Bieg Plumbing 2nd Annual Clothing Drive

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We are excited to announce that Bieg Plumbing will once again be partnering with the Santa’s Helpers to bring Holiday cheer to our local community!  Last year with the help of our employees we were able to provide much-needed clothes to Santa’s Helpers that serve underprivileged children and their family members. This year we are expanding the Clothing Drive to our customers and community so that we can donate even more!!

Since 1968, Santa’s Helpers has touched the lives of over 2,700 children and their families every holiday season by purchasing, wrapping and delivering gifts for Christmas and Hanukkah to deserving children whose names are provided by local schools and social service agencies. Santa’s Helpers, Inc. is a 100% volunteer-based non-profit organization with virtually zero overhead expense – even the warehouse space is donated – so they are able to focus all of their resources on serving St. Louis’s under-resourced and seriously ill children and their families. From December 3st through the 23rd, Bieg Plumbing will waive half of your $50 trip fee if you donate to this great cause!

How to Donate

Give your technician an unwrapped qualifying donation item at the end of the job and our office will waive $25 off your trip fee.  You can also bring your donation items into our office at 2015 Lemay Ferry Rd, St. Louis, MO 63125 and we will give you a $25 coupon for your next service call, redeemable at any time!  That way no one misses out on giving back to our local community or a good deal on plumbing services!

What to Donate

Clothing items should be new, packaged and unwrapped for children all ages.  However, they are specifically in need of children’s (3-18) socks, underwear, winter hats, gloves, scarves, coats (‘like new’ if cleaned and washed), stuffed animals and batteries (9V & AA – Duracell/Energizer).

Where do the donations go?

The donations are taken to the Santa’s Helper’s warehouse where the gifts get sorted by family and bundled into large black trash bags, which are stacked in the warehouse awaiting volunteer Santas to hand them out on Christmas Day.

Santa’s Helpers are always looking for assistance in their warehouse. Throughout the year they will meet at the warehouse to do inventory, stock shelves, clean and organize and package up gifts for the Santa’s to deliver during the holiday. If you would like to talk to someone about volunteering or monetary donations, visit their site or call (314) 647-1800.

 

Together we can make a difference!

 

Winterize Your Sprinkler System in 4 Easy Steps

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With the winter months approaching, now would be a great time to winterize your sprinkler or irrigation system. If left alone, the low temperatures of winter can freeze the water left standing in your irrigation pipes, causing leaks, burst pipes, and malfunctions. Keep your system in great shape and working for years to come by following these instructions.

Steps to winterize your sprinkler system

  1. Drain your system. Most irrigation systems are connected to the home’s water source and have a backflow preventer that stops the flow of sprinkler water into your house. Find it and close the backflow valve before opening the manual drain valve. This allows gravity to do most of the work to drain the pipes. Remember to shut off the water supply to the system as well.
  2. Perform a blow-out procedure. While much of the water can be manually drained, it’s probable that your underground sprinkler pipes have low spots and areas where water still collects. Any water left in these pipes is potentially dangerous, so don’t take a chance. Use a 10 CFM (cubic feet per minute) air compressor to blow all of the excess water from the system. This is easily done by closing the backflow valve on your backflow preventer and finding the blow-out port. Attach a blow-out plug to the port and affix the compressor’s air hose to it. Turn on the compressor to no more than 80 PSI for PVC pipes or 50 PSI for polyethylene pipes, and blow out any leftover water. You may have to do this for each separate sprinkler zone in your system in order to avoid damage. As with any time you’re using compressed air, ensure you’re wearing ANSI approved safety glasses and not standing directly over the compressor. Safety first!
  3. Insulate the system. Keeping your system warm not only prevents any residual water from freezing and causing trouble but also protects valves and important mechanical components. Wrap the main shut-off valve and any above-ground pipes with insulating foam. Use a heavy-duty tape to make sure it stays on throughout the entire winter.
  4. Turn off the controller. You don’t want any automatic valves or pumps to be engaged when there is no water supply, as this could cause significant damage. Take care to cut the power to your automatic controller during these months. If you have a complicated timing schedule programmed into your system and don’t want to be bothered with setting it all up again in the spring, look for the controller’s “rain mode,” which will keep the valves dormant. The safest way to ensure there are no issues is to simply cut the power, however.

If you follow these steps, your system should be well protected against the season’s falling temperatures. If any step confuses you or you are unsure about how to get started, it’s better to call in the professionals. At Bieg Plumbing, we know how to properly drain a sprinkler system and would be happy to make a visit to your home.

To schedule an appointment or request an estimate, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

6 Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your Cast Iron Plumbing Stack

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Your home’s plumbing stack is one of its most vital components. It serves as the main hub where your property’s plumbing fixtures branch from. It is the pipe system that wastewater and sewage flow into to be expelled into the sewer line below your house. It also vents any noxious gas through a ventilation system in your roof. If you have an older cast iron plumbing stack, you need to watch for these warning signs that a replacement will soon be necessary.

6 warning signs your cast iron plumbing stacks need to be replaced:

  1. Slow drainage. If your toilets or sinks have started to drain slowly, and normal unclogging procedures aren’t working, you could have sediment buildup that is clogging your pipes.

  2. Discolored water. If your faucet or toilet water is brown, orange or otherwise discolored, your cast iron pipes could be significantly rusted. Cast iron is known to have rust issues, so this should be checked by a professional plumber immediately.

  3. Wet spots. If your interior walls start to show wet spots, your plumbing stack could have sprung a leak. Since the pipe diameter of a plumbing stack is fairly wide, a major leak could be a huge problem. Don’t wait for minor leaks to turn into significant damage when the pipe bursts later.

  4. Bad odor. Your plumbing stack is normally an airtight system, with noxious gas expelled through a vent system in your roof. If you consistently notice a foul smell in your home, a leak in your plumbing stack could be the culprit. This is a potentially dangerous problem and certainly lowers the quality of life for residents. It is something that needs to be dealt with promptly.

  5. Mold. If your interior walls are showing signs of mold, a leak in your plumbing stack could be providing the moist environment. It really could be leaks in any of your piping, but the situation would be especially dire if it were the stack.

  6. Barnacles. No, not the barnacles you’d find on a ship. It’s just another name for tiny rust spots appearing on the pipes of your stack. These spots weaken the structural integrity of the metal and lead to leaks, or potentially something worse. It can be difficult to notice this if your plumbing stack isn’t normally exposed, but if for any reason you see these spots appearing, you should call a plumber. This issue can then be resolved without a leak actually happening.

Bieg Plumbing always replaces cast iron plumbing stacks with modern PVC pipes. PVC is extremely durable, resistant to rust and more versatile when it comes to accommodating future renovations. If you’ve noticed any of the signs above, or know that your plumbing stack is 60 or more years old, have one of our certified professionals assess the situation. Catching problems early is crucial to preventing severe issues. We’ve seen it all throughout our decades of operation in the St. Louis area. Contact us today and we’ll help fix any of your plumbing issues properly and quickly.

Don’t want to get down in the muck? Call in the red truck!

Why is The Day After Thanksgiving so Busy for Plumbing Companies?

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The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, is actually one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers. It’s estimated that plumbers receive approximately 50% more service calls on Black Friday. We’ll go over the most common problems and how you can avoid them. We think Black Friday should be a day for half-priced televisions and not plumbing emergencies, so follow our advice to save yourself the headaches.

Why are there more plumbing issues on Black Friday?

A couple of key factors seem to cause more service calls on the day after Thanksgiving, including:

  • Careless waste disposal. This is the biggest contributing factor to this plumbing phenomenon. Thanksgiving dinner is a big event that requires a lot of effort. You may not be thinking about your pipes before you put your turkey scraps down the drain, but you should if you want to avoid problems. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, celery, carrots can do a number on your pipes. Put too much of these down the garbage disposal, and you’re looking at a major clog. Likewise, fats such as turkey scraps, gravy and leftover oils also wreak havoc on the plumbing. We recommend attempting to empty all of these wastes into your garbage can rather than the disposal or drain. Please do not attempt to flush any large food wastes down the toilet when you can’t fit them down the drain. We’ve seen horror stories of flushed leftover turkey clogging toilets and causing major backups. Trust us and just use the trash can whenever possible.
  • More house guests. Thanksgiving dinner also means more people than usual will be in your home. You may even have family or friends staying overnight or throughout the weekend. This large increase in usage can tax a plumbing system past its breaking point, especially if you aren’t careful about waste disposal on Thanksgiving! More people lead to more showers, toilet flushing and laundry loads. You can help offset this problem by making sure to not be careless about food waste, and spacing out water use the best you can. This may mean not having multiple showers running at a time or delaying your dishwasher and laundry loads to off-peak plumbing hours.

The reason plumbers are so busy on Black Friday rather than Thanksgiving itself is that residents are likely to put off a call to a plumber until after the holiday. After a long day of work getting dinner on the table, the last thing people want to do is have a plumber come in to fix a drain. Whatever the case is, we’re sure this Black Friday will be busy.

Bieg Plumbing has served the St. Louis area for nearly 60 years, and we’re thankful to have earned your trust as a plumbing authority. Whether it’s turkey day or not, you can count on us to fix your plumbing issues quickly. We guarantee high-quality work, so contact us any time you’re experiencing a problem.

Turkey scraps down the drain got you stuck? Call in the red truck!

The Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heater Units

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Tankless water heaters are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional hot water tanks for the home. In fact, sales of tankless water heaters are expected to grow over 7% annually between 2018-2022. If you’re in the market to replace your home’s water heater, you need to inform yourself about today’s tankless options. That’s why we’ve created a handy guide.

What is a tankless water heater?

If you hadn’t guessed by the name, a tankless water heater produces hot water for the home without having to store it in a 40-50 gallon tank. Water is heated on demand through either a gas burner or electric coils.

Pros

Tankless water heaters offer the following advantages over traditional models:

  • Higher energy efficiency. For moderate hot water users, energy efficiency is increased between 24%-34%. This means less energy waste and more savings on your monthly utility bills.
  • More durable. Gas models of tankless water heaters can last over 20 years, which allows the savings on utility bills to add up over time. The electric models don’t fare as well, however, with a lifespan of 7-10 years. This is comparable to a traditional water heater.
  • Less chance of a leak. When traditional models spring a leak, the results can be catastrophic. This isn’t the case with tankless models, which don’t store water at all.
  • More compact. Tankless water heaters take up significantly less space than their traditional counterparts. They can fit in a relatively small space, whereas hot water tanks require more dedicated space in the garage or basement.

Cons

There are drawbacks to tankless water heaters, such as:

  • More expensive. Including the more involved installation process, tankless water heaters can cost up to five times more than traditional units.
  • Less hot water output. Cheaper tankless units will only provide enough water for approximately four faucets. This wouldn’t be enough to take a shower while the dishwasher is running, for instance. This can be offset by installing multiple units, but the cost would rise.
  • Sensitive to low flow. If sediment builds up in your pipes or showerheads and flow is significantly restricted, tankless water heaters are programmed to shut down automatically.

State ProLine® XE Tankless Condensing Water Heaters

New technological advancements

The technology behind tankless water heaters has been advancing quickly. Nowadays, you can find consumer models that sport:

  • Recirculation pumps. Pumps that can be scheduled to run on a timer or motion sensor circulate the cold water left in your pipes back to the heater. This keeps the water in your pipes warm, meaning you can have nearly instant hot water.
  • Ultra-high energy efficiency. There are now condensing gas heaters that convert their fuel to energy at a 96% rate. This kind of efficiency was unheard of in the past.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity. Some tankless models can be connected to your Wi-Fi network and controlled through an application on your phone. You can tweak settings as needed to increase overall efficiency and performance.

Bieg Plumbing has operated in the St. Louis area for nearly 60 years. We’ve got master plumbers with experience in tankless and traditional water heaters, and would be happy to discuss your options in greater depth. Contact us today to talk about tankless water heaters or any plumbing needs.

Cast Iron Systems Vs. PVC Pipe Systems

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Choosing the right material for your property’s plumbing system is a big decision. Cast iron and plastic PVC are two of the most common options for pipes, and they each have their pros and cons. Don’t make your selection without being informed on what material is the best for your situation.

Cast iron and PVC pipe comparison

Cast iron plumbing is a tried and true method that has withstood the test of time. In fact, the reservoir system for the famous fountains of Versaille were constructed with cast iron during the late 17th century and are still in use today! Safe to say, durability is one of its strengths. You must still be vigilant about maintenance, however, as cast iron pipes are prone to rust and must be repaired once the first signs of it are seen.

PVC pipes are made from plastic, are durable in their own right, and don’t suffer from issues such as rust. Here are some more comparison points:

  • Adjustability. Modern cast iron systems are surprisingly adjustable. Even after installation the fittings can be adjusted and oriented differently without problems. This can be helpful during home remodels. PVC can’t be adjusted after the fittings are installed, and if changes are needed, sections of the plumbing system have to be replaced.
  • Price. PVC pipes and fittings can cost up to 50% less than cast iron equivalents. They are also significantly lighter and take less time to install, meaning labor costs are lower. Unless extensive fire-stopping procedures must be followed, a PVC installation will typically be easier on the wallet.
  • Fire resistance. PVC and cast iron are both fire-resistant. However, the self-ignition temperature of PVC is 450 degrees, meaning it can melt in house fires. Cast iron pipes are extremely resistant to heat and won’t melt.
  • Flexibility. Although cast iron is strong, it can be brittle and break when blunt force trauma is applied. PVC is a much more flexible material and can withstand these forces without breaking.
  • Sound dampening. Cast iron is thick and dense. Water flowing through it won’t cause as much vibration as it would in a PVC pipe. These vibrations are what lead to noise, so if sound dampening is a major concern, cast iron is the better choice.
  • Water friction. The interior of PVC pipes are much smoother microscopically than cast iron pipes, resulting in less fluid friction and more consistent flow rates. Pressure will therefore not fluctuate as much and pipe performance will be better.

While PVC doesn’t quite have the rich history of cast iron, it has still been used since the 1950s to great success. Given its overall durability, attractive price and consistent flow rates, we recommend going with PVC for residential sewer lines. If you need a more heavy-duty commercial line, need to comply with strict fire-stopping regulations or want the quietest possible plumbing system, cast iron is a great choice.

If you are still unsure about which direction you should go regarding your plumbing system, contact us at Bieg Plumbing today for a consultation. We have served the St. Louis area for nearly 60 years and can guide you into making the best decision. We have experience with both materials and can install, repair or replace whatever you need.

All those choices got you stuck? Call in the red truck!

9 Ways To Prepare Your Plumbing For Winter

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Winter is just around the corner. Do you know what to do to prepare your plumbing system for the cold weather? These eight tips will help you avoid icy headaches in the coming months:

  1. Remove hoses. If you have hoses attached to your outdoor faucets, disconnect and drain them so that water will not freeze inside. Hoses that freeze during winter may become unusable next spring.
  2. Open cabinets. If the temperature is forecast to drop below freezing, allow warm air from your home to help heat your pipes. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets and let the ambient air circulate around the pipes. In some cases, a fan or portable heater may be required.
  3. Let faucets drip. Allowing indoor faucets to drip slowly when temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing can prevent pressure from building up in internal pipes. This is especially important if pipes happen to freeze outside.
  4. Avoid temperature extremes. Avoid being too aggressive when setting the thermostat. Keeping the temperature above roughly 45 degrees will prevent internal pipes from freezing while still saving money. In the event of extremely cold spells, simply try to maintain a constant temperature in your home.
  5. Drain exterior faucets. You already disconnected all the hoses, but don’t forget to drain those outdoor faucets. Water that freezes and ruptures inside the lines can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. An extra step of caution is to shut off water flow to all exterior faucets and drains.
  6. Prevent clogs. Even though your garbage disposal may seem like it can handle anything, certain products can cause clogs and should be thrown in the trash instead. Fibrous and stringy food scraps like carrot skin or banana peels are hard to grind into small enough pieces to flow down a drain. Additionally, leftover grease should be thrown away as it can congeal inside drain pipes and cause problems.
  7. Cover up pipes. Any exposed pipes in basements, crawl spaces or attics should be wrapped with insulation. If your home experiences extreme temperatures, you may want to consider heat cable in addition to the insulation. Heat cable has a thermostat that senses ambient temperature and activates an electric heating element if it gets too cold.
  8. Maintain your sump pump. Check your sump pump and the pit it is located in before winter arrives. Clean the pump to ensure it will continue to operate in low temperatures. A malfunctioning sump pump can result in severe flooding that is very expensive to repair.
  9. Fix any leaks. If you have known leaks, now is the time to get them repaired so they do not freeze and cause bigger problems.

Tackling these tips should not be a cause for concern. Call Bieg Plumbing and let us winterize your home’s plumbing system. We’ve been serving the greater St. Louis area for nearly 60 years, so we know a thing or two about cold weather. Our skilled and professional plumbers will quickly get your home or business ready for anything Old Man Winter can throw at it so you can enjoy the changing seasons without worry.

Is Your Water Heater Ready for Winter?

By | Plumbing Services

The winter months are the hardest on your plumbing, and the water heater is no exception. During cold weather water entering your water heater can be up to 25 degrees cooler than it is during the warmer months. This colder water, along with the fact that homes naturally use more hot water in cold weather means the water heater has to work harder to keep the water hot. This can result in the need to repair or replace the heater. Here are a few common issues you may face when the temperatures drop.

Pre-winter checklist for your water heater

If you notice your hot water is lukewarm in the winter, check its thermostat. If it’s at 120 degrees, you can raise the temperature in five- to 10-degree increments. Don’t go past 140 degrees (and be careful even going that high); this can result in scalding. If it doesn’t fix the problem, you could be experiencing the following problems:

  • Poor insulation. Either the piping leading into the tank or the tank itself may not have sufficient insulation. This results in significant heat loss, which can really strain your water heater. Foam insulation can be wrapped around the pipes and the heater can be fitted with a special jacket to prevent as much heat loss as possible. If you’re already properly insulated, but the area the water heater is in is very cold (such as in a garage or basement), try to eliminate drafts to keep it warmer. This can have a tangible effect on your water temperature.

  • Sediment buildup. As time passes, minerals and sediment build-up at the bottom of the water heater. This sediment actually absorbs the heat your water heater is producing, and it is wasted. We recommend you flush your hot water tank once a year to prevent buildup.

  • Faulty components. On average, we suggest you replace your water heater every eight to 12 years. If your system is getting older, faulty components could drastically reduce the energy efficiency of the equipment. Issues range from broken dip tubes, thermal switches, thermostats or heating elements (in electric water heaters). Allowing the water heater to further deteriorate is a bad idea, so get it looked at as soon as you notice a problem.

If you’re having trouble diagnosing the issues, you should contact us today to schedule an inspection from one of our certified, professional plumbers. Water heaters can be dangerous, and amateurs shouldn’t tamper with them.

Bieg Plumbing is one of the most trusted plumbing companies in St. Louis, and we have served the area for nearly six decades. Throughout the years we have seen (and fixed) everything imaginable. Everyone deserves a hot shower during the cold winter months, so if you’re not getting the temperature you need from your water heater, call in the red truck.

Top 3 Halloween Plumbing Nightmares To Avoid

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Halloween is upon us again. The season of spooks, specters, and scares is the one time of year where you don’t mind being frightened as long as it’s all in good fun. However, true terror could be lurking in your pipes. Avoid these common Halloween plumbing nightmares to ensure the season’s frights end up being harmless.

Top 3 Halloween plumbing nightmares

  1. Pumpkin pulp down the drain. Who doesn’t love a spooky jack-o-lantern on the front porch? Americans spent about $575 million on the classic Halloween decoration last year. That’s a lot of pumpkins! It’s also a scary amount of pulp that could be going down your drain. The pulp and seed mixture is like glue once it gets into your pipes. Do not put it down your drain or garbage disposal for any reason. We recommend not even rinsing your hands in the sink after pulp removal. To be safe, remove the pulp onto a newspaper and put it in the trash. Rinse your hands with an outside faucet or hose. Separate the seeds from the pulp and roast them in the oven. It’s a delicious, healthy snack and makes the house smell wonderful. You might have to replace your disposal or have your pipes professionally cleaned if you don’t follow this important advice. It’s almost like having to call the Ghostbusters, but not as funny.
  2. Candy wrappers down the toilet. Can your toilet double as a trashcan? No! Talk to your children about the importance of using the toilet only as intended. Kids have been known to sneak candy treats and dispose of the evidence with a late-night flush. This will wreak havoc on your plumbing and lead to difficult clogs. Perhaps be lenient on the typical “no candy after dinner” rule during this part of the year. The feelings of panic and dread you’ll experience as the toilet water reaches the top of the bowl and begins to spill over might be worse than the jolt you get from a scary movie scene.
  3. Inconsiderate houseguests. Do you throw the best Halloween party on the block? Then you know that sometimes party-goers can be a bit inconsiderate. Obviously, the first priority of a party is having fun, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare the home against dire plumbing situations. Pick up some drain screens and ensure each bathroom has an accessible plunger. Being proactive and preventing problems means that you won’t have to stress about it during the actual festivities. There are better things to worry about, like peeling 5 pounds of grapes for your eyeball hors d’oeuvre and having a source of dry ice at the ready.

Follow our advice and you’ll likely have an appropriately frightening Halloween without experiencing a plumbing nightmare. If for any reason, you do need the help of plumbing professionals, Bieg Plumbing has got you covered. We’ve served the St. Louis area for over 60 years and are available 24 hours a day to assist you. Contact us today with any questions or concerns you have.

Halloween party stuck in the muck? Time to call in the red truck.

Top Five Plumbing Jobs That Are Not DIY Friendly

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Thanks to the prevalence of tutorials and information online, there are now more DIY plumbers than ever. Unfortunately, watching a five-minute video about a plumbing job doesn’t match up against a professional plumber’s years of training and experience. Attempting to do a major plumbing job yourself can result in expensive problems that require the help of a plumber anyway. Here are five common plumbing projects that are better left to the professionals.

Top five jobs DIY plumbers shouldn’t do

  1. Dishwasher installation. Dishwashers are surprisingly tricky to install. They normally sit in very tight spaces. This makes it difficult to properly hook up supply and drainage lines. If the connections on these lines aren’t adequate or there are kinks, they won’t function correctly. This can result in a malfunctioning machine or the drain backing up. It’s much easier to have a trusted plumber install it, and it’s less expensive than dealing with water damage or broken dishwashers.

  2. Water heater installation. Think twice before attempting to install a water heater. These are appliances that usually need to be hooked up to the gas line as well as the waterline. A leaky water line is a nuisance that could lead to significant water damage. A faulty gas line is downright dangerous and could lead to fires or explosions. Keep your family safe by having it professionally installed.

  3. Pipe replacement. Replacing any percentage of your property’s pipes is a huge undertaking. Proper procedures must be followed and the right materials have to be used. Replacing even small amounts of pipe could necessitate welding – certainly not a job for an amateur. Mismatching the materials of your pipes means the connections won’t be solid and your other pipes could sustain damage. Save yourself the potential headaches.

  4. Dealing with major clogs. If you have a clog deep within your plumbing system, a plumber should deal with it. Depending on the materials of your pipes, trying to unclog it with tools or chemicals can do more harm than good. A trained professional can assess your situation and use the right tools for the job. They have access to specialty snakes, augers and hydrojetting machines that can clear your clogs quickly and easily without causing damage.

  5. Almost any project without the proper permit. This is kind of cheating, but it’s overlooked so often we needed to include it. Unless your plumbing project is very small scale, such as replacing a faucet, chances are you need a permit from your local government. Jobs such as bathroom remodeling, installing new sinks and pipe replacement all need the proper permits before work can begin. Codes and regulations need to be followed precisely to ensure your project’s safety. If you fail to get a permit and something bad happens, it needs professional help to be fixed and you could be fined.

Bieg Plumbing has been serving the St. Louis area for nearly 60 years. If you’re inexperienced with plumbing issues, we recommend calling in the professionals. We can help with all your plumbing needs, and you can rest assured that the job is done right. 

Contact us today and we’ll be happy to send out the red truck!