Plumbing 101

Reading Hot Water Heater Manufacture Date

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According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), 50% of home insurance claims are for water damage. This includes damage caused by leaking hot water tanks, an essential appliance whose maintenance is often overlooked.


Hot water heaters have warranty periods and most insurance companies won't cover damage caused by tanks over 10 years old.  Learn how to find and read your manufacture date here.

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Gas Appliance Flames

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Do you know what your flames should look like on your gas appliance?  Do you maintain your appliance on a yearly basis?  Do you have proper safety devices in place?


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Key Plumbing Components

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When a new home is built we install every plumbing component required by the plumbing and building code.  However, older homes, and some homes renovated without permits may be missing key plumbing components.  Find out what you may be missing and why its important to have.

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Fixture Supply Tubes

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Have you ever looked under your sinks or beside your toilet or under your dishwasher to see what type of pipe is supplying water to that fixture?  Find out what supply lines you should take out and what you should put in and why.

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Toilets

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Maybe the most important plumbing fixture in your home, the toilet sees a lot of use and over time needs maintenance and repair.

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Gas Appliance Flame

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Does your gas appliance or flame experience the following?

  • Flame is white-blue and has hard, sharp features.
  • Flame is small and blue in color.
  • Flame is yellow and/or causing sooting on cooking utensils.
  • Flame is noisy (rumbles or gurgles).
  • Orifice noise (burr or high-pitched squeal).
  • Air intake or mixing noise.
  • Erratic burner flame (fluctuates high to low).

When burning natural gas, the burner flames should be almost completely blue with possibly a small hint of yellow in the center of the flame as seen in figure "A" above. When burning liquid propane (LP), the flames will usually have a yellow tip as seen in figure "B".

If the flames are mostly yellow (figure "C"), it indicates a problem in which case use of the appliance should be discontinued and you should contact us to check it out and correct the problem. This condition can also cause sooting to appear on the bottoms of cookware.

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Orange or yellow flames, or sooty flames, means you could have incomplete combustion happening, which could lead to carbon monoxide buildup in your home. There might be an air-gas mixture problem, or a problem with the gas pressure to the appliance.  If you suspect this, turn off the gas supply to your appliance and leave your home. Contact us or FortisBC to request someone come out to your residence to check it out.


Remember, you cannot see or smell carbon monoxide, so it’s important to have carbon monoxide alarms placed throughout your home.

Key Plumbing Components

Main Water Shut Off

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Do you know where you can turn off your water in case on an emergency?  Is it accessible, or do you have to crawl under your house to get at it?  Does it work when you shut it off?


We can build an accessible main water shut off loop up into your living space or replace a failed shut off.

Pressure Reducing Valve

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The PRV regulates a safe water pressure in your home, which should not be more than 80psi.  Some pressures fed from the city supply can be as high as 125psi!


Do you have this on your water main beside your main water shut off?  If so, does it still regulate the water pressure, these devices can fail over time.


We can add a PRV to your water main or test to make sure your current PRV is working.

Hammer Arrestor

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Hammer arrestors are required on plumbing fixtures like dishwashers and washing machines.  Fixtures like these can cause water hammer within the house and potential leaks in fixtures and shut offs.


We can install these devices wherever necessary.

Thermal Expansion Tank

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Thermal expansion tanks prevent back pressure from the hot water heater to cause the T&P valve from opening outside of normal emergency conditions and on the fixtures in your home.


Does your hot water heater have a thermal expansion tank? Is it installed on the cold supply where it's supposed to? When you tap the tank does it ting or thud? Does it have proper supports if required?


We can install on existing tanks and ALWAYS install on new tanks (except Rheem Marathons).

Earthquake Strap

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Earthquake strap IS required by code to support your hot water heater during an earthquake.  It prevents your tank from falling over and causing either water damage or breaking the connected gas line.  Securing your tank during an earthquake also preserves your tank which can be used as a source of potable water in an emergency.


Do you have earthquake strap on your hot water heater?  Is it installed within the upper and lower third on the tank?  Is it approved strapping and properly fastened and installed?


We can install on existing hot water heaters and ALWAYS install on new installs.

Vacuum Breaker

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Vacuum breakers are installed on hot water heaters to prevent the back siphonage from the tank.


Do you have a vacuum breaker installed on your hot water heater?  Is it installed on the cold side where it's supposed to? Does it still work properly?


We can test existing vacuum breakers, install on existing tanks and ALWAYS install on new tanks (except Rheem Marathon).

Fixture Supply Tubes

Washing Machine

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Is your washing machine supplied by these rubber hoses?  These types can develop breaks in lining, bulge, then burst.

Dishwasher

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Is your dishwasher supplied by plastic or copper tubes? Plastic tubes are secured with plastic ferules which have a history of releasing and copper lines develop bends and kinks which can eventually crack and burst.

Toilet

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Is your toilet supplied by chrome plated or plastic tubes? Thin walls of the chrome can eventually crack especially around bends where the metal has been weakened.

Sinks

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Is your sink supplied by a grey plastic tube?  These types are secured with plastic ferules which have a history of releasing and bursting.

PEX Supply

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PEX is a safe and reliable product, unlike its early predecessor Poly B.  Can it be installed right to your hot water heater, absolutely!

Poly, Chrome Plated, Copper

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If any of your plumbing fixtures are supplied by these types of supply tubes it is highly recommended you replace them.  These tubes are secured with a ferrule which has a history of blowing.

Toilets

Phantom Flushes

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This problem is almost certainly caused by a bad flapper or flapper seat. The solution is to drain the tank and bowl, check and clean the flapper seat, and replace the flapper if it's worn or damaged.

Water Trickling Into the Tank

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In this case the parts to check are the float, the refill tube and the ballcock or inlet-valve assembly. The hissing sound is typically caused by water coming through the inlet valve.

The Bowl Empties Slowly

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Usually the result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. Cleaning under bowl rim and tooling each hole may fix problem.

The Dreaded Clog

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Clogs are the most common toilet problems. Service could include plunging, snaking, or in some cases removing the toilet and addressing clog at outlet.

Leaky Seals

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A standard toilet has at least five seals with the potential for leaking. Seals degrade over time and need to be replaced before the leak occurs. Look inside and under your tank.


DON'T USE TANK CLEANING PUCKS, THESE DEGRADE THE RUBBER SEALS.

Wobbling Toilet

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Caused by either loose t-bolts, uneven floor without proper wedging, or a broken toilet floor flange.  Can lead to leaks around toilet base or through the floor with every flush.