What Is A Plumber?

A plumber is someone, who, like no other trades person, must know his trade along with everyone else’s. His day starts with leaving a perfectly warm bed on a bitterly cold morning, to the realization that the joints that hurt last night still hurt this morning. His best friend those morning will be the jacket one of his loved ones bought him last Christmas, and a pair of boots he hopes won’t let the water soak through before noon. Most people would think by now, that getting to the office, will be the hardest part of their day. While he ponders the most efficient way to schedule six service calls, between the time it takes his engine to warm up enough to turn the heater on. By noon, his lunch….if he has one, will be the only pause in his day, between the phone calls, from customers, friends who want to know “how to do something”, family, apprentices, who…. As he puts it “Don’t know how to do anything”, hell squeeze in bites of something which is now only warm at best.

The apprentice who has ridden with him this week, is seriously doubting why he made this choice. His boss can sense it, and knows he must find something to complement his “padowan” among all the wrong things he did this week. If it were up to him he’d never have hired him in the first place, but he’s busy, and needs the help…… Although the young man can’t seem to do anything right, he remembers how his first week, month, and years were in his days and can’t help but seeing a bit of himself in the youngster. His apprentice gets up half an hour earlier, goes to bed half hour later if not more. Works twice as hard, and is the brunt of most of the jokes. His only reward, is that one day, he’ll have a good paycheck, and the reward of a job well done from the man who first put a wrench in his hand, the only person who is capable of judging his work.

When it’s almost quitting time, he’ll get another phone call, an emergency leak at someplace he’s never heard about, from a customer who thinks he charges too much, but got his number from three friends who said he does great work and he has a 4 ½ star rating. He contemplates even going, but money was tight last month and he’s got bills to pay.

His job, in a nutshell, is to bend iron, copper, steel, and reluctantly….plastic to his will. Making it hold water, gas, oil, air and human waste, with no leaks, the best possible way, with the least possible damage, at the lowest possible cost, and have it last 50 years or more. He’ll replace water heaters that are older than this last TWO cars, repair galvanized pipes that are older than he is, and fix the work of the hacks that came before him, with a gentility that most glassworkers are jealous of. He has to…..because anything that breaks after he touches those pipes is his fault in the customers eyes and that’s something that not even doctors have to live up to. He must diagnose it right the first time, have seen and know how to fix every part that ever existed, know the cause and remedy of every issue, know how to cut, know where not to cut, what to cut with and most important, not cut himself. He’ll do it with ice cold hands, because gloves take away his dexterity, something even a surgeon can admire. He’s used to doing anything with almost nothing and making it look easy. And, in a few moths he’ll do it in 115-degree heat, if he’s outside, 135 if he’s in an attic, and in the rain, in between.

There’s a reason why great plumbers charge so much, it’s a dedication to a trade that no man can master, but every plumber tries. The only legacy being, to leave behind a better plumber than existed before him, who will carry the heavy idea that “The plumber protects the health of the Nation”, one service call at a time, with workmanship that will last longer than him. No one wants to do a job like this, he knows that, and it’s not going to get cheaper. Because he, like the rest of the dirty pipe wrench turners out there know “Great plumbers are born….not made”

by Eric Ronquillo

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Basement waterproofing starts with your plumber!

Waterproofing companies provide many solutions tailored to fit your specific needs. One thing they all have in common is that they rely on a properly working storm sewer. Without this, the moisture they have removed from the air, the water they have collected from the ground or the new interior and exterior perimeter pipes they have installed have no means of drainage. That’s where we come in. We are your storm sewer repair specialists

We guarantee the proper operation of your storm sewer system. Whether your system is plugged with roots or has collapsed completely – we will make sure your house is protected during the next snow melt or rain storm.

With one call, text, email or Facebook message – you can make an appointment with us to inspect your basement drainage system. We can insure your basement is protected this year with services and products such as:

  • Storm Sewer Inspection Services
  • Electric Sump Pumps
  • Water Powered Back-up Sump Pumps
  • Storm Sewer & Conductor Cleaning
  • Sewer Repairs and Replacements

Most often, the cause of a storm sewer system failure is due to roots that have infiltrated a compromised piping system.

Most of the time these can be cleaned out with our top-of-the-line sewer machines & inspection equipment. However, in more extreme cases it may require excavation and replacement. Don’t let this worry you. We are experts. And your home will be better off as a result.

Spring is right around the corner….don’t let the rainy season wash you out!

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Happy Thomas Crapper Day!

Thomas_CrapperThomas Crapper

January 27 is Thomas Crapper day! Who is Thomas crapper? Contrary to popular belief Thomas crapper was not the inventor of the toilet, John Harrington was. Thomas crapper was the one that made the flushable toilet popular with “Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd”.

Crapper held nine patents, three of them for water closet improvements such as the floating ballcock, but none was for the flush toilet itself. Thomas Crapper’s advertisements implied the siphonic flush was his invention; one having the text “Crapper’s Valveless Water Waste Preventer (Patent #4,990) One movable part only”, but patent 4990 (for a minor improvement to the water waste preventer) was not his, but that of Albert Giblin in 1898. Crapper’s nephew, George, did improve the siphon mechanism by which the water flow is started. A patent for this development was awarded in 1897.

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Sill Cocks & Frost Free Hose Bibs (…and a little diy)


Frost free hose bibs are specially designed to eliminate the need to turn an outside faucet off during the winter. Typically, there are two types of outside faucets: sill cocks (the bottom faucet) and hose bibs (the top faucet).

A sill cock is an older style of outside faucet that shuts the water off right near the handle of the faucet. This causes problems in the winter time because, even though the sill cock is shut off, you still have a portion of the water line which feeds the sill cock exposed to freezing temperatures. When water lines freeze they will break as a result of the expanding ice. To avoid this you have to go down into the basement before every winter and turn off the supply of water to the sill cock.

Frost free hose bibs are constructed differently. Instead of shutting the water supply off right at the handle, which we noted is susceptible to freezing, the handle is connected to a shaft that runs inside a tube which, when turned, shuts off the water supply further inside the house where warmer air will prevent the water from freezing. If installed properly, your frost free hose bib will have a slight angle which will allow any water inside the tube to drain away once the hose bib is shut off.

Here is a quick reference guide to installing a frost free hose bib

This project will require:

  1. Tampering with your water supply
  2. Use of a torch in a confined space
  3. Basic soldering knowledge
  4. Basic knowledge of use of both hand and power tools

**NOTE** If any water is left in lines you are trying to solder – it will fail and you will have a leak.  The hose bib must be installed at an angle towards to outside to allow water to drain and prevent freezing. The following step-by-step guide is a very basic illustration intended only to guide you. The actual process will vary based on your circumstances and requires you to be a little “handy”.

If you feel uncomfortable with the use of these tools then contact a professional. We are always here to help.

Things you will need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Tubing Cutters
  • Torch
  • Solder
  • Emery Cloth
  • Flux Paste
  • Cordless Drill
  • Screws
  • Plumbers Putty
  • Flame Retardant Protective Barrier
  • Rag


Step 1:

Turn off the water supply line located at near the water meter. Then cut out the old sill cock and shut-off valve with a pair of tubing cutters.


Step 2:

You may need to drill out the hole through the sill plate to accommodate the added diameter of the hose bib.


Step 3:

Clean all of your copper and brass fittings with emery cloth and flux paste in preparation for solder.


Step 4:

Solder your copper water lines and brass shut-off valve. Turn the water back on and test for leaks.


Step 5:

Connect a hose to the hose bib and wash you car!

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A little plumbing history

Ever wonder why hot water is always on the left and cold water is on the right but yet the cold water supply line on your toilet is on the left? It all started with the introduction of indoor plumbing in the 19th century. Before hot water became available, cold water was the only option. Instead of the faucets we know today, back then faucets were operated by a hand pump. Being that most people are right handed, the placement of the faucet naturally fell on the right side of the sink. Upon the invention of the hot water faucet, the only space available to place it was on the left side of the sink. And thus ‘hot on the left’ and ‘cold on the right’ was born. But what about ‘cold on the left’ when it comes to the toilet? Much like today’s toilets, the original flushable toilets were designed with a tank to hold water and a bowl to receive and flush away your…..well, you get the idea. The main difference was that in order to flush the toilet back then you would reach up behind you while sitting on the toilet and pull a handle on a chain that was connected to the flush tank high above your head. Again, getting back to the fact that most people are right handed, the chain was placed on the right side of the toilet as you were sitting on it. And there you have it.

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Welcome to The Clog!

Please feel free to read through our blog posts. We hope to provide you with many different things here from special offers to D.I.Y. tips and maybe just some fun plumbing related reading material.

Leave us a comment about a plumbing related questions and we will gladly write up a blog, err, uhmm, clog about it!


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Flooded Foundation Walls

Here is a quick little video that shows the water that can accumulated within basement walls.

In order to address wet basement issues, you must first understand how a house is built and how ground water works. First, ground water will always follow the path of least resistance. Second, anytime you disturb the ground, that ground becomes softer than the surrounding undisturbed ground. Third, cinder blocks contain voids in them.

When a house is built we start by excavating a big hole in the ground that will soon make up your basement footing and foundation walls. The hole that is dug is typically a few feet larger in diameter than the basement footprint will be. This is done to allow the masons room to build the basement walls. This added diameter is referred to as the “overdig”. After the basement walls are completed, the overdig is back filled with dirt and the rest of the house is built. However, this overdig is now softer than the surrounding areas as a result of the excavation and thus becomes a major potential for water accumulation. Weather it’s from plugged gutters and downspouts, failed storm sewer conductor lines or improper grading; any water that that gets into this overdig will most likely be trapped there between the foundation wall and the harder undisturbed ground. This results is saturated block walls. As more and more water accumulates over time, the voids within the block walls start to fill with water which could ultimately result in serious foundation problems.

In newer homes, some additional exterior drainage is installed to eliminate this potential. However, older homes only have this type of drainage inside the basement which can only work once the ground water has made it’s way into your home.

There are many different products and services out there that can help resolve this. Knowing which ones to use and how to apply them is the key to insuring the job is done properly. We would be more than happy to schedule a consultation with you and review your situation. We are confident that we can tailor a solution that will fit your specific needs.

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Get ready for winter!

We’ve had an extremely mild winter so far this year to say the least. Don’t let this weather cause you to become complacent with the things that should still be done around the house. By paying attention to these few things you can save some money in costly repairs in the future.

  1. Remember to disconnect your hoses from all outside faucets. By doing so you allow the water that would otherwise be trapped in the faucet to drain away and thus not freeze and burst the faucet. This applies to both ‘frost-free’ and ‘silcock’ style faucets.
  2. Turn off all outside faucets from the basement. Unless you have frost-free faucets, it is a great idea to shut the water supply to the faucets off to prevent freezing this winter. If you are unsure of the type of faucets you have then give us a call and well will gladly conduct a walk through with you in insure you are ready for winter.
  3. Be sure your downspouts are connected and working properly. If rain water & snow melt doesn’t drain away properly, the freezing and expanding can cause cracks in the wall. Sometimes this can be solved by simply having us run a sewer snake down the line and clean it out.
  4. Turn off some things if you are going away. If you are planning a trip somewhere this year it is a great idea to turn the water off to the entire house and the setting the thermostat on the water heater to “vacation” or “pilot”. By doing this you are protecting your home from a flood in case a water line breaks while you are away. You can also avoid added costs of heating water while you’re away and not using it.
  5. Check your sump pump & have a back-up system in place. A sump pump is an extremely valuable item in your house. Without some means of drainage, the big hole in the ground that is your basement would surely fill up with water. Be sure you don’t get caught with a bad sump pump and a flooded basement. There are many other options available for a back-up system as well in case your primary pumps fails or you experience a power outage.


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Attention Byron Water Service District!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and receive a free estimate! One call to us will get you on your way to a quality water service installation. Our directional bore & trenchless technologies will minimize the impact on your yard during the installation process.

And best of all – it isn’t any more expensive than the other guys that want to dig up your lawn.

Information on the water service installation process can be found here.

Information on Russell Plumbing & Home Services directional bore installation can be found here.

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