Author Archives: Emergency Sewer and Drain Experts

What Type of Pump is Best For Me?

close-up of a sump pump

Understanding the Plumbing System

When it comes to plumbing in your home, there are pipes, pumps, and valves involved, whether you see them or not. They each have specific jobs and purposes. 

  • Pipes: Move water and waste 
  • Valve: Drain or stop water and waste
  • Pumps: Help both the pipes and valve do their jobs

There are different types of pumps for homes. What do water pumps do? It depends on where they are installed and what types of pumps are installed. They move waste out. They bring water in. They keep the water levels in your home safe so there isn’t a flood, but you get the water when you need it. 

What are the different types of pumps for a home?

A residential property will typically have these two types of pumps: 

  • A Sewage Pump: In most homes, the plumbing fixtures are installed at a higher height than the main sewer line, allowing wastewater to flow from the various areas of a home (bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen) to the sewer line. 

Some homes have space constraints and require a sewage pump to be installed when a bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen is below the main sewer line. Because the wastewater must travel uphill against gravity, a sewage pump is one of many types of pumps that chops and grinds up solid sewage so that it can flow through the sewage lines easily. 

  • A Water Pump: A water pump’s purpose is to control the water levels and the water pressure. This is one of the types of pumps that push water uphill. In some areas, there are lift station types of pumps that transport waste and water through steep inclines, both up and down, often requiring a water pressure booster pump. 

What is a sump pump?

A sump pump is one of the different types of pumps in a home. It moves water from a low area, like a basement, outside of the house. It is installed in a constructed, carved hole below the main surface of the basement, referred to as a basin. The valves of the sump pump detect when the water level or water pressure is rising, which causes the sump pump to automatically start pumping out any excess water through an effluent line to a designated area.

What is a grinder pump?

One of the other types of pumps used in some homes is the grinder pump. It consists of an alarm panel, a tank, and a pump, which has a float that works as a sensing device. This waste management device pumps sanitary sewage from the home to the municipal sewage system when the household plumbing is below the main sewer level and doesn’t have any downhill slope. 

This includes any room with showers, sinks, toilets, dishwasher, or washing machine. The wastewater and solid waste pass through the grinder pump and all solid materials are chopped and ground, allowing it all to pass through to the sewer system.

Regular maintenance and cleaning are needed on these types of pumps due to grease build-up. Left unattended, the grease can build up and cause the pump to fail. Any home with a grinder pump should not ever flush diapers, cat litter, grease, paint, or any type of grease or oil. 

What pump gives the best water pressure?

A booster pump is used to boost the water pressure and improves the water flow rate. These types of pumps work like a fan, but instead of blades that increase air movement, they have an internal impeller that increases water flow and pressure.

Is a water pressure booster pump necessary?

Not in all houses! Water booster pumps are required when the code requirements for water flow and water pressure at individual plumbing fixtures are not met. These types of pumps should not be installed until all other possible factors have been eliminated. 

pump inside a hole sitting outside a home

Before The Well Runs Dry

As we have discussed here, there are several different types of pumps for a house to have proper operating plumbing. So, is a broken water pump an emergency? Absolutely!  These types of pumps are essential to ensuring there is a clean, steady source of fresh water coming into your home and that wastewater is being dispersed to a safe area. 

Most types of pumps for water last up to 15 years, some less, some longer. Your maintenance routine is key in that factor. So, how do you know when to get water pump repair? Here are five indications that you have water pump problems in your home: 

  • No water coming into the house
  • Water pressure has a sudden decrease
  • Air is sputtering out of the faucets
  • Water is coming out dirty
  • Water pump is running non-stop

If you’re experiencing any of these issues and you’ve checked all the standard possible problems, call a plumber that works with different types of pumps immediately. The longer it is malfunctioning, the more unsafe water you could have coming into your home or the contaminated wastewater is backing up. 

Is A Gas Line Leak An Emergency?

yellow gas pipe against a brick wall

Taking Care of Gas Line Leaks

While natural gas is a plentiful and clean source of energy, when there are gas line leaks, it is scary. And immediate gas line repairs are the foremost thought when we smell gas leaking. How bad is a gas line leak? Well, it certainly isn’t a good thing to have a gas leak, especially if it is coming from an area where you didn’t know there was natural gas!

Gas leak repairs are an absolute must because it is very dangerous to have a gas leak. Will my house explode if my gas line is leaking? It is a very strong possibility that the explosive concentration of natural gas will cause a structure to explode. It is because the New London School in New London, Texas exploded from a natural gas leak in 1937 that killed over 200 people, mostly children. 

Today, it is a federal mandate that natural gas has an odorization added so that the dangers can be detected, and evacuation is implemented immediately. This includes homes, commercial structures, and any public building.  

Are gas leaks common?

In other millennia, before the dangers of a gas leak were known, it was an elusive and intriguing happening as lightning strikes ignited the leaking natural gas resulting in flames and lights. Many religious thoughts were developed from this activity. There was no concern about gas line repairs then, but today, it is a different story. 

Today, like a plumbing leak, we know that a gas leak is wasting money with higher energy bills. And we have also learned over time, sadly to the results of serious illnesses and deaths, that they are dangerous too. We know now that while a gas leak may seem ‘natural’, it is cause for concern to get gas line repairs promptly. 

Gas lines become corroded and deteriorate over time. Experts recommend having all your gas appliances inspected every 6 months to make sure there aren’t any leaks. But in between those 6 months, you probably are wondering, “How can I tell if my gas line is leaking? Would I be able to smell a gas leak?”

First, yes, you will smell a gas leak today thanks to the additive mercaptan.  In addition to the smell, here are 4 more indications that you need gas line repairs: 

  • BUBBLE TESTING: If you suspect that you may have a gas line leaking, mix dish soap and water together in a wet cloth or sponge in the solution. Then wipe over the suspected leaking area and if the mixture bubbles, you need gas line repairs. 
  • PILOT LIGHT UNRELIABLE: If a pilot light won’t stay lit on any appliance, including the water heater or heater, it could be from a gas line leaking. Have it inspected sooner than later for safety.
  • PLANTS DIE: If you can’t keep plants alive inside your home, it may not be from the lack of a green thumb. Or if the bushes, grass, plants, or shrubs around your home die for no obvious reason, you may need underground gas line repairs. 
  • HOME TESTERS: There are home gas leak tests you can purchase at the big box home improvement stores too. 

Should I call someone if I think my gas line is leaking?

Absolutely, and fast!  If you’re smelling natural gas and suspect it is because of a gas leak, evacuate the area immediately and then call 911 once everyone is safe and accounted for, then call the gas company. The gas company should have a specific number for emergency gas line repair or an option when you dial the main number that will take you to the right people immediately.

Is it safe to be in your house if your gas line is leaking?

If the smell of gas isn’t strong and fades in and out, check all the gas appliance connections, and make sure they are tightened. Make sure all pilot lights are lit and have a blue flame, and make sure there aren’t any knobs turned on the stove. If you can’t find a gas leak, evacuate the building, and call 911 then the gas company. 

close-up of a gas valve on a blue pipe

Keeping It Safe – Do You Know What can cause a gas leak?

Appliances and pipes becoming corroded, deteriorating, and aging can cause the gas lines to start leaking. From the cookstove to the water heater and the furnace, any type of appliance that uses gas is at risk of developing a gas leak. Repairs could be as simple as tightening or replacing connections, or it could be something more detailed that you need a professional plumber’s service. 

Even after you have tightened connections, made sure pilot lights are lit, and the cookstove is off, if you’re still smelling natural gas, evacuate and call the gas company. It is better to err in the way of safety than to take a risk of an explosion or fire. 

What’s the difference between residential and commercial plumbing?

luxurious bathroom in a home

Plumbing is plumbing – it’s all pipes, right? Yes and no when it comes to differences between commercial plumbing and residential plumbing. To determine what is the difference, let’s look at an explanation of what is considered commercial plumbing?

When a person asks, “What is commercial maintenance plumbing?”, there are many details that could be given to explain, but for simplicity’s sake, commercial plumbing involves intricate faucet and pipe installation, maintenance, and repair. There are several forms of commercial, private, public businesses, health care facilities, and large housing complexes, where the installation and maintenance involved is with extensive water supply and waste removal. 

The major differences between Commercial plumbing vs residential plumbing are the size and purpose of a commercial structure. They are typically large structures or structures that have significant water usage and waste removal needs. Here are 9 specific differences between the two types of plumbing: 

  • Daily Use: In a commercial space, the daily plumbing usage is more than in a residential space because of the amount of people involved. Instead of a family using the facilities, there are clients, employees, and visitors.  This requires more pipe fittings and outlets. 
  • Size and Durability: Because commercial plumbing has higher usage, it requires large fixtures that are durable, higher grade, and longer lasting. This reduces break downs, pressure, and strain on the plumbing system. 
  • Complexity: Commercial structures are often multi-floors with each floor having multiple sinks, toilets, and urinals. 
  • Efficiency: What may be a simple issue for a home, commercial bathrooms a clogged toilet can cause bigger problems because there are more people depending on it the system.
  • Probable Damage: The complicity of commercial plumbing systems is more prone to damages and problem than residential plumbing. If the plumbing problem is on multiple floors, it can create a disaster. 
  • Water Heaters: For commercial plumbing requires heaters and large storage tanks for the hot water use, along with gas input levels to supply the larger quantity of hot water needed. The water heater tank for commercial plumbing is typically 250 gallons versus the 100 gallons for residential water heater use. 
  • Health Concerns: With a larger number of people visiting or working in a commercial structure, like hospitals and restaurants, there are strict health care laws and requirements implemented for safety. Different plumbing fixtures are required to meet those laws and requirements with the commercial plumbing system. 
  • Drainage Requirement: Commercial plumbing drainage requirements must accommodate multiple lines, a complex and time-consuming matter when there is a clog in the system. 
  • Dripping and Running Water: A dripping faucet in a residential property is minimal compared to that of a commercial plumbing where there may be multiple faucets dripping and multiple toilets running. Leaks of any size in commercial plumbing becomes a major problem much faster than with residential plumbing. 

What is involved in commercial plumbing?

With commercial plumbing, there are factors that residential plumbing doesn’t experience. For any plumbing needs in a commercial structure, it is important to hire a commercial plumber. Knowing all the ins and outs of how commercial plumbing systems work is much different than that in a home. The following are issues that a commercial plumber should be trained in handling: 

1. Multiple Levels

The gravitational force for multiple stories has more impact on drainage, plumbing, tanks, and fixtures in commercial plumbing. 

2. Scale of the Work

Commercial plumbing is bigger in every aspect. The buildings, water systems, and equipment are all bigger and so are the problems. Some commercial structures use industrial-grade equipment like boilers, fire systems, and piping that need specialized knowledge and training.  

3. Maintenance Standards

Commercial plumbing must have preventative maintenance to avoid problems on a large scale. Hospitals and high-end commercial buildings cannot have failed commercial plumbing. 

4. Regulations and Laws

The amount of people that commercial plumbing serves means the plumbing must meet certain laws, regulations, and restrictions. The drainage must be in good working order for the health and safety of those using the facilities. 

5. Efficiency

Leaky water taps and inefficient heaters are a bigger issue in commercial structures, not just for the comfort and convenience of the occupants, but the energy expenses. 

6. Work Hours

Because a commercial structure often requires contractor work to be after hours, commercial plumbing repairs are usually after hours. 

What type of plumbing is used in commercial buildings?

Commercial plumbing is typically cast-iron pipes and fixtures. Cast-iron is able to withstand high pressure and deliver large amounts of water. 

sinks in a luxurious commercial bathroom

In Conclusion: Why do you need a professional for commercial plumbing?

Commercial plumbing is more complex than residential plumbing. There is different training and more laws, regulations, and restrictions involved with commercial plumbing. A plumber that has been trained specifically for installing and how to care for commercial plumbing is better equipped to handle the uncommon and common commercial plumbing problems that can arise. 

Can a plumber do gas line repair?

view of a gas line attached to a water heater

Taking Care of Your Gas Line

That time of year has arrived when we’re turning up the heat. And if your heat depends on natural gas, knowing if you need gas line repairs is important. A gas line will become corroded and deteriorate over time whether they are above or underground. A recommended proactive step is to schedule a professional plumbing inspection of your gas lines just before winter.

With that inspection, if you need any gas line repairs, you can have them complete before winter arrives and you need heat. As a homeowner, you want to remain alert for any indications of gas leaks even with an annual inspection. Some indicators to be aware of are:

  • Dead Plants: If you have dead bushes, flowers, or grass outside, you could have a gas pipe leak underground. In this case, call a professional plumber. Inside your home, if you’re noticing your household plants are dying, you need to check your appliances for gas leak. You can do this by mixing a spray bottle with a little dish liquid in water and spraying the mixture on gas connections. If you see bubbles, tighten the connection and test again. If you still see bubbles, call a plumber for gas line repair service. 
  • Hissing Sounds: You should not hear any hissing sounds coming from your gas lines, so if you need, you need professional gas line repair service. If the hissing sound is coming from your HVAC system, it could be a freon leak. In this case, you’ll want to call a professional HVAC service. If they discover a leaking gas line to the heater portion, they can usually do any gas line repair needed. 
  • Rotten Egg Smell: Natural gas and propane gas are both odorless. At the distribution center, they add mercaptan, a chemical that gives gas a distinctive odor for safety purposes. If you’re smelling anything like rotten eggs, sewage, or sulfur, check all the knobs and appliances, make sure nothing is turned on. Open all the windows and evacuate the property. Once everyone is safe, call the gas company or 911 .
  • White Mist or Fog: If there is an unusual white cloud, mist, or fog around your home, this could be from a gas line. Call the gas company or 911 immediately after evacuating the area.

Who is responsible for gas line repair?

As a homeowner, gas line repairs should be left to the professionals that know how to repair gas lines. The gas company will often only come to do gas line repairs when it is on their side, but in this case, they are the ones you need to call. If the gas leak is on your side or within your appliances, you need to call a professional plumber that does gas line repair and installations. Most plumbers are versed in gas lines, but not all offer gas line repair services. 

Where do gas lines run?

Main gas line piping can be located in the parkway, street, or right of way and is typically marked with yellow paint where the gas lines are running underground. They typically run between the street and to the house going into the gas meter.

Natural gas lines will have a main shutoff valve at the gas meter. This rectangular nub shaped valve is referred to as the street-side valve. When the nub’s long side is parallel to the incoming line, it is open, allowing the gas to flow. Knowing where this is located and how it works will allow you to shut the gas off in case of a gas line repair or appliance installation. 

How long does it take to repair a gas line?

This can depend on where the leak is located. An underground gas line repair can take a few hours, whereas a gas line repair above ground can usually be fixed within an hour. 

How much does it cost to repair a gas line?

The average cost nationally for gas line repair is around $400. However, the price can range from as low as $150 and reach up to $700 depending on the size of the damaged gas pipe section. The materials used for the gas line repair can affect the overall cost too. 

Can a homeowner install a gas line?

Gas line repairs and installation are different from repairs and installations of water lines, and while there are multitudes of instructional videos online, all with step-by-step processes, it isn’t recommended. Gas line repair and installation should only be done by a professional licensed plumber that is certified for gas line service. There are risks that can be not only expensive but deadly. Unlike water line installation and repairs, working on a gas line is dangerous. 

Do you need a permit for a gas line?

Yes, you will need to request a permit for installing a gas line, or your contractor will. However, gas line repairs typically do not require a permit. Once a permit is issued, there will need to be a gas line inspection performed by local authorities. 

yellow gas line on an outdoor wall

In Conclusion – How much does it cost to install a gas line?

It can vary from area to area, with an average cost between $355 to $800 for basic install jobs. A more complex gas line installation can cost up to $1000 or more. The materials, like the pipe itself, are charged by the linear foot, but it’s important to remember there are other parts and labor that will need to be paid for.

What water heater do I need?

worker setting up water heater

Why Tankless Water Heaters Stand Out

Have you ever given tankless water heater service a consideration? Like other appliances in your home, the water heater is usually taken for granted. Until the water gets cold anyway. Nothing works better to startle you away on a cold winter morning than a shower with nothing but ice cold water! If that happens to you this winter, you may want to consider tankless water heater service

Most water heaters will last 12 to 15 years, depending on the quality of the water heater and the water. Even the best of the best water heater brands may need the anode rod, heating element, or the thermostat changed during those 15 years. But if you don’t have any major problems, like water leaking from the bottom, then with routine flushing you can expect a fairly decent water heater lifespan. 

So when the time comes for a new water heater, what is the difference between a standard tank vs tankless water heater? The standard tank style of water heaters is still a common choice when compared to getting tankless water heater service. However, tankless water heaters are growing in popularity. Why? 

The promise made to homeowners is they can get just as much hot water from a tankless water heater service as they do their current standard tank water heater. And it is more energy efficient for both electricity, gas, and water, saving as much as $100 annually. Other factors that are making the tankless water heater service a preferred choice:

  • Convenience: A standard tank style water heater is known to run out of hot water between a load of laundry and one or two showers. That third shower may have to wait an hour for the water to heat up the cold water stored in the tank. With tankless water heater service, water isn’t stored in a tank. Instead, it’s flash heated as soon as a hot water faucet opens up. You get hot water almost instantaneously and it stays hot as long as you need hot water. 
  • Energy use: What homeowner isn’t concerned with conserving energy? If not for your own utilities and utility bills, for the environment, right? With the traditional style of water heater tanks, cold water sits in the tank until hot water is needed. Then it takes electricity or gas to heat that 30, 40, or 50 gallons of water up. A tankless water heater service provides hot water when demanded. And when you don’t need it, it doesn’t heat the water. Everything’s on-demand. 
  • Cost: When you want to consider financial aspects between the two different water heaters, it is a ROI where you’ll get your money back from the expense of installing the tankless water heater service. The standard water heater will last up to 15 years if you’re lucky.  The tankless style will last 20 years or longer, getting more for your the cost of a tankless water heater installation. 

What is a water heater expansion tank? 

Common with standard tank water heaters, a water heater expansion tank attaches to the water supply line. As the water heater heats water up and it isn’t used, the tank expands, and this can put pressure on a plumbing system. An expansion tank takes in that hot water, relieving the water pressure.  When hot water is needed again, that water drains from the expansion tank back into the main water system. 

Which water heater is best – gas or electric?

With standard water heaters and tankless water heater services, gas-powered options have a lower cost for operation but a higher cost for installation. However, while electric water heaters are more expensive to install, they are more energy-efficient. 

Environmentally, gas water heaters are worse for the environment because of the greenhouse gases they emit.  Electric water heaters can be powered with hydroelectric or solar power. So, can you have a water heater without electricity? Not for long! 

The water will fill the tank on a standard water heater and that water will heat up if there is gas power going to it, but with electric power, the water won’t heat without electricity. Not unless you have a hydroelectric or solar-powered water heater. 

Are water heater elements universal?

Yes and no. If you’re going to replace your water heater element, you want to match the voltage of the replacement element with the same voltage the water heater label state. 

tankless water heater on green tile

In Closing

If you’re from the southern part of the country, you probably won’t know what a boiler is, but those who live in the far north probably will. So what is the difference between a water heater and a boiler? While your standard or tankless water heater service heats water, a boiler heats water that also heats the home.  There are boilers that can make steam from the heated water. Whatever help you need with your water heater, you can get it by reaching out to us at 708-934-4115.

Bathroom Remodeling on a Budget

Bathroom with white fixtures and a mirrored wall above the sink.

What is the cheapest way to remodel a bathroom?

Next to the kitchen, the most used room in a home is the bathroom. For many families, it doesn’t take long to outgrow that room, or for it to get outdated after a few years. With that said, it isn’t unusual for a homeowner to want to do a bathroom remodel and update. 

However, that doesn’t mean the budget is all-in on this project. So it may be necessary to find out how to plan a bathroom remodel on a shoestring budget, which is what we’re going to talk about today. Your first concern may be this – can you remodel the bathroom yourself? Absolutely. With the exception of major electrical and plumbing matters, unless you have experience in this area. However, if you’re doing this bathroom remodel on a budget, you’re not going to need to worry about that anyway! 

Is it time to remodel my bathroom?

Before we get started, let’s discuss this – how do you know when to remodel a bathroom? Are you just bored with it? If so, maybe some new décor and towels would be sufficient right now. Considering the average life of bathroom appliances, a bathroom remodel is recommended every 20 years, or perhaps sooner if the quality of the bathtub, shower, sinks and toilet are on the lower end. Other times a bathroom remodel or update is needed would be any of the following: 

  • Functionality: The layout of a bathroom is essential when more than one person is using it. If the current bathroom has little to no counter space or storage, or if anyone in the home has limited mobility, a bathroom remodel is a must to make the layout more convenient and safer. 
  • Falling Apart: When the appliances have damage or tiles are falling off, a bathroom remodel is a must or you’re just setting things up for more extensive problems later, like water damage that leads to mildew and mold. 
  • It Stinks: Okay, yes. A bathroom will have smells, but if there are still odors and smells after you do your weekly deep cleaning, it could be from water damage. As we mentioned above, water damage can lead to hidden mildew and mold, which are odor generating. A bathroom remodel will get to the source of the smell so you know how to eliminate it permanently. 
  • Outdated: Decorating trends for the home come and go, but none as fast as the bathroom and kitchen. As mentioned, you may just need new towels and a shower curtain, but you may also want to get rid of that ‘80s-era wood paneling. If so, a remodel is suggested.

How much will it cost to remodel my bathroom?

We’re a little past the half-year mark of 2021, and the average being spent by homeowners for a bathroom remodel has been around $10,000. On the low end, people are spending just over $6,500, and on the high end as much as $16, 000. 

However, with a few suggestions and tips, you could do your bathroom remodel for around $3,000 for a small bathroom and a medium-size bathroom remodel for around $7,000. Of course, you can spend as much as have and want, with a master bathroom remodel possibly costing upward of $25,000. As the commercial says, “What’s in your wallet?” That will tell you how much you can or cannot afford. 

How can I save money on my bathroom remodel?

Because the bathroom is a smaller space, cost-saving steps will be easy to implement. One of the biggest things that will save you money is doing DIY remodeling instead of hiring it out. Other ways to keep the costs in line: 

  • Retain the Layout & Size

Any time a bathroom remodel requires increasing or rearranging electrical, plumbing, walls, and the like, it gets expensive. Staying with what you have and working around it will save you thousands of dollars. 

  • Save the Drywall 

A bathroom remodel often requires new drywall as you find mildew, mold, and water damage. However, if you can keep any of it, you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars. Of course, if it is damaged, mildewed, or molded, replace it! 

  • Refinish Instead of Replace

A bathroom remodel may not require new appliances like the shower, sinks, toilet, or tub. If you can reuse what is there already this will, again, save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. That’s not to mention saving time with demolition, too! Maybe you can clean them, fix them up, or make it like new again if they’re really old and worn looking. 

  • Go Prefabricated 

If your bathroom remodel requires a shower or tub, go with a one-piece stall instead of tiling in a new one. The time you’ll save is amazing – and that’s not to mention the money. However, make sure you can get a one-piece unit through your home and to the bathroom. If there are a lot of corners and tight spaces, you may not have a choice. 

  • Install a Standard Toilet

If the existing toilet is over five years old, replace it with a new water-saving toilet. Stay away from all the fancy ones with bells and whistles, though. Stay with the basics and you’ll save hundreds. 

What is the cheapest way to remodel a bathroom?

In addition to the points we listed above, other money-saving steps for a bathroom remodel job include: 

  • Plan ahead, create a budget, and stick with the budget. 
  • Cabinetry can cost money. Just replace the door fronts if the old ones are damaged. 
  • Shower floors can be refurbished with a thorough cleaning and new grout.
  • The walls can be painted a new color to match or offset your new cabinet door. 
  • Shop second hand stores, Habitat for Humanity stores, and repurpose furniture for more affordable items. 
  • Shop online in spaces like FaceBook Marketplace, CraigsList, and Nextdoor.com.

How much does it cost to replace a tub with a shower?

Are you looking for an easy walk-in to accommodate an elderly or wheelchair-bound person? Expect to pay between $2,200 and $8,000. Meanwhile, a shower stall can cost around $1,200 or a little more depending on the features and quality. 

What is the best color for a bathroom?

Is this a bathroom remodel used by the whole family? Go with bright colors like neon yellow and teal blue. If this is a bathroom remodel for the guest bath, go for black walls with silver fixtures and décor. And powder blue is always a good bathroom color, while a nice plum is a statement that won’t grow old on you too fast. 

Glass shower stall and white tub in a modern bathroom.

In Closing – Is a bathroom remodel worth it?


A bathroom remodel is definitely worth it. This is an investment in your investment! With a bathroom remodel in the midsize range that costs around $20,000, you can expect to get over 67% back if you sell your home. However, spending $65,000, you’ll probably only see about 60% back.  This is why being on a budget or a bathroom remodel may be to your advantage! If you think you may need a bit of help with a bathroom remodel, you can contact Emergency Sewer and Drain Experts at 708-934-4115 to discuss your options.

When should you call a plumber for a clogged drain?

sink with drain

Clogged drains in your home

When the drain is clogged in kitchen, it can be a catastrophe. Especially if it is mealtime, holiday cooking, or guests are coming. If you know what can cause a clogged drain, it can be an easy fix. There really isn’t a good time for a clogged drain

So, how do you know if your drain is clogged? Here are some warning signs that you have a clogged drain before it becomes that catastrophe: 

  • Water Slow Draining: If the water isn’t draining as fast as normal, there is probably a clog forming somewhere in the plumbing system. Now is the time to remove the clog before it backs up in the sinks or tub. 
  • Foul Odors: When a sink, shower or tub has a less-than-pleasant odor, it is usually from a clogged drain. If the odor is coming from the kitchen sink, run water in the garbage disposal and let the disposal run, there may be some old food stuck in there that didn’t wash through. Add liquid dish soap or lemon juice to kill the odor. If this doesn’t get rid of the odor, you need more than basic clogged drain fix,  call a professional plumber .  
  • Gurgling Sounds: If the drains are making a gurgling sound as liquid is poured in the drain, it is probably going around a clog, forming air bubbles below the clog, which are popping.  The gurgling means there is some water still draining, but the clogged drain is forming. 
  • Food Particles After Dishwasher Runs: If there are food particles in the kitchen sink after the dishwasher has ran its course, there could be the garbage disposal is clogged or drain has clog is forming. Either way, you need a professional plumber to inspect your plumbing. 

How do you clear a severely clogged drain?

A clogged plumbing is annoying, and they can become profoundly serious if not addressed. Clogged drains can cause pipes to bust, they lead to backups in the bathtub, shower, sink, or toilet. or bathtub. All things that you don’t need to backup, and you certainly don’t want busted pipes!  Here we offer the most common methods that have been used by many homeowners with success: 

  • Baking Soda & Vinegar: Pour equal amounts of these 2 ingredients, allow to sit overnight then pour boiling hot water down the drain the next morning. 
  • Just Boiling Water: Often you can pour just boiling hot water down a clogged drain and it will bust up whatever is causing the clog. 
  • Chemicals: Yes, there are many chemical on the market designed for cleaning clogs. While these work, use with utmost care and caution. Plumbers typically warn not to use these because they can eat the pipes if used enough over time. 
  • Plumbers Snake: A plumber’s snake is a device you can purchase at any home improvement store. You insert into the clogged drain, then turn the device, and the wire attached grabs the clogging debris, you then pull the snake out and the throw the debris in the trash.  You may need to do this 2 or 3 times if the clogged drain is compacted. 
  • A Plunger: There are sink plungers and toilet plungers, use the right one for the clogged drain you’re working. The plunger will suck the clogging matter up and out where you can throw it in the trash. 

What do plumbers use to clean drains?

A professional plumber will have these 3 tools in their arsenal of plumbing weapons: 

  • DRAIN AUGERS OR PLUMBER SNAKE: This is a standard tool that plumbers use to clear clogged drains. It demolishes any obstruction in the pipes with a motorized drain auger, also known as a plumber’s snake. Plumbers use one that is more powerful and reaches further than the one you can buy at the local home improvement store.  
  • HYDRO-JET: Hydro-jet equipment will break through almost any clogged drain, and they do a comprehensive cleaning inside the drain. Hydro-Jet will remove any grease, mineral deposits, and soap scum by blasting a high-pressure of water at a high-temperature. 
  • VIDEO INSPECTION: This is a miniature video camera that is mounted on fiber-optic cable. This is placed into the clogged drain and sends pictures back to small TV-type screen, showing the plumber what and where the clogged drain is located. With this image, the plumber can decide on how to approach clearing the clogged drain or if sewer line repair is needed. 
floor drain

How do you unclog a main drain without a snake?

You can use the methods we listed earlier for a clogged drain cleaner, but if they aren’t working and you don’t have access to a plumbing snake, you can make your own drain snake by cutting a 2 liter bottle into a spiral. Attach the cut 2 liter bottle to the wire hanger and shove into the clogged drain, turning it as a plumber’s snake would do and pull out the clog.  You can also use a shop vac or wet/dry vacuums and hold over the clogged drain opening and suck out the clog. 

There is nothing more aggravating than a clogged drain kitchen sink, clogged shower, tub, or toilet. Taking the steps you can prevent the clogs is the best thing you can do, but if you do have a clogged drain, the steps we discussed here can be helpful. If not, call a plumber, the sooner the better. Need clogged drain repair in Oak Park, Il? Call 708-934-4115 today.

How Can I Remodel My Bathroom for Cheap?

remodeling a bathroom

How much will it cost to remodel my bathroom?

When it comes to making home improvements that will bring you top dollar in the real estate market, a kitchen remodel or a bathroom remodel are the winners. However, those are the two rooms in a home that can cost the most to remodel too. With a few commonly asked questions, we are going to answer with ways on where to save on bathroom remodeling. 

The bathroom in a home is utilitarian and used every day, often all day. So, yes, they wear out and that makes a bathroom remodel ideal for most homes. Who doesn’t want a bright, clean, and roomy bathroom to get ready for school or work? The problem with a bathroom remodel is the cost. 

Surveys have found that homeowners will spend between $6,000 and as much as $70,000 for a bathroom remodel. Factors that determine the cost is the square footage, the amenities, and the fixtures. If you’re not going to do your own work, there is the added expense of labor. 

What do I need to know about bathroom remodeling?

For most bathroom remodel projects, there are two major expenses: Moving the waste line and replacing the vanity. Changing they layout of the bathroom entails moving things like the shower, sink, toilet, and/or tub, which will require a professional plumber. In addition to needing a building permit in most areas, you’ll also pay around $65/hour for the plumber. With a  forty-square-foot size bathroom remodel job, it can take the plumber up to 45 hours. 

If your bathroom remodel will include replacing the vanity, you can expect to spend as much as $1,800 for a 71” with granite top. You can also spend more! Go with a custom built vanity and you can spend almost $3,000.  What’s your bathroom remodel budget? Decide that before you go shopping. 

Other factor you should consider is the time frame your bathroom remodel job will take. How long are you going to be inconvenienced and if you only have one bathroom, what are going to do during the process? Be prepared to come across water damage, bad electrical or plumbing. Replacing or repair can get expensive. Get the measurements of your new bathroom so that you can buy the fixtures that fit. Maybe you want that seventy-two-inch vanity and the double sinks, but is there room for it your new bathroom remodel? Measure twice, buy once! 

Other costs that you should expect to spend on a bathroom remodel: 

  • Flooring and Wall Covering – you can spend up to $20 per square foot if you go with high end ceramic, natural stone, or porcelain. 
  • The Countertop – natural stone like quartz will cost you as much as $100 per square foot.
  • The Faucet: Antique bronze, brushed brass, brushed nickel, and matte black are popular right now and they cost the most. Are you going with the touchless faucet? Expect to pay up to $300 or more. 
  • The Tub: Go with an alcove tub with a shower that is 30x60x74.5 size in a high quality materials, expect to spend up to $3,000. 
  • The Shower: With the alcove bath and shower combo, you’ll spend another $150 or so for the pressure balance valve set.  Go with a stand-alone shower with a shower valve that has various settings, $500 or more and if you want the frameless door instead of a shower curtain, $800 or more. 
  • The Toilet: The size, the shape (elongated or round) and the type of water efficiency it offer, a toilet can cost up to $1,000. 

How can I save money on my bathroom remodel?

Maybe you don’t have a budget that big for the items we mentioned above, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a bathroom remodel for cheap. First of all, don’t move all the bathroom fixtures around like the shower, sink, toilet, and tub.  Leave them where they are, and you won’t need to budget a plumber and that can save you from having to get a building permit too.

When it comes to the vanity, if the one you have absolutely must be replaced, go with a ready-made unit at your local home improvement store. Look in their dented merchandise area and if the scratch is on the wall side of your bathroom, you can save $100s of dollars. 

Other areas where you can save a lot of money compared to what we listed above: 

  • Flooring and Wall Covering:  Go with a faux ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone, for less than $5 per square foot.
  • The Countertop: Go with the prefabricated countertop for around $4 per square foot.  Or look online for ways to update your current countertop.
  • The Faucet: Chrome is always a good standby for budget purpose and stay with the traditional 2-knob set up instead of the price touchless faucet.
  • The Tub:  Keep your current tub unless it is just worn out, a fiberglass tub and shower combo can be had for under $300 if you shop around. Look at second-hand stores and discount warehouses online. 
  • The Shower: Same with a stand-alone shower, go with a basic fiberglass setup and shop the second-hand stores (Habitat for Humanity stores often have good products from other people’s bathroom remodel). Stay with the polished chrome for budget purpose,  you can get a set up for under $50.
  • The Toilet: You can get an elongated, water efficient toilet for around $100 and some change. 

What are the steps to remodeling a bathroom?

First step to take in a bathroom remodel job is planning, a lot of planning. Plan on what you need, what you want, the room for those things, and most of all the budget. When it comes to buying things like flooring and tile, guesstimating doesn’t work. You need exact numbers, then follow this course of action: 

  • Demo: Remove the old tile, fixtures, and flooring once you have the budget determined. 
  • Rough-in: With all of that stuff out of the way, prep the plumbing for your new fixtures and any new electrical you’ll need
  • Grab Bar Block: If your bathroom remodel will have grab bars, add the supporting blocks for them now while you have bare walls.
  • Close in Walls: Install cement board and vapor barrier where the shower, sink, tub are going to be located and drywall everywhere else. 
  • Paint, Tile: Now do any painting then the tile work.
  • Shower Door: If your bathroom remodel plans are for a shower door, now is the time to install.
  • Fans, Lights: Now install your exhaust fan and lighting. 
  • Vanity, Sink, Toilet: Wrapping up the major installs. 

Now you can accessorize and decorate, then enjoy your new bathroom remodel.  

finished remodel of a bathroom

How much does a bathroom remodel add to home value?

After reading this article and looking at your bathroom, is bathroom remodel worth it? Absolutely! A budget of $20,000, you can get over 67% back when you sell your home. So, yeah, if you go the cheaper way for a bathroom remodel, you may not get back as much, but you will get some ROI .  If you’re not sure a bathroom remodel and repair is right for your home, enlist the advice of a professional realtor. Call 708-934-4115 today for bathroom remodel in Oak Park, Il.

How do you fix a sewer pipe?

sewer pipe lines

What happens when your sewer line breaks?         

Sewer line repair and plumbing are two things that a homeowner dreads about homeownership, among those things is sewer line repair. The picture that is conjured up in the mind is a destroyed yard as the plumber finds the problem area and then repairs it. 

Fortunately, today, sewer line repair without digging is possible. If you’ve never had sewer line issues before though, you may not know what indicates your home needs sewer line repair. To that end, we’re going to answer basic questions that can help you realize there is a problem and what needs to be done.

The sewer lines are running underground and wastewater that includes liquids and solids leaves your home through those sewer lines and flow into the municipal sewer system. When the sewer line breaks, that wastewater seeps out at the breaks and cracks. 

When left alone, it keeps seeping, and the bacteria and germs begin to spread through your plumbing and into your home. It will ruin the foundation of your home, weakening the structure and creating more damage that will need additional repair along with the sewer line repairs. 

What are the signs of a broken sewer pipe?

If the plumbing in your home is twenty five years old or older, it is probably cast iron and it is probably starting show the signs of the time and you may not realize it. At this age, if there are trees around or near your home, the tree roots have probably reached those cast iron pipes already, cracking them and misaligning the connections. Here are 10 indications that your home is need of sewer line repair:

  1. Backup and Blockage: If you are experiencing regular backups and blockages, your sewer lines could be broken, cracked, or deteriorating. The tree roots could be the issue, or they are simply old and you need sewer line repair or replacement. 
  2. Gas Odor: When sewer gas odors are noticeable in or around your home, this is a strong indication of a sewer line crack. When you can smell sewer gas, you need sewer line repair, sooner rather than later.
  3. Mold: If you have sewer odor, you probably have mold growth behind the walls of your home too. Sewer line leaks creates humidity and moisture and mold only needs 55% humidity to start growing. Once mold forms, it spreads fast and along with the sewer odor, you’re going to have that musty mold smell too. 
  4. Slow Drains: Slow drains are often indication of  blockage that will lead to a sewer backup in time.  That slow drain could be your bathtub, sinks, or toilet, all from sewer lines that have  broken, cracked, or have tree root intrusion and channeling.
  5. Extra Lush Green Grass: If you’ve noticed an area in your yard that an extra lush, green grass, it is possible there is sewer line leak under the ground there. As smelling a sewer is, it is a fertilizer, providing your grass extra nutrients. You should have a plumber check this area for possible sewer line repair.  Another indicator of underground sewer issue is an indentation in the lawn or under walkways. 
  6. Foundation Cracking, Settling,  Sinking: When the main sewer line under your home develops any cracks, or begins to settle and sink, it is like there is a sewer line leak in the slab. 
  7. Insects and Rodents: Insects and rodents love sewer lines and the wastewater that comes from them. If your sewer lines need repair, there is a strong possibility that you have insects and rodents living in them, working their way into your home. 

When should I replace my main sewer line?

 If you live in a home that is 25 years or older, you may want to have your sewer lines inspected by a professional plumber. They are probably made of cast iron and some of it may already be in deteriorating, ready for either sewer line repair or replace. Once you have your sewer line repaired or replaced, you can expect them to last another 50 years or longer.

How long does it take to repair a sewer line?

The average time for sewer line repairs is between one and three days. There are many factors that can affect this time frame, like where the sewer pipe is located, the size of the pipe, and how much and what damage has taken place.  There are some sewer line repair jobs that can take up to five days to complete. 

sewer line under a home

Can you patch a sewer line?

Thanks to new technology in the plumbing industry, if the sewer line isn’t too damaged too far up and down the line, then yes, sewer line patching is possible. Because of that technology, plumbers are able to get to those areas needing sewer line repairs or replacement without destroying the lawn. 

Unfortunately, the chance that sewer line repair homeowners insurance is not covered.  Possibly the damage to the house or belongings could be covered if the sewer line damage isn’t deemed to be homeowner’s neglect by the insurance agent.  Review your policy before you need sewer line repair so that you know where you stand should the need arise. Call 708-934-4115 today for your sewer line repair needs in Oak Park, Il.

How do you winterize house plumbing?

frozen pipes

What temperature is too cold for a house?

Well, winter has arrived here in the Windy City area of the country, were you ready, was your home ready? If not, hopefully it isn’t too late for you get your home ready with things like bringing in firewood and winterize plumbing. If you haven’t winterize plumbing yet, we’re going to share some winter plumbing tips with you today to help you get that done and answer some frequently asked questions.

Well, that can depend on if the house is occupied or empty, and if empty, for how long and the time of the year.  WHO (the World Health Organization) recommends a thermostat setting indoor to be at least 64°F, and 62°F at night for money saving purposes and to work with the winterize plumbing efforts you’ve made.

However, if there are elderly, infants, or sick people  in the house, you shouldn’t set the thermostat any lower than 70°F. If you’re going to be out of the house all day, you can set your thermostat as low as 58°F. It is these low settings and wide range of if, ands, or buts, that proves why a programmable thermostat can be handy and helpful.  You can set that to a higher setting, then your home is toasty warm when you get home.

When you’re going to be gone for an extended time, like traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you don’t want to worry the pipes freezing or bursting. The recommended thermostat setting range is between 50°F and 60°F. The better you winterize plumbing in your home, the lower you can set that thermostat.

How do you keep pipes from freezing under your house?

When the temperatures get really cold, water pipes will freeze, and without winterize plumbing efforts, those frozen water pipes can burst from the pressure. From busted water pipes, you’ll be dealing with serious flooding and possibly a lot of damage. So, to prevent this scenario from happening, you need to keep your water pipes temperature above the freezing.

A misconception that most people have is frozen pipes only happen where the climate is always cold in the winter. That thinking leaves homes in warmer climates in a vulnerable situation. If you haven’t taken the time to winterize plumbing in your home, a sudden drop in the temperature will freeze those pipe just as fast, even faster because you didn’t winterize plumbing!

You should always take care of your water supply no matter when you live and that includes winterize plumbing. A water pipe is usually one inch in diameter, some are even smaller and usually are a PVC plastic. Water supply pipes are pressurized because they have water going through them, and that pressurized pipe will freeze, no matter when you live.

How do you insulate water pipes for winter?

Here, we have created a winter plumbing checklist that will keep your home’s plumbing from freezing and all the issues that could follow:

Tip One: Heat

A huge part to winterize plumbing is keep the house at a warm temperature. If you are not going to be home for an extended period, do not turn the heat complete off.  Keeping the heat on will keep your water from freezing, busting, and leaving you to handle the damage left behind from that bust pipe water. A thermostat setting of 50 F or higher is recommended.  

Tip Two: Faucet Dripping

By opening the faucet at each water source in your home so that they are dripping, it will relieve any pressure in the water system, keep the water flowing, and keep it from freezing. This may be one of the best things you can do to winterize plumbing because it is the pressure created frozen water in pipes create that cause pipes to burst. When you leave the faucet open and dripping, the pipes can’t build up that pressure.

Tip Three: Cabinet Doors

Water pipes located under sinks and in cabinets need to be kept warm, especially if the backside of the cabinet is on an outer wall. By keeping these cabinet doors open, as the temperature drops, the heat from the house will get inside those cabinets and keep the water pipes warm.  An easy and simple way to winterize plumbing that too many of us don’t think about.

Tip Four: Sealing up

The cracks and holes that are found around the plumbing should be sealed up as you winterize plumbing in your home. Cold air can get in around these gaps, typically found under the cabinets in the back walls and flooring and freeze the water pipes. With caulk or spray foam insulation, it is easy to fill in around those gaps inside and outside, will keep your pipes warm. You could actually notice it helps keep the entire house warmer!

Tip Five: Heating Tape

Heating tape is an electric blanket for water pipes. Heat tape supplies a constant heat directly to the water pipes and keeps them warm when the temperatures get cold. Plumbing experts recommend wrapping heating tape on those short sections where the water pipes are at high freeze risk as you winterize plumbing in your home.

Heating tape is available in two different types. One type of heating tape will turn on and off as it senses that heat is needed. The other heating tape type is plugged in by you when you know the temperature is going to get to a freezing level. Like any electrical product, heating tape can dangerous. It is important to follow the direction of these products and all safety procedures.

Tip Six: Insulation

Uninsulated or under insulated water pipes, usually the attic or basement, are going to be the ones that bust. It is imperative that these pipes have adequate insulation, extra insulation won’t hurt as you winterize plumbing in your home. This can be done with fiberglass sleeves or foam rubber and it will decrease any freezing possibilities. Of all the steps in winterize plumbing process, this is an easy solution that is much less expensive than cleaning up and repairing water damage from a buster water pipe.

Can pipes freeze in one night?

Absolutely!  Water freezes at 32 degrees. So, yes, water pipes can and freeze overnight if you haven’t done any of the winterize plumbing steps we’ve provided here. The lower the outside temperature is and when plumbing pipes are unprotected, you can almost be certain they will freeze and fast.

water leaking from pipe

How do I drain my pipes for winter?

You can avoid winter plumbing issues like broken water pipes by draining your water pipes before the temperature reaches deep freeze. The following winterize plumbing steps are easier and less expensive to follow than what busted water pipes cleanup will cost you.

  • Shut the water off at the main water valve. 
  • With an air compressor, force any water out of the pipes. 
  • Drain all appliances that are water operated. 
  • Add extra protection by pouring anti-freeze in the bathtubs, shower drain, sinks, and toilet tanks.  
  • When you are ready to have water, turn the main water valve on and let each of the above things run to fill the water pipes.

An important thing to remember as you winterize plumbing in your home is that winter plumbing and heating go hand-in-hand. You may not be home, but having the temperature set too low can allow the plumbing to freeze if the outside temperature gets too low. Call 708-934-4115 today for winterize plumbing services in Oak Park, Il.