4 Ways You’re Harming Your Plumbing System

Did you know that the average plumbing repair costs between $180 and $250? Although this isn’t an outrageous number, it’s still less money that you have in your wallet at the end of the day. While serious plumbing problems can occur for a number of different reasons, the majority of issues are the direct result of silly things homeowners do.

Here are four ways you may be abusing your plumbing system without even realizing it.

Toilets Are not Trash Cans

If you’re in the habit of flushing anything and everything down the toilet, it’s a habit that needs to stop now. Residential plumbing systems are not as tough as you may think. While they are built to last, the drain pipes connected to the toilet and the toilet itself are not meant to be stuffed with things like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and general trash.

Drain Cleaning Products Are not the Best Solution

So, you’ve treated your drains badly for years, and now you think the only solution is to pour gallons of drain cleaner into your pipes. While this may work once or twice, relying on this solution should not be a long-term strategy for clearing clogged drains. These products contain harsh chemicals that can corrode and weaken your water pipes, which can lead to leaks and other problems. If the clog isn’t responding to drain cleaning solution after the first or second time, do yourself a favor and call a plumber.

Stop Pouring Grease, Fat, and other Oils in the Garbage Disposal

Okay. We get it. The garbage disposal is supposed to be a hungry kitchen monster that will eat anything. And, it will, but it won’t necessarily be able to digest what it’s consuming. Homeowners that pour oil, grease, fat, and even grind up fatty pieces of meat, are just waiting for a problem to happen. These substances will harden as they cool and even if they make it past the disposal; they may harden further in the drain pipes and form a clog. Substances that harden as they cool should be thrown in the trash or stored in a container.

Drills Are Not a Plumbing System’s Best Friend

Are you installing new cabinets or renovating a bathroom? Maybe you’re just drilling a hole for a screw to hang a picture in your bedroom. No matter what the reason is that you’re drilling into the wall, it’s important to make sure there isn’t any plumbing in the wall that could be damaged by the drill. It happens more often than you think. Before you begin any DIY task, make sure there are not any hidden pipes in the way.

Yes. Mistakes happen. Sometimes these mistakes lead to a plumbing problem. If you find yourself in a jam, don’t panic. Call your trusted Rooter Hero Plumber for immediate assistance.

A DIY Plumbing Maintenance Checklist for You

Regular maintenance goes a long way toward sustaining a working plumbing system. Homeowners who are on top of kitchen and bathroom plumbing maintenance will reap the rewards. Minor repairs are less expensive than major repair or replacement services. While it’s always a good idea to call a licensed plumber if you have questions, we know that educated homeowners experience fewer problems. That is why we put together this professional grade plumbing maintenance checklist for you to identify and repair small problems on your own.

Kitchen Plumbing Maintenance

Your home’s kitchen can be a source of plumbing leaks and clogs. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your sinks and drains in top condition.

  • Inspect your sinks for leaks. This is the hardest-working fixture in the kitchen. Leaks can form quickly and virtually anywhere. Check your faucet, garbage disposal, under-sink piping, and the faucet’s sprayer.
  • Look for signs of water damage under the sink.
  • Use your garbage disposal according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Clean the sink drain regularly to get rid of debris. There are chemical cleaners that are safe or you can search online for natural solutions.

Bathroom Plumbing Maintenance

The #1 service call we receive at Rooter Hero Plumbing is for a clogged toilet. But, toilet clogs aren’t the only bathroom plumbing problems that our customer experience. Check out these maintenance tips for a watertight bathroom.

  • Clear drains. If drains have hair or other visible debris, remove it by hand or by using drain snake.
  • Check the base of the toilet and around faucets and shower heads for leaks.
  • Repair running toilets. This is a cheap and easy fix that can be completed in as little as 5 minutes.
  • Clean faucets or shower heads that have limescale buildup. If necessary, replace the fixtures if cleaning doesn’t work.

Septic and Sewer Maintenance

Sewer line repair is a major expense. Don’t let this home plumbing problem take you by surprise. There are things you can do today to prevent a busted sewer line or raw sewage from backing up into your home.
• Use an enzyme additive on a regular basis to clean the septic system.
• Schedule regular inspections by a professional plumber. Annual inspections are recommended.
• Do not plant trees or other types of shrubbery with long roots near the sewer line. Landscaping should be planted at least 10 ft. away from sewer lines to prevent tree roots from growing into the line or strangling the line.
• Have the sewer line cleaned annually.
• Call for professional service immediately if you suspect a problem.

Rooter Hero Plumbing has over 20 years of experience helping homeowners and businesses with their plumbing problems. We serve metropolitan areas in Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson), Texas (Houston) and California (Southern and Central CA). To schedule an inspection or to learn more about the plumbing maintenance and repair services we offer, call us today.

We offer same-day service, free estimates, and affordable pricing. No one beats our commitment to quality workmanship and excellent customer service!

Setting the Record Straight – 5 Plumbing Myths

Homeowners can save a lot of money and feel more in control of their home’s plumbing by learning how to maintain it. There are a lot of old wives’ tales out there, but not all of them are safe for your system. Here are five myths about residential plumbing that you’ll want to steer clear of to properly safeguard your pipes and fixtures.

Myth #1 – Lemons Clean a Disposal

Putting lemons in the garbage disposal in small chunks will not harm the appliance. It will certainly make it smell better, but that’s about it. If you’re using lemons as a natural, chemical-free way to clean the appliance, let us give you a better option.

Disinfecting your disposal is a good idea. It sees a lot of bacteria. The best way to do this is to mix together a cleaning solution of warm water and mild soap. Spray the appliance with the solution and then use a scrub brush to clean the disposal’s blades. Make sure you turn the power off to the disposal before doing this to avoid injury.

Myth #2 – Run Water while Operating the Garbage Disposal to Move Material through the Pipes

This is a myth that is partly true, but mostly misleading. Running the water while running the disposal and for a short time after the appliance is turned off keeps small particles moving through the blades and into the water pipe. The misleading part of this advice is that you have to be careful of what you dispose of in the first place.

Unfortunately, many homeowners find out very quickly that running tap water while grinding up the wrong waste can still lead to jams and other problems. A disposal is not meant to be used as a trash compactor. Certain things like egg shells, pasta, banana peels, and hard or thick food waste cannot be grinded in the disposal no matter how much water runs through the disposal during operation.

Myth #3 – Water Is Flowing through the Drains, So I Don’t Have to Worry about Clogs

Not true! If you’ve experienced stubborn clogs in the past and only treated the symptoms and not the actual problem, you may be able to use your drains without incident for a while. However, if there are still blockages inside of the pipes that weren’t properly taken care of, you’ll soon find it difficult to use your sink, toilet, or bathtub/shower.

Treating clogs with powerful, professional drain cleaning right away is the best way to ensure that the problem is completely eradicated. Services like Rooter Hero Plumbing recommend regular drain cleaning and video camera inspections to take care of small clogs before they become major obstructions.

Myth #4- You Can Clean Your Fixtures with Any Solution

Plumbing fixtures require specific cleaning habits depending on the fixture. For example, brass plumbing fixtures fare better when cleaned using gentle, mild solutions. Toilets, on the other hand, need to be sanitized and are built tough. Use powerful disinfectants to kill germs. One-size-fits-all cleaning solutions just don’t cut it when taking care of plumbing fixtures.

Myth #5 – I Don’t Have to Maintain My Plumbing System

If you think your plumbing system was designed to take care of itself, you may be in for a rude awakening. While water pipes, drains, and other components of residential systems are designed to work well for many years, that still doesn’t mean they don’t require a little TLC.  Sewer lines should be inspected to make sure tree roots aren’t growing into the line. Water heaters need to be flushed regularly to get rid of sediment and even faucets, sinks, and toilets need attention to keep tough clogs away.

Don’t let old wives’ tales keep you from properly caring for your plumbing system. For more tips, give your friendly plumber a call today!

Why Every Kitchen Needs a Garbage Disposal

Disposing of kitchen waste is a smelly, unpleasant job. Whether you keep your trash can out of sight under your kitchen sink or in your mudroom, it still has the potential to causes odors and attract insects in the home. These circumstances can lead to unsanitary conditions.

A garbage disposal is one way to cut down on the amount of food waste in your trash cans. Garbage disposals liquefy everything from fruit and vegetable scraps to coffee grounds allowing the food waste to be removed safely from your kitchen sink and into your septic tank or sewage system. Garbage disposals make kitchen clean up and food preparation more pleasant, reduce the number of trips you need to make to the trash can, and can even save you money by decreasing the number of trash bags you need to buy.

Did You Know Garbage Disposals Are Environmentally Friendly?

Landfills are filling up every day. When you throw away food, it doesn’t just magically disappear or decompose. If you throw it away with your everyday trash, it is put in the back of the trash truck and taken to the landfill.

Landfills contribute to the greenhouse effect. The less we rely on landfills, the cleaner the air is to breathe and the less likely it is that toxins will penetrate the earth.

Garbage Disposals Are Inexpensive Kitchen Appliances

Older homes with kitchens that have not been updated to 21st century standards may lack garbage disposals. Installing this appliance is quite straightforward and easy to do. A licensed, professional plumber like those at Rooter Hero Plumbing can install a disposal in as little as an hour or two.

Are you afraid of the cost? Garbage disposals are not a luxury item that is out of reach for the majority of the customers we serve. Today’s disposals are budget-friendly. High performing disposals can be bought for as little as $100 and installed at a flat rate.

Types of Garbage Disposals

When you begin shopping for a disposal, you’ll notice right away that there are many brands to choose from. While some brands may have better reputations than others, what you really need to pay attention to is the horsepower.

Low-end models will have a horsepower of 1/3. If it’s just you in the household and you will use the disposal infrequently, this may be sufficient horsepower.

For households that do a lot of cooking and have a lot of people to cook for, it’s better to get a higher performing model with a horsepower of at least ½. To achieve maximum performance, a disposal with a horsepower of ¾ or greater is best.

Continuous-Feed vs. Batch-Feed

Disposals are available as continuous-feed models or batch-feed. Continuous-feed disposals will run until the power is turned off. Batch-feed disposals run for a set amount of time before turning themselves off.

Which is the best one for you? Most homes opt for continuous-feed disposals, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. Some people, especially those with young children, prefer the batch-feed disposal because it requires a special stopper to be put in place before it can be used.

For more information about the benefits of garbage disposals and how to buying tips for this appliance, call your local Rooter Hero Plumbing technician.

Plumbing Changes You Should Make When Renovating Your Home

Is a home renovation project in your future plans? This can be an exciting time, but it can also be quite overwhelming. Not only can a renovation create chaos in your home for a while, it can also create a financial burden. If you’re remodeling an area of your home that has existing plumbing such as the kitchen, bathroom, or an unfinished basement, here are some plumbing changes that should be addressed when planning the renovation.

Replacing Old Plumbing

An older home has a lot of charm, but it also has the potential for plumbing problems. The reason for this is that many older homes have aging water pipes that should be replaced to avoid leaks and water damage. When the walls are open, ask your plumber to examine the existing pipes for signs of wear and tear, corrosion, and other problems. While re-piping is not the most existing part of a renovation, sometimes it is necessary to avoid problems down the road.

Replacing Outdated Fixtures

Are you updating your bathroom? Whether you’re giving your bathroom a fresh coat of paint or relocating its major components, consider updating old fixtures with energy-efficient fixtures. Bathroom components such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets are now available at reasonable prices and conserve hundreds of gallons of water in a single month. WaterSense fixtures meet EPA standards for low-flow usage without reducing performance. In some communities, you may even be able to get money back in the form of rebates and tax incentives. Your local Rooter Hero Plumbing technician will be able to help you determine if these incentives are available for your situations.

These are just two plumbing changes you may want to consider when renovating an existing space. For more suggestions, call your friendly plumber before you begin your project. By speaking with a plumber before you begin your project, you can ensure that your expectations of the completed project will be met with as few design hiccups as possible. It will also safeguard the installation and make sure that your renovation is up to current building code requirements.

3 Plumbing Repairs Anyone Can Do

Many people tolerate minor plumbing problems because they don’t feel it’s bad enough to warrant calling a plumber. While they may not be serious enough to cripple your daily routine, these issues are certainly frustrating and can have a long-term impact on your quality of life. Fortunately, homeowners inclined toward do-it-yourself jobs can address several of the most common issues with just a few basic tools.

While some of these repairs are relatively easy, it’s always better to talk to a professional if you have any doubts about the project. Some jobs, like water heater installation and repair, require the skill and certification of a licensed professional plumber.

Common Plumbing Issues that Anyone Can Fix

1. Leaky or Clogged Faucets
Many sink faucets are equipped with aerators, which limit the flow of water to reduce consumption. They are a great way to conserve one of our most precious resources and cut back on bill costs. However, the screen can also act as a sieve that traps debris and sediment carried by the water. You can clean the aerator by unscrewing it from the faucet and brushing it with a tough sponge or brush.

Fixing a leaking faucet is a bit more challenging, but is still within the scope of most homeowners. It’s a good idea to look up instructions online or from the manufacturer beforehand, to learn about the unit’s specifications. Most of these leaks can be remedied by adding a washer or simply tightening some of the joint connections.

2. Removing Minor Clogs
Stepping into a warm shower only to dip your foot into a pool of cold water is rarely a pleasant experience. This is a classic symptom of a drain clog, which can happen in any of your sink or bathroom fixtures. Hair, dirt and other debris can build up into a blockage that restricts water flow and eventually blocks it completely.

Rather than dumping expensive toxic and corrosive chemicals into your system, you can try to dissolve the clogs with a safe solution of baking soda and vinegar. While this won’t melt solid material, it can help clear away some of the buildup inside the lines. You can also bend a coat hanger into a hook to pull out wads of hair or garbage that are obstructing water flow.

3. Aligning Toilet Components
The constant trickle of a running toilet can get on your nerves after a few days, and jiggling the handle will only get you so far. Replacing the balloon and stopper in the toilet tank, or even just bending the mechanism back into place, is an easy fix to this issue. You can also stop your toilet from wobbling when you sit by tightening the screws that fasten the base to the floor. The connectors are usually covered by tiny caps located below the toilet bowl.

Did you know that Rooter Hero Plumbing has self-help videos on its YouTube channel? Many of these videos are used for training purposes, but we welcome homeowners to view them too!

Trim the Fat, but Keep It Out of the Garbage Disposal

Do you know what the busiest day of the year is for plumbers? The day after Thanksgiving, of course!
Family holidays are not a good time to deal with drain clogs, broken pipes and other plumbing issues. Unfortunately, the combination of heavy cooking and sudden increase in occupancy leads to exactly these kind of problems. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of your plumbing when preparing a massive meal for your family.

5 Tips for Using Drains Responsibly During Thanksgiving

Before you chuck all the nasty trimmings and other leftover bits down the garbage disposal, remember that it could come back to haunt you very soon. Take advantage of these tips to reduce your chances of suffering through a plumbing disaster on one of the busiest holidays of the year.
1. No grease or fat
The melted fat and grease may seem like a harmless liquid that can easily be put down the drain, but these materials are actually one of the worst culprits. Fat hardens as it cools, forming a stiff waxy layer inside your pipes and fixtures. Consider storing grease, fat and oil waste in a sealable container so you can take it to a recycling center.
2. Scrape dishes into the trash
Encourage all of your friends and family members to scrape the remnants from their plate into the trash before putting it into the sink. Sure, your garbage disposal can handle a bit of food, but large quantities will back it up in no time at all.
3. Avoid hard objects
Fruit seeds, especially pits from peaches and plums, do not belong in your drains. Garbage disposals have a hard time breaking these up and they are the perfect size for plugging the drainage line. Bones are also a no-no, as they can catch other debris and cause a clog faster than you can say “turkey.”
4. The strings are attached
Stringy or fibrous food, like celery, is a common sight at a Thanksgiving meal. You may not be able to force the kids to eat all their veggies, but you certainly shouldn’t try to make your garbage disposal do it for them! Common culprits include potato skins and fruit peels.
5. Run hot water with the disposal
Use the garbage disposal periodically throughout your preparation and cleanup, not all at once at the end. Stick to small loads to avoid overwhelming the machine and always run warm water as you do. This helps move the solids through the system and prevents stray bits of fat or grease from solidifying.

If you do have a problem with your garbage disposals or need drain cleaning after the holidays, give your Rooter Hero Plumbing pro a call and we’ll get someone out to you today!

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.

3 Ways to Save Water

The cost of homeownership is continuously rising. Beyond the typical mortgage and insurance costs, there are repair and utility costs. While you may not be able to reduce all the costs associated with homeownership without jumping through a lot of hoops, there are easy ways to, substantially, lower your utility and repair costs.

Saving water doesn’t just lead to a cheap water bill. Homeowners that take steps towards reducing their household water consumption are contributing to ending severe regional drought conditions.

So, what can you do today to start saving water? Here are three suggestions that not only conserve water but also protect your plumbing system from expensive repairs.

Replace Outdated Fixtures

Replacing old, outdated bathroom and kitchen sink faucets doesn’t just upgrade a space. While the aesthetic benefits are obvious, what’s not so clear is how non-efficient a faucet that is 10 or 20 years old may be. Faucets that do not turn off and drip continuously waste 100 of gallons of water each year. Installing new bathroom or kitchen faucets isn’t a costly repair and can easily be done by a professional within an hour or two.

Inspect Your Home for Leaks

Water leaks have a way of sneaking up on you and causing problems seemingly overnight. As spontaneous as water leaks may appear to be, the truth is that the leaks that cause the most damage have probably been present for quite some time. Household leaks such as slab leaks and sewer leaks cost homeowners thousands of dollars in damage and can threaten the integrity of the home’s foundation as well as the health of its occupants. Some leaks are visible, but the hidden leaks are the ones that can cause the most problems. The presence of mold, cracks in the foundation, or unexplained puddling on the floor are all signs that something isn’t right.

If you suspect you have a leak or just want to do a routine check, take a look at the water meter in your yard or on the side of your home. Note the information on the meter then wait about two hours. Do not use the water during this time. Come back and see if the information has changed. If it has changed, call your local plumber to come out and perform electronic leak detection or other leak detection methods to find out what’s going on.

Upgrade to Water-saving Plumbing Fixtures and Appliances

High-efficiency toilets, faucets, dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters can reduce water usage by as much as 35%. Yes, these appliances and fixtures can cost a bit more upfront, but after just a few years of usage the utility savings usually makes up for the initial investment.

Other ways to reduce water consumption include:

  • Taking short showers
  • Watering the lawn less frequently
  • Running the dishwasher for shorter cycles
  • And, turning the water off when brushing your teeth

For more water-saving ideas or to schedule an evaluation of your plumbing system for additional water savings, call Rooter Hero Plumbing today!

Are These Plumbing Monsters Keeping You Up at Night?

Are you having trouble falling asleep at night because of frightening sounds coming from inside your home? Most of the times, these sounds are not ghostly hauntings but problems with your plumbing system. Loose pipes, running toilets, and leaky faucets may not be caused by a mischievous ghost or creature, but they sure can leave you in the middle of a plumbing nightmare if these problems aren’t addressed right away.

Loose Pipes

A loose water pipe can create quite a ruckus. The sounds this plumbing problem emits are loud and can be rather disturbing when they pop up expectedly. If you’re awakened from sleep by this sound, pick up the phone and give your local emergency plumber a call. Fixing a loose pipe isn’t a big deal, and it can be taken care of with relatively little out-of-pocket expense. Typically repairs are minor and consist of securing the pipe to its bracket. However, the longer a loose pipe is left alone, the more likely it is that the pipe can weaken and break apart. When this happens, you’ll have a major water event that can quickly cause massive amounts of water damage.

Running Toilets

Toilets that leak water inside their tanks can take longer to fill, run longer than usual, and, sometimes, run nonstop. Because we lead busy lives, it’s easy to overlook a leaky toilet. It isn’t usually until you’re settled in for the night and when the house is quiet that you may even notice this common plumbing problem. Fixing a leaky toilet isn’t a major expense and many homeowners can make simple repairs themselves. Replacing the flush valve system or installing a new flapper may do the trick. If you make these repairs, and you’re still having problems, you may need to call a professional plumber to investigate the situation.

Scary Plumbing Fact: Did you know that a leaky toilet that continuously runs can waste as much as 200 gallons of water a day? That’s more than twice what a typical household uses in one day.  

Leaky Faucets

Is there a faucet in your home that has a slow, steady drip? Maybe it’s an old faucet in your hall bathroom or your kitchen sink faucet. These plumbing fixtures have a tendency to develop leaks because of excessive wear and tear. Also, hard water and improper installation can also cause this annoying situation. These leaks may be keeping you up at night, but they can also lead to higher than average water bills and end up costing you more than you realize.

Say Goodbye to Plumbing Monsters

You can take control of your home’s plumbing quickly when you call Rooter Hero Plumbing or a plumber in your area. Professional plumbers will analyze the situation and make suggestions for repair or replacement of the affected fixtures. Don’t let these little plumbing monsters take over your home and prevent a good night’s sleep. Call for service today!