Importance of Foundation Drain Maintenance in Mission

Your home has all sorts of drains – every sink or tub has one, as well as some of your larger appliances. There is also a very important drain located just outside of your home – your perimeter drain. If this important system is not operating properly, your basement or crawlspace could end up wet or flooded.

What is a perimeter drain?

A perimeter or foundation drain is designed to prevent water from seeping into the basement or crawlspace of the home. It carries water away from the house, preventing flooding and wetness in the basement or crawlspace. The drain is made out of plastic or PVC pipe installed underground and around the perimeter of the house. The pipe is perforated with thousands of tiny holes that allow water to enter the pipe – the pipe is sloped away from the home, to keep as much water as possible away.

Drain System Maintenance

Most people probably don’t think about their perimeter drainage system – but it is probably something that should be inspected periodically, especially if you have noticed any water stains on your basement walls or pooling water near your foundation. A professional can come to your home and insert a drain into the system to check if it is functioning properly or if there are potential problem areas. Sometimes a cleaning may be necessary to avoid a worse problem down the line, such as a repair or complete replacement.

What if something goes wrong?

If your perimeter drain is clogged, water may seep into your basement because it is not being carried away from the home and it has nowhere else to go. An older home may have clay or concrete “weeping tiles” installed as a drainage system, and these may deteriorate over time. This type of system will need to be updated and replaced with a modern system. If the system is simply blocked, and not damaged, a professional can dig access points to clean it out.  If you do end up having to replace your system, consider having a clean-our port installed, this would allow easier cleaning for the future.

Even if you have not noticed water build up around your home or in your basement, it may be worthwhile to look into the status of your home’s drainage system. That way you may be able to avoid a costly repair or replacement.


I just came back from a call in the Hatzic area of Mission, which was I had thought was just a simple furnace tune up. This was a Ruud brand furnace,  and I’ve worked on quite a few. One of the more common problems with these is that they have a plastic housing on their draft inducer.  Over time, this plastic becomes brittle. Hairline cracks are not uncommon, but very serious.  When cracked,  the inducer’s fan pushes the products of combustion (exhaust gas) through the crack and into the home.

It’s also not uncommon for the exhaust to contain carbon monoxide, an invisible odourless chemical that disrupts the body’s ability to absorb oxygen.  People get sick or die due to overexposure,  usually in their sleep.

This inducer was not only cracked, but fully broken.  Sometime during the lifetime of this furnace, a technician cracked open this housing and, for a reason beyond my comprehension, decided to put it back together with tape.  Worse – he/she didn’t tell the customer.

Astoundingly, upon closer inspection, I found that a second type of tape had been used as well.  This told me that another technician noticed the problem, but also decided it wasn’t important enough to tell the customer, and added some tape of his/her own.

This is the kind of thing over which licenced gasfitters would lose their licences. There’s no excuse for this, and I suspect that this was the work of some handyman who has no qualifications and no business touching a gas appliance. These “technicians” are everywhere, and one can usually find them by shopping around for the lowest price. When it comes to trades, only those who have gone to school and earned a ticket in the trade have the knowledge to preform this work safely and to code.  Finding the cheapest person to do the job will almost invariably yield substandard work.

Please watch the attached video to see why using a reputable tradesperson is so important!

Maintaining your Gas Fired Equipment

Furnace Repair Mission

Most people living in urban areas have a natural gas supply in their home. This supplies energy to appliances in your home such as furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces and cooktops. When properly installed, used and maintained, natural gas is perfectly safe.  Gas is also more cost-effective, when compared with electricity, to achieve the same heat output. But if care is not taken in their 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 instructions. A shortcut or missed step can cause the equipment to operate in a dangerous manner, increasing the risk of:

• fire in the home

• carbon monoxide buildup, or

• damage to the equipment.

An experienced technician can spot issues 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 literature may be, the homeowner and/or tenant should read 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. Besides the additional strain on the tank – and the resulting shortened tank life – this also poses a scalding danger to others in the home.   (Children and the elderly are especially at risk, because they don’t react to pain stimuli as quickly.) Proper use of equipment is important for the lifespan of these appliances, as well as the safety of the residents. If no manual is available, a technician would be happy to walk you through the proper operation of your equipment.

Of course, in order for a technician 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 and buildup 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! It’s best to get maintenance on all your gas appliances at once, saving the cost of separate calls throughout the year.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless hot water heater

Upgrading to a tankless hot water heater saves you money and helps the environment!

​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 lifespan than a typical hot water tank (I’ve tuned up 30 year old tankless heaters that 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. You only heat the water you’re actually using.  This translates to greater efficiency and more 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, both economically and ecologically! Call us for a no-obligation quote @ 604-217-2268 or you can send a message through this page.  We look forward to helping you reduce your utilities costs and your carbon footprint.

Have a great day!

“My Furnace Won’t Work”

“My Furnace Won’t Work!!”

Furnace vented with ABS

Furnace vented with flammable ABS – big fire hazard!

  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. Our technician 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 the furnace, which is usually (but not always) labeled. Many homeowners turn this switch off in late spring, as there is no need for the furnace during 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, a code of sorts.  These will 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 technician, you can save time and money by letting us know the possible issue before we come.  This ensures 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 charging for calls like this, and we’d rather the homeowner checked these things beforehand.  This way we can make sure that you are only paying for a tradesperson when his or her skills and tools are needed.

fix poly b piping

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