Roto-Rooter Blog

  • How to Clean a Toilet | Roto-Rooter

    How to clean a toilet

    According to Martha Stewart, your toilet should be cleaned at least once per week. Taking time out of every week to clean can make the process faster. Follow these simple tips to keep your toilet clean:

    When preparing to clean your toilet, you will need the following cleaning products:

    • A toilet brush

    • Toilet bowl cleaner

    • Disinfectant

    • Gloves

    • Sponge

    Today explained the first step in cleaning your toilet is to turn off the water using the knob on the water line behind your toilet. Then, flush your toilet to leave you with a completely empty bowl. Pour in your toilet bowl cleaner. Apartment Therapy recommends using Coca-Cola, while Today suggests using a homemade cleaner made of Borax, baking soda, salt and tea tree oil. However, any cleanser you get from the store will work to get your toilet clean.  

    Using a glove and sponge or brush, scrub your toilet bowl and under the rim.

    If you are using a homemade cleaner:

    • Wash it away with vinegar

    • Let the solution sit for about an hour

    • Turn the water back on when the time is up, then flush the toilet.

    • Use the cleaner to wipe down the rim, seat, lid and exterior of the toilet.

    Maintain your clean toilet

    Once your toilet is clean, maintenance is key.  Everyday toilet maintenance includes:

    • Using a disinfectant wipe to clean the rim or seat after use
    • Using a toilet brush to clean away grime daily – no cleanser necessary

    By performing these regular maintenance steps and cleaning your toilet once a week, you bathroom will be a healthier place for everyone.

    For more information on everything from how to clean a toilet, plumbing install and repairs, contact the plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter.

  • Five Tips From Your Tyler, Texas, Plumber

    Five Tips From Your Tyler, Texas, Plumber

    Maintenance is key as a homeowner. That means taking care of everything in your house - from the roof to the floors. Your plumbing systems also fall into that category. To that end, here are five helpful tips from your Tyler, Texas, plumber to help you keep everything in tip-top shape.

    Do a little research

    If you don't know what your plumbing fixtures look like when they're in working order, how do you expect to know when something has gone wrong? Our plumbers over at Roto-Rooter recommend getting to know your plumbing systems. Take a peek at your hot water heater. Examine your exposed pipes. Open up your toilet tank. The more your educate yourself on your plumbing fixtures, the easier it will be to tell if something needs fixing.

    Try it yourself

    Surprisingly enough, there are plenty of jobs that a plumber isn't needed for. You could repair a leaky faucet or unclog a toilet yourself. Repairs can be a lot easier than you think. For example, insulating your pipes is an inexpensive way to protect your home. Head out to your local hardware store to pick up insulation (the pink material found in unfinished basements and attics). Cut the fabric it, and wrap it around your pipes to keep them from freezing and eventually bursting. It's a quick and easy way to help avert a major issue.

    Protect your drains

    Your drains are highly susceptible to blockage. That includes shower and garbage disposal drains. In fact, a clogged drain is one of the main reasons that people call in a professional. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to help prevent a backup. For your garbage disposal, it's all about what you throw down there. The wrong kind of trash can really mess up your plumbing fixtures. Here are some items you should never put in your disposal:

    • Fibrous foods like lettuce, carrots, onion skins and potato peels.

    • Greasy foods or grease from cleaning.

    • Food that increases in size with water like pasta, rice and other grains.

    • Bones.

    • Non-food items.

    You don't just have to worry about your kitchen drains, however. The pipes connected to your showers, baths, and faucets are also very sensitive to the wrong kinds of waste. For example, hair can clog a pipe quickly. Be sure to put a hair catcher over your drain to prevent blockage. If your plumbing still gets backed up, use a declogging product to eliminate the mess. If the problem persists, you may need to call a plumber to fix the issue.

    Don't ignore the problem

    Issues don't go away on their own. It may seem relatively harmless, but over time, a leaky faucet can do some heavy damage. For example, the continuation of water dripping can skyrocket your bill (you can get charged for water you didn't even use). In addition, the moisture can grow and produce mold. If you notice something in your home is off, don't wait. It will only cause more damage down the road.

    Call a professional

    Like mentioned above, there are plenty of problems you can fix yourself. There are lots of credible websites that can take you through repairs step by step. However, if you're inexperienced, you can end up doing more harm than good. Things like backed up pipes and a broken dishwasher are just two of problems that should be left in the hands of a professional. To prevent this, give us a call over at Roto-Rooter. We'll send out a professional and experienced plumber to tend to any issue your home has.

  • First Things to Check When a Toilet Breaks| Roto-Rooter

    Things to check when the toilet breaks

    A toilet malfunction can happen at any time. Before calling in the plumbing professionals, it is best to first assess the situation to see if there is something that can be done without the assistance of a plumber. From a running toilet, to a broken toilet flapper, here are a few simple items to check when your toilet malfunctions:

    Is the lever in bad shape?

    When you push down on a toilet lever to flush, a corresponding lever inside the tank lifts a flap at the bottom of the tank, allowing the water to empty into the bowl, while washing away its contents and refiling with new water. Often, one of these two levers might be in need of repair and may start sticking when you flush, causing the flapper valve inside the tank to stay open, and water to keep running. Sometimes, all it takes to stop a running toilet is to just lift the outside handle back to its original position. If this is the case, the chain between the handle and the flapper might be tangled, or the flush lever may be warped, bent or broken.

    Roto-Rooter recommends that when you replace the flush lever, or do any other sort of toilet maintenance, you first turn the water supply valve counter clockwise to shut off the water.

    Examine the lift chain

    The lever inside the toilet is connected to the flapper by a chain. When you push down on the handle, the lever inside lifts the chain and the chain lifts the flapper. If the lift chain becomes disconnected or is too long, the toilet handle will wiggle in place when you try to flush.  If the chain is too taught, it might be suspending the flap in place and causing a slow leak. If your toilet will not flush, or if it won't stop flushing, there's a good chance you need to fix the lift chain.

    Is the flapper broken?

    Over time, the flap might become warped or accumulate grime, which, according to Apartment Therapy, can result in a leak. If the flap is dirty or warped, it won't seal the tank correctly. If one of the hinges on the flap is broken it will cause it to fall back into place crooked with each flush. If this is the case, no need to worry because toilet flappers are as cheap and easy to replace as a lever or chain.

    If everything appears to be working as it should and you are certain that your toilet isn't clogged, call the plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter to help assess the situation and get your toilet working properly again in no time!  

  • Protecting Your Gainesville, Florida, Home

    Protecting Your Gainesville Florida HomeProtecting Your Gainesville, Florida, Home

    Part of being a homeowner includes making sure everything is in working order. Seasons change, and that can affect your house from top to bottom. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can protect your Gainesville, Florida, home. Here are some of them:

    Keep an eye on your toilet

    Our bathrooms are used every day, so if yours suddenly stopped working, it'd be a huge inconvenience for you and your family. The first step to taking care of your bathroom plumbing is knowing what should go in your toilet and what should not. There are many discrepancies around what can be flushed, but we're here to set the record straight. Don't put anything in your toilet other than waste and toilet paper. Your pipes are not strong enough to handle anything else. In addition, there are several items that not only back up your plumbing but can damage the environment. For example, things used to absorb liquid, like tampons, sanitary pads and cotton balls, will grow in size in your plumbing, blocking the pipe altogether. Pitch these in the trash. You may think flushing medicine is the safest way to get rid of it. However, these pills can eliminate helpful bacteria in sewage and harm wildlife. It's best to put them in the garbage instead.

    Even though you might know what is flushable, it doesn't mean everyone else does. If you have large gatherings often, it might be in your best interest to hang a sign in your bathroom. That way, everyone will be informed, and it may ease your mind.

    Protect your pipes

    Although the winters in Florida might not be too harsh, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make the necessary changes to protect your home. The most important step? Insulating your pipes. Head to your local hardware store to pick up some insulation material (that pink fabric found in unfinished basements and attics). Next, cut the material and wrap it around your fixtures. That should provide your pipes with the warmth they need during colder temperatures.

    Keep in mind, insulated pipes won't do you any good if your heating systems aren't working. So, survey your home to make sure furniture isn't blocking any of your air vents.

    Don't ignore a problem

    Oftentimes, homeowners think that issues in their home will just go away on their own. If you are experiencing a clogged toilet just about every day, odds are that the situation won't get any better without repairs. The same goes for a leaky faucet. Letting a faucet continue to drip water will not only increase your water bill, but it can provide the perfect environment for harmful mold to grow. If you see that something is wrong in your home, don't wait - either fix it yourself or a call a plumber.

    In fact, if you have any issues, don't be afraid to give us a call over at Roto-Rooter. We'll send out one of our professional and experienced plumbers to tend to your home's needs.

  • How to Manage Water Damage in Your Home | Roto-Rooter

    How to Manage Water Damage in Your Home-POSTHow to best manage water damage in your home

    Even just a few inches of water can do serious harm to your home. The plumbing experts at Roto-Rooter specialize in water restoration. We also offer helpful DIY advice on how to deal with a water emergency and protect your home for the future.

    Water damage is the second most filed insurance claim in the United States with billions of dollars in property losses spent each year as a result of water damage.

    Follow these 4 simple steps before you begin troubleshooting:

    1. Turn off the water supply in your home

    2. Turn off all power

    3. Move furniture

    4. Call Roto-Rooter for professional plumbing assistance at any time.

    Why a water leak constitutes an immediate emergency:

    • A 1/8 inch crack in a pipe can cause as much as 250 gallons of water released per day!

    • Mold can grow in an untreated, damp environment within the first 24 to 48 hours

    From burst pipes, to clogged toilets, sewer backups and water heater failures, water emergencies can happen at any time. Roto-Rooter’s helpful infographic is designed to walk you through simple troubleshooting to address your water emergency as soon as possible.

    Whether it is your water heater, toilet or any other plumbing or equipment that needs service, Roto-Rooter’s trained plumbing professionals are here to help you with all of your residential plumbing needs.  

    Water damage can be put into three categories:

    • Uncontaminated, clean water that does not pose a threat (water from a kitchen sink or tub being an example).

    • Grey water from sump pump pit water or discharge from a dishwasher could contain contaminants and exposure could result in illness.

    • Black water from sewer backups or floodwater can cause serious illness or even death from exposure.

    Learn more about how you can do your part with Roto-Rooter’s helpful infographic, as well as our extensive list of DIY conservation tips online. Our simple facts about household leaks with be sure to save you money on your utility bill while also helping you to be more environmentally conscious.

    Preventative Maintenance - DoIt Yourself

    Keeping your home safe and dry can be an easy process if you follow these simple steps:

    1. Frequently inspect your water lines and seals on washing machines, water heaters, dishwashers and ice-makers.  Replace if needed.

    2. Drain water heaters every six months to prevent sediment buildup.

    3. Prevent frozen pipes by maintaining the heat in your home.

    4. Inspect the water shut-off valve regularly and replace if needed.

    5. Test your sump-pump at least once a year.

    In addition to our helpful infographic, see our online information targeting the plumbing basics to help you to maximize your plumbing’s efficiency throughout your home and address water leaks immediately.

  • 5 Ways to Protect Your Home in Reno, Nevada | Roto-Rooter

    Being a homeowner isn't always smooth sailing. If something goes wrong, you can't just call up your landlord to take care of it. Either you have to fix the problem yourself or call a professional. Such issues in your house are inevitable - especially as the seasons change. However, there are steps you can take to avoid unnecessary plumbing issues. Here are five ways to protect your Reno, Nevada, home:

    Start with your toilet

    protect-your-home-reno-nvThere are some things that just should not be flushed. In fact, the only things that belong in your toilet are toilet paper and waste. Everything else - pitch it in the trash. Your pipes aren't made to withstand other items. For example, feminine hygiene products, like tampons and sanitary pads, are made to absorb  liquid. Therefore, if flushed, they can back up your fixtures and cause serious damage.

    You might have been told to flush pills down the toilet instead of tossing them into the trash. However, antibiotics can eliminate harmful bacteria in our sewage systems and can pose a threat to the environment. Put them in the waste basket instead.

    If you are one to have people over at all times, it can be difficult to ensure your guests aren't flushing the wrong materials. It might be helpful to put up a sign like they do in restaurant bathrooms, just to protect your home and plumbing.

    Protect your pipes

    Regardless of the type of climate you live in, your pipes need a little extra warmth during the winter. Be sure to head out to your local hardware store to pick up some insulation (the pink material found in unfinished basements and attics). Cut the insulation, and wrap it around all the exposed fixtures in your home. This will help keep them toasty, even in the colder months of the year, and prevent freezing.

    Don't ignore the problem

    Most people expect plumbing issues to go away on their own. You might be able to initially unclog a toilet, but if it keeps getting backed up a couple of times a week, it may mean there's a bigger problem. If you notice something is off, don't just ignore it. For example, a leaky faucet may seem relatively harmless. However, over time, it can increase your water bill and grow harmful mold in your sink. Give a professional a call to come in to fix the problem.

    Take care of your drains

    All too often, people let things go down the drain that don't belong there. For instance, you should install a hair catcher in all of your showers and tubs. That way, hair won't back up the pipes, as you can throw it in the garbage after you bathe. Another place where many people run into issues? The garbage disposal. Although these kitchen features can come in handy, they're also very sensitive to the wrong materials. Here are some items you should never throw down your garbage disposal:

    • Fibrous foods, like lettuce, carrots, onion skins and potato peels.

    • Greasy foods or grease from cleaning.

    • Food that increases in size with water, like pasta, rice and other grains.

    • Bones.

    • Non-food items.

    Call a plumber

    Although there are plenty of websites that can guide you through snaking a drain or fixing a dishwasher, sometimes you can do more harm than good. Don't risk causing more extensive and expensive problems to you home; instead, just give a plumber a call. Ring us over at Roto-Rooter and we'll send out a professional and experienced plumber to fix anything you need.

  • 4 Types of Sewer Linings for Cracked Pipes | Roto-Rooter

    sewer-linings-for-cracked-pipes4 Types of Sewer Linings to Rehabilitate Your Cracked Pipes

    Sewer linings can help to repair cracked pipes without having to completely replace your sewer lines or destroy the area around them.

    If you are looking to replace an existing underground sewer pipe that has started to leak, first consider your options. A full sewer pipe replacement may not be necessary. Often, relining your existing pipes is a better option. If your sewer lines are beneath trees, near extensive landscaping, sidewalks, driveways or other semi-permanent features, total sewer excavation can cause a great deal of collateral damage (and expense) to the surrounding area.

    In many cases, pipe relining is great alternative to replacing your sewer pipes. There are four types of pipe relining systems to successfully get the job done. All the materials will rehabilitate the interior of your pipes without having to completely replace them.

    Here are the types of pipe relining systems available today:

    1. Cured-in Place

    Cured-in place piping is a method used to repair trenchless relining systems. Professional sewer and drain companies like Roto-Rooter are able to remotely line the section of the pipe that is cracked without having to dig a trench. After the interior of the pipe is cleaned and dried, the installers will apply the lining to the problem area. The liner is cured in place with jets of hot steam as it molds into all the cracks inside the pipe.

    2. Pull-in Place

    Pull-in place is the best lining method for pipes that have larger gaps and cracks. The material is fixed into the pipe using heat, like steam. The epoxy-saturated liner is then pulled into place (the place being the area of the pipe that needs repair). To pull the liner through the desired location, two access points are needed: one to feed the liner and one to pull it through. Air is introduced into the pipe to open the sleeve and hold it against the inner walls of the pipe until it dries in place.

    3. Pipe bursting

    The pipe-bursting method is used on pipes that are severely damaged, for replacing an entire pipe system, or for repairing larger sections of sewer pipeline. The installers need physical access to the pipe in order to begin repair, which includes two four foot square access pits at either end of the pipeline. The installers begin by placing a "bursting head" at the access point on one end of the pipe. Hydraulic power is used to drag the head through the pipe. As it makes its way through the system, breaking the old pipe apart and drawing in a new seamless pipe behind it. The pipe is a plastic material that will be impervious to root intrusion for up to 100 years.

    4. Internal pipe coating

    Professional installers use internal pipe coating to repair an existing sewer pipe that has started to leak into surrounding soil. To prepare the area for treatment, they will completely drain the pipes to get rid of any water. A thick epoxy coating is sprayed on the inside of your pipes to permanently seal the leaks and cracks throughout the pipeline.

    All of these pipe relining techniques leave behind a smooth, seamless pipe that is designed to last for generations.

    Call the Plumbing Professionals at Roto-Rooter

    Pipe relining requires the work of an experienced professional and is not a do-it-yourself job.  For more information on sewer pipe replacement options, contact your local Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service professional today.

  • 4 Plumbing Tips from Your Eugene Roto-Rooter | Roto-Rooter

    four-plumbing-tips-eugeneMost people forget how much time, effort and money goes into being a homeowner. You can no longer ring your landlord when something goes wrong. As someone with a house, you have full responsibility for either fixing it or hiring someone to take care of things.

    One aspect in your home that needs to be taken care of? Your plumbing. Of course, problems are sometimes inevitable, but there are conscious steps you can take to keep your systems in working order. Here are four things your Eugene, Oregon, plumber wants you to know:

    Garbage disposals are not the trash

    Most people are too liberal with what they put in their garbage disposals, when in fact these systems are incredibly sensitive. They're a great way to get rid of food scrap, because unlike garbage cans, the materials don't sit and produce odor. Instead, they disintegrate in your plumbing systems, where you no longer have to worry about them. However, these appliances can't break down everything, and if you throw the wrong material down your disposal, you could risk backing it up, breaking it and harming the environment. Things such as bones, vegetable peelings, grains and grease should never be thrown down your plumbing. Instead, pitch them in the trash.

    Protect your pipes

    Some of the most dangerous issues in the home can happen during winter, and it comes in the form of frozen pipes. If your pipes aren't properly protected, the water inside of them can freeze, stopping your water systems all together. Unfortunately, most people don't realize their pipes are frozen until it's too late (either when their showers don't work or the pipe bursts causing extensive and expensive damage to the home). However, there are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure this isn't the case for you.

    First, head out to your local hardware store and pick up some insulation (that pink material found in unfinished rooms). Next, cut the insulation and wrap it around your unfinished pipes - especially the ones found in laundry rooms, basements and attics. This material stores the heat so the cold doesn't harm your pipe fixtures when temperatures drop; it's like a jacket for your pipes! Although insulation can do a lot, it doesn't do you any good if your heat isn't working. Before winter hits, make sure your heating systems are working just fine. Test all your vents to make sure the right temperature and pressure of air is blowing. In addition, check that there are no pieces of decor (rugs, side tables, etc.) covering your vents.

    If it's in the dead of winter, you may also want to run your faucets on a daily basis. This consistent water flow will diminish your chances of the water freezing. This is particularly important in faucets that don't get much attention, like a basement shower head or laundry room sink.

    Be cautious of what you flush

    The pipes connected to your toilet are more sensitive than you think. In fact, there are plenty of items that you shouldn't be flushing (i.e. anything but waste and toilet paper). Any feminine products like tampons or sanitary pads are made to absorb liquid, so they will not properly break down and can cause blockage to your systems. The same thing goes for cotton balls and baby wipes. In addition, if flushed, pills can eliminate the necessary bacteria in our water and pose a threat to wildlife and the environment.

    Don't flush anything except waste and toilet paper.

    Although you may know about what you should and shouldn't flush, that doesn't mean all your guests do. Just to be safe, consider hanging a sign (like the ones in restaurants) noting what should and shouldn't be flushed down the toilet to protect your home the best you can.

    Call a professional

    Sometimes problems are simply out of our hands. Instead of risking making it worse by trying to fix something yourself, just call someone to get the job done for you. Our experienced and professional plumbers at Roto-Rooter can tend to any of your plumbing needs - even if it's just answering a simple question. Don't hesitate, give us a call!

  • Making sense of WaterSense-labeled low-flow faucets

    When it comes to finding more efficient fixtures for your home, it can be difficult to know which options provide the best value for the environment and your utilities bills. Luckily, the U.S. government has programs to make the decision easier, and its WaterSense program is one of your best resources when seeking out new high quality faucets that use less water without seeming like it. This represents the very latest in faucet evolution.

    This information is particularly useful in areas that have strict conservation demands. In these states, a low-flow faucet may be the only option. So whether you're contending with regulations or simply want to be more efficient in your water usage, check out this overview of WaterSense-labeled low-flow faucets:

    What is the WaterSense program?

    Companies that wish to label their products as WaterSense compliant must sign an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Then, these companies produce faucets, showerheads, toilets and other plumbing fixtures that have water efficiency exceeding the average flow rate by at least 20 percent; have a third-party certification and meet other criteria. This arrangement is similar to the Energy Star program for appliances and electronic devices.

    "WaterSense products exceed average efficiency by at least 20%."

    The level of required efficiency can change as the industry sees more overall innovation. As of 2016, the EPA listed faucets that put out no more than 1.5 gallons per minute as sufficient for a WaterSense label. The average flow rate for faucets at that time was 2.2 gallons per minute.

    Another key criteria of the WaterSense labeling program is realizing savings shouldn't impact performance. This means you get the same quality of product along with more money in your pocket when it's time to pay the water bill.

    What do you get with a WaterSense-labeled faucet?

    Of course, the most important question for any homeowner would be in regard to hard figures about water conservation. What exactly does that 20 percent boost in efficiency translate to? Here's a look:

    • When converting that percentage to the amount of water saved, the average family can cut its annual water consumption by 700 gallons.

    • As for cost savings, this collective reduction across the U.S. could total $1.2 billion in savings each year.

    • For water utility bills in particular, the EPA estimated a possible national savings of $350 million.

  • 4 Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet | Roto-Rooter

    Four Items you should never flush down the toilet

    Your toilet is a not as hearty as you might think. In order to maintain superior plumbing performance throughout your home, it is important to always be mindful of what you flush down the toilet. Human waste and toilet paper are truly the only things that you should be flushing down your toilet. Flushing things like Q-tips and hair from your hairbrush can cause clogs and backups over time.

    Here are four things you should never flush down the toilet:

    Feminine hygiene products

    Feminine products soak up moisture while causing expansion, which is the very reason tampons, applicators or sanitary pads should never be flushed down the toilet. Overtime, flushing feminine hygiene products will make it difficult for these items to pass through the sewer pipeline, as well as your water treatment plant.

    Dental floss

    Dental floss may seem harmless, but over time, flushing dental floss can cause a backup while getting stuck in the middle of your pipeline, catching on tree roots or on an offset section of a pipe. Floss is also not biodegradable, which means it will end up in a landfill and can be harmful to both humans and our environment.

    'Flushable' wipes

    Contrary to what the packaging reads, you should never flush wipes down the toilet. Wipes can get caught on pipes and cause blockages and backups. Flushable wipes are also not biodegradable as many are made of plastic. Always remember to toss face wipes in the wastebasket – not your toilet bowl.

    Kitty litter

    Kitty litter is another product that should never be flushed down the toilet. Not only are you flushing fecal matter and urine, but also clay and sand, which should never be flushed. Cat waste can carry toxins and parasites, which means you are flushing bacteria through your local water system. For questions or concerns about your home’s plumbing and what not to flush, call your local Roto-Rooter for answers to all of your plumbing questions. 

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