Have You Considered the “BYOP” Approach to Plumbing? At Allied Reddi-Rooter, you can supply the parts. We can supply the labor. Below is a recent letter to Big Ray – the owner of Allied Reddi-Rooter:


Ray. Lately, every weekend seems to find us shopping in a big-box hardware store. The plumbing displays are amazing – from bath to kitchen (and laundry room, too), the selection is good, the prices are reasonable, and the employees make installation seem easy. My wife is sold on every suggestion…and now, unfortunately, so am I. Help! I have all this new ‘stuff’ and I’m not sure how to install it. Plus, she says I need to have it installed before our next party. Can you help?


Ray responds: Yes. Shopping the major retailers for a new vanity, kitchen sink, faucet, showerhead, lavatory or stool is an easy way to jump-start a plumbing project. But it’s the rare home or business owner who has the tools and training needed to complete a plumbing project with just one trip to the hardware store. If you’ve ever begun a tub, toilet, or shower installation in an older building and unexpectedly found the trap rusted through… well, that’s where the real fun begins. For us, that is. For you… not so much.

Team-Allied is available to keep your spouse happy, keep you out of the soup, and keep water flowing harmoniously in your home or business. We understand that many people enjoy the shopping, research and purchasing process – and we fully support it. Our skilled plumbers have everything needed to safely, quickly and professionally install kitchen and bath materials purchased elsewhere. In most conditions, we can complete an installation that might take a home or business owner an entire weekend (or more) in just a few hours.

Water You Waiting For?
  If plumbing improvements are getting ahead of you, call us today and explain your situation. Estimates are free. 513-396-5300.

Cincinnati’s first major snowfall of the year landed today with the usual fanfare: school closings, sidewalk shoveling, and 3″-5″ inches of frozen water on the ground. For those who have sump pumps, we all know where that water will end up: under the foundation. During the next few months, take special care to ensure your pump is in good working order. Below are a few tips.

Locate the Discharge Hose and Cleanout Cap – Look along the exterior wall for the point where the discharge hose exits your home’s foundation. Keep the area clear of debris, especially if it’s below grade. Freezes can happen quickly, causing burst pipes.

Prevent Pump Motor Burn Out – Remove the discharge hose during your fall winterizing preparations. Water can freeze inside the hose, causing the pump to run continuously, which will shorten the pump’s life considerably.

Avoid Discharge Hose Freeze Up – Just like with your outside spigot, sump pump hoses can freeze up, with equally disastrous results. Watch this 5-minute video for an explanation of what to look for and how to unfreeze a frozen sump pump. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0YMt2mAQUE&feature=player_embedded. The video starts a little slow; the good stuff begins near the :55 mark.

Anti-Freeze is a No-No – Never use chemicals in the sump crock and anti-freeze in particular should be avoided at all costs. It’s a tasty, deadly temptation for house pets and small children.

Leave the pump plugged in, always. That’s the best way to ensure the pump runs when it needs to.

Additional Pump Maintenance Tips

• Fill the sump crock with water until the pump float rises and activates the pump.

• Install a sewer backflow prevention valve if sewage backup is a concern for you.

• Ensure all pump discharge water flows away from your home’s foundation.

• Install a battery backup to keep your sump working in the event of a winter weather-related power failure.

Water You Waiting For? If you are experiencing trouble with your sump pump, the experts at Allied Reddi-Rooter can either repair or replace your pump. Just like the USPS, our plumbers will travel through rain, snow, sleet and hail to get your water flowing again. Call Ray today for a free estimate. 513-396-5300.

Sooner or later, everyone takes a plumbing repair into their own hands. Below is a list of our favorite “can’t live without” tools that every home or business owner should have in their personal tool kit.

1. Plunger – The essential go-to tool in bathrooms, kitchens, and drains across America; it’s the icon of our trade. Plungers are available in two styles, “cup” and “phlange,” and it’s important to understand the difference. Use the phlange style for toilet clogs – the elongated bottom creates a good seal in the toilet bowl and helps ensure a good vacuum during the plunging process. Cup plungers, on the other hand, are designed for use on flat surfaces, such as a basement floor drain area. Keep both on hand and replace them every 2-3 years; the rubber (especially on cup plungers) deteriorates over time.

2. Propane Torch – An outstanding tool with many uses, propane torches are among our favorite tool. Inexpensive and without equal for removing rusted bolts (on automobile license plates, swingsets, and practically everything in the garage), lighting grills, tiki-torches, or (of course) sweating copper pipe. “Torch kits” that fit standard hand-held propane tanks are inexpensive and widely available at hardware stores. Just remember – you’re playing with fire here, so don’t burn yourself.

3. Dremel tool/rotary tool (and the attachment kits and bits) – Frankly, how any household gets by without one is beyond us. Whether you cutting into drywall, trimming floor and wall tiles to fit around drains or fittings, cutting pipes, sharpening tools, or grinding down rough edges, or just drilling holes, a rotary tool is an excellent multi-purpose choice.

4. Pipe Cutter (a.k.a. tubing cutter) – Similar to a C-clamp, tubing cutters are ideal for cutting copper or aluminum tubing (useful not only for plumbing, but also for making too-long drapery rods fit small openings. Cutters come in multiple sizes, we prefer the mini-sizes for household needs.

5. Vise-Grips (and other pliers) – A good, solid set of pliers is important when it comes to home repairs. We have two sets of Vise-grips (one large, one small), those chunky adjustable pliers that are able to be “locked on” to bolts, pipes, and other objects that require unyielding leverage during a repair job. Commonly, Vise-Grips are used in conjunction with a second set of pliers or a wrench when superior traction is needed to remove stubborn bolts. When it comes to pliers, a good set of needle nose pliers with insulated grips, as well as the standard “regular” pliers is highly recommended. Our household set includes a jewelry/crafting set of needle nose pliers – the different types of jaws (flat, rounded, offset) provide a nice array of options for most jobs.

6. Small Wire Snips/Cutter – Similar to pliers, a small wire snips are indispensable for cutting copper wire and zip ties. While not technically a “plumbing tool,” we would be lost without them.

7. Accessories (Teflon tape/O-rings/pipe dope/plumbers putty) – It’s frustrating to start a job and find that multiple trips are needed to the hardware store for the “small stuff.” Teflon tape, o-rings, and plumber’s putty are the “small stuff.” Inexpensive, yet imperative to a successful, leak-free repair. A $10 investment will like procure all three of these items and will remain in your inventory for years.

8. Screw Drivers and Allen Wrenches – Many kitchen and bath fixtures are held together with Allen screws – those small hexagonal screws that make us go “, I need an Allen wrench for this one. Who has the Allen wrench??” An Allen wrench set is similar to a Swiss Army knife – every size you need in one handy bundle

9. Pipe Wrench – Another iconic plumbing tool – this adjustable wrench is available in multiple sizes – the large, heavy sizes can be expensive and seldom fit in the toolbox. Note that that wrench teeth can quickly damage brass fittings or finishes on fixtures; use with care. Many an amateur plumber has “laid on the wrench” and ruined the fixture before they realized it. When it doubt, wrap the fixture or fitting with a thick soft towel and proceed with caution.

10. Basin Wrench – Important, but in our opinion, this tool likely falls into the “nice to have” category for most home and business owners. This tool is specifically designed to fit into the space behind a sink or lavatory and lock onto the nuts. Check out the video and draw your own conclusions about whether you’ll need one: http://plumbing.about.com/od/basics/ss/How-To-Use-A-Basin-Wrench.htm

Water You Waiting For? If tackling plumbing repairs is low on your to-do list, Allied Reddi-Rooter is available 24/7, and we bring our own tools. Call Ray today for a free estimate: 513-396-5300.

This week, we returned Mom to her snowbird spot in Florida. Upon getting settled in, we found plumbing problems at nearly every turn – two leaky toilet tanks, one clogged hot water line, and one leaky kitchen faucet. Only the washer hoses haven’t broken…yet. Good thing we had a plumber on hand to help Mom out.

Looking back at our fix-it handiwork 8 hours later, we started thinking about the most common plumbing problems. With a little help from the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Information Bureau, we came up with a list:

Improper new faucet installation. Installing a new lavatory or kitchen faucet seems like an easy job, right? Usually, that’s true. Faucet replacements are one of the most common DIY plumbing jobs. But even the most savvy homeowner can run into trouble with faucets.

Clogged drains – In the big list, clogged drains are the second most common plumbing problem. This is also the most easily preventable plumbing problem – help your drains flow by pouring boiling water down them weekly. Never let fats, waxes, or food chunks go down the drain. Fats and waxes will solidify and chunky stuff will create blockages.

Dripping/leaking faucets – As mentioned above, vaucets can be a challenge. Whether it’s a leak around the stem, a constant drip-drip-drip, or an aerator that fills up with stuff we don’t even want to know about, malfunctioning faucets are one of the big reasons people call a plumber.

Malfunctioning garbage disposals – Sometimes, the fix is as simple as pressing the ‘reset’ button on the disposal motor. Other times, the cogs require a hefty push with a broom handle to get them un-jammed. Unless someone’s been dropping silverware or small juice glasses down the drain, disposals are a pretty sturdy device. Keep them in good working order by running copious amounts of cold water during the disposal process and occasionally grinding up lemon and orange peels.

Burst or leaky pipes – We’ve written previously about the amount of damage burst pipes can do. It’s good practice to regularly check under sinks, around fittings, and in basements to spot leaks as early as possible.

Lack of hot water – Is there anything worse than waking up to an unexpected cold shower? The problem can be as easy as a tripped circuit breaker (contact an electrician if this happens frequently) or it could mean the hot water heater has failed completely (see next item on the list).

Failing or leaking water heaters – When a water heater decides to spring a leak, it’s a BIG leak – usually 40-50 gallons. Today, almost all newly installed water heaters have a ‘leak pan’ underneath, with an outlet that connects to a floor drain. If your water heater is more than 8 years old or is sitting directly on the floor, consider upgrading to the modern approach.

Leaking toilets/Running toilets – A leaky toilet can add $$ your annual water bill. Typically, the problem is somewhere in the ‘guts’ that live in the toilet tank…the flapper, the ball cock, etc.

Water You Waiting For? At Allied Reddi-Rooter, we’re on hand 24/7 to resolve any of the problems above or to assist with non-emergency plumbing needs, such as a bathroom or kitchen remode. Or, cleaning grease traps for our business customers. Give Ray a call today for a free estimate. 513-396-5300.