Spring Season Plumbing Tips: Preventing Basement Flooding

By | Plumbing Services

Spring is one of the most wonderful times of the year. The weather turns nice. The days grow longer, and the flowers start to bloom.

Spring can also bring heavy rains, though, which could potentially put your home or property at risk of basement flooding. If your basement is finished, this means that your drywall, carpet, finished floors, furniture, and other property could be ruined. If the water damage isn’t noticed and dealt with quickly, mold could result, and items may need to be replaced, leading to expensive repair bills.

But you’re not helpless when it comes to flooding. You can take certain measures that help avoid flooding and the risks related to it, including:

  1. Watch what you flush down the toilet. Do not flush wipes (including “flushable wipes”), dental floss, condoms or paper towels
  2. Never pour fats or grease down your drain
  3. Seal all window wells, seal cracks or openings on walls
  4. Clear gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris
  5. Increase green space around your home with native plants and shrubs
  6. Have a licensed plumber:
    • Locate and assess the condition of your sewer lateral
    • Perform a video camera inspection to check the integrity of your sewer laterals
    • Inspect the condition of backwater valves, backflow preventers, and sump pump
    • Fix cracks, blockages or any other issues affecting your plumbing system
    • Install a battery-backup sump pump if your area experiences lots of power outages

At Bieg Plumbing Company, we want to help you keep your basement dry and flood free. To help you decide which preventative measures would work best for you, call (314) 487-4564

What to do if your basement is flooding:

  • Do not use your toilet or sinks unless it is absolutely necessary – any water collected in your drains might end up in your basement
  • Shut off all electrical power if possible in case there are outlets exposed to the water (note: it will affect your sump pump if you have one)
  • Check for gas odor if you have a gas water heater – the pilot may have been extinguished by the water
  • Be mindful of health and safety when cleaning up your flooded basement – sewer backups and flood water can expose you to dangerous contaminants
  • Discard all contaminated items that are of porous nature such as mattresses, cardboard, newspapers etc.
  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed
  • Finally, call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage caused by the flooding

 

Dripping Faucets Cost You Money!

By | Plumbing Services

Money coins fall out of the golden tap

Although the noise of a dripping faucet can seem like the worst of the problems, each drip should also remind you of how much money you’re wasting down your drain. The EPA estimates that up to 10 percent of all households experience a dripping faucet, accounting to more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted each year. This does not only cost your wallet but also the environment. Lets not forget that only 1% of the water on the surface is usable for human consumption. Couple that with recent drought cases such as in California, there has never been a time where water has been more valuable.

So how bad can a leaky faucet be?

  • One slow dripping faucet can waste 7-10 gallons of water a day

  • A single leak can cost up to $20 a year

  • A faster dripping faucet can cost you up to $200 in a year

  • All the wasted water could push sewage treatment facilities to capacity, resulting in untreated wastewater that could end up in waterways.

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Sometimes leaking faucets can be overlooked.  Make a habit of regularly checking for leaky faucets in your kitchen, bathrooms and seldom used fixtures. One sure way of knowing there might be a leak in one of your faucets or toilet would be a water bill that has suddenly skyrocketed.

Some leaking faucets can be easy DIY projects while some can be quite complicated. Don’t hesitate to call a professional to assist you with your a leaking faucet. Our highly trained plumbers can easily detect the cause of your leak and have your faucet working like new in no time!

For immediate help with a leaky faucet send us an email or call (314) 487-4564. 

6 Quick Summer Plumbing Tips

By | Plumbing Services

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Garden hoses, swimming pools, and sprinklers, just to name a few, can really give your plumbing system a workout during the summer.  Here are a few tips that can help prevent common plumbing issues we encounter during the summer and also save you some green.

  1. Sprinkler Systems and Hoses. Early in the season, embedded sprinkler heads should be cleaned and inspected for leaks, clogs or broken sprinkler heads. When mowing the lawn, make sure the sprinkler heads are lowered to prevent damage. Checking the outside faucet and hose for any leaks can prevent damage to your property while also saving you money.
  2. Water Heaters. Summertime means vacation time for many of us. We get a chance to visit friends and relatives, see new places and experience different cultures. If you will be away from your home for several days, turning down your water heater temperature could save you a significant amount in energy costs. Also lowering the temperature during the hottest of the summer days can have an impact on your energy bills.
  3. Garbage Disposal. Wonderful weather in the summer gives way to a lot more parties and cookouts. Be careful of how you dispose of the large amounts of leftovers from these occasions. It would be best to avoid disposing of the following common summer items down your garbage disposal: watermelon or other hard fruits, fibrous vegetables, corn cobs, grease left from grilling, just-add-water foods, pasta or rice. Try running cold water for about 15 seconds before and after using your garbage disposal.
  4. Clogged Toilets. Having kids out of school for the summer can significantly increase the use of your toilets. Taking preventative measures such as teaching your kids what not to flush down the toilet or how to use a modest amount of tissue paper could save you the hassle of a clogged toilet. Most common toilet clogs can be easily cleared with a plunger but if that fails, call in a professional before the problem gets worse!
  5. Washing Machines. More outdoor activities in the summer for families results in more loads of laundry. The increased usage does put additional stress on your washing machine. According to IBHS, the average cost of washing machine damage is around $5,300 and 55% of these problems are from the supply hoses. Also, of all the supply line failures, 78% are on machines less than 11 years old. Make a habit of checking the hoses for leaks, bulges, and cracks. We recommend replacing the hoses every three years and making sure your washing machine is at least 4 inches from the wall, to prevent kinking the hose. The dryer lint should also be removed regularly.
  6. Sewer Line Backup. Excessive rain-water after the spring rains are a leading cause of sewer line backups. Additionally, tree roots grow substantially after the rainy season and could find their way to your sewer line to feed on the extra nutrients. Ideally, have a professional come inspect your sewer lines before the beginning of the season. Detecting a sewer line problem early could potentially save you money and prevent damage to your property.

Common early warning signs of a sewer backup include raw sewage backing up the drains or toilet, a gurgling sound coming from the drains.

If you suspect that your sewer line might be having issues, call a professional plumber to inspect the sewer line. Our plumbers are equipped with technologically advanced sewer line cameras that can detect the exact point of your problem in a non-invasive method.

Sewage Ejector Pump Maintenance

By | Plumbing Services

Sewage Ejector Pumps can be expected to operate for years on normal sewage pumping without failing. They give very reliable service and usually requires minimal maintenance work. However, as with any mechanical piece of equipment, a preventive maintenance program is recommended and suggested to include the following inspections.

  1. Motor chamber for oil level and contamination and repair
  2. Impeller and body for excessive build-up or clogging and repair
  3. Motor and bearings and replace if required
  4. Seal for wear or leakage and repair if required

Most semi-solid items that do not readily dissolve in water can cause problems to your Sewage Ejector Pump. The following items can cause burnouts or blockages and result in costly repairs.

  1. Cigarette Butts
  2. Clothes dryer sheets
  3. Latex products
  4. Cotton swabs, sanitary napkins, paper towels
  5. Diapers
  6. Dental Floss
  7. Tampons

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If you have a sewage ejector pump problem, call one of our friendly customer service reps today at (314) 487-4564. We’ll help you get your ejector pump fixed fast!

Which Water Heater is Right For You?

By | Plumbing Services

Here is what you need to know when shopping for a new water heater:

Space

Water heaters that use the air inside your home for combustion are required to have a certain amount of room.  These heaters should not be installed in tight spaces without provisions giving it air to burn. Heaters with a single flue should never be in a room with negative air pressure e.g commercial kitchens with vent hoods or rooms with exhaust fans. Negative pressure in a room will not allow toxic gasses from the water heater to flow through the flue pipe and will remain in your home or business space. Consider adding a carbon monoxide detector in the room with your water heater to keep you and your family safe from the deadly odorless gas.  Direct-Vent water heaters removes problems caused by exhaust fans, tightly sealed houses, and confined spaces.

Energy Factor Rating

Always consider the energy factor when buying your new water heater. All water heaters have an energy factor rating.  The higher the rating the more efficient your water heater will be.  The higher the efficiency rating the higher the initial installation cost for the water heater. High-efficiency water heaters may also require PVC flue and a floor drain to drain off condensation.

Budget

Usually the cheaper your water heater is, the less efficient it is, resulting in higher energy costs. Deciding to pay a higher upfront price for your water heater can save you money in the long run by paying lower energy bills, offsetting the initial installation cost.

Durability and Maintenance

Water heaters with a single flue normally have air filterers and flame arrestors that must be cleaned on a regular basis.  A dirty filter or flame arrestor can cause the water heater’s burner to overheat tripping a resettable switch or blowing a fuse.  When choosing a new water heater we recommend buying one that has been in production for at least a year.  Usually, in the first year, the manufacturer might finds bugs in the design that need fixing.  Water heaters are getting more complex and there is a lot more to know than just hooking up a flue, gas, and water to a heater. look for a company which is trained and recommended by the manufacturer to install their water heaters. A good portion of premature water heater failures are due to improper installation.  Sometimes when a problem surfaces, you may be out of warranty forcing you to replace the heater.

(Check out our earlier blog for changes in DOE Water Heater Efficiencies)

Choosing the right water heaters

Need a Water Heater Expert in St. Louis? Contact us at (314) 487-4564. Bieg Plumbing Company is A.O. Smith Verified Water Heater Replacement and Installation Contractor.

 

Department of Energy New Water Heater Mandate

By | Plumbing Services

New Water Heater Mandate

The new National Appliance and Energy Certification Act (NAECA) water heater standards by the Department of Energy are about to take effect on April 16th, 2015. The new mandate will require new improved efficiency ratings that virtually affect all types of water heaters: gas, electric and oil. These changes have an impact on how water heaters are designed, affecting manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, installers and customers alike. Check our previous blog for the specifics of the new water heater mandate.

How could you be affected?

✓     These new heaters will require 3 inches of extra space that most condos, apartments or multi-family properties do not have.

     New Federal imposed standards are forcing manufacturers to have to alter water heater designs to improve insulation.

     The new insulation will cause the diameter to increase significantly or reduce the capacity up to10%.

     The new NAECA water heaters are predicted to have a price increase of up to 40%.

What can you do about it?

     If your water heater is near the end of its lifespan, consider switching to a new one NOW. (10 yrs – Gas Water Heaters, 15 yrs – Electric Water Heaters, 20+yrs – Tankless Water Heaters)

     The April 15th deadline will mostly affect manufacturers. The less efficient water heaters will still be on the market for consumers.

    Remember, although there will be higher upfront costs, in the long run, you will experience lower energy bills.

Follow the link to learn more about the DOE Water Heater Regulations or contact us.

 

Will the April 2015 department of energy mandate affect your water heater?

By | Plumbing Services

Thinking about buying a new water heater?  The newest efficiency regulations may end up costing you big bucks. The department of energy(DOE) has set a new National Appliance Energy Conservation Act to take effect on April 2015. This new mandate will affect virtually all gas, electric, and oil-fired water heaters sold in the United States. It will require manufacturers to design, and build water heaters that increase energy efficiency depending on the type of energy source and the gallon capacity of the water heater.

Gas heaters above 55 gallons will have to convert to a PVC flue which uses new non-metal piping that is more costly. Something else to consider is that the new water heaters will most likely be bigger because of the insulation. This means you may have to downsize the gallon capacity, relocate your water heater, or redesign your water heating system.

There is no cause to worry if your current water heater does not meet these new standards. You will only have to comply with the new standards when it needs to be replaced. Also, if your old heater does not meet the new standards, you can convert it with thicker insulation to comply which may make your water heater to be taller and wider but in most cases that is not a problem.

It is important to keep in mind that if your water heater is past 10 years old, you may soon need to replace it. Now would be the time to do so before the new costly standards take effect. Another option would be to upgrade to a tankless water heater. It may cost you up to eight times that of a conventional water heater but in time, it will pay for itself in saved utility costs.

The following table shows an up-to-date evolution of the DOE efficiency standards under NAECA since its conception in 1990.

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Good news is, these regulations will first affect the manufacturers. There would be a good chance you can still find products with the old technology after the April 16th deadline.

4 Plumbing Tips for Winterizing Your Home

By | Plumbing Services

frozen-pipe

Are you ready for the cold season? Frozen pipes are the most common winter plumbing problems we get here at Bieg Plumbing. To protect your home this winter and keep your plumbing system operating smoothly, we encourage you to take the following preventative actions:

  1. Insulation. Check around your home for water supply lines that are in unheated areas and make sure they are insulated. These areas include the basement, crawl space, attic, garage or under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Hot water pipes and cold water pipes that are not allowed to drip in this areas can both freeze.  When below freezing temperatures are forecasted, make sure your open all cupboard doors in kitchens and bathrooms where pipes are located.
  2. Check for leaksLeaks should always be fixed right away. Check for leaks in all of your faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room etc.
  3. Put away your hoses and close your outdoor shut off valves. Interior shut off valves leading to outdoor faucets should be closed and drained. Any water left in the lines that freezes could cause major damage. Wrap up and pack away any connected outdoor hose until warm weather arrives again. Any water left inside that freezes can cause the hose to expand causing major damage to your faucets.
  4. Locate your main water cut-off valve for your home. Damage can be minimized if you turn off your main water valve quickly. Usually located close to where your water line enters your home. You will also need to locate your main water valve and shut it off in case you are vacating your home especially if your home heating system is not working.

Unfortunately, if you do end up having leaky pipes due to the current extreme cold, call us right away! We know what to do to help you avoid further complications such as burst pipes or water damage.

Should you repair or replace your old water heater?

By | Plumbing Services

When to repair

Many people get to the crossroads on whether to repair or replace their water heater. This can be a tough decision. If you kept up with maintenance as lined out in your owner’s manual, it will make more sense to repair an older water heater.  If it is under full labor, tank and parts warranty go ahead and have it fixed.  At the time of repair, make sure you ask your plumbing technician if everything was installed correctly. Most parts’ failure are due to improper installation.  If there are any installation faults, have them fixed so you don’t have the same problem again.  There are major upgrades in water heaters every few years.  Some upgrades come from research and development, mandates pushed by the US government and others from lessons learned from previous water heater failures.  If you bought the first batch of a new series which has recently been updated, it is recommended that you get a newer updated unit of the same series.

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When to replace

Anything over 8 years old should be replaced.  Especially if you did not keep up with maintenance, trying to repair it would only be putting a Band-Aid on an artery. The money saved on energy bills will offset the cost of installing a new one.  Water heater companies want to sell water heaters, not parts which can cause the parts to be costly.  If they still use the parts today, it may be ok to install that part.  If it is a part they no longer use, it will come at a premium price.

Need a new water heater installed in the St. Louis area? Call (314) 487 4564 or simply fill out our contact form

Unveiling Bieg Plumbing’s New Website

By | Plumbing Services

It’s with great excitement that we here at Bieg Plumbing Co. unveil our new website to you. After a summer of hard work putting it all together we do really believe we have achieved something great with this new design. Our new website is easy to use and works on a range of different devices. Times have changed a lot since we published our initial site and we firmly believe we have tried to make the most of these positive changes with the new design. Aside from an updated look, visitors can navigate between commercial or residential service that will provide ease to quickly retract relevant information. Soon, we will also be adding additional pages to make it easier for our customers to better understand our wide range of services.

We would love to hear what you think of our new site. Let us know if you notice any niggling bugs or problems, that may have been skipped under our rigorous testing. Similarly if you are impressed with what you see and are interested in our services, please drop us an email via the new contact us form.