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How Often Should You Consider Replacing a Toilet

Are There Any Warning Signs That You May Need a New Toilet?

Although many believe that toilets are a life-long investment and will never need to be replaced, certain circumstances make it clear that you need a new one. Perhaps you have noticed some discoloration on the ceramic, or the flushing system is causing you issues. According to the plumbing pros in Parma Ohio, the average toilet should last over twenty years with proper care.

Either way, sometimes these signals are tricky to understand and can be easily brushed off, but it is crucial to identify them as soon as possible to avoid further complications. This article will teach you the most important warning signs that you need to be aware of before replacing your toilet.

 

Do Toilets Wear Out?

 

Yes. In most cases, your toilet will start to wear out after several years of being used, especially its mechanical parts, which may cause it to stop flushing correctly.

 

Its rubber flappers can dry out and break, which may cause leaks. The water pressure can also cause its metal components to rust and create holes in them, which is why it is crucial to properly maintain your faucets to make them last much longer.

 

Still, you must watch out for the following signs that indicate you need a new toilet.

 

Clogs and Overflows

 

This is one of the most common and annoying problems toilets can cause, and it always ends up in disgusting plunging and mopping to make everything tidy again. Older toilets have outdated flushing technology that can increase the chances of having this problem, but it can happen in all toilets.

If you have to plunge your toilet more than once a week, you should stop trying to make it work, as it is unlikely to get any better. The best option is to replace it altogether.

Constant Running

Another common issue in toilets is constant running, which is a clear indicator of a damaged flapper or float. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole toilet needs to be replaced, as flappers are cheap and easy to replace.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to run a simple dye test to check whether the flapper is leaking or the water level is too high. Either way, fix this problem as soon as possible before spending tons of money on your utility bills.

 

Poor Flush

 

Poor flush can usually be caused by a clogged siphon jet, low water levels, or damaged mechanical parts. Therefore, you must consider several factors to determine what’s preventing your toilet from flushing properly.

 

You can look into your tank and check its water levels. If they are wrong, you can adjust your valve with a simple screwdriver. On the other hand, there could be some obstruction at the bottom of the tank, which you must scratch off with care to not damage the bowl.

 

Bottom Line

 

These are the most common toilet complications you will encounter but remember that although some of them can be fixed, if your toilet is too compromised, the best thing to do is replace it and avoid uncomfortable situations with your guests.

Tankless Water Heater Installation Tips and FAQ

You Should Call a Professional Plumber to Install a Tankless Water Heater

 

Many people will try to install their tankless water heater by themselves, but they rarely consider all the potential risks they will face. Remember that this isn’t like any other DIY project you find online; any mistake could seriously affect your house. That’s why there are specialized professionals who can help you do it properly, as they’ve been thoroughly trained to provide impeccable results.

 

Yes, at first, installing your own water heater may seem cheaper, but if you’ve never done anything similar before, you will likely make mistakes and spend way more money than expected.

 

If you’re not yet convinced about hiring a professional plumber, please keep reading the following reasons why you should do it.

 

1- Risk of Fire and Explosion

 

Most water heaters need natural gas to work correctly, so you need to burn combustible fuel that will heat your water. The downside is that combustible fuels are highly flammable, and if you don’t know how to properly manipulate them, you can cause a massive fire or explosion in your home.

 

You probably don’t want to risk your home and family just to save some money, so the best thing to avoid this is to call a professional plumber.

 

2- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

 

If you’re installing a gas-burning water heater, you must ensure the room is properly ventilated, as the carbon monoxide will build up if there’s insufficient airflow.

 

People exposed to highly concentrated amounts of carbon monoxide get poisoned, which could cause them to die if they don’t go to the emergency room immediately. It is also odorless, so you aren’t likely to realize you’re being poisoned until it is too late.

 

Still, carbon monoxide detectors can help, but the best thing to do is to avoid these risks altogether.

 

3- Product Knowledge

 

One of the most important things you need when installing a new water heater is to know everything about the product. Although you may get some guidance from the salesperson who sold it to you, they aren’t heating professionals and have limited knowledge regarding the heater.

 

Therefore, finding a licensed and properly trained plumber who knows the ins and outs of most heaters on the market will be a much safer bet if you want all your needs met.

 

4- Peace of Mind

 

Hiring a licensed plumber will not only give you the guarantee of high-quality results. It will also give you the peace of mind to sit back and relax while they take care of everything. This will make sure your family is safe, and you won’t face any extra charges or property damage due to an unexpected explosion.

 

Bottom Line

 

It may be appealing to try to do everything yourself and save a couple of dollars but finding someone else to do it for you is a much better investment in the long run.

 

Luckily, hundreds of licensed plumbing companies with competitive rates are willing to help you install your water heater.

How Long Do Most Hot Water Heaters Last

How Long Do Most Hot Water Heaters Last

If there were no water heaters, most people would never take showers cause technically, bathing with cold water is no fun. While many homeowners do not pay much attention to their water heaters, staying on top of the device’s condition should be a prime concern. Our emergency plumbing hotline receives hundreds of calls each month for property owners that are dealing with hot water heater issues.  The durability of the water heater relies on several things, including how you maintain it. Water heaters are intended to serve for more than a decade, even with frequent usage, regardless of the type of the tank. It could either be a tank or a tankless water heater.

Tank Water Heaters

Conventional tank water heaters have a longevity of 8 to 12 years at best. It can, consequently, survive for more than 15 years if properly utilized and managed. The tank’s internal lining is protected from corrosion by an anode rode that absorbs abrasive substances from the water. Unfortunately, the rode will wear out after a long usage period and may no longer perform properly. The abrasive particles land on the inside coating of the tank, especially the bottom, and ruin it. The tank may then begin to leak, leading to severe losses.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters use cutting-edge innovation to outlast traditional tank water heaters. The typical longevity of tankless heaters is 20 years. However, if carefully controlled or managed, some can survive for more than 30 years. The capacity of such types of heaters to boil water on request has obtained the byname on-demand heater. They have better durability compared to tank water heaters mainly because they don’t have to operate all the time to maintain the heat in the water. Corrosion can still occur in tankless water heaters after some time, although it happens gradually.

Factors to Consider When Determining the Longevity

The longevity of most water heaters is influenced by a few factors, and these can be positive or negative. Most are things you can control; therefore, you should consider if you want to prolong the water heater’s life.

Water Quality

Hard water reduces the lifespan of a water heater tank by two years. This is because hard water contains minerals that accumulate to form limescale in the water heater, making it less efficient. To eliminate this problem, you can use water softeners.

Care and Maintenance

After several years, the water heater might malfunction if you do not schedule regular repairs and care. Water heaters that are well-maintained, on the other hand, can live even longer than predicted. Just like you care for your other devices in the house, a water heater tank should be serviced frequently.

The Material Used to Make the Tank

If your tank were created with strong material, it would likely last longer than a poorly made tank. Fiberglass is the best material to use when it comes to water heater tanks, so keep that in mind when buying yours. Unlike steel which is likely to erode after some time, fiberglass can be resistant to corrosive agents.

Power Sources

Based on the company’s standards, heating systems can source power from electricity or natural gas. Heating systems powered by electricity last roughly 1-2 years longer than those fueled by gas. 

Installation Location

If you put the tank in a chilly basement, it will strain more to maintain the proper water temperature. Water heaters in climate-controlled homes have a longer lifespan.

Brand

Some brands make better tanks than others, so it might be of help to research the best brands to buy or call your local plumbing professional for advice. Make sure the brand you settle on has an excellent reputation to assure you of its longevity.

Learn more about battery backups for your sump pump

How Battery Backups for Your Sump Pump Work and Their Critical Purpose

Let’s be real; a sump pump is one of the appliances we forget about. If yours works appropriately, you will probably never put it into thought. Unfortunately, like most household appliances, a sump pump can break down leaving you frustrated. This is when you will realize how important your sump pump is and why you should have a battery backup. Many of the emergency plumbing calls we receive are due to appliance and mechanical malfunctions. 

A sump pump is a piece of machinery that collects water in a drainage basin and pumps it out of the property to prevent basement flooding. Most sump pump owners experience problems during spring and winter when the pump strains to keep everything in line. Sump pumps with battery backups can withstand the cool temperatures, rainfall, hail, and power interruptions that accompany harsh weather.

How the Battery Backup Works

Being an electric appliance, sump pumps generate power from house circuits. This means that the pump becomes useless whenever there is a power outage. Even if the power goes out for only a few hours, the situation could lead to a disaster, particularly during stormy weather. A battery backup for a sump pump ensures that water drains properly and is usually installed in addition to your current sump pump.

The backup battery should be charged continuously so that when power is lost in your house or company, the sump pump will automatically operate. It essentially transforms into a two-stage system capable of dealing with an electrical emergency.

Its Critical Purpose

The main benefit of a battery backup sump pump is that it provides complete flood protection. In addition to its existing tasks, it consists of a control module that switches on once every month to ensure that it is working. The box will sound a loud warning if the system is faulty. You’ll also get notified if the electricity goes off or the battery has to be replaced. Some even have options that let you connect with your smartphone directly. If you have such a backup, you’ll never have to fret over your sump pump’s battery dying or unreported faults.

How Long Will the Battery Survive?

This is based on the quality of your battery. Most manufacturers sell three categories of batteries, mainly represented by good, better, and best. The “best” battery category is the most ideal as it encompasses a huge and advanced battery, allowing it to run for a longer time. It also depends on the amount of water the sump pump is dealing with. If the water problem is extreme to a point where the sump pump runs once every minute, the battery might last a maximum of 12 hours. That is barely enough to sustain you when the power outage lasts longer than expected. Therefore, if you live in an area that floods quite a lot of times, go for a backup battery with advanced features. 

Backup sump pumps could be many years old and still in operation, meaning the battery will probably work at a lower level than it should. Most people have gone through hard lessons that a battery’s ability to retain power reduces as it gets older. If the battery could operate for 12 hours straight when it was brand new, it might barely last 4-5 hours after years of use. Therefore, if you want the battery to live longer amid blackouts, you’ll have to upgrade to a new one over time. If you have a multimeter, you may verify the battery’s effectiveness by measuring the voltage between the positive and negative terminals. If the score is below 12.1, it is a warning indicator to start searching for an upgrade.

Tips for Properly Maintaining a Hot Water Heater

How to Properly Maintain Your Hot Water Heater

The plumbing team from Powerhouse Plumbers deals with a variety of plumbing emergencies every day, one of the most common is broken and malfunctioning hot water heaters.

Most homes rely on water heaters for use in various areas, including the bathroom and the kitchen. Having a hot water system that functions properly is important for the smooth running of activities, and for that to happen, you need to take certain maintenance measures. Something most residential owners tend to forget is that the daily use of hot water systems subjects them to wear and tear. Consider it as if you were maintaining a home appliance to avoid unforeseen malfunctions and save money. Ensure that the water heater is emptied at least once every six months if you want it to serve you for a long time. Most water heaters serve for about 12 years, but only when constantly monitored. The water heater’s longevity can be extended with a straightforward three-step annual service regimen.

Conduct a Mini-Flush

Mini-flushes are one of the most underestimated maintenance techniques. By eliminating deposits from the bottom of the tank, the procedure helps avoid rust and corrosion while also improving the system’s energy consumption. While a thorough flush is preferable, it can be challenging because it requires shutting down the entire system, which professionals best do. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a professional; a mini-flush will suffice, and the best part is that it can be done while the water heater is still turned on. To conduct the mini-flush;

  • Position a bucket beneath the tank’s drain valve at the bottom.
  • To drain 1-2 liters of water, rotate the valve anticlockwise.  The water will be boiling, so take care not to burn yourself.
  • Rotate the valve clockwise to shut it off, and your mini-flush will be complete.

Check the Temperature and Pressure Valve

The temperature and pressure safety valve is a crucial safety component of a water heater that automatically controls these two byproducts. It opens to release harmful pressure accumulation or too high temperature within the water heater tank. The tank is at risk of exploding if it does not have an operable temperature and pressure regulator. It is good to check your temperature and pressure regulator at least once per year. To conduct the test;

  • Position a pail underneath the discharge pipe and mechanically open the valve by lifting the handle. Avoid coming into direct touch with the liquid since it could be hot.
  • After a couple of seconds of water flow, release the handle, enabling it to spring back into position, turning off the water.
  • The regulator has to be changed if the temperature and pressure cannot open and discharge or if it spills after testing.

Reduce the Temperature

Heating systems are usually adjusted to a temperature of 550 C to 600 C when installed. The US Department of Energy, on the other hand, advises a temperature of 49 C for most houses, calculating that this will save more than 5% in energy bills for heating systems. Lowering the temperature lessens the risk of scorching and slows the buildup of mineral debris in your tank. If you have a gas water heater, set the temperature on the gas regulator to 490 C. Most electric water heaters are installed with upper and lower thermostats. In such a case, rotate the lower thermostat to match the upper thermostat.

Following these easy steps will help extend the longevity of your water heater while simultaneously saving on costs. If possible, hire plumbing professionals to help with proper maintenance, as some things are always better when handled by experts.

How Often Should You Have A Hot Water Heater Inspected and Serviced?

Tips For Understanding How Long Before Your Hot Water Heater Should Be Inspected

With the new modern world needs, a water heater is among the most important and necessary equipment. Their use in various spaces is seen almost everywhere, including residences, offices, and industries. When it comes to the home, it is used for various purposes such as food preparation, washing, central heating, and so on. Aside from that, the primary function of a water heater is to provide hot water for showering.

Despite all these uses, many people overlook their water heater systems. As a result, it can stop functioning unannounced, given that it works nonstop to provide hot water without the need for a break. This is why you should regularly schedule maintenance by professionals. Nonetheless, the question of how often you should inspect and service your water heating system remains. Before getting answers to the big question, it is critical to know the signs of a damaged water heater.

Signs Your Water Heater Requires Servicing

Fortunately, your water heater will give you several hints whenever something is wrong with it, which is why you need to pay attention. If you miss any of these signs for a long time, you will end up with a huge problem, likely to cost you thousands of your life savings.

Low Hot Water Pressure

Often, hot water pipes will get clogged by debris accumulated from mineral deposits found in the water. As a result, water will struggle to pass through the clogged pipes, reducing the water pressure. Sometimes, cleaning the water before passing it through the water heater pipes can help reduce the clogging, but you still need to contact a professional for expert assistance.

Weird Knock Sounds

Because water heaters are not silent apparatus, they often make natural and expected noise while operating. However, if that noise begins to bother you, it is a warning sign that you must have it inspected for clarity. These annoying sounds might include Popping, knocking, or cracking and usually occurs when hot water becomes trapped under the mineral deposits due to excessive pressure. If this is the case for you, you can try to flush the water heater, but the best move is to call in an emergency plumbing professional.

Musty Smell

If the water coming from your water heater tank is somehow musty, it indicates rust or corrosion. While it takes many years before corrosion damages your tank full, it is good to take early measures. If not handled earliest, corrosion can cause leaks in the tank, something that can cause huge property loss.

Unstable Water Temperature

The water heater malfunctions after being used for a long time, and temperatures fluctuate. This could indicate an issue with the pressure valve or temperature gauge. Additionally, it could be caused by a leak in the water heater system. Unless you are okay with showering using cold water, this will bother you, and since it is an indication of trouble in the water heater system, measures should be applied. The best way to deal with water heater problems is dealing with professionals who know where to look and the signs of a damaged system.

Pros and Cons of Installing a Tankless Hot Water Heater

Should You Replace Your Hot Water Heater with A Tankless Hot Water Heater

While water heaters are relatively costly, they are an essential investment that almost every home has. Luckily, with advanced technology comes better equipment that can be used in place of water heaters. If there is any chance of updating the heating system that saves you on costs, is more efficient, and has better longevity, you should take it. To ease your selection and help you make a well-informed decision, we have prepared a detailed comparison of water heaters and tankless water heaters.

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater, also characterized as a demand water heater, employs high-powered burners to speedily generate heat as it passes via a heating element and then send it to the taps or showerhead without the need for a tank. Tankless water heaters are often fueled by electricity or gas, allowing them to heat water instantly. In recent studies, these sorts of heating systems were found to be 20 percent more energy-intensive in general than heating storage tank models.

Consult with a Pluming Professional to better understand the cost of installation and savings potential

Storage water heaters are installed in almost every home as they were traditionally used to heat the water before the invention of tankless heaters. They consist of an insulated tank that holds the heated water until when required for use. A pipe is connected from the storage tank to different destinations, including the bathroom, kitchen, sinks, and other areas where hot water may be needed. Most storage water heaters employ natural gas or electricity as fuel and have temperature gauges that help regulate the heat. Additionally, they have pressure release valves that keep everything under control. Technically, water heaters are more complicated and require more work compared to tankless water heaters.

Energy Efficiency

If you use a lot of hot water in a single day, the tankless hot water system might work for you best as it conserves energy better than the regular water heating systems. Although buying a tankless water heater costs more than the traditional version, the end results will be worth it all. Moreover, tankless heaters last longer and would not require replacements after a few years of use. Most people have reported saving energy up to 50% of their initial use. 

Unlike traditional water heating systems, tankless heaters use direct electricity to heat the water. This means no heat is lost during storage, and you only get to use what you need. An energy-efficient water heating system will help you save on costs.

Space Conservation

As you might have already guessed, a storage tank consumes a lot of space, making it hard to fix them in small spaces. With a tankless heating system, you do not need to worry about spacing because there will be no tank in the first place. This is an essential factor because homeowners today seek to use as little space as possible to allow room for other projects. Considering their compact size, tankless water heaters can be situated even on outside walls if there is a considerable space issue in your home. 

Saves Time

Unlike storage water heating systems that require more than twenty minutes to heat the water, a tankless heating system heats almost instantly as they work on a few gallons of water every minute. Since storage water heaters carry a lot of water, they often take too long to heat, making them time-consuming. With a tankless heating system, you will get hot water every time you need it and without any delays. 

Additionally, no one will run out of hot water while in the shower because every gallon of water is heating instantly. In the past, the last family member to shower was always guaranteed to use cold water. Tankless water heaters will save you from such agony, ensuring every family member has enough hot water.

How Traps Work With Plumbing Drains In Your Home

If you’re currently living in a home that was constructed before 1989, then more than likely your main water line was installed with a device that is commonly known as a “house trap”. In this day and age, they are seen to be obsolete and can cause a plethora of reoccurring plumbing issues, as well as unsafe conditions for a home. The most common signs that you’re having a problem with your house trap and need to call a certified plumber are as follows: backflow or flooding in your basement, drains that leave standing water, sewer odors in your living area, frequent backups with your sewer system, and many plumbing fixtures being out of order.

These devices are outdated and may not be efficient anymore, but they were originally created to keep the sewer gases out of your living space. The way that this works is that the trap collects water in order to block odors from escaping from the drains; that is where it got the name “trap” from. These gases are trapped into the system and are unable to go back into the home.

If you’re reading this and identifying with some of the issues it can cause, you may want to consider calling a plumber who can help. The problem with these house traps is that most of them become rusted after a long period of time, and it ends up causing more problems than it can solve. As corrosion begins eating away at your old drains, the trap acts as a stopping point, no waste-water will be able to pass through. This will also make it challenging to inspect the system with a sewer camera.
Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem that your plumber can help you with: a sewer cleanout. This is essentially just a more advanced and efficient version of a house trap.

A sewer cleanout looks like a vertical capped-off pipe that extends from an existing line. They do the exact same thing as a house trap does, such as preventing odors, but it also comes with some advantages as well:
First is manual checking. A sewer cleanout can be checked manually to see if your main water line is experiencing any kind of clogging. When you manually check this system, you will want to make sure that the cap that is visible above ground is full of water.

With a sewer cleanout, you can say goodbye to drain issues. Many homeowners clean their drains as a temporary fix to clogs and restart the line, but if you end up installing a sewer cleanout, it can definitely get rid of your drain problems for good.

Sewer cleanouts are made of high-quality materials, especially in comparison to the house trap. These systems are usually made with PEX pipe material that is resistant to erosion, rust, and buildup of any kind of sediment.
Don’t let your drain issues and old plumbing systems cause you any more grief! If you are experiencing issues with your systems or your home was built before 1989, call a local plumbing professional for an inspection and sewer cleanout installation.

Cold Weather Persists Making Plumbing Problems More Problematic

Winter storms have hit a large portion of the country, sending a friendly reminder to homeowners that cold weather problems for your property is not over. I love the silence after fresh fallen snow and the beauty of everything draped in white.. However, I also live in a lake community that originally was all summer homes so the insulation isn’t always the greatest. Throughout the area, it is not uncommon for people to have their pipes freeze during the winter, especially the newer homeowners who don’t realize all these homes were originally summer retreats.

Pipes freezing in the winter can end up being a very costly problem if the pipes burst.
But there are steps that can be taken to help prevent this from happening. Some the homeowner can do themselves, while others are best to have done by a professional plumber, like ABC Plumbing.

Some of the things you can do yourself, is never turn your heat below 65 degree. Even though the cost of heating has risen drastically over the past few years, if you turn your heat below 65 degrees, on the really cold nights when the wind chill is factored in, the chance of your pipes freezing increases significantly.

The type of heating system you have can make a difference as well. If you have oil or gas heating, unless it has separate zones, you only have one thermostat for the whole house. If this is the case, and your kitchen or bathrooms or the areas where pipes are most likely to be close to outside walls, and those rooms don’t get as warm, a small space heater with a timer will help to keep those rooms warm enough to keep your pipes from freezing. Leaving the cabinet doors under the sink open so that the heat can get into the space more easily is another trick that helps.

On the other hand, if you have electric heat, you typically have a thermostat in every room, so this makes it easy to turn the heat up in those rooms like the kitchen bathroom where you have pipes that might freeze, while keeping the heat a little lower in the rooms you use least often to conserve on the cost of heating.

One of the oldest tricks to keep the pipes from freezing yourself is to leave the faucets running at just a trickle. As long as water is flowing through the pipes, it makes it more difficult for those pipes to freeze. Think of it like the ocean. Most of the ocean doesn’t freeze because it is constantly moving.

A professional plumber can insulate your pipes and makes sure the areas around your plumbing are well insulated so that the cold doesn’t reach the pipes. Some people will also have their whole home re-insulated not just to prevent frozen pipes, but to keep their home warmer.

If your pipes do freeze, try pointing a heater directly towards them or a use a blow dryer to try to defrost them before they can a chance to burst. If they do burst, call in a professional plumber like ABC Plumbing as soon as possible to minimize the damage and to get the pipes repaired.

Understanding How Back Flow Prevention Works With Plumbing Lines

If you’re currently living in a home that was constructed before 1989, then more than likely your main water line was installed with a device that is commonly known as a “house trap”. In this day and age, they are seen to be obsolete and can cause a plethora of reoccurring plumbing issues, as well as unsafe conditions for a home. The most common signs that you’re having a problem with your house trap and need to call a certified plumber are as follows: backflow or flooding in your basement, drains that leave standing water, sewer odors in your living area, frequent backups with your sewer system, and many plumbing fixtures being out of order.

These devices are outdated and may not be efficient anymore, but they were originally created to keep the sewer gases out of your living space. The way that this works is that the trap collects water in order to block odors from escaping from the drains; that is where it got the name “trap” from. These gases are trapped into the system and are unable to go back into the home.

If you’re reading this and identifying with some of the issues it can cause, you may want to consider calling a plumber who can help. The problem with these house traps is that most of them become rusted after a long period of time, and it ends up causing more problems than it can solve. As corrosion begins eating away at your old drains, the trap acts as a stopping point, no waste-water will be able to pass through. This will also make it challenging to inspect the system with a sewer camera.

Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem that your plumber can help you with: a sewer cleanout. This is essentially just a more advanced and efficient version of a house trap.

A sewer cleanout looks like a vertical capped-off pipe that extends from an existing line. They do the exact same thing as a house trap does, such as preventing odors, but it also comes with some advantages as well:

First is manual checking. A sewer cleanout can be checked manually to see if your main water line is experiencing any kind of clogging. When you manually check this system, you will want to make sure that the cap that is visible above ground is full of water.

With a sewer cleanout, you can say goodbye to drain issues. Many homeowners clean their drains as a temporary fix to clogs and restart the line, but if you end up installing a sewer cleanout, it can definitely get rid of your drain problems for good.

Sewer cleanouts are made of high-quality materials, especially in comparison to the house trap. These systems are usually made with PEX pipe material that is resistant to erosion, rust, and buildup of any kind of sediment.

Don’t let your drain issues and old plumbing systems cause you any more grief! If you are experiencing issues with your systems or your home was built before 1989, call a local plumbing professional for an inspection and sewer cleanout installation.