Monday, March 20 2023
As everything thaws, our professionals at Barner Murphy have seen plumbing problems arise in many types of homes. What seems to be a small problem may quickly escalate. So, while you’re spring cleaning, prepare your plumbing for spring, too.
Spring Plumbing Essentials
Ok, so where do you begin? After all, houses have a LOT of plumbing. Here are some of the essential steps in your spring preparation. You may notice some similarities to your fall maintenance routine.
- Check the basement for any water leaks (floor, walls, windows). If there’s trouble, call a professional. DYI is great, but you want to fix this fast, fix it once, and fix it right.
- Check the water valves throughout your home, looking for dripping or leaks
- Give your toilets a good flush, and make sure they work properly.
- Check your water heater
- Test your sump pump
- Clean your gutters and downspouts
- Go outside and test the faucets and sprinkler systems
- Clean all your drains of hair or soap buildup
Some people overlook step five, thinking the gutters are still clean from fall. Not true. They can accumulate dirt and debris. Gutters can often experience cracking and sagging from ice. If something looks troublesome, give us a call.
Why Spring Plumbing Maintenance is Important
You want to revel in the warm weather, start to garden, and have a cookout. The last thing on your mind is your home's pipes. Make a means of reminding yourself, perhaps with sticky notes or an alarm on your phone. The longer you wait to do a household checkup, the worse damage can become. This, of course, means more money out of your pocket.
At a superficial glance, you may see nothing that sets off a mental alarm. That’s true for most people. Without plumbing expertise, it’s easy to miss important “tells” of problems in your system. Missing those signs can lead to expensive repairs. So why not call a professional immediately and avoid that issue altogether?
Regular maintenance from a company you trust provides a history of the work and associated warranties. The work you do, or a friend does, will not have any guarantees. In fact, you could be unwittingly making matters worse.
A professional spring maintenance check may include things like
- Searching for leaking faucets and connections
- Ensuring the sump pump and water heater are operational
- Reviewing ceilings for water stains
These three are among the most common seasonal problems our company sees. You want these caught as early as possible.
TOP RATED, trusted, licensed, and insured MASTER PLUMBERS Bucks County PA
In 1996, we had master plumbers ready to fix your home’s plumbing, but first, we check to see what is going on. Everything is communicated to you in easily understood ways, not doublespeak. Our work is reliable and high-quality, performed by staff who have the know-how for whatever your problem may be. The bottom line is, Barner Murphy wants you to be satisfied with our services every single time.
There are two ways to contact us to learn more about spring plumbing maintenance:
- Our online contact form
- By phone (Levittown): 215-945-8560.
Help us help you keep your plumbing system healthy year-round.
Monday, February 20 2023
Did you know that your washing machine needs to be washed? Sure, we run water and detergent through the machine. However, that water pulls out dirt and grime that can build up over time. If you’re noticing smells when you open your washer or after running it, it’s probably time to give it a good clean. So, how do you clean your washer?
Give Your Washer a Good Rinse
Before you clean your washing machine, it’s a good idea to give it a rinse first by running its self-cleaning cycle. Your washer’s user manual has instructions on how to use the self-cleaning cycle. This will give your washer a basic cleaning. If you notice minor odors, then you can add baking soda to help clear them away. However, if you notice a mildew or mold smell, you should add white vinegar or bleach instead.
Do You Have a Septic System?
If you’re on a septic system, using bleach to clean your washer is a bad idea. You can do damage to the septic ecosystem. If you have a septic system, substitute white vinegar anywhere that we mention using bleach, including with the self-cleaning cycle.
How to Clean a Top-Load Washer
If it’s been a while since you cleaned your washer, or it needs a deep clean, then you’ll want to do more than simply run the self-cleaning cycle. If you have a top-load washer, you’ll want to use these instructions to clean it.
- Empty the washing machine of any clothes, dirt, and debris
- Set the washer on its largest load size and the hottest water cycle
- Fill the washer tub with hot water and pause the machine before the agitation cycle begins
- Add 4 cups of bleach directly to the water
- Allow the machine to run through its wash, rinse, and spin cycles
- Clean the soap, bleach, and fabric softener dispensers
- Fill the machine with hot water again
- Add 4 cups of white vinegar
- Allow your washer to run through its complete cycle
As you can see, washing a top-load machine is straightforward. Remember not to use bleach if you have a septic system. Instead, you’ll run white vinegar in steps 4 and 8.
How to Clean a Front-Load Washer
Like with a top-load machine, washing a front-load machine is simple. However, the process contains key differences that take into account the machine’s design.
Empty the machine of all clothes, dirt, and debris
Fill the detergent and bleach dispensers with bleach
- Run the machine on the normal cycle with warm water
- After the cycle is complete, wipe down the door gasket. If it is moldy or smelly, use a toothbrush to scrub it with a vinegar/water solution
- Thoroughly dry the door gasket with a dry cloth or towel
- Following the instructions in your user’s manual, remove the dispenser drawers and clean them
- If the machine’s interior feels greasy, wipe it down with a household spray cleaner or complete steps 1 & 2 again
- Run a short cycle with warm water (do not add any bleach or vinegar)
- Dry the interior of the machine and door gasket
Once you complete those steps, you should have a nice, clean machine.
How Often Should I Clean my Washer?
Generally, you only need to clean your washing machine every three to six months, depending on how frequently you use it. If you notice that you still have odors, even when you wash it every three months, you may have more serious problems with your sewer line.
Who Should I Call for a Sewer Inspection?
Ensure you receive quality service by coming to the best. Contact Barner Murphy today to schedule your sewer inspection or repair.
Tuesday, January 24 2023
Clogs, slow-draining sinks, or foul odors are common signs something is wrong with your sewage system. However, you don't have to wait until you notice a problem to get an inspection. If you live in an older home or if you're about to purchase a home, a sewer inspection can save you money and hassle.
What Is a Sewer Line Inspection?
A sewer inspection uses a small camera to go into the sewer lines and check for potential problems. Using the camera feed and a monitor, the inspector can check for a variety of issues without having to pull up flooring or dig. These issues include,
- Invasive tree root
- Collapsed areas
- Substance buildup including,
- Grease, oil, and fats
- Flushed items
- Cracks or breaks
Isn't a Sewer Inspection Part of a Home Inspection?
While a good home inspector will include an examination of the basic plumbing in a home you're purchasing, they don't typically have the specialized equipment needed for a full sewer inspection. They also may not have the expertise to notice problems that a professional plumber would see. So, it's a good idea to add a sewer inspection to your home-buying to-do list.
How Do I Know If I Need a Sewer Inspection?
You don't want to pay for unnecessary services, so it's important to know when you should consider a sewer inspection for your home. You should get an inspection if,
- You have clogged drainage (sink, tub) that doesn't improve with drain cleaner
- You have foul odors emanating from your sink, tub, or clean toilet
- You notice leaks in your foundation
- You are purchasing a home (new construction or used)
- You have lived in your home for several years and never gotten an inspection(we recommend inspections every 3-5 years)
What Happens If You Find a Problem?
The next steps in the process will depend on what we find on an inspection. Sewer repairs can be expensive, however, if you get regular inspections and find problems early, you will save on repairs. Suppose you’re purchasing a new home and sewer line problems are found. In that case, you can negotiate repairs into the purchase contract, determine if you want to handle repairs later yourself, or find a different home altogether. The professional handling your inspection can tell you the severity of what they find and help you determine your options for repair. They may even be able to provide you a cost estimate so that you know how much repairs will be or if you should worry about fixing the issue now or how long it can wait if needed (remember, however, that putting needed repairs off too long can lead to serious and expensive problems down the line).
Who Should I Call for a Sewer Inspection?
Ensure you receive quality service by coming to the best. Contact Barner Murphy today to schedule your sewer inspection or repair.
Wednesday, December 14 2022
Your sewer line is essential in your household piping, carrying your wastewater out to a sewer system. At Barner Murphy, we always recommend preventive maintenance. Nonetheless, there are times when your sewer line may break. How do you recognize the problem?
The signs of a broken sewer line in your house include the following:
- More than one drain working slowly or backing up constantly
A minor clog in a drain can usually be fixed with a drain snake or plunder. However, when your kitchen and bathroom sink clog simultaneously, there’s either a deeper clog or a sewer break.
- Mold & mildew in the basement
Mold and mildew thrive in a damp environment. So, if it’s spreading through your cellar can be a sign of the sewer backing up or having a broken line.
- Rank smells in various areas of your home.
Your drains should never smell funky or like rotting food, and this aroma may be sewer gas backing up into the home.
- An increased presence of pests
If you’ve caught site of rodents or notice the presence of bugs has increased, it can signify a sewer break. Rodents are like the environment of a sewer, and insects thrive in the murky water of a sewer break.
- Patches of lawn appear healthier than the surrounding grass.
When a sewer line cracks, it releases wastewater into the grass, which can act like fertilizer. Worse, septic waste may amass in your yard, making soggy spots that smell terrible.
Your toilet should be making normal sounds. Get this checked out.
If the break is near the foundation, it can destabilize that area, leading to cracks, settling, and possible sinkholes.
- Concrete slabs or areas of lawn sinking
If you have a concrete patio, driveway, walkway, etc., the water from a sewer break can cause parts to sink, making them unlevel with the rest. The lawn acts similarly.
When you have all these issues simultaneously, it’s a good idea to call professionals like those at Barner Murphy in Bucks and Montgomery, PA. Our experts can assess the problem quickly and offer solutions. The sooner you call for help (215-945-8560), the better. The longer this problem exists, the more costly it becomes due to the damage caused to your house.
There are three ways Barner Murphys may go about fixing your sewer problems.
- Pipe Lining: A liner goes into your old pipe. It’s inflated, making a secure pipe inside the frame of the old one.
- Pipe Bursting: A polyethylene pipe gets pulled through the old line, breaking it.
- Trenching: As the name implies, this means your yard needs to be dug up. It is the only way we can fix a collapsed sewer or the slope of the pipe in the wrong direction.
If you think your sewer line may be in trouble, you can reach us through our online contact form or call our trained staff any time at 215-945-8560.
Wednesday, November 23 2022
No matter where you live, you know that “water has a way.” When unexpected rains come, the resulting water in your home could prove very damaging. This is not the time for your sump pump to fail. But older systems often do or become overwhelmed.
At Barner Murphy, we suggest having a backup pump system to avoid problems when:
- The power goes out. If you have no electricity, your sump pump stops working. A battery backup sump pump then steps in and continues protecting your home from water.
- Tripped circuit breaker. As when the power is out, a tripped circuit breaker (or blown fuse) means your sump pump stops
- The sump pump stops working for whatever reason. Sometimes, the float switch gets stuck, which tells the pump to activate. It may take time to get service, so having your backup system is a sound decision. The professionals at Barner Murphy Plumbing and Heating can fix this predicament.
Additionally, sometimes sump pumps clog. While you rid yourself of the stoppage, the backup system is still robust.
- Old Age: Major household appliances have a limited life span. Sump pumps usually last about ten years. While shopping around for a new one and a company like Barner Murphy to install it, your backup sump pump keeps safeguarding your home.
It’s easy to see why a battery backup sump pump has many benefits. There are other good reasons to consider having one, including
- Saving money. Some people purchase a whole secondary pump system. But, if there’s no electricity, they’re still out of luck with both pumps.
- Simplified installation. Unlike other plumbing issues, adding a backup sump pump to your system takes little time and can go to work immediately.
- Self Charging. An adequately installed battery backup charges on its own
- Fast Response Time. As soon as the switch for the primary pump jams, the backup system responds to the malfunction.
- Heavy Lifting. In excessive rain or flash flooding, you can have BOTH systems working together, clearing away any excess water.
Now, you will need a licensed plumber to install your new system. While some may try DYI, no paper trail protects your investment. With Barner Murphy, you get quality work, guaranteed.
You can shop around for systems, which is brilliant when everything is okay. Finding a backup sump pump during emergencies is like finding a generator during a blizzard, and having one certainly provides peace of mind. You can also have our experts look at your situation and provide you with options suited to your home. There’s nothing hidden; you’ll see every detail in our quotes.
The Barner Murphy Difference
We pride ourselves on having knowledgeable, professional staff ready to help you. When it comes time for an upgrade or if you’re thinking about one and have questions, don’t hesitate to call our Levittown, PA office (215-945-8560).
Tuesday, October 18 2022
A dishwasher can make life a little easier in a busy home until it starts having problems. Perhaps you notice the dishes aren’t as clean as usual, or there’s an unpleasant odor in the appliance. Maybe it starts backing up into the sink, or worse, there’s pooled water in the bottom of the machine. Why does this happen?
At Barner Murphy, we encounter situations like this all the time.
Here are Four Reasons your Dishwasher is Clogged or Backed up:
- Food Caught in the Sink: Your dishwasher partners with your kitchen drainage system. So clogs elsewhere can impact the health of your machine. However, note that if you can run your garbage disposal without issue while the dishwasher is off, it means the culprit lies somewhere other than within your dishwasher.
- Clogged Filter Basket: As the name implies, the filter basket of your dishwasher filters/catches bits of food, so they don’t go down the drain, making a clog elsewhere. If there’s too much food in the filter, it’s time to clean it.
Tip: Soak your filter basket in vinegar to clean off oil and grease
- Drain Hose or Garbage Disposal Problems. Remember that a dishwasher isn’t a stand-alone appliance. There is a hose connecting to your drain pipe or the garbage disposal. If something get’s trapped in there, your dishwasher will back up.
- Sewer Line Problems. Your dishwasher may be just fine. Instead, you could have blockages hiding underground. If this is the case, you’ll likely notice the other drains in your house slowing or toilets not flushing thoroughly.
Getting Help from Barner Murphy
If it turns out the problem with your dishwasher isn’t as simple as just cleaning the filter basket, don’t reach for caustic drain de-cloggers. They can make matters worse. Instead, reach out to Barner Murphy, Inc. for an assessment of the problem. By utilizing our services, you get guaranteed quality work. If we cannot repair your dishwasher to proper functioning, we also have products we trust and can recommend.
Our professionals will not only resolve the problems with your dishwasher, but they’re on the lookout for signs of other plumbing problems that could get out of hand without repair. Water damage is very costly and often robs people of precious possessions. We want to help you keep your plumbing in tip-top shape to avoid such situations.
DIYers might be tempted to launch into home repairs independently vs. contacting a professional plumber. There are some problems with this approach. For one, your municipality has codes that plumbing must meet. Second, you probably don’t have a complete set of proper plumbing tools. With all good intentions aside, you may end up with a far worse situation or even put your safety at risk.
If you have concerns about the dishwasher or any plumbing in your home, contact our Levittown, PA, office (Buck’s County). Call 215-945-8560. Or use our online contact form HERE. Barner Murphy also offers bathroom remodeling, new build installations, and water heater repair/replacement.
Wednesday, September 21 2022
As the leaves begin turning bright hues, it’s time to start thinking of ways to prepare your plumbing for autumn. Think of it like tuning up your car, but in this case, you’re readying your home, you want your plumbing equipped to face the elements.
As temperatures drop, an ignored plumbing system can become clogged, the pipes damaged, and you could experience flooding in your home. At Barner Murphy, we’ve seen this a lot. So, we want you to know better how to safeguard your pipes.
Fix Those Leaks
At the top of your autumn checklist, fix any leaks you know of, including that annoying dripping faucet. A leak usually represents a weak spot in the system, and in the cold, water expands and may burst a pipe in the weak area. As you can imagine, the cleanup for burst pipes is messy and expensive.
Schedule Maintenance Checks Year-Round
If you’ve taken care of maintenance checks regularly, you may have nothing to worry about Autumn. Inspections reveal small problems before they become big ones. Repair those, and you have a well-oiled machine, so to speak.
It’s easy to forget about your outdoor plumbing, but it’s smack-dab in the line of fire with harsh weather. Turn off the water access to outdoor faucets, drain any hoses and pipes thoroughly, and make sure you store any associated parts in a safe location until spring.
Mark Your Water Main
Should you experience a water issue, being able to find your water main quickly, and turn it off, reduces the amount of time between when the pipe bursts and when one of our professionals at Barner Murphy can reach your home for repair.
Make sure your water heater and sump pump are in good working order. This, again, is where regular maintenance reviews come in handy. Not many people know what to look for when inspecting a water heater.
For the sump pump, you can do a quick DYI to test it. Pour some fresh water into the pit. If it begins pumping, the system is in good working condition. If it doesn’t, call Barner Murphy (215-945-8560) so we can rectify it swiftly.
One burst pipe can cost you over $1,000 to repair. That’s just the pipe, by the way. There’s the additional cost of water damage. Insulating your pipes comes in at a much lower cost (not to mention giving you peace of mind). Seek out those pipes tucked away in unheated places like garages and crawl spaces, or let Barner Murphy do it for you.
Barner Murphy Plumbing Professionals serving Bucks and Montgomery County, PA
We are very proud of the services we offer. We guarantee quality and professionalism. If you have questions, you can detail your situation using our online contact form. That way, our team can evaluate the general need and get back to you with dependable answers.
Saturday, August 20 2022
Plumbing wasn't always as sophisticated as it is today. Yes, you have pipes and spigots, water pressure, and valves, and when problems arise in any of these components, trouble may soon follow. The struggle for more homeowners recognizes plumbing problems, any of which can lead to a household disaster. Regular plumbing maintenance helps ease all that.
The Value of Maintenance Checks.
A few simple maintenance checks like those we provide at Barner Murphy, Inc. save you time and frustration, not to mention money. You can certainly try your hand at DYI using online tutorials. Still, often times such efforts end up making more of a mess simply because few people understand the complexities of modern plumping.
You can schedule routine checks and maintenance at your convenience to give yourself peace of mind.
While onsite, professionals look for things like:
- Damp cabinets
- Water stains on ceilings
- Leaking faucets or connections
- Rusting hot water heaters
- Dripping refrigerators
- Sump pump operations
Each of these problems can lead to bigger ones, including mold that impacts your health. When it's discovered that your garbage disposal, for example, requires replacement, you already have someone onsite to assess it and set up that appointment. In some cases, they have the part you need in the truck!
If the inspection reveals more than one problem, you can bundle the work together to save on service calls (always get a written estimate). In general, you should schedule maintenance reviews twice annually so your plumbing is ready for changing seasons.
Being an Alert Home Owner
As for yourself, we at Barner Murphy suggest keeping an eye open for dripping faucets, moisture under your sinks, and musty smells in your house. Share what you've found with your professional plumber. Do NOT wait. When you recognize an issue, get help right away. Water is very determined. The longer you let an issue go, the more repairs you'll face.
Another thing that's not difficult is learning basic drain maintenance. Clear out visible debris twice a month. Ensure you have proper drain covers and watch what goes down the sink. If you don't have a drain cover presently, use a towel over the sink for things like shaving, and it will catch the hair instead of having the hair clog things up.
When you're walking around your home with a professional, ask them to mark your water shut-off valves (they're easily forgotten). Should an appliance like a sink or dishwasher run over, you can use that valve to turn off the water. It will stop water in your entire home, but at least you're avoiding further damage until the plumbing brigade comes to call.
Plumber Services in Bucks County
Barner Murphy, Inc guarantees quality service completed by experienced professionals. Our work goes beyond maintenance, and we also handle new construction, kitchen and bath design, and replacing or repairing things like gas lines, hoses, sump pumps, and ejector pump systems.
You can ask the questions you have by using our online contact form. Or call our office at 215-945-8560.
Monday, July 18 2022
No matter how proficient you have become at DYI, there will come a day when you need a professional plumber. Water can cause considerable damage to your home, even if you don’t see it. While we at Barner Murphy have gotten a lot of strange calls, for the most part, the problems homeowners face are similar.
It’s 3 am and all you can hear are your dripping faucets. That dripping wastes a lot of water, up to 500 gallons of water annually. Sometimes all you need is a washer, but when that doesn’t work give us a call (215-945-8560). There may be more issues at hand than just that drip.
Here are other common plumbing issues:
- Burst Pipes: This commonly occurs in winter when the water in a line freezes and expands. Immediate response is necessary as this situation can cause a lot of damage to your home.
- Clogged Drains: A liquid solvent doesn’t always work. In the meanwhile, your drain starts to smell. Have a plumber on speed dial. In some instances, we may use a camera that can scan deeper into your pipes. This is especially true with septic systems that may have roots growing into them.
- Leaking Pipes: Watch for wet spots around your pipes and where they enter ceilings.
- Low Water Pressure: This can be a sign of cracked or broken pipes.
- No Hot Water: A water heater has a lifespan of about 10 years. A professional plumber can troubleshoot your situation and determine if, perhaps, you need a new system. Your tank may not be large enough for your family, for example.
- Smell of Sewage in House: This is a potent warning sign of plumbing problems. Potential culprits include poorly ventilated drain pipes, backups in your sewage system, or clogged pipes
- Toilet Running: this wastes upward of 200 gallons of water daily.
Top Reasons Why You Should Call a Professional Plumber
There are many benefits to working with a professional plumber. For one, Barner Murphy looks for telltale signs of problems and endeavors to fix them so they last for years to come. Some of the methods of “fixing” plumbing problems actually make things worse. With us, you get guaranteed quality work.
As much as you might want to handle the repair yourself, you can end up spending far more money. Plumbing needs to be up to coding standards, which you probably don’t know about. Some plumbing issues cause safety concerns (looking around in the dark with your wrench in hand on a wet floor, for example).
Another reason for calling a professional plumber is that we have the right tools for the job. In general, homeowners don’t have an auger or drain snake, for example. These tools are far more suited to the issue at hand without damaging your pipes.
Plumbers aren’t only for repairs. We participate in new home projects and installing new appliances. This is not the time to cut corners. Invest in expert assistance. With it, you get a guarantee of workmanship for a set number of years.
The Barner Murphy Difference
Our company began in 1996 with master plumbers at the ready. We make it our mission to provide you with high-quality, reliable work every time. There is nothing hidden. We communicate with you throughout a project so you know what’s happening. Ultimately, your satisfaction represents our success.
If you’d like a quote or to learn more you can use our online contact form. Or call our Levittown, PA office at 215-945-8560. We look forward to hearing from you.
Tuesday, June 28 2022
No matter where you live, having a quality plumbing service on which you can depend is valuable. Initially, you might go through dozens of estimates with companies you have to research. Once you find “the” place, whose workmanship, price, and professionalism are spot-on, stick with it!
Why is Plumbing so Important?
Plumbing is kind of like veins and arteries for your house. It supplies your home with incoming fresh water while disposing of wastewater. When the system gets out of balance, such as when a sewer backs up, the health of your home is in danger. The goal at Barner Murphy Plumbing and Heating is to provide you with ongoing, highly-effective services, no matter your situation.
Sadly, plumbing isn’t meant to last forever. Wear and tear take a toll. When damage occurs, repair and replacement may become costly. So, we recommend regular inspection and routine maintenance that can extend your plumbing’s lifecycle. We can find small problems before they become BIG ones. This is but one of the reasons hiring quality plumbing services is so invaluable.
5 Benefits of hiring Quality Plumbing Services
Truth be told, there are far more than five reasons to find and keep a good plumbing service. Here are just a few:
- Prompt Service: Once you establish a professional relationship with professionals, they get to know you (and your pipes!). That relationship speeds response, especially when you need something fixed NOW. We come to your home with the right tools to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and get life back to normal.
- Familiarity: A new plumber won’t know your home’s schematics - what’s old, what’s new, what’s been recently repaired, etc. Having a one-stop shop for all your plumbing needs decreases the amount of time a technician needs to be at your home, thereby saving you money in labor.
- Quality components: At Barner Murphy, we seek the highest quality materials that will last a long time with little fuss. We will go over your options in detail so you can make informed decisions. You don’t need to know everything about your plumbing system (that’s our job), but a little insight goes a long way toward peace of mind.
- Personal safety: There are some dangers to DIY, especially if you are not trained in plumbing matters You can expose yourself to lead, flammable products, and electrical hazards, just to name a few. Going one step further, you also don’t want to hire a “handyman” for a job requiring precision. They can, and often do, make matters worse.
- Tools of the trade: Amatures and DIYers typically do not have the specialized tools required for plumbing. An example would be video cameras for pipe inspections. The cost to buy those tools is substantive, and learning to use them properly is a whole other bailiwick.
Barner Murphy: Quality Plumbing Services, Buck’s County
Barner Murphy Plumbing and Heating guarantees the quality of work you receive. Whether you know what’s wrong, or are still figuring it out, we can come to take a closer look and provide you with a quote on which you can depend. Our goal is to work with you to find the best solution for your plumbing needs, so you don’t have to worry.
Don’t hesitate to use our online contact form for your questions or requests for a quote. You can also call our Levittown, PA office at 215-945-8560.