After 50 years of providing services like heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing, the Barron team is dedicated to keeping the most important home systems working at their best. But accidents happen, and Barron’s experts often meet customers for the first time in the middle of an emergency — whether it’s from a broken part, leaking pipe, or backed up drain. Fortunately, the team has helpful ideas for avoiding these emergencies in the first place, allowing them to meet their neighbors before these problems arise.
Most of these tips express the importance of making sure that drains — all the pipes inside the home, and sewers, everything outside — are being kept clean and clear.
“Most people don’t do routine maintenance — it’s either working or it’s not,” says Jordan F., service and operations manager for Barron’s plumbing division. “A lot of people take it for granted: you turn on the water, and then it goes away. But when it does back up, that’s when the frantic phone calls come in, and we’re scrambling to get somebody out there.”
While it might be easy to start with fix-it-yourself methods, it’s also important to admit when a problem is too big for an easy repair. “One thing we like to say is, don’t just sit there and dump chemicals down the drain thinking it’s going to help,” Jordan says. “In fact, it can make it much, much worse on older drains; you could wind up looking at a large repair, instead of just a cleaning.”
Jordan also advises home buyers perform a camera inspection of drains and sewers to help them avoid expensive surprises. “We come run the camera down the drain, then send a video of what that looks like and talk them through what’s going on,” he says. “Many times, I’ve had to show up to a house the day people are moving in and the next thing they know, they’re putting $15,000 or $20,000 into a new sewer system.”
An inspection is an equally powerful tool for anyone selling a home since it can give potential buyers a sense of confidence. “I recently sold my house and sent a camera down the drain before I put it on the market,” Jordan says. “When people came to look at my house, they could see they didn’t have to worry about the sewer, which is a huge expense. When it comes to homes, sewers and roofs are the biggest expenses.”
In addition to tree roots, blockages, and broken pipes, camera inspections also tend to turn up things you might not expect. “We’ve seen all sorts of foreign objects,” says Nick S., service superintendent for Barron Plumbing. “There have been animals, watches, cell phones — you never really know what you’ll run into.”
And Jordan agrees; “The funniest thing I ever found in a drain was a whole unpeeled banana,” he says. “I have no idea how it got down there.”
Nick also shares this practical tip with potential customers: “Garbage disposals are not ‘dispose-of-alls.’ There are a lot of things that you shouldn’t be putting down there, like eggshells and coffee grounds, or pasta and rice, because they like to expand; any fibrous material,” he says. “A lot of people put lemon peels down there because it gets rid of the garbage smell. But lemon juice will do the same thing, and it won’t ruin your garbage disposal.”
When it comes to keeping plumbing healthy, Barron carries a number of products a homeowner can use with confidence, knowing they won’t inadvertently cause harm further down the road. “For branch drains, like a kitchen sink, we have products that are environmentally safe and won’t damage the drain,” says Jordan. “After we come out and clear a drain, there are enzymes you can use as a weekly thing for the first month, and then just once a month.”
And because maintenance can’t prevent or avoid every problem, Barron is also prepared to fix or replace any piece of plumbing in the home and on the property, all the way out to the city-owned utilities. They can excavate old lines and replace them with new ones, and also use newer solutions that can repair some problems without tearing up the front yard.
To build a partnership with customers and help them stay on top of their plumbing situation, Barron offers a Silver Shield Membership. “That gets you 20% off of drain or sewer cleaning,” says Jordan. “And if you need us, getting to you is going to be our priority — you get a discounted rate, and you get some peace of mind as well.”