Lutz Plumbing, Inc. Blog : Archive for the ‘Drain and Sewer’ Category

Why Is My Toilet Clogged and How Do I Unclog It?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Does this sound familiar? You finish your business in the bathroom, reach for the lever, flush, and the toilet starts to back up. Your toilet is clogged and you’re not sure how it got that way, it worked perfectly the last time you used it. Worse yet, you’re not sure how to fix it quickly so you don’t have a huge mess to clean up. You’re not alone; a clogged toilet is one of those household mishaps that has happened to just about everyone. Next time you find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance, don’t panic. A clogged toilet can be taken care of quite easily if you know what to do.


What Caused the Toilet to Clog?

There are a number of reasons your toilet may be clogged. The most likely cause is that there is a buildup of toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, or similar products in the drain. Although many times they’re labeled as flushable, these types of items cause more clogs than anything else. It’s also possible that a foreign object such as a toy dropped into the toilet by a child or pet. In either case, the material blocks the water flow, causing the toilet to back up.

Another cause for toilet clogging is a lack of sufficient water pressure. When you flush the toilet, it forces the water and waste material down the drain. If there isn’t enough pressure, solids will get stuck in the pipe. Over time, they’ll restrict the water flow, eventually blocking it off entirely. When this happens and you flush the toilet, the water has nowhere to go except back up where it came from.

How Can I Unclog My Toilet?

The fastest, easiest way to unclog a toilet is to use a toilet plunger. This is a plunge designed specifically for unclogging toilets. You can tell by the shape, as it’s got a narrow bottom hole and a cup that sits above it. Place the plunger in the toilet so it fits over the drain and the opening is inside. Press firmly down several times and remove the plunger. In most cases, the water will drain as it should and you can flush the toilet as normal.

If the plunger doesn’t work, add dish soap to the toilet bowl. The soap may act as a lubricant that helps the clogged material move through the pipe. If that doesn’t work, try pouring a bucket of hot tap water in the toilet from waist level. The force of the water should move the clog. If it’s still clogged, try pouring a cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar into the bowl to help break up the clog.

What if None of Those Things Work?

If you’ve tried everything and your toilet is still clogged, the problem may be bigger than you can handle on your own. Perhaps the clog is larger than you suspect, or it’s deeper in the line than you can reach. The best thing to do in this case is to shut off the water at the base of the toilet. That way, you’ll avoid having any additional water added to the problem.

Your next step is to contact us at Lutz Plumbing to take care of the problem. We’re experts at finding and removing toilet clogs and we’ll get your bathroom back in working order, fast. We know that plumbing issues don’t always happen during normal business hours. In fact, they usually happen at the worst possible time. A clogged toilet can happen anytime and that’s why we’re available for emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just call 913-888-9500 and we’ll send someone over right away.

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Buying a Home? You Should Get a Plumbing Inspection.

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Buying a new home can be a stressful experience, and one worry is that you will find your Kansas City dream home only to discover that there is some structural or other problem which would cost thousands of dollars to fix.

Spotting those problems before you close on the property is a good idea. That means you need to get a plumbing inspection. Basic home inspection will cover only basic plumbing problems, and getting a plumber in to do a more detailed look before you sign is a good idea. Most people tend to wait until after they have bought the home and are on the hook for any problems found.

During a regular home inspection, the home inspector will generally make sure all plumbing fixtures work and check them for obvious leaks. They will also look at things like the garbage disposal and sump pump. However, this inspection is a bare minimum and can miss some real problems.

If the home inspector flags anything with your plumbing, you should go ahead and get a plumber to take a look, especially as they can also give you a quote on repairs. This will allow you to decide whether to move on with the purchase or whether the problem is a deal killer. You may also be able to get the seller to pay for the repair, especially if you are in a buyer’s market.
For a full plumbing inspection, the plumber will do the following:

  1. Check the water heater, including its age. They can also evaluate whether the water heater is big enough for the needs of the home, which can result in a chilly problem if not corrected. If the water heater is more than 9 or 10 years old, expect to have to replace it. They will check the heater’s venting, temperature, and pressure, and ensure the gas line is correctly installed. Problems with the water heater can be hugely dangerous.
  2. Visually inspect all of your plumbing and check the shutoff supplies. They will check for toilet leaks. Leaks at the bottom of toilets are a problem that is common and not always fixed immediately. The home inspector will also do this, but they generally do not do as thorough a job as an actual plumber.
  3. Check that your water pressure is normal. Water pressure should be between 55 and 60 psi. Be aware that this is affected by local conditions. Water pressure lower than 50 psi causes problems for showers and laundry. Over 65 is worse, as it can cause damage to your fixtures.
  4. Use a diagnostic camera to inspect the pipes under the home. This may be an extra cost, but is often worth it. Make sure they check the main sewer line, where deterioration or clogs can cause serious issues if raw sewage backs up into your home.
  5. Check for poorly-done DIY repairs that may need to be redone or may be causing more damage. For example, sometimes people will caulk a toilet leak badly and cause pooling of water that damages the floor underneath.

This is a good time to ask any questions you may have about repairs that may be needed. Of course a plumber is not there to tell you whether to buy the house or not, just to help you determine whether the problems are something you can deal with.

If you are buying a new home in Kansas City and want to get the plumbing inspected, ideally before you close, contact Lutz Plumbing to get a quote today.

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6 Items You Should Never Put Down Your Kitchen Sink

Friday, June 28th, 2019

If you’re like many Kansas City homeowners who own kitchen garbage disposals, you probably know how useful these appliances can be. However, you can’t just toss anything down the chute without hurting your disposal or damaging your plumbing. Here are six foods and items you should never put down your kitchen drain, along with a few considerations and warnings. 


1. Greasy, Oily or Fatty Foods 

High on the list of foods that should never go down a disposal chute are those that contain grease, oil or fat. Grease that sticks to the interior of sewer pipes can accumulate, which results in blocking pipes. Consider that your garbage disposal won’t keep out grease from your plumbing system since it’s designed to shred only solid substances into small bits. Even worse, it lets grease descend down your drain, which creates more problems.

Fatty meats should never be dumped into a drain as well as oily foods. Thus, never throw shortening, cooking oil, lard, questionable food scraps, butter, margarine, sauces, dairy products, and baking goods into your garbage disposal.

2. Coffee Grounds

Unfortunately, too many people think they can use a disposal for getting rid of coffee grinds. Don’t dump coffee grounds down your drain because they can hurt your plumbing, although they won’t affect your disposal. Consider that eventually, coffee grinds can get into your plumbing, which can lead to clogs.

3. Stringy or Fibrous Veggies and Fruits

Never put stringy vegetables, such as celery and asparagus, down your disposal. This is because the strings of these veggies can easily wrap around the moving parts of a disposal and cause damage.

Also, don’t toss fibrous fruits and vegetables down your chute. Avoid vegetables with layered bulbs, such as onions. In addition to causing damage by wrapping around a disposal’s moving parts, they can weaken or even ruin the motor of a disposal.

4. Rice and Pasta

Rice and pasta should stay out of a disposal. These types of food are prone to expand in a disposal when coming into contact with water. As a result, they can easily block your disposal’s trap or clog your drain.

5. Shells and Nuts

You may have heard the old wives’ tale that eggshells can be used to sharpen disposal blades, but this is just isn’t true. Egg shells can be hazardous because of their filmy membrane that can wrap around the moving components of a disposal. Rather than throwing shells down your disposal, use them as compost.

Shells from seafood aren’t meant for a garbage disposal, as they are exceptionally hard. On the other hand, there are some disposals that can take their hardness. But it’s still not a good idea since it can cause blades to become dull. What’s more, your disposal won’t last as long. Furthermore, don’t throw nuts down your disposal.

6. Items That Aren’t Biodegradable

Non-food items, such as tissues and napkins, should not be allowed in a disposal. A good rule of thumb is that if an item isn’t biodegradable, it’s a no-no. These items include those such as plastic, paper, metal, glass, wood, and others. Simply recycle these materials, if possible, or just toss them in your garbage.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Never throw animal bones into a disposal. Bone is an extremely hard substance, so it’s not intended for a disposal. Even though some garbage disposals can process bones, throwing animal bones into a disposal can still cause wear and shorten lifespan.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals to clean out your disposal. Instead, clean it out by pouring a small amount of dish detergent into it. Throw down a few ice cubes, because ice can clean the walls and blades, while the soap breaks down oil and grease as well as gives it a pleasant scent.
  • Keep cigarette butts out of your disposal because they can expand, causing clogs. Again, a kitchen garbage disposal isn’t intended for any man-made materials.
  • Don’t throw down too much stuff at the same time. In other words, put only a small handful of a substance down the chute instead of tossing everything down at once. You don’t want to put excess stress on your disposal’s motor because this can wear it out quickly.


Sometimes, drains get clogged or need repair even if they are used properly and maintained. For all your home drain needs, you can depend on Lutz Plumbing. Please contact us.

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The Problem with Store Bought Drain Cleaners

Monday, September 17th, 2018

So, you’ve got a slow drain and the chemical drain cleaner at the store with the bright and punchy logo promises to remove your clogs instantly. While this seemingly quick and easy solution to your problem may be enticing, you should never use store-bought drain cleaners to fix a plumbing issue.

Even if you’re frustrated with your clogged pipes and you think it’s a minor problem, you should hire a professional. Store bought drain cleaners of all types do more harm than good to your plumbing system. Your plumbing system is extensive and intricate, so it needs the eye of a trained professional rather than a product promising magic. At Lutz Plumbing, Inc. we have to right technicians to perform your drain cleaning in Independence, MO.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Drain Cleaning

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

drainWhen a drain clogs in your home, you probably don’t think that much about it, right? It’s a pretty minor issue, and fixing it usually just means pouring some drain cleaner down it, right? Wrong! There are definitely good and bad ways to handle drain cleaning issues. If you’re not careful, you can end up making the problem much worse for yourself. The following are some of the most important “Do’s and Don’ts” of drain cleaning.

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How Often Should I Schedule Drain Cleaning?

Monday, April 16th, 2018

drain-pipe-replacementWe’re going to go out on a limb, here, and assume that you don’t think about the drains in your home very much. That’s okay. Most people don’t. The drains aren’t exactly the most attention-grabbing part of the home, or even the home’s plumbing system. Still, they serve a vital role in the plumbing system and need to be kept healthy. One of the best ways to make sure that your drains keep functioning properly is to schedule drain cleaning services. Read on for some prime indications that it’s time to schedule drain cleaning services.

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Indications That It’s Time for Drain Cleaning Services

Monday, February 5th, 2018

drain-pipe-replacementWe know, we know. Nobody wants to think about their drains. They just want them to work when needed and stay out of sight and out of mind the rest of the time. The drains may be a small part of your overall plumbing system, but they remain a very important part. If the drains start to have issues, the rest of the plumbing system is going to have issues as well.

The most common problem for drains is clogging, for which the remedy is drain cleaning. Have a look at the following indications that it’s time to schedule drain cleaning services for your system.

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The Pros and Cons of Different Drain Cleaning Methods

Monday, October 16th, 2017

drain-cleaningRegular drain cleaning is a big part of keeping your drains in top condition. You should be scheduling drain cleaning at least once a year, even if you don’t notice any symptoms that indicate a problem with the pipes. Not all drain cleaning is conducted the same way, though.

There are a number of different techniques used to help keep a drain and sewer system clean, each of which has different pros and cons. It’s up to your plumber which methods to use for your individual situation. Still, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with these methods, and why they’re so helpful for keeping your drains running smoothly.

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Signs You Need to Schedule Drain Cleaning Services

Monday, June 26th, 2017

drain-cleaningYour drain and sewer system is one of the most important parts of your home’s plumbing. If the drain system is not properly maintained, it can cause serious issues for the entire plumbing system. Fortunately, it’s actually pretty easy to keep your drain system in good shape. All you need to do is make sure that you schedule drain cleaning services on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at some of the signs that you need to schedule drain cleaning services for your system.

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Why You Should Always Use Professional Drain Cleaning Services

Monday, May 15th, 2017

drain-pipe-replacementDrain clogs are an unfortunate fact of life, one that we all have to deal with every once in a while. However, clogs are also one of those things that most people deal with incorrectly. When a drain clog develops in the average home, most people reach for some kind of store-bought drain cleaner to handle the problem. That’s actually a terrible way to deal with it. Have a look at some of the reasons why you should always have a professional handle drain cleaning in your home.

When a drain clog develops in the average home, most people reach for some kind of store-bought drain cleaner to handle the problem. That’s actually a terrible way to deal with it. Have a look at some of the reasons why you should always have a professional handle drain cleaning in your home.

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