Garbage Disposal Maintenance and Care

It’s not until part of your garbage disposal malfunctions that you realize how important it is to have one that is fully functional. Many customers call our plumber near Highland Park, Il in a panic when they realize that their disposal isn’t working. After all, your garbage disposal is responsible for shredding your food into smaller bits and liquefying waste that doesn’t make it to the trash bin. Here are some tips on how to properly take care of your garbage disposal. 

Stay Ahead of Problems

Maintenance plays a huge role in how well your garbage disposal works. A disposal that works properly and is regularly cared for can last up to 10 years. For at-home care, try mixing baking soda and white vinegar together to create a solution. This is an easy way to help keep your disposal’s blades sharp and working well. If you realize that there is a large buildup in your disposal, try mixing a gallon of water with a teaspoon of bleach. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it with cold water. 

Repairing Your Disposal

The most important rule regarding your garbage disposal is that you should never put your hand down it to retrieve something. Instead, try pressing the reset button and running it again. If you still don’t have luck, you’ll want to call our plumber near Highland Park, Il for professional assistance. The last thing you want to happen is for a clog to become more serious by tampering with it. Our team at BMW Plumbing, Inc. has the tools and experience required to safely and efficiently remedy the issue. 

Rely on a professional to get your issue fixed the first time! To schedule an appointment, contact us today.

Why Do Pipes Burst in the Summer?

We are all accustomed to the idea that pipes may burst in the winter if temperatures are extremely cold, but did you know that it is possible for pipes to burst in the summer as well? BMW Plumbing, Inc. is well-versed in all areas of residential plumbing in Northbrook, Il, including pipes that burst when you least expect them to.

Here are some reasons why your pipes may burst in the summertime.

An Increased Demand

Hot summer temperatures mean an increased amount of water on all fronts; watering the lawn, your kids running through sprinklers, tending to the garden, filling swimming pools, etc. If your system isn’t prepared for this increase, it may result in a burst pipe. 

The Extreme Heat

Illinois has seen temperatures break into the triple-digits this summer, and your pipes may be paying the price. Extreme heat can cause dry soil, allowing your pipes to shift in the land. Older pipes may break if they shift around more than they normally would. To combat this, try cutting back on how much water you use to give your system a break. 

Clogged Pipes

Sewer problems are all-too-common in the Chicagoland area, and this is one of the most common reasons a pipe may burst. Plus, if water pumps also become clogged, the pressure will build and your pipes will eventually pay the price. 

Tackling residential plumbing services in Northbrook, Il should be left to a professional to make sure that you and your family stay safe! Contact our team at BMW Plumbing, Inc. for a professional and affordable fix to your summertime plumbing issues.

Emergency Plumbing Solutions

If you’ve never been the victim of a plumbing emergency, consider yourself lucky. It can be scary to think about a simple flush triggering a series of expensive mishaps. As providers of residential plumbing services near Northbrook, Il, our team at BMW Plumbing, Inc. has seen it all, from bad to worse. Here are some DIY emergency plumbing solutions that you can use in a pinch.

Helpful Supplies

Grab a bucket from your home – it will be helpful to not only hold the tools that you are using, but it can also be beneficial in catching water that is leaking as well. Always make sure that you have paper towels and old rags in your “emergency plumbing toolkit” to clean up excess water that your bucket cannot catch. Wrenches are also a good idea, as they are versatile and can cover almost every plumbing-related job. If there is a small but manageable leak, you may want to have a roll of duct tape on hand, as it can help block the leak until a more permanent solution can be made.

Helpful Tips

Make sure that you turn off the water supply as soon as you realize a pipe burst. This will help reduce water damage until one of our professionals can come to your home. When it comes to using wrenches, twist them in opposite directions to help absorb the stress from the plumbing.

For quality residential plumbing services in Northbrook, Il, contact our team at BMW Plumbing, Inc. today!

Taking Care of Your Sump Pump

You’ve heard of a sump pump, but do you know exactly what it does or how to take care of it? Sump pumps are located in your basement and they are responsible for getting rid of the accumulated water that may be the result of a flood. Sump pumps funnel the water away from your home so that there is minimal damage to both your home’s interior as well as its structure. Here are some tips from our plumber in Northbrook, Il to help you stay one step ahead of potential sump pump problems.

Clean the Screen

You should be checking the screen to your sump pump, called the inlet screen. If this is clogged or blocked in any way, the sump pump as a whole will not work when you need it to! Water should be able to flow without any sort of strain. Ideally, you will be checking the screen of your sump pump once every three months.

Check the Power Cord

It seems simple, but checking your power cord every three months can make or break your experience with your sump pump. You may assume that your sump pump is plugged in, but factors such as pets and children should be taken into consideration as well. A simple check once in a while will give you peace of mind. After all, the last thing that you want to happen is to unexpectedly have your basement flood only to have your sump pump be unplugged the entire time.

The Bucket Test

Finally, you should complete the bucket test once every three months as well. Just as it sounds, fill a bucket with water and dump it into the sump pump basin. Once the water level reaches a certain height, your sump pump should automatically turn on. If this doesn’t happen, contact our plumber in Northbrook, IL.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a sump pump! Feel free to contact our team at BMW Plumbing, Inc. with questions or concerns.

DIY Plumbing Problems

Water may seem harmless, but it can quickly turn into a destructive force in your home if it is not handled the right way. While there are some common plumbing problems that you may be able to fix on your own, some fixes are best left for our professional plumbers in Northbrook, Il. Here is a simple guide to plumbing and the different problems that you may encounter.

Basic Repairs You Can Fix

If you notice the following issues, you can try to fix the problem on your own:

  • A running toilet: When you flush your toilet, does water keep going into the bowl? This is a sign of a running toilet and it is typically a quick fix. Remove the lid from the tank and look for the chain; there is a chance that the chain has sunk to the bottom. Reattach the chain to the lever. If your chain is damaged, it needs to be replaced in order for the problem to go away.
  • A trickling shower head: The water flow from your shower head should flow in consistent directions rather than spraying in different directions. This could be a sign that there is a lime scale buildup on either the shower head or the spray plate. Take the time to clean the shower head.

When to Call a Professional

It is important to call our plumber in Northbrook, Il if you experience more serious issues, as you don’t want to cause more harm than good.

  • Water heater malfunction: A functioning water heater is an essential part of your home. If you notice that it is emitting a strange smell or sound, make sure to call our plumber in Northbrook, Il. If you don’t properly fix the water heater it can pose a risk to your safety.
  • Sump pump failure: If there is a large amount of rain or snow, your sump pump is responsible for keeping your house protected. A failed sump pump can result in a lot of damage to your home.
  • Burst pipes: If there is an extreme temperature change, it can have a negative effect on your pipes. If this occurs, make sure to turn off your main water line right away!

When in doubt, contact our plumber in Northbrook, Il to help address your plumbing problems.

What’s Clogging Your Bathroom Sink?

Bathroom plumbing in Northbrook, Il is no exception to clogs. Unlike kitchen sinks, you may not know exactly what is clogging your bathroom sink. After all, the only things that go down your bathroom sink are water and hand soap. Unfortunately, there are four common reasons that your bathroom sink may clog that you may haven’t considered.

Hair

The most common reason that your bathroom sink is clogged is because of a buildup of hair. When hair is wet, it clumps together in the perfect way to catch on the side of your pipes on the way down. To make matters worse, the more pressure that water in your drain produces, the more the hair will clump together. This essentially creates a net that catches other particles that are sent down the drain.

Regardless of the type of hair that goes down the drain, it will still clog it. To combat this, install a drain straining device to keep hair from building up.

Soap Scum

Soap scum is a chalky, filmy substance that attaches to the sides of your bathroom pipes. It develops when the chemicals in the soap react with calcium and magnesium ions that are in the water. Over time, this soap scum can build up as well as get caught in hair within the pipes. Removing soap scum from the sides of your bathroom sink pipes can be tricky, so it may be necessary to call our team instead.

Damaged Pipes

Damaged pipes may also be the culprit behind problems with your bathroom plumbing in Northbrook, Il. Corroded pipes can restrict water flow significantly. If your pipes aren’t fastened properly, they may shift over time and cause water flow blockage as well.

No one wants to experience a clogged sink every time they use the bathroom. Contact our team at BMW Plumbing, Inc. as soon as you notice a problem.

Signs Your Water Heater is Broken

In the middle of winter, there aren’t many things more important than having a functional water heater in Highland Park, Il. The last thing that you want is to get into the shower only to have it never warm up. Unfortunately, water heaters don’t last forever, so it is important to be aware of the signs that something is wrong.

Leaking

If you find a pool of water close to your water heater, this is a sign that it might be time to find a replacement. This is common for water heaters that are at least 6 years old. Unfortunately, there is not an easy fix, and your best course of action is to replace the heater altogether.

Valves & Corrosion

When it comes to water heaters, valves are typically the first part of the machine to wear out. When the valves are worn out, it is impossible for the tank to produce water at normal temperatures. In addition to this, tank corrosion can become an issue if you have to manually adjust the tank.

Odd Sounds

Constantly hearing a strange sound coming from your water heater is never a good thing. You might hear creaking, knocking or whining noises that signify that you should get a new water heater in Highland Park, Il. These sounds may be a result of built-up sediment at the bottom of the tank.

Your Water Doesn’t Heat Up

This is likely the most obvious sign that your water heater is not working properly. Please call our team at BMW Plumbing, Inc. if your water hasn’t been warming up this winter.

Avoid Putting These Items Down the Drain

When it comes to your kitchen sink, you may think that your garbage disposal can handle anything that you throw its way. This frame of mind will result in a severely clogged drain in Highland Park, Il. This new year, it is important to change your habits to ensure your home’s plumbing system stays in good shape for years to come. After all, your home’s plumbing system is designed to process liquids rather than chunks of food or other household items.

Here are some items that should never go down your drain.

Coffee Grounds

It’s tempting to pour used coffee grounds down the drain because they are so small, but plumbers note that coffee grounds are one of the main culprits of clogged kitchen pipes. Rather than pouring the grounds down the drain, throw them in the garbage instead.

Eggshells

Eggshells are another common reason for clogged drains in Highland Park, Il. They seem harmless enough, but the small pieces get stuck in oily substances that create a thick mess that clogs your pipes. It is best to avoid putting eggshells down your drain altogether.

Grease, Oils, Fat

Olive oil, bacon fat, lard, butter, and other like-substances act as a binder for many different types of materials that create drain blockage. These substances account for nearly 50 percent of all sewer overflows! Rather than putting these items down the drain, place them in a jar or a can to cool, and then throw them away.

At BMW Plumbing, Inc., our team has the experience to help restore your home plumbing system if it has been damaged. Please contact us if you want to get your system functioning properly again!

The Risks of Using Drano

When you have a clogged sink or shower pipe, your first thought may be to run to your local store to pick up a bottle of Drano. This household cleaner comes in multiple forms, and it is made with various mixtures of sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorate, sodium nitrate, sodium chloride, and aluminum. Several chemical reactions occur at one time in order to get rid of clogs. While many households rely on Drano to get rid of their unexpected clogs, our plumber in Highland Park does not recommend it. Here’s why:

It Can Damage Your Plumbing System

Drano will sit inside of your pipe until the clog dissolves, meaning it is constantly reacting and generating heat. This can lead to old pipes or toilet bowls to suffer from damage. It can also chip away at the glue that holds the pipes together.

It Can be Unpredictable

If Drano unexpectedly splashes up and hits you, it can burn and damage your skin or eyes. Plus, if there is excess Drano in your drain and you use a chemical cleaning product soon after, it may cause a toxic reaction that creates fumes. It is best to avoid using Drano because you don’t know what chemical reactions may occur as a result.

It’s Toxic to Humans

Because Drano is made from so many different chemicals, it’s no surprise that it can be dangerous to humans if it is touched or ingested. It will burn your skin or your eyes. At the very extreme, Drano can even have a negative impact on your lungs.

While Drano may seem like a good idea in the moment, it is best to call a professional plumber in Highland Park to ensure your repair will be done safely and efficiently. Plus, doing so will eliminate the problem completely so that you don’t have to keep suffering from clogged drains.

What is a Water Hammer?

Water hammer is something that you have likely experienced, but you weren’t sure it was called that. If you have heard a thumping or a pounding noise coming from your pipes when you turn off your faucet, this is called a water hammer. This sound occurs due to water suddenly changing in direction, such as when you turn the faucet off. This change causes pressure waves in the pipes and can cause serious pipe damage. To fix this problem, here’s what our plumber in Northbrook, Il recommends.

Install an Air Chamber

If you install an air chamber, this will prevent water from being able to produce the waves that travel through the pipe and make the loud noises. If you aren’t sure what an air chamber is, our plumber in Northbrook, Il can help install a chamber for you. It is a vertical pipe that is located in the same wall cavity that the valves that turn off and on the water are. We will be able to tell whether or not you have an air chamber and if it is working properly.

Reduce Pressure

If the pressure within your pipes is too high, it may cause a water hammer to develop. You can install a water pressure regulator to help detect how high the pressure is. They are installed at the location where the main water supply enters your home. They are also useful for protecting your dishwasher, toilets and other water-sourced appliances from damage.

If you have a frustrating water hammer in your home or place of business, please call our plumber in Northbrook, Il for professional assistance.