So You Want to Be a Plumber

Plumbing may not be the most glamorous field, but it is an essential and rewarding one for those who practice it. As a skilled trade with high demand throughout the country, many people find success in pursuing a career path in the industry. However, those interested in becoming a plumber should note that the job requires years of training and skill development, as well as physical and mental endurance.

Traits of Successful Plumbers

  1. Physically Fit: Plumbing repairs and installation often require technicians to position heavy objects, perform delicate tasks in small spaces and maintain endurance. Upper body fitness is particularly important, although back and leg strength is also essential for avoiding injury on the job. Hand-held tools are a staple in almost any kind of project, so a firm grip is also required.
  2. Social Skills: Whether you want to be a commercial or residential plumber, chances are you will have to communicate with customers on a regular basis. You must be able to articulate problems and solutions to customers so that they can make an informed decision without confusion. Plumbers deal with all kinds of people in their work, so you must be comfortable interacting with a wide array of personality types.
  3. Mental Flexibility: Plumbers must adapt to evolving circumstances and develop solutions quickly. You must be able to accurately assess the current situation and take immediate action to avoid property damage and address safety hazards. A patient and calm attitude is essential at all times.
  4. Technically Minded: Plumbers service a wide variety of complex and potentially dangerous appliances, including water heaters and sump pumps. You may also be required to perform calculations to determine the appropriate size for units to be installed in homes or businesses. While these skills can be learned with practice, many successful plumbers have a desire to learn about mathematics and physics.

How to Get Started in the Industry

Before you decide to become a plumber, it’s a good idea to talk to a few people who are already in the industry. Contact someone in your social circles or reach out to a local plumber to learn about the demands and rewards of the job.

Some companies offer to train employees and help them get their license from entry level positions. In order to become a fully licensed professional, you must meet the certification requirements according to your state’s law. In many cases, this requires education from an approved institute as well as training under a licensed technician.

If you’re interested in becoming a plumber, take a look at our YouTube channel  to see what a day in the life of a Rooter Hero Plumbing plumber looks like.

The Benefits of Installing a Sump Pump

Sump pumps are a common inclusion in residential and commercial plumbing systems, although not every modern home is equipped with one.  There are many reasons for homeowners to consider installing a pump if they don’t have on already or upgrade their unit to a stronger one that can handle the load.

Reduce Risk of Significant Water Damage

You may balk at the idea of installing a sump pump due to the upfront cost, but the small investment can be well worth it. These pumps are designed to protect your property from water damage due to flooding and humidity. Financial losses from water damage can cost thousands of dollars to fix, as well as frustrating and time-consuming renovations.

Sudden flooding from excessive rain or a burst pipe can turn your basement into a swimming pool. By installing a pump beforehand, the accumulation can be limited or completely prevented. Removing standing water from the home is a difficult and messy task.

It is also natural for water to build up in the lower parts of the home that are below ground level. Even if there hasn’t been a significant amount of rain, moisture that collects in the soil will creep through openings into the basement and crawlspaces. A sump is a convenient and low-maintenance way to remove accumulated water from your home on a regular basis, which helps reduce decay of the foundation.

Health Benefits of a Sump Pump

The presence of wanted in the home also has health and safety implications for the occupants. High levels of moisture augment the growth of unwanted guests, like mold, which can be a serious health hazard for humans and animals alike. It is difficult and often expensive to eradicate these organisms, which is why many homeowners adopt a preventative strategy.

By fighting the risk of flooding, sumps also help protect your household from electrical fire. Despite the apparent contradiction, water damage can cause fires by shorting the circuits of electrical appliances in the basement. At the very least, you can expect to repair or replace any appliances that were submerged in water.

Installing a Pump in Your Home

Installation of a sump pump is a relatively complex and delicate task that should be left to licensed professional plumbers. To get the best results, the unit should be selected based on the expected demand of the individual home. Installation also requires connection with the existing waste water disposal system, as well as integration into the structure.

Your neighborhood plumber can help you with the installation. Call today!

How Plumbing Automation Can Keep Your Employees Healthy

Employee health is a top concern for any business or organization. Sickness is not only a miserable experience for the individual, but it also means loss of productivity for the employer. Maintaining a sanitary environment is particularly important in the food service industry, as customers and inspectors both expect high levels of cleanliness in the establishment.

Hands-Free for a Healthy Workplace

One of the big advantages of automated plumbing is a decreased risk of transmission of contagious disease, as well as a general increase in hygiene in the workplace. Minimizing contact with communal surfaces hinders germs from spreading between employees and customers.

Automated toilets are a common sight in many modern structures. With the addition of seat covers, the user does not have to make contact with the fixture at any time. It also ensures that the toilet will be flushed between each use, so the next user does not have to deal with a mess left behind by someone else.

Faucets, paper towel dispensers, and air dryers can also be equipped with motion sensors, allowing employees to use the bathroom and wash their hands without ever touching a shared surface. Since many germs are transmitted by touch, this hands-free process greatly reduces the risk of spreading many common diseases.

Depending on the complexity of the automation, toilets can also include a cleaning system that sterilizes the seat between each use. This limits the need for covers, which can create clutter and mess in the stalls when used improperly.

Other Advantages of Automated Plumbing

Hands-free plumbing fixtures also speeds up trips to the restroom and reduces the opportunity for user error or negligence. Many plumbing problems in the workplace stem from a lack of attention or misuse of the fixtures. By automating the process, there is little risk of employees damaging the fixtures.

Plumbing automation also improves the perceived cleanliness of the establishment, which is particularly important for restrooms shared with customers. Since standards of personal cleanliness vary between individuals, automation reduces the chances of a customer or employee being offended by the state of the facilities.

Protect Your Septic System: Flushables that Shouldn’t Be Flushed

The toilet may be a convenient way to get rid of smelly waste material, but treating it like a garbage receptacle can cause serious problems in the fixture, pipes and septic system. In fact, even products that are marketed as “flushable” can have detrimental effects on your plumbing.

The first step towards protecting your system from “unflushables” is to educate yourself regarding what material can be safely flushed. Discourage family members and guests from putting anything else in the toilet, and be sure to place trash cans in each bathroom to provide an easy alternative

The Dangers of Flushable Products

Wet wipes are a popular item when flushing is concerned. Whether they are for your baby or simply for general use, you shouldn’t make a habit out of putting these in the toilet. The wipes do not decompose as quickly as toilet paper, which creates the potential for clogs in your home plumbing as well as in the larger sewer system.

Cat dirt is another common culprit in the “flushable” category. Even if the litter is described as toilet-friendly, there is still a chance that it will cause a clog in your sewer lines. Cat feces also have a high chance of containing a protozoan parasite that causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. Conventional water filtration does not always remove the parasite, which can re-enter the water supply and cause serious health issues for weak or young individuals.

Other Household Items that Should not be Flushed

You may remember your parents warning you not to put napkins or paper towels in the toilet. There is a good reason for this, believe it or not! Unlike toilet paper, which is designed to break apart easily, paper towels absorb and clump inside the sewer system. A few of these can cause a major blockage in no time at all.

Many personal hygiene products, like tampons and diapers, are also a threat to your home’s plumbing. Dental floss, human hair and paper wrappings may seem harmless, but they are another no-no when it comes to proper toilet use. Do not put any food waste in the toilet, especially items containing fats or oil.

Contact a professional plumber for advice if you are unsure if a certain item or product can be safely flushed. If the item is not plumbing-friendly, you can dispose of it by sealing it in a plastic bag and taking it to a landfill or placing it in your primary garbage can if allowed by local law.

DIY Tips: How to Install a Kitchen Sink Faucet

Whether you want to upgrade to a newer model with extra features or simply replace the existing fixture with the same type, kitchen sink faucet installation is a relatively easy process if you have the right information and tools. Be sure to read any product descriptions and instructions that accompany your new faucet before you proceed.

The majority of kitchen sinks have one to four holes on the base where it connects with the countertop. The availability of openings dictates the type of faucet that can be installed, as well as the number of extra features that can be added.

You can always use less than the maximum number of holes by putting a metal plate over the unused ones. However, you may need to replace the entire fixture if you want to use more features than the current model can handle.

How to Remove the Current Faucet

Shut off the water supply to the sink before attempting to remove or install any part of the sink system. You should also terminate power to garbage disposals or other electronic accessories associated with the sink. Take note of the current arrangement of lines and connections, so you can set the sink back to its original state if necessary.

Once you’ve taken the necessary safety precautions, you can use a screwdriver to loosen the bolts that fasten the faucet to the sink plate. It’s a good idea to have an extra person to support the faucet as you work underneath.

Installing the New Faucet in Your Kitchen Sink

Step 1: Follow setup instructions that accompany your new faucet to prepare for installation.

Step 2: Place the gasket or ring over the holes and attach them as instructed by the manufacturer, which may recommend a specific adhesive agent. Once the seals are in place, place the deck plate over the holes.

Step 3: Feed the faucet lines through the hole as you align the faucet. Snap the faucet into place by rocking it gently back and forth. If possible, have an assistant hold the faucet in place as you complete the installation.

Step 4: Thread bolts through their appropriate holes as determined by the type and design of your sink fixture. Add washers and tighten nuts by hand before completing the final rotations with a wrench to firmly attach the faucet.

Step 5: Attach the water supply lines to the faucet lines, with red marking hot water and blue indicating cold water supply. Tighten the compression fitting to firmly connect the two hoses. You may need to use an adapter if the supply lines are not compatible.

Step 6: Turn the water supply on and run the sink for several minutes. Check the entire system for signs of leaks or other problems.

If you run into problems during the install, don’t hesitate to call your local plumber. At Rooter Hero Plumbing, we help homeowners every day with simple jobs like installing a new kitchen faucet.

DIY Tips: How to Tighten a Loose Toilet

Sick of feeling like you might fall off the toilet every time you sit down?

There are several connections between the toilet seat, the fixture itself and the floor that are likely to loosen over time, especially with frequent use. Once you identify the connection that needs to be fastened, it is usually a simple matter of tightening a few bolts and replacing broken parts.

It’s recommended that you consult a licensed plumber if you notice a leak, strange sounds or other unusual problems with your toilet. Water damage can be expensive to repair, especially if it is not addressed quickly.

How to Steady a Wobbling Toilet at Home

Step 1: Check the base of your toilet for bolts connecting it to the floor. Many toilets have small domes or coverings that hide the bolts, which need to be removed with a flat instrument. The nut and washer should be visible.

Step 2: Turn the nut clockwise with your hand to make sure it turns easily. Do not try to forcefully twist the nuts, as this could break the bolt or another part of the connection. Continue turning until you feel resistance, and then use a wrench to make a few more rotations to create a sound seal.  Repeat this step for all bolts on either side of the toilet as needed.

Step 3: Rock the toilet to test the results. If it still moves, then you should check around the base of the toilet for signs of damage that could cause the instability.

Fixing a Loose Toilet Seat

Your toilet is likely to see at least several different seats during its lifespan. Seats are connected to the toilet fixture by two or more hinges on the tank-side of the basin, which may be hidden by a removable cover. The first step is to test and tightens the bolts as described above. If the seat itself is broken, it can be removed and replaced by removing the bolts.

What Causes Toilets to Wobble?

Exposure to high levels of moisture in bathrooms with a tub or shower and frequently bearing various weight loads eventually causes parts to give out. In many cases, replacement of the bolts or other components of the toilet floor flange can solve problems caused by “normal wear and tear. “

It is also possible that the toilet was not installed correct initially, causing immediate or hidden issues that destabilize the entire fixture. Talk to a plumber about your options for repairing or replacing the toilet. Re-installation is a common solution to issues stemming from oversights in the initial placement.

Avoid Catastrophe: Reasons to Install Backflow Preventers on Commercial Plumbing Systems

Don’t let plumbing issues force you to close early or shut down for several days. Are you prepared if the water pressure suddenly drops in your building? Backflow preventers can stop flooding and other problems if this happens.

Reasons Backflow Prevention Is Essential

All businesses from manufacturing and industrial to corporate campuses and high-rise buildings require fresh water. When backflow prevention isn’t a priority, it’s possible that toxic chemicals could leak into the clean water supply. Nearly all buildings that use chemicals for production have backflow preventers installed so chemicals do not accidentally mix. However, there are plenty of other buildings that are without preventers, which puts potable water supplies at risk of contamination.

Did you know that plumbing codes require the majority of buildings to have a dedicated water supply that branches off from the main water supply? This is the location where backflow preventers are installed and where all the work is done to keep toxic chemicals and raw sewage from infiltrating your potable water supply.

Backflow prevention isn’t just for commercial buildings either. Multi-family, housing complexes are required by code to have this protection in place, too. No matter what kind of building you own or operate, protecting your employees, tenants, and customers from contaminated water should always be one of your main concerns.

Annual Inspections and Professional Service

If you already have backflow prevention in place, it’s important that you have the preventers inspected annually to ensure they are working as intended. In fact, most municipalities require commercial buildings to submit proof of inspection. Your local plumber can help you meet this requirement.

Why not use a backflow prevention service?

That’s a great question. The #1 reason for using a plumber instead of a dedicated testing service is that a plumber has the ability to make repairs immediately if a problem is detected. Backflow testing services will refer you to a plumbing specialist, which can create delays. At Rooter Hero Plumbing, for example, our plumbers have the tools in their vans to make repairs right away and the ability to submit paperwork to the correct municipal agency proving compliance.

Protect your property and those that work and live inside its walls. Speak with your local plumber today to learn more about backflow preventers.

How to Protect Your Family from Toxic Water

Before you fill up that tall glass with water from the tap make sure you know exactly what is in your water. Drinking tap water shouldn’t be dangerous, but sometimes it can be quite hazardous to your health if you have pipes in your home installed and manufactured before the 1970s. Prior to the 1970s, many building materials were contained lead and asbestos. These materials are harmful to humans, especially if they are ingested. Although today’s construction materials contain no amount of asbestos, lead is still present in building materials.

Is there Lead in My Water Supply?

In 1986, amendments were made to the Safe Drinking Water Act (1976) that made it against the law to use solder, pipe, or soldering flux that contains lead when repairing or installing water lines meant to be used for drinking water. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any problem with municipal water supplies. However, if municipalities did not follow these guidelines it is possible that there could be traces of lead in the water coming out of your tap.

What Can I Do to Protect My Family?

Lead is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, making it undetectable with lab testing. Municipal water supplies are required to test their water supply for lead and other contaminants on a regular basis. These findings are made available to the public by request. Homeowners can also ask their municipal water supplier to test the water.
Other ways to safeguard your family from toxic drinking water is to only drink water from the cold faucet. Cold water is least likely to contain lead. If you’re concerned about lead in your water and you must use hot water for cooking or other purposes, still use cold tap water and boil it or heat it to the temperature you need.

Flushing cold water will also protect your from lead. You can flush your water by turning on the tap and running the water until it turns as cold as it’s going to get.

Why Should I Be Concerned about Lead?

When humans consume things that contain traces of lead, they can slowly be poisoned. While adults are less affected by lead consumption, small children whose brains are still developing have been known to develop learning disabilities and behavioral issues.

If you’re concerned about pipes that may contain lead in your home, call a Rooter Hero Plumbing plumber to have your pipes investigated. Replacing old pipes and installing new pipes constructed from safe plumbing materials can give you peace of mind and improve the efficiency of your system.

Rain Barrels Fight Drought and Save You Money

In parts of the country like the West Coast where drought is a frequent visitor, rain barrels can be a great way to conserve water and save money on your water bill. But, they also have other benefits that you may not be aware of. Here are some things you may want to consider if you purchase a rain barrel.

Rain Barrels Reduce Runoff

Although rain can be hard to come by in many parts of the country when it does rain it can come down hard and steady. When this happens, runoff collects contaminants from landscaping and hardscapes. Runoff carries the water to area lakes, streams, rivers, and other nearby bodies of water inadvertently depositing the contaminants as it moves along. By adding a rain barrel to your home, you are doing your part in preventing runoff.

Rain Water Is Better for Your Garden

Water mandates in places like California have placed restrictions on how much water households can use, leaving many yards looking quite brown. Not only do rain barrels provide water to quench your landscape’s thirst, but it is also actually healthier for the soil than regular tap water. Water directly from the tap through the hose contains fluoride and inorganic compounds that can be harmful to soil and plants. Rainwater is pure and promotes healthy root development while reducing salt buildup.

Rain Barrels Keep more Money in Your Pocket

Investing in a rain barrel will save you money on your water bills if you use it correctly. A typical barrel can be purchased for under $100, depending on the style and size. It’s an affordable accessory for your home that is essentially a free water source.

Here are some facts about water collection that you may not know.

  • Just a half an inch of rain can fill a 55-gallon rain barrel, depending on the rate of run off your roof experiences.
  • You can connect rain barrels together to increase the amount of rainwater collected, maximizing your water conservation efforts.
  • Homes that rely on rainwater for irrigation and gardening purposes reduce the strain on the city water supply

You can find rain barrels at home improvement stores, at specialty shops, and many online stores. They come in a variety of styles from practical to splashy and whimsical to complement your home’s aesthetics.

For more information on how you can use and conserve water more efficiently, give a plumber a call today to discuss your options.

Why Is My Water Bill So High?

A higher than normal water bill could be a sign that you have a leak somewhere in your home. The problem could be something as simple as a leaky toilet that needs a flapper replaced or something more serious like a slab leak. Calling a plumber to inspect your home for a leak is not always an expense that you want to incur. Luckily, there are some things that you can do yourself to figure out the extent of the problem.

Check Your Toilet: The majority of toilet leaks are not visible, meaning there is not water seeping from the toilet base. Instead, these toilet leaks are happening between the tank and the bowl. Check the flapper to make sure it is closing completely. Also, check that the flush valve assembly is not cracked or otherwise damaged.

One of the easiest ways to check for a toilet leak is to add a few drops of food dye into the tank. Wait a few minutes and see if the toilet bowl water turns color. If it does, your toilet is leaking.

Check Your Faucets:  A small, constant drip from a faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water in a single month. It’s quite astonishing just how much the tiniest leak can cost. Indoor faucets and outdoor taps are exposed to exceptional amounts of wear and tear. Frequent usage leads to leaks around the stem, handle, and spout of these fixtures.

Examine Walls and Flooring for Moisture: A common source of hidden water leaks are pipes buried in the walls or flooring. If you live in an older home, it’s likely that age may have played a role in the pipe’s deterioration. However, even newer homes can have problems with broken pipes, especially if a home has hard water, the piping was installed incorrectly, or there is constant fluctuation in water pressure.

The tell-tale signs that something is amiss within your pipes is water spots and mold formation. Brown water marks on walls and ceilings, soggy flooring, warped baseboards, and mildew odors are signs of a water leak that needs your attention right away to prevent excessive water damage from occurring in your home.

When to Call a Plumber

For minor leaks like drippy faucets and running toilets, usually a quick trip to the home improvement store and a YouTube video will suffice. But, when advanced leak detection methods are needed, it’s time to call a professional with the tools and experience to find the most elusive leaks.

Hidden leaks like slab leaks should not be ignored. The longer these leaks go unrepaired, the more likely it is that expensive water damage will occur to your property. Professional plumbing services like Rooter Hero Plumbing are available to help you morning, noon, and night ready to eliminate the toughest water leaks. Call them today for emergency service!