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Friday, June 05 2020
States across the nation are slowly opening their economies. Some states are allowing most types of businesses to open, while others still allow only essential business and a few niche types of companies to open.
For some types of businesses, the line between essential and non-essential is clear. People need to be able to access grocery stores, banks, and healthcare facilities, among other types of businesses.
On the other hand, gyms, entertainment, and barbershops (to name a few) are closed because they aren’t seen as necessary to sustain life.
Many types of businesses, such as plumbers, are somewhere in the middle. Robust plumbing is important, so are plumbers considered essential workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey?
The Answer — Is Plumbing an Essential Service?
If you need a professional plumber to fix your plumbing system, you’re in luck — plumbing is considered an essential service in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Plumbing falls under the construction category of businesses in both states. Additionally, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) — part of the Department of Homeland Security — released a memo in which they considered plumbers essential workers.
According to CISA’s memo, “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences” can stay open.
Why are Plumbers Considered Essential Workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey?
Like CISA said, plumbing is necessary to keep your home safe and sanitary. Plumbing issues can put your family in danger.
Imagine if your sump pump didn’t work. Without a functioning sump pump, your basement could flood, causing costly damage. Additionally, mold can grow and release spores, which are bad for your lungs. Family members with breathing difficulties could have serious problems.
A plumber would be able to quickly remedy your sump pump problem to keep your home safe. You’re stuck at home enough already, so keeping it safe is all the more important.
Or perhaps you have trees in your yard, and the roots are growing into your pipes. When left unattended, the pipes can leak into your yard and create hazardous sinkholes.
Plumbers can help you remove the tree roots so your yard remains a safe place to be. Again, when you’re under lockdown, you want to be able to blow off steam outside without worrying about sinkholes.
We live in stressful times at the moment. Don’t let plumbing issues add more stress to your life. Plumbers like Barner Murphy are still open and able to restore your plumbing to normal while following all safety guidelines. Contact us today if you need your plumbing 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!
Wednesday, May 13 2020
Remodeling is a large investment. You want only the most qualified professional for the job. A little bit of time spent searching for the right bathroom remodeling contractor could mean the difference between your dream bathroom and a failed project.
Here are some tips you can use to find the right contractor for your remodel.
Run a Search Online
Run a search online for contractors in your area. You’ll be presented with several local contractors. Browse through the results, start a list, and write some of the top results down.
Ask For Referrals
Additionally, ask relatives, neighbors, and friends for referrals. If they had a good experience with a contractor, you might too. Make sure to ask what specifically they liked about the contractor’s work — this will help you screen contractors based on your needs.
Evaluate Each Contractor’s Credentials
It’s vital that any contractor you work with holds all licenses required by the state and locality in which they work. Most will have this information on their site, but you can also call them and ask.
See if they have designations from professional associations as well. Examples of these include the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)
Beyond that, see if they complete coursework or continuing education. Contractors that take their jobs seriously are always looking to sharpen their skills and stay on top of industry knowledge.
Interview Your Candidates and Narrow Your List
Pick the best few candidates — no more than three — based on the above criteria and set up interviews.
Inquire about their experience, project timeline, payment schedule, and other project-related matters. Consider asking if they have a warranty or guarantee as well in case something bad happens.
Check Out Their Work and Check References
Now that you’ve established some rapport with a few contractors, ask them to see some of their work. If they let you, ask for references and call up their past clients. Ask the client about their experience with the contractor.
Ideally, you want a contractor that is experienced in projects that are similar to your remodel. See if examples of their past work look like your project.
Inspect the Final Documents
You’ve narrowed your search down to one contractor. Before you sign the paperwork, look at the documents themselves. Make sure they look professional. Read the contract as well to make sure it’s fair.
Looking for a Bucks Country bathroom remodeling contractor? Barner Murphy could be the right choice for you. We work with professional contracting partners with every part of the project to ensure your new bathroom exceeds your expectations. Call us today!
Friday, April 17 2020
Ice makers are fantastic devices, providing a steady supply of ice whenever you need it — no dealing with ice trays or melting bags of ice.
You may not think about it now, but you’ll quickly realize how convenient ice makers are when yours stops working.
Your ice maker could have one of many issues — some might involve a quick fix, while others might take a little more work.
Below is a list of the most common ice maker problems. No matter which of these issues you’re having with your ice maker, you can count on Barner Murphy to fix it fast and at an affordable rate.
To prevent overfilling your ice bin, most ice makers have a control arm that will pause ice production. Your ice maker’s control arm may have been moved by accident or broken, activating the pause feature when the bin isn’t full.
Consult your owner’s manual to learn more about your specific ice maker’s pause function.
When not given proper maintenance, ice maker filters can get clogged. Find the filter section of your owners manual to locate your filter, then inspect it for debris.
Clogged/Shut-Off Water Line
A water line supplies your ice maker with water to freeze. When clogged or broken, you won’t get more ice. Make sure the water supply valve is on and not restricted by anything.
Frozen Water Line
Your water line may be frozen. If you want to fix this yourself, first turn off the water supply and unplug your fridge. You can use a hairdryer to defrost the water line, but keep it above the water source to avoid being shocked.
Once defrosted, turn on the water and power again and you should hear water running through the line. If not, call Barner Murphy — we can identify the root problem.
Frozen Ice Maker
Perhaps the ice maker itself is frozen. If so, check the thermostat. Always make sure the temperature matches the manufacturer’s recommendations — too low of a temperature and the water will freeze too early.
Checking the thermostat every so often can help to prevent your ice maker from freezing before it becomes a problem.
Leaky Ice Maker
Your ice maker might be working but also leaking water onto your floor or in your freezer. Check to make sure your refrigerator and ice maker are level and look for water line damage. Also, make sure the fill cup lines up with the water funnel.
If nothing seems wrong with any of the above, you should call a professional to help.
Have you run into any of these problems? Not sure how to fix them? Contact Barner Murphy right away so we can get your ice maker back to normal. Call us today — all new customers get $15 off their first service call.
Wednesday, April 08 2020
Sump pumps removing water from basements and crawl spaces, transferring the water to your waste removal system.
Although sump pumps are vital to preventing water damage and its accompanying effects, your sump pump may break at some point. As a result, installing a backup sump pump will provide optimal protection.
Sump pump and backup system installation is one of our specialties here at Barner Murphy. Read to learn more about these systems.
Sump Pump Benefits
Let’s look at some of the biggest reasons why you need a sump pump in your home.
Prevents Water Damage
The main reasons to have a sump pump is to drain away water that may slowly cause damage.
Prevent Flooding Damage
Sump pumps are excellent at dealing with slow water buildup, but they shine when it comes to basement flooding.
See, when heavy rain hits, your basement could quickly gain several inches of water — water that can damage your basement itself as well as any possession you store down there.
Sump pumps funnel that water away to minimize the damage.
Prevent Mold/Mildew Buildup
Mold and mildew thrive in wet environments. When water gets into your basement, the mold and mildew growth can damage your home as well as cause health problems — especially for those who have asthma or other breathing issues.
Sump pumps keep mold and mildew at bay, protecting the health of your and your family.
Reduce Electrical Fire Chances
Water in the basement can short-circuit appliances down there, leading to fires. The little old sump pump can stand guard against life-threatening electrical fires by preventing water buildup.
Backup Sump Pump Benefits
Sump pumps are excellent devices, but they may fail or become overwhelmed by the amount of basement water buildup. In that case, backup sump pumps carry numerous advantages.
Increased Sump Pump Capacity
Sump pumps can process a lot of water, but not always at an optimal speed in cases of bad flooding. An additional sump boosts the amount of water you can drain from your basement.
Sump pumps require maintenance every so often. The problem is that since your sump pump is situated in the floor, you may not notice that it needs maintenance until it’s too late.
That backup sump pump still provides drainage while allowing you to notice that the first sump pump may be out of commission.
The same weather that leads to flooding can cause power outages. Should your sump pump draw electricity from the grid, it will be useless.
Backup sump pumps tend to use batteries — when your regular sump pump fails, you’ll still be protected.
As you can see, sump pumps and backup systems keep costly, nasty damage at bay. To learn more about the benefits of sump pumps and backup systems, call Barner Murphy today. We provide sump pumps and backup systems to Bucks County residents, and we enjoy educating out customers on their benefits.
Photo Credit - Sump Pump Advisor
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, January 20 2020
Prevent Plumbing Nightmares With These 5 Tips
Modern plumbing is a wonderful invention. However, failure to take proper care of your plumbing system can result in some nasty effects.
Prevent plumbing nightmares from occurring with these tips.
Check the Water Pressure
If your water pressure every drops significantly while showering or washing your hands, check the water immediately. This drop in water pressure could be serious. A leak in the water main will affect everything is your home; call a professional right away to handle this. If the leak is localized to a shower head or a sink, you may just need to clean the aerators.
Call a professional if you can’t identify what is causing the issue.
Check for Leaks Regularly
Leaks can run up your water bill, but when left untreated for a long time, they can also cause costly damage to other systems in your home.
Inspect your faucets, under your sinks, and around your toilets regularly. If you see any water that shouldn’t be there, you might have a leak.
Check appliances such as dishwashers and laundry machines as well.
If you can find the leak, repair it as fast as you can to minimize potential water damage. If you are unable to locate or fix a leak, have a professional do it as soon as possible.
Prevent Clogged Drains
Clogs are more than annoyances; they are a breeding ground for bacteria that can get into your water and cause serious health issues. Clogs may even cause leaks in other parts of your plumbing.
Do not flush anything but toilet paper and waste down toilets. Do not put anything down your sink that doesn’t belong, either. Use sink guards if shaving is a cause of clogs in your home.
As for your kitchen sink: only put food down your garbage disposal that it can handle, and never pour grease or fat down your drain.
If you experience a drain clog, avoid drain cleaning chemicals. They work in the short term, but can cause your pipes to corrode. Call a professional if you are unable to unclog a drain yourself.
Clean Your Toilet Tank
Your toilet bowl accumulates bacteria, mold, mildew, and other substances over time. Since flushing your toilet causes toilet tank water to transfer to your toilet bowl, a dirty toilet tank can make cleaning the toilet bowl difficult to later on.
Clean Your Toilet Bowl
Your toilet bowl deserves a regular cleaning, too. Not just because it looks nice, but also to help your toilet function normally. Dirty toilets can clog and corrode, leading to future problems. Plus, you can more easily identify early warning signs of plumbing issues.
In particular, keep your siphon jets (the holes in the toilet rim that transfer water from the tank to the bowl) clean. You can find many solutions for cleaning your siphon jets online, or you may have a plumber look at them.
Bonus 6th tip: Call a professional plumber if you aren’t sure of your ability to complete any of these tasks. Contact Barner Murphy if you’re looking for a Bucks County plumber to nightmare-proof your plumbing system.