Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Blog
Point #1: ANY sewer piping material, even the new PVC materials can become compromised. The shifting of the earth and tree roots can cause cracks or breaks in almost any line. So, if you know it’s concrete or ceramic---then you know you’re on borrowed time. If you’re not sure, then your first concern is that you aren’t experiencing slow drains, or aren’t having to call a “rooter company” (like us) to come out often just to clear roots.
Point #2: You need a sewer camera inspection to see how your sewer line is doing. If you are having routine sewer line backups (once a year or so), you can’t keep just having a drain cleaning company just “clear the line” and then make them go away. What you need to do is get a look at the line. YES, you will need to have the line cleared first, so if you’re the kind of person who’s needed to call a drain cleaning company out already, just MAKE SURE to ask about a sewer camera video inspection. This costs more, but it’s SO VERY VALUABLE in what it can uncover, and you’ll want a technician who KNOWS side sewers well. The video is only truly valuable when an experienced eye can guide you in what you’re looking for. You will also be able to pin down what type of sewer line you actually have.
Point #3: Old concrete sewer lines can be replaced multiple ways, until they break or crumble. If you get ahead of the issue, you will be able to choose how your side sewer is replaced and possibly BEFORE it shuts down your home’s drainage. If the sewer camera inspection shows that the line looks weak, but has no significant breaks, or “bellies (where the pipe falls through at the bottom),” then you will have the option for a trenchless sewer replacement.
The two main trenchless sewer line methods are pipe-lining, and pipe bursting. Without getting into too much detail on those, you’re looking at two methods that do not require the old pipe to be excavated with a long trench, but instead push or form a new pipe down the middle of the old one. This is a great way to preserve your yard and landscaping, but it’s also more expensive. The bottom line is that if you wait until there’s a break in the line, you won’t have any options for trenchless replacement.
Point #4—FINAL POINT: A sewer camera inspection, therefore, is the way of being a responsible homeowner and getting clear information on your sewer line. Most folks wait until things break and cause a big problem before acting. Just know that a sewage backup can cause major damage to your home in some cases. Even if the collapse or break doesn’t cause immediate damage, you’ll need to shut down your home’s drains while the sewer line is fixed and hooked back up. Don’t you think you’d like to be able to PLAN for this kind of work to be done?
We are a “rooter” company and our main desire is to help the homeowner with their sewer problem: sewer back-ups, roots in the line, aging pipes, offset pipes, out-dated pipes, and more. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have witnessed record rainfall in the last year and a half, and it’s doing it again at the start of this year. We are getting calls from people with crawl space water accumulation. But, you’ll be interested to know that this can come from a number of sources and for a variety of reasons. We can help with all of them, as you will see, but there is a new type of issue that we must address.
Many customers have been calling us about water accumulation in their crawl space areas under the house, and when we ask if their water bills have gone up, the answer is “No”----that means no leaks from their water supply system. Next, we check on their drain and usually find out that it’s not sewage in the crawl space, so this fluid is not coming from the drains in the crawl space or under the house, which we can tell by observation.
So, what is this mystery problem? We are finding more and more failures in the home rain/storm system.
Let’s break down the areas where water flows outside the home when rainwater comes down:
1) Gutters – If gutters are in good condition, they should be cleaned and all debris removed 1-2 times per year.
2) Downspouts – These are the vertical drains taking water and debris from the gutter down to the ground. When gutters are cleaned, downspouts should be cleaned and cleared too. Some homes have downspouts that drain into the yard, which are easy to get cleared at cleaning time. If you live near a lot of old growth trees, you may have to clear the downspouts more often (Side Note: always make sure that drained water goes away from the home’s foundation).
3) Perimeter Drains – These drains are buried. They are usually tied into the downspouts at corners around the home. They usually accept water from your roof/gutter/downspout system. The runoff is usually directed to a city storm system, a culvert, or other runoff area not affecting your neighbors. If annual cleaning is neglected (cleaning them should be done at the same time as your gutters and downspouts), the perimeter drains can back up from all of the runoff. It is a good idea to have 1 or 2 cleanout connections so that you can get to these lines and clear them out too. These can be done by a company like ours with cabling or jetting capabilities.
If the perimeter drains are taking on water, it’s because they are backed up, then the excess rain water will flow to your yard or possibly into your crawl space. In order to fix this, you can get a drain cleaning company like Aardvark Rooter to help. If the perimeter drains are solid pipe ABS or PVC we can cable the line, and if they are corrugated ABS, then you are going to need a hydro-jetting service, which we can also do. Once you get those perimeter pipes clear and clean, the water will flow correctly and you’ll have your exterior storm drain system keeping your home safe from water damages again.
The main idea here is that your water and storm drainage system can be treated JUST LIKE your sewer line and sewage system in many cases. In fact, sometimes these pipes break or collapse, and must be repaired or replaced so that you don’t have water seeping and collecting in your crawl space. To find the exact problem, we actually would use our sewer line camera technology to locate and understand the nature of your issue before actually digging it up.
If a new pipe must be installed, we’d always recommend a solid pipe with drain holes throughout, plus a filter sock over it, and to have it buried in a rock bed, top and bottom. This will accept all the water from roof, gutter, downspouts, and even the groundwater, pushing it all away and not allowing any into your home’s crawlspace.
The bottom line is this: Rooter/drain cleaning companies like Aardvark Rooter have all the tools to work with your drainage system and to help figure out how to keep you water flowing, just like we do with your drain lines. If you’ve got water collecting in your crawl space or any other symptoms of a backed up storm drain system, please call us and allow us to diagnose your problem and provide an affordable solution.
A) A sewer connection may not be present—“undeveloped”.B) Your property may require a “pump system” as well.C) In order to get bids from sewer line contractors, they will need exact information about where the connecting stub will be and the depth of that stub.D) If the city wants you to install a stub, make sure your sewer line contractor can arrange and install a new connection on a “live” city sewer line (this is also known as a “saddle”).E) Pay connection fees and obtain ALL permits while you are there.F) Obtain a roster of the locally-approved side sewer contractors that are licensed with that jurisdiction.
When you have a garbage disposal on your kitchen sink, it may be tempting to put all your food waste down the disposal. Not all "garbage" though, is meant to go down the drain, and can cause some unnecessary clogs in your pipes or even a breakage of your disposal unit. So, you probably know not to let non-food waste go down your sink ,but it may be hard to decipher what is acceptable to put down your disposal and what foods you should put in your compost or landfill box. Below we have compiled a list of things to avoid putting down the drain and also some foods that are OK to go down the kitchen sink.
Installation of new plumbing during construction of a new home is commonly referred to as "rough-in" plumbing. The skills, knowledge, and abilities of a plumber are not truly put to the test in a Rough-in situation, as it is simple and straightforward. The experience required to service and repair plumbing in a home that people have been living in, is far greater.
Replacing whole fixtures are not too difficult for most plumbers, or even some novices. Generally, any plumbing situation where you don't have to get into the walls, and you get to work with an entirely new system, is easier. For clearing drains, detecting leaks, and diagnosing mechanical errors, you need the experience of a plumbing technician who has seen a lot of repair situations.
Our company's main focus is clearing drain and sewer lines. These are the most difficult because, for instance, you side sewer line is underground. Finding out what's wrong is sometimes the bulk of the work. We have the drain cleaning ability to snake the line, use hydro-jetting, a mechanical cutter, and to really inspect what's going on, we can send down a sewer-line camera. Your sewer can be simply clogged by an object/objects that are flushed down, you can have roots growing into your line, or your line can be broken altogether.
One can see all of the things that could be wrong when your plumbing backs up, and then all of the ways we can go about finding and solving the problem----it makes a complicated job, even for the experienced plumber. If the line is broken, we have to put on the construction hats and excavate the ground to either remove and replace a section of the sewer line, or the whole thing! This isn't something you trust to just ANY old handyman.
There are stories of plumbing companies getting calls for funny smells and it turns out to be only a dead rodent under the house, or a possible plumbing leak that was actually just the children missing the toilet---not a leak. Veterans of our profession know how to get to the bottom of odd situations much faster.
A good service plumber will know how to repair faulty sinks, toilets, and waterheaters, but it's very important to listen to the plumbing recommendation. It's very true that even when an area can be repaired, the better call is just to replace the whole fixture: toilets, sinks, etc. Water damage can result from failure of plumbing parts and patches---and usually the replacement is nicer and not a lot more expensive a fix.
The next time someone tells you that they know plumbing, because they know plumbing construction, please realize that the skills and abilities of a plumbing service technician are far more advanced. This is even more true of drain, sewer, and water-line situations. Do the right thing and contact a licensed, experienced, and reputable service plumbing company. If you live in Tacoma, Federal Way, Auburn, or Puyallup, may we suggest using us at, Aardvark Rooter? Let us know!
First, let us say that Aardvark Rooter is BOTH a "rooter" company (hence the name), and ALSO a plumbing company in Auburn WA. We handle Plumbing Federal Way, Tacoma WA, and Puyallup can depend on, but the point is that these days most "rooter" companies handle all kinds of plumbing issues.
What is a "rooter" company? This refers to the process of sending a snake down a sewer drain line and grinding up tree roots that have grown into and caused a clog in the drain line. This is a process that has been going on for about a century, since in-home toilets became common. Tree roots will reach toward moisture naturally, so if a tree is growing anywhere near a sewer line, they will eventually grow toward and possibly "intrude" your sewer line. This leads to backing up into your fixtures and house (YUCK, by the way).
These days it's probably better referred to as "Drain Cleaning", and (since about 1980), most houses are built with better sewer line materials than were used ever before. PVC and other new materials keep roots from creating root intrusions much better than old materials like concrete, ceramic, and such. Sewer lines are less likely to brake in general. That is why older towns like Seattle and Tacoma have much more need for sewer cleaning and repair, even replacements. There are many more old homes in those cities, so companies like ours are in far more demand to solve drain issues and replace old sewer lines when necessary.
Like we said, these days most plumbing companies handle drain cleaning and "rooter" work along side they're normal household repair services. In our case, Aardvark Rooter is proud to have the word "rooter" in our name, because although we handle almost anything the average plumbing company does, we want it to be known that we are a Plumbing and Drain Cleaning EXPERT!
There are specialized machines and tools that a true Drain Cleaning specialist must have. Our capabilites have grown to include sewer camera inspections that can allow us to know visually if we have a clog, a root intrusion, a brake in a sewer line, or if we have sewer line that is in need of replacement. After a camera inspection, we can figure out the best method to clear the line, or where to begin digging for a sewer repair or sewer replacement. You can see that although a plumber may know how to work on sinks, toilets, and water heaters, it doesn't mean they'll have the expertise and experience to work on your main drain line.
If your plumbing issues have anything to do with your clogging and backing up of water, you will be better off looking for a company like ours first. Better to have a drain cleaning specialist that can take care of plumbing issues, than a simple plumber who is trying to figure out your drain issue.
The difference between a Plumbing company and a drain cleaning specialist (or Rooter company) is becoming very small. But, you will save yourself a lot of time and money if you make sure your drain issues are handled by a company with real drain expertise, experience, and tools of the trade.
Do you know what it means to have a cleanout for your side sewer? Many homeowners and business owners don't give this too much thought until their side sewer line backs up and needs to be cleaned out, hence the name "cleanout". The cleanout provides direct access to your sewer line, or main drain line, as some refer to it.
Sewer line backups usually cause your toilet to overflow or your bathtub to be filled with sewage. The house is now totally out of order! You can't bathe, shower, use the toilet, do laundry, use the kitchen sink, the dishwasher, or use vanity sinks. This isn't a problem you can procrastinate on, but what are you going to do?
You should look for a plumbing company, or better yet, a company that specializes in Drain Cleaning and clearing work, such as us at Aardvark Rooter. The company you call is going to want to know what kind of access you have to clear out the main sewer line. Do you know the answer to this question? You definitely need to know!
What you're looking for is a pipe with a twist-off top that will make getting to your main drain clog much easier. If you have a basement, there is probably a "vertical stack" with a cleanout near the entrance On the floor level. Without a basement, you need to know where your sewer or septic line exits the house. Just outside the foundation in your garden, you might find a cleanout. Sometimes there is a cleanout in your main floor bathroom or in a closet behind the bathroom.
If you can't find your cleanout, then you need one. If a plumber comes out to your home, he will most likely want to sell you one. They will usually want to dig right outside your foundation where the line leaves the house. This is a good idea because sometimes the cleanout in the basement is so backed up, when you open it up all of this sewage will come out into your basement. The best place for a cleanout is outside on the lateral line. This way, if you have a spill, it is easier to deal with, since it is in the yard, as opposed to inside the home.
If you don't have a cleanout and are not interested in getting one installed, then the drain cleaning equipment is accessed by removing and then resetting a toilet. This will add $100 to the total job of clearing your drain. if you want to save. If you have never done this before, you might be better off paying the extra money, as opposed to risking a property-damaging mistake.
If you would like to have a cleanout installed, you will probably want it just outside your foundation. Prices can vary depending upon how deep the plumber will need today to reach the mainline. The plumber can use camera and locating equipment to determine the exact depth and location of the pipe.
Once you have a clean out, you can be in control of your mainline backups. Not only is it easier to get in and clear the line, but if you absolutely have to, you can open the cleanout and allow sewage to spill into your yard as a sort of relief valve. It's only in the case that you are risking having the sewage backup into your home.
Having to clean out in place also allows you to bring your sewer line up to current construction codes. Older homes may have a clean out but it may be buried or hidden. Sewer lines backup for many reasons, but the most common is rude infestation or intrusion. Roots can be treated for many years by having them cut out once each year. There are root growth retardants and some claim to actually kill the roots, but aren't always successful. Your cleanout is the doorway to this maintenance.
If you don't already have a cleanout in place, it's a great idea to save up and have one put in! We'd be glad to help.
As many of our customers know, Aardvark Rooter is a drain and sewer line specialist! Thus, the word "rooter" in our official name, which refers to clearing drains from root intrusions and such. As a specialist in this field, we want to be here reminding you of what you need to look out for and when to call a professional such as Aardvark Rooter to come help our with a clogged or damaged drainage system.
Of course, it's our business to get involved with these types of issues, but we don't want to do anything for you unnecessarily. We only want to do the work you need done, when you need it. That said, we still didn't want you all to simply take our word for it, so instead of producing our OWN list of what to look for, we used a separate list as a guideline for what we want you homeowners to aware of (You can find that list at http://plumbing.about.com/od/septic_and_sewer/a/Signs-Of-A-Sewer-Drain-Clog.htm ).
The article we found on about.com does begin with, "a sewer drain clog is a very serious problem that can be considered a plumbing emergency". Our first point therefore, is that you shouldn't waste any time getting drain clogs fixed. If you have a company you trust, get them out right away---hopefully you've already found an honest company like ours, Aardvark Rooter, to come help without a lengthy negotiation and bid process. You really may not have time to collect three accurate quotes in a situation like this. It is your choice as the homeowner, but just know that time is of the essence.
Here are the signs that you may have a sewer drain clog:
1. Multiple Fixtures Are Clogged - A very obvious sign of a sewer drain clog is when more than one plumbing fixture backs up at the same time. The toilets in particular are affected by this, but other fixtures can also be involved. If you suspect that you have a sewer drain clog start by checking other fixtures in the home.
Make sure to check out your Toilets - Toilets have the most direct path to the sewer and the biggest drain line in the house. It is rare to have a main line sewer stoppage and the toilets are working correctly.
Also check your Tub and Shower - Other drains typically affected by a main line stoppage are those in the tub and shower. This is due to the fact that they sit lower down than say a sink drain.
2. Strange Reactions When Using Fixtures - The next thing to look for when you suspect a sewer drain clog are any unexpected or unusual reactions when using plumbing fixtures.
Flush The Toilet - If flushing the toilet results in water backing up or coming up into the tub or shower this is usually a clear sign of a sewer drain clog. The flushed water that can not go down the sewer drain flows back up the pipes and comes out at the lowest point which is usually the shower drain.
Run The Sink - Another strange reaction to look for is trapped air in the plumbing system. Do this by running water in the sink closest to the toilet for a minute or so. If the toilet bubbles or you can see the water level in the toilet rising then the clog is very likely in the main sewer line and not in the toilet.
Washing Machine - An unexpected sign of a sewer drain clog can happen when you run the wash machine. If the water draining out of the washing machine causes the toilet to overflow or backs up into the tub or shower it could be the sewer main.
3. Drainage At The Clean-Out - If you have a main line clean out, you have an additional way of verifying a sewer drain clog. Open the clean out by either unscrewing or pulling to remove the cap. Check the clean out for any waste or water that may be backing up there. You should not be able to see the water coming up the clean out pipe. If water is flowing up and out of the clean out or standing in the pipe this confirms that you have a main line sewer stoppage.
Thank you to about.com for that info. We want to make sure you understand that we will handle any and all of this diagnosis for you, especially if you are afraid of causing water to overflow into your home. Aardvark Rooter simply wants to be "up-front" about what is and is not a backup of your entire system.
Our hope is that in working with us, you will see that we understand these drainage systems at an expert level. When we get onsite, we will begin the process of finding the main problem and either getting your line cleared out by one of our many methods, or we will identify a possible breakage of the line that can also be the cause of a backup. Our company does many cleanouts and has all of the capacity to dig-up and replace part or all of your sewer line very affordably.
Give us a call if you are noticing any of the signs of a sewer line/main line back up. We'll be glad to assist you in whatever the issue may be, even if we discover that the issue is smaller and only related to one of your fixtures---We're a full service Plumbing company Federal Way, Auburn WA, and Tacoma have been using for years!
We've all seen the consumer advisory type reports on contractors and seen the lists of "Tips on Finding a Plumber" or auto repair technician, or roofer, etc. These lists are generally good guidelines. A bidding process for each and every plumbing emergency isn't always possible, and even when getting three bids is possible, it's not always the best measuring stick or comparison. You'll want to consider the quality of the company, the quality of the work, and what kind of history they have. Some of this could cost you if you don't know about, say, their insurance, licensing, and bonding information.
Here's what Aardvark Rooter did for anyone reading this article and looking for a good plumber in Auburn WA, Federal Way, and Tacoma areas: We took one of these general tips lists, and re-shared it here, providing OUR answer to each of the concerns. Now it's all out there for you to see even before you call us out! Here are the tips that we found on wikihow.com ( http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Good-Plumber ), and our replies.
1. Check to make sure that they have a plumbing license. The most basic rule is to be sure that they're licensed and carry full insurance that protects you and your neighbour's property in the event of a catastrophe.
Aardvark Rooter is licensed, bonded, and insured. We have licensed plumbers that we send out to you.
2. Get two or more references and read online reviews. You can even ask to see some of the work they have done. Read their Facebook page and twitter feed to see how they are interacting with their customers.
Please DO check us out. We have won an Angie's List Super Service Award for three years running. We also have great reviews all over the web and on Facebook.
3. Ask how long they have been in business for.
We've only been in business as Aardvark Rooter for about 5 years, but Fred, the owner, has experience working at and managing for several area plumbing companies. He started this company with the vision of being even more ethical than the average plumbing and drain cleaning company.
4. Get another bid/quote for the job but make sure you are comparing apples with apples. Some companies strip their jobs back to the absolute minimum so they can come in at the lowest price, but the work won't last the longest possible time. Ask the company that is more expensive why their price is at that level, so you can determine if there is a difference.
This is a fine means of comparison. Ultimately, a good consumer should find a company that has served them well a couple of times, and then use them when there is no time to compare. Unless you sense something amiss with the pricing, you should try to work toward finding a company that you can trust your plumbing and drain system to.
5. Ask about their guarantee. Is it money back? Is it limited in any way? Is it written on your bid/quote? Plumbers with great belief in their performance standards put their money where their mouth is.
Aardvark Rooter guarantees it's work. It's important to talk about it every time out though, because there are always instances where we cannot warranty certain work, or jobs where we are asked to do something we don't initially recommend. We do encourage folks to talk to us if they are unsatisfied in any way.
6. Finding a plumber who gives pricing for small jobs over the phone isn't necessarily the sign of a good plumber.
Great tip here. A good plumber usually wants to see your exact situation before quoting the job.
7. The real key is to get flat, fixed quotes so you know exactly what the plumber will do and exactly what you will pay.
Most of the plumbing industry is "flat rate" priced now, but you'd be surprised how often folks want us to quote an hourly rate. This tip is also correct. Get a flat rate total from one of our technicians after they've seen the situation at your home or business. This is a sound way of doing business with any plumber.
8. Ask neighbors or nearby friends for plumbing referrals. The best way to find a good plumber is to have referrals from people you trust. Ask a friend, relative, or colleague you trust for a recommendation.
We agree again. We get great recommendations from our people and they bring great customers to us. Ask away!
9. If you've had a good experience with another professional, such as an A/C repair technician, a roofer or an electrician, try asking them for a referral.
This can be a good way to find a plumbing company too, but you'll still want to check them out on the other measures listed above.
Hopefully, by answering the tips that a completely different source has laid out, we can show that we aren't afraid to measure up to even the highest standards customers may have. In fact, we believe that Aardvark Rooter will prove to be a very good choice if these steps are followed.
Everyone has had the unfortunate experience of a stopped up toilet or sink. Many of you then tried using a plunger, or perhaps one of those snakes purchased at a local hardware store, to no avail. These things can definitely get complicated.
Some of the more adventurous types will go the DYI (Do It Yourself) route and rent a full sized auger to run through the clean out for their house piping system. Simple, right? Just turn it on and let the auger scour the pipe. If you've got direct access to your drain line, and if all goes well, that's great, but there's more than a few things that could be going on that will get things complicated fast.
Pipes can become clogged for one of two primary reasons, a large object or collection of objects flushed down the toilet (some accidental stuff, and some collection of normal waste) or tree roots protruding into the drain pipe. If your drain is clogged by things that have been flushed down, the line can most likely be cleared. But if the problem is tree roots, well, things could get a little ugly.
Tree roots protruding through a drain pipe means there is a break in the pipe. If you attempt to use an auger you could easily cause further damage to the pipe and run in to some serious costs. Homeowners are responsible for drain piping up to the point where it ties into the public service utility. If your drain pipe breaks underneath your lawn -- it's yours to fix (and to pay for). In many instances, clearing out the roots can be done without making matters worse, but they will grow back, and need more clearing year after year.
Older homes often have clay pipes or plastic. Even with protrusion by the roots, it doesn't mean that you have to replace the pipe. However, if you cause further damage through your own efforts, you may have no other option than to get an entire sewer line repair.
Even if it is just a washrag or child's toy that got stuck in the drain, improper use of an auger can still cause damage. Besides that, it's not a pleasant task. It can be a very dirty, smelly job.
The best way to ensure your drains are properly cleaned is to hire a professional. In our case, we can follow all of the proper steps to make sure we do only what's necessary, and if a bigger fix is needed, such as a new side sewer line, we can take care of it.
Aardvark Rooter's plumbers know how to properly inspect and clean drains -- and at a reasonable cost. We have all of the equipment, including sewer line cameras, to make sure we are doing the right thing for you and your plumbing and drain systems. The next time you find yourself dealing with a clogged drain, take the hassle out of the equation and give Aardvark Rooter a call. We've been proudly serving Federal Way Plumbing and Auburn WA Plumbing and drain cleaning needs for years, and we'd like the opportunity to show you what complete drain care looks like!
Well, first off, we hope you enjoy our brand new website and find it very easy to use. Aardvark Rooter is proud to serve our local communities with experienced Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Services. We've been performing expert drain cleaning Federal Way and Auburn WA have been depending upon.
We'll be using this blog to educate, announce news, talk about our services, and maybe even throw some fun stuff out there. We know that the Plumbers Federal Way and Auburn WA already have are numberous, but we hope to continue and show value to each and every person that chooses us. The technicians and staff here at Aardvark Rooter are dedicated to our craft, but also to being a resource and a reliable friend for you and your home. You'll find us to be among the most affordable plumbers, and drain cleaners in the area!
Be sure to follow us on facebook and/or twitter. We will broadcast our blog posts and special offers on there. If you have friends around the area that need a great drain cleaning or plumbing company, remember, we serve all of Pierce County and King County. Tacoma Plumbing jobs, Puyallup Drain Cleaning, Des Moines Sewer work---all of it is with our scope and range.
We look forward to proving our value, affordability, and expertise with you and yours. We hope you'll give us the opportunity to serve you, OR to serve you again!