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  • How to Use A Plunger for Your Sink

    Clogged sink with plungerWhen you have a clogged sink, what do you do about it? Pour hot water down the drain? Try to fish out the offending object with a hanger? Use Drain-O? These options all have their use cases, but more often than not a plunger is the best option for the sink.

    While most of us associate plungers with the toilet, they're great for unclogging drains all around your house – provided you know what you're doing, of course. If you don't know how to use a plunger for your sink, then check out our easy “how-to” video or follow these steps:

    First, choose the right type. Plungers are not a one-size-fits-all tool, as you need the right one for the job. As opposed to a protruding flange plunger, the classic flat-on-the-bottom plunger is meant for sinks. Since sinks are flat on the bottom, so too should the plunger you use. That way, you can create a tight seal, which is needed in order for a plunger to work properly.

    Next, make sure you're using it correctly. Once a tight seal has been created to ensure you have a vacuum in place, gently compress and then use force to pull back up. This way, the item clogging the drain goes up and out, as opposed to becoming further stuck in there.

    Even if you know how to use a plunger for your sink, you may still find that the drain remains clogged. Fear not if this happens to you, as it's a common occurrence. Instead of taking the whole sink apart to remove the clog, simply call your nearest Roto-Rooter plumbing professional for help. A professional plumber has the knowledge and special set of skills needed to handle especially jobs. When plungers aren't up to the task, luckily a professional plumber is just a phone call away.


  • The Importance of Clean Grease Traps at Restaurants

    Commercial sink and grease trapAnyone who's worked in a restaurant is familiar with the grease trap. Most restaurant workers know that rank, unbearable smell that comes along with not regularly cleaning it out. In addition to ensuring that your kitchen doesn't smell like rotting bar food, there are many reasons why it's important to clean your grease trap every two to three months. In fact, most states require it by law! Here's what you should know about cleaning your restaurant's grease trap:

    Grease causes sewers to overflow

    The point of a grease trap is to keep grease out of the sewer system. However, a grease trap has to be maintained in order to be effective. When a grease trap goes too long between cleanings, the grease can leak into your restaurant's drainage system, leading to grease buildup and clogs. The effects can even impact your city's water system, causing sewers to overflow. If it's traced back to your restaurant, you could face some hefty fines from the city.

    Grease runoff is pollution|

    In addition to clogging drains, grease from poorly maintained grease traps can cause pollution. The grease itself is detrimental to animal life. It's also important to cover your grease trap outdoors. Not only so animals can’t get in, but because rainwater can accumulate inside. If the trap becomes too filled with water, it can cause a spill, allowing grease to run off and spread outside into parking lots and down storm drains. Just because grease traps are located outdoors doesn't mean they can't contaminate the inside of the restaurant, either. Not only is this stagnant food waste a breeding ground for bacteria - hence the smell - but water mixed with the food and grease can create sulfuric acid. This toxic acid smells bad, as well as damages the steel and concrete from which the trap is constructed. Ensuring your grease trap is pumped out and cleaned regularly ensures you won't have to pay for pricey grease trap repairs!

    Before grease reaches the trap

    In order to cut down on how much grease actually reaches the traps, regularly cleaning the grease machines beneath your restaurant's sinks and the interceptors can be a great help. While it may seem like a hassle to clean these things once a week, you'll find that keeping up with them makes the job much easier, as well as significantly cuts how often you need to get the traps cleaned.


  • The Benefits of Trenchless Pipe Repair

    Processes for fixing pipes have come a long way thanks to innovative technologies that enable plumbing professionals to address these issues more effectively. Trenchless pipe repair allows plumbers to take action in a way that wasn't possible before, and homeowners can realize a number of advantages from this method. Here are a few of the benefits you can yield by going with trenchless pipe repair:

    1. Minimal landscaping damageTrenchless pipe repair

    When you work hard to maintain your lawn and assorted landscaping features, it can come as a blow that plumbers need to dig a trench to access an underground sewer pipe. However, trenchless plumbing repair techniques such as pipe bursting or pipe relining requires only one or two small access holes, usually at the entrance and exit of the pipes. This will significantly reduce the damage to your landscaping and will save thousands of dollars in yard repairs.

    2. Better quality and function

    Trenchless pipe repairs put in cured-in-place liners or seamless Polyethylene piping, providing a better quality piping material for long-term benefits. These pipes help prevent off-set pipes, cracks, corrosion, rusting and tree root invasions. This benefit makes trenchless methods perfect for reducing the need for future repairs for decades to come.

    In addition to providing a higher quality material, the trenchless pipe liners can increase flow capacity, helping the pipes to last longer and preventing future clogs. Homeowners can rest easy that they won't have to clean out their sewer line as often or need to worry about a burst pipe in the near future.

    3. Faster completion timeline

    The trenchless plumbing repair method can take substantially less time than older traditional approaches, but a variety of factors come into play. Crews often finish in a single day, depending on the extent of the repair. This benefit means that homeowners will enjoy a quick and tidy repair without a lot of damage to landscaping, driveways, sidewalks or trees.  

    The benefits of trenchless pipe repair make it a no-brainer for homeowners who need to fix their plumbing system. With less damage, faster completion and better quality, the trenchless method will save you money and provide a pipe solution that will last longer. Call a Roto-Rooter plumbing professional for your trenchless pipe repair service.


  • Simple Toilet Repairs You Can Do On Your Own

    Toilets are ubiquitous fixtures, present in every sort of home and business. Despite their constant presence, many homeowners may not know how to fix minor issues with their toilets - and when to draw the line and call in the professionals at Roto-Rooter. Let's review a few simple toilet repairs you can do on your own:

    Changing or adjusting the seat and lidtoilet

    Many people think of repairing a toilet and immediately start considering plumbing issues. There are parts of a toilet that can break or become misaligned without affecting connected pipes or water flow, however. A broken seat or lid is such an issue, and something eventually encountered by many homeowners. A new seat can also freshen up a toilet's appearance, and the first steps of the process detailed below can also help fix a loose seat.

    Replacing or adjusting a lid / seat is a relatively simple process. First, locate the two hinges where the seat screws into the fixture. These are typically located under a plastic cover that must be pried up or popped open. Then, unscrew the nuts and plastic washers. To replace the seat, remove the nuts, washers and bolts, then follow the process in reverse to attach a new lid / seat. To repair a loose or misaligned toilet seat, adjust to the angle you desire and re-tighten the nuts to attached to the hinge bolts.

    Fixing a running toilet

    A running toilet may be an easy fix at home or indicative of a more complex problem. A few easy toilet repairs to consider include replacing the flapper valve. The flapper is the flexible rubber valve attached to the flush lever. It’s job is to stop the flow of water once the toilet's tank is filled. Since the flapper is made of rubber, it can degrade due to wear or become stiff so that it is no longer flexible enough to form a good seal. Sometimes the flapper closes down over the chain that connects it to the flush lever, preventing it from sealing. Adjusting the chain can fix that problem, while replacing the flapper itself is also a simple affair. If the flapper allows water to flow when the tank is full, it's time to replace it.

    You should turn off water flowing to the toilet, then flush it to remove most of the remaining water in the tank. At that point, assess how the flapper is connected to the toilet and remove it. Bring the old flapper with you to a hardware store and select a substantially similar model, taking care to ensure the size is the same. Then, follow the package's instructions to install the new flapper and do away with the annoyance of a running toilet. Roto-Rooter created a useful video with step-by-step instructions for replacing a flapper.

    Are you encountering issues with a toilet that seem too complicated to fix on your own? Call Roto-Rooter to gain expert assistance and repair your toilet.


  • 3 Quick Fixes for Leaking Pipes

    Leaking pipesA home's pipes are essential to keeping everything running properly, but when a pipe starts to leak, that can mean big problems for homeowners. A leaking pipe might not be visible right away, leading to major damages if not addressed. If you do find that a pipe is leaking, there are three quick fixes you can make until a plumbing professional is able to come out and assess the extent of the issue. But your first step should always be to turn off the water supply valve. If the leak is in a water supply pipe beneath a sink, turn off the water supply valves under the sink. Otherwise, turn off your home’s main water supply valve to limit the amount of water that can cause damage.

    Use available materials

    If your pipe is hemorrhaging water and you don't have enough time to make it to a store to get the necessary supplies, try to use items that you have on-hand. If the hole is small, stick a pencil point into it. Wrap the pipe with electrician's tape and use putty if you have it to ensure it doesn't leak. This should buy you enough time to call a professional or make permanent repairs. Try wrapping a piece of rubber around the pipe, then using a C-clamp and blocks of wood to hold it in place. Don’t clamp down too hard or you’ll bend or damage the pipe. These items can potentially minimize damage and allow you to keep the main water valve on to supply the rest of the house. Your next step should be to call a plumber or get materials to fully fix the problem.

    Put on a patch

    Patching up a pipe will be much more effective than using items within reach. Epoxy compounds and pipe wraps can be applied anywhere on the pipe for all types of leaks and cracks. This ensures that the pipe will hold until it can be replaced or fully repaired. Depending on the damage, it may be more cost-effective to put in a new pipe section, but this quick fix can give you the time to make necessary repairs on your own schedule.

    Call a professional

    Although this fix might not be as fast as the other two, a plumbing expert can easily and quickly address an assortment of leak issues, and will have the tools on hand to get the job right the first time. This will get your plumbing system a permanent, reliable fix and provide you peace of mind knowing that your pipes were repaired correctly. Roto-Rooter plumbers are licensed, experienced and fully capable of repairing any leaking water pipe. Plumbers can also fully replace a damaged section of pipe if needed or will provide you with options to patch the hole.

    Fixing a leaking pipe can be difficult if tackled on your own. With these three quick tips, you'll be able to lessen or hold the leak until you can call a professional or gather the materials to make permanent fixes. Call a Roto-Rooter professional today to help with your leaking pipes.


  • Water Jet Sewer Cleaning Explained: What It is and When You Need It

    Water jetting serviceSewer lines are critical for sending waste and water away from a home, business or other structure, but sewer pipes are not impenetrable or impervious to blockages. Trees are a significant culprit, as their roots can penetrate sewer lines at pipe joints or damaged sections. Roots gradually obstruct the flow of sewage and eventually can cause a complete blockage of the pipe. Clogs caused by grease, tampons, wet wipes and other items can also build up on their own over time if the sewer line isn't maintained properly. Water jet sewer cleaning is a clear answer to these issues.

    What is it?

    Water jet sewer cleaning leverages a high-pressure hose with a specialized nozzle on the end. The hose is connected to a machine that pressurizes water, directing it through jets on the nozzle head to thoroughly clean and clear out the pipe. High-pressure water jetting effectively breaks up the debris that may have accumulated in the pipe and flushes it out. It's recommended to get a camera line inspection before doing commercial and municipal sewer cleaning in order to identify the location of the blockage and determine what other repairs may be required, especially if there are tree roots in the vicinity. Standard mechanical sewer cleaning with a Roto-Rooter cable machine is still the best and most affordable option for residential sewers. Water jetting is only needed to resolve the most serious residential sewer clogs. However, commercial sewers and municipal pipes are a different matter. Their larger diameter and capacity often make high-pressure water jetting a better option.

    Why you should use water jet sewer cleaning

    A blockage in your sewer line could mean that the drains inside the structure begin to backup  and overflow. Sewer pipes within your property are your responsibility to maintain, and water jet sewer cleaning is an extremely effective way to clear out the most serious clogs. The water jet is often described as working like a laser beam. It’s incredible pressure can direct streams of water to cut through virtually anything, even trees roots, dried concrete and even wood. The water jet pulverizes most any material into tiny bits and washes them away. Water jetting is also the best solution for eliminating any grease or grime buildup that may be clinging to the pipe walls. This ensures that your sewer line will be thoroughly cleaned right down to the pipe walls to prevent future clogs.

    Water jet sewer cleaning can also be more economical and more environmentally safe than other commercial sewer cleaning options. Water jetting is environmentally safe because it doesn't use any chemicals to get the job done, just plain water blasted at incredibly high pressure levels.

    Businesses must maintain the sewer lines within their property to ensure optimal performance. Water jet sewer cleaning can help keep sewer lines open longer in a very effective, cost-efficient manner. Jetting is also useful for cleaning out driveway culverts and outdoor drainpipes. Call a Roto-Rooter professional today to set up high-pressure water jet sewer cleaning for your lines.


  • Low-Flow Showerheads Won't Negatively Water Pressure

    Modern low-flow showerheads offer enough pressure to wash shampoo out of your hair.Typically, the first step to limiting your water use or living a more sustainable life is to invest in a low-flow showerhead. What makes a showerhead low-flow is the amount of water that it expels per minute. The average shower head releases anywhere from 3 to 8 gallons per minute, while a low-flow one uses as little as 1.5 gallons per minute.

    We've all seen the bit on the hit comedy, "Seinfeld," where everyone in Jerry's building has flat hair because the new low-flow shower heads don't provide enough water pressure to wash away their shampoo. Many people are under the impression that investing in a shower head like this will have a negative effect on their water pressure. While this may have been true back when that episode aired in the '90s, that isn't the case anymore. Here's what you should know about modern low-flow showerheads and water pressure.

    Aerating vs. non-aerating

    There are two types of low-flow showerheads, both of which make a point to ensure that users get to enjoy ample water pressure. These are aerating and non-aerating. Aerating showerheads expel a mix of water and air, so the flow of water stays constant. Non-aerating showerheads maintain their pressure with pulses. However, while the pressure stays constant in aerating showerheads, the water temperature can be affected, dropping the temperature between 5 and 15 degrees, so it may not be the best choice for people who like a hot, steamy shower.

    Test it before committing

    Most showerheads have multiple settings, some of which offer more pressure than others.  If you're not sure if your shower head is low-flow or not, you hold a 1-gallon bucket beneath your showerhead, turn the faucets to the setting you would normally use, and see how long it takes to fill up the bucket. If it takes fewer than 24 seconds, it's not low-flow. If you purchase a new shower head that is low-flow, but it doesn't seem to have the pressure you desire, chances are simply changing the setting to a stronger stream will be all it takes for a satisfactory flow.

    There is a host of ways to conserve water in your home or business. Low-flow showerheads play an important role and with today’s modern, well-engineered low-flow showerheads, you won’t sacrifice comfort or quality when taking a shower.


  • What Do Kitchen Grease Traps And Interceptors Do? | Roto-Rooter

    Grease traps are vital for any restaurantModern plumbing ideas and techniques can be traced back hundreds of years to various civilizations.

    An early idea that is still widely used today is the use of grease traps and interceptors. These pieces of equipment are instrumental in helping to protect sewer systems from backing up and causing serious plumbing issues.

    What are grease traps?

    Grease traps are plumbing devices whose purpose is to collect grease and other solids before they enter wastewater systems. A large buildup of thick substances, like fats and oils, are known to cause sewer backups.

    Where are interceptors used?

    Kitchen grease traps are basically mainly used in restaurants and other places where there's a lot of cooking.

    Restaurants and food service kitchens are usually responsible for producing the highest amounts of grease. These establishments have to take into account the many sources grease can come from. Cooking appliances are major producers of grease, but so too are dishwashing areas.

    Interestingly, it's not uncommon for municipalities in the U.S. to require kitchens and food service areas to install and maintain grease interceptors. To ensure these plumbing devices are working at optimal levels. Restaurant management staff and municipalities should routinely inspect these systems.

    Types of grease traps

    There are three different types of grease traps.

    The most common interceptor is known as a passive grease trap. These are plumbing devices found under sinks with three compartments. While passive interceptors are the most common, most residential households do not have grease traps because they simply don't produce enough kitchen grease to need one. Instead, grease traps are common at restaurants.

    Grease recovery devices are the second subset. Essentially, a GRD will remove grease automatically once it's trapped. Grease can then be collected and recycled with waste vegetable oil collected from a deep fryer.

    An in-ground grease trap is the last type, and second most commonly used in restaurants. According to the Webstaurant Store, these devices not only capture grease, but also oil, sediment and lint, among other solids.

    In-ground interceptors are typically constructed out of steel or fiberglass and large enough to handle the needs of large restaurants and even hospitals or school cafeterias. In most instances, larger grease interceptors usually need to abide by certain health and safety codes.

    Help with the interceptor

    Due to the importance of grease traps, it's important for grease traps to be regularly maintained. If restaurants or other commercial services need help with cleaning or liquid waste pumping, they should contact Roto-Rooter for professional help.


  • What to Expect During a Backflow Preventer Inspection

    Backflow inspectionBackflow is bad news. Whether it comes in the form of backpressure backflow or backflow siphonage, the unfortunate occurrence of non-potable water streaming back into the usable water supply is a serious potential health crisis situation. If the pressure in the hoses changes for any reason due to pipes freezing, water main bursts or when multiple fire hydrants are opened at once, there is a greater chance for there to be a flow reversal.

    To prevent this undesirable circumstance, a backflow prevention device is required, in addition to regular checkups. Backflow testing, therefore, is a critical part of the annual maintenance you should undertake for your business. In some places, such as Ohio, businesses (and some residences) with commercial sprinkler systems are forced to have their backflow prevention assemblies tested annually by a certified backflow inspector. What should you expect during such an inspection?

    Types of backflow prevention devices

    In terms of the equipment that will be checked, there are two possible options: a reduced pressure principle device or double check valves. Both include a mechanical backflow preventer – essentially, a physical barrier to the backflow.

    In order to prevent backflow siphonage, which is the reversal of a normal septic system flow, you should have professionals determine the pressure within your plumbing and see if it's in any danger of causing a problem like this.

    What should you know?

    In circumstances where the backflow prevention device should be inspected annually, be sure to partner with a backflow trained and licensed professional who has plenty of experience in the area. When testing the device, the backflow certified plumber will first turn off the downstream shut-off valve and wait for a few minutes, and then he’ll test the pressure in the system by hooking up test kit hoses. The plumber is basically looking for areas where the pressure isn't what it should be.

    The cost of having your backflow preventer inspected varies based on your location and the companies you may choose from. In order to make sure contaminants from animal feces, pesticides and fertilizers aren't getting into your drinking water, however, it's critical to partner with a company that's been around for a long time and has a stable of experienced certified backflow professionals at its beck and call.

    For more information about our backflow preventer inspection services and to learn why backflow prevention devices are critical for public health, contact your local plumbing experts at Roto-Rooter today.


  • 5 Signs It's Time to Call Your Septic Pumping Service

    It's a fact of life: If you own a septic tank, you'll have to clean it at some point, as proper maintenance is key for making sure your septic tank and everything else in your home runs the way it's supposed to. Make sure you pump your septic tank once every few years. If you don't clean it regularly and instead leave it to its own devices for decades, you could have an expensive problem on your hands when you finally do decide to have it cleaned out.

    When should you call your septic pumping service? Here are five signs you should watch out for:

    1. Has it been two or three years since the last time the tank was pumped?

    A good rule of thumb when it comes to having your septic tank pumped is to determine a baseline for how often you want to clean it out. Depending on how large your tank is, how many people live in your household and how old your septic tank is, there could be different protocols for how often you need to pump it.

    2. Will you have a lot of visitors in the very near future?

    If you're anticipating heavy septic system usage for an extended period of time, and your tank hasn't been pumped in a while, it may be a good idea to go ahead and have it cleaned out in order to prepare for the heavier influx of sewage.

    3. Do you suspect tree roots are clogging your Drainage tile lateral lines?

    It's important that you make sure any trees on your property aren't causing mayhem underground. Tree roots are a leading cause of pipe blockages, and your septic tank is no exception. You should call a professional to help you determine whether trees will affect the sewage system.

    4. Does your lawn have a bad odor?

    If your septic system is failing, you'll know it. Pay attention to how the lawn smells – if you haven't cleaned the tank out in a while, your lateral field may become overwhelmed, spewing nasty gases into the air.

    5. Is your yard wet, even though it hasn't rained?

    Look for soggy patches of grass and even standing water, as well. This could be an indication that a septic system overflow or failure has occurred.

    These are all signs that you should contact a plumbing expert sooner rather than later. For more information on our septic pumping services, get in touch with the professionals at Roto-Rooter.Septic field


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