It’s that time of year in Cincinnati…leaves are beginning to turn and we’re up to our ears in free zucchini. Yep, Fall is right around the corner. Before getting all tangled up in Christmas lights, take the time to perform Allied Reddi Rooter’s “10-Point Plumbing Inspection & Maintenance Check”. At least, take a few minutes to check out the links; they are nicely done.

Flush the water heater — This Old House has an excellent video (starring Richard, our 2nd favorite plumber, after Ray). View now: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20047191,00.html

Drain the exterior faucet, close the valve until next spring, and store the hose for winter – By installing a frost-proof exterior faucet , you can eliminate 2 of these things from your life. Truly, frost-proof faucets are the only way to go in the Midwest.

Clean the gutters – Lovely as they are, icicles hanging off the gutters are a bad sign. They can lead to under-shingle ice damage and large formations can actually damage your gutters from their sheer weight.

Replace (or insulate) leaky windows and doors – Energy costs are volatile, especially in winter. As the ground freezes during bitter cold spells, your home’s foundation can shift, creating gaps around door and window frames. Gaps mean your hard-earned heat is going right out the door. Check door and window frames periodically and install insulating tape or consider replacing old units. It’s an up-front investment that pays off in the long run.

Insulate around potentially exposed pipes – This is both an energy-saver (on hot water lines) and a risk-reducer (on water lines that may freeze and burst). “Today’s Homeowner” has a series of videos specifically on the topic of protecting your pipes and exterior faucets during freezing weather. http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-insulate-water-pipes-to-prevent-freezing/

Locate the main water shut-off valve – You may need to follow the water lines back to the main valve, but it’s time well spent should you have a burst pipe. Turn the valve on and off a few times to ensure it works smoothly. “Water Jane” sums it up nicely: http://waterfiremoldhelp.com/how-to-find-the-main-water-shutoff-valve-city-supplied-water/

Locate the breaker box and main breaker – In winter, ice and wind storms can lead to power outages. It’s good to ensure your family knows where the main breaker is located and how to check all breakers to see if one is tripped, as well as how to re-set a tripped breaker. Here’s an informative video on the process: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=reset+breaker+video&FORM=VIRE3#view=detail&mid=087EDEB8954789442B56087EDEB8954789442B56

Locate the main gas valve – Notice a theme? Locate your home’s “main organs” before there’s a real emergency. The Family Handyman has a well-written article (with pictures) on how to locate and close the main gas valve. See: http://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/valves/how-to-locate-your-gas-shutoff-valve-and-water-shutoff-valve/view-all

Got rust or mineral deposits in the toidy? This is a common problem in rural areas, where homes are fed by well water instead of Cincinnati’s fine river water. The fix is surprisingly easy and good to know. Check it out: http://www.ehow.com/how_6699008_using-muriatic-acid-clean-toilets.html

Install an instant hot water dispenser in the kitchen. When winter winds are howling, a nice hot cup of tea or instant oatmeal will warm you to your toes.

Water You Waiting For? Allied’s skilled, professional and “on-deck” employees are available 24/7 to assist with your residential or commercial plumbing needs. From winterization to new construction, we are pleased to be one of Cincinnati’s premier plumbing providers. Call Ray today for a free quote: (513) 396-5300.

When it comes to listing our Top 3 Most Important Occupations, “Plumber” is ranks highly (but “Mom” ranks higher).

There’s a good reason why we chose this profession: Plumbers protect the health of the nation – ensuring safe and reliable drinking water, dry basements, and tidy toidies, to name a few. But consider these skills a good, solid a plumber brings to the table:

Gas line work – Upgrading your kitchen range (or clothes dryer or water heater) from electric to gas? In the Greater Cincinnati Area, gas is plentiful, inexpensive, and your plumber can install and route gas lines with ease. Bonus: During Hurricane Ike, electric was out for days while city gas remained in full service…being without electricity is semi-enjoyable when you have hot water and a functioning stove. Your plumber (and we hope it’s Allied) can consult with you in detail on the advantages of electric-to-gas conversions.

Copper work – Considering installing copper gutters or a copper standing-seam roof? A full-service plumber is a good place to start your research. Experienced plumbers are also master fabricators. They are able to purchase copper by the sheet and have to tools to make intricate bends and soldered connections.

HVAC work – Heating (e.g., furnaces and boilers), ventilation (ductwork) and air conditioning are sweet spots in the plumbing business. It makes sense – these items feature pieces near and dear to our hearts: copper piping, valves, and fittings.

Re-tinning cookware – Is your antique copper tea kettle (or favorite copper sauté pan) in need of a new tin lining? This is a little old-school, but there are plumbers in the area who are skilled an able at melting tin and making your old treasures new again.

Lead work – Ever wondered how to make toy soldiers (such as the ones in the movie The Patriot) or what is involved in making lead castings? Talk to a plumber! An engaging one may take the time to show you (or your Scout troop) how to melt lead over a propane burner, pour the lead into the molds, and pop out a toy. According to http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-a-plumber-do.htm, “The word plumber is derived from the Latin plumbum, for “lead.” Historically, pipes and joints were made from lead, and plumbers were…”lead workers” in addition to pipe-layers. [Because plumbers] often delve into the depths of pipes to clear clogs or diagnose problems, the term “plumbing” is used colloquially to describe deeply digging for information.”

Plumbing Analysts – We like this one best of all. In situation involving the mechanical areas of your home or business, a good plumber has the ability to a) assess the situation, b) provide ideas for long term solutions, c) develop a project plan and d) perform the actual work.

Water You Waiting For? If you would like to learn more about replacing your electric appliances with gas ones, give us a call! Ray will guide you through the upgrade process. Call 24/7 for a free estimate: (513) 396-5300

When it comes to Cincinnati plumbing topics, the availability of clean drinking water in America’s greatest city is a favorite. Recent events in Toledo, Nashville, and LA highlight the importance of having a personal supply of clean water on hand, in case of an emergency. At Allied, we’re delighted to assist faucets of all shapes and sizes in delivering top-rated drinking water to households and businesses all over town.

According to Ready.gov, “Water is an essential element to survival and a necessary item in an emergency supplies kit. [In a] disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Your regular water source could be cut off or compromised through contamination. Prepare yourself by building a supply…that will meet your family’s needs during an emergency.”

Where Can You Find 30-to-50 Gallons, For Free?
Look no further than your hot water tank. Should you get caught flat-footed in a water event, your home hot water tank holds a constant supply of 30 to 50 gallons, delivered directly from the city’s municipal water supply. Use the tank’s drain valve to empty the water into smaller containers for emergency drinking, flushing, and washing.

Speaking of hot water heaters, wouldn’t it be nice to have that emergency water stored in a brand new hot water tank? Enter our Free Installed Hot Water Heater Sweepstakes today!

A New Kind of Water Calculator – Storage & Drinking Needs
If your home is like ours, storage space is at a premium for a bulky item such as water. That being said, we’ve found several areas in the basement that hold water nicely – after we relocated about 253 old Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Consumer Reports magazines to the attic.

Conventional wisdom suggest that in the event of a disaster, plan to provide for your family’s water (as well as food and shelter) needs for at least 3 days (72 hours) – it takes about that long for local, state, and federal assistance teams to mobilize and create a plan of action for affected areas.

When calculating your water needs, consider this: A normal, active person requires about 3/4 of a gallon of fluid daily, from water and other beverages (individual needs vary, depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate). Below is a recommended approach:

• One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
• Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more water.
• A medical emergency will require additional water.
• In warm weather, more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.

What does “Water for Sanitation” Mean?
That’s a $5 way of saying “You gotta flush, eventually.” In the event of a major water line failure, manually flush toilets by filling a small waste basket or bucket with 2-3 gallons of water (preferably used water from the dishes or tub, not water of drinking quality). When the toilet must be flushed, carefully and rapidly empty the bucket of water into the toilet bowl (fill nearly to the rim) until it self-flushes. A helpful motto in such circumstances (your kids will memorize this in a snap):

“If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

Water You Waiting For? If you are experiencing a catastrophic, neighborhood-wide water disaster, the professionals recommend that you have a 3-day supply of clean water on hand. On the other hand, if your water disaster is localized to only your address (e.g., water main break, drain clog, sewer backup, or water in your basement), Allied Reddi-Rooter offers plumbing rescue service 24×7. Call today for a free estimate: (513) 396-5300.

Fluoridation in Cincinnati water… It helps! It’s an evil 1950s Commie plot! It’s another “So Cincinnati” must-read debate. We like to make our own decisions in the Queen City. In 1974 we opted (or did we?) to fluoridate our drinking water, so the chemical has been added to our tap water for four decades without fanfare. Well, the stone-turning Cincinnati Enquirer has uncovered yet another front-pager, with the revelation that the fluoride dump may not be legally binding as it was implemented in the Nixon Era. (Could this be another cover up?)

Fluoride is in many products that we selectively use daily – like toothpaste. Do we need it in our water too? Absolutely! No way!! Anyway… We love our soap operas thanks to Procter & Gamble and here’s yet another. Read the article and decide for yourself:

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2014/08/11/charter-review-reopens-water-fluoridation-debate/13882849/

Dishes Come Out Sparkling; Dish Gunk Sticks Around Forever
Every Friday, it’s Kitchen Cleaning Day at our house. And every Friday, we’re grossed-out by the stinky, smelly, gnarly, greasy goo that collects around the gaskets of the dishwasher and garbage disposal. This week, we did some research to understand just what’s in that gunk and offer some tips for eliminating it.

Dishwashers – There’s a Fungus Among Us!
According to a recent article in the NY Daily News:
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/nasty-germs-lurking-dishwasher-article-1.1393040the black rubber seals inside your dishwasher are “a “major indoor niche’ for harmful fungal pathogens, including black yeast-like fungi.”

For people with compromised lung function (e.g., cystic fibrosis) or people taking antibiotics, two varieties of black fungi (exophiala dermatitidis and exophiala phaeomuriformis) are at risk. These fungi are most commonly found in the warm, moist environments of household dishwashers.

There are multiple approaches to sanitizing your dishwasher. Below are a couple of our favorites:

1) Vinegar or Bleach Rinse – Empty the dishwasher and pour 1 cup of either bleach or vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher. Run a short cycle. Repeat every week or two as needed.

2) Inspect and clean the gasket area regularly – Use a good spray cleaner (such as Super Clean, Windex, or others that are commonly available) to wipe down the gasket area, the dishwasher handles, and other nooks and crannies that can harbor dirt and grime.

Garbage Disposal Gaskets – Hold Your Nose and Look Closely
We’ve all seen tips for cleaning your garbage disposal – grind “plinks”, ice cubes, orange and lemon peels. While good, the best way to de-germify and eliminate sink odors is to remove the garbage disposal gasket and give it a good cleaning. Here’s how:

Warning: It’s ooky.

1) Remove the gasket.
2) Use an old toothbrush and a good de-greasing liquid dish soap to scrub out the gunk.
3) Scrub the sink drain area where the gasket sits – there is a metal groove that also harbors germs.
4) When finished cleaning the gasket by hand, run it (and the old toothbrush) through a dishwasher cycle.

Water You Waiting For? Wanna make a fresh, clean start and purchase an new dishwasher or garbage disposal? Our highly trained professionals at Allied Reddi Rooter are on hand 24×7 to assist with selection and installation. Save $ and use one of our new coupons >> Call today for a free phone estimate: 513-396-5300.

Recent high profile water main breaks in LA, UCLA, and Nashville illustrate the importance of regular water line inspections and maintenance.

UCLA – 20 Million Gallons Lost 
Our Western States are in the midst of a legendary drought. Water restrictions abound. What’s the worst possible thing that could happen? Yep – a water main break of epic proportions. In just a few hours, 20 million gallons flooded the UCLA campus, including the parking garage. Over 700 vehicles were submerged in the parking garages.

Nashville – Break Affects 15,000
A pipe nearly three feet in diameter that was installed in 1973 burst 13′ underground. Located in a heavily wooded area near a railroad track, water crews face geographic challenges — replacing the main will take several days. In the meantime, Music City residents face water restrictions.

“Much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life,” the American Society of Civil Engineers reported last year.

Is Our Piping Going Down the Drain?
Most drinking water infrastructure in America was built in the early 20th century, around the time of Roosevelt’s presidency – Teddy, not Franklin. A bully idea, clean drinking water delivered directly to the kitchen and bath revolutionized our standard of living.

But decades underground leads to hidden deterioration. According the National Association of Water Companies, (NAWC) there are about 240,000 breaks a year. Of those, about 50% have an average age of 47 years old. In older metropolitan areas, the news is bleak: In Los Angeles, a million feet of piping has been delivering water for at least 100 years. Imagine what the inside of those pipes looks like. Blech.

Good Pipes are a Good Insurance Policy
Closer to home, its a good practice to have your water main and household water lines inspected regularly. For the most part, homeowners can perform visual inspections for leaks, corrosion, and loose connections.

Underground inspections are best handled by a trained plumbing professional. Advanced technologies have led to the development of flexible micro camera and listening devices that help plumbers determine the condition of buried pipes.

With a regular schedule of preventive maintenance, homeowners can avoid costly pipe bursts and leaks. In Cincinnati, an area full of historic homes (and equally historic plumbing), it’s worthwhile to have pipes, tiles, and lines undergo a camera inspection.

Water You Waiting For? At Allied, we’re available to inspect residential cand commercial plumbing. Call today for a free estimate: 513-396-5300.