Metro Vancouver Plumbers Blog

  • How to Hire a Good Contractor

  • I was reading an article this week about a group of people in Winnipeg who were scammed out of their hard earned money by a painter. They gave this so-called ‘contractor’ varying amounts of money as a deposit and guess what? The work was never done. I received a call yesterday from a woman who was price checking after she had a water heater installed by a ‘friend of a friend’. Turns out our flat fee pricing was considerably lower than what she had been charged as were our hourly rates. Additionally, she didn’t even know if the individual who performed the install applied for the gas permit that was required by her municipality. Needless to say, she was incredibly distressed.


    Unfortunately incidents like this occur far too often, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and ensure that you are hiring qualified, licensed and insured tradespeople.

    Quotes

    Call around and get three quotes. Compare prices and time estimations. Don’t forget that the lowest price and quickest turnaround doesn’t necessarily guarantee the best workmanship.

    Check References

    Ask for at least 3 references and check them! A satisfied customer will always be happy to share a positive experience, and some may even be willing to send you pictures of the work that was completed. Look online for reviews and visit the BBB online to see if there have been any disputes lodged against them, and always check the details of any disputes.

    Check Credentials

    Ask for the contractor’s Worksafe BC registration number, GST number and a copy of the business license for the municipality the work is taking place in. Ask about any professional associations that they may be affiliated with.

    Insurance

    Accidents happen. Even with the most skilled and experienced contractor. Make sure that contractor you decide on has their own liability insurance. Check your own home insurance coverage too. If something should occur and the contractor decides to come after you for damages, you need to be protected.

    Warranties

    Are you being offered labour and parts warranties or a satisfaction guarantee? Reputable companies and individuals will always back up their work.

    Payment

    Work out payment details before the job is started. If it’s a one day job, such as a water heater installation, expect to pay once the work is completed to your satisfaction. If it’s an ongoing project, agree on a payment schedule with your contractor. It is not unreasonable for a contractor to expect periodic payments throughout the project, with the balance being paid on completion. Never, I repeat NEVER pay for any job with cash at the contractor’s request. Not even if you are offered ‘a deal’ if you do. Receipts are the consumer’s proof of purchase and can be used in the event there is a conflict. A contractor requesting payment by cash may very well not be registered with the CRA or WorkSafe BC.

    Whether it’s a plumber, carpenter, electrician or general contractor, doing your due diligence before you hire can save you a lot of grief in the future!

     

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  • Spring Has Sprung, the Grass Has Riz, Do You Know How Your Water Heater Is?

  • Ah spring! That time of year when everything old is new again and inside your home your thoughts turn to beautification!

    Everyone seems to have some sort of spring clean ritual. Bedroom closets are purged and cleaned, pantries and cupboards re-organized, yards are cleaned, gardens planted. Aesthetically speaking, everything looks fresh and sparkly inside and out.

    What about your water heater?

    Do you think about it and its operation other than when something happens to it? We suggest putting a water heater inspection on your spring clean to do list. You can absolutely do it yourself, you could save yourself some grief in the future and you could definitely add life to your tank if performed on a yearly basis.

    So, where to start? We thought you’d never ask!

    1. Check for physical damage to your tank.

    Look for rust and corrosion on the top and bottom. Check for water marks on the floor. If there are signs of corrosion or water on the floor, you need to start planning for a replacement.

    2. Let’s have a look at that thermostat.

    What is it set at? The temperature should never be set above 120 degrees. Scalding can happen within seconds at higher temperatures.

    3. Check for valve leaks.

    Is the T&P valve leaking? How about the brass drain valve st the bottom of the tank? If either of them are, call our Red Seal plumbers for immediate repair.

    4. Dust: Off!

    Clear the jacket slots of dirt, dust, and other debris restrictions. Clear any household items from around and on top of the tank. For an electric water heater, check the seal around the heating elements. If you have a gas fired tank, remove the cover, inner door, and main burner assembly to clean orifices and related parts of any dirt or foreign material. Clean the burner ports and the combustion chamber with a wire brush and vacuum.

    5. Check the anode rods.

    Every two years you should check your anode rod. An anode rod attracts mineral in the water that will eventually cause your tank to corrode. If your anode rod has failed, your tank is no longer protected and is vulnerable to corrosion.

    6. Finally, when is the last time you flushed your tank?

    Flushing your tank will remove the sediment that eventually causes your water heater to corrode at the bottom of the tank. Use the old water that you drain out to water your lawn and gardens. Conserve water and protect your tank all at the same time!

    The steps outlined above are fairly simple, but we understand that not everyone has the time or inclination to inspect their tank themselves. Call us today to schedule an inspection by one of our licensed, bonded, insured plumbers.

    Mention this blog to receive 10% off your service!

  • What’s in a name?

  • Don’t let our name fool you! We may be called Water Heater Rescue, but we offer a full suite of plumbing services. What other services? We thought you’d never ask!

    Although our Red Seal Certified Plumbing Technicians are water heater experts, they are also experts in any and all other plumbing services. Whether it be maintenance, inspection, or installation, our techs bring with them combined experience of almost 50 years.

    Other services we offer:

    – Faucets and plumbing fixtures
    – Kitchen sinks: Kitchen drain clean, kitchen sink installation, kitchen sink drain repair
    – Toilets: Toilet repair, toilet installation, toilet removal
    – Sewer lines: Sewer line repair, sewer line clean
    – Laundry drains: Laundry
    – Gas line repair and install
    – Bathroom sinks
    – Bathtubs and showers
    – Drain clean plumbing services
    – Garbage disposals: garburator installation, garburator repair, garburator removal
    – Water lines: Water line repair and water pipe repair
    – Dishwashers: Dishwasher line clean, dishwasher installation, dishwasher removal
    – Backflow prevention
    – Video inspection services

    Drain clears, faucet installations, leaking and burst pipes- our highly qualified plumbers can easily handle any of these for you and more. Can’t decide which plumbing fixtures will work best for your home? Ask one of our experienced team members. Not only can we help you in the (often daunting) process of choosing new fixtures, we can also provide them to you, saving you precious time.

    Yes, we provide fast residential service, but did you know that we also provide commercial service? Restaurants, offices, hair salons, whatever business you happen to own, manage or work in, our plumbers can “bail” you out of any situation you find yourself in. From West Vancouver to Whiterock and almost every municipality in between, Water Heater Rescue is your one stop Metro Vancouver plumbing company!

    Call us today for a FAST resolution to any of your home or commercial plumbing problems!

  • Home Buyer’s Guide to Plumbing

  • In the current Vancouver Real Estate market, including a home inspection as a subject to sale is pretty much a guarantee that your offer won’t even be considered. It’s incredibly unfortunate, but it’s a harsh reality of our current housing climate.

    Buyers are being offered little-to-no protection for their purchase, and unless you are a professional in multiple trades, there really is no way to know if the dream home you so desperately want to purchase is hiding any deep dark secrets within its walls. Here are a few tips and things to look for while you’re at your showing.

    Clogging and Faulty Parts in the Toilet

    Flush the toilets in each bathroom. If the bowl is slow to empty, to fill back up, or it won’t drain at all, you need to investigate further. There could be a clog, or the workings inside the tank have worn out and need replacing. Be sure to check behind the toilet for leaks during flushing too.

    Water Pressure

    Test the water pressure in the showers and all the faucets in the house by turning them on. Low water pressure could be a sign of sediment in the pipes or something as simple as a clogged aerator. Don’t forget to check any outdoor hosebibs as well. No water pressure? Check the shut off valves in the house!

    Water Heater

    Check the warranty on the water heater. We cannot stress this one enough. All you need to know is the brand and the serial number. Go to the manufacturer’s website, plug in the serial number and voila! It will let you know if the warranty is still valid or has expired. Yes, do this even if the home you are wanting to purchase is a new build. We have attended too many new homes where the water heater has failed, only to discover that a used tank was installed after construction was completed and the home owner was none the wiser. Shady as heck? Absolutely! Unfortunately we have seen it happen too often!

    Water Pipes

    What type of pipes are in the house? Avoid homes with lead pipes like the plague! Are they Poly B pipes? They were commonly installed in homes between 1978 and 1995. If so, you may want to replace them. The fittings are notorious for breaking down and cracking over time, creating water mayhem in the process.

    Basements and Crawlspaces

    Inspect the basement and/or crawlspace for evidence of previous and current leaks. Check the exposed pipes, any exposed rafters, and the walls.

     

    Buying a home is the most expensive and one of the most stressful things you will ever do in life. Take some of that pressure off by educating yourself and following any advice you can get from experts online or people you may know. If you ARE able to conduct a plumbing inspection, be sure the call the Red Seal professionals at Water Heater Rescue and book your appointment today!

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  • Water Heater Myths Busted

  • Everyone and their dog seems to think they know all about water heaters, their functionality and their maintenance. This week we’ll review some common misconceptions and set the record straight on some water heater myths.

     

    Maintenance Isn’t Really Necessary Until Something Goes Wrong.

    You might be thinking, “You’re kidding, right?” Unfortunately we’re not. We have even heard licensed professionals give this advice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Regular maintenance can add years to your tank’s life. We strongly suggest flushing your tank once a year to remove sediment that will ultimately cause corrosion and tank leaks. We also encourage checking your anode rod every year once it hits the 3 year mark. An anode rod attracts the minerals that turn to sediment. If your anode rod is worn out, sediment will build up more quickly.

     

    My Kid is Showering Too Long Leaving Me With No Hot Water.

    If your tank is less than 8 years old and you aren’t getting enough hot water, it is probably a sign that something else is going on. You may need your dip tube replaced because it has broken, something may be wrong with the thermostat, an element could be burnt out, or– horror of horrors– your tank may be dead and you need to call the experts at Water Heater Rescue for immediate replacement! We recommend to never just assume that someone is using too much water in the shower, because no hot water or very little hot water may be a symptom of a much bigger problem.

     

    Gas Permits are Not Required When Replacing a Gas Powered Tank.

    We certainly can’t speak to other areas in Canada, but in the Metro Vancouver Region, gas permits are INDEED required for all gas water heater replacements. Any professional, licensed plumber will not install a tank without proper paperwork and documentation.

     

    Tankless Delivers Hot Water Faster.

    Although once heated, your supply of hot water is endless, tankless units actually have a longer lag time for the water to heat up. However, unlike a storage tank, once the hot water begins to come out of your faucet with a tankless water heater, you will never run out.

    Water Heaters Can Explode.

    We’ve probably all heard someone’s story about their water heater exploding… 15 years ago or more. There are so many safeguards in place with water heaters these days that it would require simultaneous failures of an epic proportion. It’s so unlikely to happen that dogs driving Uber is more likely to happen first!

    If you have any more questions about your water heater, or would like to test a myth that we haven’t listed here, please give the experts at Water Heater Rescue a call!

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