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Frozen Pipes: A Quick Checklist and How-To Guide

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

Frozen Pipes – What’s the big deal? Water freezing inside the plumbing pipes is a problem for one specific reason: Water expands when it freezes, so it puts the pipes in a precarious position. As the water begins expanding, the pipes will succumb to the pressure and burst, sending gallons of water into your basement or crawl space.


Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets. 

If the outside faucets have interior shut-off valves, close the valves and open the valves outside to drain them and relieve the pressure before installing the hose-bibb covers. 

Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time. 

Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate. 

Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.) 

Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls. 

Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently. 

Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows. 

Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home. 

If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine.


Monitor Freezing Pipe Conditions

Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) in order to minimize freezing. 

The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet. 

Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up. 

Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces. 

These tend to be vulnerable to freezing conditions. 

Identify cold air drafts coming in from a flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes.

If a Pipe Freezes

If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water.) 

To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes. 

When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.

If a Pipe Bursts

Shut off water at the main valve. 

If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed. 

Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.




3 Plumbing Repairs You Can Do

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Some repairs are easy enough, that with a little guidance, you can take care of it yourself. But if you are worried about wasting time and money, we are just one call away. Let’s take a look at the following guide for 3 common plumbing repairs.


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, it might be time to give us a call.

Sluggish Drains

The problem often can be corrected simply by cleaning out the drain. This is especially true for sinks that utilize a pop-up drain assembly. Pop-up drains are notorious for trapping hair and other debris in the drain assembly, slowing the flow of the water.

First, remove the drain pivot arm to release the drain. Remove the retaining clip from the pivot arm and clevis strap attached to the pop-up lever. Then unscrew the retaining nut on the back of the drainpipe to release the pop-up drain. Pull the pop-up drain up from the sink and remove any debris. Re-install the pop-up drain and run some water down the drain. It should flow down the drain with ease. If this didn’t solve the problem, it might be time to have a plumber snake the drain.

Minor Leaks

Repair minor leaks before they cause serious damage to cabinets and flooring. The most common areas that develop leaks are underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks. They can often be resolved by simply tightening a water supply line or P-trap drain assembly with an adjustable wrench or pliers. For locating leaks, one great tip is to place newspaper or cardboard under the sink and wait for wet spots to appear on the paper. Then check the fittings or pipes directly above the wet spots.

Some leaks are better left to the professionals. Hire a licensed plumber to repair copper, PEX tubing, leaking slabs, leaks in hard-to-reach places and any leaks you’re just not sure about.


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


Smart Kitchen Faucets

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Could this be your next Kitchen Upgrade?

In recent years we have seen many advances in technology, most of which is helping to make our lives more comfortable and convenient. Self driving cars, virtual assistants, and smart vacuums are just a few things that are fitting seamlessly into our lives.

Now, we are finally seeing an upgrade to what we use everyday – the kitchen faucet. Let’s take a look at two of the options out there that are making a “splash” in the smart kitchen era.


Delta Faucets

First up, is the Delta VoiceIQ kitchen faucet. It has the impressive ability to: “Command your faucet to turn on and off, warm the water, dispense a metered amount or fill custom containers like your coffee pot.”

By linking your faucet to your Alexa or Google Assistant you too can experience the magic of turning on your faucet with your voice. You can check out their product video here: Delta VoiceIQ


Kohler Faucets

Next, we have the Kohler touchless faucet. It has a state-of-the-art sensor that allows you to simply wave your hand under the faucet to turn the water on. This allows for a quicker and more hygienic kitchen experience. The sensor is even programmed to not turn on when using the sink for other uses when water is not needed. This faucet is perfect for those messy-handed trips to the sink.


Time for an Upgrade?

We could all use a little extra help, and these smart faucets are here to lend a hand. Are you excited to make the upgrade? We are here to answer your questions and help install them when you are ready. Give us a call today to learn more!

RooterPLUS! Looks Back at 25 Years

Monday, July 20th, 2020

A humble beginning in 1994 marked the start of an incredible journey, one that would continue to flourish and serve so many amazing customers. In fact, that is one of the most satisfying aspects of this journey. We have been able to witness the growth of so many communities and have been there to take care of the plumbing, septic, and drains at every step. With 25 years under our belt as a Local and Family-Owned company, we can’t wait to connect with more great customers and continue serving all the amazing Georgia communities.


Local and Family-Owned

We started out as one man in a truck with dreams of growing to serve residents all over Georgia. Just check out that sketch picture of our first plumbing van! Now, we have grown to over 100 experienced, professional staff members and over 120 fleet vehicles and pieces of equipment. It’s been a long time since RooterPLUS! served its first customers in 1994, but we have never lost sight of our goals. We strive to always put the customer’s needs in the spotlight, and make every job an opportunity to build trust and improve quality of life. Because life is better when your plumbing is in top shape!


We Love Our Communities

Over the years, RooterPLUS! has sponsored the Humane Society of Forsyth County Thrift Store, supporting the namesake no-kill animal shelter; took part in the Stick It 2 Cancer Light the Night Walk with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; and showed that the team knows how to Tailgate by placing first in the Publix Tailgater of the Game contest for the Atlanta Falcons. Events like these allow RooterPLUS! to display its pride as an Atlanta plumbing company. In recent times, we saw a need for community support and donated hand sanitizer to other local businesses, as well as offered discounts to our amazing front line workers.

We also have deep ties in Community Associations Institute Georgia Chapter, where we continually sponsor events and strive to help make your HOA a wonderful place to live. We are also proud to be apart of National Association of Residential Property Managers Atlanta Chapter, where we were honored with Affiliate of the year.


To Infinity and Beyond

Here at RooterPLUS! We are not just a company, we are a family. It is our mission to be a part of the solution and build an amazing bond with our customers. We have truly enjoyed serving you over the past 25 years and look forward to the next 25.

Stay in touch with us by following RooterPLUS on social media, and staying tuned to our blog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RooterPLUS/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rooter.plus/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RooterPLUS
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RooterPLUS


As always, we are here for you 24/7, so give us a call and we will take care of you!

What is a PRV and Why is it Important?

Monday, June 29th, 2020

A PRV or Pressure Reducing Valve, is a device that reduces and stabilizes the water pressure going into a home, business or other building to a level typically between 55 and 75 pounds per square inch (psi). As the water flows through the valve, it passes through a diaphragm that is connected to a spring and reduces the pressure to the desired level as the water moves through to the other side. Typically, the municipal water pressure serving a home or business is greater than 80 psi and can even reach as high as 150 psi.

Nobody Wants Low Water Pressure

At this point, you might be asking yourself: “Why would I want to reduce my water pressure? Nobody wants a low pressure shower…” Well there is no need to panic. The valve simply regulates the pressure coming in so it is safe for your home plumbing system. You can enjoy your showers even more knowing your plumbing system is safe.

If the water pressure going into a home or business is too high, it can put stress on pipes, causing them to break or damage the plumbing fittings leading to leaks. In addition, every appliance and fixture that is connected to the plumbing system is at risk of high pressure problems. Most fixtures are not meant to be paired with psi over 80.

The standard PRV has a life-span of roughly 10-15 years. After so many years, the valve can lose its ability to consistently and safely regulate the pressure of the incoming water supply. A bad PRV is often the cause of water-hammer or banging sounds coming from the plumbing system. If the pressure is to high, leading to stress on plumbing joints, it can cause small leaks, possible leading to mold or a large pipe burst.

The PRV and Your Water Heater

What does a PRV have to do with a water heater? Well, when water heats up, it expands. A water heater operating under normal operating conditions, is equipped to deal with this expansion via the expansion tank. However, if the water pressure is too high, there might be too much water in the tank. Once that water starts heating up and expanding, there is nowhere else for it to go, except out… This could mean a leak, or even worse, a burst in the water tank. A major tank malfunction could lead to thousands of dollars in water damage repairs, not to mention the cost of replacing the busted tank.

Conclusion

The bottom line? Just like the oil pressure going to your car’s engine or the blood pressure going to your heart, you wouldn’t want it to be too high. A Pressure Reducing Valve can save your home and your wallet from costly repairs.


July 2020 Special

Now that you know all about PRV’s it’s time to take advantage of our July 2020 Special!

Receive $200 off any of our Professional (8-year warranty) or Platinum (12-year warranty) model water heaters OR 50% off a new PRV when bundled with a new water heater.

Call now and mention “July 2020 Blog” to take advantage of this great deal!


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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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