DEBUNKING COMMON PLUMBING MYTHS

So, you’ve purchased your own home and want to educate yourself on prudent and effective home maintenance. You’ve learned the basics about your plumbing system and have even brandished an adjustable wrench a time or two. Kudos on taking responsible steps to safeguard your home investment. However, make sure you aren’t being fooled by some common home plumbing myths that are at best useless and at worst could end up costing you a lot of money.

Some of the biggest plumbing myths to avoid:

Don’t worry about a leaky tap: It’s just a tiny drip, how big a problem could it possibly be? Very big. According to the EPA, a leak can lead to 10,000 wasted gallons of water per year in a single household, or the equivalent of 270 loads of laundry. Plus, a leak can actually damage the tap and stain the fixture. Get it fixed ASAP.

Toilets make a great garbage chute: Unless you want toilet water overflowing onto your floor, followed by a nasty plumbing job and cleanup, never flush anything except toilet paper and human waste.

Lemons and water are the key to a clean and functional garbage disposal: While a lemon slice or two can help eliminate odors, they don’t do anything in the way of cleaning. Read your manual to find out what kind of maintenance your disposal really needs to keep it running in peak form. Similarly, water will not prevent clogging. If you toss in something that the disposal isn’t equipped to handle, or if you overload it with too much at once, running water at the same time won’t be enough to prevent a clog or other damage.

You don’t need to think about your pipes unless they are clogged: Just because the water is draining for now doesn’t mean you don’t have nasty clogs building up in your pipes. Debris like food in the kitchen sink and hair and shampoo in the bathroom can accumulate over time, until the water starts backing up at the worst possible moment. Always practice good drain hygiene by using a trap to catch any solids, and have your system inspected annually to make sure there isn’t a major issue lurking just around the corner. You can also ask your plumber about maintenance products that will help keep your drains clear without damaging pipes.

In an emergency, any plumber will do: When you have a major problem and need plumbing assistance immediately, it’s tempting to hire the first handyman who answers the phone. However, if you trust your pipes to an untested novice you could find yourself out a lot of money while the problem remains unresolved, or even worsens. Only accept experienced professionals when it comes to the plumbing in your house so you know the job will be done right the first time.

Your Rods Away plumbers are here to help 24/7 with any plumbing problem. Give us a call for more pluming tips or to schedule an appointment.

5 SIGNS YOU NEED A NEW TOILET

You rely on your toilet daily, but you probably don’t think much about it until something goes wrong. Just like other major appliances in your home, your toilet will probably need to be replaced after years of use. How do you know when it’s time to call a plumber to install a new toilet?

  • There are cracks in your tank
    If you frequently see a puddle of water /braround your toilet, this could be more than a simple leak: You could have cracks in your tank, and the toilet may need to be replaced. A plumber can help you determine if it’s an issue that can be repaired. If the toilet appears to be working properly – flushing well, not clogged, not running – but there is water around the bottom of it, that could mean there are cracks in the bowl.
  • You have an old toilet
    Regardless of whether your toilet is working properly, if you have had the same one for decades you should consider replacing it. Older toilets are likely to be less efficient than newer ones, which means they could be driving up your water bill. Advancements made in the past few years have resulted in toilets that use significantly less water. When shopping for a more efficient model, you may want to consider one that offers dual-flush technology. This gives you the option of a partial flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste, so you can use less water while still flushing every time.
  • You feel it wobble
    A toilet that wobbles or rocks is not normal. If your toilet is unsteady, call a plumber right away to evaluate the problem. While it could be a simple matter of tightening some bolts, it could also mean that the floor underneath is damaged or rotting and you’ll need to have it professionally repaired.
  • You’ve had to fix it often
    If you’ve had to call a plumber several times in the past few years to have your toilet repaired, it may be time to purchase a new one. It will likely save you money in the long run.
  • You have a round bowl
    While there’s nothing drastically wrong with your round bowl, replacing it with an elongated model is worth considering. These type of bowls tend to be more comfortable than round ones because they allow for more seating room. An elongated bowl also stays cleaner and allows fewer odors to escape, according to Consumer Reports. Round bowls do have a slightly smaller footprint, but if you have room, consider making the switch.

Give your local Rods Away plumbers a call if you see any of the trouble signs, or if you’re interested in replacing your old toilet with a newer model.

7 TIPS FOR A CLEANER TOILET

The holiday season often includes entertaining more guests, requiring even more upkeep than usual. Cleaning the toilet is no one’s favorite chore, but here are seven ways to make the job quicker and easier and keep your bathroom cleaner during this busy time of year.

  1. Clean it often
    Bathrooms are filled with germs and should always be cleaned once a week – especially your toilet. A quick weekly cleaning will save you from having to do an extensive scrub down every month.
  2. Use vinegar to clean
    If regular cleaning products don’t seem to be doing the trick, consider trying vinegar. Pour some vinegar into your toilet bowl and let it sit overnight. In the morning, use your toilet brush to scrub around the bowl. You may be surprised by how effectively this simple household staple cleans.
  3. Reach for a toothbrush
    Keeping your whole toilet clean can be a challenge because of all the nooks and crannies that can be tough to reach. You can combat this problem by using a cheap toothbrush to attack these spots. If chemical cleaning products don’t seem to work, wet the toothbrush and put a little baking soda on it to form a paste and use it to scrub any problem areas.
  4. Get the right brush
    The most important tool to have in your bathroom (other than your plunger) is a good toilet brush. You’ll want one that’s sturdy and easy for you to keep clean. The wrong brush won’t be able to stand up to tough stains, and you’ll find yourself replacing it every month. You may find purchasing a pricier brush is actually more cost-effective and may save you money in the long-run.
  5. Keep disinfecting wipes on the toilet
    One simple way to keep your toilet cleaner for longer is to keep disinfecting wipes in your bathroom and encourage your family to use them.  This will help keep germs at bay as well as avoiding the buildup of any spots or stains.
  6. Don’t ignore the handle
    This is a prime area for germs. When cleaning your toilet, use some disinfecting spray on the handle to keep dirt and germs at bay.
  7. Avoid carpets
    Carpets that wrap around your toilet may look nice, but they are they can harbor germs that can spread not only on your toilet but around your bathroom as whole. To avoid this, ditch the carpeting and consider getting a bathmat that you can place around the toilet.

If you notice leaking or other problems with your toilet, give your local Rods Away plumbers a call. We’re always here to help.

PREVENTING A PLUMBING EMERGENCY

Homeowners can save money with a little do-it-yourself spirit when it comes to minor plumbing projects. However, tread carefully, because with a single misstep you could make things worse than before or even flood your house. Plumbing disasters can be a huge hassle and end up costing much more than you hoped to originally save, so it’s crucial to be prepared and take steps to avoid a worst-case scenario and to know your limitations. Even homeowners who would never dream of attempting a repair can take preemptive measures to help preserve the integrity of their pipes and faucets and ward off emergency calls to the plumber.

If You Have a Project You Can Take on Yourself:

  • Study and understand your plumbing layout. Figure out where the pipes run in your walls, which are bringing water in and which are taking waste away. The more familiarity you have with the overall system, the better informed you will be when DIY-ing and the less likely you are to create a major problem.
  • Know where your main water shutoff valve is located. Usually, it’s found near the meter where water first enters your house. If you have a major leak, turn off the water flow as quickly as possible so you don’t have to deal with flooding and water damage in addition to whatever caused your original problem. Your home probably has individual shutoffs for different rooms, as well (typically found in the basement). Take advantage of this to cut off the room where you’re working but still have water flowing to the rest of the house.
  • Make sure you have the right tools for the job. Assemble a full assortment of pliers, wrenches, saws and files and whatever else a project calls for before you start so you don’t find yourself making an emergency trip to the hardware store while your sink is disassembled.
  • If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it. Better to admit when you’re stumped and call an expert than stubbornly attempting a repair and mucking it up worse than it was. Never attempt a repair on your plumbing system unless you’re sure it’s something you can handle on your own.

Even if You Have No Intention of Breaking Out a Wrench:

  • Be careful with what you put down your garbage disposal. Don’t overload it, and make sure silverware doesn’t fall in.
  • Don’t pour grease down the drain. That’s a surefire way to clog the pipes.
  • Don’t flush anything but human waste and toilet paper down the toilet.
  • Keep a plunger in every bathroom. When a toilet starts overflowing, you don’t want to have to run through the house to find a plunger. Keep it close at hand and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to clear the clog before the waste water overflows onto the floor.
  • One tip especially for winter: Make sure you don’t have prolonged heat outages when the temperatures are below freezing. You risk freezing your pipes, which is annoying in and of itself. This could also cause them to burst, leading to floods and much bigger headaches. If you are planning on being away from home during the cold months have somebody check on the house periodically to make sure the heat hasn’t failed.

One more, very important step every homeowner should take
Establish a relationship with a reputable plumber before you have a problem. This has several benefits: your new plumber can give your system a once-over and point out any potential issues you may have missed, further reducing your chance of having an emergency. And if despite all your best precautions, disaster still strikes you already have someone to call who is familiar with your setup, does quality work and whom you can trust.

Need some professional guidance?
Give your local Rods Away plumber a call and we’ll take care of your problem, big or small. You can trust us to repair, replace or install whatever you need.

5 SIGNS YOU NEED TO CALL A PLUMBER

There are plumbing problems you can handle on your own, but others are too big to tackle. Do you know when you need to call in professional help? The five scenarios below may surprise you.

  1. The tap won’t stop drippingMost people have lived with a dripping tap at some point. After all, a slight leak like that really isn’t causing much trouble – or is it? Left unchecked, that dripping can lead to a lot of wasted water: According to the EPA, a leak of 1 drip per second can waste as much as 3,000 gallons of water a year! Worse yet, the leak could be indicative of a bigger plumbing problem. You can try your own hand at fixing the leak, but if that doesn’t work don’t be afraid to call in the professionals. A residential plumber can get to the source of the trouble.
  2. Your bathtub won’t drainA bathtub clog must be dealt with immediately. It will only worsen with time, and you’ll be left with more standing water in your tub. A plumber can clear the obstruction and check to be certain it isn’t part of a bigger problem. You can save yourself time and aggravation by addressing the problem early whenever possible. Call in a professional as soon as your tub begins draining slowly, before it escalates to a full clog.
  3. Water isn’t flowing correctlyPoor or inconsistent water pressure throughout your home can be a problem. If it’s only in the shower or a faucet or two it may simply be a matter of cleaning mineral buildup out of the fixture. However, widespread problems with water flow could be indicative of a bigger issue with the supply line. A plumber will know how to both diagnose and fix the problem to restore your water pressure to normal.
  4. Your pipes are frozenThis is a wintertime plumbing nightmare. If you’ve ever experienced frozen pipes, you know it’s advisable to call a plumber right away. If you haven’t, count yourself lucky and make the call now. It’s wise to bring in a professional before a frozen pipe cracks or bursts, rather than attempting a do-it-yourself thawing. A burst pipe can leave you with a big mess and extensive water damage to your home and belongings. Don’t take a chance; let the experts handle it.
  5. Your toilet’s clogged and the plunger isn’t helpingOther than burst pipes, there’s nothing quite so urgent as a toilet clog a plunger can’t clear. The problem could be a sewage line issue too big to be for your basic plunger. Rather than scratch the porcelain or do other damage by trying to break the clog up yourself, call in an expert with the tools and expertise to get your toilet working again.

Need some professional guidance?

Your local Rods Away plumber is always here to help. If you’re concerned about a plumbing problem give us a call.

3 EASY FIXES FOR A CLOGGED TOILET

Is your toilet clogged? If so, this is one plumbing repair you may be able to tackle yourself. While some more serious clogs require the intervention of a professional plumber, there are some things you can try before you pick up the phone.

  1. Reach for a plungerEvery home should be equipped with at least one plunger. This necessary household item is your first line of defense against a clogged toilet, and you don’t want to wait to buy one until dirty water is flooding your bathroom.

    Before using the plunger, take the lid off your toilet tank and push the flapper down to prevent additional water from entering the bowl. Then start plunging and see if this eliminates the problem. If nothing happens the first few times you pump the plunger, don’t be discouraged — it can take some elbow grease and vigorous pumping to get the job done.

  2. Grab a snakeIf a plunger doesn’t do the trick, your next best option is to snake the drain. A drain snake is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from most hardware stores. Put the snake into the toilet bowl and feed it carefully into the pipe. Once it reaches the clog, you’ll feel a slight increase in resistance. At this point, turn the snake clockwise to allow the tip to break up the clog.
  3. Call a plumberIf neither of these tactics work, it may be time to leave it to a professional. Sometimes a clog may not merely be built-up debris in your toilet, but an object dropped in by a child or knocked in by a clumsy house guest. You’re better off having a professional plumber clear the pipe and make any necessary repairs rather than attempting it yourself and causing additional damage. Consider calling a plumber at least once a year to ensure not only that your toilet’s working properly, but that all the pipes in your bathroom are free of leaks and clogs.

Need some professional guidance?

Your local Rods Away plumbers are always here to help. Give us a call and we’ll clear the clog and get your toilet back in working order.

6 WAYS TO FIND HIDDEN WATER LEAKS

Early detection of a water leak can save you money and avert potential disaster. Here are some signs that you may have a leak and should consider contacting a plumber.

  1. Check your water meter
    One of the best ways to tell if you have a leak in some part of your plumbing is to check the water meter. To do this, you’ll first have to turn off all the water in your home. Shut off all faucets, and make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are not running. Next, watch the meter and see if it begins to  change. If it does, you likely have a fast-moving leak. If the meter doesn’t change immediately, wait two hours and check it again. If it has changed despite all the water being off, you may be dealing with a slower leak. The leak could be anywhere after the meter, or even underground. Remember that all piping after the meter is a homeowner’s responsibility.
  2. Look at your usage
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends checking your winter water usage to find out if a leak is occurring somewhere in your home. If a family of four is using more than 12,000 gallons of water per month, there’s probably have a serious leak problem somewhere in your plumbing system.
  3. Monitor your bill
    If your bill is rising consistently but your water use habits haven’t changed, a leak may be to blame. Gather some bills from the past few months and compare them to see if there’s a steady increase. Your water bill should remain within the same range month to month. Remember that some of your pipes may be under ground. You may never detect leaks in this part of your system, but you will always pay for them. It’s best to have a professional plumber make a thorough check of all the pipes.  A warm spot on the floor ( with under slab piping) or the sound of water running needs prompt, professional attention.
  4. Grab some food coloring
    Toilets can account for up to 30 percent of your water use, so you should  check to ensure they’re running properly. To test for leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the color shows up in your bowl, then you have a leak allowing water to flow from the tank to your drain without ever flushing the bowl.
  5. Check exterior usage
    Leaks don’t just happen inside the home — they occur outside as well. Check your outside spigots by attaching a garden hose; if water seeps through the connection while the hose is running, replace the rubber hose gasket and check to see all connections are tight. Consider calling a professional once a year to check your irrigation system if you have one. A system with even a small leak could be wasting 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  6. Use common senseMake a practice of regularly checking in the back of cabinets and under basins for any signs of mold or foul smells that might indicate a leak: prompt attention could save you thousands in repairs. Consider having a professional plumber make an annual inspection of your home to check for leaks or potential problems.

    Be especially vigilant if your home is over 25 years old; your plumbing system may be on the declining side of its life expectancy.  Inspect all accessible connections at the water heater, pumps, washing machine hoses and valves for oxidation or discoloration – clear signs of a slow leak.

    If you suspect a leak anywhere in your plumbing system, call in a professional to make a repair as soon as possible. Don’t wait until it gets worse and you end up with a real mess on your hands!

Need some professional guidance?

Your local Rods Away plumbers are always here to help. Give us a call and we’ll track the leak down for you and make any necessary repairs.

Why is My Toilet Running?

After a toilet is flushed, water will refill within the tank and then stop once it reaches a certain level. However, when parts of the toilet are broken or malfunctioning, water will continue to run (annoying, we know). If you find that one of your toilets is running with no plans of stopping, there are things you should be checking that will usually solve this plumbing problem.

toilet-running

Adjust the Water Level

The tank’s water level is decided by the height of the adjustable float piece. When the float is at too low of a height, the flush will be weak and might not flush all of the waste. However, when the float is set too high, water will constantly pour into the overflow tube and the fill valve won’t shut itself off. Adjust the height of the float accordingly to make sure the water level in the overflow tube is at the water level mark. This water level mark is equivalent to an inch below the critical level mark on the fill valve.

Fix the Flapper Chain

Attached to the flapper is a chain that needs to be a specific length in order for it to open and close during a flush. A flapper chain that’s too long will prevent the flapper from fully opening, shortening the flush. On the other hand, a flapper chain that’s too short will prevent the flapper from fully closing, allowing water to continuously leak into the bowl. Inspect your current chain and make sure it’s in good condition and that it has a small amount of slack when closed. If it doesn’t, adjust the chain accordingly or replace it altogether.

Inspect the Flapper

Each piece inside of the toilet tank should be inspected when the water continuously runs, especially the flapper. When the flapper is worn out or cracked, the result will be the same as if the flapper chain was too short. If there’s any damage associated with the flapper, head to the hardware store and pick up a replacement. You should turn off the water leading to the toilet and bring the flapper to the store to get as close of a match as you can. Once you install the new flapper, make sure it creates a complete seal by giving it a test flush.

A toilet that is constantly running and making noise isn’t just a nuisance — it’s costing you money with each and every water bill your receive. If you can’t seem to stop the water from running and you’re in need of toilet repair, contact the professional plumbers at Rods Away. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (01495) 687667.

How To Pick The Perfect Plunger

The secret to using a plunger is very simple: make sure you’re using the right one!  While most homeowners typically just have one plunger in their home, they actually vary structurally and each has a unique type of seal it makes.  Who knew a plunger could be so complex?  Well, we did, but we’re here to educate you on the different types of plungers and where they do their best work!  

The Cup Plunger a.k.a “Sink Saver”

cupplunger

The cup plunger is what most homeowners consider a “basic plunger,” but this type actually works best when it comes to a clogged kitchen sink or bathroom sink. Additionally, this type of plunger works well for bathtub clogs as well. The reason why a cup plunger doesn’t work well for unclogging a toilet is the seal it creates around the drain.

The Flange Plunger a.k.a Team Toilet

Flange-Plunger

The flange plunger is on “Team Toilet” because it’s your best bet when it comes to unclogging your toilet.  The extra flap of rubber around the cup of the plunger allows a complete seal to be created around the toilet’s opening.  While clogged toilets are very common, using a plunger may not result in a long-term fix.  If you consistently have a clogged toilet, call us today or schedule an appointment online!

The Accordion Plunger (not to be confused with the musical instrument)

accordian-style-plunger

The accordion plunger can also be used for clearing toilet clogs, but is less common and a bit more difficult to use.  Additionally, this type of plunger is made out of plastic, so you could run the risk of scratching the toilet bowl.

 

Clogged drains and clogged toilets can cause homeowners headaches.   While it’s always a good idea to keep a plunger in your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will provide you with a long-term fix.  To ensure your drains will run smoothly, give us a call or schedule an appointment online for any drain cleaning service.  We’re here to provide you with Same Day Service, 7 Days a Week!

Are Flushable Wipes Really Safe to Flush?

Are Flushable Wipes Really Safe to Flush?

Do you remember the first time you used a wet wipe instead of toilet paper? At first, you weren’t sure how to feel about it, but after a few more trips to the bathroom — you were hooked! While they might do a great job with the cleanup, they aren’t exactly the hero we thought they were when we first bought them. The packaging of these wipes do say “flushable,” but are they really safe to flush?

The Breakdown

Wet wipes are marketed as “flushable” and “septic-safe,” so there should be no problem with flushing them down the toilet, right? Wrong! Even though these wipes do eventually break down, they take a longer amount of time to do so compared to toilet paper. Since the breakdown of wet wipes aren’t as rapid, clogged pipes and blockages occur more frequently. Putting your home’s plumbing at risk for serious clogs translates to hefty plumbing bills for you.

Ragging

After these so called “flushable” wipes are flushed, they can get caught up with other items that are currently in your sewer line. Thick toilet paper, paper towels, cotton swabs, dental floss, sanitary pads, and toilet cleaning pads are all commonly flushed items that contribute to clogs and backups. The combination of these items with wet wipes will create a mess of a blockage known as “ragging.” When this happens to you, break out your cell phone and start your search to find a plumber.

What to Do?

Manufacturers provide test results stating that flushable wipes are deemed safe to flush — however, there is evidence that supports the flushing of these wipes can increase the risk of clogged sewer lines and require pumping of septic tanks more often. Even though wipes might feel like the greatest invention since sliced bread, you should opt out of using them. Toilet paper is meant to be the ONLY thing flushed — other than “the obvious.”

Just because someone says something, doesn’t always make it true. That same principle applies to your beloved “flushable” bathroom wipes and their deceptive packaging. When your home is experiencing frequent clogs (whether you use wet wipes or not), there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Jonie @ Rods Away is always ready for your call, whether the clog is big or if it’s small! To learn more or to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (01495) 87667.