St. Cloud Plumbers

in St. Cloud, MN

Local Articles in St. Cloud

Winter guide

The Angie's List Guide to Winter Maintenance

It's the time of year when the winter weather can take a toll. Follow this winter maintenance checklist to protect your home, your car and your health.

Sometimes bad plumbers aren't this obvious. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Bill M. of Parkville, Mo.)

4 common plumbing scams and how to avoid them

Some plumbers are in the business just to make a quick buck. Here are four of the most common plumbing scams to watch out for and how to avoid them.

radiator
Heating & A/C, Plumbing

Most homes and apartments used to have steam heat radiators, but they can be noisy. Tired of the whistling, clanging and banging? Here’s how to make it stop.

frozen water, frozen faucet, bad water valve
Plumbing

One of the most common winter home problems is frozen pipes. Warming up the pipes is the easy part, but actually finding where the pipe is frozen can be hard.

copper piping
Plumbing

When temperatures dip below freezing, there's a chance your plumbing pipes could freeze. See if copper or PEX pipes stand up best to winter weather.

leaves inside a clogged gutter in the fall
Plumbing

If you plan to leave a house vacant for the winter months, it's important to make sure your home is ready for the winter. Here's how to winterize a vacant home.

Inspiration & Ideas

shower with ceramic tile
double-bowl stainless steel sink
copper apron-front sink
double-bowl stainless steel sink
double-bowl sink under-mounted in granite sink
single-bowl sink in kitchen island

Angie's Answers

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From the sounds of it, you have a clog between the floor drain and the connection to the city sewer (unless you have a septic tank).  The lower flow rates of sinks / showers / dishwashers probable don't cause a backup like the washing machine does.  A couple of suggestions.

1.  Snake the drain line with a spade tip snake, twisting the snake as you advance it.  This should clear the partial blockage.

 2.  If feasable, have your washing machine discharge into a utility sink and put a strainer on the drain to catch the clothing fibre (fibres and grease from the sink probably made the clog in the first place not to mention a garbage disposal).

3.  Replace your floor drain with one that has a backflow preventer (looks like there is a ping pong ball in it).

 Good Luck

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It is not uncommon for a plumber to have to go get the parts necessary to repair and complete the job.  It is very hard to determine what the problem is over the phone and it is not until the repair process begins that the parts needed to resolve the problem is discovered.  It may also depend on if the plumber is using hourly rates or per job rates.  I would hope the time to get the parts would be minimal and the charge would be as well!
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FYI: CPVC and PEX are two different materials and installed differently.  PEX is not intended to be glued but instead has special crimp fittings.  PEX is a brand name of one product that is manufactured slightly differently by others as well so it is important that the same brand fittings are used to match the pipe material.

Mobile homes used CPVC for years and some still do.  It works fine but is not as strong as a properly soldered copper pipe system.  Is the contractor installing this new plumbing a licensed plumber?  I'd be surprised if he is since he's using CPVC and not PEX (or similar) or copper.  PEX pipe is even cheaper than CPVC when run by a knowledgable plumber.  It doesn't require nearly as many joints since it comes in rolls and can flex through spaces easily.

There are some groups raising a fuss about BPA and other chemicals found in plastics that don't like the use of CPVC, PVC, or PEX pipe.  I haven't seen the results of any lab tests to confirm or dispute their concerns.  As far as durability goes it's fairly safe as long as it's properly installed and secured.  It is not as susceptible to hard water damage as copper.  It absolutely must be insulated along it's entire length to protect it from contact to other materials as well as freezing.  Also, the fixtures in the house need to be grounded electrically since the pipe itself provides no electrical protection against accidental shock or electrocution.  In a copper plumbed house the system is grounded so static electricity, a short in a wire near a water line, or lightning strike will carry the current out through the pipe instead of through the water to you, ideally.

If it's installed correctly you should be fine but make sure the contractor knows what he is doing and follows the proper procedures to use CPVC pipe.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
www.thomeservices.com
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It is usually cheaper to remove part of the ceiling below and patch it after the leak has been repaired.  Remember that water can travel before settling in one area, causing the spot you've seen.  Just because it is below the toilet does not mean that the toilet is the problem.  The cheapest option is to pull the toilet and check the floor around the wax ring to see if it has been leaking.  A new wax ring only costs a few dollars.  When was the last time you caulked the shower in that bathroom?  The water can leak around the corners or at the door (if you have one) and travel along the floor joists until it pools in a lower spot on the ceiling below, then seep through.  It could also be a seal at the drain of the tub or shower. 

I get a few calls a year for this sort of thing.  It's usually something simple but can be a nightmare to diagnose, especially if the problem is intermittent.  Start with the simple possibilities and use deductive reasoning to narrow the possibilities.  Before you do a lot of damage it may pay off to hire a reputable contractor to help you make sure you've exhausted all of the imple and more obvious possibilities.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

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5 Star Heating & Air

1516 3rd St N
St. Cloud

Roto-Rooter

4958 County Rd 8 SE
St. Cloud

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