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.

Is My Plumbing Repair Covered By My Home Insurance?

By | Plumbing Services

A plumbing emergency that results in thousands of dollars in damage will stress you mentally and financially. Fortunately, depending on the situation, homeowner’s insurance may cover the cost for repairs and replacements. It’s important to know which issues are covered and which will need to be paid for out of pocket. While not every insurance plan is the same, many feature similar general provisions when it comes to plumbing problems. We’ll go over the basics, but you should contact your insurance agent to discuss your policy in-depth.

Does my homeowner’s insurance cover pipe replacement?

It depends on your situation. Generally, when the damage to your pipes isn’t due to negligence, insurance will cover the costs for repair or replacement. The insurance will cover sudden issues such as a pipe bursting due to a fire or another environmental issue.

When you file your claim, however, an adjuster from the insurance company will usually want to visit your house and inspect the damage. If they find that your pipes were old and corroded, you claim will most likely be denied. Typically, homeowner’s insurance will not cover pipe replacement when it is found that the damage could have been prevented.

Does my homeowner’s insurance cover clogged drains?

Unless a pipe bursts from a newly clogged drain, insurance likely will not cover it. If it is found that the clog has been building for a while or was the result of neglect (e.g., you tried to put the leftover Christmas ham down the garbage disposal), you will be left to foot the repair cost.

Does my homeowner’s insurance cover sewer line repairs?

Potentially. Insurance will usually cover damage from events such as:

  • Hail, wind, and fire

  • Explosions

  • Vandalism

  • Falling objects (tree branches, parts of the house)

Unfortunately, they will deny claims caused by:

  • Preventable sewer line damage. This includes things such as corrosion, damage from tree roots and pest infestation.

  • Sewage backup. When your line backs up and the sewage causes damage, it is typically not covered. You may be able to purchase a special “rider” to ensure you’re safe, though.

Riders

There are many add-ons you can purchase for your insurance policy that provide extra coverage. They are called riders and can include protection against:

  • Sump pump backup. As we’ve seen, sewage backup isn’t normally covered, but most insurance companies will have rider options to cover these issues.

  • Flooding-related issues. Sometimes, flooding can cause problems for your plumbing as well. Pipes can burst, back up or be damaged by the rising waters.

  • Mold infestation. Once there is water damage in a wall or beneath the floor, mold can grow and spread. This can be an extremely expensive problem to fix, so you should inquire about a mold protection rider.

Preventing future plumbing problems

Proper maintenance is the key to preventing costly plumbing emergencies. Have your pipes and sewer line inspected yearly to stay informed about their current conditions. With current technology, a camera can be snaked through pipes, issues can be assessed quickly and dealt with before major problems arise. Sewer cleaning is also a great preventative solution that provides lasting results. Since the major component deciding whether or not an insurance company will cover a plumbing issue is if it would have been preventable with proper maintenance, you can’t afford to slack up on your upkeep.

It’s important to note that your policy may have significantly different provisions from what we’ve stated above, so please look over your policy with an agent to be as informed as possible. If you find yourself in a plumbing emergency and need help, Bieg Plumbing is here for you 24 hours a day. We’ve served the St. Louis area for more than 60 years and have seen it all. Contact us today to schedule a visit from one of our trusted professionals.

Pipes ran out of luck? Call in the red truck.

How Poor Plumbing Systems Can Lead To Legionnaires’ Disease

By | Plumbing Services

Legionella Pneumophila Bacteria

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia that is caused by bacteria growing in stagnant water. It is transmitted to humans when we breath in small water droplets that contain the Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include cough, fever, headaches, and shortness of breath. It can result in lung failure and even death, so it should be taken extremely seriously. Poor plumbing conditions can allow Legionella to grow and fester, so you need to take steps to prevent this from happening.

How poor plumbing can cause Legionnaires’ disease

While Legionella is commonly found in large plumbing systems such as commercial cooling towers, it can also appear in residential plumbing systems. It can occur in hot tubs, fountains, water storage tanks, water heaters, sinks, tubs, and showerheads. If your plumbing system is not properly configured, water can be stagnant for long periods of time. This leads to Legionella growth. Similarly, homes that don’t properly maintain their plumbing systems are susceptible. Biofilm, a plaque-like substance consisting of different microorganisms, can build up around the interior of your pipes which feeds and protects the Legionella bacteria. This can then flake off and be transported throughout your water system.

How to prevent the bacteria from growing

Luckily, there are a few good ways to prevent the threat of Legionnaires’ disease. These include:

  • Sanitize the bathroom. Regularly clean your bathroom thoroughly with a diluted mixture of water and bleach. Pay special attention to sinks, tubs, and showerheads. Scrub down other surfaces such as countertops with a disinfectant spray.

  • Set the water heater to 140 degrees. Legionella can’t survive in a hot water heater if the temperature is set this high. Please note this can lead to scalding and is not recommended for homes with children. If you do have children or are otherwise worried about scalding, you can replace your faucets with specialized temperature-regulating models that lower the temperature of the water.

  • Use a water softener. Water softeners can minimize the buildup of sediment and biofilm in your pipes so that Legionella can’t grow. While helpful, this does not guarantee your pipes will be Legionella-free. Use in conjunction with other methods.

  • Minimize water stagnation. Flush seldomly used water fixtures regularly to prevent stagnation. If you suspect poor plumbing design could be an issue, have a plumbing professional inspect your system and make improvements, if necessary.

Bieg Plumbing is a family-owned business that has served the St. Louis area for nearly 60 years. We’re here to help whenever you have an issue. We can inspect your pipes for biofilm or other buildup and get them back in great condition. Contact us today to schedule any of our services.

Plumbing issues got you saying “yuck”? Call in the red truck!

When Do You Need To Secure A Plumbing Permit?

By | Plumbing Services

Plumbing projects big and small require permits from the city. This ensures that the work done on the plumbing system meets local codes and regulations. Before starting your next plumbing project, look into whether or not you need a permit. The City of St. Louis publishes a full list of guidelines, but since the information is not in an easy-to-read format, we’ll explain the basics below.

When a permit is typically necessary

The following plumbing jobs will usually require a permit:

  • Repiping. If your home needs some or all of its plumbing system replaced, you will need a permit before work can start.
  • New installations. If a new section of pipe needs to be installed, you’ll also need a permit from the city. An example of this would be if you were finishing your basement and were installing a new bathroom. Also, a permit is needed any time a new feature, such as sink or toilet, is installed.
  • Replacing the drain line. If your drain line has ruptured or otherwise needs replacing, you should file for a permit.
  • Anything to do with the sewer line. Since the sewer line also connects to a public utility, any work on it will need to be approved by the local government. This makes sure that all safety codes will be followed.
  • Moving the plumbing system. If a part of your plumbing system is moved to a different location, it is seen as a remodel and must have a permit.
  • Water heater installation. This is a common issue, as water heaters only last eight to 12 years. Once yours kicks the bucket, a permit will be needed before the new one can be installed due to water heater safety regulations.
  • Soil stack repair. If your soil stack is damaged or not venting properly, repairing or replacing it will necessitate a permit.

When a permit isn’t necessary

While permits aren’t typically needed for the following plumbing projects, you should still contact the city at 314-622-3313 for verification.

  • Repairing or replacing existing features. You should be able to replace accessible plumbing features such as faucets and garbage disposals without a permit provided no additional repair work is required beyond the fixture tubing connections. Remember that large installations such as sinks and toilets do need a permit, however.
  • Repairs to piping. If the piping that just needs minor repairs due to leaks, you may be in the clear.
  • Installing lawn irrigation. Once the backflow device – which does require a permit – is installed, the rest of your irrigation system can be installed without a permit.

In order to receive a permit as a homeowner, you need to meet certain criteria. If you plan to hire a plumber to do the work, they should be certified by the City of St. Louis. They should acquire the necessary permits before starting the job.

Bieg Plumbing has master plumbers who know all about the permitting process and how to adhere to safety codes, guaranteeing your project is done correctly. We’ve been a family-operated business serving the St. Louis community for nearly 60 years. We can help with any plumbing project you may have, so contact us today to discuss.

Plumbing issue got you stuck? Call in the red truck!

3 Reasons Why Drain Cleaning Is Critical For Home Maintenance

By | Plumbing Services

As a homeowner, you’re likely aware that it takes a significant amount of maintenance to keep everything in good condition. Your drains are no exception. Seemingly minor issues such as slow drains can quickly become big problems if you ignore them. So, don’t neglect your drains and have them routinely cleaned by a professional.

Why it’s important

Maintain your drains properly and you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

  • Longer drain life and fewer repairs. Common sense prevails here, as healthy drains mean longer-lasting drains. Damage and corrosion can occur when left untreated. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may be faced with having to replace the drain or invest in a major repair. Save money and headaches by investing in preventive care.
  • Better drainage. The entire point of a drain is to, well, drain unwanted liquids away from your home! Clogs and blockages are common in drains that aren’t taken care of properly. So you could potentially be standing in water up to your ankles in the shower. If you’re familiar with this situation, you know it’s not a pleasant experience.
  • No foul odors. The accumulation of food and waste particles in your drains can result in unpleasant odors. Nobody wants bad smells coming up from their shower or kitchen drains, so have them cleaned on a regular basis.

Bieg’s services

While basic daily drain maintenance is crucial, you should still have them professionally cleaned at least once a year. This ensures they’re in great working condition and issues can be discovered before they turn into major problems. Bieg Plumbing offers the following services for residential drain cleaning:

  • Cabling. For this service, a cable with a cutting head attachment is snaked through your pipes to clear clogs. A video camera can be fed through later to ensure the pipe is clear, giving you greater peace of mind about your lines.
  • Hydro jetting. Pressured water is sent through a line to completely clean and degrease it. This is an extremely effective and heavy-duty solution that is also safe for all pipes and doesn’t require the use of potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also a job that won’t take much time, yet will provide long-lasting results. This makes hydro jetting a fantastic option for residential and commercial property owners alike.

Bieg Plumbing has served the St. Louis area for over 60 years. During that time, we’ve built up a sterling reputation for getting the job done quickly and correctly. We can make sure that all of your pipes are clean and in good condition. If you would like to schedule a drain cleaning service or any other plumbing service, contact us today. We are ready 24 hours a day to help you.

Drains down on their luck? Call in the red truck!

Bieg Plumbing Company Earns Esteemed 2016 Angie’s List ‘Super Service Award’

By | Plumbing Services

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Bieg Plumbing Co. has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of customer service to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2016.

This achievement is particularly significant as Angie’s List experienced unprecedented member growth in 2016. More than 1.6 million consumers, many of whom were eager to quickly hire highly qualified service pros, joined Angie’s List after the company added a new, free membership tier.

“Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Only a fraction of the plumbing companies in the St. Louis Market were able to do it.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

We are honored and proud of earning the Angie’s List Super Service Award.  Angie’s List members expect the highest levels of service and quality when choosing a plumber. Bieg Plumbing’s 57 years of experience and commitment to its customers’ and the community has allowed us to consistently exceed expectations.  We are so grateful for the members that purchased our services and the submitted reviews that help share our story.” – Mark Bieg, Vice President of Bieg Plumbing Co.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

For more than 21 years, Angie’s List restricted access to its verified reviews to consumers who paid membership fees. When the company removed that barrier, some companies worried that the new, non-paying members would not be as engaged as members of the past. Experience has shown, however, that these newly added members are just as engaged – across all age groups – as prior members. Also, because the company continues to adhere to its review verification process, there has been no degradation of review quality.

“The biggest change at Angie’s List is that we are connecting even more consumers to high quality service professionals,” Hicks said. “And that’s good for everyone.”

 Looking for a plumber you can trust? Call Bieg Plumbing at (314) 487-4564. Serving the St. Louis area for over 55 years! 

 

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Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than 4.5 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

 

Bottle Filling Stations

By | Plumbing Services

A New Eco-Friendly Twist to Water Fountains

It’s time to rethink what we know about water fountains. Elkay ezH20 provides a bottle filling station that reduces consumer usage of disposable plastic bottles with touchless, sanitary operation that’s three times faster than a standard fountain. It’s easy, fast, and elegant and it’s the future. Hundreds of environmentally friendly campuses and high schools already have these filling stations installed.

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How it Works

The new Elkay Water Bottle Filling Station is easy to use, all you have to do is hold a water bottle under a sensor and let the machine pour the water. It easily accommodates reusable drinking cups or large containers. It comes with an optional 5” LCD monitor screen, system diagnostic for ease of maintenance and enhanced bottle filters, with a 3000 gal capacity. There is an inbuilt refrigeration system that can turn off in times of non-use for energy savings.

Other features include:41lcLvlrIaL._SY355_

  • Recessed aperture for clean fill with minimal splash.
  • Low energy LED lighting that provides illumination for dark bottles.
  • Electronic sensor activated for touchless sanitary operation.
  • In wall units and outdoor options.
  • Over ten colors to choose from.
  • Combo options.

Visit Elkay’s Website for more information on features and available options.

Benefits

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  1. Environmentally friendly: many disposable water bottles simply get thrown out. For instance: In 2012, only nine percent of the total plastic waste generated was recycled according to the EPA. According to Eco Watch, plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
  2. Saves money since refilling a water bottle is much cheaper than constantly buying bottled water. Case in point, if your were to refill 365 bottles of water in a year with the Bottle Refill station, it would amount to an annual savings of approximately $550! (Check out how much you could potentially save with the Bottled Water Cost Calculator.)
  3. All the water from the filling stations is thoroughly filtered to purify it before consumption, making it safe and tasty drinking water!
  4. Vandal resistant: ideal for high traffic applications such as gyms, educational facilities, hospitals or large office buildings.
  5. Stylish, durable and easy to clean.

For any questions regarding installation of Bottle Filling Stations in your facility, please contact us through our online contact form or call (314) 487-4564.

Senior Safety Bathroom Plumbing Tips

By | Plumbing Services, Uncategorized

Unfortunately, as we get older, some simple tasks such as using the bathroom or a quick hand wash can become more of a hassle, stressful and hazardous. There are many options in the market to assure that the bathroom is safe for a senior who might struggle with mobility or balance issues. Some of these items you can install yourself and others would require a professional plumber.

Tubs and Showers

There are many options for making tubs and showers safer for seniors. Here are some options you can consider:

  • Walk in or wheel in tubs and showers

  • Adding a tub chair in the shower

  • Detachable shower head

  • Slip-proof material at the bottom of the tub or shower

  • Handrails or wall mounted grab bars

  • Wall mounted soap and shampoo dispensers that help eliminate falls and slips

If you are having a hard time finding an option that would work well in your bathroom, our professionals here at Bieg Plumbing can help you choose the right one that fits your space.

Toilets

Chair height toilets for seniors are very important for safety, helping them get up and down easier. Average toilet height is 14-15 inches. Adding an extra 1 1/2  to 2 ½ inches will get it up to the “comfort height” a chair provides.

Sinks

  • Design a countertop that allows for wheelchair access

  • Install faucets with lever handles or foot controlled faucets

  • Install a thermostatic shower valve to prevent scalding from hot water

Other Basic Safety Measures

  • Make sure there is proper lighting, bulbs should be changed soon after one goes outs and always keep a nightlight plugged in.

  • Having a phone securely mounted on the wall in case of an emergency for seniors living without personal assistance.

  • Making sure the bathroom door can be opened on both sides should the need arise.

  • Remove or replace rugs. Secure them so that they do not slip or move.

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Contact Bieg Plumbing at (314) 487-4564 for any questions or concerns you may have regarding how to improve bathroom accessibility for a senior.

Why Hire A Union Plumber?

By | Plumbing Services

ua_logoWhen you hire union plumbers, you are hiring a safe and highly trained, productive workforce. To become a union licensed plumber, you are required to have undergone a thorough training program, equivalent to a four-year college degree. To ensure that only the best obtain certification!

What does it take to get into union plumbing?

  • High school diploma

  • Pass entrance exam that consists of intermediate math, science, and English

  • Finish a five-year program of both classroom and on-the-job training

  • Pass the state test taken during the final year

Six important benefits when you hire union are:

  • Education: The UA provides continuing education even after the 5 year program. This is is one of the main benefits as it assures that the union plumber is up-to-date with all the newest codes and laws. When you hire a union plumber, you are hiring someone who is very knowledgeable about their trade.

  • General Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance: As a union signatory contractor, you are required to be bonded, provide workers comp and general liability.

  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Union employees are committed to the trade. This is just not a stepping stone for another career. This is their livelihood and for the most part their lifelong career.

  • Drug Screening: The association is committed to a drug-free work environment. They adhere to a drug screening policy and a drug and rehabilitation policy.

  • Future Leader Training: Unions have increased their efforts to educating its members through offering to pay for college courses. This assists in fueling the pipeline for creating future industry leaders.

  • Commitment to safety: Union plumbers are the safest you can find! On union job sites, there is an unwavering top-down commitment to safety, by both union members and employers.

Plumbing unions have secured good wages for its members, provided health, pension benefits and safe working environments. Most of all, the union has provided a better quality of life for its members.

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Local plumbers’ unions are governed by a much larger United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. Here in St. Louis, Bieg Plumbing is proud to be in partnership with Local #562, Local 513 and Local 110. When you hire a union plumber, feel assured that you are hiring the BEST qualified person for the job!

Bieg Plumbing, a Union and Bonded Company since 1960!

 

10 Important Things Every Homeowner Should Know About Their Plumbing

By | Plumbing Services

You don’t have to know everything about plumbing, but it is important to know the basics in order to avoid an even worse situation. At Bieg Plumbing we like to arm our clients with knowledge that can help them avoid a plumbing disaster.

Here is a list of 10 things you should know about your plumbing for your home or business.

  1. Know where the main water source is located and how to shut it in case of an emergency. Usually located close to the meter or sometimes you may have a separate shut-off at the house. It is also important to know how to operate them. When turning the valves on and off, make sure that you do it slowly, because the water pressure may be high and the valves old.

  2. Know how to read your water bill and meter. Verify your water usage along with each bill amount to ascertain if the charges are correct. It’s an easy way to catch leaks in your property as water leaks can cause a lot of water consumption, amounting to huge bills. Don’t hesitate calling the number on your water bill if you need help reading your bill or meter. Your local water company would be more than happy to clarify details in the bill.

  3. Know your water pressure and make sure it is under 80 psi. High water pressure is the number 1 cause of leaks in homes or businesses. You can DIY with a water pressure gauge that runs for less than $20.00, or have your local water company come check it at no charge to you!

  4. Know your sewage system and the location of your clean-out plugs. Is it sewer or septic? A vital step to solving a clog or sewer backup is knowing where your clean-out plugs are located.

  5. Know where to shut off your gas supply. If accessible, know where to shut off the gas for each appliance and also at the supply. That way, if there is only an issue with a specific appliance, you won’t have to shut off the gas supply to the whole building.

  6. Know the shut-off location for the water that goes to your water heater. Water heaters do not last forever. Average water heater lifespan runs about 8-12 years. A water heater problem can leave you without hot water but it doesn’t mean you have to do without any water at all. Knowing where to shut off the water going to your water heater can allow you to still have water for cleaning, cooking or bathroom use.

  7. Regularly check your water heater pressure relief valves for leaks and always have a pan under your water heater. Especially as they age, the chances of your water heater leaking are much higher. Check your relief valve to ensure it is in good working condition and without leaks. In case there is a leak, having a pan underneath can help prevent extensive water damage.

  8. Set back the spigot valve. You should install a frost free hose bib spigot if the pipe runs through a cement foundation. This can prevent freezing during the winter season by allowing you to be able to shut the water off closer to the inside of your home.

  9. Know the location of all your fixture shut off valves.  Every sink and toilet should have a shut-off valve. Knowing where they are can save you extensive damage and still retain water use on other fixtures. NOTE: They should not be used unless it is necessary. Some are not designed for repeated use.

  10. Make a habit of checking for leaky faucets or pipes. Some leaks can go undetected for a long time because the source of the leak is not visible. Here is a great resource by home water works on how to inspect for leaks in and out of your home or business.

 Have a plumbing emergency, question or need service? Contact Bieg Plumbing today at (314) 487-4564.

Serving the St. Louis area since 1960!