On a day-to-day basis, we tend to take for granted our seamless, functioning plumbing services. When we really think about it, we rely on our plumbing for so many simple tasks-- using the restroom, brushing our teeth, showering, washing things in the kitchen, cleaning, and more.
But, when a problem presents itself, we become immediately aware that something isn’t right. It’s easy to become panicked and worry about what to do.
There is no shortage of supplies in the store that are labeled as “drain cleaning” products, but before you consider using one, keep in mind these may actually do more harm than good. Especially when you’re unsure of what the problem is, it’s probably better to pick up the phone and call in a drain cleaning technician first.
Let’s take a look at 7 tell-tale signs that it’s time to call in for drain cleaning services.
1. Slow Moving Drain
As life would have it, we may encounter a drain problem at an inopportune moment; while there is never a good time for plumbing issues, maybe you notice that your shower or bathtub is draining out water at a much slower pace than you need. Perhaps your sink is building up water and it seems to take a lifetime to drain out.
If you notice something like this, it’s likely that you have a clogged drain.
What can cause a clogged drain? There are a variety of things that build up over time, creating blockage. These things include soap, hair, grease, food particles, and more. Once they’ve built up enough, you’ll find yourself with a clogged drain.
This can cause huge problems if you don’t address it in a timely manner. Drain cleaning is one of the most common calls we receive here at New West Plumbing, so if you’re looking for a drain cleaning New Westminster, BC, we can definitely help you avoid further issues.
2. Gurgling Sound
Slow moving water drainage isn’t the only sign that you need a professional drain cleaning. If you frequently hear gurgling sounds when your water is draining, it can be a sign of something worse to come.
Strange noises coming from your pipes usually means that a clog is coming. The noise that you hear as your water drains is caused by a forming buildup that is creating air bubbles as the water is running past it.
Seeking out a drain cleaning technician to help remove the forming clogs will avoid more serious problems and get rid of that annoying sound every time your water is clearing out of the sink.
3. Standing Water
Have you noticed that there is a bunch of water that just ends up sitting in the sink for ages? Or perhaps you’re taking a shower, and about halfway through you find yourself standing in a puddle of water that just won’t continue down the drain. Uncomfortable, right?
The issue of standing water is one of the clearest signs that you need a drain cleaning, as the drain is preventing the water from being cleared out of the space. Due to a severe blockage, the water is completely unable to be drained.
While it’s possible that you may need drainage repair, it’s better to call in a professional to see if they can offer drain cleaning services to address the problem.
In any case, don’t use a liquid drain cleaner. This may contribute to the blockage and cause more serious problems. Call in a professional drain cleaning technician to check it out first.
4. Fruit Flies
Perhaps you’ve never had a problem with insects in your house before, but you start to notice a bunch of little fruit flies around. Even after cleaning up and eliminating any food that may attract them, they just won’t get out of there.
What many people fail to realize is that food or particles that are stuck in your drains and pipes are very attractive to fruit flies, and can lead them to stick around in your kitchen or other areas of your house.
Once you get a professional drain cleaning technician to take a look and wipe out the problem, the fruit flies will effectively be wiped out as well, as there won’t be anything of interest to them remaining.
5. Foul Smelling Odors
Nothing is worse than when you walk into a room and you can smell a nasty, stale smell of water or backed up drains. This is really uncomfortable, unappetizing, and also can cause problems for your health.
Typically, if you find that your home is suffering from foul-smelling odors, it’s a big indicator that it’s time to get your drains checked out. Maybe you’ve been cleaning and keeping everything in order, but it still doesn’t go away. Perhaps the odor is hiding within your pipes.
If sewage or other clogging material is blocking your pipes, a drain cleaning technician can remove this blockage using their special equipment and knowledge. This is really important to keep your home smelling fresh and also to keep your family safe and healthy from dangerous or toxic buildup.
6. Water Backup
This takes standing water one step further; not only does the water not have anywhere to go, it will be pushed back up and cause pooling and puddling in your home. What a nightmare!
If you see this happening in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or other areas of your home, call a professional immediately. The water that is rejected and pooling in your home will cause damage to your home, and can also be detrimental to your family’s health and sanitation.
7. Liquid Drain Cleaner Issues
Sometimes, when the buildup is very minor or in its beginning stages, drain cleaners purchased at the store can usually take care of the problem. If one serving of drain cleaner didn’t do the trick, maybe another bottle will take care of it?
Not likely. Don’t continue to drown your piping with a drain cleaner. This can damage your pipes and will not resolve the problem. If your pipes become damaged, this can lead to costly repairs and a huge headache.
If you have an issue with your drains and you think you may need drain cleaning services, call in a drain cleaning technician right away to avoid any future problems with your plumbing and drainage.
Clean Your Drains Back to Normal with a Professional Drain Cleaning
While sometimes store-bought drain cleaners can fix a clogged drain, it’s important to routinely clean your drains so that they stay clean and in good working order for your family. Preventative maintenance and cleaning can help to maintain the integrity of your plumbing and avoid issues in the future.
If you need a drain cleaning or think you have a clogged drain in New Westminster BC, give New West Plumbing a call and our professional and experienced drain cleaning technicians will be there immediately to help get your home draining with happy and healthy pipes.
As professional New Westminster plumbers for over 10 years, we’ve encountered all sorts of questions about toilet repair, clogged toilets, bathtub repair-- you name it. We’ve created this guide to answer some of your FAQs related to bathroom repair.
Over our years in plumbing repair New Westminster BC, there has been no shortage of interesting questions about bathroom and plumbing repair; if you’ve had a problem with your bathroom and had a question about it, you’re probably not the only one, so we’ve probably dealt with it before.
In this blog post, we’re going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about bathroom plumbing and repair.
Q: My Toilet Overflowed -- What Do I Do?
A: This can be a very nerve-racking and uncomfortable situation, so if you start to see the water in your toilet bowl rising and rising with no sign of return, don’t worry. We know the feeling, and we’ve got the tips to help!
The most important thing to do when your toilet is overflowing is to first resolve the problem and clean up, and then it’s vital that you find the source of the problem so that it doesn’t continue happening.
If you notice that the toilet overflows right after flushing, the most probable explanation is that your toilet is clogged. In this case, we want to stop water flow to the toilet so that you don’t find yourself with a lot of damage from flooding. The best thing you can do is to open the toilet tank lid and press the flapper valve, which will cut off water from entering the bowl and continuing to overflow.
After the flapper valve is down, you’ll lift the float for the tank fill valve so that the tank won’t fill again. Keep both of those in place for roughly a minute so that there will not be additional water supply to your tank and your toilet’s water level can return to normal.
If that doesn’t work, you can turn off the water source from the toilet directly; at the base behind the toilet there will be a lever that you should turn to the right.
Resolving the clog
Once you’ve got the water supply stopped, you’ve got to address the clog. This can be as simple as using a plunger to remove a clog in the toilet bowl, and if this doesn’t help, you may find that you have a clog somewhere in the drainpipe, drain, or sewer line.
Don’t hesitate to contact our plumbing experts to help you identify the problem and figure out the best way to unclog and repair your toilet or provide you with a toilet installation. We can help with even the most difficult clogged toilet in New Westminster!
Q: Why Does Water Get Cold in the Shower?
A: One big inconvenience that you may have identified in your bathroom is that the hot water in your shower doesn’t last, and you’ll find that the water gets cold towards the end of your shower. No fun! There could be a number of reasons for this issue.
You’ll want to consider what type of water heater you’re using, and think about whether or not it can actually keep up with demand. This might be the problem, and you may want to consider a different type of water heater that can actually meet your needs.
Alternatively, there could be something wrong with the hot water heater that needs fixing; if the water comes out warm but not hot, you may have to adjust the temperature setting on the hot water heater. If you only have a problem on the shower and no other areas that use hot water, it may be a valve issue (mixing valve) where your valve has become old, or maybe you need to replace the o-ring.
If you think something’s wrong with your hot water heater, it may be best to contact an expert as it can be dangerous.
Q: How To Increase Water Pressure in the Shower?
A: When you find water dribbling out of your faucet or showerhead it can be pretty frustrating, so it’s no wonder that this is one of the most common issues that we respond to with plumbing repair and bathtub repair in New Westminster, BC.
So what’s the problem? First, you’ll want to verify which water devices are experiencing the problem. Is it just the shower, is it just the sink, or are a variety of them running on low pressure? Run them all at the same time and see if the water pressure continues to decrease. If this is the case, it’s likely that it’s an issue with the main plumbing. You’ll at that point want to call in an expert plumbing team to help with your plumbing repair.
If it was only an isolated problem to one faucet or showerhead, you can do some troubleshooting to see if you can get the water flow to go back to normal, as there can be a few small issues that occur over time.
First, if the shower is the problem, take off the showerhead and see how the water flows without it. There can be a number of things that can prevent water flow on your showerhead, such as a setting that restricts how much water comes out; also, over time, deposits build up in the showerhead and can clog it. If after taking off the showerhead and cleaning it up there is no improvement, it’s time to call in for plumbing service.
Q: How To Fix a Leaky Faucet?
A: This is the opposite problem that we just discussed in water pressure, and if you have a leaky sink or bathtub faucet, you’ve probably had it with the constant dripping noises. Not only that, you may even see your water costs go up due to the waste of water being caused by the leak.
There are numerous parts that could go bad over time, causing your faucet to leak. Some of these include nuts, washers, and bolts. It may be a pretty straightforward problem and you can see where the leak is coming from, but if not, you’ll likely have to disassemble your faucet and figure out what needs replacing, and then replace it. It could also be an issue with water pipes.
If you’re not keen on going to your local hardware store a few times and doing some home improvement learning projects, at this point, it may save you time and effort in calling a professional plumber to help you with your bathtub repair.
Q: Is There Really a Toilet Vent?
A: Sometimes, people are confused about what appliances in their house need a vent, and which ones don’t. But there’s an easy way to remember-- if there is a need for a drain, there will need to be a vent. So, since there is a drain on a toilet, yes, it does have vents.
Sometimes, if your toilet vent isn’t working properly, you may notice some odd sounds when flushing, or gurgling. Also, if you notice you have a consistent odor near your toilet, it could be letting in sewer gases, which can cause issues.
Showers and sinks also have vents, since they also have drains. If you notice any strange noises or draining problems and can’t figure out what’s going on, there could be an issue with the vent or drainage system.
If you are concerned that your toilet, sink, or shower has a problem with the vent or something else, it’s a good idea to call in a plumber for a toilet repair, new toilet installation, or plumbing repair. New West Plumbers have a lot of experience in this and are just a phone call away to help with your toilet repair in New Westminster.
Looking for some tips on maintaining your furnace? Here we’ll give you some tips on the parts of a furnace and some best practices for maintenance.
Ever wonder what the difference is between a gas water heater and an electric water heater? Tankless water heaters versus traditional water heaters? Let us fill you in on the details so you know which is the best choice for your home.
A water heater is a vital appliance in any home, especially if you like comfortable showers with enough water pressure and hot water that doesn’t run out before you finish. Have you ever tried to jump in the shower in the morning before a long day to find that your water just isn’t hot enough? It’s no fun! What about coming home from work to find that you’ve only got ice water to refresh you after a long day? No thanks!
So, water heaters are definitely our friends. But which one is right for you? Whether you're looking for a new water heater installation or want to know if what you’ve got makes the most sense, we’re going to take a look at the different types of water heaters and how they vary. That way, when it comes time for your next plumbing service, you’ll be ready for the job.
There are two main types of water heaters: electric, and gas. Between the two, there is a further option: do you want one with a tank that stores a quantity of hot water, or are you looking for one that heats your water as you go?
Let’s learn a bit about each option.
Gas Water Heaters
Gas water heaters run off of natural gas, and will typically recover hot water used faster than an electric heater. The initial cost of a gas water heater may be slightly more than an electric one due to the gas line installation; if you already have a gas line installed in your home, however, it can be a quick and affordable installation.
In addition, there are some high energy-efficiency options in gas water heaters on the market that simply aren’t available for electric water heaters, which will prove a higher level of overall efficiency.
On the downside, if your gas water heater is not a high energy-efficiency model, it will in fact increase energy consumption and produce more waste. This could be solved by simply insulating the unit as well. Furthermore, gas does pose some danger in the case of a gas line leak detection, which will result in an urgent gas line repair.
Electric Water Heaters
Depending on the unit and the amount of water you will be using, electric water heaters may be a good option for your home. Typically you will see a lower installation cost in an electric water heater and you won’t have to worry about a gas line installation or repair down the line.
Since electric water heaters are dependent on electricity, though, they will unfortunately not work if the power goes out. Further, over the lifespan of the heater, you may end up spending more in usage as electricity costs more than gas.
This will depend on how much water you need to use; electric water heaters have a slower recovery rate than gas water heaters, so if you have a large family and need to heat up large quantities of water, this may not be the best option and could cost you a lot more in the long-term.
Tankless Water Heaters
Aside from considering gas versus electric, you may want to consider whether or not a tankless water heater would be a better option for you.
Traditional water heaters store a set quantity of water and maintain its heat. This goes for both gas and electric water heaters. If you use more than what is stored in the tank, you’ll run out of hot water until the unit can recover.
A tankless water heater, however, will take the cold water and heat it as you need it, thus avoiding the inconvenience of running out of hot water. This also allows for energy efficiency in the sense that it won’t be holding the water at high temperatures, reducing energy output and potentially lowering costs and environmental impact.
Tankless water heaters are also excellent options for homes with small or limited space, as you won’t have to find a spot for the tank and your unit installation will be much smaller.
There are some disadvantages, however. As far as initial costs are concerned, tankless water heater installation will cost you more than traditional unit installation. Also, If you have a large family or want to run many hot water faucets or showers at the same time, you’ll need a larger unit, as a smaller one won’t likely be able to keep up with the demand. You’ll also have to wait a bit for the water to heat up, as it won’t be coming from a direct heated storage but rather an instant heating process. This doesn’t take too long, but there is a delay nonetheless.
Final Thoughts Overall, there are many things to consider here. As far as gas and electric water heaters go, take these things into account:
All of these factors will help you to decide which type of water heater unit is right for you. When considering whether or not to go tankless, consider:
After considering all of these factors, you should have a pretty good idea of which type of unit is right for you, or whether or not you should switch your current unit. If you’re looking to switch from a gas water heater to electric, the process is very straightforward. When switching from electric to gas, however, you’ll have to keep in mind the necessity of the gas line installation which can complicate the process and raise costs.
All in all, traditional gas and electric water heaters have a lifespan of about 12-13 years, whereas you’ll see a longer lifespan of around 20 years from a tankless water heater, be it gas or electric.
If you still need help in making the choice or talking it over with someone, reach out to us at New West Plumbing!
Your home represents one of the biggest investments you will ever make. You need to carefully consider each potential purchase in New Westminster BC. Plumbing represents one of the most important items to consider, so let’s look at six essential items to consider when house hunting. These include checking for leaks on the faucets, shower heads, and toilets; checking for basement flooding or foundation dampness; the water heater condition; the water meter and supply; condition of the pipes; and water pressure in each plumbed room.
Check for Leaks in Faucets and Appliances
You probably notice if the kitchen or bathroom faucet leaks just by looking at it when you enter the room. You need to check under each sink, too, though to see if the pipe or drain leaks. Carefully check around the dishwasher and inside it for leaks or pooling water. Also, look at each of the toilets. Examine the base for leaks. If you see leak-evidence, also check the floor around it because a persistent leak could result in sub-floor damage. If the toilet rocks back and forth when you sit on it or touch it, it signals a leak at the base. In the laundry room, you need to check for leaks in the water line to the washing machine and any handwash sink. Check all of the outdoor spigots as well. Many people forget these and a leak can cause unwelcome foundation damage plus high water bills.
Basement and Foundation Dampness
In the basement and/or crawl space, check the ceiling for leaky pipes in the inside water lines. Also, closely examine this area for water damage or indicators of poor repair jobs. Look at the base of every wall. If there are boxes or other items against the walls, ask that they are moved so you can see the wall base. If you observe discoloration on the walls that look like a shadow or an area where the paint is darker, this signals water damage. Other signs include peeling paint, rotting wood, a chalky dusting on the walls. In the attic, look for dampness, mildew or moldy wood.
Water Heater Condition
The realtors or homeowners should be able to tell you the age of the water heater. The typical water heater lasts about ten years. Anything older than that needs replacing. Check it for leaks and check the lines running to it for leaks. Examine the flooring surrounding it to determine if a previous problem with a leak existed. Multiple leaks of corrosion or rust may signal a need for water heater replacement.
Water Meter and Supply
You probably have to wait until you plop down the earnest money for this step, but you need to check the water meter and its supply line for leaks. To do that, you have to conduct a four-step process.
1. Shut off the water supply.
2. Read the water meter.
3. Wait for one hour.
4. Read the water meter.
If the reading changed while the water supply was turned off, you have a leak. You need to have that fixed before moving into the home. If you cannot test this until you move into the home, you need to call a plumber immediately.
Condition and Materials of the Pipes
After the leak check, the two most important aspects of the pipe condition are their age and material. These water supply pipes cost a great deal to replace and would cost more than earnest money would cover. If the pipes are lead, they must get replaced. You could easily develop lead poisoning from drinking the water from them. If you find plastic or copper pipes, the house either just got built or the current owner already replaced them. Older homes may have galvanized steel pipes or cast iron pipes that you will need to replace. Consider it a red flag if you see a mixture of various pipe materials. That signals minimal repairs. Rarely, you will find polybutylene pipes. Made of flexible gray plastic, they were only installed from the 1970s to the 1990s since they were later found to erode when exposed to chlorine.
Test the water pressure by turning on all the faucets at one time. Low pressure might indicate pipe diameters that are too small. From the water source to your home 3/4” pipes should deliver the water while the lines to the faucets should be 1/2” or greater. Check the showers for water pressure, too. If you notice low pressure in the shower, but not in the sinks, check the showerhead for a low flow device. You can easily remove these to get a normal shower. Also, observe the faucets and showers for signs of rust in the water.
Considerations in Home Buying
A plumbing leak does not have to mean you won’t buy the house, but considering the home sales climate, it should make you pause and take a closer look at the home. Most home sellers go the extra mile to ensure their home’s condition improves before selling it. They do that before the home appraisal occurs in the buying process. They typically do it before listing the property with a realtor.
When you find leaks or water damage that indicates the home’s seller did not care for the property properly. This provides clues that you should look carefully at the rest of the house for other problems such as the furnace.
You may be able to obtain an estimate on the repairs before taking any further steps in the purchase. If they exceed the amount of the earnest payment, think twice or negotiate. You may be able to negotiate with the seller to lower the price of the home the amount of the repairs. That way, although you experience a little inconvenience when you first move into the home, you still do not have to spend anything more than the original planned cost of the home. Contact your realtor for help with this process.