Poly B Piping

Poly-B

Polybutylene, Poly-B, piping was removed from the market in 1998 and some homes will have it up until the 1990’s. It was used almost exclusively between 1978 till the early 90’s because of poly-b’s inexpensive installation cost compared with copper piping. If you have Poly B piping, your home is at risk of catastrophic waterline failure.

Poly B was certified by the Canadian Standards Association, CSA, for hydronic heating and for potable drinking water systems. B C Redi-Rooter Ltd has seen some homes that have poly b waterline systems that have not given the home owner many problems. Problem free homes have some or all things in common.

Installation was done in a quality fashion

Water pressure regulator was changed regularly

Water pressure was kept below 40 psi

Pipe sizing was adequate

Correct metal fittings and connectors were used

Hot water tank was kept to a minimum temperature and serviced regularly

Expansion tank was installed on hot water tank

Hammer arrestors were used through-out home

Low levels of chlorine in water supply

No bends or stress at fittings

No excessive bends in piping

Adequate piping support

Adequate room for expansion and contraction of piping

Sediment and chlorine filters in system

Leak detectors like the Auqa-trip were installed

Many homes in Canada pay a significant premium for Poly B home insurance, even higher premiums for Poly B with plastic fittings. We have noticed that Poly-B replacement in homes typically costs from $3000 to $25000 depending on drywall removal and remediation (currently the removal and disposal of drywall has to be treated as asbestos laden unless lab tested or certified less than 15 years old). Other cost contributing factors are size of home, materials, access, number and location of fixtures, concrete, tile, labour, etcetera.

Please call us about your Poly B issues for fast, experienced and fair service, prevention and or replacemant of your water lines.

How Much Water is too Much?

How much water is too much?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), average North American families with four in a home use about 1500 liters of water daily. This does not include irrigation and gardening. 70% of our water use comes from our homes.

According to National Geographic we are using 7500 liters of water daily with watering our lawns and washing our cars in our driveways, this number does not include water you are using outside the home for drinking or eating out. This is well over twice the global average.

Why save water?

Our freshwater ecosystems need us to start helping to restore them. Our fresh air ecosystems can’t handle the Green House Gas created that we are pumping into them through the energy used in the delivery and sanitation of fresh water to our homes and the inevitable disposal of and treatment of water leaving the home (sewage). Of course, cutting down on your water bill is a nice incentive as well.

Where is most water used in the home?

The bathroom uses up most of the water in your home. In our bathrooms the toilet alone uses approximately 25% of all household water use. Turning off the bathroom faucet while brushing your teeth could save you more than 750 liters of water monthly. Change your shower head to one of our approved water saving shower heads and you could save more than 100 liters of water per 5 minute shower, which also can help to eliminate one Kilogram of Green House Gas emissions.

How can BC Redi-Rooter Ltd help me save water?

BC Redi-Rooter Ltd is an accredited Green Plumbing Company and a member of the BC Green Chamber of Commerce. We can help evaluate your water habits and usage. We can also assist in choosing proven water conserving fixture and tools. Let us help you change the way you think of water.  Clogged Drain

Cast Iron and clay Piping

Cast Iron and clay Piping

Cast iron and clay piping can last fifty years and more when installed correctly and is not abused. Cast iron, when exposed, can easily be checked for deterioration or wear. Depending on how the pipe was manufactured and installed will also help to determine how fast it will wear. Seamless cast iron is always the best choice and quality, but very hard to come by and not cost effective. Install the seam facing up when the pipe is installed on the vertical, as not to prematurely rot the seam. So often we will run into a thinned out cast iron pipe rotted out at the seam.

Removing cast iron piping.

Warning. When you cut your cast iron pipe, dangerous sewer gas will enter into your home, living and work area. Take adequate precautions, also read whole blog.

Removing cast iron pipe is generally not an easy job and is best left for the professionals. If you are going to attempt it yourself, make certain that you take your safety into consideration first. Cast iron is very heavy and is now full of pathogens and possibly hepatitis, don’t get hurt, don’t get cut don’t get anything in your eyes, nose or mouth, even on your skin. Plumbers although not immune to sewage have experience working with it and have built up some immunity over time.

Remove the pipes in small sections, this will make your day easier and safer. Support the piping along the way and throughout the whole process. Adding support to vertical sections of the cast iron pipe is always a good safety tip. Theoretically, the vertical section should already be supported, but in practice do not count on work done by some-one else and the stability of older piping and clamps.

Repairing cast iron piping

Depending on your local code requirements will determine what type of repair you will have in front of you. Some local municipalities and fire regulations insist on cast iron only. If you will be replacing cast with cast, you will have to invest in some expensive tools like snap cutters (soil pipe cutters). Repairs to cast iron pipe is always best left to a professional, there is usually not a lot of room for a mistake or misalignment. A small mistake could mean you now have to jack hammer concrete to make the repair.

Prepare for fresh air and rest

People don’t realize what a service plumber puts themselves through each time they open up a pipe or remove a toilet. And you have just been inhaling sewer gas and methane and working with and around raw sewage as well, welcome to our world. Your body will need some rest from stomach flu like symptoms or even head and body aches. Depending on how much sewer gas you inhaled, you may now have some respiratory symptoms. Pathogens are thriving inside your piping system, parasites, viruses and bacteria, E. Coli, salmonella, pinworms, cholera, amoebiasis, hepatitis.

Give yourself some time to recuperate and watch for signs of flu like symptoms. Your body is in a minimum state of mild shock and now has to fight off what you have allowed into it.

Plumbing Camera Inspections

Today, plumbing and technology go hand in hand. In sewer cleaning the self-leveling, color, head video camera reel along with the drain cleaning machine have become one of the most indispensable tools in the plumbers van today. Drain inspection technology helps us before, during and after we have cleaned out the blockage.

Before we clean a drain the camera can tell us how far away the start of the blockage is and what it may be, helping us choose the right tools to use and heads to put down the line. After completing the drain cleaning job, a camera is again put down the sewer to shed some light on the final result, this video recording can be stored for future reference and to guarantee that this problem is remedied. The result is a new like free flowing pipe and a good night’s sleep.

Some additional features that make these cameras shine are line transmitters and locators. Sometimes a drain cleaning machine in unable to clear a drain but will pull up evidence of roots or a break. It is not always in the home owners’ budget to repair the whole sewer line, so a spot repair is in order, but where to dig, where is the exact spot?

BC Redi-Rooter Ltd Plumbers carry transmitters and line locators to pinpoint the exact location. A transmitter is attached to the camera reel, then a signal is induced through to the camera head. Then a specialized receiver is used to trace the underground pipe to the problem location. We follow the signal path, then mark the spot and the depth of the problem. This technology saves countless hours of guesswork and digging. The repair is able to be made at the spot of the problem.

Ridjid camera BC Redi-Rooter Ltd has been to many emergency sewer backups where different plumbing companies had just snaked the drain a few days earlier, but did not do a camera inspection, leaving the homeowner with a false sense of the job being completed. A sewer is not cleaned until you can see that it is cleaned right to the road! Only a camera inspection can do that.

How To Drain A Hot Water Tank

Hot water tank expansion tank

Be patient and wait for water in tank to cool!

bradford-white-model-m45036fbnHow to Drain a Hot Water Tank

First turn off the gas, electricity or whatever fuel source you are using!

Before you start make sure that you have allowed the heat of the water inside the tank to dissipate to a safe working temperature, by mixing cold water into it with the gas or electricity turned off!

Do I need several tools to drain my hot water tank?

No you do not need a bunch of tools to drain you tank, unless your tank is below grade and you have no way of pumping the water up and out of the building. Just remember to be very careful and to cool the water down completely before starting.

Can anything go wrong when draining a hot water tank?

Yes, there are many things that can go wrong when draining a hot water tank, but don’t be discouraged. Hot water tanks are designed to be drained, serviced and maintained. From our experience, check to see what type of drain valve you have and where the tank was made. If the drain valve is plastic, or the tank was made in Mexico, the draining of the tank is going to be much more difficult, even for a seasoned pro.

Drain Down Steps

Turn off power or fuel source

Cool off water in tank by opening some hot water taps while allowing cold water to enter tank until it cools off to a safe working temperature

Gently turn off water to hot water tank

Securely attach non-kinked garden hose to tank, check to ensure that garden hose gaskets are in good shape

Run other end of garden hose to a suitable location for draining possible rusty water

Gently and slowly open the drain valve, do not force it. If tank is not draining you may have waited too long to service your water heater and too much rust or debris has accumulated above the drain line clogging the passageway.

Wait! Now you just have to be patient. It can take a long time to completely drain a hot water heater, especially if has been more than a year. Good Luck, and be safe!

If you need any assistance with your hot water heater service, repair or replacement, call BC Redi-Rooter Ltd Plumbing, Heating, Gas and Drain Cleaning

Thermal Expansion and Water Heaters

Thermal Expansion and how it affects your water heaterexpansion tankamstrol-30-expansion-tank-a.55134307_std.

What is Thermal Expansion?

Thermal expansion is a word describing the science of water expanding in volume as it heated.

How does thermal expansion negatively affect your tank type water heater?

There are several ways that thermal expansion is detrimental to your water heater. Most steel tank type hot water heaters are mainly protected from rusting by a ceramic like glass lining and a sacrificial anode rod. As cold water enters the tank and is then heated up, the volume of the water increases. The now larger volume of water flexes and expands the glass lined steel tank. Steel and glass have a completely different coefficient of expansion rate, therefore they are always in a slight opposition of each other. In todays closed plumbing systems, closed plumbing means that this that this added volume of water has nowhere to go. The newly added volume of heated water, the excess water pressure pressing against the tank and the difference in the expansion and contraction rate of the glass like lining compared to that of the steel all contribute to the eventual cracking of the protective glass lining. When the glass lining cracks water penetrates into the steel rusting it out and sending the water heater into early premature failure by no fault of the hot water tank itself on its own.

How does thermal expansion affect your tankless water heater?

Other than the glass lining stress cracks of the tank type water heater, tankless water heaters suffer similar stresses from high pressure due to thermal expansion. The expanded water in the heater can cause it to malfunction of age prematurely.

Is thermal expansion dangerous to my hot water heater?

Yes! Thermal expansion can be very dangerous to my water heater and my health. The increase in pressure to the unprotected tank can cause the internal flue to collapse in on itself, thus cooling the products of combustion, potentially creating carbon monoxide. If the carbon monoxide enters the living area of a home, people could become seriously ill or die.

Please call BC Redi-Rooter Ltd plumbing, heating, gas fitting, and drain cleaning of the Lower Mainland and The Fraser Valley to make your home hot water installation safe!

Dangerous Cross Bores

cross bore picture 2Plumbing Cross bores in the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland

Our plumbers at BC Redi-Rooter Ltd are leading the way in cross bore safety, safely clearing your main sanitary sewer lines and storm drains in the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland by strictly following the newer regulations set out by Fortis BC, BC Hydro, Telus, BC One Call, Work Safe BC and others, ensuring the safety of your home, your family and/or staff, our staff and others for years to come.

If you are uncertain what cross bores are and why they are so dangerous, let’s look into it! First underground gas lines are made of good quality, non-corrosive plastics. These plastics lines are unknowingly pulled through other utilities like storm sewers, sanitary sewers, and others. Most of the drain cleaning equipment that plumbers use is high strength spinning wire cable and cutters or extremely high pressure water jetting equipment that will cut and rip through one of these gas lines in an instant. Once the high pressure gas is set free, the gas travels up toward the operator of the equipment and purges into the home, in the hunt for a source of ignition. Often the operator of the drain cleaning machine has already become immune to the smell of gas as he has been working close to your sewer pipe that already smells putrid like gas for some time now. By the time someone may realize the difference between the smell of sewer or natural gas, it has been too late and an explosion has already occurred.

cross bore pictureElectric cross bore cable conduits are a little stronger than plastic gas lines, but they only take a few seconds longer to cut through an electric conduit than gas piping before the people in the vicinity of the drain cleaning equipment are in severe, life threatening danger.

Cross bores happen by mistake! Utilities sometimes are placed underground by highly specialized equipment such as hydraulic power rams, self-tunneling drills, tunneling, micro-tunneling and more. On a massive scale, right here in the lower mainland, Skytrain is using trenchless technology for some of the underground Evergreen Line. On a smaller scale 1.5 inch power moles are hydraulically ramming their way under the country piercing through storm and sewer lines somewhat blindly, pulling utilities like high voltage electricity power lines and high pressure natural gas piping behind them. Although this equipment is very specialized, cross bores are still happening all of the time and the danger is very severe and very real and can go unnoticed for days, for months, and even years.

When BC Redi-Rooter Ltd plumbers in the Fraser Valley and The Lower Mainland receives a call for a sewer or storm drain blockage or just a slow moving drain, we have been trained with your safety and ours as part of our profession. Plumbers in British Columbia, the Fraser Valley and The Lower Mainland must follow the newer guidelines to keep your family and ours safe from life threatening cross bores. A homeowner should never allow a plumber to snake out their plumbing system if the plumber does not carry a sewer camera to double check for safety and to enhance the chance that the line is clear, this is not something to gamble with. In some instances, gas lines and electrical lines in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley were installed without permits, therefore, BC One Call would not have a safety record of the installation. These un-permitted and dangerous installations final line of safety defense is one of our high tech digital sewer cameras. If BC Redi-Rooter Ltd discovers a cross bore with one of our digital recording sewer cameras, the plumber will assess the situation and may evacuate the building, if it is a gas line, shut off the gas to the home and notify BC One Call and the Home homeowner, and The BC Safety Authority.

Winter Plumbing Tips

broken-frozen-pipe (1)Follow these steps to get your plumbing in better shape for winter.

  1. Turn off your outdoor hose bibs. Turn off your outdoor hose bibs from the indoor hose bib shutoff and drain out the water, don’t forget to drain out the water! Covering the outdoor faucet will also help. Also don’t forget to unscrew your hoses from the hose bibs and drain the hoses.
  2. Blow out your irrigation system. Blow out your sprinkler lines and heads with a high flow air compressor
  3. Clean your gutters. Excess matter and debris clogging your gutters can cause spillage onto walkways that may freeze causing slippery conditions.
  4. Don’t wait any longer to fix leaks. Leaks do not get smaller on their own, and freezing temperatures make them much worse!
  5. Protect pipes in unheated areas. There are many types of protection available for freeze protection today. From simple foam wrap tape, preformed fiberglass insulation, and electric heat wrap tape with built in thermostats that will automatically turn-on when temperatures reach below a certain set point.
  6. Have your water heater serviced. People spend more time indoors in the winter and hot water tanks have colder water running into them, both causing the tanks to work much harder to reach their desired temperatures. At the bare minimum drain and flush the tank yearly, or ask us to service the tank while we are servicing your furnace or fireplace. It will keep your tank running optimally and efficiently, saving on your gas bill.
  7. Leaving for winter? Have us over to shut down the plumbing part of your home safely. Coming home to a disaster is just that, a disaster!
  8. Check and service your heating system. No heat equals frozen pipes, enough said?
  9. Know where the main shut off valve is! Make sure that everyone knows where the main shut off valve is and that they know how to get to it and how to use it, quickly. When a pipe bursts, the faster the water gets turned off and is drained, the less damage to the home overall! A quick response can save thousands of dollars in damage to your home, don’t make it difficult to get to your shut off. Please read our blog on water damage tips for more information.

Call BC Redi Rooter LTD. If you are in need of plumbing, or heating help or service please call us at 604-217-2268 or 778-888-9184

Experience Saves Home from Disaster

IMG_0401Today B.C. Redi-Rooter Ltd. was called out for a seemingly uneventful low water pressure in kitchen faucet and one bathroom tap call. This was the call that saved a family’s home, health and possibly lives.

Upon arriving at the home and questioning the homeowner about the pressure problem, I headed for the kitchen ready to check the aerator. After removal of the aerator, it was clear that the pressure problem at the kitchen faucet was here. A thorough inspection indicated copper material from the old copper pipes was embedded in the screen, a good indicator that the copper piping is at the end of its life span. Also in the aerator was some rust.

I have had many calls like this one, mostly after some-one has been frustrated with the previous results from a different plumbing company that just changed the aerators and left. If the plumber left without a thorough troubleshooting inspection of the problem, it will likely resurface at a later time.

I asked the home owner to show me where the hot water tank was and from a distance I could see the tank bulging at the seams. The tanks was wet and rusted around the hot and cold nipples and the whole surface of the tank was hot to the touch from the saturation of the insulation.

For immediate safety reasons I turned down the tank temperature. I tested the Temperature and Pressure Valve and it was stuck shut from the accumulation of so much rusty material. After making this scenario safe, I called the homeowner to show and explain the situation. The homeowner was shocked because he never imagined that there was a problem with the tank.

It was and still is amazingly lucky that this tank did not rupture or explode, sending the thick rusty water all over the off-white carpeting or worse seriously burning some-one. The tank had to be replaced.

I love my profession, and it is days like this one that make me feel like the super hero of plumbing, from a simple phone call for no water pressure to saving a home from a sure flood and a family from possibly getting sick from the cooled combustion air spilling into the home.

Check out my videos of this tank. (coming soon)

Water Damage Tips

Water DamageAccording to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, water damage is the leading cause of personal property claims in Canada. Less than an inch of water can cause significant damage to your home and financial well-being and even that little water cause real problems by producing hidden black mold. Water can also damage the structural integrity of your home and lower the value of your house and property.

These Water Damage Tips Will Help

Drain your hot water tank at least once a year to keep it running at peak efficiency and to help avoid premature rusting. If your hot water heater is more than 7 years old and is giving you any service troubles, replace it, in the long run it is cheaper and less stressful than a rupture or leak. Adding a thermal expansion tank will also add to your tank and system safety. If your tank is more than 10 years old, seriously consider replacement.

Avoid running dishwashers and washing machines while you are out, these appliances are prone to leaks. Regular maintenance on these appliances including replacing your rubber lines with new stainless braided ones can help prevent accidents. It is unfortunate to come home to a flood from a dishwasher when all you were trying to do is save some time.

We at B.C. Redi-Rooter Ltd. advise that the most important water line protection is an internally clean, well-functioning pressure reducing valve set at no more than 50 psi. Plumbers at B.C. Redi-Rooter Ltd see so much water line and appliance damage that we set our own homes at 40 psi. High water pressure is like high blood pressure, it is the silent killer. If your pressure reducing valve is malfunctioning or broken, you are at very high risk of water damage. Ask one of our technicians to check your pressure while they are at your home.

B.C. Redi-Rooter Ltd advises that everyone in the household must know where the main water shut-off is, where the main gas line shut-off is and where the main electrical breaker is and the proper and safe way to use these safety features in your home. It is also strongly advisable to have a clear path to all shut-offs, as time is of the essence when you are trying to contain an emergency. A clear path and the knowledge of how to use your shut-offs can save you thousands of dollars in damages.

An experienced B.C. Redi-Rooter Ltd main sewer line camera inspection or a pre-purchase camera inspection tells a thousand words. A sewer back-up is a horrific experience and potentially dangerous for the health of all in your home, especially children and the elderly. Your sewer is sharing a connection at the municipal connection with all of the homes in your area, and discharging and ‘breathing’ or venting with all of them. In essence, all diseases like hepatitis, can be transferred from one homes sewer system to another home sewer system through the common municipal connection. A camera inspection can aid to verify if your system is working in a satisfactory condition. Many of our pre-purchase camera inspections have helped buyers save thousands on the purchase of their home and helped sellers prove that there system is up to snuff and therefore avoiding future legal problems.

Poorly maintained perimeter drains and sumps continuously flood homes throughout the Province. An experienced camera inspection will help determine what course of action is best for you.