Mr. Rooter understands that homeowners need tools and resources to fix the basic issues you will inevitably face, so we put together this resource for you to reference as you navigate daily questions that come up. However, some plumbing problems, especially in older homes, simply need the help of a professional. Contact your local Mr. Rooter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-766-8305 for emergency plumbing service with no overtime charges, ever.
Just a reminder, should you wish to perform your own plumbing maintenance using the information we provide on this website, Mr. Rooter Corporation cannot be held responsible for any actions not taken by a trained Mr. Rooter plumbing technician.
Alternative septic tanks are often installed on sites with unique drainage or terrain issues. There are many types of alternative septic tanks, some of which only require a modification of the existing conventional system. Varieties include raised bed, mound, aerobic, disinfection, and even waterless.
The first indicator that you need to switch from a conventional septic tank may be that you experience flooding or unusual water gathering in a backyard or field. If you find your conventional tank is not adequate, it is important to act quickly to avoid being cited or fined for non-compliance by your local Board of Health or Department of Environmental Protection.
American engineering has brought amazing advances in indoor plumbing, adding convenience for homeowners as well as making environmentally friendly designs available for sustainable living. Tankless water heaters and other water-efficient technologies have created thousands of jobs for plumbers and customized home improvement options for homeowners. A tankless water heater configuration can add value to a home on the market, and the presence of low flow technology can be very tempting to an environmentally aware buyer.
Indoor plumbing continues to improve as new materials and modern designs are introduced. Industry trends include plumbing technology aimed at sustainable living, water conservation, and energy efficiency. Whether you are considering a career in plumbing or keeping your established service current with industry standards, pay close attention to evolving technology and how it addresses green living concerns.
If you want a luxury bathroom design but don't want to do a complete remodel, there are ways to create the perfect update by upgrading one piece at a time. Sometimes you can change the look of a sink simply by replacing the faucets. Sinks and faucets should be matched carefully to accommodate the wide varieties of drillings in the basins. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a universal fit. There are four basic types of faucets and their respective drillings:
- Wall-mounted - with a long spout to reach from the wall to the basin plus one or two handles
- Single lever - has a spout and a single handle to mix hot and cold water
- Widespread - with a spout and two handles, all mounted as individual pieces
- Center set - a spout and two handles mounted in a center plate
Use your existing configuration as a guide to buying a replacement, and bring the original with you when shopping for the replacement to compare. When removing the old faucet, be sure to turn off the water and remove the water supply connection before dismantling it.
If you are planning to replace or improve your bathroom fixtures, you have a wide range of options when it comes to sinks. A wall-mounted sink is an excellent alternative for modern bathrooms, but if you are after a more traditional look, try a pedestal sink. Regardless of the style and mounting, make sure you leave enough elbow room for comfortable use. Install your new sink at least a foot away from the closest wall or the toilet to avoid hitting your elbows when washing or brushing.
Materials include porcelain, marble, and vitreous china. If you decide on china or porcelain, avoid dropping items onto these surfaces, as they tend to chip. Metal and fiberglass surfaces are also easily chipped or scratched under the right circumstances. Busy sinks used by children and teenagers are often better off with durable surfaces, such as enameled iron or steel.
If you are using a contractor to remodel your bathroom, they will need as much information as possible as they create a design to best suit your needs. Consult with your contractor about your design ideas in advance and be sure to include the following information:
- Counter top materials - do you prefer stone, a solid surface, or a laminate?
- Electric outlets and fixtures - do you want to add or move something?
- Sink, toilet, and tub - do you want a larger size, a different configuration, or a new location?
- What type of cabinets do you want?
- Do you want new flooring?
If you haven’t considered these remodeling ideas, or are not sure which options fit your tastes, make an appointment with a sales representative to look through a catalog and see samples of your options. Always get multiple estimates on your final design with alternative materials and configurations to see how different options affect the bottom line.
Clogged drains may require a video inspection in order to get to the bottom of recurring problems. If you suspect your drains are having a serious issue it is always better to be safe and consult a professional before attempting to fix the problem yourself with harmful chemicals or risk damaging your pipes. If you suspect your plumbing has an issue other than a basic clog, you should call a professional to do a complete pipe inspection. You may have debris lodged in the system or tree roots growing into your pipes; different clogs require different solutions. Video inspection is an important tool in both detection and fixing a problem before it becomes a major issue.
For more information about troubleshooting your problem, consult our Plumbing FAQ. Remember, you can call your local Mr. Rooter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-766-8305 to assist with an emergency plumbing issue.
Nothing stops a command performance of singing in the shower faster than a clogged drain. Most clogs can be corrected easily with a minimum of hassle and mess. Hair is usually the culprit when a shower fails to drain properly, and checking the strainer cover that fits over the drain enclosure may be all it takes to solve the problem. If the perforations are stopped up, clean them out and test the flow of water. If the perforations in the strainer cover are not blocked, follow a few simple steps to try and remove the clog.
First, determine how the strainer cover is attached. Some covers simply snap into place and can be removed from by lifting them with a screwdriver. Other covers are held in place by screws, which can be easily removed. Once the strainer cover is removed, use a flashlight and visually check for a clog. Normally you will see a clean pipe with water a few inches below in the drain, but if there is an obstruction, use a piece of stiff wire – a metal coat hanger crimped into a hook works well – to clear the pipe. Gently snag the clog with the wire, being careful not to push the obstruction deeper. If you do not see a hair clog blocking the pipe, try using a plunger to clear the drain. Commonly known as the “plumber’s friend,” a plunger works best when there is a firm seal around the drain opening. It might help to coat the rim of the rubber force cup with petroleum jelly.
Next, pour enough water into the shower enclosure to cover the lip of the rubber cup on the plunger, and make sure the cup is securely fitted over the drain opening. Then, move the handle of the plunger up and down rapidly. If the plunger fails to force the clog free, the next step is to try a hand snake. This device features a flexible coil of steel with a crank at the opposite end. Carefully feed the metal cable into the drainpipe until you reach the obstruction. When you feel the cable stop, crank the handle clockwise. The tip of the metal cable will snag the clog as it turns. Keep up the cranking motion as you slowly pull the cable out of the drain line, pulling the clog free.
If all these steps fail, call your local Mr. Rooter at 877-766-8305 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Drain cleaners can be used to remove clogs, but they contain caustic chemicals and should be used only as directed by the manufacturer. Pipes should always be flushed thoroughly after a chemical application. Never use a plunger immediately after pouring a chemical into the drain. And remember, if you use a chemical drain cleaner before you call a plumber, let them know which products are in the pipes so they can take the proper precautions.
Damp walls or floors around your laundry room sink could be signs of several common plumbing issues. Check the pipes and fittings for leaks and tighten any loose connections to stop a leak without having to call for plumbing help. Stop small leaks from holes in pipes can by wrapping the pipe in a section of rubber hose and applying clamps at the top, bottom, and at the source of the leak. Epoxy over a small hole with plumber's epoxy designed specifically for these types of leaks.
Another laundry center plumbing problem is clogs. If you have a buildup of soap, lint, or hair in your laundry room sink or floor drain, eventually a blockage will form. If you have a water shut-off valve installed on your laundry room sink, turn off the water, remove the u-shaped pipe under the sink, and look for materials blocking the pipe. You may need to inspect the straight ends of the pipe on either side to find the clumped hair and soap. Once the clog is removed, your drains will work normally again.
If you are cleaning sink drains, you can help speed the job along by remembering a few simple things:
- Foreign objects need to be manually removed. Flushing them out isn't an option, otherwise they wouldn't be clogging your drain.
- Never pour chemical or biological cleaners into the drain before you try to manually clear it. Always pour your cleaning agent last.
- Wear face protection when snaking out a drain to avoid getting bacteria near your eyes, nose, and mouth
- When pouring any cleaning agent, check the packaging to determine proper rinse time. Some drain cleaning products need to sit inside the pipes for a period of time to be effective. Don't let anyone run the water until the cleaning period is over and you have completely rinsed the drain cleaning products away.
There are three basic, low-cost plumbing products DIY plumbers should have in their toolkit for unexpected plumbing problems.
Plumber's putty is used for sealing small cracks or holes. If you find a small crack in your toilet bowl, putty can cure the problem until you can buy a replacement. The hallmark of plumber’s putty is that it remains malleable and watertight for a long time, making it easy to adjust as needed.
A handheld drain snake, or auger, is an essential for clearing out blocked drains. There are many varieties of snakes available, but be sure to always take proper safety precautions when using a power tool on your plumbing.
Sometimes the snake isn't enough, which is why you should also keep an adjustable pipe wrench handy for opening lengths of pipe to reach an obstruction.
If the blockage is deep inside your system, it is time to call an emergency plumber for additional help. Your local Mr. Rooter provides 24-hour drain cleaning services. However, many of these simple jobs can be done at low cost with readily available plumbing products.
This is a blockage of air in the drain, typically caused by a clog. Removing the clog should fix the problem.
You probably don’t think about your plumbing system very often. After all, it’s not exciting or glamorous and is easy to forget about when things are running smoothly. However, understanding a few basic facts about how your plumbing system works and what to do in case of a plumbing emergency can prevent headaches, and even property loss in the future.
First, the location of the main water shut-off is important to know. If a pipe breaks and is flooding your house, the main water supply is the fastest way to stop the flow of water. You will find the main shut-off at your property’s municipal water supply meter or the pressure tank of your private well.
You should also locate the shut-off valves inside your home. Newer homes will have emergency shut-off valves for every fixture and appliance. Older homes may not have these shut-offs and owners should plan to have them installed.
One of the most preventable plumbing messes is an overflowing toilet. Locate the shut-off valve knob at the base of your toilet and rotate it clockwise until the water flow to the tank of the toilet stops. This allows you to work on clearing the blockage without more water flowing into the bowl. Turn the water back on so the tank can fill once your system is draining normally. You can also use this valve to control the amount of water flowing into the tank and bowl every time you flush the toilet, which is a small way to practice water conservation in your home.