Roto-Rooter Blog

  • How to Make the Most of Your Shower | Roto-Rooter

    How to Make the Most of Your Shower

    Shower headThere's nothing quite like unwinding before bed after a long day with a nice, warm, high-pressure shower. Or maybe you're a morning shower-taker, and that steamy stream of hot water is just the jolt you need to kick off your day. But by the same token, a bad shower experience can certainly get under your skin after a while.

    When you have tried the common household tricks and your water pressure still is not improving your water pressure check out these quick tips that might help you optimize your shower experience. 

    Take out your flow restrictor

    ‚ÄčOne of the most common shower-related problems is weak water pressure. When your shower stream is too gentle, it makes the task of rinsing off all those suds a little more time consuming.

    An easy solution to improve shower pressure is to remove the flow restrictor. This is a fairly straightforward process that can be done with a few household tool such as pliers or a pipe wrench to disassemble the shower head. 

    You will know you found the restrictor when you see a white plastic disk with a small hole in the middle of it.  The way it restricts your waterflow is that the white disk only allows water to flow through the small hole in the middle. By removing this you can improve and increase your water flow and pressure.

    While removing the restrictor will quickly improve water pressure, it will come at a price. For instance, your water bill could increase significantly over the course of a month and you'll also notice substantially increased humidity in the bathroom during showers, which may damage paint, wall paper, mirrors and plumbing fixtures over time.

    Another alternative for homes that inherently have low water pressure is to invest in an amplifying shower head. These are water efficient and easy to install, and they will help you make the most of your shower experience. 

    Get some new hardware

    Unusual fluctuations in shower temperature can be extremely unpleasant. No one wants their relaxing evening ruined with a cold shower, or to be unexpectedly greeted by scalding water on a hot summer afternoon.

    Often, temperature fluctuations are caused by the use of another appliance such as a toilet or a washing machine. By installing a pressure-balancing valve it would ensure that the lapse in cold water pressure wouldn't cause the shower stream to become too hot. It does this by obstructing the hot water valve to balance out the pressure. 

    Unfortunately, if this isn't the problem, it could be a sign that there is an issue with your water heater. If you seem to only be able to take half of a shower before the cold creeps in, you might not have a large enough tank. Alternatively, there could be a maintenance issue, such as a broken pilot burner, or something else. 

    When all else fails, call in a professional. They'll help you identify the problem so that you can make the most of your shower.

  • Why Do I Need A Battery Backup For My Sump Pump? | Roto-Rooter

    Why Do I Need A Battery Backup For My Sump Pump?

    Sump pumpAreas that have a lot of rainfall, are close to a floodplain or have a high water table are likely familiar with a sump pump. These appliances are used to send water away from a house to a storm drain or drywell, preventing basements and lower parts of the house from flooding. Sump pumps will turn on more often in some areas, while in others, they may not turn on at all. However, it's always good to have a battery backup for the pump. Let's take a look at why a battery backup is so necessary for your sump pump:

    Likelihood of risk

    Homeowners should determine the potential for flooding to gauge if the battery backup is right for their needs. Power outages can happen during strong storms, taking out the sump pump. If you have these situations a few times a year or even once a year, a battery backup will be worth the investment. This will eliminate the cost of repairs, water removal and other issues that come with flood damage. A battery backup will decrease your risk and give you peace of mind that your property is protected from problems.

    It's important to note that an aging pump can also have a higher chance of failure without the need of a power outage. If your pump is 10 years or older, it's high time to invest in a new one. If your sump pump is over 5 years old, a battery backup will come in handy to ensure that your aging appliance comes back online quickly.

    Easy to maintain

    Battery backups for sump pumps have a number of benefits, including the fact that they are relatively easy to maintain. It's simple to install a battery backup, and that they will work even when there's no water supply. However, the battery water levels and terminals must all be checked on a regular basis. It's important to note that a battery can also run down before the power comes back, so it will be crucial to choose a solution that has the right capacity for your home. For example, if you have a pump that runs once a minute, you'll require a different battery capacity than a pump that runs every five minutes. These differences will play a big part in what battery is installed and how long you can expect to keep your pump operational.

    Warns you of danger

    The sophistication of battery backups for sump pumps is increasing to tell homeowners when to expect danger as well as when support is required. Some solutions monitor battery status, test themselves and alert homeowners in signs of trouble. This type of interfacing adds a layer of oversight that will be important to protecting your house and ensuring that your property remains dry. If your sump pump fails, and you have a finished basement, or important objects in your crawl space, how much would it cost to recover from a flooding event? A battery backup pays for itself in this regard, as it can notify you to prevent damage.

    A sump pump isn't necessarily something that every house requires, but it has saved countless homes from the dangers of flooding and water damage. For those that are in higher risk of these events, a battery backup will be essential. With this, homeowners can have peace of mind as these appliances are easy to maintain, and many of them will sound the alarm to minimize potential damage. Call your Roto-Rooter expert today for a sump pump consultation or any questions that you may have about these appliances.

  • 3 Things You Didn't Know About Your Water Heater | Roto-Rooter

    Water heater3 Things You Didn't Know About Your Water Heater

    When you buy a home, one of the first things you should do is check your water heater and see how long ago it was installed. Beyond that, what are some things you may not realize about this important appliance right when you move in?

    Here are three things you should know about your water heater:

    When should you replace it?

    Typically speaking, homeowners should replace their water heaters every 10 to 13 years. There may be some hidden costs associated with replacing your water heater, including the mount, venting system, drain pan beneath the heater and the supply pipes themselves. Installation also comes with a price tag. Depending on what kind of unit you're installing, you may be able to do it yourself, but be extra careful and don't forget to call a plumber if you find yourself in over your head.

    Look out for signs of failure

    When your water heater is getting ready to fail, you may experience rust in your water or hear rumbling noises coming from inside the fixture. The rumbling or knocking sound is created by layers of sediment that have coagulated and hardened in the water heater. This sediment can make your water heater less efficient and cause more wear to the tank, eventually leading to system failure. If you notice any leaks, sediment could be the culprit.

    Be more efficient

    It's important to make sure your water heater is using electricity and water in an efficient manner, and not just for your bills' sake. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a newer appliance, which could operate about 20 percent more efficiently and save $700 more over the life of the unit than older models. However, replacement is not always an option. One way to improve efficiency is to check some of the working parts of your water heater, like the TPR valve and anode rod. In addition, you can drain the aforementioned sediment out of the tank in order to strengthen the longevity of the appliance.

    There's still so much to learn about your water heater. If you think your appliance may be experiencing some difficulties, give the plumbing professionals at your local St. Paul Roto-Rooter a call today for more information and to schedule an assessment.

  • How To Know When It's Time To Replace Your Pipes in Everett

    How To Know When It's Time To Replace Your Pipes in Everett

    Pipes in homePipes, like most other things in your home, won't last forever, even if they're made from quality materials. Whether you've been living in your house for years now or are in the market for a new one, the condition of the plumbing is certainly something to consider. After all, you don't want to enter a home to find out you have to shell out to fix the pipework right away. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few signs that it's time to replace your pipes:


    The older your pipes are, the more likely you are to have issues with your plumbing down the road. For newer houses, you won't have to worry about this one too much right now, but for those of you with homes that have been around a while, you'll want to look into what types of pipes you actually have. Brass and galvanized steel supply lines as well as cast iron drain lines can last 80 to 100 years. Copper supply lines come in at 70 to 80 years, and PVC drain lines are the most fragile, only able to last about 25 to 40 years. It's important to note that proper maintenance, or lack thereof, will also have a significant effect on how long your pipes will work, but these guidelines can keep you aware of when to check them.


    Besides age, any irregularities in your exposed pipes can be early signs of trouble. If tubing displays, flaking, stains, dimpling or discoloration, it's likely time to call in a professional to inspect it. This rings especially true if you detect any leaks in your system, as a few sporadic leaks can lead to bigger problems throughout your home if not addressed quickly. Water color can be a sign of pipe decay. These pipes will need to be replaced as soon as possible to prevent leaks and other issues.

    Outside forces

    Pipes that extend outside of your home should also be factored in when considering replacement. Sewer and supply lines can be root-bound or crushed. Certain types of pipes are also more susceptible to root intrusion and corrosion as well as plugs developed from putting items like diapers or tennis balls down the drain. If you suspect that your pipes have succumbed to a clog or if you have a home with older pipes, call a plumbing professional to run a camera line inspection. An expert will bring all the necessary tools and expertise to identify the problem and fix it appropriately the first time.

    Remodeling opportunities

    If you're remodeling or have been wanting to change things up, replacing your pipes may be the perfect time to do so. Taking renovations as an opportunity to inspect and replace plumbing lines if need be is a convenient option, most of the time. When opening up your walls and floors, a pipe evaluation could save you from extra costs down the road, and ensure that your system is working appropriately. In addition, if you do need to replace your plumbing at this time, a plumber is going to be on-site for the renovations, making the pipe fixes a bargain.

    Plumbing pipes are an essential part of any home, but they have their weaknesses and degrade over time. These signs will help you determine when's the right time to change your pipes and when your system needs to be inspected. Call your local Roto-Rooter plumbing professional for a camera line inspection, pipe replacement and any other plumbing issue.

  • Cleaning Up After a Flood in Palm Bay | Roto-Rooter

    Cleaning Up After a Flood in Palm Bay

    First things first: Assess the situation

    Flooded homeWhether you're returning home after fleeing a flooding incident caused by a storm or an overflowing river, or you've gotten back from a recent vacation to a water-logged basement, the first thing to do following a flood is to assess the damage. You should immediately look for any indicators of structural damage to the home. If you suspect that any utilities – gas, oil, electricity, sewage leaks, etc. – have been impacted, contact the respective utility company.

    If you must enter the water for any reason, be sure to wear waders or waterproof boots that are higher than the water level. Even if the power is out, disable all fuse connections to reduce the risk of electrocution should it come back on. Use a flashlight for visibility. Remember, your top priority is safety. Finally, make sure your insurance agent has been made aware of the event.

    Begin the cleanup

    If the flood water is from a sanitary source such as a sink, a broken water supply line or rain and has been standing for less than 48 hours, it could be a do-it-yourself job. If this is the case, the first priority should be to get all of the water out. If it sits for 48 hours or more, it can become gray water, at which point it will need to be handled professionally.

    Assuming that the water accumulation isn't extensive enough that it will need to be pumped out, you can start by using a mop to soak up some of the excess water. Once any pooling and puddles have been cleared away, you can set up a wet-dry vacuum cleaner. It's safer to do it this way since there will be less water, and a reduced chance of the appliance's power cord causing a shock.   

    Know when to call a professional

    To reiterate, if the water has been standing for 48 hours or more, call a professional. Also, if the source of the leak is discharge from a household appliance such as a dishwasher or a washing machine, the resulting water will be classified as gray water. This demands professional treatment. Last but not least, gray water that has been allowed to soak for 48 hours may become black water, at which point it is extremely dangerous. Other sources of black water include overflowing rivers, ocean water or streams. Black water contains dangerous pathogens and should never be handled alone.

    If you ever find yourself in any of the above situations, or if you're just overwhelmed and need a helping hand, contact your Palm Bay Roto-Rooter right away.

  • 3 Plumbing Tips That Can Help You Save Money | Roto-Rooter

    3 Plumbing Tips That Can Help You Save Money

    Water heaterManchester's arid climate provides those who live there with hundreds of beautiful sunny days a year, which locals take full advantage of. However, as summer comes to a close in Manchester means one other thing, too: It's time to do some cleaning. As you're giving your home a thorough scrub down, it's a good idea to consider changes you can make and steps you can take to upgrade and maintain the plumbing fixtures in your home. Maintaining your plumbing will extend its lifespan, but it can also save you money! Take a look at these three tips for saving money with plumbing maintenance:

    Insulate your water heater

    The first step to saving money with your plumbing? Take a look at your water heater. Just like with your thermostat, lowering your water heater by just a few degrees can help you save a little bit of money each month. Make sure it's set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also buy a water-heater blanket - this will insulate the water, which means the machine won't have to spend so much energy reheating the water every time you turn on a shower or faucet.

    Replace fixtures with low-flow versions

    From your toilet to your showerhead to your faucets, replacing old fixtures with up-to-date, low-flow versions can help you save an enormous amount of water and, in turn, a great deal of money. The best part? Showerheads and faucets are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace yourself, so switching them out is a lot simpler and cheaper than you may think. To replace an old toilet (which can save thousands of gallons a month), you'll want to call in a Manchester Roto-Rooter professional to get some assistance.

    Routinely check your drains and sump pumps

    Manchester's springs and summers are usually pretty dry, but when it does rain, it can come down hard. If any part of your home floods, this can lead to terrible water damage that's extremely costly to repair. So, this tip is about prevention: Routinely inspect your drains and basement sump pump to make sure they're clear and working properly. Just pour a couple of buckets of water into the sump pump, and see if it turns on and discharges the water - if it does, it's working.

  • Summer Efficiency Best Practices for North Little Rock | Roto-Rooter

    Summer Efficiency Best Practices for North Little Rock

    Hot weatherThis summer's been quite a hot one, especially for Arkansas. If you're the kind of person that doesn't relish the idea of melting in your own home, you've most likely had the air conditioning cranked up for the past few months, which means your energy bill's been higher than you'd like it to be. Sadly, there isn't much you can do about the heat, but there are other ways that you can earn back that savings. Let's take a look:

    Water the lawn at the right time

    The lawn is a point of pride in American culture. Having green, well-cut grass set around your house shows your neighbors that you care both about yourself and how you're reflected in the community. However, ensuring that your lawn is properly watered can be extremely difficult when you're competing with one of the hottest summers in American history.

    This is why it's crucial that you water your lawn at the right time. A lot of people simply bring the hose out whenever they have the chance, and that usually occurs sometime in the late afternoon. The problem here is that doing so pretty much ensures that your grass won't be getting all the water you put down, as the sun is going to evaporate a lot of it. Water your grass when the temperature is low and the sun isn't beating down on your lawn, generally in the morning or late evening.

    Your water heater might be set too high

    Steaming hot showers are great to wake up to when it's cold out, but the summer's heat demands a cool shower to get the day started right. Even if you do like a warm shower during the summer, you probably don't need your water heater turned up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, most people really only need their machine set to 120 degrees.

    So why is this such a big deal? Well, having a water heater turned up to an extremely high temperature is going to result in two kinds of heat losses: consumption and reduced standby losses. The second is the most interesting here, as it denotes the amount of heat lost to the air surrounding the water heater.

    Ensure your washing machine is working right

    Summer means extra laundry, especially when that Tennessee air gets a little muggy. This means your washing machine needs to be working at peak efficiency, and summer's as good a time as any to ensure your appliance is functioning properly. Make sure to check the hoses in the back for any leaks or punctures that could lead to additional water loss. On top of this, if you have a front loaded washing machine, take a look at the door to discover if it might pop open while cleaning a load.

    For even more savings check out our other water conservation tips and tricks or contact your local Roto-Rooter today.

  • 3 Reasons To Get A Camera Line Inspection | Roto-Rooter

    3 Reasons To Get A Camera Line Inspection

    Camera line inspectionMinneapolis plumbers deal with a number of problems on a daily basis, from clearing out grease clogs to repairing broken pipes. However, one of the most common plumbing issues they see are those relating to sewer-line backups. And often, in Minneapolis, it's because tree roots have punctured a drain pipe and are blocking the lines completely. In these instances, and many others, plumbers often choose to perform a camera line inspection.

    Video camera line inspections allow plumbers to clearly see what may be causing an issue in your home, without them having to dig trenches in your yard or damage your landscape in any other way. Not sure why you'd need a camera line inspection? Here are three possible reasons:

    Your drains are slow or backing up

    Of course, the typical reason for a camera line inspection is because a homeowner is having trouble with their toilets, sinks or showers backing up or draining too slowly. In these instances, blockages in the sewer system are often the problem, whether they're because of those tree roots, non-biodegradable items clogging the line or even too much grease buildup. A camera line inspection will help your Minneapolis Roto-Rooter professional find whatever the issue is and develop a plan to fix it quickly.

    You need help locating a piece of jewelry or a valuable

    Oftentimes, when someone loses a beloved heirloom ring or a valuable diamond earring down a drain, they believe it's gone forever. However, plumbers have been able to retrieve these types of valuables using a camera inspection of the person's drainage pipes. The high-quality video camera is the perfect way to spot something that's made it's way too far into your plumbing to retrieve by yourself.

    You're buying a home and want peace of mind

    If you're considering putting an offer on a new home, you know how important the inspection is to discover any property issues that aren't immediately apparent. However, these inspections don't typically cover the sewer line. So what happens if you move in and find that you have a bellied or broken pipe that needs to be completely replaced? A camera line inspection can help ease your mind considerably, allowing you to discover any potential or current issues with your sewer and water lines.

    Remember: If you have any questions about why a video camera line inspection may be right for you, your local Minneapolis Roto-Rooter is happy to help.

  • Plumbing Problems that Call for a Raleigh Professional

    Plumbing Problems that Call for a Raleigh Professional

    BathroomHomeowners often try to fix problems to the best of their abilities to save time and money, but when it comes to plumbing, they can sometimes make the issue worse. Plumbing professionals have the tools and expertise to diagnose and fix a problem before it spiralsout of control. Although it will cost you to have them come out, it's worth it to ensure that your system is functioning appropriately. Here are a few situations that call for a professional touch:

    Broken fixtures

    Think about your shower at home. Do you have a shampoo rack hanging from the showerhead? Do you regularly use the bathtub spout as a footrest? This is possibly one of the worst things to do because these fixtures cannot handle the amount of weight on them, and can snap off at the threads. If this happens, or you break one of your fixtures through some other method, call in an expert to assess the damage. With any luck, you won't have water spraying from the broken fixture, but if you do, you'll want an expert at your side to calmly and decisively handle the problem.

    Super clogged toilet

    It's no surprise that people flush items down the pipes that shouldn't be. Normally, in a clogged situation, a plunger is all that's needed. But what if the item that went down the drain was a toy, or a golf ball? Using a plunger in these instances can actually make the problem worse by moving the item further into the waste line. If you have a sneaking suspicion that your kids were being mischievous or are experiencing a super clog, it's time to call in a plumbing expert. They will remove the toilet and retrieve the item, solving your clog issue. Don't attempt to do this yourself. It likely won't be immediately clear how far down the item is, and plumbers have the tools necessary to navigate pipes, identify an obstacle and remove it.

    Frozen, leaky or burst pipes

    Pipes are complex pieces of infrastructure within a home. You can't really expect to take care of them with gum, duct tape and good luck. For nearly any pipe issue, it's best to call in a plumbing expert. If you detect a leak, for example, you may have to go through walls to reach it. Fortunately, a plumber can easily judge a leak's location, and bring tools like a welding torch to make repairs. This type of item isn't normally something you'll just find in your own toolbox. Similarly, frozen and burst pipes can cause chaos if handled incorrectly. A plumber can help remove the water and make necessary repairs to begin drying out your home.


    Something like a faucet or showerhead may be easy enough to install on your own, but for the big boys like a septic tank, tub and other fixtures, rely on a plumber to get the job done. A leak may occur if a fixture isn't matched up correctly with its fittings, for example, and this can create a lot of cost to address the problem. Septic tanks are another big item that could benefit from an expert hand. Any issue with this appliance will create a big stink and will be difficult to handle by yourself. Plumbers can ensure that everything is installed correctly, and that any immediate items are fixed.

    There are a wide variety of situations that necessitate professional assistance. When in doubt, call your local plumbing expert at Roto-Rooter.

  • Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save Water and Protect the Environment

    Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save Water and Protect the Environment

    Our earth has limited resources, and we must all do everything in our power to preserve them. It doesn't matter if you're 4 or 40 years old, there are many meaningful steps you can take to protect the environment. Here are a few water conservation tips for kids.

    Turn off the tap

    It is great if your little ones are excited to brush their teeth every night, but make sure they are turning off the tap water when they do so and not leave it running. It may not seem like a lot of water is being wasted during this time, but even little steps can go a long way. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if you turn off the water while brushing your teeth in the morning and at night, you can save up to 8 gallons of water a day! That comes out to about 200 gallons a month. Smart little steps like this add up quickly and are an important part of a household water conservation plan.

    Washing dishesWash the dishes correctly

    Odds are your kids have a list of chores to do each day, one of those being doing the dishes. Make sure they're not wasting any water while scrubbing those dirty plates. Instead of letting the tap run, scrape the excess food into the garbage can first so your washing doesn't have to be so vigorous. If the food is stuck, fill the plate, pot or pan up with warm water, and let it soak for a couple of minutes. The hot water should soften the food and make it easier to clean. 

    Shower, don't take a bath

    Although your kids might be used to taking baths, bathing uses up to 70 gallons of water. A shower, on the other hand, only uses about 10 to 15 gallons. Do what's best for the environment, and opt for a shower for your little ones to save water.

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