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.
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.
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.
Advertising 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.
Water ER? What to do until help arrives!
Whether it’s a burst pipe or a water heater mishap, few situations are more unnerving than watching a massive amount of water pour into your home. Even a smaller leak is nothing to snort at. The plumbing and water restoration team is on the way… but what do you do until help arrives? Here are some tips from ROTO-ROOTER’s Minneapolis plumbing experts:
Of course, it’s best to research plumbers/water restoration experts ahead of time – that way, you’ll have a phone number on hand before an emergency ever strikes!
Keep Your Basement Flood-Free with 5 Simple Sump Pump Tips
Here in Chicago, in old houses and in new, we’re no strangers to flooded basements thanks to our high water table. Even if you’ve done the right thing and installed a sump pump, that’s not always enough. In fact, ROTO-ROOTER’s Chicago plumbers replace more sump pumps than our plumbers in any other region of the country. To make sure your sump pump is doing its job and keeping your basement dry, here are five simple tips you can follow for extra peace of mind:
Living here in Boston, especially through the bitter cold winters, there’s something to be said for a water heater that spouts out instant hot water on demand! Not only do tankless water heaters offer immediate warmth and comfort, they take up less space and are more efficient—reducing energy costs by about 25% annually. But before you rush out to buy one, learn the facts about both tankless and conventional water heaters from ROTO-ROOTER’s Boston plumbers, and decide which one is right for you:
New Appliances? Keep Them Leak-Free with 4 Easy Tips
Whether it’s a shiny, stainless steel dishwasher, efficient new water heater, or that awesome washer/dryer set you so desperately needed, you likely shelled out a pretty penny for those new appliances. But all that glitters isn’t gold! While the appliances themselves may feature state-of-the-art, reliable technology, our Atlanta plumbers see lots of water damage caused by the cheap water supply lines and valves that often come with them. Here are some ways to deal with those issues, as well as a few other tips for keeping your appliances leak free for years to come:
An appliance flood could easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. But all of the tips above are easy fixes that cost a small amount of money. For more Atlanta plumbing tips, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER Atlanta and our Google+ page.
After 79 years of providing sewer and drain services and 34 years as a full-service plumbing repair provider, we at Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service can confidently say we do these things better than anyone else. So it was not without a great deal of thought that Roto-Rooter expanded its service menu to include water restoration services. The fact is that taking care of water damage is not a big stretch beyond our core competencies. Every day in the course of our normal work, we see the damage caused by water and sewage backups.
The way it used to go, homeowners and business managers would call in Roto-Rooter to fix whatever plumbing problem caused the flood in the first place. Our expert plumbers and sewer and drain technicians responded quickly to resolve the issue. Then, they would refer the owner to a water restoration company to pump out the water and mitigate the structural damage left behind. Very often, the homeowner would say, “can’t you guys just take care of it?” The fact is that we had some of the pumping equipment necessary to do it ourselves but we weren’t fully invested in water restoration. That changed a couple of years ago when we set up a couple of our branches to do water restoration work and serve as prototypes.
The experiment proved to be a complete success so last year we began a major investment in top-line, stat-of-the-art water restoration equipment and, at the same time, we rolled out a recruitment program to attract some of the most experienced water restoration experts to bring a first class water restoration brain trust to Roto-Rooter. They helped us establish a dedicated first class training program that is fully certified by IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). Now our customers don’t have to worry about calling anyone else in the event of a water emergency. All it takes is one call to Roto-Rooter and home and business owners can rest assured that their water problems will be handled as quickly and efficiently, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as their sewer and drain problems have been since 1935.
To show our customers the full range of water damage mitigation services provided by Roto-Rooter, we produced this water restoration video. We hope you’ll find this information helpful.
New appliances can cost lots of money. Speaking as a homeowner who recently bought a new washing machine and dryer and one who will probably have to buy a new dishwasher before the end of the year, I can tell you this from personal experience. But speaking as a representative of the world’s largest plumbing repair service, I can also tell you that you should make a few improvements on new appliances before you hook them up in your home. Our plumbers see lots of water damage and much of it is caused by cheap, unreliable water supply lines and valves.
Most of today’s appliances are super reliable and technologically sophisticated. As a result, most folks can’t handle their own appliance repairs by themselves. But there are some things that the average person can do and should do at the time of installation. I can sum it all up in four words: braided stainless steel hoses. You can buy braided stainless steel water supply hoses for your washing machine, your dishwasher and your refrigerator’s water supply line. Yes, they definitely cost a little more than the plastic or rubber lines and hoses that come with your appliance but they are worth every penny. Steel hoses will outlast plastic and rubber by many years and they’re far less likely to spring a leak and flood your home. An appliance flood could easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars in repairs to your home. The hoses will only cost you a few extra bucks.
There is no substitute for reliability and if you want long-term peace of mind, disconnect the cheap water lines that the manufacturer included with the appliance and go immediately to your local home or hardware store and buy braided steel hoses of the same length with the same connection ends. Be sure they’re actually steel hoses because I’ve seen braided plastic lines that look like steel but aren’t as good aren’t as reliable.
If you have to replace your water heater, unscrew the plastic drain valve at the bottom before you hook up the water heater. Take the drain valve to the hardware store and buy a high-quality brass drain valve of the same size and type. Wrap the threads with Teflon tape then thread the valve onto the water heater tank. I can’t tell you how many times those cheap plastic valves break apart or go bad within a few short years.
As North America’s largest plumbing repair company, we take seriously the old line that “plumbers protect the health of the nation.” So here’s our lecture about protecting clean water. Two incidents this year have reminded us how easily we can lose access to clean drinking water. Toledo, Ohio residents watched helplessly in early August as a toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie made their normally reliable supply of potable water rendered unusable and unsafe. Without warning,
some 40,000 residents were suddenly urged not to drink it, cook with it or even bathe in it for several days. Back in January, 300,000 people in and around of Charleston, West Virginia lost their water supply for the better part of a week after a chemical spill in the Elk River rendered their drinking water unsafe for any kind of use.
It is time to get serious about protecting our water supply from contamination of all types. Fresh, drinkable water is in short supply. Even though two thirds of the planet is covered in water, less than 1% of Earth’s water is drinkable. And it seems we humans are gambling with that 1% instead of taking the necessary steps to protect it at all costs. We have to get serious about restricting chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers that run off of farm fields into watersheds and finally into the reservoirs and rivers that are the sources of most of our water treatment plants. Additionally, it’s time again to invest in American infrastructure. We must upgrade our water treatment plants to a more sophisticated level so they can filter out even the most serious contaminants and keep the taps flowing. This isn’t over-the-top crazy talk by tree hugging environmentalists. This is deadly serious and it’s going to get worse if we don’t all stand up for what is left of the nation’s clean water supply.
What can you do? For one thing, you can get serious about conserving water. The best way to do this is by fixing plumbing leaks and drips around your home or business. Next, use less. Replace old toilets and shower heads with modern units that require a lot less water. You won’t notice the difference except for a less costly water bill. Currently, we’re losing as much as 10,000 gallons per year per household to leaks. That’s more than 1 trillion gallons of water lost each year across the country! That is an astounding figure but it is true and the only way to reverse the trend is for every American to take responsibility for fixing leaks in his or her home and business. If you’re ready to get serious, check out our ROTOGreen page for guidance.
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