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  • Fix Roots in Your Sewer Pipes Without Killing Trees | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Tree roots are to blame for millions of sewer clogs each year but too often homeowners swear revenge against the offending trees then follow through by cutting them down. But that’s an extreme reaction and not necessary! Your sewer pipes can coexist with your trees – and we’re not just saying that because we’re in the plumbing and sewer cleaning business and our name is Roto-Rooter. We love trees, and not just because they help us make money! They’re beautiful and they’re good for the environment.

    Modern trenchless sewer replacement methods allow us replace underground sewer pipes without digging up your yard. And the sleek new pipeline that we use to replace your old broken sewer pipe is more or less permanently impervious to root infiltration. It’s immune, untouchable and you’ll never again need to worry about a sewer backup caused by tree roots the way you did with old clay, Orangeburg, concrete or iron pipes. The manufacturers of some of the modern plastic pipe estimate that the new plastic pipelines will probably last 100 years! Pipe bursting and pipe relining is something we’ve been doing at Roto-Rooter for more than a decade so we’re well versed on its merits. The cost for trenchless sewer replacement is a bit higher than a traditional sewer excavation job but it’s still cheaper than having a few trees removed and you won’t need a year to get your lawn back in order. For the most part, there won’t be much physical evidence that our crew was ever there.

    But chances are you don’t need to replace your sewer at all. If the pipe is still in fair condition, you can manage tree root infiltration by calling Roto-Rooter when you start to notice more than one drain in the house draining slowly. We’ll mechanically clean the line and remove all roots and obstructions. Having more than one slow drain in the house is an early warning that a sewer backup is coming. Better yet, if you know your home experiences a sewer backup about once a year, call us, we’ll put you on an annual schedule and remind you when it’s time for your annual sewer cleaning. We can do this at whichever intervals meet your needs. The cleanings are affordable and you won’t have to sacrifice the beautiful shade trees in your yard that are probing your sewer line for water and nutrients. 


  • Plumbing Maintenance in Your Home Winterizing Routine | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Have you ever had a frozen water pipe in your home? Sure, it’s a nuisance when you turn on the tap and discover your plumbing isn’t working. But that’s not the end of the ordeal. A hard freeze turns water inside the pipe into ice, which expands and creates pressure that often cracks or splits the water pipe, no matter if it’s made of copper, plastic or cast iron. The real trouble starts when the pipe begins to thaw and pressurized water begins spewing out of the crack and into a wall cavity! If your home has a basement, it could soon turn into an indoor swimming pool if the leak goes unnoticed for an extended period. If you want to avoid these scenarios, winterize your plumbing now, before the temperatures drop into the sub-zero range.

    Frozen PipesInsulation is the key. If you have exposed pipes in a crawl space, beneath pier and beam or trailer homes or even in attics and unheated garages, you need to insulate the pipes with foam insulation sleeves. Be generous with the insulation. There is no “less is more” when it comes to avoiding frozen pipes. Look at the sinks, toilets and bathtubs in your home. Do the supply lines for these fixtures run along outside walls? If so, those water pipes could be vulnerable if our winter is particularly cold. Take steps now, while you still have some reasonably warm weather on your side. For helpful winterizing tips, watch Roto-Rooter’s winterizing video.

    And the number one thing you need to do now if you live in the Northeast or Midwest is disconnect garden hoses from outside faucets. Then cover the faucets with Styrofoam insulation kits. If you live in the south, do this before the end of November! When water inside a garden hose freezes, it expands ice and pressure right into the faucet itself and into the water pipe that supplies it. That’s the most common place where water pipes freeze. And if you have a leaking outside faucet, fix it before winter arrives. If you can’t do it yourself, call a plumber. If you don’t those drips will surely freeze and create a bigger problem this winter. A plumber can also inspect your plumbing system and show you where your may have vulnerabilities to extreme cold.


  • Water Damage: The Need for Speedy Repair | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Water Damage: The Need for Speed!

    Water damage can be caused by many things: sewer line and toilet backups, sump pump and water heater failures, broken pipes, washing machine and dishwasher leaks, ice maker problems, flooding due to heavy rain, ground water seeping into the basement and natural disasters.

    But it doesn’t take a lot of water to cause tremendous damage. Just an inch or two can destroy carpets and dry wall, warp wood floors, damage building components, and trash home furnishings and personal items, including photo albums and family heirlooms.

    Even after the water seems to disappear, excess moisture can hide in your floor coverings, foundation, wood structures and walls—causing major damage to your property and creating the perfect environment for mold and other fungi growth.

    But if you catch it in time, you can ward off a lot of the damage and save money and headaches down the road. It’s important that water is quickly removed and the property dried, ventilated and disinfected to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, mildew and other microorganisms that are harmful.

    The key is having the phone number for a Washington, D.C. plumbing and water restoration team you trust ahead of time, so you can take care of the problem quickly. Here are a few things to look for before choosing a water restoration company:

    • A well-trained and knowledgeable team. Each technician should have received an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and perform water restoration services in compliance with the IICRC S500 standards for professional water damage restoration.
    • State-of-the-art equipment/techniques. Ask the company if it uses efficient dehumidifying units and air movers to eliminate moisture and prevent secondary damage to furniture, walls and flooring, as well as extraction processes with both suction and compression, which bring water to the surface and suctioning it away, so it cannot be re-absorbed into the carpet or pad.
    • Vehicles should be fully equipped with state-of-the art extraction, drying and moisture testing equipment for all types of water problems.
    • Professionals should work directly with your insurance carrier so you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
    • They should be available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, including holidays.

    Most importantly, know who to call before something happens. Researching a local plumber who’s licensed and insured ahead of time… and having their phone number on hand… can save you time and a lot of headaches if you should ever experience a water leak.

    For more Washington, D.C. plumbing tips, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER Washington, D.C.  and our Google+ page.Water Damage: The Need for Speed!

    Water damage can be caused by many things: sewer line and toilet backups, sump pump and water heater failures, broken pipes, washing machine and dishwasher leaks, ice maker problems, flooding due to heavy rain, ground water seeping into the basement and natural disasters.

    But it doesn’t take a lot of water to cause tremendous damage. Just an inch or two can destroy carpets and dry wall, warp wood floors, damage building components, and trash home furnishings and personal items, including photo albums and family heirlooms.

    Even after the water seems to disappear, excess moisture can hide in your floor coverings, foundation, wood structures and walls—causing major damage to your property and creating the perfect environment for mold and other fungi growth.

    But if you catch it in time, you can ward off a lot of the damage and save money and headaches down the road. It’s important that water is quickly removed and the property dried, ventilated and disinfected to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, mildew and other microorganisms that are harmful.

    The key is having the phone number for a Washington, D.C. plumbing and water restoration team you trust ahead of time, so you can take care of the problem quickly. Here are a few things to look for before choosing a water restoration company:

    • A well-trained and knowledgeable team. Each technician should have received an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and perform water restoration services in compliance with the IICRC S500 standards for professional water damage restoration.
    • State-of-the-art equipment/techniques. Ask the company if it uses efficient dehumidifying units and air movers to eliminate moisture and prevent secondary damage to furniture, walls and flooring, as well as extraction processes with both suction and compression, which bring water to the surface and suctioning it away, so it cannot be re-absorbed into the carpet or pad.
    • Vehicles should be fully equipped with state-of-the art extraction, drying and moisture testing equipment for all types of water problems.
    • Professionals should work directly with your insurance carrier so you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
    • They should be available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, including holidays.

    Most importantly, know who to call before something happens. Researching a local plumber who’s licensed and insured ahead of time… and having their phone number on hand… can save you time and a lot of headaches if you should ever experience a water leak.

    For more Washington, D.C. plumbing tips, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER Washington, D.C.  and our Google+ page.


  • Pumpkin Carving Fun Often Leads to Clogged Drains

    Pumpkin Carving Fun Often Leads to Clogged Drains

    By Paul Abrams

     

    It’s a family event in late October when many American households carve a pumpkin into a Halloween jack-o-lantern. The kids delight in the whole process, especially when mom and dad let junior scoop the pumpkin pulp out of the pumpkin. But what happens next is the scary part. Often, those slimy pumpkin guts are pushed down the sink drain then the disposal is turned on to chop it into tiny bits before the water washes it away. Except, it doesn’t quite work that way because pumpkin pulp should NEVER go down the drain!

     

    Any plumber will tell you that pumpkin guts will do a number on your garbage disposal and your kitchen drain. Most disposals will choke on the sticky stuff and what does get through will stick to the walls of the pipes then dry like fiberglass resin mixed with glue! Trust us when we tell you this exercise is definitely more trick than treat for a homeowner. Roto-Rooter can cut the gunk out but it’s not quick, easy or cheap.

     

    A better idea is to carve your pumpkin on a thick bed of newspaper. And when the carving is done, toss the whole mess into your compost pile. If you don’t compost, throw it in the trash can. Oh, and in case you think you can flush those pumpkin guts down the toilet, you can…but you’ll be sorry! We’ve seen it done and the results were not pretty. Since we’ve just about seen it all, we urge you to heed our warning and listen to the experts. Check out our pumpkin carving tips video and enjoy a clog-free Halloween.


  • ‘Tis the Season for Plumbing Emergencies | Roto-Rooter Blog

    ‘Tis the Season for Plumbing Emergencies

    It’s about that time of year again… when family and friends come together for holiday meals, celebrations and parties. But crowded homes and busy kitchens can often put a strain on your plumbing system. In fact, holidays are often our busiest times of the year. Whether it’s unclogging a pipe filled with potato peelings, or fixing a flooded bathroom, our Tampa plumbers definitely have their work cut out for them!

    So, to keep the season merry and bright, be sure to follow a few basic plumbing guidelines:

    • Make sure your toilet is in good working condition before guests arrive. Holiday guests equate to lots of extra toilet flushes, which can add up to potential plumbing disasters. Be sure to put waste baskets in your bathrooms to help guests remember not to flush items like baby wipes, facial tissues and feminine products down the toilet.
    • Pipes clog because of a gradual buildup of grease, hair, soap and/ or food particles. All it takes is one major overload, like a house full of showering guests, to exasperate the situation and create a clogged drain. If you haven’t had your plumbing system inspected in a while, now may be the time.
    • Avoid pouring fats or cooking oils down the drain because liquid fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs. Wipe congealed grease from pots.
    • Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposer (poultry skins, carrots, potato skins, celery, pumpkin pulp or banana peels). The disposer can't sufficiently grind these items and they will clog your sink drain.
    • Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposer to flush waste down the main line.
    • Turn on the disposer before adding food debris.
    • Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or at off times to conserve hot water and maintain adequate water pressure for your guests.

    For more Tampa plumbing tips, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER Tampa and our Google+ page.


  • Checking Your Appliance’s “Blood” Pressure | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Do Your Appliances Have High “Blood” Pressure?

    As a part of staying healthy, all of us need to check our blood pressure from time to time. But could your appliances be suffering from high “blood” pressure, as well? The lifeline of many of your appliances is water… and if the water pressure at your home goes unchecked, it could be a St. Paul plumbing emergency waiting to happen. Too much pressure can erode or wear away many materials and cause water heaters to leak, water pipes to bang, faucets to drip, pipes to leak, as well as excessive dishwasher and clothes washer noise and breakdown.

    The good news is that high water pressure is easily fixed and the cost to do it is pretty reasonable (especially compared to the damage you could face if it’s not corrected!) So, what can you do?

    If the water pressure in your home is above 60 pounds per square inch, it could be harmful to your plumbing system. You can contact your local water authority to find out what the water pressure is on your street. If it exceeds 60 pounds, consider installing a pressure reducing valve (PRV) that will limit the water pressure within your home. You can pick them up at most hardware stores for around $80. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, call a professional plumber to help.

    Aside from warding off potential plumbing disasters, installing a PRV can also save you big bucks. Here’s how:

    • Reducing the system pressure by as little as 10 to 20 psi can save thousands of gallons a year in a typical home.
    • Saving water also contributes to saving up the wastewater load, lowering sewer bills/taxes.
    • Since 30% of the water used in households is heated, a pressure regulator can cut down on the amount of hot water you’re using, too, saving energy costs.
    • PRVs can help minimize the cost of plumbing service calls caused by problems with dishwashers and clothes washers, leaky water heaters, leaking water pipes and the potential water damage that could result.
    • Since many residential plumbing fixtures are designed for pressures no greater than 75–80 psi… some manufacturers void their warranties if pressures are above this range! That means, if high pressure caused the problem with that new water heater, dishwasher, refrigerator icemaker, or pressure-assisted toilet, it could be your problem to fix.

    For more St. Paul plumbing tips, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER St. Paul and our Google+ page.


  • Choosing the Right Water Heater for You | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Choosing the Right Water Heater for You

    From tankless to traditional, solar to hybrid—there are more choices than ever when it comes to water heaters! So how do you decide which one is best for you? Here’s the scoop on all your water heater options from the ROTO-ROOTER Seattle plumbing experts:

    Conventional Water Heater

    These are the water heaters we all know and love. They store water in a tank, heat it up, and are available in a variety of gallon capacities, depending on your family size and personal needs. The drawbacks? They’re big, taking up a lot of space, and they consume energy whether water is needed or not, making them less efficient than some other options. A conventional electric or gas water heater should last about 11-15 years and they cost about $300.

    Tankless Water Heater (a.k.a. Instant or On-Demand Hot Water)

    A tankless water heater is generally considered more energy efficient because it only heats water as it is needed. When the tap is turned on, the heater goes to work and supplies continuous hot water. It’s smaller and can hang on a wall—but it can require larger gas lines and special venting—all of which can be expensive. However, a tankless water heater has a life expectancy of 15-20 years and may reduce water heating bills by as much as 30 percent. They’re pricey, though, costing $700-$1500.

    Solar Water Heater Systems

    These eco-friendly units use the sun’s energy to generate hot water for your home. There are two types. The first, a passive solar water heating system, is typically the less expensive option, but they're usually not as efficient. They are, however, more reliable and may last longer. Active solar water heating systems utilize pumps and controls to circulate water into the home. Most solar water heating systems require a well-insulated storage tank and a backup system for cloudy days and high water demand.

    Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater

    A hybrid water heater combines conventional tank storage with a heat pump that extracts heat from the air and uses it to help heat the water. It uses existing water and electrical connections, and can reduce water heating costs by almost 60 percent, making them a formidable competitor to tankless units.


    Still not sure which one is best for you? For more information about water heaters, as well as Seattle plumbing tips and instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER Seattle and our Google+ page.


  • 10 Easy Plumbing Winterization Preps for Cold Temps | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Is Your Plumbing Winter-Ready? 10 Easy Preps for Cold Temps

    As the leaves change color and temperatures begin to cool, we’re reminded that bitter, freezing temperatures will be creeping up on us before we know it. As you begin to pull out your winter wardrobe, don’t forget that your house needs some protection against the elements, too! After all, you don’t want to deal with the damage and costly repairs caused by frozen pipes and other winter woes. Here are some Philadelphia plumbing tips that’ll help get you prepared:

    1. Clear your rain gutters and downspouts. That pile of leaves and debris can block drainage, causing water to back up into your walls, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. Rain water can also freeze into heavy blocks of ice, which will pull the gutters away from your home, shortening their lifespan and creating an overhead ice hazard.
    2. 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.
    3. Put a “sweater” on your outside faucets. Pick up a few Styrofoam faucet insulation kits from your local home improvement store. They’re very inexpensive, easy to install, and they protect against freezing temperatures
    4. Take care of dripping or leaky faucets. Either do it yourself or call a plumber, but make sure they’re fixed before freezing temperatures arrive. When leaky pipes freeze, water pressure can build – causing cracks in plastic, copper and even steel pipes. Just a tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damage or flooding.
    5. Do you have interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets? If so, close them and drain water from the outside lines.
    6. Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as garages or crawl spaces. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing.
    7. Leaky doors and windows? Caulking and weather-stripping go a long way toward tightening them up and keeping out the cold air and moisture. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the potential energy savings from reducing drafts in your home may be as much as 30% per year.
    8. Get your water heater ready. After all, it is the workhorse of the house during winter months:
    • Flush and clean your water heater (check your user’s manual or consult the manufacturer’s website for instructions)
    • Check the temperature setting on your water heater's thermostat and make sure it’s set at 120°F for optimum performance.
    • Carefully test the water heater's pressure relief valve (Danger: water is very hot) by lifting up on the lever and letting it snap back. The valve should allow a burst of hot water into the drainpipe. If not, call a professional to have a new valve installed. Caution: if your water heater is more than five years old and the pressure relief valve has never been tested, you can actually cause a leak by testing older valves that have corroded or stuck seals. A plumber should be consulted.
    1. Make sure your sump pump is ready by inspecting and cleaning it – and the pit. Pumps exposed to extreme cold can freeze, preventing it from operating.
    2. Going away for a few days? Shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Don’t turn your heat off! Make sure the heat is left on and set no lower than 55°F. (These tips are for people living in their homes during the winter months. Many additional steps should be taken to winterize vacation properties that sit empty for weeks or months at a time.)

    For more plumbing tips, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER Philadelphia  and our Google+ page.


  • To Flush or Not to Flush? | Roto-Rooter Blog

    To Flush or Not to Flush? That is the Question!

    From diamond rings to dentures, socks to small animals, our New Orleans plumbers have found a lot of crazy items in sewer pipes. While those items likely ended up in the toilet accidentally, other seemingly harmless items are being flushed on purpose every day—and they can cause big plumbing issues! So when it comes to flushing, which items are a no-no?

    As the company that makes more plumbing service calls than all other plumbing companies, and repairs more than 75,000 toilets per year, we can tell you that there are only two things that should be flushed down a toilet: toilet paper and human waste.

    Unfortunately, fibrous wet wipes, paper towels, feminine products, cotton balls, cotton swabs, facial scrub pads and other items are often flushed away, as well. So—what’s the big deal? Well, paper towels take more than 24 hours to dissolve, while feminine products and other items can take days, weeks, months or longer—causing sewage back-ups into your home.

    Some wet wipes can be so harmful that they’ve been known to clog not just residential systems, but industrial-grade pumps at water treatment plants—costing taxpayers a lot of money to fix! But manufacturers are working on flushablility (yes, that’s a word) and making strides. Right now, the only wet wipes that are “flush friendly” are the pulp-based kind that don’t use stringy fibers—so be sure to read the label.

    So, what if you’re only flushing toilet paper and are still experiencing clogging? There must be another culprit. Often times, tree-root intrusion in underground sewers, damaged or misaligned sewer pipe sections, or some other foreign object like a child’s toy or one of the other items mentioned above is to blame.

    For more New Orleans plumbing tips and services, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER New Orleans and our Google+ page.


  • New Roto-Rooter TV Commercials for New England Feature Jason Hawes

    We are excited to talk about three new television commercials that Roto-Rooter recently shot with Jason Hawes, star of the Sy Fy Channel reality TV series, Ghost Hunters. As most fans of the show realize, Jason is a Roto-Rooter service technician by day and a ghost hunter by night. That fact is made clear in the series.

    Jason Hawes on the setAdvertising for service businesses like Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service has changed a lot over the years. Back before the Internet and rise of cable TV, there were just three TV networks in the U.S. It made sense then for Roto-Rooter to use television ads to inform the public about our services. But fast forward to 2014 and look how much Americans’ viewing habits have changed. There are well over 200 channel choices on television if you have cable –and most of us do. In other words, if you use a pizza to represent all the TV viewers in the United States then cut that pizza into 200+ slices to represent all of the channels, it’s increasingly difficult to reach lots of viewers without advertising on dozens of channels. That’s an expensive proposition and it’s simply not as effective as digital advertising.

    But there are certain markets and certain times when TV advertising can still be as effective as targeted web-based ads. The TV stations in Providence reach the entire state of Rhode Island and are also picked up throughout New England over the air. Jason Hawes is one of Rhode Island’s favorite sons and he is well recognized and respected by viewers in his hometown. The fact is that we’ve been discussing such a plan for years but the stars did not align perfectly for this project until last summer. Jason was on a brief hiatus from shooting Ghost Hunters and we had just enough time to develop scripts, find a shooting location and get it shot before Jason’s schedule got too busy to fit it in.

    Now that the three commercials have been completed, we’ve decided to make them available to Roto-Rooter franchises in other parts of the country. Some still do a fair amount of TV advertising and they’ll appreciate these fresh spots with celebrity punch. You can watch two of the commercials yourself on our YouTube channel here and here


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