Maintaining your Gas Fired Equipment

Most people living in urban areas have a natural gas supply in their home. This is used to supply energy to appliances in your home such as furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces and gas cooktops, to name a few. When properly installed, used and maintained, natural gas is safe and cost effective when compared with using electricity to achieve the same heat output. But, if care is not taken in the installation, use and maintenance, gas appliances have the potential to be dangerous.
 It’s important that the installation be done correctly, and meet the requirements of the provincial gas code as well as the manufacturer’s installation instructions. A shortcut or missed step in the process can cause the equipment to operate in a dangerous manner increasing risk of fire in the home, carbon monoxide, or simply damage to the equipment. A knowledgeable service person can spot inadequacies in an installation and correct them before larger problems manifest.
  Even with properly installed equipment, improper use can pose a danger as well. Dry as the reading may be, the homeowner and/or tenant should familiarize themselves with the user guide for any gas equipment in the home. An example of common improper use would be cranking a hot water tank to the maximum temperature setting. Aside from the additional strain on the tank – and the consequent shortened tank life – this also poses a scalding danger to others in the home, particularly children and the elderly, who don’t react to pain stimuli as quickly. Proper use of equipment is important for the lifespan of these expensive appliances as well as the safety of those in the home. If there is no user manual present, a qualified service person is happy to take the time to walk you through the safe and correct operation of your equipment.
 Of course, in order for a serviceperson to catch problems with your equipment or to explain its safe use, he must first be in the home. Annual (or at the very least biannual) maintenance is so important. Aside from making sure everything is running within safe parameters, ensuring  components stay clean and free of dust or build up is essential to the continued efficiency and safe operation. Regularly testing components and replacing as needed will reduce the likelihood of equipment failure. The middle of the winter is no time for the furnace to stop working! The best course of action is to get maintenance on all gas fired appliances at a time,  saving the cost of having separate calls throughout the year.

Tankless Water Heaters

​Have you ever looked at your old hot water tank and wondered ‘Why am I paying to keep all of this water hot when I’m not even using it?’ 

Every time the 40 gallons of water in the tank cools a few degrees,  the burner comes on to heat it back up.  Seems wasteful,  doesn’t it? 
This is why more people are switching to a tankless system. These compact units mount on a wall,  taking up very little space.  They have a much longer life span than a typical hot water tank (I’ve tuned up 30 year old tankless heaters and they still run like a top). And – best of all – they don’t use any gas until you need hot water! 

When you open a hot tap,  the flow sensor in the unit signals the burners to ignite and heat the water as it flows through the unit. When you close the tap,  the unit shuts off. This means you only heat the water you’re actually using,  which translates to greater efficiency and money staying in your pocket. 
 With energy costs only ever heading in one direction,  it makes sense to look for ways to reduce energy consumption in our homes. Additionally,  we try to reduce the environmental impact of our day-to-day lives. 


 Making the switch to a tankless system is a step in the right direction! Call us for a no-obligation quote @ 604-217-2268 or you can send a message through this page.
Have a great day!

“My Furnace Won’t Work”

“My Furnace Won’t Work!!”




  At the beginning of each heating season, we get flooded with calls from people who have turned up their thermostat but the furnace is not warming up their house. One of our technicians goes out right away, as “no heat” calls are taken seriously and prioritized above less urgent matters. During this time (September to November) most of these issues are solved within 5 minutes of entering the home. There are a few main causes of these calls.

  First, the thermostat is not the only switch to turn on/off your furnace. There is generally a switch high on the wall beside or near the furnace, which is usually (but not always) labeled. Many homeowners turn this switch off in the late spring as there is no need for the furnace for the rest of the season. This gets forgotten in many cases, and when we come to determine the reason for the lack of heat, we walk in, flip the switch and ‘Voila!”…. Heat.

  On many older furnaces, there is a pilot light that must remain lit in order for the furnace to operate.  This tiny flame uses such a small amount of gas to remain lit that if you even noticed a difference on your gas bill as a result of turning it off, the reduction would be negligible and – in my humble opinion – not worth the headache when its time to use the appliance again. It’s a small and simple thing, but often gets overlooked by the homeowner when it’s time to fire up the furnace. The pilot light will go out when you turn off the gas shutoff on the gas pipe at the appliance, or turn off the switch at the gas valve in the furnace. I’d advise just leaving the pilot light running.

  On newer units, there is nearly always a troubleshooting diagnostic light inside which can be viewed through a small window in the front cover. In the event of a problem, this light will blink a combination of dots and dashes which correspond to a list of problems and possible causes which is usually on a sticker affixed to the front of the furnace, or inside the owner’s manual. If you need to call a service person, you can save time and money by letting us know the possible issue before we come, to ensure that we bring the appropriate part if needed, so we don’t have to leave to pick up material.

 It’s important to keep in mind that – even if a service person fixes the problem in thirty seconds – any company must charge for the call. There are people on payroll to book the service, technicians earning a tradesperson’s wage, and the gas for a van full of expensive specialty tools coming to your door. We always feel some regret over needing to charge for calls like this, and we’d rather the homeowner checked these basic things before calling so we can make sure that you are only paying for a tradesperson when his or her skills and tools are needed.

Poly B Piping


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.