I love those “As Seen on TV” commercials – seemingly, a year’s worth of hair/toothpaste/soap scummy drain buildup can be blasted out in minutes with a good dose of some mystery liquid known as a “liquid plumber.” Seems legit, right?

According to PlumbingCircle.com, “Liquid drain cleaners …will at best mask the problem and, at worst, do nothing. A good analogy is someone who uses mouthwash but never brushes their teeth.”

Drain Cleaners are Potential Problem-Causers, not Problem-Solvers
Liquid drain cleaners rely upon proper creation of a chemical reactions between three main ingredients: water, sodium hydroxide (i.e., lye) and sodium hypochlorite (i.e., bleach). The lye and the clogged-drain-water combine to create a heat reaction, which allegedly blasts out the clog. The bleach aids to break down any hair in the drain. If the clog is too dense, the cleaner can fail. The longer the cleaner rests in your pipes, it may start to attack the pipes themselves, creating leaks. Additionally, lye and bleach must be handled with care. If the chemicals are inhaled or come into contact with skin, respiratory damage or burns may occur.

NOTE: Should you contact a plumber after a liquid drain cleaner failure (by that, we mean that your drain is now a combination of standing clog + drain cleaner), you must advise the plumber of the chemical recipe in the sink so he/she can take proper precautions

When NOT to Use Liquid Drain Cleaners
• Never use liquid drain cleaning products on toilet clogs. The chemical heat reaction may cause the toilet to crack or explode. We don’t even want to go there in this blog. Let’s just say – snakes and plungers are for toilets. Avoid chemical approaches at all costs.

• Never use liquid drain cleaner on “non-moving-water” clogs. If your sink drain is at a standstill, call a plumber. See “Guidance on Using Liquid Drain Cleaners” section below.

Guidance on Using Liquid Drain Cleaners
We understand TV drain cleaners look like a dream come true. If you go that route, make sure your clog is a “moving water” clog – the water drains eventually, just very slowly. In order to break the clog, the drain cleaner has to reach the clog. In a non-moving-water situation, the drain cleaner remains in your sink basin, creating a dangerous situation. Also, only use drain cleaners on drains made of ABS (plastic, not copper).

Water You Waiting For? If liquid drain cleaners truly worked, there would be a lot fewer plumbers around. When you need a clog busted, fast, the trained professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter can help. Call Ray today for a free estimate: 513-396-5300. And, as always, visit our money-saving coupons page for an even better price.

Like millions of other homes, our shower is in our bathtub. To engage the shower, we turn on the bath spigot, run some water, then pull a little lever to divert the water to the shower head. Many times, when we pull the lever, the pipes make a “clunk…rat-tat-tat” noise. It only lasts a second (until the water flows from the spigot to the shower head), but it’s an unpleasant experience at 6 a.m.

Water Hammer, Defined
According to PlumbingMart.com, “Water hammer can be a big thump that shakes the house, or a series of banging noises starting with a loud bang followed by several “echoes”. Rapidly closing or opening a valve causes pressure [transitions] in pipelines. If the noise occurs when you open a valve or a faucet, it is probably air in the pipes. If it occurs when a valve closes or the washer changes cycles, it is probably water hammer. If it occurs when a pump starts, it could be water hammer, air in the pipes, or both. Although opening valves can sometimes create water hammer, this typically only occurs with valves larger than 3″ in size, and even then it is reasonably rare.

Water hammer is a complicated problem-solving matter. If you suspect your pipe noises are caused by water hammer, Allied recommends contacting a professional plumber.

Air in the Pipes – Much Easier to Fix
In our case, we’re fairly certain the issue is air in the pipes (a.k.a. air hammer)– more of an older home annoyance than a true plumbing issue. eHow.com offers a potentially easily accomplished fix:

1. Turn on every faucet in the home, including the often-overlooked non-traditional faucets such as washing machines, dishwashers, outside faucets, and the spare shower in the basement or garage.

2. Flush all toilets a few times, allowing the water to rush through those pipes as well.

3. Listen for water bubbles to pass through the faucets. This may sound like hissing, sputtering, or popping.

4.Run the water a few minutes more, allowing plenty of water to flush through the pipes once all sounds of air passing through has ceased.

5. Starting with the faucets on the lowest level of your home, turn off each one. Move upward throughout the house until all faucets have been turned off.

Other Potential Noise Makers
Kitchen faucets are notorious for clunking noises, especially if a kitchen sprayer is attached. Similar to the tub/shower issue, when water is diverted from the faucet to the sprayer, you may hear (and feel) a solid “clunk.” A popular suggestion on the internet for fixing is to turn the water on full blast, work the spray nozzle lever off and on quickly for two or three minutes (as fast as possible) to dislodge the air bubble.

Noisy pipes may also be caused by loose washers, pipes touching each other or hard surface, or the energy saving nipples that screw in the top of the water heater, which contain a ball acts as a check valve.

Hiring a plumber can be a challenge for home and business owners. It’s time-consuming, there are hundreds of choices, it can be costly, and finding a really good one like hitting the jackpot. Below are a few pointers.

Tip 1: Longevity Matters
At Allied Reddi-Rooter, we believe that independently owned, local plumbers are always the best option. Avoid “franchise” plumbers that have a central authority to whom they report or from which they receive work orders…the best plumbers don’t need a franchise. They stand on their own name and merits. With nearly 60 years of service in the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas, Allied has established a solid reputation of dependability, fairness, and professionalism.

Tip 2: You Have us at “Hello”
When hiring a plumber, first impressions are made or lost on the initial call for an appointment. Our scheduling professional, Traci is aces at cheerfully listening to your problem decription, scheduling an appointment time within our standard 2-hour window. Should an emergency arrive that will affect our standard 2-hour window, we’ll reach out and let you know.

Tip 3: Collaboration is Key
Allied Reddi-Rooter understands that customers have many options when it comes to plumbing. Some customers prefer to have 100% of the work completed by a plumber while others prefer a hands-on/DIY approach and require less assistance. We will gladly install pre-purchased materials (provided the materials fit the required specifications). Likewise, on large jobs, we will work with you to phase the work, if possible, and help fit the project to your budget.

Tip 4: Feedback is Key, Too
In today’s world of social media, customer opinion can rapidly make or break a business. We stand behind our trained plumbers and love to hear your thoughts on our service. We have multiple feedback channels: in person, telephone, website, or on our Facebook page. We’re blessed with many positive reviews and recommendations and look forward to many more.

Tip 5: Value is Important
Budgets are tight and plumbing is often a discretionary item. To make the decision easier, Allied proudly offers discount coupons on a regular basis (visit http://alliedreddirooter.com for details). Discounts apply to labor charges, underground camera inspections, high-pressure water jet drain cleaning, frost-free faucet installations, grease trap pumping, and sewer and drain cleaning.

In today’s busy world, unexpected hot water heater failure can rapidly create havoc in your home life. A broken water heater means time off work, finding a suitable replacement, working with a reputable plumber, and — worst of all — cold showers. The popular manufacturers (A. O. Smith, American, Whirlpool, Bradford White, and others), suggest the life of a water heater is 8-12 years. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to extend your water heater’s life and efficiency:

1. For older water heaters, inspect and replace the anode rod ASAP. It is “sacrificial” and it self-corrodes so that your water heater tank does not.

2. Install an expansion tank and potentially double potentially double the life of your water heater. When water is heated from 50º to 120º, it expands. In a closed system (i.e., you have a valve that prevents water from back flowing into the water main), expansion causes rapid increases and decreases in water pressure. This pressure on your heater and plumbing which can cause early failure.

3. Clean and flush your tank annually, especially if your heater is older than 8 years. This prevent sediment buildup and maintains higher efficiency of your tank

4. Install a Pressure Regulating Valve (PRV). A PRV reduces system, as well as wear and tear on appliances.

5. Install a water softeners — this is less of an issue for people on city water, but if you have well water with high mineral content (iron and/or calcium), scaling can occure (a.k.a. your appliances and pipes get “limed up”. Scaling reduces the life of a water heater.

Today, there are many options for replacing an aging water heater – determining which type of water heater (gas, electric or tankless) is best suited to your needs and lifestyle is a good start. Your plumbing professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter are available for a quick consultation.