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May 22, 2017 @ 7:11 AM · Drains & Sewers, Spring, Sump Pumps

A sump discharge line that's hooked up to the city sewer is illegal in many areas and in general is not a good idea. In this post we'll explain the reasons, why you should care, and what you can do instead.

When I first heard that pumping sump water into the sewer system was illegal, my first thought was "Why? It's just water!" and I'm sure plenty of people share the same thought. But it isn't just water; when it comes to this issue, we must think of groundwater and city water (the water that comes out of your tap) differently.

The storm drain system, designed for groundwater/rainwater, is separate from the city sewer system, doesn't go through a water treatment facility, and flows directly into the ......

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May 8, 2017 @ 9:40 AM · Drains & Sewers

Today's blog is about clogs. It's a clog blog, if you will. (Sorry, we found that amusing.)

Terrible jokes aside, a slow-running or clogged main drain line is an annoying and expensive problem. Here are 3 easy things you can do to make sure your drains stay clear. (Warning: more terrible rhymes ahead.)

1. When in doubt, toss it out!

Toilet paper is biodegradable and breaks down in water, but other things don't break down and can get stuck somewhere deep in your home's pipes. This includes (but is not limited to) paper towels, wet wipes, tissues, dental floss, diapers, feminine hygiene products, Q-tips, cotton balls, etc. Even "flushable" wipes aren't biodegradable and will eventually cause problems if you ......

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April 30, 2017 @ 11:51 AM · Spring, Sump Pumps

"My sump pump is new and works great, why do I need two of them?"
"My power never goes out, do I still need a backup pump?"
"My neighborhood has a low water table and never floods. I should be okay without a backup, right?"

If you've ever found yourself asking those questions, you're not alone, and we're here to provide answers. In this post, we'll outline a few situations in which a backup pump will save you.


Power Outages

While a primary pump runs on electricity, a backup pump is powered by either a battery or water pressure. This is perfect for an event like a power outage or a tripped circuit breaker; when your primary pump loses access to electricity and stops working, your ......

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April 25, 2017 @ 9:20 AM

It's National Hug A Plumber Day!

Plumbers are the behind-the-scenes superheroes; they do difficult, dirty work, often exposing themselves to all kinds of diseases while fixing dangerous problems and protecting the health of their clients' homes and businesses. We really appreciate the plumbers on our team here at Universal Plumbing and all the hard work, long hours, and dedication they bring every day.

If you happen to need plumbing work done today and you have one of our guys out to your home, show them some extra love today. You don't have to literally hug them, but take the time to tell them how appreciated they are!

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March 31, 2017 @ 10:18 AM · Drains & Sewers, Spring

With the growth of beautiful green leaves comes the growth of tree roots, so springtime is an excellent time to keep an eye on your plumbing.

Tree roots naturally grow towards water, especially during times of drought, so when moisture escapes through cracks in your sewer line, the roots will inevitably move in that direction. Roots are extremely powerful; we've all seen how they can cause concrete sidewalks to buckle and crumble, so they will easily penetrate water pipes (this is called root intrusion) and, if left untreated, will eventually fill up the pipe completely, causing your sewer line to back up into your home.

How to Prevent Root Intrusion

The first step you should take is finding out where your sewer line is located on ......

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March 20, 2017 @ 8:30 AM · Spring

Spring is an excellent time to make sure everything in your home is in tip-top shape, and that should include your plumbing. Here we have compiled a simple checklist for you to make sure all of your plumbing is working properly after the long winter months.



  • Check faucets for drips and fix them to avoid wasting water.

  • Make sure your kitchen sink drain has a strainer.

  • Check the pipes under the sink for leaks. An under-sink leak can easily go unnoticed, causing water damage and mold growth.

  • Check dishwasher and ice maker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace any hoses that look weak, and use stainless steel hoses whenever possible (they are stronger and resistant to bulging).


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March 10, 2017 @ 10:41 AM

We all know that nasty sewer smell; it's immediately recognizable and it's never pleasant. So what do you do if you start smelling it in your home? Usually the cause of the problem isn't obvious and finding it will take a bit of trial and error, but don't worry, nasty smells in your home are usually easily fixable. Here is a list of the most common causes, and what you can do to fix them.

Rarely-Used Sinks, Tubs, or Other Drains

That curved piece of pipe under your sink is called a p-trap, and it's designed to hold water at all times to stop sewer gases from coming up through the drain. Every drain has a trap of some sort. If the drain is rarely used, the water in the trap can evaporate, which opens up the pipe to ......

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March 6, 2017 @ 10:05 AM · Drains & Sewers

Slow sink & tub drains happen to all of us. But before you head to the hardware store for another bottle of Drano, first consider these pros and cons of chemical drain cleaners.

The Pros

  • It's easy to use. Unlike cabling or hydrojetting, chemical drain cleaners don't require any special skills or training; you just open the bottle and pour it down the drain.
  • It clears clogs quickly. Most clogs can be cleared in ten to fifteen minutes with chemical drain cleaners.
  • It's inexpensive and convenient. Price does vary, but you can generally buy a bottle of drain cleaner for around 10 bucks, which is a small percentage of what you'd pay to hire a plumber or rent plumbing equipment.
  • It works well on clogs made of hair, .........
  • ...

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February 28, 2017 @ 8:29 AM · Spring

Spring is quickly approaching, and that means longer days, warmer temperatures, and open windows. But it can also mean melting ice/snow and more rain storms, increasing the risk of a flooded basement. Protect your home and your valuable belongings by following these easy preventative steps.

1. Keep your rain gutters clear, and if your downspouts are short and close to your home, attach extensions to draw the water at least 3 feet away.

2. Look for cracks in the foundation in your basement. Even tiny cracks in the walls can allow water to seep in during heavy rain, so seal any cracks that you find.

3. Make sure your sump pump system is working well. You can test your sump pump by pulling up on the float switch and making sure the motor ......

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February 7, 2017 @ 10:00 AM · Winter

We’re halfway through our long Michigan winter, but frozen pipes are still a real danger here as temps frequently drop below freezing outside, and they can cause serious damage to your plumbing. It’s not too late to take steps to make your home as insulated and efficient as possible. Here are some money-saving tips to keep your indoor pipes--and you--warm through these last few wintery months.


  1. Don’t let precious warm air escape.
    Your furnace is already working hard to warm up your home; don’t make it work harder than it needs to by letting out the warm air! If you have a wood fireplace, close the flue when not in use. An open flue provides a direct escape for the warm air in your house. Check your ......

  2. ...

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