Let’s take a trip in the Wayback Machine and consider how fragile good health was before modern plumbing. Water-bourne illnesses ran rampant…cholera, dysentery and internal parasites to name a few.

During the Dark Ages, the Romans invented the earliest forms of plumbing. According to Wikipedia, “A system of thirteen Roman aqueducts provided the inhabitants of Rome with water of varying quality, the best being reserved for potable supplies. Poorer-quality water was used in public baths and in latrines, which were an early form of toilet.”

Closer to home, Cincinnati’s suburb of Mt. Healthy is locally famous as a safe haven during a statewide cholera epidemic that lasted two decades during the 1830’s to the 1850’s. Cholera, the harbinger disease of drinking water or food contaminated with feces, causes devastating diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and rapid death in its victims.

In the late 1850’s, modern toilets found their way to America (read: no more cholera) and by the early 1900’s, toilets were becoming a fixture in urban homes. Today, 99% of Americans have indoor plumbing (and last winter, we were truly grateful outhouses have gone the way of the Dodo bird).

The next time you call a plumber (and there’s always a next time when it comes to plumbing), be sure to tell him “thanks.” Without him, we’d have no place to go.

p.s.,
We’ve all heard the 3 rules of plumbing: Water runs downhill, payday’s on Friday and don’t bite your fingernails. But more than that, plumbers protect the health of our nation and our families, with quiet grace and dignity while manning a gritty sewer machine and a pipe wrench. Some things are best done by the professionals and not so much from a YouTube video.

Water You Waiting For? Allied’s July coupons will be available soon.
Give us a call for a free estimate on new, modern fixtures for your kitchen, bath, or man cave. A touch of brass can really make a difference in your life! We’re here 24 hours a day: 513-396-5300.

Square-shaped or pear-shaped, floor drains keep your home great shape. Truly a wonderful invention and a signature of thoughtful design, floor drains are highly sought after in basements, laundry rooms, garages, pool/shower areas, and even driveways.

Advantages of Floor Drains
If you have ever worked in a garage or basement without a floor drain, you understand how much nicer life is with them.  Floors can be hosed down easily and spills and minor leaks are a quick cleanup with a bucket of water.  In pool and shower areas, floor drains are a safety feature, keeping wet areas dry and reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Floor Drain Care and Feeding
Floor drains are covered by a “strainer”, generally made of brass. Strainers add to the aesthetics of the drain and serve to keep people from tripping into or dropping foreign objects down the drain.

On occasion, homeowners may notice an odor of sewer gas coming from the floor drain.  If your basement area is dry, it’s possible for the drain trap to also become dry, meaning that sewer gas can leak back into your living space.  The easiest solution is to prime the drain by pouring a bucketful of water into the drain, thereby re-filling the trap with water and blocking the inbound gases.

Floor Drains – The Canary in the Sewage Line
On the flip side, odors coming from floor drains can signal trouble elsewhere in the sewer line.  We recently had a case where a homeowner reported an unbearable smell of paint thinner coming from the floor drain.  As it turned out, a restaurant in the next block had used chemicals to strip their floors, then poured the leftover chemicals into the floor drain – a BIG no-no.  The only thing that should go into a floor drain is water, and perhaps soap suds.
As mentioned, floor drains can highlight areas in your plumbing that need attention.  If you notice sewage leaking up through the floor drains, you have trouble that may require professional attention.  Basements are the lowest point of your home, and are subject to water issues.  One of the biggest is tree roots – a common problem in Cincinnati, with its beautiful neighborhoods of stately and mature trees.  If you are thinking tree roots might be a problem, you have limited options:  use less toilet paper, contact a professional to set up a schedule of chemical-based root treatments (typically, copper sulfate powder), or replace the sewer line.
Like Diamonds, One Floor Drain is not Enough.

It doesn’t take much to clog a pipe – overzealous use of toilet paper, a washcloth, tree roots, and misplaced Matchbox cars are common culprits.

Thanks to improvements in technology, today’s plumbing professionals are able to use tiny, waterproof cameras to venture into your pipes and spy the cause of the clog as well as potential trouble spots in an entire drainage system.

At Allied, we like to think of pipe cameras as a portable “ICU” (as in “I see you”) service that helps resolve drainage problems quickly and efficiently for homeowners and businesses.

It’s like having an eyeball mounted on a cable.
Sewer and pipe cameras enable plumbers to detect problems without resorting to costly demolition and guess work. By using a camera, pinpointing the location of a malfunction is a much more reliable task.

Camera capabilities vary, but the more sophisticated versions include 360-degree tilt, expandable cable, color video displays, recording and playback functions, and other features that help detect faults in sewage and drainage systems.

Real-time view = fast results
At a cost upwards of $5000 for a robust camera system, plumbers who invest in state-of-the art tools such as a sewer camera likely also have high-tech “next steps”: water jetting equipment and powerful augers that can quickly clear drainage issues.

Water You Waiting for? Call Allied Today!
For more information on Allied’s blockage-busting sewer camera service, high pressure water jetting capabilities, or to receive a free estimate, contact us at 513-396-5300.

Cincinnati has an impressive reputation as home to world class restaurants. And all restaurants, from Four-Star to Gold Star, have one thing in common: grease traps. With that in mind, this news item from Arizona caught our eye: Eateries Ignore Grease Trap Ordinance: Read article

Grease waste: A slick operation
Most people give grease traps little thought. But, well maintained traps (and their counterpart, grease interceptors) are one of the lynch pins in our city’s sanitary sewer system. By law, nearly all restaurants are required to use a grease trap system and maintain it according to state and local requirements.

Typically located under sinks and dishwashers in food service operations, grease traps and grease interceptors remove and separate fate, oils and greases (FOG) from a restaurant’s waste water. In the world of potential health code violations, improper disposal of grease or failure to pump out a grease trap on a regular basis are big ones for city code keepers.

When food service food waste and grease are improperly disposed of (e.g., washed down the drain), it can cause sewage backups into nearby homes and businesses.

The simplest and most cost-effective approach is to set a schedule for pumping the trap(s) and inspecting the integrity of the grease interceptor(s). The cost of pumping varies depending on the size of the restaurant. Most trap-cleaning operations charge by the gallon and the cost is reasonable.

Is grease trap cleaning messy?
In a word, yes. Typically, the grease, fats, and oils in the trap and interceptor have been there a while. In all honesty, “unpleasant” is an understatement. This brief video shows how one restaurant cleans their trap; draw your own conclusion about the messiness factor (and whether you would like to dine there). Watch video

At Allied, we’re good with grease.
Our skilled staff meticulously provides both interior and exterior grease trap pumping services to the food service industry, retirement homes, schools, apartment owners, and manufacturers around town. In addition to removing the grease, our technicians will scrape down the trap and provide an inspection of the trap’s overall condition, including the baffles and cover. Most importantly, our technicians will ensure that your trap cleaning log is updated and provides the proper documentation to the city health inspectors.

For more information on our grease trap cleaning process or to receive a free estimate, contact us today at 513-396-5300.

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Over 50% of insurance claims related to water damage are from broken water supply hoses. The average claim is more than $6,000.

The laundry room is one of your home’s most important work spaces, yet it typically receives the least attention…until it’s out of service.

This week, we’re taking a closer look at a simple home maintenance item: washing machine hoses. Did you know that in a typical home, water can spill out of a single hose at a rate of about 650 gallons per hour? At that rate, damage adds up quickly.

Reasons why hoses fail
• Age
 – Insurance industry studies show that 80% of these types of insurance claims are related to hoses 8-10 years old.

• Materials – Reinforced rubber is a popular option for hoses. It becomes brittle as it ages, making it subject to cracks, leaks, and bursting.

• Installation Errors – The most common installation error is lack of sufficient room to prevent kinks in the hose, especially near the valve connections.

Visual Inspections – A Good Habit
File this under “Things We Should Do, But Seldom Remember.” In most homes, laundry is a family affair – everyone’s doing it, but few think to look behind the washer and check the hoses. Sometimes, a sign next to the washer is a good reminder. Check for:

• Deterioration: blisters, bulges, or bubbles; cracks; unraveling (if using braided steel hoses); bends or kinks near the connections.

• Leaks: Moisture, drips, rust, discoloration, or leaks on or around hoses and connections or in the catch pan (if present).

Easy Precautions
• Don’t leave the washer unattended. When washer failures happen in an empty home, losses multiply by 150%.

• Turn off water between uses. Relieve water pressure in the hoses by turning off the water supply when the machine is not in use or when you will be away.

• Do not delay – Replace old hoses ASAP. A good practice is to replace hoses every 3-5 years; hose breakdown is happens from the inside-out, so it’s easy to miss the warning signs. For a few bucks, a hose maintenance plan can save you thousands of dollars in damage and lost time.

Water You Waiting For?
At Allied, proactive water supply line maintenance is at the top of our to-do list. Give us a call for a free estimate and to learn more about the latest in washer hose technology. We’re here 24 hours a day: 513-396-5300.