your chances of being inconvenienced by a lack of running water or heat. Here are some ways to winterize your plumbing and prepare your house for those colder months:

    Start with your pipes

    The most common problem homeowners face during the winter is with their plumbing fixtures. If the water in pipes is exposed to cold temperatures, it can freeze. How do you know if this happens? Sometimes your water and plumbing stops completely - a faucet won't deliver water or your showerhead won't turn on. Most of the time the water thaws and everything goes back to normal but sometimes a freeze causes serious damage. When water turns to ice, it expands putting too much pressure and strain on pipes, which may cause them to burst. This is when things can get even more serious but you won’t normally know a pipe has burst until it begins to thaw and you hear or see water spraying out of the pipe. Water leakage, no matter how bad, can cause extensive - and expensive - damage to your home requiring an emergency plumber. So, what do you do?

    Winterize your plumbing by insulating your pipes to protect them against the cold. You can do this yourself or call a professional plumber. By insulating your water supply pipes, they will have an outer layer of fibrous material to shield them from extreme temperatures. It will help ensure that throughout the winter, the water inside the pipes doesn't freeze. Insulation is especially important in cold rooms like garages, attics and laundry rooms. If you're waiting for an experienced plumber to come out, try wrapping your pipes in newspaper or adding a heater to the room to make sure they have enough heat. Learn more about protecting your plumbing all year round with our helpful seasonal plumbing tips.

    Let your water run but only at a trickle

    It may come as a surprise, but opening faucets and letting a small amount of water flow through them can actually prevent frozen pipes and plumbing complications. By steadily running the water, you can prevent ice from forming in the supply tubes. The small amount of water movement is enough to keep them from freezing. Running them during extremely cold periods is a good practice. Sinks or tubs located against outside walls are most prone to freezing. Outdoor hoses are extremely susceptible to cold air so be sure to disconnect garden hoses and cover the hose bib with a foam insulation kit. View our plumbing basics to learn more about the plumbing throughout your home.

    If you're going on a vacation, have someone come over every day to keep an eye on things if you know the temperature is going to be down into the teens or low twenties. The last thing you want is to come home to a burst pipe.

    Take initiative

    There are plenty of other small ways you can protect your plumbing and help prevent winter weather damage. For instance, be sure to keep your home warm during the cold weather. Close any garage doors, especially if there are plumbing fixtures housed in there.

    Keeping your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets open can help circulate warm air and ensure they won’t freeze. In addition, keep an eye on your thermostat throughout the day and night and never let it go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Never turn your heat completely off if you're heading out on vacation.

    Call a professional

    When it comes to preventing damage to your home, you may want to leave it in the hands of a professional. Our plumbers at Roto-Rooter are experienced and knowledgeable. They can locate all of your exposed pipes and add protective layers of insulation to them.

  • Don't Pour Grease or Oil Down the Drain | Roto Rooter

    Dont Pour Grease or Oil Down the DrainYou've probably been warned at some point in your life that pouring grease down the drain is a bad idea. Everyone has their lazy days, though, and you've probably ignored this warning in favor of a quick cleanup. Pouring trace amounts of grease down the drain once, while not a good thing, probably won't cause any serious blockages in your pipes, but if you frequently dispose of cooking oil and other grease deposits in the sink, then you have a problem building in your pipes.

    Many people think that running hot water down the drain will keep grease from sticking, but unfortunately that's not entirely true. Oil may be going into your drain as a liquid but as it cools and trails through your pipes, it starts to solidify. When the grease has cooled, it often sticks to the surface of the pipes, eventually causing buildup.

    Garbage disposals and grease

    A misguided thought people often have is that it's okay to pour grease down a garbage disposal. The disposal does not have a special mechanism inside of it that destroys the grease, and the blades won't have much effect either. Instead, the blades will become less effective after repeated coatings of grease.

    A few warning signs that will alert you of an impending blocked drain include slow drainage, gurgling noises coming from the drain, and a bad smell. If you can't seem to get rid of the clog yourself, call in a plumber to take care of the problem.

    Proper ways to dispose of grease

    If you were cooking bacon or hamburger and only have a little amount of grease in a pan, let it sit out on the stove while you eat your meal. Once the grease has solidified, use a spatula or paper towel to wipe out the mess and throw it in the garbage can and don’t pour the grease or oil down the drain.

    Keeping a can or jar specifically for collecting grease is another option people use. This method works best if you often cook greasy food or if you have large amounts to dispose of at once. Simply drain your pan or dish of oil into a can and let it solidify. If the can is large enough, you don't have to throw it out right away either. Put a lid on it and set it in the corner of the fridge for future use. Once it's full, place it in the garbage can.

    These are really the two best methods for getting rid of your extra oil rather than pouring grease down the drain. Do not try composting it. The grease will only make your pile smell and attract animals.

  • Five Easy Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home | Roto-Rooter

    Five Easy Ways to Conserve Water in Your HomeWhether you live in drought-stricken regions like California or not, it's important to conserve water when possible, and effectively use the water you need. But using water wisely is actually a lot easier than you might think, and it doesn't have to change your daily habits much. If you're trying to find some easy ways you can conserve water, take a look at these five ideas:

    1. Adjust your water pressure

      When the water pressure throughout your home is more than 60 pounds per square inch, it's actually high enough to damage your plumbing. Plus, it's just not necessary. Your local water authority can tell you how high your pressure is, and if necessary, you can install a pressure-reducing valve that will conserve a great deal of water every time you use a faucet in your home.

    2. Fix leaks

      Is your kitchen faucet dripping every now and then? Or perhaps there's always a small pool of water under your outdoor spigot? Leaky faucets, toilets and other plumbing fixtures can waste gallons upon gallons of water each day, so it's important to get them repaired.

    3. Switch to low-flow fixtures

      If you have old faucets or shower heads, replace them with low-flow versions. You'll save water and see a decrease in your water bill!

    4. Run full loads

      Any time you're using your dishwasher or doing the laundry, wait to run the machine until you have a full load. If you must run smaller loads, change the water settings on your machines to account for it.

    5. Rethink your watering

      Automated sprinkler systems are convenient, but they can waste a lot of water. Consider watering your gardens and lawn manually so you don't overwater after heavy rainfall. If you want, attach a timer to your sprinkler - you can set it up manually and it will turn off automatically after a few minutes.

  • Protect Your Baltimore Home’s Pipes from Winter | Roto-Rooter

    Protect Your Baltimore Home’s Pipes from WinterBaltimore homeowners are no strangers to cold weather. Catching a Ravens game can turn into a pretty chilly experience late in the season. With colder months just around the corner, take steps now to combat problems the drop in temperature can cause and learn how to prevent frozen pipes.

    Plumbing problems during winter most commonly occur when pipes freeze. Not only can it be costly to fix broken pipes and the resulting water damage, but it can inconvenience your attempts to accomplish everyday tasks. The last thing you want is to be prevented from taking a hot shower on a cold winter day. This year, do yourself a favor by taking preventive steps to protect your pipes from the cold temperatures. Here are a few ways to prevent frozen pipes.

    Give your pipes another layer

    You wouldn't walk outside in the middle of winter without a coat. Just like you, the pipes in your home could stand to gain from an added layer of protection from the cold temperatures. Pay special attention to this tip when dealing with pipes that are most exposed to the cold air. Think of any piping you'll find near the outer walls in your home and exposed pipes in an unfinished basement or garage, for starters. Add a layer of insulation or thermal tape and you will significantly lower the chances of your pipes freezing. Learn more about protecting your plumbing all year round with our helpful seasonal plumbing tips.

    Let your faucets drip

    You can take a big step in preventing frozen pipes by simply allowing your faucets to constantly drip. Don't leave the water running heavily, but a drop every few seconds will ensure water flow in your pipes. That small movement of water is usually all it takes to prevent the freezing problem in your plumbing. Apply this advice to the showers in your bathrooms as well as the sinks in your kitchen.

    Pay attention to outside

    Don't forget about things attached to water sources, like hoses. Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected, water in the hoses can freeze and expand causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break. Make necessary repairs to any outside faucets that are dripping to prevent further damage. If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from outside lines. Cover outside faucets using a Styrofoam faucet insulation kit available at home centers.

  • Camera Sewer Inspections Reach Tough Places | Roto-Rooter

    Camera Sewer Inspections Reach Tough PlacesIt's usually not very difficult to figure out when there's a problem with your sewage system, like if there's a gurgling sound coming from the toilet or one of your drains. But it may be so bad (and horribly obvious) that there is raw, disgusting sewage coming back up the drains. While identifying that there is a problem in general can be fairly simple, figuring out the specific cause of the problem can be a much more painstaking process. Luckily, your Roto-Rooter professional is trained in all of the latest, most efficient ways to get your problem under control, as soon as possible.

    Next time you have a sewer blockage, be sure you ask about available options in video camera sewer line inspections. These waterproof cameras are attached at the end of a flexible rod and fed through the area that you need inspected. It provides information in real time since the camera is streaming a live feed that your plumber will be looking at on a video monitor. If this plumbing problem occurs at your business, you can keep a permanent video file of the inspection for your records, too (for insurance purposes).

    When is a camera inspection necessary?

    Your plumbing professional or sewer solutions specialist will most likely recommend a camera sewer line inspection if you've experienced repeated backups in your sewer line or if he “feels” something odd while cleaning the line with a cable machine. But regardless if this is your first sewer problem or not, camera inspections can go a long way in identifying all types of pipe problems commonly found in your home or business. One of the more common issues is that a root mass has obstructed flow in your sewer system. But if a sewer pipe is damaged, a section is misaligned or it has begun to collapse due to old age, a camera sewer line inspection will reveal the issue.

    Why use a camera?

    "Your plumber will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the issue."

    The main two arguments for utilizing this advanced form of technology in plumbing both benefit the customer. The first reason is to save time in fixing a plumbing problem. When you have a problem in your pipes, especially in the sewage system, the last thing you want is to drag out the repair process. Not only can delays be inconvenient, but prolonged problems in plumbing can cause further damage to your house or to your business's building. The second major argument for using a camera is to save you money on sewer line repair. Correctly identifying the problem will help your plumber come up with the most efficient (and cheapest) way to fix your sewer blockage and get your plumbing flowing properly again. Plus, by running a camera through your pipes, your professional plumber will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the issue, which prevents unnecessary excavation. If you're about to purchase a new home, it's a good idea to have a video sewer line inspection done by your Roto-Rooter plumber to check out the plumbing before you close on the property. Why stick yourself with someone else’s expensive sewer fix?

    How do we use cameras to identify the problem?

    Think of having a remote control snake with a camera on its head and lots of bright LED lights. That's how we go about a camera line inspection. Our skilled technicians can get into pipes from 2 inches to 36 inches in diameter without a problem, all while having control of a camera attached to a snake-like rod. The material that the camera is attached to is very flexible, so bending around sharp corners or tricky bends is never a problem. Don't worry, if you dropped a precious piece of jewelry or other valuable item down your drain, we may be able to successfully locate it and get it back to you if it hasn’t already washed into the municipal sewer system.

  • Winterize your Colorado Springs Plumbing | Roto-Rooter

    Winterize your Colorado Springs Plumbing

    When it comes to a Colorado Springs winter, anything goes. From ice storms to blizzards to freezing temperatures, you never know what you're going to get. That's why it's important to be prepared. The last thing you want is to be inconvenienced by no running water or no working heat. Here are some ways to winterize your plumbing and prepare your house for those colder months.

    Give your pipes a jacket
    One of the most common (and most expensive!) issues during winter comes in the form of frozen pipes. This happens when your pipes are exposed in rooms with cold air and no insulation like basements, laundry rooms or garages. The water in these water supply will freeze, which can stop your running water altogether. Over time, the water will thaw, putting a strain on your water systems and may even lead to the lines bursting down the road. Instead of risking serious damage to your house, be sure to insulate your pipes. Protect your plumbing with a simple layer of insulation that will greatly reduce your chances of frozen pipes.

    Don't trust yourself to get the job done? Have one of our experienced Roto-Rooter plumbers come out to do it for you. They will survey your home and ensure everything is insulated the way it needs to be. While you wait for them, wrap your pipes in some newspaper, or add a heater to the room where water pipes are exposed to keep them protected. Learn more about protecting your plumbing all year round with our helpful seasonal plumbing tips.

    Allow your water faucets to trickle
    Although it may appear counterproductive, running the water in your faucets can actually prevent ice from forming. The movement from a slight trickle from both the hot and cold faucets is enough to prevent frozen pipes when temperatures drop well below freezing. Faucets in fixtures located along outside walls are extremely susceptible, so be sure to turn them on daily when the deep freeze sets in. Hint:

    Take action in your entire home
    If you want to protect your house, be sure to take preventative actions all over. Keep your garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in there. Also, consider investing in a heating device so the garage stays warm throughout the cold weather. On the other hand, be sure to open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so that the warm air can circulate around your plumbing fixtures. Keep your thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and night, even when nobody is home. It may result in a pricier heating bill, but you're also preventing a costly pipe repair as well. If you're going on vacation, do not turn the heat off.

    Contact a professional
    When it comes to preventing damage during future winters, be sure to call an experienced plumber. He can thoroughly insulate pipes for you or, if necessary, re-route exposed water supply pipes to better places to provide protection from cold air. A professional contractor or handyman can also add protective insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces to maintain a higher temperature. Be sure to call a professional to come out and help with these projects.

  • Fixing a Leaky Kitchen Faucet Can Save Money | Roto-Rooter

    Fixing a Leaky Kitchen Faucet Can Save MoneyA noisy kitchen leak can be an annoying presence in your home. The incessant plunk of the water landing in the sink may slowly drive you crazy, and to make matters worse, it can also run up your water bill.

    You might be thinking that a little drip isn't wasting much. However, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's drip calculator, if one faucet in your home releases 10 drips per minute, you'll be losing over 300 gallons of water a year. Don't let something as small as a leaky faucet make you spend more money than you need to. Instead, gauge whether you can fix the problem yourself or if you need to call in a plumber.

    Common leak fixes

    The first thing you should do is shut off the hot and cold water supply valves beneath the sink. Turn the valves to the right to turn off the water flowing into the faucet. If you forget this crucial step, you'll really spring a leak when you start removing pieces from the spout. Once you've shut off the water, you can move on to the main repairs.

    A common problem that might be causing a leaky kitchen faucet is a worn-out rubber washer, gasket or seal inside the valve assembly. Replacing these worn parts should fix your issue, but you have to carefully disassemble your faucet to reach it. Keep track of each part and where it goes. Taking photos with your smart phone along the way may help to keep you organized.

    The faucet aerator is another piece of the nozzle that could be contributing to a leak. To check if this is the issue, unscrew the aerator from the end of the faucet. Clean off any particles that may be attached to the aerator threads and filter screen. You could also turn the water back on for a minute to clear any obstructions from the spout. Return the aerator to its proper location and see if the spigot is still leaking.

    If your leak persists, it's probably time to call in a professional to fix a leaky faucet. Yes, you could continue to solve the problem yourself and take the faucet apart. However, if you don't entirely know what you're doing in fixing a leaky faucet, you run the risk of causing more problems than you solve or at best, wasting a lot of your valuable time.

  • 3 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Boston | Roto-Rooter

    3 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes in BostonBoston is well-known for its gorgeous appearance as winter arrives. And while the snow can be a beautiful sight, it can also lead to unpleasant problems in a home's plumbing system. One of the most common issues during the winter comes in the form of frozen pipes.

    Frozen pipes can cause plenty of hassle for you and your family. They can prevent you from taking a shower or even washing the dishes. Not only can they be terribly inconvenient, but they can also be rather costly to fix. It's fairly common for frozen pipes to eventually burst, which could cause water damage to walls, floors, ceilings and surrounding areas in your Boston home. This year, instead of waiting for problems to arise, take the initiative, and make a little effort to protect your pipes from freezing in the first place.

    Here are three easy tips to help winterize the pipes in your Boston home’s plumbing:

    Store outdoor items inside

    As you prepare your yard and patio area for the cold New England winter ahead, be sure to disconnect appliances from the water supply. Whether it's a garden fountain, sprinkler system or hose, you should turn off the water flow for the winter to help protect your plumbing and prevent frozen pipes. To prep items like these for storage, rid them of water by using them one more time. Turn on the sprinklers, and run water through your hoses to ensure you've drained the last of it for the year. After you've done that, take this opportunity to clean these items. Odds are you've left them sitting outside since the weather got warmer, and they could probably use some attention. After you've drained and cleaned them, move them to a warm, dry space like a garage or shed until spring arrives and the weather breaks. Not until the Red Sox come home from Spring Training should you even think about using them again.

    Insulate your pipes

    Try adding a layer of insulation around your accessible water pipes this year, especially if they are near an exterior wall or in a colder part of your home (like in an unfinished basement, for instance or beneath a kitchen sink). It's going to be difficult to get to most pipes in your plumbing system, but at least get to the ones that are more exposed and easily accessible. This step is relatively easy to accomplish and shouldn't be very expensive, either. Do your best to cover as much as you can.

    Leave your faucets dripping

    Although it may be counterintuitive, allowing your interior faucets located along outside walls to drip water can actually go a long way in preventing your pipes from freezing. The water flow through the pipes, however small it may be, is enough to keep water running through your pipes smoothly. You only need to do this when the temperatures get down into the twenties or below. Because of the cold climate in Boston, most modern New England homes are well insulated against the cold, but when extreme cold arrives, all bets are off and its best to winterize your home’ plumbing.

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