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10 Minutes with...Ronnie Sanchez, NYC plumber: Don't show him a toilet from China or Mexico

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Ronnie Sanchez has been a plumber in the Tri-State area for over 15 years. He is apparently somewhat camera shy.

What time of day and what time of year do you get the most calls?

The morning is the time my phone rings the most. As for time of year, June. The kids are home from school and likely to be bored and get into trouble by flushing things that shouldn’t be in the toilet or carelessly letting things drop down drains, causing floods. The summer also seems to be the time that people leave the water running in the tub causing it to overflow. I got a call from a person on the second floor who had a leak and it turned out the top floor tenants had overflowed the tub, causing a leak below.

What was the oddest item you ever retrieved from a drain?

I was called to a homeless shelter. Apparently the bathroom had run out of toilet paper and someone used a piece of denim in lieu of tissue and clogged the toilet when trying to flush it.

What's your favorite brand of toilet, faucet, etc., and why? What's your least favorite?

Moen is the best brand for faucets because many have ceramic discs instead of washers which seems to make them last longer and have less of a need for maintenance. For toilets, American Standard is my recommendation because they are the most durable. My least favorite brands for anything plumbing related such as toilets and sinks are foreign-made brands. Toilets from China or Mexico are extremely hard to get parts for and most of their parts cannot be found in a regular plumbing supply store.

What are the differences between plumbing problems on the ground floor and top floor?

There is far more damage potential with plumbing issues on the bottom floor as far as water damage. Water will settle at the ground floor causing wood floors to warp and mold to grow due to stagnant water and dampness resulting from leaks and floods.

What's the direst situation you were ever called into?

An elderly couple in the Bronx had just returned from vacation to find a flood in their home. Apparently the pipe had frozen and burst. I literally had to swim—it was freezing—to get to the main shut off point. 


"10 Minutes With" is a series of conversations with New Yorkers who aid and abet vertical life in the big city.

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