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When Plumbing Goes Wrong

Having plumbing issues? Here might be why!

PLUMBING PROBLEMS, like leaking faucets, can simply be annoying. But problems like burst pipes or clogged main drains can be troublesome and costly. A few practical suggestions can go a long way in reducing potential damage and costly repairs in the long run. Plumbing issues may compromise your efforts to protect your basement from flooding.

To begin with, plumbing repairs should be done by a licensed PLUMBER skilled in the kind of repairs required. We do not recommend using handymen or general contractors. In the course of home visits we often come across serious problems homeowners face consequent to unprofessional installations. Most commonly, these problems occur in washrooms added to basements. In order to save money, contractors who are not plumbers do some of the work themselves. This often results in the inadequate sloping of drain pipes, improper fittings and wrong-sizing pipes, leading to problems that begin to show weeks or months later. It is important that you check with your contractor to ensure that the plumbing is done by someone who is indeed a licensed plumber.

Secondly, it is important that you maintain the plumbing in your home in good condition rather than wait until problems arise. Regular inspection of pipes and fixtures in your home can protect you from the hassle of emergency situations when “plumbing goes wrong”.

Here are a few guidelines to trouble-free plumbing that you should keep in mind.

1. Pay particular attention to the main water valve. It is normally located just before the water meter inside the house, near where the water supply pipe enters it. Due to seldom use, it can often rust and become hard to turn. This valve controls the water supply for the entire house. It must be turned off completely whenever a pipe bursts or a faucet or fixture needs to be repaired. It should also be turned off as soon as any kind of ceiling or wall leak appears or threatens to appear.

2. To ensure proper drainage, don’t wait till the system breaks down. We recommend scoping your drains with a see-snake (drain inspection camera) at least once every three to four years. This inspection costs about $200 but may save thousands of dollars in future repairs.

3. Back-flow prevention valves offer added protection from back up sewage from city pipes that are blocked or over-loaded. Fortunately, many municipalities in the GTA area offer rebates for having this device installed.

4. Burst pipes can cause immense damage to your home. Especially, should this happen in a second floor washroom at a time when nobody is home for three or four hours. Again, a quick check of supply hoses under kitchen or other faucets can easily prevent this from happening and possibly save you from extremely costly repairs to your home.

5. If you do lots of cooking, be sure to use a liquid drain opener such as Draino to dissolve hardened grease deposits in your pipes. This product is not expensive and is user-friendly. Adding it to your drain once every three or four months normally suffices to keep your drains free-flowing.

6. Dripping faucets and running toilets may not be a huge problem in themselves, but they can increase your water bill. Besides, running water that makes the supply pipe and toilet tank cooler and may result in condensation on them, which leads to water damage or mold growth.

7. Frozen pipes in winter add to the possibility of home plumbing “going wrong”. Outside taps should be drained and closed. Pipes installed in places where they may freeze should be insulated. Frozen pipes create a hazard that needs to be immediately addressed.

8. More and more homes now have sump pumps. Nowadays, they are usually mandatory in newly constructed homes. The city of Toronto encourages homeowners to install them and offers a $1,750 rebate towards their cost. Ground water from a variety of potential sources such as rain water, foundation and other drains can undermine basement floors and walls resulting in musty smells, leaks and flooding. Sump pumps that are four or five years old and already rusted should be replaced. Few people know that city rebates also extend to the replacement or upgrading of existing sump pump installations. Discharge pipes should also be checked to ensure that discharge water is dumped at least 10 feet from the house and in an area properly sloped away from foundation walls and high enough to not be snow covered in winter time.

DRAINCOM offers a free plumbing inspection and advice, excepting for situations requiring the use of inspection equipment such as drain cameras or cutting away drywall in order to expose the plumbing. Otherwise, where no additional work is required, this service is offered free of charge. We also offer all types basement flood prevention solutions.

Call for your Plumbing Problems Experts!, DrainCom: 416-989-5757

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