sink drain

Clogged Kitchen Drains

What Shouldn’t Go Down the Kitchen Drain

The holidays are fast approaching when many of us will be gathered together to enjoy a wide variety of festive meals with friends and family.  This may also be the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day when more cooking is done at home than at any other time.

It can also be the time when we rinse or pour more stuff down our drains. In many cases it is items that can damage our drains and lead to high plumbing repair bills. Being aware of what we should and shouldn’t be sending down our drains, can ensure that our holiday cooking and clean up won’t contribute to future drain problems. Read more

Sewer Line Cleaning and Repair

Roots in Your Sewer Lines Can Get Nasty

Roots in drain line

Roots are a common problem in sewer lines.

Tree roots entering your sewer line can cause major damage to pipes and septic tanks because they tend to grow into rough shapes that create clogs and slow drains that can back up sewage into your home.

As roots continue to grow, they expand and exert considerable pressure at the crack or joint where they entered the pipe. The force exerted by the root growth will break the pipe and may result in total collapse of the pipe requiring it to be replaced.

How do roots get into the main drainpipe?

Roots grow towards sewer pipes because they hold water, nutrients and oxygen—things roots crave.  And if the root finds a crack or leak in the pipe, they’ll grow into the pipe, blocking off the flow of waste into the sewer. Read more

bathroom with grab bars

Aging-In-Place In Your Home

Are You One of the 90% Who Want to Age-In-Place?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as: “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”  The feeling of being at home provides us with a comfortable, familiar environment that is more than just a place – it’s a sense of stability. Read more

women smelling bad water

Home Water Filtration System

Why Does My Water Taste, Smell and Look Bad?

In previous blog posts we’ve talked about how to make sure your family’s water supply is safe.  Now we’ll address that age old question, “Why does my water taste, smell or look so bad.”

women smelling bad water

Although O.K. to drink, water with nasty smells and discoloration can be hard to swallow.

Common Complaints

Two common complaints in our area are that my water smells like rotten eggs or has a metallic taste and also appearance. Although drinking this water may not be so appealing, it is generally not harmful to your health.

Tap water that tastes or smells like rotten eggs or sulfur likely contains hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is released when a certain kind of bacteria is present in the water or somewhere in your water system. Drains, water heaters, wells, and the inside of pipes can harbor bacteria.

Water that has a choline taste or smell is not usually a cause for concern. Tap water is disinfected with chlorine to make it clean and safe to drink, so the smell is likely left from the treatment process.

Water with heavy iron content can also give off a metallic taste and leave a red stain in your sinks and toilets. Water that contains iron is not harmful to drink. Read more

water faucet

Testing Your Home’s Water

How Often and When Should You Test Your Home’s Water?

water faucetThe United States enjoys one of the world’s most reliable and safest supplies of drinking water.  Approximately 150,000 public water systems provide drinking water to most Americans.  Those on public water systems have their water monitored regularly to prevent any contamination of the water supply. 

If You Get Your Water from a Well

For the 10 percent of people in the United States who get their water from private wells, many of them in rural areas in Indiana, they need to take precautions to ensure their drinking water is safe.  Private wells are not regulated, so the responsibility for checking the quality of the water falls on the homeowner. Read more

corroded drain pipes

Old Drainpipes in Your Home

How Old are the Drainpipes in Your Home?

The drainage pipes in your home are not something many of us ever give much thought to. For the most part they do their job every day, year after year.  But like any product, drainage pipes do have a lifespan.  Depending on the type of material they are made of these pipes can last from 25 to almost 100 years.

corroded drain pipes

Once pipes begin to corrode, it’s only a matter of time before problems develop.

When to Take a Look

When remodeling an older home knowing the age of the structure can be helpful. This might give you an indication of what you’ll find behind the walls when you redo a bathroom or kitchen.

What you want to avoid is updating a room with new fixtures, tile flooring and walls, shower heads, and toilets, and neglecting to determine the condition of your drainpipes.

This is a little like “putting lipstick on a pig”. The outward appearance might be better, but the overall benefits are not realized because what’s going on behind the walls needs to be addressed. Read more

backup sump pump system

Importance of Backup Sump Pumps

Why You May Need a Backup Sump Pump

The simple answer to this question is based on the value of your investment and property in your basement.  Is it fully finished with carpeting, furniture, electronics and other refinements?  Even if not completely finished, do you store items on the floor that water will ruin?  If so, a backup sump pump would be a wise investment.

finished basement

Sump pumps protect those important and valuable items we keep in the basement.

Backup Sump Pumps Protect Our Valuable Possessions

Many families have turned their basements into some very nice social spaces.  Workshops, playrooms, entertainment centers, exercise rooms, and man caves can now all be found in our home’s lowest level.  Normally at the same level as our water heaters, furnaces, and the out of the way, not often thought about, sump pump. Read more

clogged drain

What Not to Dispose Down Your Drain

Stop! Don’t Put That Down Your Drain

clogged drainHow often do we think about what should or shouldn’t be washed down the drain?  But not being aware of the stuff that goes down our drains can, not only impact our environment, but also lead to expensive plumbing repairs.

Even if you have a garbage disposal, there are still certain substances that should be properly disposed of to avoid clogs and problems with your system.

Here are some of the major culprits that we should avoid disposing of down our sink drains.

Coffee Grounds
Most people assume that coffee grounds are small enough that they won’t stick around in your pipes, but that’s not the case. In fact, most plumbers say that coffee grounds are one of the most likely sources of a clog in your kitchen pipes.

coffee grounds

Butter, Margarine and Cooking Oils
Even when melted, butter and margarine can congeal and build up over time creating water-resistant barriers. Oils are a major contributor to clogs and mix with other debris to create sludge. This also includes items such as, salad dressing, sauces and mayonnaise.

Grease and Other Fats
Like oils, leftover fats and grease from cooking can congeal, blocking drains and allowing other debris to cling onto the inside of pipes.

Not only are the shells hard on disposal blades, the egg shell membranes can wrap around the grinding device. Once ground, the tiny bits of the shell can compound other blockages.

Pasta, Rice and Flour
Pasta, noodles, rice and flour all absorb water and will swell or create a glue-like substance that can create clogs in your pipes.

Produce Stickers
These plastic and adhesive stickers are not water-soluble and when washed down a drain they can easily stick to other items leading to clogged pipes.

While there’s no real danger to your drain or pipes, the addition of pharmaceuticals into the water presents an environmental risk. It’s best to dispose of old medication in a sealed container in the trash can, or as dictated by local ordinances.

paint in sinkHousehold Fluids
Household cleaners and car fluids may not cause clogs in your pipes, but these chemicals can be very harmful when mixed into the water supply. Car fluids (oil, coolant, transmission and brake fluids) should be disposed according to local municipal guidelines. Avoid allowing toxic household cleaners into the water system by switching to all-natural cleaners.

Washing paint, both water- and oil-based, down the drain is not permitted in most areas because of the number of toxins and chemicals from the paint that can end up in the water supply. Depending on your area, you may have to dispose of paint at a hazardous waste facility.Brenneco Plumbing logo

Need Assistance
Have a clogged drain you can’t clear yourself?  Give Brenneco a call at 765-448-6190 and we’ll be happy to help.

Replacing sump pump

Sump Pump Winter Maintenance

Don’t Neglect Your Sump Pump This Winter

For those who depend on their sump pump to keep their basements dry, it is important not to neglect your sump pump over the winter months. You want to make sure it is ready when the snow melts and the rains come in the spring.

Replacing sump pump

Routine winter maintenance on your sump pump will ensure it is ready when needed.

7 Helpful Tips to Maintain Your Sump Pump

  1. Remove your sump pump’s discharge hose for the winter. Once cold weather arrives remove your sump pump’s discharge hose and leave it off until warmer weather returns. This prevents damage to the hose if water were to freeze in it. Don’t forget to reattach the discharge hose when warmer temps return. It also doesn’t hurt to have an extra hose available.
  2. Never unplug your sump pump. There is no real reason to unplug your sump pump. By keeping it powered, it is available to run even during the winter months when an early thaw or heavy rain could lead to flooding in your basement.
  3. Look for debris in your sump pump’s pit. Making sure there’s no dirt, sludge, ice or other debris in your sump pump’s pit will prevent clogs in your pump’s intake or discharge pipes. Call a professional to clean your sump pump pit to prevent significant problems later.
  4. Keep an eye on the pump’s float. Is the float resting on top of the water and is it able to move freely? If it’s blocked or no longer floating, it’s not going to work correctly.
  5. Pouring water into sump pump

    Test your sump pump over the winter to make sure it is working properly.

    Test your pump regularly. Run a little water through your sump pump during the winter to make sure it is working properly. And if you removed the hose earlier, make sure to reattach it before you test.

  6. Your discharge pipe needs to direct water away from your home. If it’s too close, that water can seep back into your sump, causing your sump pump to run continuously. We recommend that water be discharged at least 10 feet away from your home’s foundation.
  7. Keep your heat on. Your basement can get cold — and your sump pump’s pit and pipes can get even colder. Make sure to keep your heat on and heat your basement normally. This can prevent any of your home’s pipes from freezing.

Brenneco Plumbing logoIf All Else Fails

Sump pumps are not difficult to install or maintain, but if you need help, Brenneco Plumbing is available to check your sump pump and perform any necessary maintenance. Call us at 765-448-6190.

Water Shut Off tag

Finding Your Water Shut-Off Valve

Finding Your Water Shut-Off Valve Before An Emergency Occurs

Water Shut Off tagDo you know where your main water shut-off valve is located in your home? 

This is not a rhetorical question? When the water is pouring into your home from a broken pipe or valve, this is not the time to be asking yourself this question.  Taking the time now to locate your main shut-off valve can save you from significant water damage in case of an emergency.

Many types of plumbing emergencies call for turning off the main water supply to your home.  So knowing where this valve is located and being able to get to it quickly is very important.

Where To Look

If your home has a basement or crawlspace, the shut off valve is probably located on a wall near the front of your house. If your home is built on a slab, check in the garage or near the water heater for the shut off valve.  If you are on a well, the shut-off valve is often near the pressurized water tank.

water shut off valves

Shut-off valves come in a couple of different configurations.

If the water main shut off valve is located outside, it will be buried underground near the street. Look for a round or rectangular metal cover flush with the grass or sidewalk. It might be labeled “water meter” to help you identify it. Under this cover is the water shut off valve. Removing these metal covers often requires special tools. You’ll need to obtain these tools in order to get to your shut-off valve quickly.

Exercise These Valves

It is not a good time to find out that you can’t turn off your main water valve because it is corroded and won’t turn. Shut-off valves can come in a couple of different configurations. One looks like a handle you pull down on, the other is a knob you turn. Take the time now to go operate the valve so you know it is in good working order.

How to Shut Off Other Water Valves

When minor plumbing problems strike, you don’t need to shut off the water to the whole house –simply turn the valve behind the appliance or fixture that needs repair. These are located ….

  • home shut off valves

    Shut-off valves are located in different areas of your home for sinks, toilets and washers.

    Behind the washing machine: If the washer hose starts leaking or the appliance overflows, limit water damage by pulling the unit away from the wall and turning the shut off valve behind it clockwise.

  • By the toilet: Whether your toilet is overflowing or you need to replace a leaky flapper, stop the flow of water by turning the shut off valve (located on the wall behind the toilet) clockwise.
  • Under the sink: Before you repair or replace a faucet, turn off the water supply found underneath the sink, both hot and cold water lines.

Don’t Be the Only One Who Knows

Now that you have located your shut-off valves, make sure others in your household know as well where to find them.  Not knowing when a plumbing emergency may occur, you’ll want other family members to be able to react quickly to prevent significant water damage to your home.