Lutz Plumbing, Inc. Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Plumbing Problems’

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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How to Protect Your House From Sewer Backups

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

A sewer backup can spell disaster for your home. If your sewer line becomes clogged, wastewater will not drain properly. The sewage will flow backward and into your house. Not only does this create a health hazard, but it’s also very costly to clean up. Read on to learn more about what causes sewer backups and how you can avoid them.

plunger next to white toilet and toilet paper roll on light blue tiles

Signs of a Sewer Backup

The following warning signs indicate a sewer backup. If you notice any of these signs, call a plumbing expert right away.

  • Multiple drains in your home are clogged simultaneously.
  • Your toilets are not flushing properly, even after plunging.
  • You notice a foul odor coming from your drains.
  • Your sewer cleanout is full of water.

Causes of Sewer Backups

A sewer backup has several possible causes, including:

Damaged Pipes

No pipes will last forever. Especially if you have an older home, it’s possible your pipes are aging and beginning to deteriorate. An old pipe may become cracked or even collapse, leading to a sewer backup.

Tree Roots

Tree root invasion is one of the most common reasons for a sewer clog, especially if your home is older. Tree roots will seek moisture as they grow. The roots will enter the sewer pipe and can cause extensive damage as they grow larger.

Flushing Non-Flushable Items

Flushing anything non-flushable down the toilet can clog your pipes and lead to a sewer backup.

Improperly-Routed Gutters or Sump Pumps

Downspouts, gutters, and sump pumps should not be connected to your sanitary sewer. During a heavy storm, a large amount of water can flow into your gutters. If the gutters are connected to your sanitary sewer line, the volume of water can cause a backup. Ensure that your gutters are connected to a storm sewer, or that they discharge water above ground, away from your home’s foundation.

How to Prevent a Sewer Backup

Here are several steps you can take to protect your house from sewer backups.

Dispose of Grease Correctly

Cooking grease can solidify inside your pipes if it’s poured down the drain. Instead, let your grease cool down and solidify, then scrape it into the trash can. Also avoid pouring food waste, starches, or coffee grounds into the drain.

Be Careful What You Flush

All that should be flushed down the toilet is bathroom tissue. Avoid flushing wipes, feminine hygiene products, or paper towels. Even if a product says it’s flushable, it may not really be safe to flush. Flushing improper items will clog your toilet and lead to sewer backups.

Install a Backflow Valve

A backflow valve (also called a backwater valve) allows water to flow out of your home. If water starts to flow backward, the valve will close. This can help protect your house in the event of a sewer backup.  You’ll need a licensed plumber to install a backflow valve for you.

Trim Tree Roots

If you have a large number of tree roots in your yard, the roots may start to grow into your sewer line. Have a professional inspect your trees and trim the roots to prevent them from damaging your sewer line.

Clean and Maintain Your Sewer Line

Preventative care is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of a sewer backup. A plumbing expert should inspect your sewer pipe once a year for any signs of damage. You should also schedule an annual sewer cleaning to keep your pipes flowing smoothly.

If you need assistance with your drain and sewer system, Lutz Plumbing is here to help. We can take care of whatever your sewer line needs, whether it’s installation, repair, maintenance, or replacement. We’ve served the Kansas City area since 1920. Contact us now to learn more.

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Low Water Pressure: When Should I Call a Professional?

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

There are a seemingly endless amount of annoyances when it comes to owning your own home, but one that frequently nears the top of the list is low water pressure. In some cases, it’s possible to adjust by yourself, but it’s often a better idea to call a professional plumber. How do you know which situation you’re in? There are a few common causes of low water pressure. Let’s take a look at them and determine which are possible to fix on your own and which you should call in the experts to handle.

DIY Fixes

Water Valve Problems

Locate your shut-off valves near your water meter – there is usually one on the street side of the water meter and one on your home’s side. Find them and make sure they are fully open. If either is even somewhat closed, that could be the root of your low pressure problems. Valves that aren’t open all the way block the flow of water, causing low pressure out of your pipes. Open them up and you’ve found an easy solution!

Check on Your Fixtures

Another quick and easy fix is to service your water fixtures. If you’re getting low pressure from just one or two locations in your house, e.g. your shower head or kitchen sink, but the rest of the house seems fine, those particular fixtures might need some attention. Check them for built-up limestone, dirt, grime, or rust and ensure that the faucet’s screen is clear. You can clean them up by following this method, but if they’re too gunked up, you may need to replace them. Don’t sweat it, though – replacing faucets can be an easy DIY day job. Just be sure to turn off your water supply beforehand, or you’ll be dealing with quite a mess.

Call In The Pros


Problematic Pipes

If your fixtures look good and your water valves are both fully open, it’s probably time for you to call in a professional plumber. They can take a more in-depth look at your pipes and figure out where the problem is. If your home is older, there’s a good chance you have a clog somewhere; they can take a while to build up and become noticeable. A plumber can bring in a scope to find the clog and get rid of it for you.

Another unfortunate cause could be that your pipes have corroded. Corroded pipes can cause a number of serious problems like leaks and contamination, so keep your fingers crossed that this isn’t the cause of your low water pressure. The solution to corrosion is simply to replace your plumbing, which is an expensive and time-consuming solution. Pipe corrosion can cause a number of health problems, so if you suspect that it’s the cause of your low water pressure, call in a professional right away.

Faulty Pressure Regulator

If your home’s plumbing has a pressure regulator, low water pressure may indicate that it is failing. Pressure regulators do exactly as their name implies – they regulate the water pressure. Too high or too low water pressure means that the regulator isn’t working properly and needs to be replaced.

Inadequate Water Supply Line

Your main water supply line has been in place since your home was built, so if you have done remodeling and added any water fixtures to your home, your main line may be insufficient for the demand you now have. Call up a local plumber or contractor to pull up records verifying the size of your main supply line and they’ll be able to determine if it’s still acceptable or if it’s causing your low water pressure.

If you have low water pressure in your home, you don’t have to “just deal with it” and wait for the problem to get worse. Try out our DIY solutions and if they don’t seem to be the cause, contact us today at Lutz Plumbing for a trusted professional opinion.


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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes this Winter

Monday, February 4th, 2019

plumber-repairing-hot-water-heaterWinter in Missouri has been remarkably cold this year. The frosty windchill and teenage temperatures are enough of a problem on their own, but the side effects of these temperatures are even more of a problem. A big issue we see a lot during this time of year are frozen pipes.

Frozen pipes are an inconvenient problem (imagine turning on your faucet and getting no water) and they become an even bigger issue when the frozen pipes lead to other issues like pipe burst. Your plumbing system is so complex and delicate that it’s important to act quickly and proactively. If you do run into a problem and need plumbing in Independence, MO you can rely on our trustworthy team.

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All the Ways Your Toilet Can Ruin Your Life!

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Plumbing Icons

If you’re not careful about keeping your plumbing system healthy, you can easily run into problems. Your toilet is easily one of the most used fixtures in your home, so when things have gone awry with it, you’ll notice immediately, and it will greatly impact your daily life.

With a plumbing problem like this, you shouldn’t try to alleviate the problem on your own. Always make sure that you have a professional plumber like ours fix your system. When you need Kansas City toilet repair, make sure you call our team here at Lutz Plumbing, Inc.

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