How Galvanized Plumbing Could Cost You Thousands

Homeowners living in homes built before the 1980s may have hidden plumbing issues on the verge of costing them thousands of dollars. This is because many homes built prior to 1980 were constructed using galvanized plumbing.

What’s wrong with galvanized piping? A lot, says Ron Herring of Rooter Hero Plumbing in Houston, TX.

“Galvanized piping has an expiration date, so to speak,” says Herring. “Over time, corrosion occurs and this can cause a lot of problems for homeowners.”

Problems that homeowners like Lacee Kramer know about all too well.

“We bought a 1960s bungalow in the Woodlands area of Houston. My husband and I fell in love with its charm and vintage appeal,” Kramer recalls. “What we didn’t realize was that the vintage feel extended to the plumbing behind the walls.”

Shortly after buying their home, Lacee and her husband began to notice that the water pressure was significantly lower than what they were used to. They contacted the municipal water supply only to find out everything was just fine on the utility company’s end. This is when the Kramers started to get worried.

“We called our local plumber and he quickly determined the problem was rust inside our pipes. At the moment, the rusting was only affecting the water pressure in the master bathroom shower, but it was only a matter of time before other problems would start happening.”

What happened next? The Kramers opted to replace the galvanized plumbing throughout the 1400 square foot home – not an inexpensive plumbing job.

What’s the lesson here? Homeowners who have older properties or are considering purchasing older homes should have the pipes inspected for signs of aging. Aging pipes not only have evidence of corrosion, but they are more susceptible to leaks. A burst pipe in the middle of the night is not something you want to wake to and it can cause a great deal of water damage to walls, flooring, and a home’s foundation.

Related Post: Do I Need a Permit when Changing My Plumbing?

The best solution, when faced with aging galvanized pipes, is to replace them with CPCV pipes. CPCV material is the industry standard and much more durable, designed to stand up to heavy usage.

Replacing the piping system in a home isn’t cheap. It can run homeowners anywhere from $6, 000 – $10,000 for full replacement, but the peace of mind it brings is priceless.

Homeowners in the Houston area can contact Rooter Hero Plumbing for more information about pipe replacement and to schedule a free estimate. Rooter Hero Plumbing is also available in Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson) and many areas in Northern and Southern California.

Why Is My Water Pressure So Low?

Low water pressure can make the simplest tasks such as doing laundry and washing dishes very difficult. When water pressure is low, taking a shower can be a frustrating experience and it can leave you wondering what’s going on with your home’s plumbing.

Low water pressure is a plumbing problem that is easily solved once the source is identified. Luckily, experienced plumbers know which usual suspects to investigate.

Dirty Pipes

It doesn’t take much debris to cause problems. But what kind of debris could be in my pipes, you ask. Pipes catch all sort of debris from dirt, pollutants, sand, and mineral deposits. Sometimes this debris enters the system because of a fracture in the main pipe, but not always.

Plumbers determine if this is the problem by examining small sections of piping for mineral buildup. If a plumber finds buildup, the solution may be hydro-jetting or using chemicals to dissolve the clog.

Leaky Pipes

Pipes that are fractured will leak. When there is a leak, water doesn’t flow at the same rate. It’s that simple. Identifying the source of the leak can be a bit trickier. Homeowners who suspect a leak can perform a simple test that will help them give their technician a bit more information upon arrival. This test is conducted by turning off all the water to the house for a period of a couple hours. Check the water meter after you do this, go see a movie, and when you return, check the meter again. If the meter indicates water usage while the water has been turned off, it’s pretty obvious there is a leak in the main line.

Related Post: How Hard Water Is Affecting Your Plumbing System

When a plumber comes to you home, he or she will perform a video camera inspection to figure out exactly where the leak is in the pipe. This amazing service saves a lot of time and money by pinpointing the exact location almost immediately.

Corroded Pipes

If you home has galvanized or steel pipes, the cause of the low water pressure could be corrosion. These kinds of pipes are built to last decades, but that doesn’t mean that buildup can break them down over time. When corrosion occurs, repairs are not always possible. In a case like this, you may need to replace the pies.

Related Post: How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes

Municipal Water Supply Problems

Lastly, if a plumber comes to your home and cannot find the source of the low water pressure, it could be an issue that needs to be taken up with your municipal water supply company. Municipal water suppliers can experience the same kinds of problems with the pipes at their buildings as homeowners just on a bigger scale. Call the water supply company to find out if other customers are having problems and for a resolution timeline.

As with any plumbing problem, it’s important to call for repairs right away. Waiting for the problem to solve itself will get you nowhere. Your handy, local plumber has a number of solutions for all problems and budget.

Contact Rooter Hero Plumbing

Rooter Hero Plumbing is a multi-state plumbing service responding 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to home and businesses throughout Arizona, California, and Texas.

How Your Hard Water Is Affecting Your Plumbing

The quality of the water at your house has a direct effect on energy costs. Did you know that some estimates suggest that just one-eighth of an inch hard water can lead 33% rise in energy consumption?

Why does hard water have such a drastic effect on your energy bills? Hard water contains calcium and magnesium. When these two elements mix together in your water pipes or plumbing appliances like a water heater, limescale forms. Limescale requires more energy to heat than regular, clear water.

Let’s take a moment to examine exactly how limescale affects the plumbing in your home.

Water Pipes

Hard water restricts water flow. If you have PVC or copper piping, the problem may not be as bad. However, homes with steel piping are highly susceptible to water flow interruption. The result is low water pressure throughout the house. When hard water sits inside the pipes for long periods of time, the pipe can break down and pipe replacement may be necessary.

Replacing water pipes is not a cheap repair. It can cost thousands of dollars depending on the location of the pipe, the amount of pipe to be replaced, the replacement materials, and the labor costs associated with the installation.


Water that is trapped in faucets, valves, shower heads, and plugs will cause limescale buildup to occur at a faster rate. Many times fixtures will clog even though the pipes to the fixtures are free of limescale. A slow dripping faucet may be a sign of limescale buildup. Not only is the dripping faucet costing you money in water costs, the hard water can stain the sink’s bowl and the faucet’s rubber washers may deteriorate reducing the faucet’s water tightness.


Valves are found on all types of appliances from washing machines and dishwashers to ice-makers and even built-in coffee makers. All it takes is a small amount of limescale to form beneath the valves for problems to ensure. Damage to appliances can be costly to repair and, in some cases, replacement may be the only option.

Water Heaters

Hard water is especially brutal on water heaters. It doesn’t take much for mineral deposits to form inside a heater’s tank and damage its heating elements. Limescale forms a barrier making it harder for the elements to heat the water and this adversely affects the unit’s energy efficiency. Hard water also shortens the heater’s lifespan.

Hard Water Prevention

Hard water problems should be dealt with swiftly. While you may not be able to control the hard water coming into your home’s water pipes, there are ways to stop the flow of hard water through your home. Installing a whole-house filtration system or purchasing a water softener are two ways to treat hard water and stop limescale from ruining your plumbing system.

Filtration and softening systems vary in price and efficiency. While some water softeners may only cost $400, whole-house filtration systems can cost as much as a couple of thousand dollars to install. While this may seem like a large expense, keep in mind that you’ll be saving money in the long run. You’ll have fewer plumbing repairs for damaged fixtures. You’ll minimize the threat of premature water heater failure and pipe replacement.

The first step toward improving your water quality is calling for water testing. Give Rooter Hero Plumbing a call and we’ll work with you to bring softer water into your home for a better experience.

Are Your Basic Commercial Infrastructure Needs being Met?

Commercial properties require working plumbing components to keep their businesses running. If there is a part of the plumbing infrastructure that is weak, this can affect the entire system. Damaged gas lines, clogged water pipes, or backflow issues need to be addressed immediately by industry professionals who have access to the latest technology.

Natural Gas Line

The gas lines that run through your building are designed to work well under the pressure of daily use. Although these lines are built tough, that doesn’t mean that problems won’t arise. Gas leaks, loss of pressure, and other problems require immediate attention.

A gas leak can fires, explosions, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other disastrous consequences. Gas appliances and piping that is poorly fitted or has cracks can cause a gas leak. Businesses can protect their employees, tenants, customers, and actual structure by having their system regularly inspected by a certified plumber.

Water Lines

Commercial water lines are subjected to an enormous amount of usage every day. From flushing toilets to using the sinks, clogs form quickly and water pipes can spring leaks or burst.

If you’re customers or employees are unable to use the facilities without problems at every turn your plumbing needs are not being met. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure the restrooms are in acceptable working order.

One way to do this is to work with a licensed plumber to help you with basic drain cleaning. At Rooter Hero Plumbing, we use our Scour Jet service to thoroughly clean the inside of water pipes, scrubbing away dirt and grime that easily form into tough clogs.

Pipes and drains clog from usage, but they also can develop problems if they are not installed correctly. If you’re continuously dealing with the same drainage issues even after thorough drain cleaning, have a plumber thread a video camera through the pipes to check for problems consistent with incorrect installation.

Waste Water and Backflow Prevention

Backflow prevention is something that all commercial property owners need to be concerned about. All commercial buildings have a waste water collection system in place to make sure sewage doesn’t mix with the potable water supply. Municipalities across the country require commercial properties to submit proof, annually, that their backflow prevention system is working correctly.

Backflow certification companies will perform the necessary checks and submit the paperwork on your behalf, but what happens if there is a problem? Rooter Hero Plumbing meets the needs of its customers by offering both backflow prevention services and repair services. All your needs are taken care of in one place.

Working with a professional commercial plumbing service is the best way to make sure that your basic commercial infrastructure needs are being met. When you have a working plumbing system, your production increases, your building’s occupants are happy, and you don’t have to worry about raw sewage seeping into your building.

Call Rooter Hero Plumbing today to learn more about our commercial plumbing services for businesses in Arizona, California, and Texas.

How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes

Preparation and a little bit of education can go a long way toward helping you avoid the mess and expense that frozen pipes can cause. Even in warmer climates like Southern California, Arizona, and Texas (areas that Rooter Hero Plumbing serves), cold spells do occur and when they do they can take unprepared homeowners by surprise.

Here are some tips for preventing frozen water pipes and what to do if they do freeze.

Why Pipes Freeze

When water freezes it expands and can put pressure on piping. This pressure is quite powerful and even metal pipes are not strong enough to withstand the water’s expansion. Usually, pipes that freeze are those that are exposed to the cold because they are exterior pipes. These kinds of pipes may include any of the following:

  • Outdoor hose bids
  • Irrigation lines
  • Swimming pool supply lines

However, interior pipes can also be subjected to cold temperatures if they are in unheated areas such as garages, basements, crawl spaces, attics, or in kitchen cabinets that are placed along walls that are not insulated and exposed to the outside.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

During colder weather, it’s important to take certain measures to protect your home’s piping.

  • Drain all supply lines to swimming pools and irrigation systems when closing for the season.
  • Turn off and drain outdoor hose bibs.
  • Disconnect hoses from outdoor faucets.
  • Insulate piping that is exposed to exterior elements.
  • Keep the temperature in your house at a steady temperature. Some people choose to lower the thermostat during the day when no one is at home. In colder temperatures, suspend this tactic.
  • If you’re planning to be away from your home for a long period of time during colder temperatures, make sure your heating is still running at regular temperatures.
  • Open cabinet doors in kitchens and bathrooms when plumbing is up against an exterior wall to keep warm air moving over the pipes.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If your pipes do freeze, don’t panic. Take a moment to collect your thoughts and do the following:

  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe you suspect is frozen. You can use a hot compress, hair dryer, or heating pad. Portable space heaters can also be used with caution.
  • Open the faucet to prevent it bursting when the water starts to flow again.
  • Keep applying heat until the pipes thaw.

Never use a blowtorch, gasoline, or kerosene. If you’ve tried everything you can do on your own and the situation is not remedied, call a licensed plumber for professional service.

If your pipes freeze frequently when temperatures drop, it may be necessary to relocate piping to a warmer, insulated place.  Also, adding insulation to basements, attics, crawl spaces, and exterior walls that are poorly insulated can also keep the problem at bay.

For more information, contact your local Rooter Hero Plumbing pro today. Don’t let warm Western temperatures trick you into thinking that your pipes can’t freeze. It only takes a quick burst of cold air to cause expensive problems.

What Is the Difference between Pipe Bursting vs. Pipe Relining

Broken water pipes or sewer lines require fast and precise repairs. In the past, cured-in-place (CIPP) lining was the go-to repair method. CIPP continues to be cost-effective and highly popular method “replacing” damaged pipes, but over the past several years pipe bursting has caught up in popularity in certain areas of the country.

What Is Pipe Bursting?

Pipe bursting is often referred to as trenchless sewer line repair. It replaces the conventional way of laying pipe using a construction trench. Pipe bursting is an effective repair method for fixing natural gas lines, sewer lines, and buried water pipes.

Trenchless technology can be used for hydraulic bursting, static bursting, lateral bursting, and pneumatic bursting. Each of the bursting processes breaks the damaged pipe before laying the new pipe. The difference is how the force is generated.

What Is Pipe Relining?

Instead of digging up a broken pipe and replacing it, pipe relining enables a plumber to spot repair or patch a broken pipe using no-dig technology. However, the term no-dig technology can be misleading. In most cases, a small amount of excavation is required to get to the pipe but it is very little when compared to conventional replacement methods. Pipe relining is extremely cost-effective because of the lack of extensive excavation needed and few labor hours. In many cases, repairs can be made in just a few hours compared to a few days for traditional methods.

Which Method Is Best for My Situation?

A plumber will need to access the situation to make that determination. The best method, though, will address the problem as quickly and efficiently for as little out-of-pocket cost and damage to yard or flooring as possible. If you’re experiencing problems with underground pipes in your home or place of business, connect with a Rooter Hero Plumber in your area today for a free, no-obligation inspection and written estimate.

Common Plumbing Problems for Arizona Residents

Don’t let mild desert winters fool you into thinking you don’t need to winterize your plumbing system. Arizona homes and businesses are just as much at risk of developing problems with their systems when temperatures dip as structures in other parts of the country. If you live in an area of the state where temperatures fall below freezing, follow these suggestions to protect your building’s plumbing system.

Hot Water Problems

When the air cools, you may find a longer, hotter shower quite inviting. Hotter and longer showers put additional stress on your water heater, requiring more energy to maintain the heat. Before cooler temperatures arrive, we recommend that you have your water heater inspected. At Rooter Hero Plumbing, our technicians check the following during a routine inspection:
• Pilot light (gas models)
• Temperature sensor
• Pressure relief valve
• Wiring and connections

We can also flush your water heater to get rid of built-up sediment and clean the tank for optimal performance.

Frozen Pipes

A hard freeze in the Phoenix or Tucson area is not a common occurrence, but temperatures can fall enough for this to happen from time to time and it can take homeowners by surprise. Outside water lines that are not turned off can freeze when this happens and burst. Indoor piping may be better protected, but if it is not insulated well freezing can occur.

We recommend that Arizona residents have a plumber take a look at their pipes before the weather has a chance to turn cold. If you have an older property, your piping may not be insulated well enough to handle this sudden change in temperature. Also, protect your plumbing system by draining and disconnecting outdoor hoses when not in use.

If a pipe does burst, locate the main water shut-off valve and turn off the water before you call a plumber. This one small action can prevent flooding and extensive damage to your home.

Clogged Drains

The winter months seem to coincide with an increase in clogged drains. We attribute this rise in service calls to the increased amount of entertaining during the holidays and staying indoors more. To protect your drains, we urge our customers to use common “drain” sense when using toilets, sinks, bathtubs or showers.

Many clogs can be prevented with regular drain cleaning services like hydro-jetting. You can also protect your drains and sewer by doing the following:
• Only use septic-safe toilet paper
• Do not treat your toilet like a trash can
• Avoid flushing non-organic material down the toilet such as cleansing wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper products other than toilet paper
• Dispose of grease, cooking oils, and fat in a mason jar or in the trash can. Do not put these substances in kitchen sinks or grind them up in the garbage disposal.

A little bit of drain sense goes a long way toward preventing drain and sewer problems.

Don’t Let Colder Weather Take You by Surprise

Arizona is a climate that boasts beautiful weather year-round, but sometimes Mother Nature likes to throw a curve ball. Be prepared during the winter months to protect your plumbing system from failure and expensive repairs. A quick call to Rooter Hero Plumbing can help you prepare for falling temperatures.

Rooter Hero Plumbing operates in major metropolitan locations such as Phoenix and Tucson, service communities like Buckeye, Gilbert, and Oro Valley. Call us today to see if we service your area.

Prevent Displaced Tenants with these Plumbing Repairs

Back in April of 2015, a Walmart store in Pico Rivera, CA, closed its doors indefinitely due to plumbing problems that the company says were a result of persistent leaks and clogs. This incident laid off nearly 500 workers and left shoppers inconvenienced. As a commercial property owner, the last thing you want is for an incident like this to happen to your business or to the tenants that rent space in your building. By taking swift action when small problems pop up and making routine maintenance a part of your action plan, you can have a better handle on plumbing issues.

Commercial Drain Cleaning Keeps Water Flowing in the Right Direction

Commercial properties are at a greater risk of developing large obstructions in piping systems because of the sheer amount of usage toilets and sinks are subjected to every day. In California, many of the commercial properties are older buildings with aging pipes. A combination of frequent usage with deteriorating piping is the perfect setup for clogs to form.

The easiest way to address this potential problem is to have the drains and pipes in your building cleaned regularly by a professional plumber. Don’t rely on drain cleaning solution or your janitorial staff to plunge persistent clogs. These are only temporary fixes that don’t address the situation fully. Instead, call a plumber in California like Rooter Hero Plumbing that offer Scour Jet service.

Our Scour Jet service is a powerful drain cleaning tool. It uses pressurized water to scrape away dirt and debris from the inside of the pipes. As powerful as this method is at eradicating the toughest clogs, it’s surprising to many of our customers that it is the gentlest solution for dirty pipes. Gentle and effective drain cleaning means fewer problems in the future.

You May Need to Consider Re-Piping

Re-piping is considerably more labor intensive and expensive than drain cleaning. It’s a solution to consider if you have pipes that are showing signs of aging or are no longer able to support the usage your plumbing system is experiencing. Re-piping can be a challenge for business owners who want to stay operational during the project, but it’s not impossible. Also, you may not need to re-pipe the entire building.

Plumbers who have experience with commercial re-piping should be able to develop a solution that will work best for all parties involved with as minimal inconvenience as possible.

Encourage Your Tenants to Use the Plumbing Correctly

Sometimes it is plain ignorance that causes plumbing problems such as persistent clogs. Unlike a residential plumbing system, many people believe a commercial plumbing system is designed to handle anything and everything. What does this mean? It means that your tenants, employees, and customers are more likely to flush things down the toilet and pour substances down the drains that they would never think of doing in their homes.

Post signage in bathrooms and break rooms that specifically says what can and cannot be flushed or rinsed down the sink. Maybe even include a friendly reminder in the employee newsletter or in a casual company-wide email. Bathroom business can be uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s better to address it in theory before it becomes a reality.

For more information about commercial plumbing problems, including what your responsibilities are in terms of repairs as a commercial property owner in California, check out our other blog posts or give us a call today.

Do I Need a Permit when Changing My Plumbing?

No matter what kind of home improvement project you’re undertaking, safety should always be the main priority. Plumbing repairs are no exception. Depending on the kind of repair or installation, you may need permission from your local municipality before proceeding.

Why Do I Need a Permit?

Permits are required for all types of construction, repair, and renovation projects as a way to make sure all work is completed safely and accurately by trained, licensed professionals. If you proceed with a project that requires a permit and you fail to obtain one, you could face fines or other penalties. It could even put your entire project in jeopardy of completion or affect the future sale of your home.

For example, if you renovated an attic space and added plumbing without the correct permits, you may not be able to claim that space as usable square footage. That’s the best case scenario. The worst case scenario would be that you would have to redo the entire project with the correct permits in place before listing the house. No one wants to buy a house with spaces that are not up to code or that lower the value of the property.

Where Do I Obtain Permits?

City hall typically issues all permits. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about this part of the project because your plumbing contractor will usually secure these permits for you. It’s part of the professional service.

What Projects Require Permits?

It depends on the particular municipality where your home is located. Here a few circumstances may be required:

• Alterations or installation of concealed piping
• Relocation of plumbing during a renovation
• Sewer installation
• Rain drains

A permit may also be required for water heater installation. Check with your local plumber to find out if this applies to you.

Permits are not required for minor repairs or adjustments such as faucet repair, toilet installation, water or drain attachments.

For more information about the permit process for your particular project, contact your local Rooter Hero Plumbing tech for more assistance.

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.