How to Get Plumbing-Related Insurance Discounts

Edmonton is absolutely beautiful in the summertime, and we’re in the full swing of summer now. That means lots of sunny days, but also summer storms. For the most part, we celebrate the rainfall we get, but sometimes rainwater can lead to big plumbing problems.

Help from our Neighbours, Drayden Insurance

Here in Fort Saskatchewan, we are located next to Drayden Insurance, and we asked them how you can protect yourself against rainwater-related plumbing problems.

Get yourself a Sump Pump

Catherine Cake, an insurance expert from Drayden, told us about the importance of having a sump pump. We are sump pump installers (see our plumbing services page for details), and we agree that they are key to keeping your home dry. Sump pumps work by pumping water, that collects in the perimeter drains of your home’s drainage system, out to a municipal water drain or another location–away from the home–to a place that it won’t cause problems, like a storage bin or dry well.

If you don’t have a sump pump, even a small amount of rainwater can be a big problem, and insurance companies are wise to this. They feel that sump pumps are so important that they’ll give you a discount on your insurance premiums if you have one!

A Backwater Valve to Prevent Stinky, Expensive Problems

Another device, called a backwater valve can also save you money on your insurance. This valve prevents sewage from backing up and coming into your home via your drains, toilets, sinks, etc. Usually with a sewer back-up the culprit is a clog in your plumbing, but they can be caused when tree roots crush pipes and prevent sewage from exiting properly.

Having a sump pump can get you a discount of around 10% on your insurance and a backwater valve can save you an additional 5%, so that’s something to think about! You are better protected when you have both devices, and you save money!

If you’re thinking about getting a sump pump or backwater valve, summer is the perfect time to have one installed. At Canuck Plumbing, we can show you your options and help you decide which one is best for your needs. Give us a call or send us a message today!

How to Use your Air Conditioner Efficiently

Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to start thinking about air conditioning. Every year, without fail, as soon as the mercury climbs into the 20s and 30s, people rush to the stores to buy fans and air conditioners to make their homes comfortable. If you’re lucky enough to already own an air conditioner, you can just fire it up.

But wait! What if it’s not working properly? And how do you use it efficiently so as to not rack up enormous energy bills? In this article we’ll tell you how to get the most out of your air conditioner.

Inspect your Air Conditioner

After months of sitting dormant, you’ll need to check to make sure that your air conditioner is working properly. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Check to see if there is cold air coming out and use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the air coming out.
  1. Clean your air conditioning unit. At the very least, clean the air filter; it can make a huge difference! If you’re the handy do-it-yourself type, you can clean the coils and fan. Here’s an article with instructions on how to do a thorough cleaning on a central air conditioning unit.

Here’s a video on how to clean a portable unit.

  1. Close all the windows and doors and run the air conditioner. If it doesn’t reach the desired temperature in a reasonable amount of time, give us a call and we can service your unit and help you get comfortable this summer.

Close the Vents in the Basement

Since colder air will sink into the basement anyway, closing the vents in the lower parts of your home, like the basement, will force the air conditioned air into the upper parts of your home. If you have a portable unit, the best place to put it is on the upper floor.

Optimal Temperature for your AC Unit

Some like it hot, some like it cold. The perfect temperature for your home is ultimately up to you, but most people are comfortable at temperatures between 23 and 25 degrees. Find out what temperature you’re most comfortable at by starting at 23 degrees and slowly increasing the temperature until you find your sweet spot.

Use Fans to Help Circulate the Cool Air

Contrary to what you might think, using fans together with an air conditioner won’t increase your energy consumption, they will actually reduce it! Fans circulate the cool air inside, rather than bringing in hot air from outside. Read about the science behind using air conditioners with fans along with recommended fan sizes depending on the size of your room. 

Click here for even more energy saving tips for your home.

Close your Windows and Draw the Curtains

Even if there is a bit of a breeze, chances are that the air outside is hotter than the air inside if you have your air conditioner running. You don’t want that hot air coming in, so make your home like a thermos and close all the windows and doors. Closing your curtains will keep out sunlight, which can also heat up your home.

Adjust the AC Thermostat when you Sleep

Just like lowering the temperature when you’re sleeping during the winter will save on energy, raising the temperature when you’re sleeping during the summer saves energy too. You might be able to set it as high as 26 degrees, but if you find that uncomfortable, try 25 degrees.

Adjust the AC Thermostat when you Leave

There’s no sense in leaving your air conditioner going full blast when you’re not home. Sure it can be brutal waiting for the house to return to a nice temperature, but a few minutes of discomfort probably aren’t worth the cost of leaving the AC running all day while you’re at work, running errands, or doing whatever you do when you’re not home.

Want to know more about air conditioners? Read our article about How Air Conditioners Work.

Following these tips can save you money and you’ll feel better knowing that you’re getting the most out of your air conditioner in the hot summer months. If you ever run into problems, Canuck Plumbing offers expert air conditioning services for your air conditioner, ventilation systems, sump pumps, plumbing, and more.

Help keep your friends and neighbours cool this summer by sharing this article with them on Facebook or Twitter.

What’s the Difference Between a Boiler and a Water Heater?

Every house has one room that is home to its heating appliances. Like our brains, hearts, and lungs, these essential parts keep our homes livable. But just like our internal organs, we often don’t know exactly what’s going on in there, and there is a lot of confusion as to how it all works.

For instance, do you have a water heater, a boiler, or both? This article will tell you which is which and what each of them does.

What is a Water Heater?

If you’ve ever lived in a house with roommates, you know that running out of hot water in the middle of a shower can be a common occurrence. This happens when a home just has a water heater, which is basically a hot water storage tank and that tank runs out of hot water.

Here’s how a water heater works:

Cold water comes in via a pipe at the bottom of the tank, gets heated to an average of 110-120 F using gas or electricity, and then is pumped out via a pipe in the top of the unit as needed.

Hot Water Tank Fort Saskatchewan

Image via www.bradfordwhite.com

Water heater tank capacity varies, but they average about 40-50 gallons in Edmonton. That said, most residential homes have hot water heaters and never run out of hot water because average use is not enough to drain the tank.

Here are a few advantages to having a hot water heater:

  • They allow for continuous, high-demand usage.
  • They cost less up-front than tankless systems.
  • Certain models allow you to control them with an app.

Some disadvantages include the following:

  • Sediment can build up and affect the flow of water coming from your taps.
  • Bacteria in the tank can cause a bad odour.
  • Water heaters have many ports that water can leak from.

If you suspect your water heater isn’t performing as it should be, give us a call and we can fix whatever the problem is.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we recommend and carry Bradford White water heaters, which have an Energy Star rating.

Tankless Water Heaters

With Canadians becoming more environmentally conscious and having a growing interest in energy efficiency, tankless water heaters are gaining popularity.

There are many advantages to tankless heaters:

  • They take up less space as they are mounted onto a wall.
  • They heat the water on-demand, thus reducing energy consumption compared to a water heater, which has to keep an entire tank at a steady temperature all the time.
  • They provide continuous hot water.
  • They’ll save you money on your utilities.
tankless water heater Fort Saskatchewan

Image via us.navien.com

Here are some disadvantages of a tankless heaters:

  • Tankless water heaters cost two to three times more than traditional water heaters.
  • Installation requires a professional.
  • Tankless systems require their own electrical circuitry, so some rewiring may be necessary.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we specialize in equipment repairs and installation. We can install a great tankless water heater by Navien.

What is a Boiler?

Boilers are common, if not essential, for commercial application. Apartment buildings, swimming pools, hotels, schools, hospitals, and more all use boilers. Boilers heat water as needed for household hot water needs, but they can also heat water and force it through the home to give off heat for a central heating system.

In homes, boilers are more energy efficient than hot water tanks because they heat water instantly and don’t require a storage tank. A combi tank will provide heat to your home as well via a central heating system, which eliminates the need for a furnace.

The benefits of having a boiler in your home are similar to a tankless heater:

  • Economical to operate.
  • Ideal for vacation homes and to save energy costs when on vacation.
  • No tank, which means increased living space.
  • Great for homes with high hot water use.
  • Boilers also make a home more humid, which can eliminate the need for a humidifier in our dry Edmonton climate.
boiler Fort Saskatchewan

Image via www.bradfordwhite.com

Boilers can run into problems as well. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • No heat or hot water due to broken parts.
  • Leaks and drips (there can be many causes).
  • Banging, whistling, and gurgling, which are likely caused by low water pressure. (Do you notice strange noises coming from your furnace? Here’s what those sounds could mean.)
  • The pilot light can go out.

For the full list, read this article, Top 10 Most Common Boiler Problems.

No matter which you have in your home, Canuck Plumbing provides their repair/replacement services for both hot water heaters and boilers. Do you suspect that something is wrong with your boiler or hot water heater? Is your water supply showing signs of trouble, like these ones?

For repairs or service, give us a call, and we’ll give you the red carpet treatment!

Furnace Guide

Your Fall Plumbing Maintenance Guide

Edmonton is special: we get to enjoy four distinct seasons, and, for better or worse, all that comes with them. Since summer tends to extend into September, autumn is our shortest season. This means we don’t have much time to enjoy the colourful leaves and pumpkin spice lattes because before we know it, there’s frost on the ground.

So take advantage of those three or four weeks of mild fall weather and prepare your home’s plumbing for the next six months of snow and ice by doing the preventive maintenance outlined in this article.

That way you’ll avoid leaks and floods that could seriously damage your house, and you’ll be ready for all the water runoff when things finally start to melt in the spring.

1. Drain and Clear Debris from your Outdoor Water Fixtures

Properly Store Your Garden Hoses

Our garden hoses see a lot of use during the summer. We water plants, run the sprinkler, fill wading pools, and generally “hose things/dogs/people down.” And while hoses can be left on the ground and stepped on without getting damaged, they need to be brought inside for the winter.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Drain all the water to prevent rotting and mould, fungus, and mildew from growing inside.
  2. Coil the hose. If it’s not coiling easily, try going in the other direction.
  3. Store on a shelf or hook.

Prepare your Backyard Pond and/or Fountain for Winter

To be clear, the kind of pond we’re referring to is the kind without fish. If you have a small koi pond on your property, PetEducation.com is an excellent resource for koi enthusiasts. They’ve written a detailed guide on Seasonal Pond Care that will help you prepare your pond and fish for the winter.

fall plumbing maintenance

Image via Pixabay

Fish or not, most Albertans will drain their backyard ponds and give them a good cleaning in the fall. Draining your pond is simple and there are a few methods to choose from:

  1. Use the pond drain. This is only an option if your pond was built with a drain, but it makes emptying your pond a breeze. First clean out any debris, then drain the pond.
  2. Use a shop vac. This is great for draining small ponds and sucking up all the gunk at the bottom.
  3. Use a sump pump. For larger ponds (or less effort with smaller ponds), sump pumps can carry your pond water into a sewer, a tank, a drain, or even a giant barrel if you’d like to use the nutrient-rich pond water to feed your foliage.

2. Clean out your Eavestroughs and Downspouts

Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, and Sherwood Park all get about the same amount of rainfall: not much. But heavy snowfall that collects over months can lead to ground saturation and flooding in the spring. Your eavestroughs can prevent this kind of flooding by directing water away from your home’s foundation.

Also, make sure your down spouts are long enough to divert water away from your home and onto your lawn.

Making sure that your eavestroughs and gutters are clean will also prevent rusting, roof damage, terrible smells from rotting leaves, and even stains to the side of your house! So roll up your sleeves and take a few minutes to clear them out.

To learn more about cleaning your eavestroughs, check out this video:

3. Keep Drains Free of Debris

Clear away all the grass clippings, landscaping trimmings, and fallen leaves to allow for excellent drainage during melts.

4. Check Your Sump Pump This Fall

We recommend checking and cleaning your sump pump * every year. You’ll want to test it, clean certain parts of your system, and make repairs (if needed) to ensure another year of perfect sump pumping.

Here is a list of things to check off this fall:

  • Confirm that the pump is upright.
  • Pour some water into the pit. If the pump doesn’t start automatically or if the water doesn’t drain, call in our plumbing experts, and we will service it for you.
  • Remove submersible pump and clean the grate on the bottom. Small rocks can get pulled into the grate and block the inlet or damage the pump.
  • Check that the outlet pipes are joined securely.
  • Make sure pipes drain out at least 20 feet from your foundation.
  • Check that the vent hole in the discharge pipe is free of debris or obstructions.

* Important to know is that sump pumps use electricity, which means they may stop working if the power goes out.

In the Edmonton area, fall feels like it only lasts a couple weeks, so once you’ve done your fall plumbing chores, get started on your preventative maintenance for winter so you’ll have more time to enjoy the fleeting moments of fall.

Some common winter plumbing issues to watch out for are water heater breakdowns, frozen pipes, leaks, and high utility bills. Learn more about these potential problems in our blog “Common Winter Plumbing Issues for the Edmonton Area and How to Avoid Them.” 

Do you have any tips or tricks for fall plumbing maintenance? Share them below in the comments section. Feel free to share this article with your friends and neighbours too, so they can avoid future plumbing issues.

Our Canuck Plumbers specialize in preventive maintenance, repairs, and emergency plumbing service. We provide you with Red Carpet Service when we’re servicing your home, small business, or commercial property.

Common Winter Plumbing Issues for the Edmonton Area and How to Avoid Them

Winter is the holiday season and we already have so much on our minds. There’s holiday shopping, baking, and eating, and the constant challenge to stay warm. Although your home’s plumbing is probably not top-of-mind, it’s important to protect your home against plumbing issues during the cold winter months.

Below you will find some common winter plumbing issues, what you can do about them, and how we can help!

Make Sure Your Furnace is in Great Shape

The most common winter plumbing problem is a broken furnace because when the heat goes out, your pipes may freeze, crack, or burst. Not to mention damaged ducts, fires, gas leaks, and even explosions!

So make sure your furnace is well maintained and in great shape for the winter by reading up on furnace maintenance and troubleshooting in your guides below:

How to Avoid and Fix Frozen pipes

Frozen pipes are common in the Edmonton area during winter months, so it’s a good idea to know which pipes are at risk and take steps against freezing. Pipes may freeze because they don’t have enough insulation or warm air flow around them.

When pipes freeze they can create cracks, leaks, or even floods, which can cause significant damage to your home or business. Read our guide on how to prevent and thaw frozen pipes.

Small Leaks in Pipes are Actually a Big Deal

You may think that a small drip from your outdoor faucet isn’t a concern, or that constant dripping tap in your sink is just a fact of life, but even small, easily fixable leaks can waste a lot of water, and lead to water damage to the interior and exterior of your home!

What may have been a small, insignificant leak in the summer can turn into a major issue in the winter. According to a Toronto Life article by R. Hough, “If undetected, leaks in water pipes may contribute to future pipe failures. In the city of Toronto alone, there are roughly 1,400 water main breaks a year and the vast majority occur in the winter—up to 70 a week.”

Leaks can also corrode pipes and introduce rust into your water supply.

Also important to know is that a leak in your home affects the whole system. The Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) puts the issue into perspective: “Water losses represent a lost opportunity. According to the latest estimates from Environment Canada, one in every six cubic metres of water supplied by municipal water agencies in Canada never reaches a customer. If all of this water were recovered, it could supply all of the needs for a city of over three million people.”

That’s saying that water lost to leaks could provide water for Edmonton and area three times over!

Here’s how to check for water leaks in your home:

  1. Check your water bill. Edmontonians use around 250 Litres of water per day, which is low compared to other regions. If your water usage for a family of four exceeds this amount, you may have leaks.
  1. Do a water meter test. During a time when you’re not using any water, check your meter. Then check it again two hours later. There should be no change on the meter. If there is, you may have a leak.

Also read our water leaks blog post for more on checking for leaks!

winter plumbing issues

Image via Pixabay

How to Avoid Running out of Hot Water

Getting up in the morning is hard enough. Temperatures below -30 are common in Alberta, and waking up to frigid temperatures and snow is practically painful! Sometimes a nice, hot shower is exactly what you need to be able to face the world. Except maybe once you turn on the tap, only cold water comes out!

Here are some tips to avoid running out of hot water:

  • Plan your water usage. Don’t take showers one after the other, instead space them out.
  • Consider turning up the water heater, but no more than 125F to avoid scalding.
  • Clean your showerhead to get rid of mineral deposits that may be causing low water pressure. Here’s an easy way to make your showerhead sparkle.

How to Avoid a Boiler or Water Heater Breakdown

Maybe you don’t have hot water and it’s not simply because you’ve run out, but your boiler or water heater has broken down. Take some steps before winter hits to prevent this from happening:

  • Make sure the water heater’s pilot light is on at all times.
  • Since Edmonton has hard water, sediment can build up in the water heater tank and cause rust, which could make its way into your drinking water. If you have an old or rusty water heater, consider replacing it before the weather gets cold.
  • Another way to prevent boiler or water heater breakdown is to have us install a water softener for you. Water softeners break down the calcium and magnesium that cause scaling. Learn more about the benefits of a water softener here. 

Even if your boiler and water heater are newer, we recommend having them serviced in the summer or fall to help prevent a breakdown. If, when winter is here, you find yourself without hot water, call plumbing emergency line right away.

How to Prevent Leaks and Bursts in Outdoor Faucets and Rain Barrels

Leaking or poorly insulated outdoor faucets are one of the main sources for plumbing issues in the winter.

Avoid these by shutting off the water to your outdoor faucets and draining them completely. Drain your rain barrels, fountains, and other outdoor water reservoirs as well.

Once you’ve drained the plumbing fixtures, you can detach the P-trap, drain it, and then reinstall it.

How to Prevent High Heating Bills

Here are a few easy ways to save money on heating:

  • Have a thermostat, and program it to a couple degrees cooler when you’re sleeping or aren’t going to be home. It’s safe to go as low as 16 C.
  • Make sure your heating vents are clean and clear of clutter to allow warm air to flow freely.
  • Draft proof your home.

Draft proofing is a good idea for any season. In the summer, drafts mean you’re not getting the most of your air conditioner, or you’ll find that certain areas of your home are unbearably warm.

In the winter, drafts are much more uncomfortable and potentially harmful and costly. Your pipes could freeze and spring leaks or even burst. Draft proof your home by adding new insulation or adding more insulation in drafty areas.

Common drafty areas may include the following:

  • Around the fireplace and chimney
  • Older or improperly installed windows and doors
  • Places where your walls meet your home’s foundation
  • Where pipes, phone and cable lines, and electricity wires enter the home

Don’t let winter plumbing issues become problems. From small leaks to water heater upgrades, we can help you out.

Share your winter plumbing tips below and share this article with your friends to make sure they stay safe, warm, and plumbing-trouble free this season.

How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes Inside and Outside of the Home

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Living in Alberta, even for a short time, you come to realize that our winters are very unpredictable! One day, it’s sunny and calm, and your neighbours are walking their dogs in shorts. The next day, the temperature drops 20 or 30 degrees, snow or freezing rain starts to fall, and you’re stuck inside for an undetermined amount of time.

In circumstances like this, it’s a good idea to prepare your home against weather-related problems that can happen, like frozen pipes, which could lead to burst pipes and flooding. This article will help you prevent frozen pipes, thaw pipes that are frozen, and tell you what to do if your pipes burst.

First and foremost, you’ll need to know where your exposed pipes are located. If you haven’t already, you should take stock of your house and identify any areas where pipes are exposed to the cold. Areas could include the following:

  • Unheated basements
  • Poorly insulated walls (especially outside walls)
  • Near windows or cold air vents
  • Any pipes that are outdoors (like your garden hose faucets)

You’ll need to learn where your water valves are. This is great information to have on hand in any situation, but it’s also essential in an emergency situation. Figure out where your valves are and how to turn them on and off.

After having identified potentially problematic areas, here are some preventive steps you can take against frozen pipes, both inside and outside your home:

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes Inside Your Home

  1. If you have discovered uninsulated, or poorly insulated pipes, wrap them in insulation or heating tape, like this product.
  2. Ensure your windows are weather-sealed, so that pipes that are close by are not exposed to cold air. An added benefit to this is you will save on heating costs and your house will be less chilly in the winter months. Here are some other ways to save money on your utilities.
  3. Make sure that your walls, especially in the basement and crawl spaces, are also well insulated. Add more insulation if necessary.
  4. This may seem like a no-brainer in the winter, but make sure all your windows are closed and cover all open-air vents. Drafts can cause pipes to freeze too!
  5. When the weather is especially cold, turn the heat on in your basement.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes Outside Your Home

  1. Always remove your garden hose(s) from the faucet when the weather starts to get cold. Hoses left hooked to the faucet can cause a pipe burst and other unfortunate issues.
  2. Since you never know how cold it’s going to get, it’s also a good idea to install an outdoor faucet cover.

You can watch the video below to learn more about covering your outdoor faucets to prevent freezing!

How to Prepare Your Pipes Before You Leave on Vacation

For lots of Albertans, winter means warm destination vacations or leaving home to spend time with extended family. Before you go, you should take a few minutes to do the following:

  • Turn off the water supply to your washing machine
  • Keep the bedroom, basement, bathroom, and even cabinet doors open so that warm air can circulate throughout your house.
  • Set your thermostat to 20 degrees and make sure the batteries are fresh!

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Unfortunately, pipes do sometimes freeze up. When water in the pipe freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the pipe, causing it to crack, break, or come loose from its connections. If you notice the crack before water starts leaking and causing damage (or all-out bursting), you can thaw the pipe yourself.

Start by opening the water valve and turning the faucet on. Next, remove the faucet’s aerator (the screen at the opening) in case any debris or chunks of ice come out.

Begin with the part closest to the faucet and use one of the following methods to thaw the frozen water:

  • Take a towel and soak it with hot water. Wrap the towel around the cold sections of the pipe. Continue soaking the towels in hot water as they cool off until you’re finished.
  • Use a hair dryer to thaw the frozen section. *Be careful when using any sort of electrical equipment around water to avoid getting electrocuted.

Other resources say that another option is using a propane torch, but we do not recommend this. Any type of open flame inside a house is a potential fire hazard. Not only that, but you could damage the pipes!

frozen pipes

What to do When a Pipe Bursts

Hopefully this doesn’t happen. But if it does, stay calm and do the following:

  • Locate and shut off the main water valve. This isn’t always the case, but if the pipe bursts in a hot water pipe, be sure to shut off the valve on the water heater.
  • Shut off your central heating.
  • After your water is shut off, turn on all your taps to drain the water out of your pipes.
  • If it’s manageable, try to collect leaking water in a bucket to minimize water damage.

The next thing you need to do is call us! We are available to do repairs and handle emergencies like these 24/7. Keep our number close by and we will be there to help as soon as possible. 1-587-803-1030

Help your friends out by sharing this article. They will be grateful if they ever have to deal with frozen pipes, and you might even help them prevent a disaster!

8 Summer Plumbing Issues to Watch Out For

We Albertans are a rugged bunch. We tolerate—and even enjoy—the winter months, building snowmen, skating, skiing, visiting ice castles, and taking in winter festivals, but most of us look forward to our long, hot, sunny summers.

summer plumbing

While wintertime plumbing issues are no longer on your mind, you may not be thinking about issues that may come up in the summer. Warm months make us more active and we use our appliances, electricity, and water more than we do in any other season!

Leaks, flooding, clogs and blockages, and faulty appliances can all cause issues in the summer, so here are a few common problems to watch out for.

The Top 8 Summer Plumbing Issues

1. Garburator Problems

Summertime is the best time for cookouts, potlucks, and backyard BBQs, which can also mean a lot of food prep, dishes to wash, and food waste. Your garburator will have its work cut out for it!

More use means more wear, and you don’t want this handy household appliance to break down. Read our previous blog on how to clean and maintain your garburator.

2. Standing Water in the Yard

This could be a sign of a leak in the sewer system. These leaks can cause corrosion and breed mold and insects. If you’re experiencing dampness in your basement, a sump pump can pump water away from your foundation.

Even in Sherwood Park, Edmonton, or Fort Saskatchewan, it can be good to have a sump pump. While Southern Alberta saw major flooding in 2013, the Edmonton area also had the most rain we’d seen since 2003! We offer sump pump services at Canuck Plumbing. Read more about our services.

3. Sump Pump Not Working

Already have a sump pump? Maybe yours isn’t working the way it should. It may be time for a repair or replacement before you end up with a flooded home.

It could also be a good time to consider installing a sump pump alarm which can actually save you money on your home insurance. Summer is a great time to catch up on yard work and home maintenance because let’s face it – our Alberta weather can be quite unpredictable throughout the other three seasons.

4. Clogged Drains

Kids around the house? Keep an eye on your sinks, drains, and especially toilets! Excess dirt and mud in the sinks can cause drain blockages. Toilets are tempting for children, and unfortunately they don’t always realize that most things should not be flushed. See our article here for more things to keep out of the toilet.

In the case of a clog, here are some of our previous articles on how to unclog your sink, how to unclog your shower, or your bathtub drain.

5. Higher Water Bills

This may not necessarily be a plumbing issue, but since it is household water-related, it is included here. During the summer people tend to use more water due to more loads of laundry, watering plants, filling wading pools, and washing dirty animals, just to name a few.

Save on water bills by not leaving sprinklers running (any avid gardener will tell you to water your garden an lawn first thing in the morning and then again in the evening, never during the heat of the day), using grey water (also known as rain or runoff water) to water your plants, and using the washing machine for full loads only.

It’s also a great idea to check your pipes and plumbing fixtures (toilets, ice makers, washing machines, and faucets) for leaks and get them fixed right away.

6. Swimming Pool Issues

Your swimming pool should be a source of joy and relaxation, not a headache. Avoid an out-of-order pool this summer by having your Canuck Plumbers check your tubing, pumps, drains, and lines before pool season arrives.

7. Outdoor Faucet Leaks

Even a small leak in your outdoor faucet can waste hundreds of litres of water, increasing your water bill, creating a pool of muddy water underfoot, or even causing water damage to your home.

Call us to schedule a service appointment to get your hose bib repaired before these issues come up.

summer plumbing issues8. Water Heater Turned up Too High

During the summer months, you can turn down the water heater from 140 F to about 120 F (or 49 C). You won’t notice the difference, and you’ll save a little bit on utilities. Don’t turn the water down any further or you risk having bacteria grow.

This is also a good tip all year round because you can also turn the water heater down when you go on vacation.

Do you have any concerns about these issues? Do you need your drainage system checked by a professional? Are you thinking about getting a sump pump to protect your home from flooding? We can help you with all these plumbing issues and more and we are available 24/7 in case emergencies arise. Just call Canuck Plumbing and Heating today – 587-803-1030!

Comment below with your summertime tips, and share with your friends to help them avoid annoying summer plumbing issues.

Common Spring Plumbing Issues and How to Prevent Them

Have you seen it? Slowly coming out from down by the horizon, climbing higher and higher into the sky? Yes! It’s the sun! Back to thaw us out and remind us why we live in a land that is frozen half the year.

Finally spring has arrived, and as we emerge from hibernation, we start looking around our homes and realizing that there are a few maintenance issues that have popped up over the winter. Below you will find some of the more common spring plumbing issues, what you can do about them, and how we can help!

Here are some common spring plumbing issues and what you can do to prevent a bigger problem:

Cracked Water Pipes

When the water in your pipes freezes, it expands and becomes ice, which can cause cracks or even a full-out burst. You can prevent cracked pipes in winter by insulating them or turning off the water during very cold times, but nevertheless, you may find cracks come springtime.

In the spring, do a visual inspection of your pipes and look for cracks, gaps, breaks or leaks.

spring plumbing issues

Spring is good time to inspect your outdoor faucets for leaks!

Get them fixed now to gear up for increased water use during the summer. Don’t forget to check faucets outside. We, at Canuck Plumbing and Heating, can conduct a detailed inspection of your pipes, and quickly and professionally do any repairs or replacements for you while giving you the red-carpet treatment.

Sink or Tub Not Draining

Bathtubs and sinks see a lot of use during the winter. You can’t just hose the dog off outside, so your tub could be plugged up with fur. Added to that could be bath products with drain clogging ingredients like scrubbing beads, oils, or even the sparkly bath bombs that you got for Christmas, and your drains might not be living up to their name.

Thankfully, a clogged drain isn’t something to stress about. It can be easily fixed, and we already have an article about it! Read here to learn how to unclog your bathtub drain.

Spring Flooding

While cracked pipes and clogged drains are problematic, flooding is a nightmare. With spring comes a lot of snow melt, and with snow melt comes a lot of displaced water that can end up in your basement.

Sometimes your basement turns into a wading pool, but other times basement flooding is less noticeable. Here are some signs of a wet basement to be aware of.

There are a few ways you can be proactive about preventing spring flooding:

  • Disconnect your downspouts from your sewer system and make sure water is draining about 6.5 feet away from your house’s foundation
  • Maintain your eaves troughs so they are clear of debris
  • Clear the drainage grates in front of your house and the drainage swales between your house and your neighbours’ so melting water and rain can flow freely into them

Other than the items listed above, a licensed, professional Canuck plumber can do a thorough inspection of your plumbing and foundation to ensure that your drainage system is working. We’ll also teach you how it works and how to maintain it.

We also recommend using a sump pump and we can give you instructions on how to maintain it and keep it operational during power outages, which will come in very handy during a seriously warm and melty April or a severe summer storm.

spring

A sure sign of spring: the Crocus!

You can find more information and tips about flood prevention in this online brochure created by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

How to Prevent Spring Plumbing Issues

Giving new meaning to the term “spring cleaning”, this time of year is a great time to inspect your pipes and waterlines, and replace any that are too small or corroded before they cause a plumbing nightmare.

Change Out Corroded Pipes

Corroded pipes are another problem you may encounter, not only in spring, but at just about any time of the year. You may become aware of the fact that your copper pipes are corroded when the oxidized copper starts leaving blue stains on your bathroom fixtures—or even your hair!

Corrosion in copper pipes can be caused by a number of things:

  • Corrosive bacteria.
  • Improper grounding of electrical equipment or appliances near copper pipes.
  • Pipes that are too small for the amount of water going through them.
  • Inadequate cleaning, causing sand, grit, and other solids to wear on the pipes.
  • Electricity in the ground caused by lightning can also corrode your pipes.

Having a plumber fix or replace your corroded pipes as soon as possible will stop rot and water damage by preventing or repairing leaks.

Replace Pipes That are Too Small

A drizzle is a good thing when it comes to rain, but a drizzle from your tap is not. If you’re experiencing low water pressure coming from your faucets, you may have pipes that are too small for your household needs.

Replacing your pipes that are too small with bigger pipes will give you more water pressure. How big should you go? Well, you can never go too big, so ask us to give you a recommendation based on your water use. That way your rainshower shower head will feel more like the downpour you desire!

Start off your spring with confidence in your home! From small fixes to pipe and equipment upgrades to emergencies, Canuck Plumbing and Heating has you covered. We offer you red-carpet service for all your plumbing needs AND MORE!

Does the idea of spring plumbing maintenance and prevention sound like a chore? Join our  Canuck Diamond Club where we take care of all of your spring plumbing issues with guaranteed same-day service, as well as send a journeyman to perform a 360-point inspection of your home including drain lines, expansion joints, valve, and all those other hard to reach areas!

Contact us today at 587.803.1030 to learn more about this great program or to schedule a service appointment!

The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Plumber or Heating Service Professional

In a large city centre like Edmonton or Fort Saskatchewan, it can be hard to find a plumbing or heating professional that is trustworthy, good at their job, and transparent about their pricing.

Thanks to the growing popularity of using Google searches to look for anything and everything, even Joe Schmo, the not-quite-a-plumber, can pose himself as an expert as long as he has a nice looking website.

It is up to you as the homeowner to be able to decipher whether or not the person you’re letting into your home is worthy of your trust.

While sometimes the handyman from down the street is a good enough choice to help replace a tap, do you really want to let someone with an unknown reputation into your home? Or allow them to handle more complex jobs like gas fitting?

For your safety, it is especially important that you ALWAYS hire a certified gas fitter to work with any gas lines, valves, or other gas-related fixtures in your home. Failure to install a component properly, or failure to follow important safety procedures could result in damage to your home and even poses a risk to the personal safety of you and your family.

With that said, hiring a professional seems like common sense.

However, hiring the right service professional can be stressful for homeowners.

We’d like to relieve some of that stress by giving you our list of the Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Plumbing or Heating Professional – before you hire them.

If the company you are interested in hiring can answer “yes” to all 10 questions, then they are worthy of your hard-earned dollar and your trust.

The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Plumbing or Heating Professional

1. Are you licensed?

Before you hire just anyone, it is important to note if they have a proper license for their trade. If not, you could be paying for less-than-perfect service.

When it comes to natural gas in your home, it is incredibly important that you hire a certified gas fitter to work on any problems you may be experiencing. We do not even sell parts to those who are not certified. This is because an improper installation could result in damage to your home, or even worse, it could harm you or your family.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, each of our plumbers and HVAC professionals are ticketed through Alberta. Additionally, many of us are Red Seal Journeyman Plumbers, which means we are at the top of out trade and licensed to work in any province.

We can produce all proper documents each time we arrive on a call, including our registered business licenses for Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, and many of the surrounding ares and counties.

2. Are you bonded?

This is another important question to ask your plumber or HVAC professional. Basically, it means, “Does your company vouch for you and your work?”

Bonding protects you, the homeowner, from contractors who fail to complete a job, or to uphold any other obligations that affect the job.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, each and every employee is thoroughly background checked, drug tested, and then deemed worthy of becoming bonded with our company’s reputation.

3. Are you insured?

There are two types of insurance that a reputable company should have: liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation (WCB).

Proper liability insurance coverage is maybe the most important question to ask about because it ensures that if anything were to happen, like say, an explosion due to a faulty gas line and your home burned down, and the company your hired was found at fault for this damage, the company would have insurance to cover the damage.

WCB coverage is also essential to have. This protects you as the homeowner in case the plumber or HVAC professional you hired were to get hurt on the job. It pays for lost wages due to injury, regardless of who was at fault. For instance, if your plumber slips and breaks their arm on your icy walkway, you would be protected from being sued for medical care and lost wages.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we have a $5 million liability coverage policy as well as WCB coverage for all of our employees.

4. Do you hire sub-contractors? If so, are they licensed, bonded, and insured?

In some cases, companies hire sub-contractors who are not covered under the same policies as the employees.

Asking this question ensures that whomever you hire, sub-contractor or not, is covered under all three areas.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we have the same stringent rules for our sub-contractors as we do for our employees, including drug testing and background checks, and they are always licensed, bonded, and insured under our policies.

5. Do you offer same-day service?

While not as cautionary as the above questions, a company that has respect for your time is one worth hiring.

No one likes the open-ended anytime between Tuesday and Thursday, sometime between 10am to 4pm, and we might show up policy.

We like to show our respect for your time by arriving on time to each job, clearly communicating with the homeowner, and offering 24/7 emergency services!

Keep in mind that same day service applies when you call at the beginning of the day. Also, members of our Maintenance Program receive guaranteed same day service!

6. Can I expect that you’ll be prepared to diagnose and repair the problem when you arrive?

The answer to this question should always be yes, but sometimes companies will diagnose over the phone and that diagnosis can change once they arrive and see the problem with their own eyes.

This can be a problem for you, the homeowner, when it comes to paying for someone’s time. You want each job to be assessed correctly and completed timely and efficiently.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we never diagnose a problem over the phone. We confirm our diagnostic fee with you over the phone. Then, we arrive to EVERY job with our Warehouse on Wheels (a van fully-stocked with equipment and parts for plumbing and HVAC service jobs). Next, we thoroughly diagnose the problem, go through our pricing guide with you, decide the best way to proceed, and finally, fix the problem for you.

7. Will you go through the price point of the job and any materials needed with me before I agree to the quote?

Just like the question above, you don’t want to waste time getting the issue resolved, and yet, you want to make sure that you’re not going to be paying for hidden fees.

A reputable company should answer yes to this question. If there are travel fees, diagnostic fees, or any other fees in addition to parts and labour – they should be clearly explained to you.

We also believe in being transparent with our pricing. For each job, we go through our pricing guide with you so that you know exactly what you are getting and what you are paying for – no hidden charges!

We even offer financing plans for purchasing big tickets items, like a new furnace or hot water tank. Learn more here. 

In addition to great financing plans, we also accept Air Miles, which allows you to earn miles on your entire invoice!

8. Do you offer warranties on your parts and labour?

A reputable plumbing or HVAC company will offer warranties on both their parts and service for at least one year.

Basically, a warranty means that if something happens to the part or product that was installed, the company who installed it will come back and replace or fix it without any charge to you.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we offer a One Year Warranty on everything we do, which includes parts and labour. Additionally, if you become a Canuck Diamond Club Member, you have access to a Five Year Warranty, free of charge! You can learn more about our maintenance program here.

9. Will you respect my home and leave it just as it was when you arrived?

No one likes having to clean up boot marks, scuffs, and other crud from their home once the plumber or heating professional they hired finishes the job and leaves.

Find out what the company you are going to hire has to say about their policies for conducting themselves in your home. If you’re not impressed by the answer, don’t feel bad about moving on to the next name on your list.

Part of what makes us different at Canuck Plumbing and Heating is our VIP Services and Red Carpet Treatment that we offer to everyone.

What this means is that we treat you and your home with the utmost respect. When we arrive, we do not block or park in your driveway, and our vehicles are always professional looking as do our employees (dressed in crisp white shirts and black pants).

Once we are invited into your home, we wear protective covers on our boots, and we lay down special red mats (a red carpet treatment if you will) as well as drop cloths, which will protect your floors from our tools and anything else that may fall onto the floor while we work.

10. Are you available on evenings and weekends?

Again, this has less to do with safety and professionalism, and more to do with convenience and respect for your time.

A company that offers flexibility with their time, helps you.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we get that you may need to take time off work to accommodate us. So, in order to help out, we are open 10 hours every day, 7 days a week. We don’t want you to miss out on work or life, so we try to offer as much flexibility with our scheduling as possible.

We also offer 24/7 emergency services because plumbing or heating problems don’t just happen between Monday and Friday, 9 to 5.

We hope this list will help you determine which plumbing and heating professional you’d rather allow into your home.

For more information on how we help our customers, or to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call 587.803.1030 today!