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Choosing an electric water pump for your home

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Even if you’ve never had flooding problems in the basement of your Cumming home, be proactive and install an electric water pump.

These pumps divert groundwater away from the foundation — water that otherwise would infiltrate your home and flood the basement. Electric water pumps also keep up with rainwater. Homes whose basements routinely smell musty and damp, or even have mold or pools of water on the floor, are ideal candidates for a water pump.

Electric pumps

These are the primary types of water pumps:

  • The motor on a pedestal pump isn’t designed to be submerged in water. Connected by a column, it sits above the basement floor and outside the actual water pump.
  • A submersible pump is submerged in water, employing a motor that is tightly sealed and protected.
  • Water-powered pumps can help you save on energy costs, as they are activated by water. However, your water bills may be higher as a result. If the water pressure in your home isn’t very powerful, the system may not be able to keep up with water disposal.

Other considerations

Selecting and installing an electric water pump is not a DIY job. It’s a complicated process, especially if your home doesn’t already feature a well for the pump. A licensed plumber can help you consider your options and evaluate these factors for selecting a pump:

  • Drainage. Pump capacity depends largely on how much of the home’s drainage system will run through the pump.
  • Groundwater levels. You’ll need a reliable, large-capacity pump if your foundation sits below the water table. If it’s above the water table, it may be safe to go with a water-powered pump.
  • Economy. Pedestal water pumps are economical; however, the basin must be able to accommodate the motor outside of it. These pumps don’t last as long as submersible types, and the motor can be noisy, too.
  • Submersible. These pumps are quiet and unobtrusive, as they rest tucked beneath the basin. If you’re worried about pets or small children interfering with the raised motor of pedestal types, go with a safe submersible pump. Additionally, if you’re installing a water pump in a finished basement, the submersible pump is ideal.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


10 easy tips for water conservation

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Water conservation practices consist of both reducing the total amount of water your household uses and decreasing your dependence on hot water. Water conservation ensures there’s enough water for future generations in Cumming and across the nation while also balancing the need to conserve natural resources in the present. Why not implement some of these practices in your daily routines, decrease your dependence on water, and lower utility bills in the process, too?

The Department of Energy recommends several water-saving tips, which include:

  1. Be a stickler about leaks. Plumbing leaks waste valuable drops, and all those drops add up to hundreds of gallons, if left unchecked. Visually inspect the pipes for leaks, as well as all faucets. Don’t forget about leaks in the toilet, as well.
  2. Make using less water easier with low-flow options. Installing low-flow aerators in faucets and sinks instantly limits the amount of water that will flow out. In addition, you can install a low-flush toilet.
  3. Wrap plumbing pipes with insulation. Doing so reduces energy waste and delivers hot water to your faucets faster, so you won’t use as much energy waiting for hot water to arrive.
  4. Always buy energy-efficient and water-saving appliances when upgrading your dishwasher, clothes washer and water heater.
  5. Find a way to take shorter showers. Using a timer or just moving faster can reduce your shower time.
  6. Limit the use of the garbage disposal. Running the disposal requires a lot of water. If you can get rid of food waste in the garbage or compost pile, do so.
  7. Never run half-loads in your dishwasher or clothes washer. Doing so wastes water and energy.
  8. Avoid using the soak or longer-washing cycles on both the clothes washer and dishwasher. Instead, scrape food off dishes before washing, and treat stains on items of clothing before running normal wash cycles.
  9. Don’t run water in the sink when you’re performing daily hygienic tasks. Instead, fill the sink with a little water and use the water to rinse off your toothbrush, razor, etc.
  10. Limit water use when you’re in the kitchen. To conserve, store drinking water in the fridge, and when washing dishes by hand, fill one side of your double sink with soapy water for dish washing, and the other for rinsing.

Water-saving practices decrease your dependence on water, cut down on utility costs and help you use energy efficiently at home. Reducing water consumption extends the life of your home’s plumbing system, too!

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


Does your home maintenance schedule include the plumbing?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Your Alpharetta home maintenance schedule should include tasks such as scheduling heating and cooling maintenance checks, cleaning out gutters, removing old landscaping and cleaning inside the home. One task that’s vital to include on a maintenance schedule is checking the plumbing system.

It’s a good idea to include plumbing on the list of tasks you do before summer arrives. Over time, hair and soap residue can build up inside the pipes, toilets can leak and worn pipes can weaken. What’s worse is that rusted and worn plumbing pipes will eventually burst. They will spray water and flood your basement, damaging any possessions stored there.

Here are some of the tasks homeowners should include on their maintenance checklists for their plumbing systems:

  • Check all the pipes you can access for leaks: It’s important that homeowners periodically check for leaks because even a small drip in one pipe can increase the water bill. You’ll need to hire a plumber to inspect the entire system, however. A professional can access pipes in hidden areas that homeowners can’t reach.
  • Watch your drainage: If you notice that the drains in some sinks or tubs are slowing down, check for debris in the drains. Hair and soap residue can quickly turn into an obstruction, particularly in bathtubs.
  • Clean aerators on sinks and shower heads: Minerals and sediment in the water can build up on the aerators and slow down the flow of water.
  • Evaluate toilets: If a toilet runs, it uses a lot more water than it should. If the fill valve, flush valve, flapper or ball are faulty, the toilet may run nonstop.
  • Clean the kitchen drain: Because of daily activities, such as getting rid of food through the garbage disposal and cleaning up greasy pots and pans, it’s important to maintain the sink’s drain. Cut up a lemon, and run the disposal. You can also pour a cup of vinegar down the drain to keep it fresh and clear.
  • Evaluate water pressure: If, over time, you notice that the pressure is dropping, purchase a low-cost pressure gauge, and test the pressure on an outdoor spigot. HouseLogic states that a healthy water pressure range, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), is between 60 and 75. A lower PSI could be an indication that pipes are clogged.
  • Check the septic system: Include your septic system on your annual home maintenance schedule. A septic system that operates as it should ensures the efficient, safe removal of waste and prevents harm to the environment.

It’s also important that you enlist the help of a professional to inspect the entire plumbing system and clear out the drains to keep it in good working condition. For more information about home plumbing systems, contact RooterPLUS! Take advantage of our special on septic tank pumping or talk to one of our plumbers about our annual plumbing maintenance agreement. We proudly serve homeowners in Alpharetta and the surrounding areas with quality plumbing services.

Image source: Flickr


Save energy with improved water-heater technology

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Gas and utility bills can fluctuate month to month depending on your AC or heater usage and your hot water usage. With water-heating bills accounting for the average homeowner’s second-largest energy bill, learn ways to save energy in your Lawrenceville home. Invest in an energy-efficient water heater, and limit usage where you can.

Select a new water-heating system

Manufacturers have come up with new technology that revolutionizes how the once wasteful, standard storage-tank water heater works. Long gone are the days when energy losses through the tank walls and through the venting systems led to costly wasted heat. Today’s water heaters use high-quality insulation around the storage tank to reduce standby losses, and sealed combustion minimizes energy waste through the venting.

Tankless water heaters entirely bypass wasteful standby energy loss by eliminating the storage tank. Instead, whenever you turn on the tap, water flows through the pipes and through the unit’s element (either electricity or gas), which heats the water before it passes through the faucet. Tankless systems offer another perk in that they can sometimes last 10 years longer than a conventional system with a storage tank.

Both types of water heaters use the same efficiency rating: Energy Factor (EF). As with most efficiency ratings, the higher the rating, the higher the efficiency. High-efficiency storage units start at 0.6 EF, while tankless units start at 0.82 EF.

Save energy throughout the home

If you’re not ready to invest in a new water heater, or even if you are, conserve energy around the home and watch utility bills decrease. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stop leaks. Small leaks add up, with a single leak dripping once every second costing you $1 per month.
  • Install low-flow faucets and showerheads where you can, so that you and your family use less water around the house.
  • Apply water-heater insulation around the tank of an older model to stop waste.
  • Install an energy-saving appliance the next time you upgrade your washing machine or dishwasher.
  • Run full loads of clothing or dishes to maximize hot-water use.

There are lots of ways to save energy when it comes to your household’s water consumption. From no-cost tips like running full loads to a larger investment in an energy-efficient water heater, you can eliminate waste, run a green home and get a good return on investment, too.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


A plumbing forum to debunk common myths

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Have you ever wondered how much damage you’re really doing by ignoring that slow shower drainage? This plumbing forum provides the truth about the most common plumbing myths plaguing Marietta consumers.

Myth 1: I can let hair and soap residue go down the shower drain and deal with the problem later.

Soap, shampoo, hair and other debris can clog your drains and lead to serious problems later. Over time, the debris will ball together or cling to the pipe walls. It will create blockages that slow down drainage. Eventually, the buildup can become so great that the pipe may back up. You’ll have to deal with a big mess and a potentially costly solution. That leads us to the next myth.

Myth 2: I can safely use over-the-counter drain cleaners to get rid of buildup and clogs.

Repeated use of commercial drain cleaners can degrade your home’s pipes. Most drain cleaners include harmful, eroding chemicals that cause corrosion and weaken the pipes.

Aside from their potential to damage pipes, drain cleaners are only a temporary fix. If a significant problem exists in the depths of your plumbing system, drain cleaners generally don’t have the power to solve it. For example, if tree root infiltration is stopping up your pipes, you need expert help — not a short-term solution.

Myth 3: If it fits in the garbage disposal, the food is safe for the system.

Some foods can cause serious damage to your garbage disposal. Fibrous foods such as celery wrap around the blades and burn out the motor. Foods that swell or expand on contact with water are difficult to break down and can create blockages in the plumbing system. Follow these rules for proper use:

  • Turn on the cold water. Turn on the disposal and let it run until it’s done grinding. Turn off the disposal, and then turn off the water.
  • Only use safe foods in small amounts. Never put bones, eggshells, fruit pits or anything nonbiodegradable down the drain.

Myth 4: My plumbing system doesn’t need maintenance.

Like other home systems, plumbing systems need professional attention from time to time. During a maintenance check, a plumber will perform certain tasks:

  • Check for leaks; make repairs as necessary.
  • Inspect pipes for evidence of corrosion.
  • Check the home’s water pressure; look for factors that are contributing to the problem.
  • Remove and clean shower heads and faucet aerators.
  • Check all drains for proper functioning and look for signs of blockages or problems with the vent pipes.
  • Inspect the toilets to make sure they’re operating correctly.
  • Check the showers and sinks for signs of leakage, wear or other problems.
  • Inspect the water heater.
  • Test the dishwasher and washing machine. Ensure water lines are secure and hoses are connected and in good condition.

Do you still have questions after reading this plumbing forum? Contact RooterPLUS! to speak with one of our plumbing experts in Marietta.

Image source: Flickr


Quick kitchen plumbing repairs every homeowner should know

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Some kitchen plumbing repairs are easy enough even for a novice to take on. Here are some guidelines that cover repairs like fixing a leaky faucet and resolving low water pressure. And if you don’t feel that your expertise or confidence is enough to get the job done right, call in a plumber based in Roswell for help.

Easy kitchen plumbing repairs include:

  • A leaky kitchen faucet. Turn off the water supply. Open the lever and let the remaining water run out of the faucet. Cover up the drain to prevent the loss of tools or faucet components. Remove the faucet’s parts, starting with the aerator, and clean each component with a water/vinegar solution to remove buildup. Reassemble the faucet, turn the water back on and check for leaks. If the problem persists, you can try replacing the parts that look worn or call a pro.
  • Low water pressure. If the kitchen faucet isn’t running like it used to, there may be a problem with the aerator. If it’s clogged, the faucet won’t release the full pressure of water that’s moving through the plumbing system. This simple fix involves taking off the aerator, which usually consists of seven parts. Carefully clean each one and reassemble the aerator. If any of the parts show signs of corrosion, replace them or swap out the old aerator for a new one. If cleaning or replacing it doesn’t resolve the problem, call a plumber.
  • A leaky kitchen sprayer. Just like your sink’s plumbing pipes can develop problems, sink sprayers can spring leaks over time, too. Here’s how to approach the fix: First, shut off the water. Buy a replacement head for the sprayer. Simply unscrew the head, take out the washer and nudge the circlip out of place to make room for the new head. Reassemble the sprayer and take it for a test drive. If it’s still leaking, the next step involves replacing the hose. From under the sink, use a wrench to release the hose and remove it. Wind the new hose up through the holder and tighten the hose connection to the faucet. Test the new hose and sprayer head. If the leaking continues, get professional help.

If kitchen plumbing repairs have you scratching your head in wonder and wasting time and money trying to stop up leaks, contact the pros at RooterPLUS! We’re happy to help our neighbors in Roswell with faucet replacements, sink problems, water heater issues and more.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


Tips for saving water inside your home

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

If you water your yard regularly, more than half of your household water consumption is going into your lawn. The other half is used inside the house. A quick plumbing inspection and a few replacement fixtures can go a long way toward saving water — and your hard-earned dollars.

The federal government recognized the importance of indoor water conservation when it passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which established national water-conservation standards for plumbing fixtures. The act set the stage for water-saving fixtures such as low-flow showerheads and low-flush toilets for residential use.

Some state and municipal governments have stepped up to help encourage water conservation in their communities. For example, in Atlanta, a national leader in water conservation, the Department of Watershed Management has invited its customers to take a water conservation pledge. The city also has taken significant steps to educate residents about high-efficiency and low-flow plumbing fixtures through literature and its website.


The program targeted toilets because almost three-quarters of the water used inside your house is consumed in the bathroom, and your toilet is the single biggest culprit. You could save hundreds of gallons a year by replacing your older big-tank toilet with a modern, high-efficiency model that uses a fraction of the water previous models use. Consider replacing your standard showerhead with a low-flow version. Another shortcut to saving water is to take shorter showers and save baths for special occasions.


Did you know that if you scrape your dishes really well instead of rinsing them before you put them in the dishwasher, you can save up to 20 gallons of water per load? A modern, more efficient dishwasher can help save water in the kitchen, too. Only run your dishwasher when it’s full; that way you won’t waste water on partial loads. Consider placing a low-flow aerator on your kitchen faucets, as well.


Leaking pipes and fixtures can waste hundreds of gallons of water every year. So can poorly insulated pipes. To get yourself on the road to water conservation, call a plumbing professional to perform an inspection. A licensed, experienced plumber can offer more tips and advice on how to save water and money in your Georgia home.

Image source: Flickr


Pro plumbing tools: What you’ll find in any top plumber’s kit

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

If you’ve had excellent plumbing work done on your home, you may have wondered just how a plumber pulled off the job with little equipment in such a short time. In fact, the pros who work on homes and businesses in the Atlanta area pride themselves on carrying only the most useful of plumbing tools at all times. Here are seven items that you’ll find in any pro plumber’s tool kit and the purposes they serve.

1. Adjustable pipe wrench

Plumbers use a pipe wrench to get the proper amount of leverage needed to separate pipes. Using the pipe wrench’s teeth, a plumber can maintain his grip as the wrench tightens or loosens a pipe in the fitting’s grooves. This classic plumber’s tool is indispensable.

2. Channellock pliers

Channellock pliers, also called tongue-and-groove pliers or water-pump pliers, are another essential tool for a plumber. They are used to grip knobs with serrated grooves, such as the ones that supply water to a sink. Before going to work on faucet or sink issues, plumbers need to cut the water supply with these pliers.

3. Pipe cutters

To fit a properly sized pipe or remove damaged plastic piping, a plumber may need to cut through plumbing materials. Pipe cutters make that happen. A ratcheting device at the end locks this tool in place, allowing a plumber to cut pipes with precision.

4. Toilet auger

Plumbers have to fix all sorts of problems in toilets. When a standard toilet plunger won’t clear up a clog, pros turn to a toilet auger. An auger has a bit at the end that removes the blockage inside the toilet, while a hand crank allows a plumber leverage to work it farther inside the pipes.

5. Sink auger

A sink auger serves the same purpose as a toilet auger but is only for use on clogged sinks. Also called a snake or canister auger, the auger sits on the drain while the plumber screws a cable at the end into the pipes. For heavy blockage in large pipes, a plumber may turn to a motorized snake.

6. Faucet wrenches

A plumber must carry different wrenches to repair leaks and drips in disc faucets, ball faucets, cartridge faucets and compression faucets.

7. Drain camera

When a plunger or auger can’t remove a clog, a plumber has to turn to sophisticated equipment, such as a drain camera. This device slips inside plumbing at the end of an auger to show plumbers the source of the blockage.

Whether you need a faucet leak corrected or more complicated drain inspections, the pros have plumbing tools in their kits for fast and easy fixes. Turn to RooterPLUS! for the best in plumbing work.

Image source: Stock.xchng


How to handle emergency plumbing problems

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Save the water fights for the outdoors in summer. Instead of struggling with plumbing leaks, know how to handle emergency plumbing situations. A pipe that springs a leak, an overflowing toilet, malfunctioning appliances — these are all common emergency plumbing situations that can lead to a costly repair, especially if water damage in your Lawrenceville home is significant.

Here’s how to handle most plumbing emergencies:

Leaky pipes? Find the shutoff valve. If a pipe in the basement is leaking, locate the main shutoff valve to the home’s plumbing system and turn the knob clockwise. This should stop water from coming into the home. Place a bucket under the pipe, as the remaining water will still leak out. Additionally, wrapping the pipe with duct tape or plumbing tape can temporarily stop water leakage while you wait for the plumber to arrive.

Toilet overflowing? As you stare in shock and fear at the rising water level in the toilet, snap yourself out of it. Act quickly and find the water shutoff valve, usually located behind the toilet and near the base. To prevent more water from filling the bowl, quickly remove the lid to the tank. Locate the float — the large rubber flapper that gauges the tank’s water level — and raise it up to stop water from filling the tank and going into the toilet. Find the plunger and forcefully jerk the plunger up and down to break up the sewage, and then try flushing again. If the toilet in your home frequently overflows, it’s time to call a plumber to find the root of the problem.

Slow-draining sink? If you notice that the sinks in your home are draining too slow and holding you up, it’s time to call in the pros. Sometimes, the problem can be as simple as clearing out the P-trap. Other times, the pipe might need to be replaced, or the feed pipe may be leaking and need to be repaired.

Leaky water heater? The combination of fuel, high pressure and hot water makes dealing with a malfunctioning water heater risky. If you notice water on the floor or, worse, a pool of water around the unit, shut off the fuel source to the water heater and then shut off the water supply. Call a plumber or HVAC contractor to find the source of the leak, which can stem from the inlet water pipe, the outlet pipe or the release valve.

The plumbers at RooterPLUS! are well-trained in how to deal with emergency plumbing scenarios. Call us when you need quick, reliable, expert plumbing solutions.

Image source: Flickr


The risks of using a drain unblocker

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Sink, tub and shower clogs are a nuisance. Let’s be honest: If you have a clogged drain, your first inclination is to reach for a drain unblocker. And why not? Advertisers herald the fast-acting, neat and tidy work of drain cleaners. What you may not know about drain unblockers, and what should cause you to carefully consider a better option, is that they’re dangerous to your Alpharetta plumbing and septic systems.

Most drain cleaners contain a harmful substance called sodium hydroxide, a soda component that’s highly caustic. As a result, they’re corrosive to plumbing pipes and can cause significant damage if they come into contact with your body.

Hazardous to your health

Drain cleaners are not only harmful to your plumbing and septic systems, but they are also hazardous to humans if ingested, or if they come into contact with skin or eyes. If you store drain cleaners in your home, make sure they are not accessible to children. Store them away on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet. If someone in your household is exposed to a drain cleaner, call the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or 911.

The fumes from a drain unblocker alone are hazardous. Opening a can of drain cleaner without sufficient ventilation and inhaling the fumes could lead to respiratory tract damage, compromise lung tissues and, in the worst cases, cause pneumonia.

Hazardous to your plumbing

Plumbing pipes are also prone to damage from these caustic cleaners. Here’s what happens: The chemical reaction in the cleaners generates heat, which helps clear out the debris in the clog but will also eat away at pipes made of metal (often used in older homes) or soften the durability of softer pipes, such as PVC.

Why risk your health and plumbing system to the potential dangers of drain cleaners? The next time you need to unclog a drain, contact a professional who will use safe alternatives to hazardous cleaners, such as a powerful snake or hydro jetting. The experts at RooterPLUS! are happy to help Alpharetta residents with these types of issues.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


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