Quality Plumbing Services

Beware of Sewer Cleaning $ Specials $

August 11, 2017 · By Wally W ·

There are plenty of people out there (not necessarily plumbing companies) who offer low price sewer cleaning specials. Quality Plumbing Services see this as the ultimate bait and switch tactic. Even some national plumbing chains use this tactic. They will offer an initial low cost sewer rodding, and then tell you there's a problem with your sewer, i.e. root problem, collapsed sewer, or a spot they are unable to rod through, and they will need to perform thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Or they will do a flow restoration, where they create a small opening in the obstruction which allows water to drain for a short time. When the sewer backs up again and you call them back, that is when they sell you the expensive sewer repair.


On several occasions Quality Plumbing Services has been called by customers asking for a price on a sewer repair. After discussing the situation or visiting the job site to give a proper estimate, we come to find out that so-and-so rodded the sewer and was unable to clear it without digging up the sewer. Or the customer is told, the tree roots are so bad they cannot be be rodded. On several occasions we were allowed to power rod the sewer and do a proper video inspection. We were able to clear the sewer of tree roots or obstruction without excavating the sewer. In fact, we rarely have to perform sewer repairs after we've power rodded. The majority of our excavations stem from broken overhead sewers. This is a very common occurrence where the cast iron pipe snaps or cracks at the foundation wall. Also, we excavate for clean-out (rodding access) installations where limited access to the sewer is available.


When Quality Plumbing Services performs sewer rodding, we try and clear as much of the tree roots or obstruction as possible. A lot of that depends on the clean-out size or the access to the sewer. We've found other companies are more interested in flow restoration than sewer cleaning. Then once they get in the door, try to sell sewer repairs, a sewer liner, or more big ticket items.


Recently, Quality Plumbing Services was called to a residence and the customer stated he needed his sewer video inspected. He had a sewer backup and had a “plumbing” company perform a $250.00 sewer rodding special. This company not only managed to get the rodding cable stuck in his sewer but did a terrible job rodding.


The purpose of our video inspection was to pinpoint exactly where the cable was stuck and where the sewer would need to be excavated to retrieve the cable. This bargain company obviously did not have the proper equipment to video inspect and locate the area which is not that surprising knowing the cost of our camera and locating equipment. Our locating equipment will not only pinpoint the problem spot, but give an accurate depth as well. Our video equipment which uses a laptop computer and an interface between camera and laptop ranges somewhere in the neighborhood of about $10,000-$11,000. So I understand why some of these bargain companies don't have the proper equipment. When our journeyman plumbers arrived at this particular home, we managed to retrieve the cable using some tricks that we've developed over the years that I'd rather not broadcast over the Internet on my blog post. We also performed a video inspection of the sewer and found that whoever rodded the sewer in addition to getting stuck did a very poor job. The following video illustrates this:



If the rodding cable would not have become stuck in the sewer, this company would have left the sewer in this condition. The customer would have never been aware of just how poor a job they did for him. At least until the next time he backs up which in my opinion would not have been very long.

Unfortunately the customer decided, he was going to call that person back because he did pay for their service, even though they did a poor job. So I do not have an after video. I would have thought he learned his lesson? I have several stories similar to this one - Quality Plumbing Services has saved a number of customers from unnecessary sewer repairs. We take pride in our power rodding procedures and know what it takes to properly clean the sewer, not just restore flow.


If your sewer has not been rodded in several years, or you already know you have a tree root problem, or your sewer needs to be rodded frequently, please give us a call for a fair, honest sewer assessment. One of our plumbing experts can surely help. Call and schedule your appointment today at 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200.

Tags: Drains/Sewer Lines


June 29, 2017 · By Diane B · No Comments

All of us at Quality Plumbing Services would like to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!


This is a day of celebration all throughout the country. Whether it be from watching the firework spectacle at night, to grilling out with friends and family, eating plenty of hot dogs. Did you know that an estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on the 4th of July?! That means that half the population of the United States will have at least one hot dog.


Speaking of fire works, Quality Plumbing Services would like to advise everyone to be safe because accidents can happen. That’s why you should leave the shows to the professionals! The top four places to watch the fireworks in the Chicagoland area are Navy Pier, Itasca at the Hamilton Lakes Office Campus, in Skokie at Niles West High school where they offer new “3D” fireworks, and lastly in Evanston at Clark Street Beach.


We hope everyone enjoys this special holiday!


No CommentsTags: Community

1st Floor Residents Be Aware

June 23, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

Do you live on the first floor of your condo or apartment building? Have you ever come home to a dirty sink that you know was clean when you left in the morning? Have you ever had standing water in your sink or dishwasher knowing that you didn't use the kitchen and wonder what the heck is going on? Well, these are sure signs your kitchen drain is clogged.


Anyone who lives or has lived on the first floor of an apartment or condo building with multiple units above them may have had this experience. Water backing up in the kitchen sink without ever using the sink. We see this all the time in multi-unit buildings. What happens is the kitchens share a common pipe. The kitchen drain over time becomes clogged below the first floor, usually as the piping changes from vertical to horizontal. This becomes a real serious issue for occupants on the first floor. Any water used at the kitchen sinks in the apartments above will fill up the first floor sink and if enough water is used, fill the sink, spill over the rim or out of the dishwasher and onto the floor.


The water will continue to back up at the first floor causing major damage to floors, cabinets, and countertops especially if no one is home to notice. People upstairs don't realize there is any problem because their unit is draining properly. The first floor kitchen sink is the lowest opening and that's where the water comes backs up. I speak not only from my plumbing experience, but personal experience as well. This very scenario actually happened to my mother. She would spend winters in Florida. Her condo was vacant for the winter months. She was, of course on the first floor and I would check on her place twice a week … get the mail, make sure the heat was on, and things of that nature. Then one Sunday afternoon, I walked in and saw remnants of food and debris in the kitchen sink. Being in the plumbing business, I knew exactly what was happening and luckily caught it in time and was able to prevent a more serious problem.


If you ever experience any of the symptoms I described, you'll need the cooperation from your upstairs neighbors. Tell everyone above you to stop using the kitchen sink or dishwasher. Your neighbors should be able to use everything else in the house i.e., bathrooms, showers, toilets should not be affected. Ask them to stay away from the kitchen and possibly the laundry depending on how the building is piped. If no water is used, the water level will remain the same. As long as the water level remains lower than the sink, you will be okay other than a sink full of dirty, smelly water. As long as your neighbors cooperate, you can avoid more serious damage until help arrives. Again, this is all predicated on the fact that you are at home to discover there is a problem. Imagine going to work, out of town for a weekend, or on a two week vacation and any time anyone of your neighbors used their kitchen sink or dishwasher they dumped that water on your kitchen floor, cabinets and counter top. It is a horrible thing to come home to.


If you are experiencing a slow kitchen drain, or completely clogged kitchen drain, or notice any of the warning signs I described, or any other types of drainage issues or questions, please do not hesitate to call and schedule an appointment today. Call 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200 for drainage problems or any of your plumbing needs.

No CommentsTags: Drains/Sewer Lines

Clogged Drain

June 15, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

As you can imagine, over the years our plumbers have seen a lot of different issues causing clogged or obstructed drains and sewers. Since we have opened our new division, Quality Sewer Services and acquired our new combination jet rodding and vactoring truck, we have been called out to numerous jobs with major drain and sewer obstructions, some that have surprised even our plumbers (we don't get surprised by our findings very often). I would like to share one particular job with you just to give you a sense of what we run into more often than you would think.


We were recently called to a manufacturing facility in which the customer had stated the floor drains in the warehouse were backing up and he felt the sewer needed rodding. Our plumbers arrived at the job, assessed the situation, and found the following in the inspection manhole.



This is a picture of the inspection manhole outside the warehouse where the building drains flow to the building sewer and eventually to the city main sewer. This is a 6” drain pipe completely clogged with toilet paper, paper towels, and "flushable wipes." After seeing this blockage, our plumbers quickly reacted, called for our jetter and vactor truck and began to set up our equipment.




Using high-pressure water, approximately 4000 PSI and one of our penetrating jet nozzles they were able to quickly and efficiently dissolve the large mass and flush away the drain clog. Once they established flow and the building drained, our operators used the flushing nozzle and with the help of approximately 500 gallons of water completely flushed any and all loose paper and debris that remained in the sewer pipe to the city main sewer.




Using our combination truck in this manner allowed us to clear one of the worst toilet paper and paper towel clogs we have seen in many years. Quality Sewer Services performed all work from outside the warehouse with no interruption to the manufacturing operation, and no mess inside whatsoever.


The work was performed in a relatively short amount of time as compared to conventional style cable sewer rodding which would have taken several hours to complete. Now, I realize that not all of your clogs may be to this extreme, but we are excited our plumbers have another tool in their arsenal to handle all of our customers’ drain lines and sewer piping clearing needs.


If you're in need of immediate drain cleaning or sewer rodding service, or would just like to have maintenance performed on your sewer or drain, have one of our sewer and drain cleaning experts evaluate your drainage needs. They have the knowledge and equipment to handle any job large or small. Please call 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200 and one of our customer service representatives will be happy to schedule an appointment for you today.

No CommentsTags: Drains/Sewer Lines

What Causes Sewer Odors and How Can They Be Prevented?

June 07, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

As plumbers, two of the most difficult things we deal with are sewer smells and mystery leaks. Both are very difficult to locate and both can be very difficult to correct. I want to give you a few simple tips you can look for if dealing with a sewer odor and what you can do to possibly correct it yourself without spending a whole lot of time and money.


Sewer odor and gases are always present in the sewer system and cannot be eliminated. That is why there are provisions in the plumbing code to insure that vent pipes and p-traps are installed at all fixtures throughout your home or building. The vent systems are designed to carry odor out through the roof; while traps provide a water seal and prevent gases from coming back into the house.


Some of the most common causes of sewer gases and odor entering houses are:

- Basement floor drains that have dried out. Floor drains (and all fixtures) should have water in the p-traps. The water is what provides the seal preventing sewer gas and odor from entering the home.

- Seldom used fixtures such as a shower, toilet, or sink may also have a dry p-trap.

- Clean-out plugs missing or improperly installed.

- Ejector pump lid improperly sealed.

- Partial obstructed or blocked sewer. If you notice your toilets gurgling or irregular water level in the bowl, this could be a sign of a more serious sewer problem.

- Cracked or corroded vent piping. This is the most difficult condition to locate because much of the vent piping is behind walls.


Visually check these conditions and pour water into any unused drains; your problem may be as simple as a dry trap. You would be surprised how many sewer odor problems can be eliminated just by refilling the p-traps.


Keep in mind that atmospheric conditions can have an affect on when you may get odor inside the house. When barometric pressure is low or falling, the air outside is heavier than air in the sewer system and any openings in the sewer system will discharge sewer gas or odors.

If odor problems continue, you may have a more complicated issue. In which case, you may need professional help.


Quality Plumbing Services can perform a smoke test on your drain and vent system. We conduct this test using a smoke generator to pressurize your entire plumbing system and pinpoint any leaks or breeches in your vent piping, even behind walls. This process is safe and harmless to you and your family; the smoke is similar to what you might see at a nightclub or haunted house or used for special effects.


Quality Plumbing Services can also completely check the sewer system using our state-of-the-art video inspection equipment. Power rodding can clear an obstructed or partially obstructed sewer which could eliminate the source of a sewer odor. If you are having an issue with a sewer smell, please contact Quality Plumbing Services at 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200 and schedule an appointment today!

No CommentsTags: Home Remedies


May 25, 2017 · By Diane B · No Comments


In honor of this weekend in which the country will celebrate Memorial Day, we here at Quality Plumbing Services would like to provide you with some interesting facts about this day of remembrance. The origins of Memorial Day date back to the Civil War and it was originally dubbed Decoration Day due to veterans decorating their fallen comrades' graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. The day of remembrance was also originally held on May 30th and it was not until 1967 when federal law declared “Memorial Day” the official name and set its date to the last Monday in May. There are certain customs held on Memorial Day created to honor the fallen men and women who have given their lives for our great country. These customs include flying the flag at half staff until noon which is then raised to full staff at sunset. In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks for a pause at 3:00 PM from all Americans to have a moment of silence for those who have fallen defending our country. Memorial Day is celebrated by all Americans across the entire nation, with everyone having their own personal ways of celebrating, but it is always nice to remember where its roots came from. Quality Plumbing Services hopes everyone has a wonderful, safe weekend, and we ask that everyone take a moment to honor the fallen heroes of our great country.

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There's a plumber in all of us ...

May 24, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

This was a recent ad slogan I saw during a commercial for a popular drain cleaning product.


I have also heard the following phrase from several customers when we are called in to clear a clogged drain, “well I used a liquid drain cleaner and it didn't do anything.” I find it interesting in their commercials that they always show the clog in the P-trap which is the U-shaped pipe underneath your sink. In general, we find the clog further down the pipe; it is almost never found in the P-trap. I also find it curious in the commercial which always shows a sink full of water and the person dumps in the product which magically sifts its way down through all that water (staying in a nice little cloud) and reaches the clog, clearing the drain. Liquids just do not work that way. 


Needless to say, I'm not a fan of these products and it's not just because I'm trying to make a buck or scare you away from those products. It's because not only do they usually not work very well, they can be dangerous to people, dangerous to pipes, and horrible for the environment. Even the ones that say “won’t damage pipes” will damage pipes.


This is a warning from a bottle of a popular liquid drain cleaner … “Never use 'our product' with other drain-cleaning products. The bleach contained in 'our product' can react with other chemicals, such as ammonia, to create toxic vapors. Also, use of a plunger can be dangerous, as the product can damage skin, eyes and mucus membranes on contact. Handling lye in any form can cause chemical burns and skin damage, and ingesting it can result in permanent injury or death.” Enough said!


There is no rule that says over the counter drain clog removers cannot be used or handled safely. However, I will warn you that the chemicals in these agents could eat away at your pipes quickly. In fact, they can even deteriorate and corrode metal piping, especially in older piping systems. If you use them frequently or if the chemical does not resolve the clog, it will just sit in your pipes and could cause you a major problem. 


For reoccurring clogs, you should always call for professional help rather than risk damage to your plumbing system. If you have a particular drain that is clogged or slow, please call and schedule an appointment and one of our drain cleaning experts will resolve the issue in a safe and effective manner. Call 847-227-0200 or 630-227-0200 where one of our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives will be happy to book an appointment for you today. 

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May 18, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

This is a question we get asked from homeowners over and over again. A common misconception is that higher horse power means a better sump pump. Higher horse power will draw more amps and may cost a little more to operate as it usually uses more electricity. Also, you may need larger diameter discharge pipe to handle the flow if you use a pump with more horsepower. Most sump pumps are sold based on the basis of the motor’s horse power. They are usually sold in increments of 1-horsepower (hp),  .5-horsepower (hp), .33-horsepower (hp), and .25-horsepower (hp) are the most common sizes.


As plumbers, we don't consider horsepower as a determining factor when selecting a proper sump pump for the application. We rate sump pumps by its pumping capacity in gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head or lift. Head or lift is the vertical distance that you are able to pump the liquid. Without getting too technical, all pumps have a pump curve chart provided by the manufacturer. The higher the liquid is pumped, the less gallons per minute (GPM) the pump can remove. Industry standard uses 10’ feet of head or lift, generally because the average basement ceiling is 8’ feet high and the sump pump basin is 2’ feet deep. Therefore, a better way to measure a sump pump's capacity is its gallons per minute at 10’ feet of head.  


A good sump pump will pump anywhere from 40 to 50 gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head or lift. This is a much more important rating than overall horsepower. Many of the pumps you'll find at the big box stores or home centers show you the pump's horsepower but not its pumping capacity. Another trick and this is especially true of the battery back up systems they carry … is that they show pumping capacities in gallons per hour (GPH). They try to dazzle you showing you a pumping capacity of 1500 gallons per hour (GPH). If we do the math, that equates to about 25 gallons per minute (1500 gallons / 60 minutes =  25 gallons per minute). What they do not tell you is that usually this rating is at 0 head or lift. So if you're factoring in the height the sump pump has to pump the water to evacuate it from your basement, that GPM drops off even further and you may have pumping capacity only 15 gallon per minute (GPM). In heavy rains like we experienced recently, the incoming water may overcome your sump pump. Even though your sump pump is currently working, it is unable to keep up with the amount of water flowing into your home.


When assessing your sump pumps capability it's very important to look at the individual sump pump's pumping capacity in gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head, rather than just its overall horsepower rating. This is a far better indicator of how your pump will perform, and allow you to select the most efficient pump for your application.


If your sump pump has failed or you're simply looking to replace an aging sump pump, let a member of Quality Plumbing Services expert team help you choose the proper sump pump for your home. Call today 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200 and one of our knowledgeable and friendly customer service representatives will be happy to make an appointment for you today. Don't wait until it's too late!!


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May 11, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

April showers bring May flowers …

and sometimes thunderstorms and basement flooding. Most basement flooding in our area occurs due to a failed sump pump. The average life expectancy of a submersible sump pump is 5 to 10 years. While the average life of a sump pump switch which controls when the pump will turn on and off is 4 to 7 years. However, sump pumps are not equipped with a cycle counter like an odometer on your car, or a warning light that your sump pump is about to fail. Your sump pump may work fine one minute and not the next which is a big problem for homeowners. 


The lifespan of any sump pump depends on many factors such as how often the pump cycles, cycle time, pipe size, length of piping run, etc. Unfortunately, no one can predict when your sump pump will fail. 


Somethings you can look for when assessing your sump pump:


Pay close attention to how your pump sounds strange or loud noises, humming sounds, grinding noise, or vibration. Any of these maybe a warning sign that something is wrong or about to go wrong with your sump pump. 


You can fill the pit with water making sure the sump pump both starts and stops as designed. A properly operating sump pump should expel the water very very quickly (quicker than you can refill the pit even using a garden hose). 


Always check to make sure that the sump pit is free of debris children's toys and items stored around the pump can fall into the basin. Also mud, leaves, rocks, and even original construction debris can get into the unit or hinder the float mechanism causing the sump pump to fail. 


Always inspect the check valve check valves are designed so that when the sump pump shuts off no water will go back into the sump basin. Often, you'll hear a thumping sound at the end of a pump cycle. That's the check valve slamming shut. Pay special attention to check valves using rubber couplings to connect them to the discharge piping. These rubber connections can rot or dry out overtime. Look for signs of leakage or discoloration around these connections on the discharge piping, as these rubber connections can loosen or become detached after years of operation.


If you know you have an aging sump pump or recognize any of these warning signs, please call Quality Plumbing Services and let one of our sump pump experts help you choose the right pump for your application. Quality Plumbing Services carries a wide variety of sump pumps. We offer submersible sump pumps, pumps with built in high water alarms, duplex systems, pedestal pumps backed by a 20 year warranty, as well as battery back up systems.


Whatever your sump pump needs, Quality Plumbing Services can help before it's too late. Call today and schedule an appointment 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200. 



No CommentsTags: Flooding


May 04, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

     With this past weekend's rain, this is a question our plumbers were asked by several customers. I am by no means an insurance expert. For any specific questions, I recommend you contact your insurance agent. I am merely passing along some general knowledge from my years of experience. The honest answer is, maybe? It depends on each homeowner's individual policy and any “endorsements” or “riders” you may have purchased or are included.  

     A homeowners policy in its standard form will not cover water that has “backed up” through a drain, toilet, sump pump, etc. If your home has a sump pump that fails or is over-come by large volumes of water, you may not be covered for damage to property or the clean up of water. If you live in Chicago or one of the surrounding suburbs and the municipal sewer system becomes overloaded and water enters your basement, you may not be covered either without additional water back-up coverage.  

     This is not flood insurance. My understanding is that insurance companies consider a “FLOOD”  as water that enters the house over the foundation.  Flood insurance as categorized by insurance companies is designed for low lying areas where flooding occurs easily.  Homes that are located within a flood plain will most likely be required to purchase additional flood insurance in order to be covered from this type of flooding.

     Water back-up coverage or Water and Sump Pump Backup” coverage would cover drains, sump pumps, and toilets, etc. basically anywhere excess water can “back-up”  into your home.  This type of flooding can occur in many ways such as a failed sump pump, overloaded municipal sewer, clogged building sewer, toilet overflowing, rear stairwell drain, etc.  This water most likely will be dirty and disgusting and could cost several thousand dollars to clean up and dry out the affected areas. Not to mention, any damage to or loss of personal property.  On most policies you can buy an endorsement or rider to cover any damage or repairs. Do not assume you have this endorsement. Many agents will leave “Water and Sump Pump Backup” off a policy in order to get their client the best price. They are under no obligation to offer it to you, unless you ask.  

     So, if you are a current homeowner who may be at risk of a wet basement, and you have any concerns about your coverage, talk to your insurance professional. A small fee is well worth the protection and peace of mind in wet weather.

     Although I feel it's a good idea to check your insurance coverage for any gaps, especially if something unfortunate were to happen.  I also feel you can take some preventive measures so you never have to use you insurance coverage.  If you have any concerns about aging sump pumps or are even unsure of your sump pumps age, I highly recommend you have it checked.  If you have not had your sewer rodded in some time, or would like your sewer video inspected to check its condition, Quality Plumbing Services has the best rodding equipment in the industry to throughly clean your sewer. We offer conventional cable rodding, as well as jet rodding in which high pressure water is used to clean and flush your sewer. We offer state-of-the-art camera equipment to perform a thorough assessment of your sewer's condition. We have many sump pump options from submersible pumps to Tramco pedestal pumps.  We can provide duplex sump pump systems to provide you redundancy in the event of sump pump failure, or high volumes of incoming water situations. We also have high water alarm systems, and battery backup systems in the event of a power outage.

     If you have any doubts about your sump pump or sewer condition, let one of our knowledgeable and experienced plumbers evaluate your system so hopefully you never have to use that insurance policy I encouraged you to purchase.  Please call Quality Plumbing Services at 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200 and one of friendly customer service representatives will be happy to make an appointment for your today!



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