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Clogged drains can get the best of all of us. Mystery odors, backed-up sinks, and non-functioning disposals are definitely near the top of the Worst Things about Homeownership list.  Whether it’s a sink or a toilet, we’re always looking for a quick and inexpensive DIY fix. Today, our DIY might involve one of our favorite […]

Can You Really Unclog A Drain with Cola?

Clogged drains can get the best of all of us. Mystery odors, backed-up sinks, and non-functioning disposals are definitely near the top of the Worst Things about Homeownership list. 

Whether it’s a sink or a toilet, we’re always looking for a quick and inexpensive DIY fix. Today, our DIY might involve one of our favorite beverages. No, not that one; we’re talking about cola.

There are so many rumors about the DIY uses for cola. From cleaning pavement to removing corrosion from car batteries, cola seems like an easy and affordable tool for everyday maintenance. But what about your clogged drain?

Will Cola Work on My Pipes?

Cola uses phosphoric acid to give the tangy, semi-addicting flavor we all love. Phosphoric acid in large concentrations can be used to clean rust off metal parts, remove tough limescale, and clean the nastiest of toilet scum. But in your soda, the small concentrations have only a mild—we’re talking a very, very tiny amount—of corrosive ability.

Because the amount of phosphoric acid is so small, your cola probably isn’t the best choice of drain un-clogger. (Sorry to rain on the DIY cola myth parade.)

Cola might be somewhat effective under these conditions:

Your drain is really, really clogged. Cola needs a long time to work, so the cola has to be able to penetrate the clog for long periods of time. If your drain is only partially clogged, the soda will just pass through the pipe without any effect.

You don’t have standing water. Standing water in your sink means the cola will be diluted. The already small amounts of acid in the soda will be even less effective with added water.

You can wait a long time. Ideally, you would be able to leave the cola overnight. If you really want to try this hack for yourself, bring a 2-liter of cola to room temperature. Pour the entire bottle down the drain and wait for at least two hours, and preferably overnight. Then pour boiling water down the drain to see if it worked.

A Better DIY Drain Cleaner 

First, a note on commercial drain cleaners. Traditional drain cleaners use sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid to clear backed-up pipes. These are heavy-duty, highly corrosive chemicals. They cause more damage to your pipes down the road. So, if nothing else, avoid the drain cleaner aisle at the grocery store.

To unclog a kitchen sink, there’s a much easier, faster, more effective solution.

  • Turn off the power to your disposal. Unplug it or turn it off at the circuit breaker.
  • Inspect the disposal with a flashlight. Clear any obvious clogs with a tool of your choice, as long as it’s not your fingers. 
  • If you don’t see an obvious clog, use a sink plunger. Fill the sink with a few inches of water to make your plunging more effective.
  • Try a DIY cleaner that actually works. Mix one-part baking soda to one-part vinegar, and pour it down the drain. Wait about 30 minutes before pouring hot water down the disposal to flush out any broken-down debris. 
  • Turn the power back on and test it. 

Preventing Kitchen Drain Clogs

Don’t use your disposal as a trash can. Most of us put anything and everything food-related down the drain. But there are some things that shouldn’t go down there:

  • Fibrous foods, like celery, asparagus, or sprouts
  • Fats, oils, and greases
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grinds
  • Bones
  • Starchy food, like peels, beans, rice, or pasta
  • Non-food items

Use enough water. Without flushing water, food waste builds up and causes those pesky clogs. Keep a good flow of cold water running before and after putting your food scraps down the disposal.

Keep those “blades” sharp. Try putting a handful of ice cubes down your drain once a month. Running the disposal with ice can keep the “blades” (technically, impellers) in shape.

Don’t expect a lifetime commitment. Disposals and pipes aren’t immune to wear and tear. If you’re noticing consistent problems, it’s time to call in the pros to discuss repairs or replacements.

We love hearing our customer’s DIY success stories. But if things don’t go quite according to plan, we’ve got you covered. We’re your Columbus plumbers and can handle clogs (or other problems) of any size. Give us a call!

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Calling the pros for every plumbing issue in your home is time-consuming and costly. Now, don’t get us wrong: We love helping our Columbus plumbing customers with problems big and small! But if you’re feeling empowered to DIY your simple plumbing issues, we’re here to help you do that, too. From regular maintenance to clogs […]

10 Awesome Plumbing Hacks

Calling the pros for every plumbing issue in your home is time-consuming and costly. Now, don’t get us wrong: We love helping our Columbus plumbing customers with problems big and small! But if you’re feeling empowered to DIY your simple plumbing issues, we’re here to help you do that, too.

From regular maintenance to clogs to leaks, we’ve compiled 10 awesome plumbing hacks that will help you save money and headaches in the long run. 

Hack #1: The Emergency Shut-Off Valve

Let’s say you have an overflowing toilet that just won’t stop or a busted pipe in your basement. Your first step is to shut off the water at the source! Knowing where your emergency shut-off valve is can save you some costly clean-up, water damage, and mold issues.

Hack #2: Garbage Disposal 101

Knowing how to use your garbage disposal correctly helps you avoid repairs and blockages. There are several things you should never put down your disposal:

  • Fibrous foods, like celery, asparagus, or sprouts
  • Fats, oils, and greases
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grinds
  • Bones
  • Starchy food, like peels, beans, rice, or pasta
  • Non-food items

Hack #3: Clear the Clogs

While we’re talking about disposals, let’s talk about clogs. These steps can help you de-clog your disposal in record time.

  1. Turn off the power, either by unplugging or turning it off at the circuit breaker.
  2. Inspect the disposal with a flashlight. If you see an obvious clog, clear it with any long and sturdy tool. Never use your fingers!
  3. If you don’t see an obvious clog, use a sink plunger. Fill the sink with a few inches of water and start plunging.
  4. Use a DIY drain cleaner. Mix one part baking soda to one part vinegar, and pour the solution down the drain. Wait about 30 minutes, then turn on the hot water for about 60 seconds.
  5. Turn the power back on and test it!

Hack #4: Cleaning Your Disposal

There’s a pretty simple DIY tip for keeping your disposal blades sharp and eliminating those weird smells. Every now and then, put several ice cubes and a hunk of lemon peel down the disposal. Run it without water for about 30 seconds, then run some water and add a little dish soap. You’ll have sharpened blades and a lemony scent in less than a minute!

Hack #5: DIY Drain Cleaner

We can’t stress this enough: Commercial drain cleaners are bad news for your plumbing. They’re too strong and corrode your pipes over time. A DIY cleaner is safer, cheaper, and just as easy. For major clogs, try pouring boiling water down the affected drain, followed by ½ cup baking soda. Let that sit for 5 minutes. Then, pour in a cup of vinegar and wait another 5 minutes. Flush with warm water.

Hack #6: Tackling Toilet Clogs

Your first pro-plumber move for tackling toilet clogs is to have a plunger for every toilet in your home. When you’ve got an overflowing toilet, time is of the essence. You don’t want to be running upstairs for the only plunger in the house!

You can also fix a clogged toilet without a plunger! Stop the flow of water by disconnecting the chain in the tank or by turning off the water at the valve at the back of the toilet. Pour hot water—the hotter the better—into the bowl. Hot water and a little soap can also help break down a clog.

Hack #7: Finding Invisible Leaks

It’s the end of the month, and you’ve received a huuuuuuuge water bill you weren’t expecting. Next, you notice water damage, mold, and poor water pressure. Sounds like you might have a leak… but how can you know for sure?

Finding an invisible leak can be tricky, but it’s definitely not impossible! Turn off all the taps and take a water meter reading. Wait a few hours with nobody using any water, and check the meter again. If it shows water usage, you definitely have a leak somewhere, and need to call in the pros. 

Another common place for leaks? The toilet! Try putting food coloring in the tank. If there’s color in the bowl after 30 minutes, you’ve got a leak from the tank!

Hack #8: Ultimate Shower Pressure

Low pressure leads to longer showers, which leads to higher bills. So why not lower your bill and have better pressure—but simply cleaning your shower head? Put a small plastic bag full of white vinegar over your shower head. Secure with a rubber band and leave overnight.

Hack #9: Tighten the Pipes

Threads on your pipes get looser over time, which can lead to small leaks. For a quick DIY pipe tightener:

  1. Turn off the water.
  2. Unscrew the leaky pipes.
  3. Wrap a single-layer of masking tape around the threads.
  4. Screw the pipes back together.

Hack #10: The Leaky Faucet

A leaky tap is the time-old plumbing nightmare. Even though it’s one of the most annoying household problems, a leaky faucet can slip to the very bottom of our to-do lists again and again and again. To stop the constant drip-drip-drip, secure a washcloth around the faucet with a rubber band. Then, when you’re ready to tackle the issue at the source, turn off the water, remove the tap body, put in a new washer or O-ring, and reassemble. Done! The same thing works for leaky pipes, but you’ll want to put a bucket underneath as well.

Want more Columbus plumbing tips?

We love helping you with your plumbing problems, big and small. Give us a call today for more plumbing tips and tricks!

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There’s no delicate way to talk about sewage. Sewage problems are just… gross. Ever smelled backed-up sewer pipes? Ugh. Worse yet: Ever had sewer water actually back up into your shower or spill out onto the floor? Barf.  Without a proper waste disposal system, you can experience a whole host of issues: spreading diseases, mold […]

4 Main Causes of Sewer Damage

There’s no delicate way to talk about sewage. Sewage problems are just… gross. Ever smelled backed-up sewer pipes? Ugh. Worse yet: Ever had sewer water actually back up into your shower or spill out onto the floor? Barf. 

Without a proper waste disposal system, you can experience a whole host of issues: spreading diseases, mold outbreaks, and breathing problems. As your Columbus plumbers, we’re just as serious about helping your family stay healthy as we are about plumbing.

We’ll come investigate any problem you might be having, but there are some issues we tend to hear about more often than others. Here are four top causes of sewer damage.

Sewer Damage Cause #1: Tree Roots

Tree roots are one of the top external causes of problems with your sewer lines. Tree roots are attracted to the… ummm, “fertilizer”… in the wastewater. As roots grow around your pipes trying to get at these nutrients, they create cracks big and small. Tree roots have been known to crush or completely fill whole sewer lines! Even if you don’t have trees in your own yard, a neighbor’s tree could easily become your plumbing nightmare.

Sewer Damage Cause #2: Physical Obstructions

Clogs are one of the top internal causes of sewer damage. So repeat after us: “Your toilet is not a trash can.” We’ve pulled all sorts of things out of sewer pipes: garbage, toys, diapers, cooking grease, paper towels, menstrual products, even too much toilet paper at one time. All of these can lead to blockages or clogs in your sewer pipes. And even if you take care of your pipes, dirt, debris, and hair can create obstructions in your sewer lines over time.

Sewer Damage Cause #3: Rodents

We wish sewer rats were more like Remy from Ratatouille than Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective. (Unlocked some deep childhood memories there, huh?) Unfortunately, burrowing rodents are an archenemy of sewer lines. They loosen joints, turn small cracks into big cracks, and use pipes to nest and multiply. It’s never a good sign when rodents are involved.

Sewer Damage Cause #4: Normal Wear-and-Tear

Time isn’t kind to your pipes. General corrosion and sediment build-up can create leaks and blockages. Natural soil movement over time causes sagging sewer lines, which can become a problem when the low spots create repeat blockages, ruptures, or leaks. Regular monitoring and maintenance can help, but ultimately sewer pipes have a shorter lifespan than your sewage needs.

When should you call a Columbus plumber about sewer issues?

Here are seven obvious signs that point to possible sewer damage:

  1. All your drains are backing up at once. If you flush the toilet and the toilet, sink, and shower drains all spit up water, there’s a clog in a main pipe somewhere.
  1. Weird things are happening when you use your toilet. We’re talking toilet water bubbling, gurgling sounds when you flush, or backed-up water in the shower after flushing your toilet.
  1. Your lawn starts to change. Indentations in your yard may indicate a break in the line or a sagging pipe. Changes to your grass are also a big red flag. Soggy patches or extra green, lush patches mean sewage is probably coming up from the pipes below and fertilizing your lawn.
  1. It smells. This is an obvious one. If it smells like sewage, it’s probably sewage.
  1. You’re growing mold. Leaking sewage pipes mean moisture in places you don’t want moisture. This can cause fungi and mold to grow in seemingly strange areas of your home. If you notice a mold spot, look for other signs of sewer damage.
  1. Your drains are slow. If your drains are slow to… well, drain… you’re on your way to a larger clog. Don’t use chemical drain cleaners, which can ultimately make the situation much worse by corroding your pipes. Try natural alternatives or calling in the pros. It’s worth it!
  1. You have a pest infestation. Remember the sewer rats? If you start seeing evidence of a rodent infestation, they might be coming in from your sewage pipes. Same with bugs like cockroaches. These pests are great at finding little cracks to wiggle through, especially underground where your sewer pipes are!

Very few people in the world would attempt a DIY fix for their sewer damage. Even if you’re one of those folks, please give us a call first! We want to help keep our Columbus plumbing customers safe and healthy in their homes.

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Let’s be honest: A clogged garbage disposal is just ewwww. First, there’s the mystery smell. Then there’s the inconvenience of a slow-draining sink, complete with bits and pieces of yesterday’s breakfast floating around in there. Gross. Garbage disposals back up for plenty of reasons—including these top three. Disposal Clogging Culprit #1: Incorrect Use File this […]

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Keep Backing Up?

Let’s be honest: A clogged garbage disposal is just ewwww. First, there’s the mystery smell. Then there’s the inconvenience of a slow-draining sink, complete with bits and pieces of yesterday’s breakfast floating around in there. Gross.

Garbage disposals back up for plenty of reasons—including these top three.

Disposal Clogging Culprit #1: Incorrect Use

File this problem under “things they should have taught us before we became adults but didn’t because, instead, they wanted to see how fast we could run a mile.”

Way too many homeowners use their garbage disposals as a replacement for their trash cans, putting everything and anything down that poor drain. But there are definitely some things you should never, ever expect your disposal to deal with:

  • Fibrous foods, like celery, asparagus, or sprouts
  • Fats, oils, and greases
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grinds
  • Bones
  • Starchy food, like peels, beans, rice, or pasta

The problem isn’t necessarily that these things will hurt your disposal. The problem is how these food items react to water after they’re ground up. If poorly ground-up or sludgy food waste is left over time, it will eventually clog up your disposal completely.

Another way you might be misusing your disposal is not using enough water. Without sufficient water to flush the ground-up food through your pipes, the waste will build up and cause a blockage. Keep a decent flow of cold water running for a few seconds before and after putting your food scraps down the drain.

And this should go without saying, but  we’ll say it anyway: Don’t put non-food items down your disposal. Ever. 

Clogging Culprit #2: Dull “Blades”

If you put the wrong things down your drain or don’t keep up with regular maintenance, your disposal “blades” might just be too dull to do the trick. Once a month, grind up a handful of ice cubes. This can help keep them in tip-top shape.

For those who are curious, we put “blades” in quotation marks, because garbage disposals don’t really have blades; they have impellers. The impellers aren’t particularly sharp… until they spin really fast. (Here’s another “it goes without saying”:  Never put your hands inside a disposal when it’s turned on. In fact, it’s best to keep your appendages out of it altogether—running or not.)

Clogging Culprit #3: Old Unit

Garbage disposals aren’t invincible to typical wear and tear. Eventually, the impellers will wear down too far or the motor will burn out. In general, you should expect your disposal to last anywhere from eight to 15 years. But you may be looking at a replacement in three to five years if your disposal isn’t properly used and maintained.

Five Steps to Clearing a Backed-Up Disposal

  1. Turn off the power. You can either unplug it from the outlet or turn off the circuit breaker at your home’s main panel.
  2. Inspect the disposal with a flashlight. If you see an obvious clog, clear it with tongs, pliers, or a wooden spoon. Move your tool of choice around the blades to make sure they’re moving freely. Don’t use your fingers!
  3. If you don’t see an obvious clog, use a sink plunger. Fill the sink with a few inches of water, place the plunger over the drain opening, and start plunging. Look for obvious clogs again and remove any debris.
  4. If your sink still seems backed up, try some DIY drain solutions. Don’t waste money on pre-mixed or chemical solutions; they’ll probably hurt your disposal in the long run. Instead, mix one part baking soda to one part vinegar and pour it down the drain. Wait about 30 minutes before pouring hot water down the disposal to flush out any broken-down debris. Then, let water flow for about a minute.
  5. Turn the power back on and test it. Run water into the disposal, and flip the switch on and off for a few short bursts to make sure all debris is unclogged.

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on at all, make sure it’s plugged in first. If it is, press the reset button on the bottom of the unit under your sink. Sometimes, a circuit trips and a quick press of a button can solve the problem.

Finally, if your garbage disposal seems to be working just fine, but your sink is slow-draining or you’re constantly running for the plunger, your problem might have nothing to do with the disposal. We’re happy to help you figure out what’s up.

Still need help?

It’s time to call a plumber. We don’t recommend tearing apart your disposal because we don’t want you to do permanent and expensive damage. We’re Columbus’ most-trusted plumbers, and we can handle whatever your disposal wants to throw at us. (Hopefully not literally.) Give us a call!

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Tankless water heaters are energy-efficient, have low maintenance costs, and are reasonably durable. But just like any appliance, they’re not completely  immune to issues.  If your tankless water heater isn’t performing up to par here’s what you should check.  Scenario 1: There’s no hot water! This is the most common problem you can expect with […]

Tankless Water Heater Not Working? Here’s What to Check

Tankless water heaters are energy-efficient, have low maintenance costs, and are reasonably durable. But just like any appliance, they’re not completely  immune to issues. 

If your tankless water heater isn’t performing up to par here’s what you should check. 

Scenario 1: There’s no hot water!

This is the most common problem you can expect with a tankless water heater. To get to the root of the problem, ask yourself the following questions.

How many appliances am I running at once? If you’re running the dishwasher, doing a load of towels, and showering at the same time, chances are you’re just running your water heater to its limits. Choose which hot water activity you need right now, turn off the others, and restart your unit. 

Am I reaching my minimum flow rate? The minimum flow rate is the amount of water (in gallons) the tankless unit needs flowing through every minute to produce hot water. If you’re asking for less than the minimum flow rate, the unit is probably shutting off as a safety measure. Increase the flow out of your faucet and wait to see if the water heats up.

Is something plugged up? Check your vents and air intake channels for blockages. Lucky for you, most tankless water heaters have notification systems that tell you if you have a blocked exhaust vent somewhere. Make sure everything—inside and outside—is free of blockages, dust bunnies, or other debris. Dirty burners are also a source of blockage. Make sure they’re clean!

What about my power source? If you’re running on electricity, check your main electrical panel. Something may have caused the breaker to trip, requiring a reset before your tankless water heater will work again. If you’re burning gas, make sure you paid your bill, there’s propane in your tank, or the gas valve is fully in the ON position.

Is it cold outside? In the winter, frozen water pipes can prevent hot water from reaching you and your appliances. Safely and naturally thaw your pipes before trying again for some hot water.

Scenario 2: My water is too hot.

So what if you’re experiencing the opposite problem? Here are the things to fix if your water is getting too hot:

  • Stop overloading the system by using too many taps at once. 
  • Reset your water heater thermostat to around 120 F. 
  • Reposition your temperature sensor to get a more accurate reading.
  • Again, clear any blockages. Reduced water flow can cause any heated water to get too hot. 

Scenario 3: Water runs hot, then cold, then hot again.

It’s the dreaded cold water sandwich, which most often occurs in the shower. (What a great start to your day, eh?)  Here’s what’s probably happening: Someone showered just before you. The hot water you’re feeling in the beginning is the leftovers from the previous person. Then, the water gets cold again while the tankless water heater is re-heating the water for your shower. Then, once the heater does its job, you get your hot water again.

If this happens a lot or really gets on your nerves, ask your Columbus plumber if a mini tank water heater could help. A small tank will give hot water while the tankless unit heats up, preventing this cold water sandwich in the future.

Scenario 4: My water is… different.

Your water should always be clean and clear. If it’s discolored or smells funky, you might have something growing in your unit. That sounds gross, but it’s really common and generally harmless with the right maintenance. 

The minerals in our water tend to build up in our units over time. When enough builds up, you get cloudy, yellow, brown, nasty water. Flushing your tankless water heater with a pre-made descaling solution or regular distilled white vinegar should solve your problem.


It’s good to be in the habit of cleaning your tankless water heater at least every six months. If you know you have hard water problems, ask us about water softeners to help keep your unit in top condition.

Scenario 5: I think it’s time to call in the pros!

If you’ve tried these DIY fixes or you have a totally separate issue, we’re here to help. Our licensed Columbus plumbers can assist you with all your tankless water heater needs. Call us!

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Bidets direct water from a nozzle to your umm, “area” after you use the toilet. They’re popular in other parts of the world, like across Asia and Europe. But in the States, we’re only used to seeing them in fancy-schmancy hotel bathrooms or as an ironic joke in our favorite movies. Not anymore! Bidets are slowly gaining popularity throughout the U.S.

Flooded Basement? Steps Before Calling a Plumber

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Bidets direct water from a nozzle to your umm, “area” after you use the toilet. They’re popular in other parts of the world, like across Asia and Europe. But in the States, we’re only used to seeing them in fancy-schmancy hotel bathrooms or as an ironic joke in our favorite movies. Not anymore! Bidets are slowly gaining popularity throughout the U.S.

What the Crap is a Bidet?

Bidets direct water from a nozzle to your umm, “area” after you use…

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When it comes to do-it-yourself home improvement, few projects strike fear in the hearts of homeowners quite like toilets. It just seems like so many things could go terribly, horribly wrong, doesn’t it? No one likes the thought of making a mistake that involves sewage.Fortunately, replacing a toilet is a much less complex task than most homeowners realize. If you have the right materials and a tiny bit of know-how, the chances of a major disaster are slim. Here’s a step-by-step guide to replacing a toilet.

Why the Thaw Might Not End Your Plumbing Problems

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When it comes to do-it-yourself home improvement, few projects strike fear in the hearts of homeowners quite like toilets. It just seems like so many things could go terribly, horribly wrong, doesn’t it? No one likes the thought of making a mistake that involves sewage.Fortunately, replacing a toilet is a much less complex task than most homeowners realize. If you have the right materials and a tiny bit of know-how, the chances of a major disaster are slim. Here’s a step-by-step guide to replacing a toilet.

10 Expert Ways to Take Care of Pipes and Drains

When it comes to do-it-yourself home improvement, few projects strike fear…

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