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Roto-Rooter Blog

  • Facing Water Damage to your Home? Turn to Roto-Rooter

    Homeowners facing water damage should remember the Roto-Rooter name

    Water damage can be one of the most trying and difficult problems for homeowners to navigate. There are many causes of water damage including sewer backups, broken water supply pipes, overflowing toilets, sump pump failure and more. Perhaps the most common cause is a burst washing machine hose, which if left unnoticed can gush thousands of gallons of water into a home in a matter of hours.

    Damage from any of those problems can be catastrophic. Definitely requiring a professional team, not just a shop-vac and a few fans. If you ever find yourself facing serious water damage, your first call should be to a company that can both fix the cause of the problem (usually a plumber is the best pro for that) and remove the resulting water and damaged property. This would include carpeting, carpet pad, wet drywall, insulation, furniture, etc. 

    Roto-Rooter has been helping Americans with sewer & drain and plumbing problems for 80 years! We’ve satisfied millions of American home and business owners with fast, professional service. That’s why it makes sense to trust Roto-Rooter to solve your water damage problems too.

    We work with all insurance companies and we use the latest, most advanced equipment and training to ensure that your home or business gets back to normal as quickly as possible.  All Roto-Rooter water restoration technicians are IICRC Certified (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification). We follow IICRC S500 standards for professional water restoration.

    For more detailed information about Roto-Rooter’s water restoration service capabilities, we hope you will watch this helpful video.


  • Look for the WaterSense Label on Toilets, Faucets and Plumbing Fixtures

    Look for the WaterSense Label on Toilets, Faucets and Plumbing Fixtures

    By Paul Abrams

    Fresh potable water is scarce and it will get scarcer and more expensive over the next decade and beyond. There are two ways to ensure we Earthlings have enough water for our needs. The first is to build expensive desalinization plants in our largest coastal cities that will convert ocean salt water into drinking water. The second and most sensible way is to conserve more water by using less of it.

    Water leaks are everywhere and getting worse. Some municipalities report that up to 60% of the water that flows through its supply pipes is lost to leaks. But on average, 14 percent of water treated by local water systems is lost to leaks. These are staggering figures that must be addressed if we’re going to get serious about water conservation. Municipalities must fix the leaks in their pipelines and that requires significant infrastructure investment. Conversely, every household in America needs to fix its plumbing leaks.

    But the simplest way to conserve water is to make smart plumbing purchases. If you need a new faucet, choose one that carries the EPA WaterSense approved label. The same goes for new toilets and showerheads. Businesses should choose toilets, urinals and irrigation controllers that are WaterSense approved. Many of these products are eligible for state and local rebates but all of them will reduce your water usage and therefore your water and sewer bills. In most cases you won’t pay more for WaterSense labeled plumbing parts and fixtures and they’re so well designed and engineered that you will not sacrifice comfort or flush and shower power.

    I just installed a 1.28 gallon WaterSense approved toilet in my basement and it seems just as powerful as the 1.6 gallon toilets upstairs but it uses 20% less water per flush! And no, we don’t have to flush it twice to clear the bowl. Replacing faucets and aerators with WaterSense models will save the typical home 700 gallons of water per year. That’s equal to 40 showers! For more information about WaterSense and green fixtures, check out Roto-Rooter’s ROTOGreen web page.


  • Roto-Rooter Goes Hollywood: Watch for us in the Wedding Ringer


    Roto-Rooter Goes Hollywood: Watch for our van in The Wedding Ringer

    By Paul Abrams

    Wedding Ringer Movie PosterYou can’t miss Roto-Rooter in the new movie, The Wedding Ringer, which opens nationwide on January 16th. In the film, a Roto-Rooter van is shown jumping across an open section of a bridge spanning the Los Angeles River. The film’s producers, Sony Pictures/Screen Gems could have used a plain van or they could have decorated the van with a decal package for some made up brand. But they didn’t. See the stunt in this short video clip.

    Sony realized that there’s a certain surprise factor when you place real world brands and products in a film. And let’s face it; the Roto-Rooter brand often elicits a chuckle when people talk about it. The nature of the plumbing and sewer & drain service is dirty so it we’re a great fit when it comes to being the butt of a joke. It’s also a savvy business decision on Roto-Rooter’s part because the scene will live on forever in film history through the theatrical run, into the on-demand phase then the DVD release. As long as there are re-runs on TV, viewers will see a Roto-Rooter plumber and his plumbing van in the film.

    Roto-Rooter Van JumpRoto-Rooter provided four different vans for the film. Each was used in a different scene but they had to be identical in every respect. I had the pleasure of visiting the set and watching the stunt first hand. The stunt was planned out to the last detail. But the thing that surprised me the most was that the van didn’t land on an air bag and it didn’t land on the pavement, it landed on three or four layers of stacked cardboard boxes. Who knew that cardboard could catch and stop a flying 1-ton van? You won’t see the landing in the film but that’s how it was done.

    This is a very funny film, especially for those who enjoyed buddy comedies like The Hangover. The cast is top shelf with comedians Kevin Hart and Josh Gad and the lovely Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting. But in our humble opinion, the best part of the film is the Roto-Rooter stunt! 


  • 5-Tips on What to do if your Pipes Freeze

    When the weather turns extremely cold, water supply pipes are prone to freezing and bursting. Plumbers often tell you how to prevent pipes from freezing but they don’t always tell you what to do if your pipes have already frozen. Here are some steps you can take to remedy frozen pipes safely. If you follow these tips you may be able to avoid or minimize serious damage.Frozen Pipes

    • Shut-off the water main leading into the structure and open (not wide open, just open) any faucets connected to the pipe. This will reduce pressure on the frozen pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst. This is particularly important if you are going to be away from home.
    • If the frozen pipe is exposed and visible, use a hair dryer or space heater to thaw the ice blockage. Do not use an open flame and keep space heaters far enough away from walls and flammable materials to avoid fire risk!
    • Examine exposed pipes for leaks. Even with the water main turned off, there will be enough pressure to reveal leaks once the pipe has thawed.
    • Contact a professional plumber equipped with pipe-thawing equipment to get your pipes flowing again and if necessary, make repairs to damaged pipes.
    • Even if no leaks are found, a plumber should examine pipes that experienced a hard freeze. Some pipes may need to be replaced since the material has experienced stretching and fatigue, putting the pipes at risk for future failure.

    Keep in mind when the pipes thaw, they may begin spewing water inside walls if the pipe has burst. The resulting flooding can quickly cause serious property damage. Many Roto-Rooter locations provide water restoration services as well as plumbing services so we can offer one stop service to home and business owners who are dealing with all problems associated with frozen pipes. 


  • Start 2015 off by Fixing Annoying Plumbing Leaks

    A new year means a fresh start. As plumbing company that visits thousands of American homes each day, we’re amazed by the number of leaks there are in a typical household. We’re talking about water leaks that people have simply learned to live with. Too many homeowners just ignore dripping faucets, showers and tubs if they can’t fix the leaks themselves. We’ve seen tub spouts Leaky Faucetthat are beyond dripping, they’re actually pouring a steady stream of water right down the drain. Sure, it’s a trickle most of the time, but that water ads up quickly and is costing the homeowner a lot of money in water and sewer bills. This helpful infographic demonstrates how leaks add up.

    Consider a faucet that drips 30 drops per minute, which is quite common. That faucet is wasting ten liters per day. That’s like five of those large 2 liter soft drink bottles. Over the course of a year, that faucet is wasting 1,041 gallons of water! To see how much water your leak is wasting, simply count the drips for one minute then visit the USGS Drip Calculator on-line and enter the information. It even allows you to add multiple leaking faucets into the calculation and determine how much water all of the plumbing leaks in your house are wasting.

    Toilet leaks are common too. If your toilet is “running,” it is leaking. A leaking toilet is a huge waste of water, sometimes accounting for hundreds of gallons per week! Many toilets have silent leaks. To test your toilet for leaks, there are two easy methods. First, drop a few drops of red food coloring in the tank. Wait fifteen minutes then look in the toilet bowl. If the water in the bowl has turned red, you have a leak. Another easy way to test is to open the tank, drop a pinch of flour or baby powder into the tank. Watch it closely and see if it begins to drift toward the overflow tube and disappears. If so, you have a silent leak that is wasting water and costing you money. Why not hire a plumber
     to fix those leaks once and for all? You’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run and you’ll be doing something helpful for your community, your country and even the planet. Fresh water is a precious resource that we should not take for granted.


  • Avoid Holiday Toilet Clogs by Keeping Lids Closed

    Toilets clog for all sorts of reasons and many clogs are difficult to prevent. The vast majority of toilet backups are caused by too much waste and too much toilet paper being flushed at once. A simple plunge usually clears that kind of temporary clog easily enough. However, a significant number of clogs involve foreign objects that won’t flush all the way through the line. I recently conducted an informal survey among several Roto-Rooter branches and learned that the most common item they are fishing out of toilet traps these days is the clip-on toilet bowl deodorizer. They’re large enough that they won’t pass through the 2-inch toilet trap but they will go out of sight, just out of view from the person hovering over the bowl.

    One common reason foreign objects find their way into toilets is that too often people leave the lid open. And if you have one of those hutches or shelving/cabinet units over your toilet tank, things

    tend to fall out and into open toilets. This includes items such as perfume bottles, deodorant, soap bars, medicine bottles, candles and whatever else people keep on the shelves. If you get into the
     habit of keeping the toilet lid closed, you won’t have a problem. But too often, people freak out when something lands in the toilet. Nobody wants to stick their hands into the bowl to retrieve the item so they’ll take their chances and attempt to flush it out of sight! Better to take a deep breath, put on some old rubber dish gloves or latex gloves and grab the item or you will end up with a clogged toilet that needs repair.

    Since the holiday gift-giving season is approaching, there is something else you need to know. Many of those new toys, especially the ones small enough to fit into a Christmas stocking, often take their first swims in the toilet. We wrote up a great article on seasonal plumbing tips for the winter that you can read to avoid common problems. We commonly find action figures, toy boats, submarines, army men, Hot Wheels cars and other toys in the toilet trap or the branch line. For young kids, there is something special about playing with toys in the bathtub…and yes, the toilet.


  • Roto-Rooter Jingle Turns 60 | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Can you sing the Roto-Rooter jingle? If you can’t we bet your parents can. As far as we can tell, the Roto-Rooter jingle is the oldest continuously-used jingle in advertising history and it turned 60 years old this year. Out of all the products and services out there, who would have guessed that a plumbing and drain cleaning company’s jingle would outlast all the others?

    I recently read an article claiming the Oscar Mayer Weiner jingle (I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner…) was the oldest continuously used advertising jingle but, in fact, Roto-Rooter’s jingle was already in use for eight years before it appeared on the scene. Another article claimed the Slinky jingle (Slinky, Slinky, oh what a wonderful toy…) held the crown. But Slinky’s jingle made its debut in 1962, the same as Oscar Mayer’s.

    Captain Stubby and The BuccaneersThe Roto-Rooter jingle was written and performed for the first time in 1954 as a live commercial at WLS Radio in Chicago by Captain Stubby and The Buccaneers. It became successful because it
    so perfectly described the Roto-Rooter service and was catchy to the point that it’s almost unforgettable. Once you hear, it stays in your brain forever! Roto-Rooter never stopped using the jingle in its radio and TV commercials. And you’ll find the jingle in almost every video the company has on its robust YouTube channel, Roto-Rooter TV. Make sure you stop by our YouTube channel to see a fun video about our famous jingle and the Roto-Rooter jingle that preceded it.One thing worth noting is that only the last couple of lines of the jingle made it into most of the commercials. In fact, the full length jingle was a commercial in and of itself back when it made its debut on WLS. So for those of you who don’t know every word, here it is the 1954 jingle lyrics in their entirety:

    Roto-Rooter is quick first aid for clogs, sewers and stopped up drains. The wonderful Roto-Rooter machine twists and turns and shaves lines clean. Call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name, and away go troubles down the drain…Roto-Rooter!

    Years later, an additional verse was added to the jingle. Here are the lyrics to the new verse:

    When Roto-Rooter comes, that’s when your troubles go. When Roto-Rooter’s here, that’s when your troubles disappear. Call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name and away go troubles down the drain…Roto-Rooter!


  • Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips from Nation’s Top Plumbing and Drain Specialists | Roto-Rooter

    The day after Thanksgiving is the single busiest of the year for Roto-Rooter’s residential plumbers. Big holiday meal preparation and cleanup can lead to a lot of unwanted waste in the kitchen drain and garbage disposal. Also, holiday house guests who require additional laundry loads, showers and toilet flushes put a strain on household plumbing.

    “Often, the case is that a house already has partially clogged drains that go unnoticed, until holiday guests arrive and overwhelm the system,” said Paul Abrams, spokesman for Roto-Rooter. Hectic houses full of people and frantic hosts quickly and easily lead to plumbing problemsClogged kitchen sink drain trap
     throughout the holiday season. “Even more problematic is that virtually every traditional Thanksgiving dish is a drain clogging culprit,” Abrams continued.

    Incoming calls to Roto-Rooter for service will jump 50% above the average Friday. The four-day Thanksgiving weekend averages a 21% increase over any other Thursday through Sunday period during the year. Roto-Rooter is prepared with additional staff to address the expected increase in calls and jobs, saving customers from long waits and outrageous holiday service charges.

    Thanksgiving hosts can avoid a visit from their plumber over the holiday weekend by following these clog-preventing tips:

    • Never pour fats or cooking oils down drains. They solidify in pipes. Instead, wipe grease from pots with paper towels and throw in trash.
    • Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal. Poultry skins, celery, fruit & potato peels, for example, cannot be sufficiently broken down.
    • Make sure the disposal is running when you put food into it. Don’t wait until it’s full to turn it on.
    • For homes hosting weekend guests, it’s a good idea to wait ten minutes between showers so slow drains have time to do their job.
    • Never flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or wet wipes down a toilet. They don’t dissolve and will cause clogs. Place a waste basket in the bathroom so these items won’t be flushed.
    • Try to address any plumbing problems before the holiday and before guests arrive. However, in the case of holiday plumbing emergencies, don’t hesitate to ask a plumber, up front, about extra holiday service fees. As always, know your DIY limits. Often, minor plumbing problems turn into plumbing catastrophes if not handled properly.

    Reporters who are interested in covering this information as a news story should contact Roto-Rooter’s public relations director, Paul Abrams at O) 513-762-6434 or on cell at 513-702-5631.


  • 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.


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