General Tips 

Below are some handy reference materials for home plumbing. Should you wish to perform your own plumbing maintenance using the information we provide on this website, please be aware that Mr. Rooter Corporation cannot be held responsible for any actions not taken by a trained Mr. Rooter technician.

Alternative Septic Systems

Alternative septic systems are often installed in "difficult" sites with conventional methods, but if you find water in your backyard from your septic system, you may need to upgrade or switch from a conventional septic system to something better suited to your area. There are many alternative septic systems that can accommodate sewer line plumbing, treat wastewater, and dispose of it properly. Alternative septic systems include raised bed and septic mound systems, aerobic systems, disinfection and even waterless systems.

The first indicator that you need to switch from a conventional septic system may be that you experience flooding or unusual water gathering in a backyard or field. If you find your conventional septic system is not adequate, it is important to act quickly to avoid being cited or fined for non-compliance.

American Indoor Plumbing

American indoor plumbing engineering has brought amazing advances in convenience for homeowners, but also created environmentally-friendly designs for sustainable living. The availability of tankless water heaters, water-efficient design and other technology have given thousands of new types of jobs for plumbers, as well as customized options for home improvement. A tankless water heater configuration can add value to a home placed on the market, and the presence of low flow technology can be very tempting to an environmentally-aware buyer.

American indoor plumbing is improving as the old infrastructure is gradually updated with new materials and modern plumbing design techniques. Today's plumbing industry trends include plumbing technology aimed at sustainable living, water conservation, and energy efficiency. If you are examining jobs in plumbing, it's a very good idea to pay close attention to evolving plumbing technology and how it addresses green living concerns.

Bath Sinks and Faucets 101: Replacing Faucets Only

If you want a luxury bathroom design but don't want to do a compete remodel, there are ways to create the perfect modern bathroom or use traditional bathroom design ideas to upgrade one piece at a time. Sometimes you can change the look of a bath sink simply by replacing the faucets, but keeping the sink itself. Sinks and faucets should be matched carefully since they come in a variety of hole drillings and basins. There's 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
  • 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 the configuration of your original faucet as a guide to buying a replacement; bring the original with you when shopping for the replacement to compare if you aren't sure. When removing the old faucet, be sure to turn off the water and remove the water supply connection from the faucet before dismantling it.

Bath Sink Options

If you are planning to replace or improve your bathroom plumbing, you have a wide range of options when it comes to bath 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 have enough elbowroom for comfortable sink use. Install your new sink at least a foot away from the closest wall or the toilet to avoid banging your elbows when washing or brushing.

Your bathroom sink construction options include porcelain, marble, and vitreous china. When using china or porcelain, beware of dropping items onto these surfaces, as they tend to chip. Metal and fiberglass surfaces are also easily chipped or scratched in the right circumstances. Busy bathroom sinks used by children and teenagers are often better off with durable surfaces, such as enameled iron or steel.

Bathroom Contractors, Design Options, And Planning

If you are using bathroom contractors to remodel your bathroom, you'll need to give them some information to help design and plan your new bathroom plumbing needs. If you already have bathroom design ideas, give them to the contractor 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 aren't sure on any of these bathroom-remodeling ideas, check with the sales rep to look through a catalog or see samples of your options. You can look over a wide range of fixtures, toilet diagrams, and bathroom design ideas before committing. Always get multiple estimates on your final design with alternative materials and configurations to see how adding or changing fixtures or materials affects the bottom line.

Clogged Drains And Video Inspection

Clogged drains may require a video inspection if you have repeated problems. Some clogs can be easily fixed, but if you can't locate the trouble yourself, you should call a professional to do a complete video inspection of your plumbing system.

A company properly equipped for this task, such as Mr. Rooter, will provide a complete pipe inspection system to determine the source of your problem. If you require a video inspection, chances are the clogged drains are being caused deep within the system. Video inspection is an important tool in both detection and fixing the problem correctly. Different clogs require different solutions. You may have debris lodged in the system or tree roots growing into your pipes. Video inspection is an excellent way to prescribe treatment.

Clogged Shower Drains

Nothing stops a command performance of singing in the shower faster than a clogged drain. But the following tips from Mr. Rooter could be music to your ears when it comes to tackling the problem. Most shower clogs can be corrected easily with a minimum of hassle and mess. All you need are a few simple tools and a little common sense. Hair is usually the culprit when a shower fails to drain properly. In fact, checking the strainer cover that fits over the drain in your shower 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, don’t panic. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps to remove the clog.

First, determine how the strainer cover is attached. Some covers simply snap into place and can be removed from the drain by lifting them with a screwdriver. Other covers are held in place by a couple of screws, which can be easily removed. Once the strainer cover is removed, shine a flashlight into the drain and visually check for a clog. You should see water a few inches below in the drain, but if you spot an obstruction, use a piece of stiff wire – a metal coat hanger crimped to make a hook on the end works fine – to clear the pipe. Gently snag the clog with the wire, being careful not to push the obstruction deeper into the drain. 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 spring steel with a crank at one end for rotating it. Carefully feed the metal cable into the drainpipe until you hit 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 and the clog should pull free.

If all these steps fail to clear the drain, call a professional plumber. Drain cleaners can be poured into drains to remove clogs, but these cleaners contain caustic chemicals and should be used only as directed by the manufacturer. Drains 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 choose to use a chemical drain cleaner and then summon a plumber; tell him immediately so he can take the proper precautions.

Common Laundry Room Sink Plumbing Problems

Do you notice damp walls or floors around your laundry room sink? Check the pipes and fittings for leaks. Are there loose joints in your pipe connections? Tighten loose connections and you may stop an incidental leak without the need to call a plumber. You can also deal with small leaks from holes in a pipe by wrapping the pipe in 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 problem comes from clogs. If you have a buildup of soap, lint, or hair in your laundry room sink drain or floor drain, eventually a clog will form. If you have a water shutoff valve installed on your laundry room sink, turn off the water, and remove the u-shaped pipe and look for the clog. 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.

Drain Cleaning 101

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 usually isn't an option, otherwise they wouldn't be clogging up your drain.
  • Never pour a chemical or biological drain cleaners into the drain first. If you need to snake out a pipe or otherwise manually clear it, do that first instead. 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 learn proper rinse timing. Some drain cleaning productions 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.

Discount Plumbing Products

There are three low cost basic plumbing products new DIY plumbers should have in a toolkit. Always keep a tube of plumber's putty, which is used for sealing up small cracks or holes. Do you have a cracked toilet bowl? If it is a small crack, putty can cure the problem until you can buy a replacement. Another plumbing product you should have is a snake for clearing out blocked drains. The snake is an excellent DIY plumbing tool, but sometimes the snake isn't enough to unclog a drain, which is why you should also keep a wrench handy for opening up lengths of pipe to get at the obstruction. If the blockage is deep inside your system, then it may be time to call a discount plumber in for additional help, but many of these simple jobs can be done for low cost with simple discount plumbing products.

Drain Gurgling

This is a blockage of air in the drain, typically caused by a clog. Removing the clog should fix the problem.

Emergency Shutoff Valves

You probably don’t think about your plumbing system very often. After all, it’s not a very exciting subject and as long as it is working, there is really nothing to think about, right? Wrong! Understanding a few basic facts about how your plumbing system works and what to do in case of a pipe break or system backup can prevent plumbing 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 may be the fastest way to shut off the flow of water. As your plumbing system enters your home either through a municipal water supply or private well you will find a main shut-off at the municipal water supply meter or the pressure tank of a private well. You should also find shut-off valves inside your home. Newer homes will have emergency shut-off valves for every fixture and appliance. However, in some cases older homes do not have these shut-offs and owners should plan to have them installed.

This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. Currently, the following provinces regulate the offer and sale of franchises: Ontario, Alberta and Prince Edward Island. If you are a resident of or want to locate a franchise in one of these provinces, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your province.

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