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Monday, August 24 2020
The lockdowns of early 2020 led to the widespread buying of many items — toilet paper being among the most purchased. Stores sold out everywhere (both brick-and-mortar stores and online), and had to put limits on how much customers could buy when new inventory arrived.
Many people who now struggled to find toilet paper looked to alternatives — desperately searching the web to see if various toilet paper alternatives were toilet-safe.
It’s tough to find an answer online nowadays with so much conflicting information, though. Some people resigned to using toilet paper alternatives anyways. As long as the toilet didn’t break when they flushed the alternatives down, then things should be fine, right?
Not exactly. Keep reading to learn the facts about toilet paper alternatives.
Are Flushable Wipes Safe?
Flushable wipes manufacturers show evidence of their wipes being safe for your plumbing system. They state that the products are biodegradable, and will thus decompose.
That may be true, but some evidence shows that these wipes simply don’t degrade fast enough. They mix with other items flushed down the toilet and cause clogs.
So although flushable wipes are excellent for a variety of situations — such as potty training your child — it might be best to seek an alternative disposal method.
Keep These Things Out of Your Toilet
Sometimes, it's tempting to flush certain items instead of throwing them in the trash. That way, you can wait longer before taking out the trash.
But you should avoid doing so. Numerous items — even very small ones — can cause expensive damage to your plumbing over time. Don’t flush the following down the toilet:
Sometimes, these things make their way into the toilet by accident and cause a clog. In that case, you may want to call a plumbing professional to unclog your toilet and get things back to normal.
Toilet Paper Alternatives That Work
One alternative that’s safe (for yourself and your toilet) and clean is a bidet. This is a little device mounted in your toilet that sprays water to clean you up after using the bathroom. These were invented as far back as the 1700s and are now widespread in places like Europe and Asia.
Bidets cost a few hundred dollars up front. However, you’ll never have to worry about toilet paper again. You’ll save thousands on toilet paper over your life — but more importantly, if the stores ever run out again, you’ll be fine.
If you’ve run into any toilet clogs — whether from flushing items down the toilet or not — Barner Murphy is happy to help. Call us today to get your toilet fixed!
Wednesday, May 13 2020
Spring is here and summer is not too far behind. Although you’ve been ready for the warmer temperatures and bright sunlight since the first snowflake touched the ground, your plumbing might need some preparatory work.
Checking your plumbing ahead of time can save you time, money, and headache down the road. A bit of work up front will ensure your plumbing system runs smoothly for the entire year — allowing you to enjoy more of the warm weather.
Let’s look at some ways to prepare your plumbing for spring and summer.
1. Clean Your Gutters and Roof
Over the fall and winter, debris (such as leaves) can build up in your gutters and on the roof near the gutters. This debris can block the flow of water off your roof and to the ground, which can lead to roof leaks and water damage.
Clean your gutters and the area of your roof close to them regularly as the weather warms to ensure proper water flow. Call a plumber if you’re not sure you can do it safely on your own.
2. Check Your Sump Pump
Sump pumps prevent basement flooding and water damage. Inspect your sump pump once spring arrives to make sure it’s in working order, then recheck it every three months so you can catch any necessary repairs early.
An in-depth sump pump inspection is easy enough to do yourself.
First, check the drain that leads outside and make sure it is clear of dirt and debris. After that, make sure the float valve has not moved and the pump hasn’t tilted. Then, check the batteries and wiring for damage.
If that all looks good, run a quick test by filling the sump pit with water until the float rises. The sump pump should drain the water.
3. Check and Fix Exposed Pipes
Water expands when it freezes. In addition, pipes expand and contract with temperature changes, potentially causing a lot of cracks. Inspect all exposed piping on your property for damage, as well as for mold. If you run into any damage, consider calling a plumber to inspect all of your pipes.
4. Decrease the Water Pressure
We won’t lie — higher water pressure feels great in the shower. However, higher water pressure stresses your pipes more. Water presses harder against the pipe, increasing the chances of a leak. You’ll pay for the convenience of higher water pressure in more frequent repair bills.
Ideally, your water pressure should be between 40 and 80 psi. Anything over 80 psi puts your pipes at risk of leaks.
There’s a lot to do to prepare your plumbing for the spring and summer. If you’re looking for a plumber in Bucks County to give you a hand in doing so, called Barner Murphy. Our professionals will get your plumbing ready in no time and with minimal interruption to your daily life. Contact us today!
Tuesday, March 24 2020
Why is My Drain Acting Up?
Drains are important parts of your plumbing, but they take a lot of abuse — which can lead to various problems, from clogs to bubbling to unsettling noises. No matter the issue, however, there are steps you can take to get your drain back in working order. Here are some common drain problems and their causes
Drain clogs often occur when items are disposed of improperly. This happens a lot with kitchen sinks. Many people dump the wrong types of waste down the drain — fats/grease are a common example. The fats solidify after cooling and block the drain.
Clogs may also happen simply from use over time, such as in the bathroom. Hair accumulates in the shower or sink drain and clogs it up.
Sometimes, a drain blockage is the result of improper waste disposal. In many cases, however, a backed up drain isn’t your fault.
In the spring, groundwater levels can increase. This can lead to more water in your drainage system, which can back up your drain.
Leaky drains could be caused by loose or damaged drain components. Sometimes, you’ll just have to tighten the nut to stop the leak. However, you may need to take apart your drain to identify any damaged parts that need to be replaced.
A more obvious and observable reason for a leaky drain would be damage to the drain pipe. Putt is usually necessary to fix drain pipe holes.
When you drain is bubbling, that might be a sign that it’s only partially clogged in the drain pipe. However, it could also be caused by a blocked vent pipe.
Your vent pipe allows sewer gas to escape, funneling the gas upwards and out of the roof of your home.
Objects such as dirt, leaves, or bird nest materials can come from above and block the vent pipe. This forces the gas back down, leading to the bubbling or gurgling sound you hear.
If your vent pipe is blocked, your only solution is to call a professional such as Barner Murphy.
A smelly drain can be caused by a few issues.
Clogs are a common reason. Clogs provide a breeding ground for bacteria. As the bacteria colony consumes the debris trapped in the drain and continues to grow, your drain will begin to smell bad.
Mold is another possible cause. You want to take care of mold right away, because the gases they release can be dangerous — leading to headaches, dizziness, and nausea, among other things.
Lastly, escaped sewer gases could be causing the bad smell. If your drain isn’t slow/clogged yet it smells, this may the reason.
Drains sometime make obnoxious noises. This is usually accompanied by bubbling, which results either from a blockage or trapped sewer gases.
If you turn on your garbage disposal and hear loud noises, something may be stuck in the blades — such as chicken bones. You’ll have to remove the chicken bones to get your garbage disposal back to normal.
Tuesday, March 10 2020
Don't Forget About Your Plumbing When You're Spring Cleaning
Spring is almost here. With the warm weather upon us, we can soon crack our windows and open our doors to let the fresh air in.
Along with that comes spring cleaning. Soon, you’ll be furiously vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, and wiping down all surfaces in your home. You might even do some decluttering.
But while you’re making everything in your house shine, it’s important not to forget to give your plumbing a little spring cleaning treatment. Doing so can keep you home life running smoothly while saving you thousands of dollars and plenty of headache.
Here are a few of the most important ways you can spring clean your plumbing.
Empty the Gutters
The winter snow that piled up in your gutters has obscured lots of leaves, dirt, debris, and other stuff. A clogged gutter can cause water to spill over onto your home, causing mold and other water damage.
Make sure you clean those gutters out once the snow starts melting to prevent clogs.
Check Your Pipes
Winter is not friendly to pipes, as temperatures can cause pipes to freeze. Even if you were vigilant about ensuring your pipes didn’t freeze, now would be a good time to check them for leaks, corrosion, or other damage. Call a plumber right away if you find any issues with your pipes.
Clean Your Drains
Drain clogs are nasty problems to deal with. Even if your drain isn’t clogged, it never hurts to perform some preventative maintenance. There are many ways you can use water, vinegar, and baking soda to clean out drains. Alternatively, you can buy a drain snake and use that to keep drains clear.
Check the Water Heater
If you haven’t peeked at your water heater in a while, your spring cleaning would be a good time to do so. Check your water heater’s temperature, but also perform an all-around check of it to make sure everything’s in working order.
Clean Around Your Toilet
Most of your spring cleaning will involve sweeping, mopping, and wiping. Now is a perfect time to deep clean your bathroom, especially the area around and behind the toilet.
Sure, it might be a nasty area, but cleaning around and behind your toilet kills germs and creates a healthier bathroom. Not to mention that the bathroom may smell even better once everything’s clean.
Clean Your Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals take a lot of abuse, so they deserve a cleaning every once in a while. Giving it a good cleaning will ensure it functions optimally year-round.
In addition, make sure to only put things down the drain that belong. Doing so will further help to keep your disposal working like new.
Need help spring cleaning your plumbing in Bucks County? Call the professionals at Barner Murphy. Let’s prepare your plumbing for the warmer months.
Tuesday, February 18 2020
Garbage disposals do wonders for your kitchen, giving you an easy way to get rid of small food waste. Thus, when your garbage disposal has issues, you really notice it. Garbage disposals can experience several kinds of problems.
Here’s a list of common garbage disposal issues and how you can solve them.
1. Clogged Garbage Disposal
Clogged garbage disposals are a common plumbing complaint. Most clogs are caused by one of the following:
When a clog happens, the blades are trapped. You’ll hear a humming noise without the sound of blades turning.
Solving a Clogged Garbage Disposal
If your disposal has a hex hole on the bottom, you can insert an Allen wrench and turn the blades until they can rotate completely. If it doesn’t have a hex hole, you’ll want a dedicated garbage disposal wrench.
Run water after freeing the blades. If water doesn’t pass through, fill the sink halfway and use a sink plunger until the sink drains.
If none of this works, you’ll need a plumber’s help.
2. Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On
A garbage disposal could fail to turn on for a few reasons. Its motor might be damaged, electric power might not be reaching it, or its overload protector may have been tripped.
Solving a Garbage Disposal That Won’t Turn On
First, check the overload protector to see if it’s been tripped. If it is, find the reset button on the bottom of the disposal and push it. Wait 10 minutes and try again if it doesn’t stay in. Turn on the disposal once you get the button to be pressed up to see if it’s working.
If not, see if the circuit-breaker has been tripped. If it hasn’t, look for any loose electrical connection.
If none of these were the case, call a technician, as your disposal motor may be damaged.
3. Leaking Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals can leak from the top, sides, and bottom.
Solving a Leaking Garbage Disposal
Top leaks are caused when the garbage disposal does not have a proper seal between it and the sink drain hole. You will have to replace whatever item is causing the imperfect seal.
If it’s a side leak, then the cause is a bad connection with your dishwasher connector or drainage pipe. If it’s the dishwasher connection, remove the connection and clean out the pipe and connector. Clamp them back together tightly afterwards.
If it’s the drainage pipe that’s causing issue, it’s likely because the rubber gasket inside has been damaged in some way. Take the drainage pipe apart, clean it out, and replace the gasket; then, reconnect everything, making sure all connections are sealed tight.
Lastly, leaks from the bottom of the disposal unfortunately don’t have a quick fix. See if your disposal is still within its warranty period — if so, the manufacturer should replace it for you.
Friday, February 07 2020
How to Keep Your Sink From Clogging
Sink clogs may seem like a minor inconvenience, but they can turn into a serious problem when left untreated. Not to mention that they can be pretty unpleasant. If you don’t want to deal with the nasty results of an unpleasant clog, you need to take measure to keep your sink from clogging.
Follow these tips to do so.
1. Know What Can Go Down Your Sink
Sinks mainly get clogged by people throwing the wrong kind of waste down the drain. Some of the primary culprits are oil/grease, hair, coffee grounds, and bones.
2. Run Hot Water Down the Drain After Each Use
Sometimes, a little oil or grease may make its way into the drain. Run a bit of hot water after each use to keep the oil moving down the drain.
Additionally, you may consider pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain to wash away any other stubborn oil residue.
Don’t use cold water, as the grease will solidify and worsen the problem.
3. Baking Soda and Hot Water
Every once in a while, you may want to throw some baking soda down your drain before running the hot water. Baking soda does an excellent job of cleaning out extra particles, and it eliminates many foul odors that may arise from food waste.
4. Vinegar and Hot Water
Vinegar is another excellent household sink cleaner. It contains a mild acid — ascetic acid — which can help break down and loosen buildup from food particles and other organic material.
Every so often, pour 1 cup of vinegar down your sink and let it rest for a half an hour; then, run the hot water to wash away the vinegar and buildup from your sink’s drain.
5. Don’t Use Drain Cleaning Chemicals
Drain cleaning chemicals are a tempting solution when your sink clogs, but they can corrode your pipes over time, leading to worse problems down the road for your plumbing.
Monday, March 06 2017
They say that April showers bring May flowers, but maybe we should add May plumbing, as well. If you’re a home owner, a renter, or a residential business owner, then now is the time to get yourself in gear for spring. When it comes to spring plumbing tips, there are many, but we’ve devised a simple checklist to help you get started for the warmer months that are upon us. At Barner Murphy, we are always at the ready for plumbing tips and tricks. Feel free to reach out if you ever require the assistance of an expert.
Kitchen checklist: Some of the more obvious areas to check for include the faucets and the sinks. It’s a good idea to make sure that none of your faucets have any leaks or any drips. Sometimes the cold winter months can disguise problems that only surface when spring has sprung. It’s also advised to make quick repairs if you do spot any leaks or drips, as thus will reduce complications further on down the road. Also on the kitchen checklist is the suggestion to ensure that all drains have some sort of strainer on them to prevent large pieces of silverware or other non-disposable items from sliding into the pipe system.
Bathroom checklist: It might seem obvious, but many people forget or get complacent about it. Ensure that all drains have some sort of hair-snare or other catchment device to prevent hair and sop from clogging your home’s drain lines. This will save you from having to call for a plumber when a clog becomes a catastrophe. Another bathroom checklist suggestion is to check your toilets for hidden leaks. You can add a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank and if the toilet is leaking, the food coloring will appear within a half-hour, inside the bowl.
At Barner Murphy, we also advise checking the toilet tank for any leaks or cracks. Another suggestion on our checklist is to make sure that the toilets flush properly. A simple check might be all that’s required, but make sure that you fix any issues promptly. One more bathroom checklist tip is to clear mineral deposits from the showerhead. You can do this simply by just unscrewing it from the shower supply and soaking it in some vinegar for a few hours.
Finally, for our water heater checklist: Make sure the temperature setting on your water heater is no more than 120 degrees. This will prevent any unnecessary scalding and it will also reduce your overall energy use. Another checklist tip is to think about replacing your water heater if it’s over fifteen years old. Updated water heaters are simply more efficient.