Roto-Rooter Blog

  • How to Pick the Right Plunger | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Pick the right plungerSinks, showers and toilets can often become clogged for many different reasons. For many such jobs, a plunger can do the trick and get things rolling again.

    However, in order to ensure a job well done, you must think like a professional plumber and make sure you are choosing the right plunger. Here are three points to keep in mind when shopping for a plunger:

    1) Get the right tool for the job
    There are two main types of plungers, and each type serves a unique purpose. The classic flat-bottomed plunger is meant, perhaps quite naturally, for flat surfaces like sinks. In contrast, the more curved bottom of a toilet requires a protruding flange plunger, which looks like a flat plunger just with an extra bit coming out the bottom.

    2) Make sure it can form a tight seal
    Plungers work by creating a vacuum within the drain, and then allowing you to use this vacuum to your advantage to unclog things. In order for this to happen, however, the plunger needs to be able to make a tight seal around the drain in question. This is why older plungers with cracks or holes in them don't work very well. Before getting a new plunger, be sure it is able to create a good seal both today and well into the future.

    3) Is it comfortable to use?
    Sometimes, plungers don't work unless you put a little elbow grease behind them. Be sure you buy a plunger with good grip that is comfortable to use, as you don't want to strain yourself while clearing a drain.

    If you find that even the best plunger is not doing the trick, fret not. Some clogs are just too big or tricky for a plunger to handle. In those situations, you're much better off calling in a professional plumber. A professional plumber as more than just a plunger at his or her disposal!

  • Quick, Effective Fixes for Your Leaky Kitchen Faucet | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Kitchen FaucetWant to get rid of that annoying, drip, drip, drip of your faucet? Good news: There are ways you can do this yourself. Although this problem may seem small, it can actually cause bigger issues down the road, like increasing your water bill or growing mold. Here are a few quick ways to fix your leaky kitchen faucet:

    Replace the seal
    First, shut off your water supply to the sink. This step is vital in protecting your home from water damage while you work. Then, you can move on to the main repairs. A typical issue that could be causing your leak is a worn-out rubber gasket or seal that's located inside the valve. Replacing this piece should fix your problem, but you may have to disassemble your faucet to reach it.

    Dirty aerator
    The aerator could also be a reason that you are experiencing a leak in your faucet. Take a look at it, and see if there are any particles surrounding it. If so, remove them, and see if the leak is gone. Keep in mind that the nozzle could also be loose. If so, use a wrench to tighten it, and see if the spigot is still leaking.

    Invest in a new one
    If your leaky-faucet problem persists after trying the quick fixes above, it may be time to purchase a new fixture altogether. Faucets experience a lot of wear and tear over time, especially the ones found in your kitchen. Buying a new one will definitely solve your problem. And if you decide to buy a new one, consider the many new options available to you, including hands-free faucets for the home.

    Call a professional
    Sometimes, the issue might be out of your hands. If your faucet isn't old, and you've tried fixing it, it could be a bigger issue with your plumbing. Don't hesitate to call Roto-Rooter. We'll send out a professional and experienced plumber to take care of your kitchen faucet repair.

  • Shape up for the Season with These Seven Tips | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Fall is coming—and while it’s not as ominous as winter, even slight dips in temperature can throw your commercial building’s systems out of whack. Here are seven tips to make sure your building is prepared for the new season.

    1. Fall is the best time to prepare your landscaping for spring. Inspect dead trees and shrubs that may need replacement and take care of any mulching and weeding before winter comes. Clean out your roof drains and inspect any skylights for damage.
    1. If the age of your HVAC system is nearing the double digits, you should consider replacing them before the temperatures drop. Many older gas furnaces only work at 50% efficiency while new furnaces have ratings of 92%–98% efficiency. If you don’t need a replacement, it’s still important to check the furnace for cracks and have it professionally cleaned.
    1. Open the supply registers on lower levels of your building and close ones on the upper levels. This can help your commercial system heat quickly and efficiently when the time comes.
    1. Cooler seasons can take a big toll on your sewers and septic system. The beginning of fall is the best time to conduct routine maintenance and check for any damage. This is also a great time to drain your septic tank if you have one. Roto-Rooter is always available for any of your plumbing needs or questions; just call 1-800-GET-ROTO.
    1. While frost might not seem like an issue just yet, it can surprise us when we least expect it. Keep your eye on the forecast for unseasonably low temperatures. If you see a dip into colder weather, detach your hoses from the outside taps. If you have an underground sprinkler system, drain and turn off those pipes as well.
    1. For many regions, the new season can bring a lot of rainfall. Evaluate your storm pipes, catch basins and discharge pipes for deterioration or blocks. Repair any damages and remove any plants that may be impeding the system.
    1. Ensure that your hot water tank is working properly by checking the bottom of the pan for excess water. If the tank is leaking or if you find water at the bottom, you should call the professionals at Roto-Rooter immediately to fix the problem.

  • 10 Traits of a Terrific Landlord | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Managing property isn’t as easy as you’d think—there are a lot of things even the best landlords forget. Keep your business running smoothly by keeping these ten tips in mind.

    1. The Golden Rule

    We’ll start with the basics: treat tenants how you’d want to be treated—with the utmost respect. Whether it’s a rent delay or consistent complaints, responding with respect can be a challenge. A great way to deal with repetitive requests is to learn what makes your tenants tick and work proactively to solve those problems. Communicate clearly and empathetically with everyone to work through each problem.

    2. Keep your promises

    If you say it’ll be fixed on Tuesday, fix it on Tuesday. This means properly resourcing. Make sure you have a trustworthy resource that will fix it right the first time. Roto-Rooter is always available 24/7 for plumbing, water excavation and maintenance. Simply call 1-800-GET-ROTO.

    3. Be picky

    It’s easy to accept prospective tenants because you need the income, but some tenants turn out to be terrible. If one person presents a plethora of issues or demands early, it could be a sign of an unruly resident. Review your rent procedures and background-checking services and reference the latest guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    4. Make it pretty

    You can keep your property in tip-top shape by keeping up with ongoing problems and working to prevent new ones. Swift repairs and preventative maintenance by qualified professionals like Roto-Rooter can save you a lot of money in the long run.

    5. It’s all business

    Make sure you are running your property like a business. Using a move-in/move-out report will minimize problems before they happen. Include your house rules as part of the leasing process and be clear about your expectations.

    6. Prepare your personnel

    When onboarding a new employee, an orientation booklet and training can be imperative to getting the right result. Ideally, you should incorporate this into the interview process. One of the most common complaints in apartment management is often directed toward one specific employee.

    7. Work the floor

    If you can’t work the floor, you can’t manage the floor. Staying present on the premises and being involved in day-to-day activities can go a long way in understanding your property. Speak regularly with employees, contractors and tenants to stay aware of everything.

    8. Write it down

    Make sure to get everything in writing. A written lease or a month-to-month rental agreement will record important matters, including tenant complaints and repairs as well as the notices you’ll need to give to enter a tenant’s apartment.

    9. Safety first

    Make sure your property is secure. There are a few things you can do to deter criminals from picking on your property. Some easy steps include ensuring ample amounts of lighting as well as maintaining a trimmed landscape.

    10. Be transparent

    If there are environmental hazards such as lead or mold on the property, make sure to tell your tenants. Landlords are liable for many tenant health issues, especially those resulting from exposure to toxins. Your residents will appreciate your honesty.

  • Quick Ways to Stop a Leaking Refrigerator | Roto-Rooter

    Leaking refrigerators can cause bigger problemsEver notice a little pool of water gathering underneath your refrigerator? As much as we'd like our appliances to constantly be in tip-top shape, that's not always the case. Fixtures go on the fritz, but sometimes they're fixable. Here are some quick ways to stop a leaking refrigerator:

    Replace the filter

    Sometimes, all your refrigerator needs is a new filter. Over time, filters experience wear and tear, and eventually start leaking water. If you've had yours for awhile, it's time to replace it. Just head out to your local hardware store to pick up another. It should come with easy instructions on how to safely remove your old one, and replace it with the new fixture. This swap should fix your leakage issue.

    Examine your defrost drain

    Over time, defrost drains become clogged with various materials. Since they're located inside of the refrigerator (usually on the ceiling between your fridge and freezer), they're exposed to many different things. Examine the drain to see if there is any ice or food. coated on it. If it's ice, pour hot water down the drain to melt it. If it's food, use a handy tool or sturdy wire to clean out the entire area.

    Check the ice maker

    If water is forming underneath your appliance, it could be that something is wrong with your refrigerator's ice maker. Luckily, this is easy to fix. Shut off the water to that valve, which is normally located underneath the sink. If not, you probably can find it in your basement directly underneath the fridge. Turn off the flow of water to the ice maker so the puddle stops growing. Then, give your Roto-Rooter plumber a call to decide how to proceed.

  • Tree Root Removal Tips for Raleigh Homeowners

    TreesRaleigh, North Carolina, is a rapidly growing metro area. The city is dryer and warmer than most of the U.S., especially during the summer, which means that having top-notch plumbing for lawn irrigation, in-home showers and other use cases is essential.

    However, there is one big obstacle here: tree roots. Here's what to do to stay ahead of that problem:

    1) Use a chemical root removal solution

    The challenge in removing roots from a pipe is that it is often difficult to do without damaging the pipes or other plants in the vicinity. Enter a weed killer solution such as RootX. This foaming mix of chemicals is designed to kill only the roots it comes into contact with and then leave an herbicidal residue to prevent regrowth for at least a year. A Roto-Rooter professional plumber can apply RootX via the cleanout in a sewer line and save you thousands of dollars that might otherwise have gone toward line repair.

    2) Remove the roots with a mechanical cutter

    If the tree roots have become too invasive to reliably and quickly remove with chemicals, you could try using a mechanical cutter such as a sewer auger. Such a device has teeth situated on a rotating head and is able to clear out the roots that may be blocking the pipe and causing water to back up in your basement or ground floor. Note that this solution is less long-lasting than using chemicals, though.

    3) Dig up and repair or replace the clogged line

    Years of neglect on a sewer line can permit tree roots to completely block and destroy it with hair-like masses of plant matter. When this happens, it is probably time to have a licensed plumber come over and repair or replace the pipes. The procedure can be done the traditional way by digging up the surrounding area to take out the old pipe and lay a new one. Alternatively, it can sometimes be done with a "trenchless" procedure or with simple pipe relining, in which epoxy materials are molded inside the existing line to create a seamless and durable lining.

    Trees are an essential feature of the Raleigh landscape, but they can be real nuisances for residential plumbing systems. Be sure to always have your local Raleigh Roto-Rooter professional plumbing service number on hand, so that you can decisively deal with water backup and damaged lines.

  • What to Know About Living on the New Orleans Floodplain | Roto-Rooter

    Flooded houseAs a homeowner, flooding is one of the worst nightmares you can experience. Heavy rainfall in New Orleans, Louisianna, can cause serious water damage to your property- both inside and out. Flooding can overwhelm a home's sewer system, slowing down your sump pump's ability to handle water runoff. If you live on a floodplain, your risk for flooding may worsen during heavy storms.

    What's a floodplain?

    A floodplain is low-lying area that is usually located between two higher grounds. Such terrains are adjacent to bodies of water like streams, rivers, lakes, ponds or oceans. Because of this, properties that are located on a floodplain are highly susceptible to flooding

    How do I know if I live on a floodplain?

    Knowing if your property is located within a floodplain is critical to keeping your family and your home safe during a flood. Even if you aren't in plain sight of a body of water, that doesn't mean your home is far away from one. While this is a rather broad interpretation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency can help narrow it down for you. Simply visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center and type in your address,and it will show you how close in proximity you are to a floodplain.

    How can I protect my home?

    If you do happen to reside in an area that has been deemed a floodplain, there are certain measures you can take to help mitigate flooding to protect your home. Contact your local Roto-Rooter professional to discuss ventilating your pipes. This can help prevent water from entering your home during serious weather conditions.

    What if my home is already flooding?

    Consult a licensed plumber to see what the damage is before trying to tackle it yourself. You might be facing replacements of your outdoor piping system, your sump pump and your plumbing fixtures. While these appliances are durable and made to last, Mother Nature's strong winds are quite fierce. Especially during those Louisianna hurricanes.

    For more information on how to prepare and protect your home from a flood, contact your local New Orleans Roto-Rooter professional today.

  • How to Remove and Install A Toilet | Roto-Rooter

    New toiletIf your worn-out toilet has seen better days, it might be time to finally replace it with an updated one. This is something you can tackle yourself, but if you don't trust your DIY skills, contact your local Roto-Rooter plumber for professional assistance.

    5 steps for removing a toilet:

    Step 1: Turn off the water supply

    Completely cut off the water supply by turning the shutoff valve that is located either on the wall or on the floor near the toilet. Give the toilet one final flush to drain the water from the tank and bowl.

    Step 2: Disconnect the supply line

    Remove the supply line from the valve by unscrewing it with a wrench. Know that a small amount of water will drip out once you remove the supply line. Have a bucket on hand to catch the water so it doesn't drip all over the floor (or you!)

    Step 3: Remove the tank

    Take the tank top off and place it somewhere out of harm's way. To detach actual tank from the bowl, simply use an adjustable wrench to remove the bolts that are located at the bottom of the tank. Lift straight up and twist.

    Step 4: Remove the toilet

    To remove the toilet, loosen the bolt caps that are on the base of the appliance. With a partner, rock the bowl back and forth to free it from its wax gasket.

    Step 5: Clear the old putty

    There is going to be a lot of gunk where the toilet once sat. To remove it, use a putty knife to scrap the wax off the base. Be sure to clean and level the mounting surface before you proceed with the installation of the new toilet.

    Before you remove the old toilet, be sure to turn off the water supply.

    6 steps for installing a toilet

    Step 1: Set the bowl

    Prepare for the bowl to be in place by inserting closet bolts on either side of the base. This will help keep the toilet in place.

    Step 2: Lodge in the wax ring

    To install the wax ring, completely turn the toilet bowl upside down. Place the ring on the waste horn with the tapered end facing the toilet. For your reference, the waste horn is the knob located on the base of the toilet. For a quick and easy ring installation, heat it up before you secure it. A warm ring is easier to work with than a cold one.

    Step 3: Position the toilet

    Flip the toilet over and place it onto the base. Gently press down against the wax ring. Rock the bowl back and forth a couple of times to make sure it's secure.

    Step 4: Secure the toilet

    Once the bowl is in place, secure it by tightening the nuts on the closet bolts that are located on either side of the base of the toilet. Next, place bolt caps on the closet bolts so nothing sharp is sticking out. Apply waterproof sealant to the base of the appliance.

    Step 5: Attach the tank and seat

    With the closet bolt and sealant in place, it's time to attach the tank. First, slide the tank bolts through the opening at the bottom of the tank. Once they're aligned, slowly drop the tank down. Secure the tank in place by tightening a nut onto each bolt. The installation of the actual toilet seat may vary depending on brand, so consult the manufacturer's guide for proper instructions.

    Step 6: Install the water-supply line

    You want to install the water-supply line just how you removed it. Simply use a wrench to screw the supply line back onto the valve that is located underneath the toilet bowl.

    Step 7: Turn on the water supply

    Turn the water supply back on and test your DIY skills by giving your toilet a flush. Congratulations! Your toilet is officially installed.

    Once again, while it seems textbook easy there are many outside factors to count in. If you're a novice to plumbing DIY this one is best left to your local Everett Roto-Rooter professional.

  • How to Find and Repair A Bathtub Leak | Roto-Rooter

    Bathtub drainThere are two main areas where a bathtub leak might occur: the faucet drip or the underlying pipes. Additional areas to watch are the grout, body of the tub and the drain. Depending on the nature of the leak, you have different repair options. However, signs of trouble remain constant for both types of leaks. Be on the lookout for curling vinyl flooring or loose tiles, peeling or flaking paint, worn-out wood finishing, water stains on the ceiling, mold on the wall or floor, or general pooling around the base of the tub. Spotting these tell tale signs early might be able to save your bathroom from bigger issues.

    Here's how to successfully find and repair a bathtub leak:

    Find the culprit

    First things first: You must locate the leak before you repair it. It's relatively simple to determine whether or not your faucet or grout is leaking - just check to see if water is spilling out of either area. To test if the actual tub has a leak in it, wipe the outside until it is completely dry and line the area with newspaper. As you begin to fill the tub up, you'll want to keep an eye out for areas of the newspaper that start getting wet.

    To test the drain, completely fill the tub with water. When it's filled, carefully listen for the sound of water seeping out. If you hear those sounds and see the water start to decrease, chances are the drain assembly isn't fully sealed.

    If you aren't experiencing any of the issues listed above, it's most likely coming from your pipes. Contact your local Roto-Rooter and have it take a closer look.

    Repair the leak


    Start the faucet repair process by completely turning off your water supply. Proceed by removing the plastic caps from the center of the faucet. Next, use a screwdriver to disconnect the handle of the faucet. With a wrench, remove the packing nut used to hold the faucet in place. Replace the stem washers and then secure your new fixtures. Be sure to turn your water supply back on once you're done.


    To restore the grout, locate and clean around the leaking area. If you spot a crack, seal the leak by applying caulking to the crevasses. Before running your water, wait about three hours to allow the sealant to thoroughly dry.


    If you're looking to repair leaks in the actual bathtub, you're going to need a heavy-duty sealant with waterproof powers. Dry the area and apply a generous amount of sealant to the cracks. Use sandpaper to flatten the sealant that is on surface of the tub.


    If the water in your tub is draining quickly, chances are the plumber's putty on the inside of the plug is starting to rub off. Remove the drain plug with a pair of screwdrivers and reapply some putty. You can purchase this at the nearest hardware store.

    For more information on how to repair a bathtub leak, contact your Manchester Roto-Rooter professional today.

  • Common Office Plumbing Issues in St. Paul | Roto-Rooter

    BathroomIt doesn't matter if your place of business has 10 employees or 100, plumbing issues will be inevitable. However, you can take conscious steps to ensure these problems don't get serious. Here are some of the most common plumbing issues for your St. Paul, Minnesota, office and how to fix them:

    A clogged toilet

    You probably have experienced a clogged toilet at home before. At an office, more people are using the toilets and urinals, so a backup may occur on a regular basis. In public places, people are a lot more likely to flush items they shouldn't causing the fixtures to back up. If this happens often in your office, be sure to put up a sign on the doors noting not to. In addition, place waste baskets in between all the stalls so the ladies can easily pitch these things in the trash.

    Water that's too hot or cold

    Have you ever tried to wash your hands in the office's kitchen only to be met with freezing water from the faucet? If this is a common occurrence, your building's central water heater might not be working properly. Sometimes this can be fixed by simply resetting the heather, but in other cases it requires the work from a professional plumber.

    The same goes for water pressure. If you notice the faucet isn't spewing out water at its normal rate, it can be because your aerator is blocked or the fixture needs to be replaced completely. If your faucet pressure is lower than usual, don't ignore the problem - get it looked at.

    Bad odor

    No one expects plumbing fixtures to smell like roses, but if you notice something particularly odorous, it could be a part of a larger issue. Many smells can be a telltale sign there's water leakage. If you sniff something off, call your local St. Paul Roto-Rooter plumber to take a look.

    A green solution

    There are plenty of ways to make your office's plumbing more environmentally friendly. Your building can install high-efficiency toilets. These are fixtures that use less water - some only 1.1 gallons per flush. Dual-flush toilets, which are fixtures that separate liquid and solid waste, are also popular in buildings. Replacing your old toilets is an essential step in making your building more green and saving money.

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