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Troubleshooting Your Sump Pump Noise

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

A sump pump is one of those things in life that you never think about until it stops working. Oftentimes, you won’t know there is something wrong until you’re ankle-deep in water. Sometimes, though, you may get lucky and notice sump pump noise, a telltale sign that trouble is down the road. Keep an ear out for uncommon noises like banging, gurgling and humming, and conduct routine maintenance for years of worry-free use.

Here’s what to do if you hear those uncommon sounds from your sump pump.

Gurgling: This sump pump noise usually indicates that water is flowing back down the pipes after the pumping cycle. A common cause for this is a lack of or a malfunction in your check valve, which opens as water rushes up from the pump and closes when flow lessens. If your model has a check valve, you can find it on the PVC or ABS pipe directly above the sump basin. It is fitted with rubber slide sleeves and held on with radiator clamps, so you can fix it relatively easily by loosening the clamps and replacing the valve. ALWAYS be sure to unplug the pump before making any repairs.

Banging: A banging or thudding noise is usually caused by a rush of water streaming back down the pipe and hitting the closed check valve. If you have a particularly long rise of pipe from the basin, having the check valve installed higher up might lessen the thud. Since this requires cutting into the line, it is a good idea to have a licensed, professional plumber do the job.

These sounds can also be caused by pipes hitting wall joists or other framing structures. A simple way to check for this problem is by grabbing onto the pipe when the pump kicks on, as vibration can rattle the pipes. If this is the problem, securing the pipe with additional clamps should alleviate it.

Humming: This is a common sound when the pump is running, but if the noise is constant, then the system might be running without actually moving any water. A common cause for this is the lack of a relief hole between the pump and the check valve, which will develop an air lock in your system. Drill a 1/16- to 1/8-inch hole into the plastic PVC or ABS pipe at a downward angle, so water shoots out back into the basin between the pump and check valve.

Another cause could be a clog somewhere in the line, most commonly at the pump itself. This can be fixed by removing the sump pump, taking its bottom plate off and clearing away any debris. If the problem persists, call a licensed plumber, as the problem is probably further down the line.

Humming can also be an indication that the pump’s motor has failed, which means you will have to replace the unit.


What to do when the kitchen sink is clogged

Monday, August 5th, 2013

In most cases when the kitchen sink is clogged, it can be cleared easily. The kitchen sink tends to be the most used sink in the house, and because of this, it is more likely to clog than the others. You use the kitchen sink to clean the dishes, to clean food during food preparation and, of course, to clean the kitchen.

If your sink gets clogged, follow these simple steps to clear it. If these steps do not work, the problem may be something more serious, meaning you’re going to have to call in the professionals to open the drain back up. Companies like RooterPLUS! can have your drains cleared and working again shortly.

  1. Check the drain opening and strainer first. Leftover food plugging the drain often will be the cause of the problem. You will need to reach into the sink and remove any food or debris from the opening to clear it.
  2. Another problem can occur when grease from the dishes gets into the drain. When this happens, the grease hardens in the trap, clogging the sink. In most cases, you can run hot water to melt the grease and open the drain. If there is already water in the sink, you will need to remove it first before running hot water over the drain.
  3. If the previous method does not work, something else may be clogging the kitchen sink drain. Try using a plunger to clear the clog. Place the plunger into the sink so that it covers the drain completely. Push down on the handle firmly several times. Remove the plunger and wait briefly to see if the water drains. If it does not, insert the plunger a second time and repeat the process. Keep in mind that on really tough clogs, it might take several attempts to clear the drain.
  4. If your kitchen sink is clogged and you have a garbage disposal installed, simply turning the disposal on may help to clear the clog. If this does not work, or if your disposal will not come on, it’s time to call RooterPLUS! for assistance. Removing a garbage disposal unit is not something that most homeowners will want to do. It involves not only plumbing but also electrical work.

If you run into a situation where you lose a piece of jewelry in your drain, this is a situation best left to the professionals. There are many scenarios where your beloved piece of jewelry could be lost forever or damaged beyond repair when you try to retrieve it yourself. When you drop a piece of jewelry down the drain, call RooterPLUS! immediately before using the sink. Doing so could push the item further into the plumbing system.


Bathroom Renovation Tips

Monday, August 5th, 2013

A bathroom renovation project can be as large or as small as your budget allows. The simple fact is that homeowners can easily manage most bathroom renovations. One exception, perhaps, would be moving and installing plumbing fixtures and piping. You should never cut corners when it comes to plumbing. If it’s not done properly, leaks can develop that can cause serious damage throughout your home. Hiring a trustworthy company to do the job will ensure that it’s done right the first time.

Before you begin your bathroom renovation, consider how much you can afford to spend on the project. Decide what, if anything, you are going to keep in the room. If you are going to replace the toilet, faucets and fixtures, be sure to include that in your budget along with the necessary cabinetry and materials.

You may choose to keep the existing tub and install a one- or two-piece bathtub/shower combination unit. If your bathroom is very small, you may want to simply remove the tub and replace it with a stand-alone shower only.

It’s also important to consider the way the components of your bathroom are arranged. If you choose to rethink the layout, you may have to move the toilet and/or tub to another location. This is one of the most expensive aspects of a renovation, and you will need to include the cost of new pipes in your budget, as well. If you keep the original layout, your plumbing costs are going to be much lower.

Whichever approach you take, make sure that the project isn’t compromised by faulty plumbing. Enlisting the help of a company like RooterPLUS!, whose licensed and insured plumbers undergo regular training sessions on top of their years of experience, is a smart stepping-off point. Your home is the largest investment you will ever make, and you simply cannot take a chance on hidden damage because of faulty plumbing.


The Benefits of Whole-House Water Filtration

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Every day, we are exposed to a wide range of pollutants. Manufacturing, transportation and agriculture are major contributors to the pollution of air and water. Installing a whole-house water-filtration system can help reduce the amount of contaminants you and your family are exposed to. A water filtration system can improve the quality of your water as well as the air you breathe, reducing the amount of chloroform released in your home from municipally treated tap water.

A whole-house water filtration system provides clean water for everyday household uses, such as bathing, cooking, drinking and laundry. Higher-end water-filtration systems are capable of removing over 30 contaminates and carcinogens from drinking water. When combined with a water filter mounted on the faucet or under the sink, they are even more effective.

It is important to evaluate the many kinds of whole-house filtration systems — from inexpensive, do-it-yourself set-ups to more costly versions that require professional installation. Filter-replacement schedules and maintenance procedures will vary significantly among models. Home-improvement centers sell a variety of inexpensive, simple water filtration systems for removing sand, sediment and iron. You can install many of these yourself. Larger, more expensive systems that remove significantly more contaminants are available through plumbing contractors and water equipment wholesalers. Consulting a professional before purchasing a whole-house system ensures that you get the quality of water you desire.

The savings you can expect from purchasing a whole-house system compared to purchasing bottled water is substantial. According to the Mayo Clinic, a person should drink about 64 ounces (half a gallon) of water a day. A whole-house filtration system produces clean drinking water for just pennies per gallon.

A home water-filtration system also can benefit the environment by reducing the amount of plastic water bottles discarded. Every year, consumers in the U.S. alone purchase roughly 30 billion bottles of drinking water, which require 32 million barrels of oil to produce and transport to stores. Only about 25 percent of these bottles is recycled; the rest wind up in our rivers, lakes, oceans and landfills. This statistic becomes even more alarming when you take into account that it may take 100 years for a plastic bottle to decompose.


Backflows in Your Plumbing System? Here’s What to Do

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The health of your local water supply — and the water in your home, as well — depends on the prevention of backflows. Drinking water should never come into contact with water meant for other purposes. When it does, the quality is at risk. Read on to learn what conditions cause a backflow and what you can do prevent contamination.

What is a backflow?

A region’s residential and commercial plumbing systems and local water supply are designed with the goal of preventing contamination. The local water supply must maintain a higher pressure than the water supplies of individual buildings. This pressure difference also must exist between buildings to uphold the integrity of the water supply, as well as the rest of the plumbing system.

Backflow occurs when pressure becomes higher in an outlier, causing sewage and other contaminants to move in the wrong direction, toward the drinking supply. It can also happen when the pressure of general plumbing pipes becomes higher than the potable water pipes within a building.

What causes backflow?

Two primary causes make conditions ripe for a backflow:

  • Back-siphonage occurs when negative pressure is created within the plumbing system’s supply pipes. For instance, turning off the water supply at one end of the block to make repairs creates negative pressure. Meanwhile, in another home, a hose is submerged in water to fill a small wading pool. The pressure differences cause a backflow, and the nonpotable water from the pool is sucked back into the household’s plumbing system, possibly contaminating the general water supply.
  • Back-pressure occurs when the pressure in a home’s plumbing system becomes greater than the pressure in the local supply. When this happens, the plumbing system succumbs to the pressure, causing nonpotable water to contaminate the water supply.


If your home’s sewers and drains never have been tested for backflows, hire a plumber to inspect the system. The plumber will most likely recommend either of the two most common methods for preventing contamination: installing an air gap (AG) to maintain the integrity between potable and other plumbing lines or employing a mechanical prevention device.


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