Sometimes it can be tough to know whether you should invest in a plumbing repair or replace the appliance or part instead. If you’re on the fence about making plumbing updates, or trying to budget for home renovation and updates in the new year, our list below can help.
Take a look at our breakdown of the top plumbing parts in your home and their average lifespan. Then, use it to help you answer the big question: to repair, or not repair?
Water heaters. Traditional water heaters should be replaced 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters should be replaced every 20 years. Regular maintenance and cleaning can extend the life of your water heater to the end of its warranty, but we recommend replacing it within 20 years at the very latest.
Signs to look for that indicate the possible need for a new water heater include rust around the heater base, a pilot light that won’t stay lit, the inability to stay heated, and when the valve continues to slip.
Supply pipes. We’ve got good news for you here. Pipes last a long time and can usually be replaced one-by-one if they break. Most often pipes can be repaired and if you have an older home, it’s important that you have a plumbing professional inspect your home’s supply pipe system to make sure it does not need to be replaced.
Ideally, brass pipes last between 80-100 years, as do steel pipes, while copper pipes last between 75-100 years.
Faucets. There’s no time limit on faucets, but ones that are used repeatedly on a daily basis usually succumb to normal wear-and-tear at some point. Luckily, you can easily repair faucets unless they crack and break.
Another reason to replace faucets is if they are leaking water on a constant basis. Of course, if you remodel your kitchen or bathroom, new faucets are a quick and simple way to make it more modern.
Washing machine supply hoses. Your washing machine supply hoses should be replaced every 2-3 years. Waiting too long can lead to major leaking and even cause your hose to burst. If you notice any bubbling in the hose, cracks, discoloration or rusting, you’ll need to replace the hose. Supply hoses can be purchased at home improvement stores and are often easy to replace without the help of a professional plumber.
Toilets. The main part of the toilet, basically the bowl itself, doesn’t need to be replaced unless it’s cracked or otherwise broken, however, parts of the toilet will need to be replaced at some point. Flappers and valves should be replaced every 4-5 years and wax seals should be replaced every 25-30 years.
Of course, if you see any leaking at the base of the toilet or if the toilet won’t flush, it may be time for a new toilet. And if you have to jiggle the handle constantly, you’ll want to invest in a new toilet handle.
Garbage disposals. Most garbage disposals last about 10 years but we advise checking the warranty to make sure. If you’re resetting it often, or if food is getting stuck, it may need to be replaced. Additionally, if there are bad odors coming from the drain or if it simply isn’t doing its job, it may be time for a new garbage disposal.
Drain lines. Drain lines can last from 80-100 years if cast iron, and 25-40 years if they are made with PVC. Most of the time, drain lines only need to be replaced because of tree root growth or a natural disaster. If you own an older home, it’s important to check your drain lines to make sure they are not old enough to need to be replaced.
Don’t wait for a costly repair to update your home’s plumbing if it’s outdated. Remember: it’s always better to safe, rather than sorry, when it comes to home improvement.
Before you decide to use PVC, ABS, or copper pipes in your home or business, it’s important to know more about each and what sets them apart. One type may work for one project, while another will be best for another. You’ll also want to check your local government’s building code regulations. Some do not allow PVC pipes, while others forbid ABS pipes to be installed.
Copper carries a separate list of things to consider. While copper pipes fit easier into small spaces and are more attractive than PVC or ABS pipes when exposed, they’re also more expensive.
What’s the difference between PVC and ABS?
ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and PVA stands for Poly Vinyl Chloride. The difference between the two are fairly minor. The biggest difference is that ABS contains BPA while PVC does not. This alone is enough to give homeowners ABS pipes the red flag as BPA has been linked to serious health conditions including cancer.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of PVS, ABS and copper pipes below.
Pros and Cons: PVC pipes
- More flexible than ABS and copper pipes
- Quieter when in use than ABS and copper pipes. PVC pipes do a good job at muffling the sound of running water
- Strong, lightweight and durable
- Requires a two-step process to connect
- PVC pipe ends must be treated with a primer before applying cement
- Over time, PVC joints can break and leak
Pros and Cons: ABS pipes
- More shock-resistant than PVC
- Will hold up in below-zero temperatures better than PVC
- Can be bonded instantly using a special cement and with a one-step process
- Contains BPA
- Less heat-resistant. Can warp when exposed to extreme heat and constant direct sunlight
- More expensive than PVC pipe
Pros and Cons: Copper pipes
- Longer lasting than PVC and ABS pipes
- Easier to fit into small spaces and thinner walls
- Cleaner than PVC and ABS pipes. Some homeowners choose copper pipes because of concerns that ABS and PVC pipes are potentially harmful to your health
- More flexible at the joints, so less likely to leak and break
- More attractive than plastic pipes
- More expensive than PVC and ABS pipes
- Potential for corrosion, especially if exposed to acidic water
- Noisier than PVC and ABS pipes
- More difficult to install and may require a professional because they need to be soldered
Bottom line: Whether PVC, ABS, or copper – the choice really depends on what works best for your home and budget (and your city building codes). There are strong pros and cons for all types. If you’re still not sure, contact your plumber. We can help you decide what pipes are best for your needs.
If you own and operate a restaurant, there’s a very good chance you’ve had a plumbing problem. Restaurants endure a lot of wear-and-tear on plumbing — from the restrooms to the kitchen.
Even if you haven’t had a plumbing emergency, it’s still critical to have your restaurant’s plumbing routinely serviced. At Reddi-Rooter, our plumbers take care of plumbing needs at Cincinnati area restaurants almost every day, which is why we are Cincinnati’s restaurant plumbing specialists.
Below are the top three plumbing repairs we perform at restaurants, and some tips to avoid them.
It’s one of the hardest working things at your restaurant (besides the employees, of course): the kitchen sink. One of the biggest reasons kitchen sinks get clogged is from grease and oils that are flushed down the drain. In time, the grease and oil solidify on the sides of the pipes. Then, food particles and other debris cling to the oil. Eventually, this leads to clogs that need the attention of a professional plumber.
The restaurant restrooms see a lot of visitors. Over time toilets and urinals endure wear-and-tear that can lead to various repairs. Additionally, toilets in restaurants can get clogged when customers flush too much tissue or items that are not to be flushed (like sanitary napkins) at all. On top of that, urine contains acids and minerals that can eat away at the toilet’s surface and lead to cracking or breaking.
Grease Trap Repair
When dishes get washed, grease and oils from the plates and utensils should travel through the pipes and end up in the grease trap. That trap needs to be cleaned regularly, but if it isn’t, it can lead to major clogs in the kitchen’s sink. In order to prevent this, you should have the grease trap cleaned by a plumber on a regular basis.
Keep your restaurant plumbing working with these tips:
Watch for slow drains. When you see water draining slowly anywhere in your restaurant, take care of it immediately. That slow drain indicates a clog somewhere, and the chances of it becoming a bigger problem is great. Take slow drains seriously and call the plumber.
Regularly clean the grease traps. Like we mentioned above, you’ll need to get your restaurant’s grease traps cleaned by a plumber routinely. Not only are grease traps essential to keep fats from reaching the sewer, but when fats get clogged in grease traps it can eventually clog the septic tank system, too.
Look for leaks. If you detect leaks coming from your kitchen faucet fixtures or pipes, or if you see water on the floor near the base of toilets in your restaurant’s restroom, it’s time to call a plumber. Like with slow drains, try to enlist a professional as soon as the problem arises to avoid bigger issues in the future.
Use filters. Drain filters are a very simple and easy way to avoid clogs in your kitchen’s pipes. Purchase drain filters specifically designed for restaurant sinks to do the best job catching food and other debris.
While you may be able to do plumbing DIY at your home, you’ll want to leave overseeing your restaurant’s plumbing up to the professionals. Clogged drains or grease traps, leaks and plumbing issues in bathrooms can cause the kind of damage that takes away from your restaurant’s success.
We’re Cincinnati’s restaurant plumbing specialists. Give us a call to keep your restaurant’s plumbing working it’s best.
Spring is on its way, and with it, more opportunities for rain. Before you break out the patio furniture and put the pansies in the flower boxes, you’re going to want to inspect your home’s plumbing to make sure it’s ready for April showers and the summer months.
The good news about our spring plumbing check list is that it’s full of tasks that require very little time, plumbing know how, or cost. With just a few hours spent inspecting your home – from the basement to the roof – you can relax, knowing your home is all set for those beautiful spring days ahead.
Spring plumbing checklist
Investigate outdoor spouts for leaks
During the cold winter months, your outdoor pipes and spouts can freeze, break or crack, especially if they are older. To make sure your pipes and spouts are intact and ready for the warm summer months ahead, check when you first hook up your hose and sprinklers. If you see any leaks in your home or in your home’s foundation, there’s a good chance your pipes cracked during the winter.
Inspect and drain your hot water heater
Ideally, your hot water heater should be kept at 120 degrees. If you turned up the temperature during winter, it’s time to take it back down. When you do, take a moment to check for any leaks or puddles around the base of the tank, and for any rust or other kind of corrosion. If you see any of the above, give us a call. You’ll need a professional to properly diagnose and fix the issue.
Additionally, it’s a good time to drain the sediment from your water heater which can help extend its life for years. If you’ve never performed this task or feel more comfortable leaving it up to a professional, give us a call.
Clean your gutters
During the fall and winter months your gutters collect twigs, leaves and debris. In turn, your gutters can clog, which is the last thing you want when those April showers arrive. This is the perfect time of the year to get your gutters cleaned because debris-blocked gutters can lead to pricey leaks in your home’s foundation.
Check supply hoses
This is also a great time to inspect all the supply hoses in your house, including the ones that attach to your washing machine and dishwasher. Look for any puddles, rust or other types of corrosion that may indicate a leak that needs repaired, or a hose that needs replaced.
Make sure the sump pump is working properly
This is a big one. If your home has a sump pump, you need to check it after winter and before spring gets going. The pump needs to be up to the challenge of keeping the basement free of water during the rainy season.
Checking the sump pump is a very easy task. Simply pour a few buckets of water down the sump pit. If the sump pump is working properly it will turn on as soon as the water is poured, and the turn off once the water has emptied. Tip: You can eliminate any mold that grew in the sump pump over winter by adding a few teaspoons of vinegar to the bucket of water.
Install flood alarms
This is especially important if you live along the Ohio River, the Little Miami or another area prone to flash flooding. Flood alarms are worth the investment and could save you time and money in the long run if your home is damaged by flood waters.
Not sure you’re up to some of the tasks at hand or notice a leak, crack or puddle? Contact a professional plumber who can help you locate the source of the problem and make the repair quickly.
When it comes to fixing a malfunctioning, broken or leaking toilet, it can be tricky to know whether or not it’s something you can fix yourself. In most cases, it’s best to call a plumber for repairs to your toilet (but not always). The reason? While bathroom plumbing issues like a leaking or running toilet may be common, the cause may be hard for a novice to find quickly and easily.
Truth is, some things like toilet leaks can be pretty serious and could be wreaking more havoc on your home than they appear to be. That’s because, as water consistently leaks on to the floor, it can eventually cause costly repairs. Plus, water from a leaking toilet can also cause mildew and mold build up which can create health issues for you and your family.
In the case of a cracked toilet, it can be difficult to determine whether or not it’s appropriate to repair the crack yourself, replace the toilet part that’s broken, or get a new toilet entirely.
Still not sure when to call a plumber for a toilet issue? Below are some of the top toilet problems and our advice about when to leave your tools in the toolbox and call a professional.
The porcelain bowl is cracked. Even if you aren’t seeing a leak from the crack, it’s still a good idea to call the plumber. The main problem is the risk of the crack getting larger as people sit on the toilet which will eventually cause the bowl to break.
Typical wear-and-tear that comes with age is usually the reason a toilet bowl will crack, and while it is often alright to repair a cracked toilet tank on your own, if your bowl cracks, you’ll need a new one or the entire toilet replaced.
There’s water at the base of the toilet. If water pools at the base of your toilet, you’ve obviously got a leak. Often, this is caused by a faulty or worn wax ring.
To help pinpoint the cause of the leak, start by placing a towel at the base of the toilet to soak up the water. If the towel is more wet after a few hours, you probably need the wax ring replaced.
If you return and the towel hasn’t taken on any more water, you may have to replace the supply hose or have a bad flush valve. Regardless of the cause, you’ll want the help of a plumber to pinpoint and fix the problem completely (and correctly) so your home doesn’t withstand additional water damage.
The tank is slow to fill. If your toilet tank takes forever to refill after the toilet is flushed, or if the water runs irregularly, a broken flush valve could be to blame. You can tell this by lifting the lid of the tank and then flushing the toilet. If you hear running water or see that the valve is stuck it needs to be replaced.
Another cause for a toilet to fill slowly is a leaking flapper. If water leaks through the flapper after you flush the toilet, you’ll need a new seal (and flapper). Regardless, plumbers can find the source of slow filling tanks fast. And broken flush valves, seals and flappers are repairs best left to a professional.
The toilet runs constantly. Contrary to popular belief, jiggling the handle is not the best way to fix a toilet that is plagued by constantly running water.
Toilet chains are usually to blame for this problem, and the good news is that you can usually fix this yourself. Check to see if the chain covers the hole at the bottom of the tank, thus sealing it. If it isn’t, it’s probably because the chain isn’t long enough to drop the flapper fully. To fix this, you can lengthen the chain on your own. Simply unlatch it, make it longer, and reattach.
Another culprit for constantly running toilet water is a broken rubber diaphragm seal, and this is a repair best left to a plumber.
Leaky gaskets. Your toilet’s gaskets can get brittle with age, crack and cause a leak. Usually when this happens you’ll spot a leak that starts at the tank and trickles down to the floor. Rubber gaskets can be simple to replace and can be found at your neighborhood home improvement store.
You’ve got a loose feed line. The feed line is the rubber tube that provides fresh water to your tank. If it becomes loose or cracks, it can cause a leak. We recommend reaching out to a plumber for this repair. Leaks, in general, can do damage to your home and get worse the more you use a toilet with a cracked or loose feed line.
When in doubt, call a plumber to repair your toilet in the event that it leaks, breaks or stops working at its best. And don’t put off repairing a faulty toilet because it can lead to further damage down the road.
Cincinnati has had near record breaking rainfall this month, and with all that rain comes potential problems with your plumbing. From broken pipes to flooded basements, rain can do serious damage to your home and have you reaching for towels to clean up the mess – or reaching for the phone to call the plumber.
Get ahead of the forecast and protect your plumbing from rain damage. Below are the top ways rain can cause damage to your plumbing and how to spot when you have problems.
Rain puts pressure on your pipes
When rainfall is particularly heavy, it can put more pressure on your pipes. This happens when whatever surrounds the pipes – like sand or dirt – absorbs water. In turn, as the area around the pipes swell with water, it can make the pipes burst.
If you’re concerned your pipes can be affected by rain in this fashion, especially if the plumbing in your home is older, contact a plumber. Newer pipes are durable and able to withstand significant pressure, so you may do good by investing in new pipes.
Underground pipes can move
Rain can cause serious damage when it soaks the ground enough to make it less than terra firma. Just look the mudslides that impact Columbia Parkway whenever we get a lot of rainfall.
As rain begins to compromise the earth around underground pipes in your home, they’ll likely shift, and sometimes enough to cause damage. The pipes can crack in their new, unstable position or become blocked.
Pipe backup after it rains
We all know gutters have the potential of collecting debris during heavy rainfall that, in turn, can make them clog. The same thing can happen in your underground pipes. Stones, sand, and mud can create a backup in your pipes after a heavy rain, especially if the pipes have shifted during the downpour.
Top signs rain has damaged your plumbing
If your pipes or drains leak water during or after a heavy rainfall, there’s a good chance a pipe has clogged or cracked. Check the siding on your house, ceiling and walls for telltale signs. If you spot buckling paint, cracked or water stained walls or ceilings, or if your home’s siding is buckling, it’s time to call the plumber.
Standing water in your basement or crawl space
Standing water in your basement or crawl space should never be ignored. If your basement floods when it rains heavily it could be from a broken, leaking, or significantly clogged pipe, or from a sewage backup.
Unless you take charge of the problem, the flooding can cause serious damage to your home’s foundation. It can also lead to mold problems that can affect your health.
Contact a plumber immediately if you experience any flooding in your basement or crawl space. You’ll want to have a professional plumber locate the source of the problem and fix it before it does further damage to your home.
Take a look at your drains after a big rainfall. If they’re overflowing, there is a good chance your pipes shifted and are potentially cracked, causing blockage. While a snake line may be able to unclog the drain, if the pipe has been significantly damaged it may need to be replaced.
Rain can damper plans, but it shouldn’t affect your plumbing. If it does, contact a plumber. We can find the source of the leak and a solution so your home stays dry after the clouds roll in.
Now that January is well underway and Cincinnati has had its first major snowfall of the year, it’s pretty safe to say winter is finally upon us — and it’s here to stay for a while.
With the colder temps, new issues can arise when it comes to keeping our home’s plumbing, especially when it’s below freezing outside. That’s when pipes can freeze, and when they do, it has the potential of causing serious damage to your home if the pipe bursts.
Not only could your walls and flooring get destroyed by broken, burst pipes, but the leaked water can create mold and mildew that can threaten your family’s health – including the health of your pets.
Protect your home this winter from frozen pipes. Below are five signs to watch for to avoid a costly, serious home repair, tips on how to unfreeze pipes, and what to do in the event your pipes burst.
Five signs you’ve got a frozen pipe
There’s no water
Let’s start with the obvious. If you turn on your faucet on a cold day and no water, or very little water, comes out of the faucet or tap, you’ve likely got a frozen pipe. Once you suspect a frozen pipe is the culprit, turn on every faucet slowly to see where the frozen pipe is located. If your home is older, be prepared for multiple frozen pipes once one has frozen.
The temperature drops
You’ve got to have freezing temps for frozen pipes. Every homeowner, especially those with homes with older, more fragile plumbing, should be on the lookout for frozen pipes once it gets below 32 Farenheit outside.
There’s frost on pipes
Check any exposed pipes in your home including those in your basement or under your sinks. If there’s frost on them, there’s a good chance that it burst because water has accumulated outside of the pipe itself. You should also check exposed pipes in the garage and in attics. Once you’ve detected a pipe with frost on the outside, shut off its water supply to avoid any additional damage.
Damp walls and floors
A frozen, leaking pipe can cause moisture in walls and on the floors. If you suspect a burst pipe in a wall, check for dampness or water stains. Also look for rings on the carpet, buckled laminate, warped wood, and water marks on the ceiling.
Odd, foul smell
When pipes get blocked due to freezing, your water supply can back up causing a bad smell from the faucets or drains.
How to thaw a frozen pipe
First, shut off the water to the section of plumbing that’s frozen. It’s also a good idea to have a bucket and mop handy in case, once the water thaws, it gushes where there’s a break.