Ever have a plumbing emergency and wonder who to call? You may have a dripping faucet or a back up in the basement, a shower handle that’s busted or a defunct water heater, but all these problems require different plumbers. As the dispatcher at Mister Sewer, I get a lot of calls outside of our typical sanitary sewer system and water mainline work. My job is to differentiate various plumbing problems in order to figure out who we can best serve. Unfortunately, the nature of our service does not allow us to help everyone that has a general plumbing issue. Currently, as of September of 2020, we have four licensed service technicians (sewer line experts) who are tasked with resolving Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas plumbing problems. This article is designed to help you differentiate what plumbing problems we can help you with and which ones we typically refer customers to other companies for.
Sewer Back-ups and Clogged Drains
We get a lot of calls into Mister Sewer for sewer drains that are backed up. Typically, we serve customers who have a back up with the main sanitary sewer line. This means all of the waste leaving your house is blocked up in the main pipe going out towards the street. The telltale sign of a mainline sewer back up is the floor drain located in the lowest level of the house or in the garage. This drain will overflow when water is poured down the opening to the sewer line. Another telltale sign of a mainline sewer back up is overflowing outside cleanouts commonly located next to a driveway or in the yard. Customers will report seeing pieces of tissue paper or waste around the PVC pipe. There are many reasons sewer lines back up from corroded or broken traps and tree roots to breakages. You can read more about sewer line back-ups on our Resource Center or by clicking on this link.
If you have clogs or blockages in your upstairs facilities like your shower tub, kitchen sink, upstairs bathrooms, we are also able to help. This could be what we typically refer to as a soil stack or vent stack clog. A soil stack and vent stacks are pipes that run between levels of the house carrying waste from the various facilities down into the main sewer line. Sometimes these can get clogged and need to be ‘snaked’ out. Typically there are cleanouts located on stack pipes for the sole reason of access and being able to clear out any blockage. Other times it’s best to approach a clogged facility with a snake through the drain itself. Either way, this is a job our technicians come across often and are able to assist customers with clearing the blockage.
Water Lines and Leaks
Something I have not had the chance to write about but comes up often is water line repair. Since I have not posted a recent blog on what constitutes a water line repair, I will sum it up with a brief example. If you notice that your water bill is astronomical and your water meter is located outside of your home, this may be a water line leak somewhere buried within your yard. Likewise, if you look outside and notice a patch of grass that is greener than other areas or is swampy and wet, this might also be a sign you have an exterior water line leak. If your water meter is located inside your home, then logically it can be determined that somewhere within your house there is a continuously running facility. This could be a running toilet, faucet, dripping showerhead, etc. We do not typically service those with a metered leak inside the home. There are various things you can do to test your potentially leaking appliances like a dye test with food coloring. Waterline leaks are not often noticed by customers until they are approached by the water company or receive a high water bill but if you suspect you have one, don’t wait and give us a call.
Other water line repairs that we respond to are broken shut-off valves. A shut-off valve is a device located on your waterline typical before and/or after the water meter. They are also found near exterior water lines like hose bibs. Shut-off valves are crucial when emergencies strike and are used to quickly isolate any areas in the home where the water must be turned off. They are also used to shut water off to exterior lines so they do not freeze during those long Pittsburgh winters. Most shut off valves are technically called ball valves which tend to leak and corrode over time. Leaks start with small drips but can be destructive if left unresolved.
We are the sewer and drain experts and unfortunately, due to the volume of work, we cannot service a variety of other plumbing issues. Most commonly we receive calls about replacing water heaters, fixing faucets or fixing downspouts and french drains. If you find yourself needing one of these services, you are still more than welcome to call us at 412-835-2135. We can refer you to a plumber that is outfitted for these types of plumbing problems. If you need more information about sewer cleaning and the water line services we offer, you can call us or browse our resource section by clicking the link. Schedule an appointment by clicking here. Remember, “There’s no charge if not resolved, call Mister Sewer problem solved.”