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Common Plumbing Emergencies

Most Common Plumbing Emergencies?

Plumbing emergencies can be extremely stressful, causing damage to your home and racking up expenses quickly. Knowing the most common plumbing emergencies can help you to anticipate and deal with them more effectively when/if they do occur.
Overflowing Toilet. A clogged toilet can quickly overflow when flushed, leading to unsanitary issues and immense water damage. To avoid an overflowing toilet, never flush any product aside from toilet paper. Paper towels, tissues, wrappers and even baby wipes can all easily clog your plumbing and cause your toilet to overflow. If you do experience this common plumbing emergency, find and turn off the water supply valve beneath the toilet tank to prevent more water from entering the bowl.
Blocked Drains. If reaching into your shower or tub to pull out hair and debris isn’t your thing, don’t worry! Blocked drains are never fun, but in most cases, store-bought drain cleaner will do the trick. If, after a few drain cleaner attempts, you aren’t able to remove the blockage yourself, it may be time to call your local Discount Plumbers experts for a drain cleaning before this small issue turns into a full-blown emergency.
Burst Pipes. Many homes have pipes that are located near the surface or even above ground. If temperatures get too low, the water in these pipes can freeze and cause them to burst. Be sure to cover above ground pipes with towels during cold spells to prevent freezing. If you do experience a burst pipe, quickly turn off your home’s main water supply and run cold water in your home until the existing supply runs out, then give Discount Plumbers a call to get the problem solved as soon as possible.
Broken Water Heater. From water that’s too cold or too hot to water that has a strange odor, water heater malfunctions are never something to look forward to. Flushing your water tank may solve color and odor problems as well as improve the heater’s efficiency, but if you notice a leak, it’s time to call the experts for a water heater repair!
If you experience any of the above plumbing emergencies, the experts at Discount Plumbers are here to help! Contact us today.
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When to Replace Waterheater

When determining the right time to replace your water heater there are several factors to consider.

*Age of the Water Heater
*Maintenance History
*Water Conditions
*Money Invested in the Water Heater
*Amount of Hot Water
*Future Family Plans
*Length of Time Being in the Home

All of these factors play an important role when considering it’s time to replace your water heater.
How to Determine the Age of Your Water Heater
Most home owners are unsure of the age of their water heater. Simply locate the brand of the water heater, the model number, and the serial number found at the unit. Once this information has been collected you may contact the manufacturer to confirm the age of the water heater and the status of the warranty.
Water heater manufacturers may be contacted by phone or the web to verify age and warranty status. A majority of water heaters come with a 6 year tank and parts warranty from the manufacturer.
Importance of Regular Maintenance
Performing proper water heater maintenance can significantly extend the life and energy efficiency of your water heater. Manufacturers recommend flushing the water heater at least once a year to prevent sediment build up and loss of efficiency. When flushing the water heater it is important to inspect the condition of the anode rod and replace when necessary. While performing maintenance, your plumber should also check to make sure the water heater is operating safely.
RELATED: How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater?
How Local Water Conditions Affect the Life of Your Water Heater
Knowing the local water conditions will help in determining when to replace your water heater. Your local municipality can provide you with a report of local water conditions. At home test kits are also available to do your own analysis. Once you have the results you can ask your local plumbing professional about options for water treatment if needed. Treating the water that feeds the water heater can help extend its life.
Resources for Minnesota Residents: Community Water Systems –
Is Your Water Heater Big Enough for Your Family?
Water heaters may be sized properly for your home, but not your family. If you ever run out of hot water or are planning on growing your family, you may want to consider a larger capacity heater. Take into account all hot water usage including bathing, dishwashing, laundry, etc.
Tankless water heaters are a great upgrade option for growing families or homeowners that plan on living in the home for an extended period. Always take these factors into account when deciding the correct time to replace your water heater.
An informed consumer has an advantage over a non-informed consumer. Keep record of any investments made for your home. You can compare the price you paid for your current water heater with the current costs of water heaters. Service receipts can give you the total invested in servicing and repairing your water heater. Tracking your investments will let you decide whether to repair or replace.
Contact a Professional Plumber
If you are having issues with your water heater, call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. We can inspect your home’s water heater and give you an honest opinion if you need to consider a replacement, or simply need maintenance. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any and all emergency plumbing needs.
Avoiding Plumbing Drain Issues
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Avoiding Plumbing Drain Issues

Avoiding Plumbing or Drain Issues! Watch What You Flush/Pour Down the Drain.

You might think that flushing toilet papers or wet wipes won’t do any harm. But these “flushable” products can create clogs and damage your pipes. Additionally, avoid pouring any oil or grease down your sink. Instead, put it in a container or handy jar. You can also use strainers to keep debris and other particles from plugging the drain.
Test out your sump pump and make sure it is functioning properly by following these simple steps:
Pour a bucket of water into the pit where the sump pump sits. When it activates, drain the water. Then deactivate it.
If your sump pump didn’t work as it should, then you know that something’s off with your unit. Hire an expert plumber to take a look at the problem and fix it immediately.
Check for Leaks
Look for leaks around your home. Check the toilets, sinks, ceilings, and walls for any damp spots. This could indicate serious plumbing issues that need to be addressed quickly. Don’t let your money go down with a dripping faucet or broken pipes. Call your local plumbing contractor for an expert repair service.
Schedule a Maintenance Service
Living in a fast-paced environment makes it easier for us to forget our plumbing system. After all, as long as it’s working and there are no leaks, then it must be fine, right? Well, it isn’t exactly true. If you wait around for your system to malfunction, it could put your budget in a big hole.
With regular expert care, it can prevent costly repairs and future problems. Thus, you can have peace of mind and save more on your utility bills.
Other Ways to Avoid Trouble
Know where your home’s main water shut-off valve is. This way, you can quickly turn it off when there’s a leak.
Clean your shower head to improve the water pressure.
You can use vinegar and hot water to unclog any debris down your drain.
Don’t put hard food scraps and overload your garbage disposal.
Don’t let these plumbing issues trouble you and your family at any moment. If you experience a plumbing or drain problems call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Area.
Sewer Backup
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Sewer Backup

Nobody wants to think about a sewer backup.

It’s gross, messy and can potentially cause a lot of damage to your home and your health.
If you have a simple clog, it’s easy to pull out the plunger or yank out that clump of hair from the tub drain. But when you find the tub overflowing because you flushed the toilet; or the kitchen sink won’t drain no matter how many time you run the disposal or clean the trap, you might be dealing with a more serious problem.
This might be a case of a serious sewer stoppage problem.
Causes of Recurring Sewer Backup
There are a few common causes of these backups that keep happening over and over again.
Tree and shrub roots causes of sewer backups.
Tree and shrub roots crave water and will make their way toward any moisture. So even the smallest crack in a sewer line will attract roots.
And as trees and shrubs continue to grow, so do the roots causing a potential blockage and possibly creating more cracks and holes. The roots can also grow around and crush a sewer pipe.
And don’t think just because you don’t have any trees near or in your yard means this can’t happen. Roots can reach your lines from your neighbor’s yard or even from surrounding city land creating undesired sewer backups.
Sewer Clogs
Sewer systems are designed to handle a lot of waste. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care with what goes into those pipes.
Here are a few main culprits that could be causing serious clogging in your sewer pipes:
Fats, oils, grease – Never pour these into your kitchen sink. Even if you run really hot water with it, these substances still stick to your pipes and solidify. Aside from building up on their own, there’s the added bonus of catching any other debris and food stuffs that might make it into your pipes creating very stubborn clogs.

“Flushable” wipes – Just because you can flush these wipes down the toilet doesn’t mean you should. Utility companies around the world are finding these wipes congealing with other debris creating “superknots.” And testing by Consumer Reports have found some of these wipes don’t break down as advertised.

Paper and feminine hygiene products – These are just not meant to be flushed. They don’t break down like toilet paper. Toss them in the trash instead.
Cracks and holes left un-repaired lead to broken sewer pipes. A broken sewer pipe leads to backups. Older homes constructed with cast iron or clay pipes are more susceptible to breaks.
And a sagging—or bellied sewer pipe—create recurring backups, too. Because a sewer line is designed to use the power of gravity, if a pipe is sagging, it can’t drain leaving water and debris to settle in the sag causing backups.
Determining the Cause of Your Sewer Backups
One thing you don’t want to do when you have a sewer backup is reach for the Drano or some other liquid drain cleaner. The chemicals in these products can cause more damage to your pipes creating an even more expensive problem.
Instead, call a licensed professional plumber to diagnose your sewer stoppage problem. As we’ve explained in a previous post, a sewer leak cannot be found with a sewer camera inspection but sewer stoppages can.
Once the cause of your problem has been found, a plumber will then lay out the best course of action.
If you have any questions about sewer backups, give us a call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. We are happy to discuss any issues you’re having, and always keep your specific needs and budget in mind.
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All About Sewer Cleanout

While not a common topic of discussion, sewer cleanouts become an important topic once you start having trouble with your sewer system.

And when your sewer system is buried under the slab and in the yard, the sewer cleanout plays an vital role in diagnosing any problems.
What is a Sewer Cleanout?
Sewer cleanouts are the pipes that give you access to the rest of your home’s sewer system.
Most homes in the Minneapolis area have under slab sewer systems. Each fixture — toilets, faucets, etc. — connects to pipes that feed into a to a branch line buried underground. These branch lines connect to the main sewer line. The main sewer line leads out of your home into the yard, still underground, and connects to the city’s lines.
Sewer cleanout pipes are typically found somewhere outside near the perimeter of the house and are attached to the main sewer line. You will often find the sewer cleanout opening near ground level covered by a sewer cleanout cap.
Types of Sewer Cleanouts
There are two types of sewer cleanouts.
One-way Cleanout
A one-way cleanout allows for access in one direction.
If the curve is toward the yard, we would only be able to send something down the yard line. And vice versa.
Two-way Cleanout
A two-way cleanout provides access in both directions.
With this U-shaped cleanout, we are able to use it to access both the yard and the house lines.
Do All Homes Need a Sewer Cleanout?
Because all of the sewer pipes run under your home’s foundation, you can’t see when there’s a problem. Problems like stoppages, tree roots, leaks, bellying, or breaks go undetected until it reaches a point where you start experiencing things like slow drains, backed up drains, or worse.
This is where sewer cleanouts come into play. We use sewer cleanouts mostly for testing. We send sewer cameras into the cleanout and down through the lines to investigate, and we also insert inflatable test balls to test for leaks. Sometimes we can also use the sewer cleanouts to clear out a blockage using a sewer machine.
And sometimes you don’t even need tools to see there’s something wrong if you see standing water in the cleanout pipes. Since sewer pipes are installed at a slight decline to work with the power of gravity, standing water in your cleanout pipes means there’s a stoppage or belly in the line causing that water to not drain out to the city line.
So yes, all homes need a sewer cleanout.
Do All Homes Have a Sewer Cleanout?
At this point almost all homes have a sewer cleanout. The only houses that don’t are older homes in which a cleanout wasn’t installed originally. But even if you’re in an older home that was built without a sewer cleanout, it’s likely one was needed at some point and was installed.
But if you happen to be in a home without one, the system is probably cast iron. (It’s highly, highly, highly unlikely a PVC house did not have cleanouts installed as part of the system.)
And if this is the case, because we recommend replacing a cast iron system, we don’t recommend installing sewer cleanouts. There’s no reason to put a sewer cleanout on cast iron when you’re gonna replace the whole system, and a cleanout will be installed with the new system.
How to Find My Sewer Cleanout?
A lot of people think they don’t have sewer cleanouts. But as I said, pretty much all homes do these days.
It’s more likely that your sewer cleanout is buried, often in a flower bed area. People cover up the cleanout because they think it’s an eyesore. Then someone comes in and puts in more landscaping, mulch, etc., and covers it up even more. So at one time the cleanout may have originally been barely covered by half an inch of soil but now is covered by up to six inches.
If you’ve searched all along the perimeter of your home and still can’t find the cleanout, we can come out and use special tools to locate it.
Sewer Cleanout Installation Cost
As I said, it’s highly unlikely your home doesn’t already have a sewer cleanout. And if you are one of those rare cases, it’s because your system is cast iron and we don’t recommend installing sewer cleanouts on a system that needs to be replaced.
However, generally speaking, a sewer cleanout installation will run you around $1,000 to $1,500 depending on the company. The cost also depends on what exactly needs to be done to install the cleanout.
Is there concrete to get through? Is the main line really deep? These things and any other number of variables can add up making it more expensive.
Need Help with Your Sewer System?
A properly functioning sewer system is incredibly important for your home and your family. So if you think you have a problem with yours, please reach out to us at In-House Plumbing Company because we’re happy to help.
If you have any questions about sewer cleanout, give us a call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. We are happy to discuss any issues you’re having, and always keep your specific needs and budget in mind.