Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Tips for Best Results

Is your kitchen or your bathroom lost in another decade? Has your family grown over the years? Is your home old, so the layout of your kitchen and bathroom seem tailor-made for another generation?

Do you chronically feel like there isn’t enough storage space?

These are all great reasons to undertake a bathroom or kitchen remodel (or both).While the rewards can be big, there is a lot of planning involved to make sure that your project goes off without a hitch.

Here are some of our staff tips on how to get the best results out of your remodel.

Plan Step by Step

Step one is to set up your budget.

This will ultimately dictate a lot of things about your project: scope, size, kind of finishes and the number of upgrades.

Always leave extra room in your budget, just in case.time

Figure out the timeline. If you are doing a small bathroom, you may assume that a small space will take little time.

You may think the opposite about a large kitchen.

It may take longer to order certain items, for instance, which could stretch a project out.

Undergoing a remodel can temporarily put your home life in upheaval, and you’ll want to know what to expect.

Decide on your décor and fixtures and piece them together to make a cohesive look. Don’t forget about shelving and storage (storage is extra important in small spaces).

Lighting is important too. Pay attention to natural light and when and where it falls in your kitchen or bathroom. Light fixtures can play a dual role as cool focal points in a room.

Unearth Hidden Problems with Plumbing

When you are in the process of upgrading your fixtures, upgrade your plumbing at the same time. Make sure that there have been no leaks in the past that have caused water damage to the walls.

Also, ensure that your planned changes and additions work with the plumbing that you’ve got. You’ll want to consult your contractor to make sure that your intended design works well. If not, you need to plan around it.

Hire the Very Best Help

What’s even better than a contractor who has experience?

A contractor who takes enormous pride in their work and is happy to share pictures of his work and testimonials from satisfied customers with

When selecting your professional, ask lots of questions.

Do they have specific experience in your particular job? What do they require in the way of fee schedule?

What are the usual work hours? What is the policy for onsite bathroom use and cleanup after the remodel is done?

If Your Home’s Drains and Water Stink, Here are the Reasons

Because certain components of your plumbing, like the pipes, don’t have any moving parts, a lot of people assume that once the plumbing is installed, there’s nothing else to worry about. This stuff will take care itself because it doesn’t have to do much other than sit there.

But just because pipes don’t have cogs, gears, and motors, doesn’t mean that they are indestructible. The constant movement of water and other substances through pipes can eventually take their toll, and if you smell something coming from your plumbing, you have a problem you shouldn’t ignore.

Fortunately, you don’t have to, as some quick, easy fixes exist for some of these issues.

The Sewage Line Is The Source Of The Odor

This problem has a lot more unknowns. If a vent is blocked, this could be a simple matter of clearing out some blocked-drainleaves, and the problem is solved.

If it’s further down the line, such as a breach in your sewage pipe, it’s unlikely you can solve this yourself.

Try conducting an inspection by yourself first. Look at all the accessible areas of plumbing to see if you can find anything.

If you can’t, and the smell persists, now is the time to call a professional who has the right tools and know-how.

Water Is the Source of the Odor

Tracking down the source is an important first step, and if you’re getting the smell every time you turn on the tap, the source is coming from your water. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that problem is from your water source, and that it’s bad water being pumped into your house.

It’s possible that your issue is coming from your water heater tank if you have one. If the water heater temperature is too low, it creates a perfect habitat for bacteria that prefers dark, moist, warm places. A protected water tank can fit that bill.

The fix for this is very simple. Just readjust the temperature of your water heater, raising to somewhere in the neighborhood of 135-140°F. That’s too hot for most bacteria to survive in.

The Drain Is the Source of the Odor

This is one tip that any plumber will ask you to try first rather than getting a professional response, because the solution you use here will be the same one a plumber uses.

p-trapJust pour water down your drain. That’s it. A smell coming from just one drain is the result of an empty p-trap.

Your p-trap is the bend in the pipe that’s just under your sink, and it’s designed to hold a certain amount of water.

That water acts like a super cheap, super efficient “vapor barrier,” that prevents sewer gas from entering your home. Pour more water in and you’re done.

Going Green: The Eco-Friendly Choice

While it’s not a government recognized holiday, a lot of the world still recognizes April 22nd as Earth Day. It’s a day when we take some time to think of the Earth not just as the planet we live on, but our home.

Like our own homes, we have a responsibility to make sure that this is a safe, clean place for the people who live on it, and who will live here in the generations to come. We can all do our part in big and small ways, and that includes plumbing. How? There are a few ways.

Get a Water Filter Installed

This particular choice has the most direct benefits for residents in a home. Water from your tap is safe to drink, thanks to the chlorination process that most towns and cities use for the drinking water supply, but safe does not always mean good.

A water filter goes a step further removing even more impurities from the water that chlorine may miss. If you have it installed on your tap, and you have an old home with lead pipes, you can even get rid of the contaminants your home adds to water in the “final leg” of its journey to the tap. It’s safer, cleaner, better tasting water.

Find Ways to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

More and more talk of carbon emissions and carbon footprints have come up in science and environmental carbon-footprintnews. Carbon emissions and your “footprint” are concerned with just how much carbon dioxide—or CO2—you release into the air.

That can be either through equipment and technology you use or indirectly through your interactions with companies that emit CO2 into the air through their own practices.

You can shrink this down by using low carbon footprint equipment, or by giving your business to low carbon footprint companies. Every little bit can help!

Make Your New Water Heater Tankless

If you’ve got an older water tank, you’re using up a lot of energy to heat up gallons of water collected in a big space. By switching over to a tankless heater, you save energy spent trying to heat up those huge volumes, as the water is heated directly in your plumbing.

Properly scaled to the needs of your home, a tankless water heater can save up to $100 a year on your energy bills.

Get New Eco-Friendly Plumbing Fixtures

save-waterShowers use up a lot of water every minute that they are on, and the same goes for toilets, which use up gallons of water with every flush. Newer plumbing fixtures are much more eco-friendly in terms of water usage.

High-efficiency shower heads, for example, use up less water, but you’re not sacrificing your water pressure to get that.

Low flow toilets don’t flush down as much water, and you can use even less if you distinguish between flushing solid or liquid waste. Either way, you use less water, which means you pay less too.

The World Recognizes World Water Day March 22

Spring always reminds us of the renewal in nature, but there is one natural resource that we lack worldwide- fresh water. This spring, take a moment to consider the value of that resource.

World-WaterEven though the earth is largely covered in water (approximately 70 per cent) only about 3 percent is usable. In many areas people have to rely on surface water, which is usually unsanitary and rife with water-borne diseases.

As the world population continues to grow, water scarcity will become more pronounced; there will be more mouths to feed, which will increase water needs; this shortage will be even more problematic if the current course that we are on doesn’t change.

That’s why the UN established World Water Day. It is celebrated every year on March 22. It is a chance for people everywhere to learn about water scarcity and the role of climate change and of our own water consumption habits in creating this crisis in the first place.

Water Crisis Information

In developing countries, women spend hours every day dedicated to the collection of water in rural areas. Much of that water is contaminated. Most schools in developing countries don’t have water and nearly 2/3 thirds don’t have proper sanitation, which creates even more disease.

Water-dropIn areas where there is no sanitation (which is extremely common in much of Sub-Saharan Africa), sewage runs untreated into streams and rivers, contaminating what little water supply that they do have. It is estimated that nearly 6 to 8 million people die each year due to scarcity of water and contaminated supply. The time to act is now.

Conservation Actions to Take

You may feel like the water crisis is a world away, but it’s all about raising awareness. Everyone has a role to play in correcting this crisis, and ours start with changing our attitude towards water use. Try some of these simple steps.

When the kids are looking to cool down on warmer days, have them run through the sprinkler on your lawn where it needs watering. Water plants and gardens less often, but more deeply, which is better for them and uses less water. If you have an irrigation system, make sure that the timer is set properly to go off early morning or at night. Get a rain barrel to catch water for your garden.

Take a shower instead of a bath. If you must have a bath, put the plug in the tub before you turn it on. When waiting for the shower to heat up, catch that water in a bucket and use it for your plants. If you turn the shower off when washing your hair, you’ll save a lot more water.

Look for Leaks

Leaks in your plumbing are notorious ways to waste water (and money too). Get in the habit of locating leaks and fixing them right away. Start with your water meter. Check it when you use water and then a couple of hours after you’ve switched it off. If it’s the same, you’ve probably got a leak on your hands.

Inspect faucets, showers, and toilets for leaks. Also look at connector hoses, like those that connect your washing machine and ice maker in your fridge. When they rupture, they leak a lot. Don’t forget to check your outdoor plumbing for leaks too.

Detected a leak? Get it fixed today by calling us at (318)-255-1332 for service in Ruston, LA.

Which Way Does Your Toilet Bowl Swirl?

Sometimes it’s the little things that make us wonder how they came to be that way… Do you know which direction your toilet bowl swirls? Take the video quiz below to find out! You may be surprised to see what you find.

The experts at Mark Johnson Plumbing, in the Ruston, LA area, are always willing to share their knowledge with you. If you're interested in learning more contact us at 318-255-1332.

Common Plumbing Myths Explained

myth-or-factWhat do you really know about your plumbing? You may own a plunger, but do you know how it is truly useful? Do you know why you might want to have your drains cleaned?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths out there around how your plumbing works and how to fix it. To fix and/or maintain your plumbing effectively, you need to have accurate information about what is true and what is not.

We’ve addressed a few common plumbing myths below to help you identify the truth.

My Leaky Faucet Can Wait

A leaky faucet is the kind of thing that people tend to put off because they don’t think it is a big deal. For a variety of reasons, you shouldn’t put off repair of a leaky faucet.

For one thing, that extra water running out of your faucet is costing you money on your water bills. Also, a leaky faucet can be a sign of trouble brewing elsewhere in your pipes (potential other leaks). Fixing it and/or getting to the bottom of what is causing the leak could potentially save your home from serious water damage. It doesn’t take a lot of water to cause a lot of costly damage.

Creatures Can’t Get Through my Pipes, Can They?

If a creature is small, flexible and able to swim, they can get up your pipes. And if they can get through your pipes, they can get into your home. Common animals that appear through pipes are snakes, frogs, rats, and possums.

Don’t let those intruders in. Install a flap over the waste tube of your toilet, which will let waste out while keeping creatures out as well.

All I Need to Remove Clogs is a Plunger

clogged-drains A plunger works by plugging a clog free with suction. This is a great tool, but it won’t work on every clog. If a clog is caused by something sturdy and stubborn like a tree root, you need a solution that is more forceful.

Usually, if a plunger doesn’t work, you use a plumbing snake. If that doesn’t work, then you can try hydrojetting, which targets high-pressure water spray to break up and flush out clogs.

My Pipes Aren’t Clogged. Water is Still Going Down the Drain

It’s all about how quickly the water goes down the drain. For instance, if your drain is slow to clear of if it bubbles when you turn on other faucets or flush the toilet, you may have the beginnings of a bigger clog. It’s a big mistake to wait until a drain is completely blocked until you fix it. The damage and the inconvenience could be substantial.

Water Heaters Don’t Explode

If left unchecked, your water heater poses a very real threat of explosion. At issue is the T&P valve (temperature and pressure) that releases steam during the process of heating the water. If the steam has no path to release (i.e. if the valve’s airflow is blocked) or if the valve is otherwise damaged, it can explode, causing damage and injury.

Inspect your valve to make sure that nothing is blocking it and that it is in good repair.

We’ve got the straight facts on all the plumbing myths. For help with your plumbing needs, call us today at (318)-255-1332 for service throughout Ruston, LA.

DEFENSE: Protecting Your Pipes During Super Bowl LI

1: Halftime Flush, Fact or Fiction?

If you are a Super Bowl fan, then you have probably heard that thousands of spectators who are watching the game at home will flush their toilets at the same time during Half Time. Some of these stories are true because several cities have noticed that water usage does increase during the Super Bowl’s halftime break. Many television viewers are in a hurry to get back to the television to watch the musical performance, and they also don’t want to miss any part of the football game.

halftimeflush2In many homes, people are in a rush to visit the bathroom during the Super Bowl’s halftime show so that they can also scurry into the kitchen to get more snacks and beverages. While water usage may increase during this time, it won’t cause any widespread plumbing issues for an entire city. However, if you have a home with old bathroom fixtures, sewage lines and water pipes, then having numerous guests flushing toilets at the same time can overburden a building’s plumbing system.

If you plan to have a Super Bowl party in your home, then it is important to prepare ahead of time by making sure that your home’s plumbing system is in tip-top condition.Contact a plumber to have your home’s drainage devices cleaned and repaired to avoid having overflowing toilets.

2: Don’t Drop the Chicken Wings

When you have a Super Bowl party, make sure that your guests understand what they can put inside your kitchen’s garbage disposal. If one of your guests decides to drop the remains of their barbecue chicken wings down the garbage disposal, then a disaster will occur. Before Super Bowl parties, make a written list to hang on the wall above your kitchen’s sink to prevent a broken garbage disposal.

In addition to keeping chicken wing bones out of the appliance, don’t put hard or fibrous substances such as eggshells, potato skins or rice in the garbage disposal. These items will break your garbage disposal’s blades or create a clog in the drain underneath the sink. If you do have a problem with your kitchen’s garbage disposal, then call a plumber!

3: If You’re Not Going Green, You’re On the Losing Team

go_greenInstead of spending a lot of money on huge cases of bottled water for your guests, have a water filtration system installed inside your home.

When you are having a lot of guests at your home for a Super Bowl party, they will need to have more drinking water than you are normally used to and you may also use more water for preparing snacks. By using a filtration system, you can remove the impurities from your home’s water so that it has a fresh flavor.

Call Mark Johnson Plumbing in Ruston, LA today at 318-255-1332 to learn more about garbage disposal safety, drain cleaning and water filtration systems.

Some Important Benefits of Low-Flow Toilets and Dual Flush Toilets

save_on_water_bills_480Have you ever stopped to think about how much money is wasted with every flush of your toilet? Chances are, if the toilets in your home were installed before the mid-90s, they waste countless gallons of water every year, adding significantly to your utility bills.

If you don't put off replacing your toilets until either they break down or you decide to renovate your bathroom, you could start seeing savings right away.

The Rise of Low-Flow Toilets

In 1992, the Federal Energy Policy Act was introduced which made it mandatory for all new toilets installed in America to use no more than 3.5 gallons of water per flush.

The first generation of low-flow toilets wasn't always as effective as current models today are. Often, they required a second flush, diminishing their water economy. Fortunately, since then, they have improved a great deal and work just as well, if not better than their predecessors.

The Advent of Dual Flush Toilets benefits_of_dual_flush_toilets

Offering even better water consumption rates than low-flow toilets, dual flush models are the latest addition in the eco-friendly toilet market. These models have two buttons on top of the tank. The larger button flushes 1.6 gallons of water to eliminate solids, while the smaller one uses only 0.8 gallons to eliminate liquids.

To illustrate just how much of an improvement this is, the average person with a low-flow toilet flushes approximately 8 gallons of water per day. On the other hand, with a dual flush toilet that daily amount drops by 40% to 4.8 gallons. That’s less than a single flush of your older toilet.

The Economy Of Switching To A Low-Flow or Dual Flush Toilet

The EPA has estimated that replacing outdated toilets to low-flow models can save as much as $100 per year on your water bills. Those savings climb even higher if you opt for the superior economy of dual flush models.

Another benefit of high-efficiency toilets is that they divert water from treatment facilities, alleviating the strain on those plants. As such, some county and city water management companies are offering special rebates and incentives to homeowners who choose to update their toilets.

Although these models deliver unbeatable savings through advanced technology, their installation is no more complex than traditional toilets. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to have a professional and licensed plumber take care of the installation to ensure it’s done properly.

For worry-free installation of water-efficient toilets, or for any plumbing repairs or services in your Ruston area home, call 318-255-1332 to speak to a friendly professional at Mark Johnson Plumbing.

Home Cleaning Checklist for the New Year

cleaning_yourhome_tipsThe New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start, and what better way to get a fresh start than to establish a quick but efficient way to clean your house.

Sticking to a schedule for things that you do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis can help motivate you to keep your house looking like you spent hours cleaning it when it really only took a small fraction of your day. Use this basic cleaning schedule as a guideline to get and keep your home in order.

What to Clean Daily

Spend about 30 minutes a day doing the chores that need to be done around your home. These basic tasks might seem simple, but make a world of difference in how your home looks and feels.

  • Wash dishes at least once a day. If you can’t find the time to wash them all, at least make an effort to scrape excess food off and rinse them so the food doesn’t stick. Alternatively, throw a load in the dishwasher once a day.
  • Tidy up. Tidying up helps control clutter. Walk through your house one room at a time and put things that are out of place back where they belong. Do a room or two and then take a break.
  • Wipe off countertops to clean crumbs and spills.

What to Clean Weekly

cleaning_forthe_newyearSome tasks do not necessarily need to be done every single day. Instead pick a day of the week where you will tackle these tasks. Which include:

  • Empty the trash in bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen
  • Dust furniture and wiping down cobwebs
  • Clean mirrors and windows
  • Wipe down appliances in the kitchen, cleaning out the microwave and empty the crumb tray in your toaster
  • Mop the floor
  • Spray down and scrub the toilet, sink, and tub in the bathroom

What to Clean the First of Each Month

Monthly tasks are important and easy to forget. Don’t fall behind. Try to do these tasks at least once a month for optimal cleanliness.

  • Move furniture and vacuum or sweep under it
  • Clean outside windows
  • Disinfect and deodorize garbage cans
  • Run vinegar through your appliances to clean them
  • Dust your blinds, shades and lighting fixtures

Keeping your home clean is a great start to the year. Contact Mark Johnson Plumbing, located in Ruston, LA at 318-255-1332 for assistance with getting your home in order.

The Debate Over Hydro Jetting vs. Snaking


Has a clogged drain or toilet ruined your day? Slow-moving drains or overflowing sinks are common plumbing problems that many homeowners face on a regular basis. There are two main ways to handle these issues: hydro jetting and snaking.

Many homeowners will have a preferred method they use to treat clogged drains, and they will try and convince you that their method is best. However, in the debate between hydro jetting and snaking, there are many points to consider before making a decision:

How Does Snaking Work?

Snaking the drain involves using a flexible cable with an auger-like attachment used to chew up the blockages. The technician inserts the cable into the drain and waits until they feel resistance against it. At this point, the technician begins to crank their end of the cable, which rotates the blades on the opposite end. The blades chew through the clogs, breaking them up so they can either wash out through the system or get pulled out once the cable is removed.

hyrojettingWhat is Hydro Jetting?

The second effective drain cleaning option is hydro jetting. This service makes use of a high-pressure water jet designed to blast through stubborn clogs and hardened debris. Hydro jetting also prevents future clogs from forming by smoothing the inner texture of the pipe wall.

Can I Perform My Own Hydro Jetting?

We firmly discourage clients from attempting their own hydro jetting services. Unlike many home repairs that are perfectly safe to DIY, hydro jetting is best left to a professional. Some of the most significant arguments against DIY hydro jetting include:

  • Individuals without experience may not be able to handle the service properly and become overwhelmed by the power of the water jets.
  • Pipes that are already weak or damaged could be further weakened by hydro jetting. It’s always important to allow a professional the chance to inspect the pipes before hydro jetting to make sure the pipes are strong enough.

When to Try Snaking?plumbingsnake

Many homeowners will see snaking and hydro jetting as equally effective drain cleaning methods, but the truth is that snaking is best for simple clogs. In most cases, the first option a technician will provide is snaking, and if that doesn’t work, they move to hydro jetting.

Hydro jetting is best for stubborn or recurring clogs as a way to permanently clean the pipes and prevent future clogs from forming.

The experts at Mark Johnson Plumbing can help with all your drain cleaning needs. For fast and efficient service in Ruston, LA, call 318-255-1332 today and speak with one of our professionals.