Roto-Rooter Blog

  • How to Prepare Your Outdoor Plumbing for Cold Weather

    A Guide to Winterizing Outdoor Plumbing

    Outdoor faucetFor most of the U.S. the transition from warm weather to cold weather is right around the corner and can often leave homeowners unprepared. Taking the time to prep your outdoor plumbing for winter now, will be beneficial in the long run. Follow these tips while time is on your side, instead of waiting until the cold weather arrives.

    Check for Leaks

    It’s important to inspect outdoor faucets, also known as spigots or hose bibs, for drips. If you find that your outdoor plumbing is leaking, call your local Roto-Rooter plumber to make all the necessary repairs before temperatures get so cold that the faucet can freeze and cause even more problems. For instance, when outdoor faucets experience a hard freeze, that freeze tends to affect the connecting water supply pipe. If that pipe is made of copper or plastic, it often splits open the pipe. As long as the pipe remains frozen, you won’t notice the problem, but after it thaws, the pipe can flood your home. Very quickly.

    Shut off Water & Drain your Pipes

    After you have checked for active leaks and before you start shutting down your outdoor plumbing, be sure to shut off the water leading out of your home so water doesn’t rest in your pipes. If you home is equipped with interior shutoff valves leading to the outside faucets, turn off the valve, then go outside and turn on the outside hose bibs until all remaining water in the line drains out. Water left in your pipes will freeze, expand, and possibly burst your pipes. By draining your pipes completely, you avoid the high risk of frozen pipes and pricy solutions.

    Cover and Conceal

    Once all water is drained from any supply pipe leading outside, detach any hose from the outdoor hose bib and stow away indoors. Next, go to your local hardware store and pick up a faucet insulation kit. Prices can vary depending on kit and hardware store but most kits are just a few dollars.  Follow your kits’ directions to cover and conceal your outdoor plumbing.

    If you are having trouble winterizing your outdoor plumbing, call your local Roto-Rooter plumbers are ready to give advice and walk you through the steps.

  • Marketing Home Services to Millennials

    Restroom Manners“…And away your troubles down the drain, Roto-Rooter!” - that’s the way parents and grandparents remembered our famous jingle, which has played at the end of radio and TV commercials for generations. However, a new generation of homeowners doesn’t depend solely on radio and TV to learn about home services providers. Millennials use different tools to educate themselves before hiring service providers. According to The Washington Post, the percentage of homeowners under the age of 35 is now up to 34.1%. That makes them a very attractive demographic for plumbers, carpet cleaners, electricians and pest control companies.

    Roto-Rooter’s efforts to create brand awareness to Millennials has been quite successful. By taking bolder marketing approaches with a stronger emphasis on social media marketing, Roto-Rooter has successfully made its name more recognizable and relatable to Millennials. Roto-Rooter understands that traditional media channels have less influence on many Millennials, who spend a great deal of time on their smart phones using social media platforms. Roto-Rooter’s use of humor to deliver useful information via YouTube, Facebook and Instagram helps the plumbing, drain and water damage cleanup company’s brand messaging to break through media clutter.

    Roto-Rooter’s latest campaign called “Restroom Manners” is a series of funny videos designed to grab millennials’ attention with relatable scenarios that happen to men in public restrooms. This campaign touches on everything from intruding on another individual’s personal space to the “courtesy flush”. The 10-video series is being featured on both Facebook and YouTube. While Millennials seem to easily relate to the humorous situations portrayed in the videos, some older viewers aren’t as comfortable with the idea of shining a spotlight on the goings on inside public restrooms. It seems restroom behavior remains a taboo subject for some older viewers and a few have expressed their dissatisfaction with the content. Online demographic targeting within each social network helps Roto-Rooter place the videos in front of more Millennials while avoiding most older viewers, though sometimes the videos get shared and accidentally find their way to a more mature audience.

    The Restroom Manners series follows successful humorous videos Roto-Rooter has produced for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

  • The Water Cleanup Process After a Home Flood

    Water cleanupHas your home ever had clogged drainpipes? Has your sewer ever backed up, maybe causing household drains to overflow? Have you ever experienced a water heater failure? How about a sump pump failure? Have you ever heard of washing machine water supply hoses bursting and flooding a home? When you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll eventually experience one or more of the dreadful water damage scenarios just mentioned. But you can avoid some of these pitfalls by being better prepared. If you plan ahead for these disasters, you can avoid them altogether or at least lessen their impact.

    Luckily, Roto-Rooter has your back. The smartest preparation plan you can make is to keep Roto-Rooter’s phone number handy. It’s . We’re often the first call people make when they’re facing water damage problems in their home or business because we’ve been fixing water issues since 1935. Our experienced plumbers are trained to fix the source of the water problem and our team of water damage cleanup experts will extract all the water, remove damaged flooring, furniture and drywall and then they’ll dry out your home so it can be put back together.

    Roto-Rooter's vehicles are fully equipped with state-of-the-art water extraction, drying and moisture testing equipment to handle everything from a confined clean water leak to massive filthy sewer backups. We’ll have it cleaned up, deodorized and we’ll even treat with anti-microbial products to decontaminate the area and prevent mold growth. In short, we can help your life get back to normal.

    How do we do it? After your home is affected by unexpected water intrusion, the damage to your property and contents will be thoroughly documented with photos of the loss before we start working. We’ll take more photos during the cleanup process and again after our work in completed. The professionals at Roto-Rooter are also trained to prepare sketches and keep drying logs for your insurance company, so that your claim can be processed quickly and accurately. After our work is finished, our advanced equipment is removed only when the temperature, humidity and moisture testing confirms that affected areas have been effectively dried to industry approve standards. Next time disaster strikes in your home, just call Roto-Rooter. One call, one service provider and one less thing for you and your family to worry about during a difficult time.

  • 94 Reasons Why You Need Clean Restrooms

    bathroom sinksA 2014 survey by the Harris Group showed that 94% of U.S. adults would avoid a business in the future if they encountered a dirty restroom. One of the top reasons cited for considering a restroom unacceptable: standing water on the floor around the sinks or toilets.

    Obviously, businesses can’t afford to have messy, dirty, unappealing restrooms caused by plumbing problems. That’s why Roto-Rooter should be your preferred plumbing partner. With the best plumbers, most advanced equipment in the industry and rapid-response service, Roto-Rooter will keep your restroom plumbing operating in tip-top shape so your floors stay dry and your customers coming back.

    And, that’s money in the bank for you!

    Watch our video to learn more about Roto-Rooter Commercial Services

  • 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.

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