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"Called 2/8/1010 at around 4pm and got the answering service. This was during the aftermath of DC's biggest snowstorm in quite some time at 24". I left" my info and they did not call back. Morning of 2/9 I was on the phone with another plumber and they finally did call, caller mentioned that answering service had given him the incorrect number. Told him they were my first choice and I would be home all day. He said they would call when the technician was on his way. About an hour later, knock on the door the guy was already here. No call, but I guess no harm no foul. He sized up the problem and attentively listened to my description of the plumbing as I am pretty familiar with the layout. Retrieved proper tool from the truck and had it cleared within about 30 minutes. Tested the drain by running washing machine and also filling sink and watching drain time. Total time start to finish about 1 hour. Service man was pleasant and I am pretty happy that they were able to fit me in during a pretty chaotic time for the city.

-david B.

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Angie's Answers


Take off the lid to the tank and check inside.  There should be a small hose going into a larger pipe near the middle of the tank right next to the flapper.  When you flush the toilet water squirts from that hose into the pipe.  If it isn't in place put it back so that water goes down that pipe once again.  This is what refills your bowl.  If water does not come out of the little hose check to see if it is kinked or blocked.  You can take it off and blow air through it.  Don't worry, it's only clean water that goes through the hose.  If it is clear and water does not come out of the short pipe where it attaches on the flush valve then there is a clog in that valve and it will probably need to be replaced.  These are $10-20 at any home improvement store and even Wal-Mart.  The instructions are simple and you can do it yourself in about 15 minutes.  Check the washer on the supply hose to the toilet while it is off to replace the flush valve.  If it is old or worn replace the hose as well.  It is cheap insurance of only a few dollars which is a lot cheaper than a failed hose or washer causing water to leak.


If you don't feel comfortable replacing the fill valve, if it is needed, a handyman can do it fairly cheap.  Whereas a plumber or other contractor will have a minimum charge of $100-200 a handyman might do it for about $50.


Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX


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

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!

Well , you've certainly started a debate that will endure forever , but personally , having worked with both products , PEX is a better product . Now granted , the 1st time i used it

I was not impressed , cause it leaked.......NOT because the product was at fault, it was because I did not understand how to use the product !

The trick to using Pex , is to make certain that the fittings seat, they MUST be pushed together with force, and if you do not push with force to get the seat to seal, it leaks .

Therefore , when using PEX , you have constantly to be aware of leaving room to make your connections -Properly !

The beauty of PEX is that it bends , it is flexible and decreases the labor factor ,although the connection costs are often 100-300 % higher than copper , but again , it can cut labor costs in half  and it is safer to work with,  NO FLAMEs!

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
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

Drain Cleaning Companies in Washington DC

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!


1402 North Capitol Street NW

4 Service Pros

2010 Corporate Ridge

4FastPlumber LLC

13841 Pine Ln

5th Gen Group

8704 Garfield Street

A H Jordan Plumbing & Mechanic LLC

1818 New York Ave NE Ste 113

A-Pro Renovation

1629 K St. NW

AAA Drain and Video LLC

2206 Senator Ave


18004 Meadowsweet Ct.

American Masters Plumbing Co LLC

1624 28th St SE

Anders Plumbing

8209 Chestnut Grove Rd

Argent Heating And Cooling LLC

501 Church Street NE

Aspen Hill Plumbing LLC

2238 Distribution Cir

Bankster International

911 6th ST NE Unit#1

Barnes Plumbing & Heating

9347 Fraser Avenue


1430 Galena Rd

Bashian Builders

121 Old Centreville rd

Bath Plus Kitchen Remodeling

2987 District Ave #418


14844 Cranoke St

Beltway Cleaning Systems

1615 Parkridge Cir Apt 215

BGE Home

1409 Tangier Dr


11216 Dewey Rd

Brook Custom Remodeling

10114 Oakwood Chase Ct

BST Plumbing & Heating

8802 Lew Wallace Rd

C & C Plumbing

4308 Knowles Ave

Cardinal Plumbing Inc

2270 Marginella Dr


4101 Waterbuck Way

Choice Home Warranty

1090 King Georges Post Rd

Crockett Facilities SVC

633 3Rd St NW


8421 Hilltop Rd

Crown Plumber

19358 Wrenbury Lane

Eire Plumbing

5606 Randolph Road

Emerald Plumbing

4645 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE



Foley Plumbing Inc

10111 Greeley Ave


5714 16th St NW

Friedman Plumbing Express

1319 Powhatan Street

Handyman Ashburn

43350 Greyswallow Terrace

Harvey W Hottel Inc

18900 Woodfield Rd

Haynes Plumbing

10509 Lanham Severn Rd.

Haynes Plumbing LLC

2824 F Dorr Ave


8799 D'arcy Road

Honest Abe Plumbing Heating & Cooling

7095 Milford Industrial Rd

House Doctors

3308 Mt Vernon Ave




15751 Crabbs Branch Way

James A Wheat & Sons Inc

7834 Beechcraft Ave

Jav Remodeling

1320 Old Chain Bridge Rd

JBI Services LLC

7836 Airpark Rd


5242 Port Royal Road Suite 1401

John C Flood of Virginia

6430 General Green Way

John G Webster

10738 Tucker St

Joseph C Bauer Inc

8035 A Penn Randall Pl

JW Home Improvement

1390 Chain Bridge Rd

Kargmans Inc

10429 Reisterstown Rd

Lofft Construction Inc

616 Kennedy St NW

Long's Corporation

11215 Lee Hwy

Mac's Pro Service

7210 E Enwood St

Magna Construction

2405 Benning Rd NE

Martillo Contractors,LLC

1700 Elton Road Silver Spring


7610 Rickenbacker Dr

Matt Engel

P.O. Box 5543

McCarthy Services

8198 Terminal Rd

Metro Drainage Pros LLP

42949 Brookton Wy

Metro Gutter And Home Services Inc

5645 General Washington Dr

Metropolitan Repairs

20402 Codman Dr

Michael & Son Services Inc

5740 General Washington Dr

MJ Home Services LLC

4367 Hollins Ferry Rd

MJ Plumbing

104 Flaim Ln

MP Home Repair

2912 Kings Chapel Rd

mr fixer improvement, llc

2925 nelson pl se

Murphy Family Electric

500 N. Washington St.

My Hunny Do

PO Box 6091

Old Towne Plumbing Inc

518 W Deer Park Rd

Omar's General Contracting

3705 Plyers Mill Rd

Oryx Contractors LLC

3010 Wisconsin Ave
Washington Dc

Parrish Services Inc

7865 Coppermine Dr

Payless Plumbing & Heating

11724 King Tree St

Petro Home Services

8900 Citation Rd

Pipe Kings

14418 Round Lick Lane


9821 Godwin Dr

Plumbline Plumbers Inc

1629 A St NE

Plumbtastic Plumbing

14006 Arctic Ave.

Potomac Plumbing & Gas Inc

7340 Yountville Dr

Price Consulting Services, llc

4221 20th Street, NE

Pro Home Services

7301 Mill Run Dr

Real Plumbers

7321 Livingston Road

Rocket Rooter Plumbing

426 Reading Avenue

Roto Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service

5125 MacArthur Blvd NW


5335 Crooked Ln

Rumialdy Development, LLC

1815 Monroe St.N.E.


152 56th pl se

Safari Investment

301 G Street NE #14

Sam and Sons Services

5649C General Washington Dr

Sanchez and son construction LLC

3920 14th st nw

Santimos handyman services

3216 Patterson st nw

Scardina Home Services

8082 Veterans Highway

Scott Ison Plumbing LLC

12822 Greenhall Dr

Seidel Plumbing & Heating Co

1352 Florida Ave NE

Stang Plumbing

7820 Airpark Rd

Stanley Plumbing

417 w duck st

Stevens Co

1351 Quincy St NW

Thomas Martins

15045 Clementine Way

Thomas Plumbing Co

2025 Fairland Rd

TLC Services LLC

6649 Garland Dr

TriState Home Services LLC

82A Wormans Mill Ct

Universal Maintenance

65173 Seventh Road

Washington Home Doctors

0000 Lawrence Street



Wiseman Home Improvements

1512 Clearfield Cir.

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