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  • I Poured Hot Wax Down the Drain

    I accidentally poured a cup of hot wax into the drain. It's still draining, but slowly. I have used a plunger and bits and pieces of wax come up. What can I do or can only plumbing contractors repair?

    The only way you are going to remove the wax is to clean it with a snake that has cutting blades the internal diameter of the pipe. The snake will go inside the pipe and scrape the wax off like it is butter. Nothing else will remove the wax. Do not use hot water. This will only cause the wax to go further down the drain.

    Your local plumbing companies have the proper equipment, so you may want to call in the professionals to properly clear the line of wax. The cost to hire a professional sometimes outweighs the cost to do it yourself when you factor in the parts cost and time. If you are a good DIYer and would like to tackle the plumbing problem, you can purchase drain snakes at your local home improvement stores.

  • Clay Pipes can be problematic

    Clay piping has a long history. There are examples of clay pipe dating back as far back as 4000 B.C. in Babylonia. Various types of clay pipe have been used to make sewer lines ever since. The newest Vitrified clay pipe has a ceramic like finish, is strong and fits tighter at the joints than the older clay piping but ask anyone involved in plumbing services and they will tell you it is harder to work with than PVC and it's very heavy, requiring heavy hauling trucks to move it around.

    Clay pipes, sometimes called terra cotta, are very susceptible to root intrusion and leaks. Once those tiny tree roots invade the pipe via a loose joint, the roots grow bigger and eventually break away the clay much like tree roots raise concrete sidewalk panels. Old crumbling clay pipes are responsible for many plumbing problems in homes and businesses across the country, resulting in expensive sewer repair work and plenty of business for plumbing contractors.

    It is surprising how much clay sewer pipe is still in service today, though not very reliably. Local plumbing companies replace it daily with more reliable PVC and other materials that last longer while resisting leaking and root intrusion. 

  • Water Leaking Through Ceiling

    We have a leak from the upstairs restroom to the downstairs ceiling—any idea what the source of the leak might be?

    Bathroom plumbing solutions can be difficult because there are three appliances that can cause plumbing problems: the sink, the toilet, or the shower. Whenever you have a leak coming through the floor from an upstairs bathroom, you first need to check the toilet and shower.

    Toilet: The connection between the toilet and the floor is sealed by a wax ring. The most common source of a leak of this nature is a faulty, worn-out wax ring which means that every time the toilet is flushed, water leaks into the ceiling. 

    Shower: If the leak continues while the fixture is not running, then the leak is coming from a water pipe. If, however, the leak only occurs while the water is running, the problem is probably a faulty tile in the shower or the shower faucet.

    If you cannot find the source of the leak or have found it but cannot fix it, you may want to contact one of many plumbing contractors or plumbing companies

  • Roto-Rooter Gets Into the Holiday Spirit with Seasonal Videos

    Seasons Greetings Roto-RooterAt Roto-Rooter, we enjoy having fun with our brand. Social media is a great avenue for lighthearted plumber and potty humor. We are one of those brands that often elicits a chuckle from people whenever our name is mentioned in certain settings. So we look at the Christmas season as an opportunity to develop exciting new content that complements the Christmas season.

    This year we released two videos with a Christmas theme. The first video is called The Christmas Clog. It involves a classic Christmas scene in a gorgeous living room decorated with Christmas tree, lights and gifts. The grand fireplace and hearth look so inviting that viewers will want to crawl into the scene. Unfortunately, things turn south when Santa Claus clogs the chimney and has to figure out how to free himself. You can probably imagine which 24-hour clog specialist Santa calls for help.

    Our second Christmas video, called Keeping You and Your Plumbing in the Holiday Spirit, has more of a plumbing theme as the Christmas Spirit takes hold of plumbing fixtures throughout a home and they begin singing Christmas carols. The message is clear that Roto-Rooter is ready to help homeowners put their toilets, sinks and water heaters in the holiday spirit. But if the plumbing decides to play Scrooge and threaten to spoil the holidays, Roto-Rooter is only a click or call away. We’ve saved many a Christmas celebration in our 80 years in business and while nobody likes to work on Christmas, our plumbers feel a responsibility for helping others get through the holidays clog-free and with fully functioning plumbing.

  • Annual Roto-Rooter Franchise Meeting Held - May 11, 2015

    Roto-Rooter Franchise Association Holds Annual Meeting

    By Paul Abrams


    The RRFA or Roto-Rooter Franchise Association is a supportive forum for Roto-Rooter franchisees to gather, teach, mentor and share new ideas with each other. The organization promotes relationships within the Roto-Rooter family that foster growth and understanding between the franchise owners themselves and their relationship to Roto-Rooter Corporation and Roto-Rooter Services Company.

    There are more than 500 independently owned and operated Roto-Rooter franchises across North America and several others overseas. Many of the franchises have been in the same families since the 1930s when Roto-Rooter was founded on the invention of the original mechanical sewer cleaning machine. At one time, all of the Roto-Rooter system consisted of franchises but today about 117 Roto-Rooter locations are company owned and operated. Together, both groups make up the largest plumbing repair and sewer and drain cleaning business in the world. Company owned locations have learned a lot from the franchise community over the years and vice-versa. We work together to strengthen the Roto-Rooter brand, provide better service to our customers and explore new ways of achieving success for all.

    During the week of May 11, the RRFA will hold its annual meeting. The location changes every year and this year it will be held in Las Vegas. There will be a series of meetings and workshops that never fail to improve the Roto-Rooter business as a whole. While the public is well aware of the Roto-Rooter brand, they don’t often understand that it is held aloft by individuals who are always leaning forward to find ways to improve our service offerings, customer service and commitment to employees. One of the greatest challenges Roto-Rooter and our industry faces is plumber recruitment & careers. There simply are not enough plumbers to meet demand for plumbing services anymore. As a group, the RRFA and Roto-Rooter Services Company will share ideas for promoting the plumbing profession and making Roto-Rooter an even better place to work so as to recruit more plumbers to our company.

  • Advantages of Flat-Rate Pricing for Plumbing Customers

    Why Flat-Rate Pricing is a Better Deal for Plumbing Customers

    It’s a subject that homeowners and plumbers have debated for years. Which is the better deal? Flat rate pricing (sometimes called contract price) or hourly rate? First, let me state that certain situations might tilt the advantage to hourly and other situations might tilt the advantage to flat-rate, but for most plumbing repairs, a flat rate for a plumber is usually a better deal. Here’s why:
    First, you’ll be given a price on parts and labor upfront before any work begins. This can be very comforting to just get the agreed upon price out of the way without having to worry about the plumber dragging his feet and racking up hourly charges. When you pay a flat rate, you’ll pay the quoted price whether the job takes an hour or five hours. Advantage customer! This is especially true if the plumber came out without hitting you up for a trip charge or an assessment fee.

    Furthermore, sometimes (but not always) plumbers have some negotiating room on their flat rate. If you don’t like the price, try haggling. The worst that can happen is he says “no.” But if a plumber is having a slow day, he may be willing to drop his rate somewhat to get the job. After all, he’s already at your house, he’s invested some time evaluating your problem and he’d probably rather discount the job than go back to the shop empty handed. He may also give you a discount coupon or refer you to one on his website to justify the discount and provide a good value to you. After all, a good plumber wants your business for life, not just for one job. If he does discount, that doesn’t mean his original price was a scam. It just means his schedule or other circumstances have allowed him some flexibility to give you a lower price.

    In my view, the only time an hourly rate might be a better value is when the job only requires a quick fix that commonly takes five to fifteen minutes to complete. For instance, lighting a pilot light on a water heater or tightening a loose water connection. A customer oriented hourly rate plumber ought to divide his hourly fee and only charge you for a quarter of an hour. Unfortunately, many will simply tell you their company policy states that they MUST charge you for the full hour - so you may not get any price advantage after all. On the other hand, many flat-rate plumbers who want to keep your business have a special low “quick fix charge” for such instances instead of dinging you for a couple of hundred bucks. Just as commonly, I’ve seen Roto-Rooter plumbers do such simple fixes at no charge, especially if it’s a customer who has used them before or whose business they hope to earn in the future. “There’s no charge. It was a simple fix. Call me the next time you need me.” That’s a very powerful gesture that often wins the hearts and minds of a customer. Just to be sure the gesture is remembered, I recommend that the plumber place a sticker with his name and phone number around the work area, beneath the sink or on the water heater so the customer will always be reminded who that nice plumber was who was so generous and helpful.

    Now taking into account everything you just read in the last paragraph do not confuse a very fast, efficient plumber with “a quick and easy job.” A more experienced plumber may be able to complete a difficult job faster than a less experienced guy. Don’t get angry and critical of him for being good. Some people will say, “It took him only 30 minutes to replace the disposal but his fee was equal to what the other guy would have charged me for a full hour of labor.” So what? He was fast, efficient and he saved you time. Would you prefer that he slow down and waste your time or just appreciate the fact that he’s out of your home quickly at the contracted price and you can get on with your day?

    And what if the plumber has to run out for more parts? This is a common occurrence and the meter will be running the entire time on the hourly plumber but the price remains fixed with the flat rate plumber. Finally, when calculating your overall value, please don’t forget to factor in hard costs that every business has to include in to its pricing. There is the service truck, fuel and maintenance as well as vehicle insurance, liability insurance for the business, even the plumber’s health insurance. Also, office staff, rent, phones, utilities, advertising, tools and equipment. Plumbing is a professional trade that involves never-ending learning to keep up with changing fixtures, materials and plumbing codes. Not just anybody can do this kind of work so please don’t pretend that a plumber’s time is less valuable than that of any other professional, whether blue collar or white collar.

  • Roto-Rooter Earns Super Service Award from Angie’s List

    Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service is proud to recognize several of our locations that are being honored with the 2014 Super Service Award from Angie’s List.

    This distinction recognizes the top 5 percent of qualifying businesses per category who maintained superior service ratings and reviews throughout the past year in each market.

    By striving for, and earning the Super Service Awards each year, Roto-Rooter demonstrates its commitment to providing all customers with world-class service when they call for plumbing, sewer & drain cleaning and water restoration services.

    Many Roto-Rooter branches earned the Super Service Award in multiple categories (including drain cleaning, sewer cleaning, water heaters and wells & pumps).

    In the plumbing and other service-related categories, the following branches received a Super Service Award:

    • St. Louis
    • San Antonio
    • Norfolk
    • Raleigh
    • Buffalo
    • Fort Wayne
    • New Orleans
    • Yakima
    • Reno
    • Eugene
    • Hawaii
    • Boise
    • Lexington
    • Long Island
    • Wilmington
    • Cincinnati

    Roto-Rooter has been providing superior service across America for 80 years. Customers depend on us 24 hours and day, seven days a week and we are pleased to have received these service awards from Angie’s List that demonstrate our commitment to providing world class customer service.

  • New Roto-Rooter TV Commercials for New England Feature Jason Hawes

    We are excited to talk about three new television commercials that Roto-Rooter recently shot with Jason Hawes, star of the Sy Fy Channel reality TV series, Ghost Hunters. As most fans of the show realize, Jason is a Roto-Rooter service technician by day and a ghost hunter by night. That fact is made clear in the series.

    Jason Hawes on the setAdvertising for service businesses like Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service has changed a lot over the years. Back before the Internet and rise of cable TV, there were just three TV networks in the U.S. It made sense then for Roto-Rooter to use television ads to inform the public about our services. But fast forward to 2014 and look how much Americans’ viewing habits have changed. There are well over 200 channel choices on television if you have cable –and most of us do. In other words, if you use a pizza to represent all the TV viewers in the United States then cut that pizza into 200+ slices to represent all of the channels, it’s increasingly difficult to reach lots of viewers without advertising on dozens of channels. That’s an expensive proposition and it’s simply not as effective as digital advertising.

    But there are certain markets and certain times when TV advertising can still be as effective as targeted web-based ads. The TV stations in Providence reach the entire state of Rhode Island and are also picked up throughout New England over the air. Jason Hawes is one of Rhode Island’s favorite sons and he is well recognized and respected by viewers in his hometown. The fact is that we’ve been discussing such a plan for years but the stars did not align perfectly for this project until last summer. Jason was on a brief hiatus from shooting Ghost Hunters and we had just enough time to develop scripts, find a shooting location and get it shot before Jason’s schedule got too busy to fit it in.

    Now that the three commercials have been completed, we’ve decided to make them available to Roto-Rooter franchises in other parts of the country. Some still do a fair amount of TV advertising and they’ll appreciate these fresh spots with celebrity punch. You can watch two of the commercials yourself on our YouTube channel here and here

  • New Prototype Rolls Out in 2014

    Roto-Rooter’s corporate office has been working hard to develop a new prototype design for it service branch locations. The design takes into account all of the unique needs of a large scale plumbing company that provides a high level of both residential and commercial plumbing services. For instance, the location will have a huge warehouse large enough to allow for indoor storage of trucks and equipment. The warehouse also incorporates multiple with drive thru doors that allow trucks to pull into one side of the building and right out the other side. This system eliminates the need to use the reverse gear to back large trailers through bay doors.

    Additionally, the new branch design has more than adequate office space, a large classroom for the Roto-Rooter plumbing school that can seat dozens of student plumbers at a time. The adjacent hands-on plumbing school is described as “huge” with working plumbing fixtures of all kinds that allow students to work on piping behind the walls and on every major type of plumbing fixture.

    Rick Arquilla, Roto-Rooter President and COO is leading the project’s development. “We want to encourage innovation and a dedication to continuing education. It is important to Roto-Rooter to bring expertise and cutting-edge technology to customers, as well as, foster the professional development of future generations of tradesmen,” Arquilla said.

    The first updated service location built from the ground up is located outside of Dayton, Ohio. It will be the first of the new branch facilities with a scheduled completion date in April 2014. It will easily be the largest plumbing shop in the nation. The newly designed branch will also incorporate a wash bay with a heavy duty drainage system so all Roto-Rooter vehicles can be washed in-house. This is especially important for excavation equipment, which frequently get covered with caked on mud.

  • Season's Greetings from Roto-Rooter

    The holiday season is upon us and each of us at Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service would like to extend the season’s greetings from our family to yours. As North America’s largest provider of plumbing repair and sewer & drain services, millions of you have invited Roto-Rooter into your homes and businesses this year to take care of your plumbing. We know you have many choices when you call a plumber and we’re grateful that you picked us more often than any other plumbing company.

    This year Roto-Rooter decided to make a fun Christmas video with Santa Claus himself. Nobody works harder than Santa and nobody has as hectic a schedule as him either. With all those special snacks families leave out for Santa, it’s easy for him to overdo it on the sweets and treats. That’s the subject of our video, Santa Overdoes It. We hope you’ll watch it and share it with anyone who needs a chuckle.

    On a more serious note, it has been a hectic year for many families. Like you, we work hard and go out and give it our all every day. That’s why it’s so important to take time at year’s end to rekindle family relationships and special friendships. Those special times of togetherness remind us how fast our kids grow up, how quickly our parents and grandparents age, how special friendships are and how short life really is.

    A special person once said: “try not to live for work! Remember, the reason we work is so we can live, really live.” That’s not always easy to remember when we’re busy commuting, working long hours, paying bills and providing for our families. However, our sincere wish for you is that you have the opportunity to really reconnect with the people who are most important to you this during the holidays. So from all of us at Roto-Rooter, from the West Coast to the East Coast and every state and Canadian province in between, have a safe and meaningful holiday season, a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

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