Roto-Rooter says Earth Day and spring plumbing improvements go hand-in-hand

22 Ways Homeowners can Clean up and Go Green

The spring cleaning and home improvement ritual is a great way to get organized, but when it comes to your plumbing, it can also be a great way to go green.  Roto-Rooter, North America’s #1 plumbing and drain cleaning service provider suggests 22 green ways homeowners can accomplish their spring plumbing maintenance and support Earth Day.

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank.  If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Inspect tank and bowl for cracks or leaks. If you need to replace a toilet, make sure you recycle all of the individual parts accordingly.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly.  If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running, you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill from eliminating the running water.
  • Consider a dual-flush converter for older toilets, which saves water with four out of five flushes since a full flush isn’t needed most of the time.
  • An easy and chemical-free way to clean mineral deposits from the showerhead, vinegar.  Unscrew it and soak in vinegar or fill a plastic baggie with vinegar; place it over the showerhead and hold in place with a rubber band.  Soak overnight then remove and gently scrub with an old toothbrush to remove deposits.
  • Showerheads also have retrofit options for maximum water pressure and high-efficiency options.
  • Check the temperature setting on the water heater.  It should be set no higher than 120° F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  • Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater.
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old with a newer, more energy efficient model. Life expectancy for water heaters is only 11 years so if yours is older, you’re on borrowed time. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.)
  • Check dishwasher, washing machine and icemaker supply hoses for bulges or leaks, yet another source of waste and inefficiency. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or older than ten years.
  • Stay away from environmentally unfriendly, quick-fix drain solutions and instead make drain maintenance a monthly habit by utilizing a nontoxic bio-based pipe shield product.
  • Clean out washing machine lint trap, if equipped. You can reutilize an old pair of pantyhose to replace a wire trap over the end of the hose that drains the washer.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems. In the case that you need to replace, energy-efficient models are available.
  • Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups which wreak havoc on your home environment, are hazardous to health and require harsh cleaning agents to remedy.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter before bedtime. The next morning, without using any water overnight, take another reading.  If the reading has changed you have a leak that should be repaired.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is an inexpensive battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.
  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely.  If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on for the season, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.
  • Install inexpensive aerators on all of your faucets for water and water bill savings.

ROTOGreen is the Earth-friendly plumbing solution program for Roto-Rooter.  This Earth Day, we encourage you to be a part of our water conservation effort. Share your Earth Day green ideas on our Facebook Page ( and hear tips from others who are making smarter green choices.

Stop procrastinating, and get your spring home improvements out of the way!  Facts, tips and more information regarding green plumbing and water conservation can be found at


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