Free Sewer Cleaning in Cincinnati

Do you want a Free Sewer Cleaning?

If you live within the jurisdiction of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District, then you may be entitled to a free main line sewer cleaning. If you pay sewer fees to this sewer provider then you are entitled to a free sewer cleaning as long as it is found to be the sewer districts problem. You can learn more by clicking on this hyperlink http://msdgc.org/wib/ Remember that there are limitations.

You may ask why would a plumbing company want to inform their possible customer that they could save money by not paying a plumbing company fees to unclog their drains. To us here at Flow-Rite Plumbing it is simple. Why not help a possible customer out for free when in return they might remember us when they do have to pay for a plumbing service call later for something else maybe. Who knows maybe our good deed will be returned? If not, we still performed a good deed by telling the customer about this service provided for no cost when we could have charged them for a sewer cleaning!

We don’t want to have to pay for something we don’t have to either! So pass it along to your neighbor or friend and don’t forget who told you about it!

Why be Wrong…….When you can Flow-Rite!

Backflow Preventers

What is a backflow preventer?

If your asking this question then you obviously need a crash course on what a backflow device is as it could save your life some day. Backflow preventers are overlooked in most cases because of the lack of knowledge about their need and what they do. Backflow preventers are commonly a plumbing code requirement in most all up to date jurisdictions. The need for backflow preventers hinges on the need for safe drinking water for all public humanity. The use of these devices along with the annual testing of them where applicable can protect the public water supply from becoming poisoned by contaminants that could make someone dangerously ill or even cause death.

The annual testing of these devices is very important because it insures the probability that the device is functioning properly in order to protect the public water supply. Although there are many forms of backflow prevention that are not testable they still exist in every persons home as we speak. That is if we as humans don’t by-pass these safety measures provided. One example of a non testable backflow preventer is an Air Gap which is simply the space between the end of a faucet where the water comes out and the point at which the water would overflow onto the floor if you filled the fixture that the faucet serves. This is a common backflow device that is implemented in every house around the world.

The way this device works is really simple and has no need to test annually. The air space between the faucet outlet and the possible level that the sink or fixture could overflow creates an area of free space or air at which the possibly contaminated sink water could never be siphoned back into the faucet. Thanks to gravity this can’t happen. This cannot happen because the sink water cannot travel though the air without being under pressure and physically get into the faucet if it were open and had no water pressure at the same time. An example of this would be if there was a water main break on your street.  This would result in a loss of water pressure to the entire house and at the same time create a siphoning effect at the faucet, possibly sucking up any nastiness that was in the sink water. That nastiness could get into your water piping within the house. The next time you turn on your faucet to get a drink of water it contains this nasty contaminated water that is all of a sudden in your drinking glass. Drink up!

Another backflow prevention device that some residences have is located where the water supply in a residence ties into an irrigation system. If you have an irrigation system for your lawn then you may be aware of such a device as it should be tested annually and the results will be forwarded to the local authorities having jurisdiction so they can make sure the device is working properly to prevent lawn fertilizer from being in contact with your drinking water. These devices are usually kept track of by your local health department.

You may think this wouldn’t happen to you but it is an unfortunate circumstance that does happen to people and it is unexpected when it does. This is why the plumbing industry has plumbing codes that they follow in order to protect the public drinking water. As I stated before, the only way one of these safeguards can be by-passed is by human intervention. Sometimes this can be done unintentionally by adding a hose to the faucet outlet or some other means of by-passing the air space between the two points as discussed earlier. If this happens then there is a possibility of contaminating your water within your own house and in extreme circumstances you could contaminate the water all the way to the water main in the street.

There are many different types of backflow preventers in place especially in commercial buildings where the possibility of contamination is more prevalent because of constant usage more so than in a residential setting. These devices are among the ones that should be tested annually to eliminate the possibility of contamination to the buildings water or the public water in the water main outside of the building. In order to test these devices you must have knowledge of their mechanical workings and be a licensed backflow tester by the state or locality in which they are located. Flow-Rite Plumbing has licensed backflow testers in Ohio and Kentucky. 

Call today for a quote on your backflow testing needs! (513) 383-4242

As always…Why be Wrong?….When you can Flow-Rite!

Going Green in Cincinnati

Going “Green” can hurt the pocket book at first !

Going “Green” can severely affect the homeowners or business owners budget at first glance. However the advantages of energy efficient plumbing fixtures and systems can be rewarding in the long run. With the ever changing economy  bringing the need for cost effective fixtures and appliances there comes an added expense for the purchase of such things at least initially. Thankfully the government has rewarded us with tax incentives in the year 2009. You can earn up to 10 % tax credits back on the total cost of green technology fixtures and appliances. This even includes doors, windows and other such building materials. Check out your federal tax laws for further info and limits. Check out our Cincinnati Plumbers website for more info.

In the world of plumbing this points to a few key fixtures such as Water Heaters and Boilers as well as radiant heating applications. Not only do these energy saving fixtures save us costly natural gas and electric bills in the long run but they also provide us with a little incentive such as tax credits and in some cases a credit from your local gas and electric company also!

If a consumer sits down and does the math regarding how much gas and electric bills will decrease they would see that the up front initial money to purchase and install an energy efficient fixture would save them money in the long run. This is easier said than done though. I know because I have tried to convey these savings to many people regarding a new replacement water heater such as an Eternal Hybrid Water Heater. The consumer just can’t get past the the pay me now or pay me later aspect of green technology that I try to make as clear as possible. It’s human nature in a way. They look at a $ 800.00 water heater install compared to a $ 2600.00 water heater install. 

It’s a no brain-er right? I wouldn’t agree. The amount of money you can save by not heating water when you don’t need it with the more expensive water heater will save you an extra $ 30.00 a month on average! Yes it will take some time to make the difference up at $ 30.00 a month but after that you are home free with nothing but savings on your gas and electric bill. Don’t forget about the 2009 tax credit  that you get at the end of the first year.

I have a simple example that most will understand. A Lot of people go to a wholesale or discount membership type shopping club such as Costco or Sam’s Club to name few. The reason they go there is to find a better price on buying a larger quantity of product they use quite often at a substantially lower price for the amount they receive. They buy it at a discounted price although its more than they can use in a week and they save in the long run because they know they are going to use that staple item in their everyday lives. What is the difference if you purchase a water heater that lasts you longer and saves you more money in the long run because you haven’t spent all your savings on the gas or electric to make it work. To me this is a no brain-er!

As always, Why be Wrong?…..When you can Flow-Rite!

Call Cincinnati Plumbers at (513) 383-4242 for more info on green technology

Installing a water heater DIY

Commercial plumbing,Plumbing Tips,Residential Plumbing — Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do’s and Dont’s of installing a water heater

Do’s

  1. Do consult with multiple plumbing companies for pricing of an exact or better replacement before attempting it yourself.
  2. Do compare your price quotes from other companies, comparing not only their prices but whether it is easier to have them do it instead of yourself.
  3. Do make sure that if you have a plumbing company install your water heater they and their installers are licensed and insured in the state and locality you reside in.
  4. Do consult your local plumbing code official about updates that may be necessary in order to comply with current plumbing codes.
  5. Do turn the cold water off to the selected water heater.
  6. Do be prepared to be without water for at least an hour or more to the entire house.
  7. Do turn off all gas and/ or electric to the water heater.
  8. Do have your new water heater already purchased and ready to install including all water, gas or electric fittings that you may need.
  9. Do follow all installation instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  10. Do drain your existing water heater of all water that is left in the tank after turning off the water supply. 
  11. Do make sure all water, gas and electric connections are leak tested and properly joined for your safety.
  12. Do have a helper on hand for assistance when needed.
  13. Do install the water heater according to all local codes and call for an inspection after it is installed correctly.
  14. Do discard of the old water heater in a manner appropriate to your local trash pick up service.
  15. Congratulations you have installed a new water heater.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t  try to perform this work without the correct plumbing tools and fittings necessary.
  2. Don’t try and move heavy objects such as water heaters by yourself.
  3. Don’t ignite a gas water heater or turn on the electric to an electric water heater before it is filled with water and you have leak tested the gas and water piping.
  4. Don’t forget to call the plumbing inspector in your locality for an inspection to ensure that the water heater has been installed according to current plumbing code.
  5. Don’t discard of your old water heater inappropriately!
  6. Don’t dislike a plumber because he or she charges a fair rate to perform a service such as installing a water heater. Plumbers are professionals by trade and get paid fairly to perform this service.

As always…  Why be Wrong ?…..When you can Flow-Rite !

Call a licensed Cincinnati Plumber Today at (513) 383-4242

Drain Cleaners that are harmful to your piping

Plumbing Tips,Products,Residential Plumbing — Friday, December 26, 2008

Chemical Drain Cleaners that are harmful to your piping !

Any chemical drain cleaner that contains an acid such as sulphuric acid can and will harm your piping. Many off the shelf drain cleaners in a bottle can contain these acids in different amounts. The use of these drain cleaners can unclog your piping but at the same time can erode your piping from the inside out. I have noticed that some of the cleaners on the shelf contain these acids and state that they are safe for your piping! That is as far from the truth as can be. The instructions tell you to pour the solution over the clog and let it work on the clog implying that the cleaner does it all by itself. Like I said before these cleaners contain acids that can eat away metal and plastic. These are the two things that plumbing piping is made of so why would you deliberately pour these cleaners into your pipes? Just because the bottle says it’s safe for them, doesn’t mean it is!

There have been many occasions that I have been to a house for a service call to unstop a kitchen sink or sink drain in a bathroom where the owner has used one of these acidic drain cleaners before my arrival. After a few times of getting chemical burns on my hands from handling the plumbing piping under the sink I began asking the owner if they put any type of drain cleaner down the drain before I got there. Sometimes just knowing if they did before you begin undoing sink piping can help prevent the plumber from skin burns.

I made a good point about going to houses that have used chemical drain cleaners in their drains. The point is if I am there then the drain cleaner did not work very well. Also on a secondary note these same houses have had the chemicals sitting in the drain for hours. All the time the chemicals sat just eating away at the p-trap piping under the sinks causing the piping to form holes in it especially on older chrome metal p-traps. Of course there was a need to then replace the parts that might have otherwise been alright costing the customers more in the long run.

There are drain cleaners that can help dilute the clogs without harming the piping!

These drain cleaners will contain a chemical known as Sodium Hydroxide or also known as LYE. Sodium Hydroxide is caustic and not acidic. These caustic cleaners will only eat away at clogs that are organic in nature. Organic in nature means that most everything that goes down a drain  like hair, grease, soap, foods, vegetable matter, or anything that was living at one time or another or that came from something living. It will not dissolve metal, plastic or other man made materials which is what your plumbing piping is made of. Nor will it break up large objects in your piping such as foreign material that does not belong in the sewer to begin with. It also will not work well on roots in your sewer as you need to physically remove them even though they are organic.

The caustic properties however will eat away at your skin which is organic also. So be careful when applying these cleaners and wear gloves and safety glasses. As I said before it would be nice if you told the plumber that you used a chemical drain cleaner so he or she can be prepared as well. Any chemical drain cleaner can help solve minor clogs but the best prevention is maintenance of your drain piping system even with chemical drain cleaners when the drain is not actually clogged.We recommend manual cleaning of your drain lines either with a sewer snake or a water jetter machine before applying the chemical drain cleaners for maintenance.

Flow-Rite Plumbing sells its own drain cleaner for light to medium clogs and proper drain maintenance!

Give us a call today for all your Cincinnati Drain Cleaning Needsat

(513) 383-4242

As always…Why be Wrong ?…..When you can Flow-Rite !

Searching for a good plumber ?

How to choose a good plumber!

  1. Ask your friends, family and neighbors first who they would recommend. This is usually the best way to find a good plumbing company
  2. Take into consideration that they usually will remember who not to call instead of who to call!
  3. Always ask if the pluming company they recommend gave them an upfront price and stuck to that price when it was all said and done.
  4. If you are close then ask how much they paid for the services they received and maybe even ask to see for yourself.
  5. Ask them if they called or contacted several different companies before they chose the one they used.
  6. Ask if they called the first big plumbing ad in the phone book and stopped there.( If they did, then you might want to try shopping around yourself ! ) Remember those big ads get paid for by consumers like yourself.
  7. Ask if this was the first time they used the company they are referring and if it is, then ask if the company was referred to them by someone else.
  8. Remember to refer the company that you used and liked to your friends, family and neighbors no matter what profession or service they provide!

As always…. Why be Wrong ?…… When you can Flow-Rite!

Frozen Pipes

In The News,Plumbing Tips,Residential Plumbing — Monday, December 22, 2008

Keep your pipes from freezing!

  • Anywhere you may have water pipes in the house that are in,on or close to an outside wall need to be kept from freezing by insulation or heat.
  • Most piping that freezes is located under the kitchen sink or at an outside hose hydrant that is not a frost proof type.
  • Locate all potential piping that could freeze in inclement weather by locating the lines visually when possible.
  • Start by visually locating the lines usually you can see them  by looking at your basement ceiling if it is not covered and following them to the fixtures they serve.
  • Observe where water lines penetrate either the wall or the floor when serving a fixture that is near an outside wall.
  • If they penetrate from below and continue upward through the floor but away from the outside wall underneath the sink then on especially cold days leave the cabinet doors open to let heat from the house to the piping.
  • If they penetrate from below and appear to penetrate from the wall or beside an outside wall  underneath the sink then leave any cabinet doors open and apply an additional heat source under the cabinet.
  • If you have outside hose hydrants make sure that you disconnect any hoses from them at the first sign of cold weather.
  • If you have outside hose hydrants that are not self draining or frost proof type then hopefully you have a shut off valve directly before the piping exits the house and attaches to the hose. In this case at the first sign of cold weather, turn off the valve inside the house before the hydrant and open the outside valve up completely until warm weather returns. Opening the outside valve where the hose connects will let the piping exposed to inclement weather drain all water that could possibly freeze.

Please note: The above scenarios are the most common things we find and not all possibilities are covered!

Feel free to call us for further info! (513) 383-4242

As always, Why be wrong?…..When you can Flow-Rite!

How to choose a toilet.

In The News,Plumbing Tips,Residential Plumbing — Friday, December 19, 2008

Don’t buy one of the “ALL IN ONE TOILET IN A BOX KITS” FROM YOUR LOCAL  HARDWARE CHAIN STORES!

Remember you get what you pay for when it comes to toilets!

As a Plumbing contractor/ Installer in Cincinnati I have had the chance to see a lot of different toilets perform on the jobs we perform. First of all any toilet that you can purchase now days is going to be a 1.6 gallon flush volume or lower. This is mandated by the E.P.A. for water conservation. It’s a good thing to conserve water however the problem lies in the toilets ability to flush the waste away with less water than the older traditional toilets no longer available.

There are few manufactures that have really solved this problem thus far. Our knowledge of on the job experience as far as callbacks and complaints go have left us with a few favorites. Like I said before” you get what you pay for when it comes to toilets”.

Below is a list of a few toilets we install and recommend installing if you’re doing it yourself!

  • American Standard Cadet 3
  • Gerber Avalanche

Any pressure assist type toilet with a Sloan valve in it.

Pressure assist type toilets are the cats meow when it comes to a 1.6 gallon flush. They cost 90 to 100 dollars more but are an asset to the plumbing industry as far as toilets go! They work off a very simple principal and that is incoming water supply pressure. Most people have a substantial amount of water pressure supplied to their homes now days. To reap the benefits of a pressure assist toilet you would need to have anywhere from 40 to 60 lbs psi of incoming water pressure. Basically the toilet uses your water pressure with the volume of 1.6 gallons to increase flushing capacity of solids and waste without ever getting the tank wet. It still has a tank  however inside that tank is another small football size tank which houses the 1.6 gallons of water and uses that pressurized water to flush quicker and stronger when you push down on the tank lever.

I can’t ever remember having a service call to unclog a pressure assist toilet because someone used too much paper or just overloaded the toilet. There is only one drawback to the functionality of this awesome flushing toilet and it is……….that it’s  more noisy than a tank type toilet when you flush it. You won’t hear an alarm or bells ringing but it will make a louder flushing noise when you flush because of that pressure I spoke of earlier. So if you can put up with a little more noise when you flush and pay that initial 90 to 100 dollars more, then you won’t be dissatisfied with a Pressure assist toilet!

Take advantage of a knowledgeable Cincinnati Plumber and Call (513) 383-4242 

How to install a toilet.

Plumbing Tips,Residential Plumbing — Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Follow these Easy Steps to install a toilet.

Below is a list of steps you should follow when attempting to replace a toilet at home.

  1. Make sure all old wax is removed from the toilet flange.
  2. Place the new toilet bowl over the old flange to get an idea where the new bowl will be  when it is square from the wall and installed permanently.
  3. Using the toilet seat holes on the bowl measure their distance from the rear wall to the center of the holes making sure that they are equidistant from the wall thus making the bowl square with the wall.
  4. Next trace around the bottom of the bowl where it meets the floor to make an outline.
  5. Remove the toilet bowl and set aside.
  6. Prepare your new flange bolts by inserting them into the toilet flange bolt slots.
  7. Place a new wax ring over the center of the existing toilet flange.
  8. Prepare either plaster of Paris mix or a sanded grout mix that matches your flooring if tile.
  9. Apply the mix using the previous outline you traced around the toilet bowl being careful not to go outside the line.Do this all the way around the line about an inch tall depending on the height of your flange to floor distance.
  10. Grab the new toilet bowl and place over the toilet flange bolts.Apply steady downward pressure while rocking back and fourth slowly until the bowl seats against the flange.
  11. Place your toilet flange bolt nuts and washers along with the plastic cap washers right side up and tighten snugly.
  12. While using a level to adjust the side to side and front to back leveling of the toilet be prepared to adjust the tightness of the bolts as needed to compensate.
  13. If using plaster of paris then simply wipe your finger around the perimeter of the base of the toilet to leave a caulk like finish around the edge.Leave the leftover ring of plaster to dry for easy removal later.
  14. If using grout then follow the manufacturers instructions.
  15. In either case you need to let the mixed base that you set the toilet in dry.With Plaster this will only take about ten minutes.
  16. Place the toilet tank on the rear of the toilet bowl and fasten it with the bolts provided by the manufacturer.
  17. Install a new water supply line to the toilet fill valve per instructions.Usually this is the opposite of how you removed the old water supply line however you may want to make it easy on yourself and use a new flexible supply line for toilets.Remember that longer supply lines are better than one that is to short so measure first.
  18. Put the tank lid on and turn the water shut off back to the on position to check for leaks and proper flush.
  19. Last but not least. Cut off any length of toilet flange bolts that won’t allow for the plastic nut covers to snap onto the plastic washers you put in before in step11.
  20. Snug down the nuts at the flange bolts again before covering.

Wait one minute I forgot to tell you to put your new toilet seat on. OH WELL, I guess you would have figured that out on your first sit down use! Enjoy your new toilet!

Any Questions call a licensed Cincinnati Plumber at (513) 383-4242

As always. Why be Wrong….When you can Flow-Rite!

Roots in the sewer

In The News,Plumbing Tips,Residential Plumbing — Friday, December 12, 2008

Do you have roots in your sewer?

Many people who find that they have roots in there sewer usually have had a clog form where all the drains in the house are backed up. Usually they first notice the back up at the lowest point in the drainage system and that point is usually at the basement floor drain or the floor drain in the water heater room in ground level houses.Then they call a Cincinnati plumber to come and use a drain snake to clean out the sewer.

Next is when the problem rears it’s ugly head just as the plumber pulls back a big ball of roots attached to the end of his auger that have found there way into your sewer piping somehow. Not only is this a common problem with sewers outside the house but a very common problem among older houses piping even those that don’t have a public sewer connection but connect to a septic tank.

The most common misconception about how the roots got in the pipe is when the homeowner says “well there aren’t even any trees around where you say the problem is”. It doesn’t even have to be a tree in close proximity to the sewer line.It can even be from shrubs such as thick ground covering like ivy varieties as far as example of what people don’t consider trees.We have seen a lot of cases where the culprit is a boxwood type shrub planted just next to the house in the flower beds.

All this may make it seem like you shouldn’t  even plant any vegetation in your yard just to be safe.The fact of the matter is that it is not really the plants fault at all.Don’t get me wrong it’s not the best idea to plant a tree or shrub directly over the top of a known sewer location no mater how deep the sewer is.This is all easier said than done though as I have large shrubs and bushes in my own front yard in fairly close proximity to my buildings sewer.

When I said it wasn’t the plants fault that your sewer has roots in it. It’s the truth.The reason a plant of any kind puts it’s roots in a sewer is simple really.Lets think about it.inside any sewer pipe there are at least three things that a plant  of any kind needs to survive. These are WATER,NUTRIENTS and OXYGEN.

Now for the reason that the roots find their way in the piping and that is simple as well. First and foremost there has to be a point at which the hair like roots can enter the piping. This usually occurs at a joint where the sewer piping joins together underground with one length of pipe to another. These joints often become deteriorated over time especially in older types of piping such as concrete and cast iron types. A piping joint is not the only way roots can find their way in though. It only takes one crack or one pinhole in a piping system to let them in.

Once in the piping it may take months or a year for the root system to grow to a size where it becomes a major problem while catching all sort of debris such as solids and toilet paper in it’s hair like extensions.

The solution to these root infiltrations is not to treat the piping with chemicals! This is a huge misconception and bad advice if given to you by any one especially a plumber.

The only way to solve this problem is to replace the bad portion of piping  completely and remove all possible points of root penetration!

There are many people who waste their money time and time again by paying for chemicals to try and kill off the roots in their sewer piping slowly because of bad advice or what they read on the container of chemicals they buy at the hardware store. Take it from an expert that you will be calling a plumber sooner than later to replace the piping. It may take some people a while for it to sink in that spending money month after month on chemicals that don’t solve the problem just isn’t the answer. If that isn’t enough maybe the monthly or bi-monthly sewer cleaning calls that they pay for along with the chemicals will change their minds!

As always,

Why be wrong? …..When you can Flow-Rite!

How to remove a Toilet

Plumbing Tips — Saturday, December 6, 2008

Below is a list of steps you should follow when attempting to replace a toilet at home.

  1. Turn off the water supply valve or the water valve to the house if there isn’t one at the toilet supply.
  2. Flush the tank and hold down the flush lever to remove as much water as possible.
  3. Remove any additional water in the tank and bowl with a wet vac or sponge.
  4. Remove the water supply line at the toilet side connection by hand or with a wrench.
  5. Loosen the two nuts(one on either side at the base of the fixture.Sometimes these are covered by egg-shaped plastic caps  which can be removed by slightly prying with a flat-head screwdriver. If you cannot unscrew the nuts by hand you may need to remove them by some means of cutting such as a saws-all or hacksaw.
  6. After the nuts are removed and the tank and bowl are empty you can then grasp the toilet underneath the point where the toilet seat bolts down on either side of the fixture.With two hands and a steady rocking motion side to side while pulling upward you should be able to remove the toilet from it’s flange at the floor.
  7. Set the old fixture aside or discard.
  8. Remove all old wax from the toilet flange at the floor and dispose in the trash.
  9. You have now removed the old toilet and are ready to install a new one.
  10. Call Cincinnati Plumbers to install a new toilet!

How do You use your GARBAGE DISPOSAL ?

Plumbing Tips — Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nine out of ten Cincinnati Plumbing service calls we perform that have to do with a FOOD WASTE DISPOSER are due to the fact that a customer has miss used their disposal!

We always try and educate the customer on What not to put in your DISPOSAL! (Read on …)

Winterizing Your Plumbing System

Winterizing your plumbing is a virtually cost-free alternative to frozen pipes.

  • Turn off the main shutoff valve or have the water company turn off service to the house.
  • Starting at the top floor, open all faucets, both indoors and outside.
  • When the last of the water has dripped from the taps, open the plug at the main shutoff valve if possible (if you have to, contact the water company), and let it drain.
  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater and open its drain valve.
  • To freeze-proof the system, empty toilet bowls and tanks.
  • Remove the clean out plugs on all sink traps (or remove the traps, if necessary).
  • Once emptied, replace them and fill with plumbing antifreeze mixed with water in the proportions specified for car in your climate.
  • You won’t be able to drain tub and shower taps. Instead, add at least a full quart of antifreeze.
  • Don’t put antifreeze into a dishwasher or clothes washer.
  • If your home has a basement floor drain or a main house trap, fill each with full-strength antifreeze.
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