Roto-Rooter Blog

  • 3 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Licensed Plumber | Roto-Rooter

    Reasons Why You Should Hire A Licensed Plumber

    Roto-Rooter technicianSometimes plumbing issues can be caused by a minor toilet clog or leaky shower head. However, when the problem is more complicated, like a bent or busted pipe, you might end up spending more when you try to do-it-yourself.  Here are three important reasons why you should hire a master plumber.

    Passed a background check

    Plumbers must pass an extensive background check before receiving their license. When you hire a master plumber, you are welcoming someone in to your home that you can trust. Plumbers must pass a criminal background check before they become licensed. Before you let a plumber into your home, be sure to ask to see his or her license. You can even call the plumbing company directly and ask for a confirmation of the plumber's identity.

    Received proper training

    Licensed plumbers go through extensive rounds of training before being certified as a master plumber. Licensed plumbers study the various piping materials, latest tools and a range of systems including drain, water, sewer and gas lines. In order to be an efficient plumber, one must be well-trained to understand where all the parts go and which pieces fit together. Some states require basic coursework on top of passing a licensing test, while others require continuous education courses to remain updated on the latest billing codes, equipment upgrades and safety concerns.

    Won't cause further damage

    Calling in the plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter can help prevent further damage to your pipes and drainage systems. A licensed plumber has the knowledge you need to locate the problem immediately and assess the damage, without wasting your valuable time and money.

    Call your local Roto-Rooter for all your professional plumbing needs. In the event of a water emergency, always contact Roto - Rooter for prompt service and experienced water damage clean up and restoration of all kinds.

  • Fall Plumbing Tips for Brooklyn, NY | Roto-Rooter

    Fall Plumbing Tips for Brooklyn, NY

    Frozen guttersIt seems that summer has just begun, but in fact it's already time to start thinking about your fall plumbing needs for this year. Let's take a look at some ways you can get your home ready for fall and the winter beyond:

    Winterize your pipes

    When autumn comes to the mountains, you know it's time to start thinking about frozen pipes. This common home issue can mean bad news for you and your pocketbook – when pipes burst due to freezing, it can be an expensive hassle to fix. In order to get your pipes ready for the chilly fall and cold winter you need to first make sure they're properly insulated. Colorado winters aren't anything to scoff at – in Denver, the average low temperature around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's right around this temperature range that pipes can sustain damage. Therefore, it's important to insulate all the areas that won't get warm throughout the winter by wrapping the pipes in polyethylene or fiberglass tubes.

    Go 'green' and help the environment

    Along with winterizing your pipes, you can help cut down on your plumbing bills and help the environment along the way by following some best practices. For instance, you should only water your lawn and garden as needed. To this end, think about installing rain sensors on your sprinkler system to make sure you're not overwatering anything – because as the colder air sets in, excess water in the ground or leftover in your home's pipes could cause issues.

    Hose maintenance

    Another key thing you need to consider is: What are you doing with your hoses for the winter? You're certainly not going to leave them out in the yard. You should make sure you properly store your hose so that it lasts for the next year. Disconnect it, drain the water and put it in an area of your home that will be at a constant temperature to where the hose will not freeze, like in the basement or attic storage space. In addition, it's important to turn off your hose bibbs and inside water supply line connecting to them, in order to prevent possible pipes bursting.

    If you feel like you're in over your head and could use some expert advice, don't panic. For help with all of these functions and more, get in touch with your local plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter today.

  • What Not to Put in Your Washer | Roto-Rooter

    What Not to Put in Your Washer

    Washing machineThis summer has been a hot one. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that June 2016 was the hottest June in recorded history, with an average for the continental U.S. around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Warm weather means sweating, and sweating means even more laundry. Washing clothes is hard enough, but there are some objects that, if introduced to your washing machine, could spell disaster. So, are you sure you're using your washer correctly?

    Be mindful of tossing in swimsuits/bikinis

    A big mistake that a lot of people make is simply throwing their swimsuits in the wash after a long day at the beach or pool without actually thinking about what they're doing. Many swimsuits are too delicate for washing machines, especially higher-end bikinis, and tossing them in with the rest of the laundry can result in major damage.

    Even if your swimsuit is designed for the washer, it's probably best to rinse it off first. You don't want the rest of your clothes to smell like chlorine or seaweed for the next few days!

    Keys and coins

    Is there anything more annoying than needing to make a quick run to the store, only to hear your left over coins clanking against the side of your washing machine? While the embarrassment of having to root through your unmentionables to find them is bad enough, leaving coins in the washer sometimes results in scratches on the inside of your appliance. Simply checking all pockets before tossing in a load can easily mitigate this problem, and maybe even make you a few cents richer.

    Too much soap

    Putting in too much detergent can actually end up making your clothes dirtier. All that soap ends up filling the nooks and crannies of your clothes, pulling excess dirt and grime along with it. Areas such as your pockets or your collar can actually foster a large amount of bacteria, completely destroying the purpose of washing your clothes in the first place. If you feel like you’ve overdone it simply do a quick rinse cycle to wash out any extra soap!

    Don't hesitate to contact your local Roto-Rooter professional if you are experiencing washing machine trouble that is beyond your control! Our trained professionals are happy and eager to help.

  • Tips to Make Your Dishwasher Last Longer | Roto-Rooter

    Tips to Make Your Dishwasher Last Longer

    DishwasherDishwashers are extremely useful household appliances that can save you hundreds of hours of scrubbing over the course of their lifetime. If there's one caveat to these convenient machines, though, it's that they're fairly expensive to replace.

    As such, the goal with any dishwasher should be to get the greatest possible return on your investment, and the best way to do that is to keep the appliance running as long as possible. To avoid having to make an unnecessary purchase of a new dishwasher, here are a few tips to help you prolong the life of the one you currently own.

    The question of rinsing

    One of the main culprits for clogs, either in the spray arms of a dishwasher or in the filter, is food debris that is allowed to build up over time. As such, check your dishwasher's filter – which can be found at the bottom of the appliance, near where the water drains – after each load to make sure that it's functioning properly. How often you actually need to clean the filter may vary between models, so it's always a good idea to refer to your appliance guide just to be sure.

    An issue of contention regarding food-related clogs in your dishwasher is whether or not you should rinse dishes before loading them up. Leftovers should be scraped into a garbage disposal or trash bin, but that's all. Also, some detergents clean by affixing themselves to food particles, and then breaking them down. Without any "gunk," the detergent would run right over the dish without thoroughly cleaning them.

    The other side of the argument is that most experts would recommend the opposite, claiming that the combination of soap, minerals and food gunk will eventually cause sludge that could lead to poor drainage, and possible even cause backups that will leave you washing your dishes with dirty water.

    As a middle ground to the argument, always refer to your handbook for best practices that will prolong the life of your appliance without sacrificing the quality of each load.

    Careful placement of dishware

    The average life expectancy of your dishwater is around a decade or so. But even if the central components of the machine such as the drainage and the spray arms work just fine, it's also important to be mindful of the appliance's hardware, such as the fixtures on the inside of the door and the dish racks.

    For example, forks and knives should be placed in the dishwasher with handles up. This is good for safety reasons, but it's also a smart way to prevent blades from dragging along the interior wall as you slide the racks, or sticking out and cutting into the door as you close it.

    As a few final tips, it's important not to overload dishwashers, as this can add unnecessary wear and tear. Also, don't put any non-dishwasher safe items into the appliance.

    Last but not least, if you experience problems with your dishwasher, don't hesitate to call your Port St Lucie Roto-Rooter. It's better to fix a problem the right way the first time than risk having to buy a whole new dishwasher later.

  • Bathtub Plumbing 101 | Roto-Rooter

    Bathtub Plumbing 101

    Bathtubs are (ideally) something that people use on a daily basis for a variety of purposes: to wake up and get ready, to wash kids after a long day of playing, to clean the family dog, or to simply relax in a flurry of bubble bath soap. Just as there are a number of uses for bathtubs, there are also a range of options that homeowners can choose from. People must not only understand the basics of bathtub plumbing, they also need to consider each model and how to take care of them.

    The traditional tub

    This is probably the model that we're all familiar with: a tub that sits in between two walls, often complete with a shower head. The main focus here is to get the water to run through faucets to fill the tub, while having a drain to send the water back out once it's been used. You'll need an allowance for the overflow, a control to open and close the drain and pipes that deliver hot and cold lines to the faucet.

    These models are going to be the easiest to take care of since they're the most common. You can use simple cleaning tools to regularly cleanse the tub, and it will be good to wipe it down after use to prevent mold and mildew from accumulating. If something is stuck in the drain or water isn't flowing correctly, there are a few DIY solutions you can pursue, but for major issues, consulting a professional plumber is always a good idea.

    Hot tubs

    Under the hot tub category of bathtubs, whirlpool and air tubs are becoming more popular in luxurious bathroom setups. People are increasingly making their bathrooms more like a retreat, so it makes sense that hot tubs are on the rise. These tubs are largely different from traditional models as they shoot water and air bubbles at strategic locations. This gives the relaxing sensation of a massage and stirs the water to provide a great experience.

    This setup is significantly more complex as it requires filters, hoses, pumps and other equipment used to circulate and energize the water. Needless to say, this may be one job that you don't want to approach alone.

    Jacuzzis also need more care than traditional tubs. Users have to make sure that the jets and drain are all clear and working appropriately. Avoid bubble baths and oil-based soaps, as these could cause residue buildups in the plumbing. It's important to know how to care for and clean this type of tub to ensure it's operating effectively.

    Clawfoot tubs

    Clawfoot tubFor those looking for a more vintage feel, clawfoot tubs are ideal. These relics are coming back in style.

    But, there are a lot of considerations that homeowners need to make if they want this model for their bathroom setup. Clawfoot tubs take up a significant amount of room since they tend to stand alone, away from the walls with no adjacent support structure. The piping is also exposed, requiring additional floorspace to run these lines. Homeowners should take special care when positioning their clawfoot tub and lines as pipes could freeze if they're too close to the exterior of the home. It's important to ensure that there's enough room for the model and to take preventative measures that help keep it functional.

    Bathtub models each have their own unique needs, and homeowners should know the basics when caring for these fixtures. While there are a number of plumbing projects that you can do yourself, when you need help installing a tub or ensuring it's working properly, call an expert plumber for consultation.

  • Top 4 Plumbing Tips for First-Time New Mexico Homeowners

    Top 4 Plumbing Tips for First-Time New Mexico Homeowners

    Congratulations on purchasing your home in Santa Fe, NM The journey of home ownership is just beginning. Let's review a few things you should remember as you close the deal and move into your New Mexico home:

    Check for plumbing leaks

    This is one of the first things you should do when moving into a new home. Before closing, your house inspector will no doubt do this, but it's helpful to look at everything with your own eyes, as well. Some things to watch out for include:

    • Dripping faucets

    • Leaky hot water heater

    • Garbage disposal

    One way to check for leaks is to turn off the water in your home, read the meter immediately afterward and then check it again two hours later. If the two readings differ, you probably have a leak somewhere.

    Be kind to your appliances

    Your washing machine, dryer and refrigerator all need to be maintained properly in order to avoid emergencies down the road. Even if you buy them new when you move in, you should still treat them with care so that they last for a long time.

    In addition, make sure you're paying attention to the kinds of foods you're putting in your garbage disposal. There are some foods that simply shouldn't be going down the drain, like bacon grease, fibrous vegetables or potato skins, so watch out for those situations.

    Make sure you winterize your pipes

    It's important to take the steps necessary to make sure your home is ready for winter - and that includes winterizing your pipes. Insulate all pipes in unheated areas or against un-insulated outside walls, in garages or in crawl spaces. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing. In addition, you can leave a faucet dripping ever so slightly to prevent frozen pipes - as long as water is still moving through your home, this eliminates pressure that can build between an ice blockage and the faucet itself.

    Call a plumber for any outstanding issues

    For projects that you can't complete by yourself, or for a much-needed assessment of your new home's plumbing, you should turn to the experts. The local plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter can help you get your home in tip-top shape. Give us a call today for more information.

  • 4 Plumbing Projects You Can Do Yourself in Sarasota

    4 Plumbing Projects You Can Do Yourself in Sarasota

    Leaking faucetPlumbing is one of the most complex systems in any home, which is often why homeowners call professionals to help them. However, not all plumbing problems are created equal or require the same level of expertise. In fact, there are some plumbing projects that you can easily do yourself as long as you have the right tools on hand.

    Fixing faucets

    In any home, the constant drip of a leaky faucet is enough to drive anyone crazy. Whether the source is in the kitchen or the bathroom, homeowners can easily remedy this issue on their own.

    Two-handle and one-handle sink faucets both require you to remove the handle, pop out the mechanism and replace it or the seals. You can buy pieces individually once you identify the problem or replace everything at once with a repair kit. Bathtub faucets are a bit different as it's likely the valve seats will need to be replaced to address the leak.

    Replacing washer hoses

    The washing machine is one of the most used appliances in the house, and it's important to ensure that it stays in working order. A burst hose can produce 500 gallons of water, so homeowners must replace the washing machine hose as needed. You can do this by turning off the water supply, disconnecting the old hose and attaching the new one. It's recommended to change the hose every five years to ensure that everything operates effectively.

    Unclogging the drain

    In the bathtub and sinks all over the house, it's likely that something will get stuck at one time or another. This is often a buildup of dust, dirt, hair and other detritus over time. While it's not exactly pleasant to be digging out this waste from the drain, it's cheap and effective. Doing it yourself could cost as little as $5, It's worth it to at least try it yourself and progress from there, but it will certainly depend on the situation.

    Stopping a running toilet

    The running toilet is another common issue that plagues most households, but it's also one of the easiest to fix. This problem comes from one of three sources: either the flush valve isn't closing all the way, the flush valve needs to be replaced or the water in the tank is too high, making it think it's low on water when it isn't. A quick inspection can determine what the cause is, and give you direction on how to fix it.

    Homeowners should understand the difference between what types of projects are doable on their own, and what issues signal that it's time to call a professional. When in doubt, it doesn't hurt to get a consultation to verify if the issue is as easy as it seems. For all other problems, call your local Roto-Rooter expert to help you through your various projects around the house.

  • Unclogging the Kitchen Sink: First Steps | Roto-Rooter

    Unclogging the Kitchen Sink: First Steps

    Clogged kitchen sinkAt some point, you or someone you know will find themselves in the unfortunate situation of contending with a clogged kitchen sink drain that's too tough for drain cleaner. In a city like Lakeland that already has more than 38 lakes, the last thing anyone wants is one more body of water in their kitchen.

    Before getting on the wire with your local Roto-Rooter, here are a few first steps to take when you get a clog.

    Start with a plunger

    If you don't already have a plunger for your sink, invest in one. Many clogs can be cleared with a good plunging. Many models of sink plunger sell for less than $10, and can be purchased online or at a local hardware store like Hardy's or Jereco.

    As for the actual act, plugging up the unclogged drain on the opposite side of the sink with a wet rag before getting started, as this aids in delivering the pressure directly to the clog. Next, fill the clogged side of the sink with a small amount of water, and begin plunging away (remember it's all about the up motion, not pushing down). Hopefully any food or paper products locked in the pipes will budge when you do this.

    Next steps

    If that doesn't seem to do the trick, then fashioning a wire coat hanger into an impromptu pipe cleaner. Bend a small hook onto the end using pliers, insert the coat hanger, and wiggle it up and down to try to dislodge any food that may be caught in the pipe. This may succeed where the plunger failed. (Caution: Do not stick equipment or appendages into a garbage disposal without first cutting the fuse.)

    However, there is a chance that the clog is father down the drain, whereby none of the above methods will work. If this is the case, then first start by running a snake down the drain. These can be purchased at your local hardware store like the aforementioned examples. If that still doesn't work, you may have to take the trap beneath the sink apart, and snake the drain more directly. This requires a bit of hands-on effort, so you may want to wear rubber gloves. Be sure to place a bucket beneath the trap to catch any dirty water. Finally, you can begin snaking the drain.

    Last step: Call in a professional

    When you've exhausted all remediation efforts to unclog your drain, you know it's time to call a licensed plumber. Don't hesitate to contact your Lakeland Roto-Rooter. They certainly won't hesitate to head over and unclog your drain.

  • Signs You Need to Replace Your Toilet | Roto-Rooter

    Signs You Need to Replace Your Toilet

    Bathroom toiletWhen it comes time to replace one of the most important fixtures in your home – your toilet, of course – do you know what to look for? You may have been able to remedy smaller problems in the past, like a broken flapper valve or chain, but what are some of the signs you might need to scrap the old fixture and get a totally new one?

    Running toilet

    A running toilet may be a sign of a broken flapper valve, which is easily replaceable, but what happens when you replace this part and the toilet continues to run? This could be a sign of a deeper problem with the toilet itself, especially if it is an older fixture.

    Cracks in the tank or bowl

    Cracks in pretty much any part of the fixture could mean serious money for repairs, and water on the floor could be a sign that it's time to go. To test for cracks in the tank, put dye in it and wait – the crack will become discolored as the dye seeps through, and then the leaked water on the floor will show color. If the bowl or tank is cracked, you have to replace them – there is no quick fix for this kind of problem.

    Wasted water

    Older toilets may not be the most efficient when it comes to saving water. It may be worth it for your utility bills sake to think about investing in a low-flush toilet that conserves water – relieving both the environment and your wallet. Toilets manufactured before 1980 can use up to seven gallons of water with each flush, as opposed to the newer models that use no more than 1.6 gallons for major flushing and less than a gallon for just flushing away liquid.

    It needs too many repairs

    Maybe all of the above is wrong with your fixture, maybe more. When it gets to the point when it seems like you're fixing something on your toilet every other day, and it still isn't working the way it should, you should consider purchasing a new one. It's just not worth the hassle of rebuilding the toilet piece by piece. If you replace every part of your toilet over a long period of time, is it still the original fixture anyway?

    If you think your toilet may need to be replaced, don't hesitate to contact the experts at Roto-Rooter for a professional opinion today.

  • Why is My Septic Tank Alarm Going Off?

    Why is My Septic Tank Alarm Going Off?

    You're sitting in your Victoria, British Columbia, home when suddenly you hear a buzzer. No, it's not the doorbell or the oven timer. It's actually your septic tank alarm.

    When the alarm starts sounding, it's usually because the tank is having trouble pumping wastewater to the drain field. This could be for several reasons.

    Check the weather

    Victoria doesn't get much rainfall, but if it has been storming, the excess water could be too much for your septic tank. This is because the rain will saturate the drain field, leaving little to no room for wastewater.

    if this is the cause drastically limit your water use. This means trying not to flush the toilet unless necessary, delay doing the dishes and taking your laundry elsewhere if it needs washing.

    Rain isn't the only cause of a saturated drainfield. Watering your lawn more than usual or draining the pool can also lead to a flooded field.

    Power problems

    Your septic tank is powered by electricity, so if you've had problems in other parts of your home, they could be affecting your septic tank as well. An electrical problem could make the alarm go off when there is actually no danger. Get to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible to prevent future false alarms.

    An accidental disconnection between the tank and the power can trigger an alarm as well. Be sure to check this any time the alarm goes off. If this is the case, connect it as soon as possible.

    Regular inspections

    Get in the habit of routine inspections to make sure your septic tank is functioning properly and there are no clogs. If there is one, use a plumbing snake or septic safe chemical drain opener to clear out the clog.

    Keep in mind how old your septic tank is. Most have a lifespan of about 10-15 years. If it's nearing the end of this time period, you may need to consider getting a newer model. It might be a good idea to begin setting aside savings for a new septic tank if it's close to 10 years old or older.

    If your alarm is going off and you're not quite sure how to address the problem, contact your local Roto-Rooter as soon as possible. Septic tank alarms should never be ignored or taken lightly. Neglecting it can lead to bigger problems later on.

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