Category Archives: Plumbing Pipes

Common Symptoms of Root Intrusion

Trees and bushes grow roots over the lawn or underground. Unfortunately, these botanical parts also affect plumbing systems and pose problems because of root intrusion, the growth of roots through pipe openings such as cracks and bad joints.

Remote trees and bushes may reach your residential area and hit the pipes. Plants that are hundreds of yards away can do major damage to old pipes. The older the plumbing system, the more easily it yields to breaks, cracks, and changes in shape. Thus it is more susceptible to root intrusion.

With plumbing systems vulnerable to major blockages caused by root intrusion, it’s vital that you look for signs to avoid this from happening. The lowest plumbing fixtures inside the house often reveal the symptoms.

For example, pay attention to the shower after taking a bath. If the water swirls down the drain, that means you are safe. If not, it may mean a backup or flooding is close at hand. The solution: call a licensed plumber or rooter with an expertise in root intrusion.

A qualified, licensed plumbing technician, independent or from a rooter company, uses a sewer drain camera to check plumbing systems underground. It is an advanced piece of equipment that allows the plumber to determine the problem and find the best solution.

Common Symptoms of Root Intrusion

Water backup usually is the first symptom you will see as indication for pipe repair or upgrade. To confirm this, check if a pool of water is building up in odd places at the backyard; check if the basement is flooded with used water; and check for sewage backup.

A foul smell from the sewage means the septic tank is full and has to be pumped out. But if you are using a tank, you most likely have a damaged main sewer pipe. If this is caused by root intrusion, and the roots have passed through the water or sewer pipes, you will see a reduction in water flow. This will only get worse as time progresses.

tree root intrusion under slab

Tree root intrusion under slab. Featured image by BY-YOUR-⌘ / Flickr (CC)

Symptoms like these, especially the damaged sewer pipe, may reveal other problems, so it’s best to consult a qualified plumber before thinking of other solutions. An on-site inspection of the problem allows the plumber to give an educated solution. And oftentimes the source of the problem is not what it seemed to be.

The Video Camera Inspection

A clogged sewer drain often requires a video camera inspection if the problem persists, or if it has occurred before. Most clogs are easy to locate and fix. If you are having a hard time looking for it, call a professional to bring in a video camera and perform a complete inspection on your plumbing.

sewer drain snake

Ridgid SeeSnake, a sewer drain snake with a lighted camera. Featured image by Wonderlane / Flickr (CC)

A competent company has the right equipment for the task. It will do a complete inspection of your plumbing system to sort out the root of the problem. And if the plumber requires a video camera to look for the blocking object, it means the stopping agent lies deep within the pipe.

Using a video camera to detect and fix the problem is the best approach to pinpoint the clog and figure out the best solution. The clog may be caused by root intrusion, but you cannot hire the services of a professional rooter unless a video camera inspection has been performed.

Playing With Figures

People often estimate plumbing fees at discounted rates. Thus they often overlook other services that a plumbing company may provide beyond fixing, installing, or replacing clogged drains and pipes. The company may advise you on other parts of your plumbing: water heaters, water softeners, water chillers, and root intrusion.

changing pipes after root intrusion

Changing the pipes after root intrusion. Featured image by Ben Lucier / Flickr (CC)

Root intrusion probably is the most cumbersome problem for plumbers. Trees and shrubs can grow their roots into a pipe and clog it entirely after some time.

If you are creating an estimate for plumbing fees, make sure that you ask the plumber about your entire plumbing system. You may even get a discount.

The plumber may give you a good advice on the proper specifications for residential and commercial applications. Moreover, the plumber may advise you on budgeting in case some parts need replacements or maintenance, especially for root intrusion.

Commercial Plumbers

Never deal with a commercial plumbing contractor that, or who, directly quotes for plumbing work without even seeing or inspecting your pipes. Plumbing work has many variables involved that it is unethical to provide an estimate over a phone call, unless the qualified plumber has seen and diagnosed the problem.

Plumbing problems may get as complicated as root intrusions, with tree roots penetrating sewer lines, or the old pipes and drains are now defective.

Always ask the contractor what free services are offered. For example, some companies such as Mr. Rooter Plumbing provide free estimates after an on-site inspection.

The Gist

If you are certain that the backup or flooding is caused by root intrusion, call a qualified, licensed plumbing technician.

Basic Tools Included In A Plumbers Supply

Plumbing deals with tubes and pipes, from simple water supply lines to large sewer drains. But only a professional plumber can repair or install entire piping systems, especially when the job requires a plumbers supply.

Through the past few years, the industry has seen an increase in the need of plumbing and heating systems in residential areas. The proper maintenance of drainage systems need it also.

Many hardware shops and online stores now offer a master plumbers supply in low-cost prices. Plumbing has become a necessity in home development that do-it-yourself warriors now study their own houses’ plumbing systems and buy their own tools. Some homeowners who plan their own plumbing projects are now confident enough to check rusty pipes and leaking taps. They even shop for the tools and plumbing materials without the go-ahead of a professional plumber.

As the homeowner, you need to have a plumbers supply to diagnose the problem, or fix it if it’s simple. Knowledge about plumbing tools will help you sort out the issue temporarily, or even permanently.

Although plumbing service providers have dedicated plumbers who can repair all problems related to tubing and pipes, these companies’ employees are also human beings. They have to rest. You cannot rely on most of them in the middle of the night.

First Line of Defense – A Service Provider

Large hardware manufacturers and service providers that sell plumbing materials and tools to customers are not always available when you need them. Thus you need independent experts to help with upgrades to your plumbing system such as grand shower systems, high quality toilets, and bathroom renovations in general.

Plumbing undoubtedly adds value to your house, and so do boilers and hot water systems. It can be a problem though, as plumbing issues sometimes arise when you least expect it. In the blink of an eye, and without your intervention, pipes will break and sewer drains will clog up.

On a lighter note, companies and independent plumbers will take full responsibility of repair and maintenance. So you don’t have to worry about warranties, in case some items were modified.

Modern Americans entrust their plumbing systems to service providers, and technology has made it easier for them. They can simply apply or register online to a company of their liking.

Cyclic household incidents can be avoided with the help of a reliable plumber, or a complete set of plumbers supply. But choosing the right company would still be the best way to solve the problem.

Online Shopping To The Rescue

If your local company or service provider has a knack of destroying plumbing systems, or you do not have the budget to pay for it, many online stores nationwide sell products with free deliveries and guides to help you.

Online stores also have customer service representatives and online communities that are willing to help fix your problem once and for all.

To find a cost-effective plumbers supply is not as hard as it was in the olden days. And registered plumbers have also gone online, with their resumes, licenses, and portfolios to prove their worth.

A Plumbers Supply

Plumbing is never an issue for homeowners who are nifty and have a flair for fixing things. They can easily determine the root of a plumbing issue without the help of professionals.

While expert DIYers can perform the job neatly, as if they are licensed plumbers, they also need the right tools and equipments to repair cracked pipes and clogged drains.

A plumbers supply may include plastic and metal tube cutters, hacksaws, torches, and wrenches, all stored in case of emergencies.

Tube cutters and hacksaws can cut plumbing materials made of plastic or metal. These tools come in different sizes, types, and blades. The blade you will use depends on the type of pipe to cut.

pipe cutter

A pipe cutter (for 15mm copper pipe). Featured image by Andrew Fogg / Flickr (CC)

pipe cutter

Ridgid TC-40 Multilayer Pipe Cutter. Featured image by Mark Hunter / Flickr (CC)

pipe cutter

Ridgid P-Tec 3240 Pipe Slicer. Featured image by Mark Hunter / Flickr (CC)

When you have plumbing problems, there’s no need to panic. Another set of plumbing parts that may help you alleviate the problem is copper and brass fittings, and copper pipes. This is where your metal cutters will come in good use. Copper pipes are very hard to cut without a tubing cutter. And sometimes you need to cut down these solid pipes into pieces.

An addition to your plumbers supply are files. These tools help plumbers smoothen rough edges after cutting copper pipes.

Backflow preventers are one of the must-haves on a plumbing system, but so are the several types of wrenches such as basin wrench, pipe wrench, spud wrench, along with many other tools with similar purposes. A backflow preventer problem cannot be fixed without a wrench.

No doubt pliers are key pieces of equipments in any plumbers supply or toolkit. This tools have metal levers joined at a fulcrum; the longer side acts as the handle, while the shorter side acts as the jaw that offers accurate grips.

Jaws are grippers, fitters, and cutters. It cuts and fits small objects normally hard to manipulate only with fingers or hands. The first thig that comes to mind is a pex crimp tool, used in carpentry to extract or pound nails.

A plumbers supply have to include these simple machines to complete a plumbing toolkit. And we live at a time when purchasing these items are just one click away.

The Three Common Types of Plumbing Pipes for Home Use

Plumbing pipes help supply water and natural gas to residential areas and carry off waste materials from these same houses. These pipelines may also serve as water channels to irrigation and drainage systems outside your home. But with all the types of piping materials sold in the market such as those found at The Home Depot and Lowes, homeowners often hit a blind alley in choosing the best plumbing pipes for their needs.

This guide introduces you to the world of pipe systems, provides basic knowledge of its installation, and offers a sneak preview on the three common types of plumbing pipes for home use. By the end of this reading material, you will gain a good understanding on piping materials in general and determine the right one for your next project.

Get Ready

The United States government requires each homeowner to consult building codes and ordinances in their local areas before they can replace an old pipe with a new one. Some U.S. cities strictly require professional services for pipe installation, and other local governments regulate the type of materials needed for a specific piping system.

Oftentimes securing a permit is not required for repair or simple pipe replacement, but you will need it for running pipe in a different location. Make sure you comply with the requirements of the local building inspection department before taking a step further.

Identify The Types of Plumbing Pipes

After the paperwork, you have to determine the type of plumbing pipe according to function: water supply, waste outlet, or gas supply. Water supply lines carry water, or sometimes other liquids, from a source to fixtures such as faucets and showers. Drain-Waste-Vent lines, or DWVs, carry waste materials, such as used water and gas, away from residential areas. Gas supply lines channel gas from a source to appliances such as ovens.

Choose The Piping Material

If you already have ascertained the use of the pipe, it’s time to choose the right piping material. Plumbing pipes are made of plastic or metal, and each type serves a specific purpose.

Water Supply Lines

a. CPVC – Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride. Mainly used for hot and cold water fixtures. It is often preferred over copper pipe in interiors.

b. PEX – Cross-linked Polyethylene. Mainly used for hot and cold water interior pipes in homes. It is easy to steer and evade obstructions, even without an elbow.

c. PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride. Used only for cold water fixtures. It is also used for irrigation systems.

pvc pipe

PVC pipes for cold and hot water supply. Featured image by Jeremy Noble / Flickr (CC)

d. Copper – Used for hot and cold water applications in residences. It is lightweight, durable, and easily fits through tight places.

Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV) Lines

a. PVC – DWV pipes of this type are 1.5 inches or larger in diameter, while water supply pipes measure 0.5 to 2 inches.

b. ABS – Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene. Used in mobile homes, commercial and residential sanitary systems. It is light but strong and easy to cut.

ABS pipe

A 2-inch ABS pipe with Quagga Mussels. Featured image by Dan Bennett / Flickr (CC)

c. Cast Iron – Easily joins to plastic pipe with transition fittings. It is strong and durable.

cast iron pipe

A cast-iron pipe painted yellow. Featured image by ntcrwler / Flickr (CC)

Gas Supply Lines

a. Black Malleable – Black, malleable, galvanized iron or cast iron. Used to carry natural and propane gas from a source, such as the street or a tank, to the home.

b. Copper – Used to transport gas and indoor gas distribution. It is not recommended for natural gas in some areas, because its sulfur content may peel off the interior.

c. PVC – Used as main gas supply to homes. It is used only for underground applications and may come with wires that metal detectors can detect for repairs.

d. Polyethylene – Easily installs with minimal joints. It is durable and offers long resistance to the environment.

Know The Common Pipe Sizes

Plumbing pipes come in several sizing standards. The most common are cast iron soil pipe, copper tube size (CTS), sewer main or sewer and drain, schedule 40, schedule 80, and Standard Dimensional Ratio (SDR).

You have to know the exact dimensions of the pipe you need. Remember to check the local code requirements and verify if the materials you picked meet the standards.

Make The Job Easier

Plumbing is not an easy task for do-it-yourself, or DIY, warriors. It is always convenient to have handy tools that will lessen the load for you.

A tube cutter makes short work of plastic pipe, while a cast-iron cutter easily cuts through cast-iron pipe.

You have to support a horizontal pipe every 4 to 6 feet with a hanger. Hangers include copper two-hole straps, plastic hangers, plumber’s straps, and wire hooks.

Dubbed as a muffler because of its noise reduction property, a water hammer arrestor dampens the banging of valves on appliances such as dishwashers, faucets and washing machines. It also prevents damage to faucets and pipes.

A vent filters the gas that runs out of pipes and provides air to aid the flow of water, while a trap, the one you find below the sink, keeps harmful gases outside of the house.

Use a cap to temporarily seal the end of a pipe against leakage and turn the water back on.

Just Do It

By now you have a basic understanding of how plumbing pipes work. And when dealing with piping systems, never forget to check the local code and regulations for standard requirements.