Category: Maintenance

A Few Smart Tips To Help Avoid Water Damage

Don’t you just hate when you go outside and walk around your front steps and see cracks in the concrete and stone? One of the biggest problems is where the hand rail is mounted into the steps. This is the biggest culprit because most of the time the concrete is not filled to the top where the hand rail and steps meet.

Easy Fix

What happens is that water gets into the holes and when it gets cold it freezes. When water freezes it expands and cracks the steps. There is a real easy way to fix this problem even if part of the step has broken off. Go to your local hardware store and pick up Vinyl Concrete Patch. This product is very easy to use. It is a matter of adding water, mixing, and applying with a small putty knife.

If there are other cracks or holes, you can also use this product to fix them so no further damage will occur. By doing this yourself you will save yourself some money. If you are still not sure how it works, then when you go to the hardware store just ask someone in the store and they will be glad help you.

Old Hot Water Heater

Another problem in the house is a hot water heater that is getting close to being 10 to 12 years old. For most hot water heaters 10 to 12 years is all they last. If you start seeing water on the floor this may be an indication that there is a problem coming your way. It may be as simple as a rusted tank. This is very common for a hot water heater. There are other signs of aging. If you start smelling rotten eggs or when the hot water heater is creating hot water you may hear something that sounds like it is rolling around inside the tank. Both of these are signs of a hot water heater nearing the end of its useful life.

If you spot any signs of problems, you should immediately look at the hot water tank replacement to avoid any water damage.

I do have a couple other suggestions for you about your hot water tanks. For less than $15 you can buy what is called a watchdog water alarm. What this does is it sits at the base of your heater and warns you if a leak develops. I would only suggest using this if you do not have the funds to buy a new hot water heater. If the alarm does go off hopefully you can turn the water off before any major water damage occurs.

The second thing I suggest if you are installing a new hot water heater is to see if you can put a catch pan under the heater with a drain line that can go to the exterior of the house or to a sump pump. This way if your heater does leak, the pan will catch it and drain the water out. You can buy drain pans that cost under $10 at your local hardware store.

One more thing I’d like to suggest is that you call a local plumber to look things over and even do the hot water tank repair Vancouver to help extend the life of the unit.

These tips that I have given you will help you and save you money. And saving money is what it is all about nowadays. There are a lot of things you can do yourself instead of calling a professional to come to your house and fix it for you which is costly. If you tackle a problem when you see it you would be surprised how easy it may be to fix it yourself.

Your house is a valuable investment that you have made so keep an eye out on those little things that need to be fixed and fix them as soon as possible. I hope these tips have helped you and keep an eye out because there are more on the way.

If you are investing in buying a residential property, a professional home inspection can help you to avoid costly repairs. During their examination they can spot problems and potential problems that may cost you a lot of money. Minor repairs are one thing but buying a house full of problems without knowing it can be devastating to the financial security and health of your family.

Five Ways to Figure Out If You Need A Plumbing Snake

Taking care of the plumbing in your home is a major part of homeownership, which means you’ll be dedicating time to it over the years. As part of this dedicated task, it will be important to be sure you have the right tools for the job, and one of these tools is the plumbing snake. As the name would entail, this particular piece of plumbing gear is a flexible, serpentine line that extends through a drain or a toilet in order to not only cause a clog to be dislodged with its movement in circles, but its ridges is also able to tear away at the problem area.

They are great tools for the plumbing profession and even those in the amateur ranks, but the problem arises when you have to be able figure out when to use it.

That said, here are five ways to help figure out whether you need a plumbing snake or not:

1. The Issue is Deeper – Once you’ve determined that the clog is somewhere beyond the immediate area of what’s in front of you, the flexible length & movement of a plumbing snake is the ideal tool.

2. Check for Water Movement – If you have a problem drain, you want to address the issue quickly, but take a moment to see if the bit of standing or slow-moving water is actually moving. This may mean that whatever is causing the issue is small. If there is no movement at all & minutes later there is little change, it may be time for the snake.

3. The Right Material – Plumbing snakes are made of metal, and that’s important to keep in mind because if you’re dealing with pipes or fixtures that are somewhat fragile, you run a risk of causing damage. However, you can address the issue away from the problem area at a different point in the plumbing that is easier to work with & less fragile.

4. You’ve Done the Easy Stuff First – ‘Easy’ is a relative term when it comes to plumbing, but when you encounter a clog of some kind, you need to be sure you approach it with an order instead of panic (emergencies excluded). Did you shut the water off? Also, you’ve tried using a less caustic/DIY clog cleaning solution but still no luck. Finally, you’ve tried using a plunger to no avail. The snake becomes the tool to go to after all of this.

5. Calling the Pros – Even though a trip to the hardware store will show a number of snakes available to the public for home use, you may still not be sure what to do regardless of the tips you get from your local hardware guy or online tutorials. This is the perfect reason to call a professional who knows how to use the right tools. Moreover, they have more heavy-duty variations of the plumbing snake that can really get the job done.

A plumbing snake, or any other maintenance tool, is only as good as the operator. Be a responsible homeowner & become comfortable with these tools, but always contact a professional plumbing company when in doubt.

Suggestions To Fix A Clogged Shower Drain or a Toilet

One of the worst problems that people will ever run into when they own a home, business, or at the house of a friend or family member is dealing with a clogged shower head or toilet. Not only is this embarrassing, it can also be quite expensive to fix if the person in question does not have the expertise to deal with the issue at hand. If the problem is large enough that it might cause a risk to the plumbing system or home, it should not be dealt with except by a trained professional. However, there are some small things that you can do to fix a clog without needing professional help.

Clogged Shower Heads

A clogged shower can be one of two things. You can be experiencing a problem with the shower drain, or perhaps the shower head is not working correctly. While the drain part might not be as hard to deal with using common knowledge, the shower head is definitely the more difficult part.

Unless you have a special water filter, you will probably know that there are minerals, calcium and other deposits that come naturally in water. The problem here is that these items eventually build up over time and clog the shower head.

You can spend a ton of money on expensive items at a store to fix this, but these items might actually prove to be caustic to the shower head itself. These chemicals can eventually corrode the metal and result in needing a new shower head. Instead, using a common household item like vinegar can save the day.

Clogged Shower Drain Tip

This vinegar fix is simple to do. All you need is a plastic baggie, an elastic band or string, and regular white vinegar. You simply fill the plastic bag with vinegar and tie it around the shower head with the elastic string or rope. The shower head must be completely immersed in the vinegar. Leave this for at least 24 hours for best results. This simple fix enables the vinegar to eat away at anything that is not actual metal, thus cleaning the shower head. All that you need to do afterwards is clean the vinegar out of the shower and tub. If this does not work and you are still experiencing problems, you might need to replace the shower head anyway.

Fixing A Plugged Toilet

This is by far one of the most common problems people face. The first thing that you need to do is flush the toilet if you have not already done so. This shows it is indeed clogged, but never continue flushing it afterward. Before trying to clean a clogged toilet always be sure to wear protective gloves and/or goggles, and try to ensure that the floor is protected from anything that might come out of the toilet, as it may be messy. The next step is to turn all water that is supplied to the toilet off. This ensures that the toilet will not continue to flood while you work.

Another important thing to do is to be sure that the bathroom is well ventilated so that any chemicals or materials in the toilet do not cause you dizziness. Two ways to fix a clog in the simplest manner are as follows.

You will usually have either a plunger or coat hanger handy. These two items are a boon when fixing a clogged toilet. Ensure that you do not get toilet splash back when using a plunger by using slow and firm movements to push the water and anything inside of the clogged drain down. This helps to ensure pressure can build up to clear the drain.

You can also use a coat hanger that is straightened out to remove whatever happens to be plugging the toilet. Using the end of the hanger in the toilet, you will want to move it in slow circles, usually with cloth on the end to avoid scratching the porcelain. Do this and push the hanger in and out, as well as in circular motions, to either break up or unclog the toilet. If the clog persists it is possible that there is something deeper in the drains backing everything up. If the sewer line blocked with roots or worse, have broken down then you need to call one of the plumbers in your town.

You will know you are successful in these activities when the toilet flushes itself. Never pour any drain cleaners or caustic liquids into a toilet bowl if it is not draining. The only thing this accomplishes and filling the toilet bowl more as the water within will dilute the chemicals you put in.

If you try these suggestions and are still not able to fix the problem, or feel you are not up to doing any other techniques, you should try to call one of your local Kelowna plumbers. Always remember that it is better to spend a bit of money to fix a problem as opposed to destroying the plumbing in your bathroom by damaging something. A professional plumber will be able to fix the problem you are having and show you the proper way to remedy it should it happen again.

Masonry Repair and Maintenance

The Beauty of Brick       6848742821_c593d3bed3_z

Stone and brickwork on a heritage home are a couple of the things we find truly attractive about heritage houses; however, if that masonry is broken or strained, it may not be the type of statement you want to display. One of the best things about brick and stonework is that it takes a long time and a lot of duress to damage it beyond repair. More than likely, if your masonry is in bad condition there is a method to fix it

Replacing Individual Bricks and Stones

When it pertains to bricks, whether you can do this yourself depends on where the harmed piece is and the experience you have working with mortar. If there is simply one offending brick and it is not in a load bearing wall, you can take that brick out piece by piece as long as you do not damage any of the surrounding bricks or the mortar that holds them in location. If there are more than 2 or 3 bricks in the very same area that require  replacement, or you are unsure if the wall is a load bearing one, it is vital that you employ a masonry expert.

Stones are more difficult to replace, especially if they are not completed (evenly cut). They are bigger and heavier than bricks and pose a greater risk of injury. It can also be quite difficult to find a replacement stone that will fit effectively without being cut (which a lot of us do not have the skills and tools to do).

Brick Repair Tips

Mastering Masonry

Masonry is hard. While the concepts of how it is worked may not be that challenging to grasp, to end up being proficient at it takes a great deal of training, practice and a lot of time. The people that construct and recover brick and stonework do so with a great deal of training; their understanding and experience are crucial to their work and can’t be replicated by a casual DIY.

Brickwork and stonework are pricey to build and to fix, also. When dealing with harmed masonry, the typical person commonly discovers the repair work to be beyond their ability and results in frustration, delays, added cost and possible injury. Doing the work on their own may be possible, but the results are more than likely to be less attractive than what a pro might do. On the other hand, hiring a contractor is pricey. However, having brick and stone repair done by a professional not only ensures a better result, it adds to the value of your home.

The biggest benefit of having masonry repair done by an expert is that it can last a life time. In truth, it can last numerous lifetimes. These products have actually been used for centuries, and there are many structures around that can vouch for their durability and charm. When you think about it as an investment that can be enjoyed for generations, a few additional dollars up front seems very reasonable.

What to do If Your Basement Floods

water damageIf there has been a sewage backup in your home the first place you want to call is the city.  If the problem looks like an internal issue then you will need to call a plumbing company.

For sewage problems, call the city and ask for the appropriate department. They should send someone out fairly quickly. If they cannot get there fast enough for you, then consider calling a local plumbing company. Either way you will need to talk to a water damage restoration company at some point when this kind of problem happens.

While Waiting for Technicians

While you are waiting for them to arrive, examine the toilets, sinks and waste pipes and clear any obstructions to see that the problem is not due to an internal plumbing issue. Be patient; City staff will react as soon as possible. Ensure somebody is the home of let the individual in when he arrives.

Water contaminated with raw sewage backup might contain bacteria and viruses which can impact wellness. You can get sick by consuming infected food or water, or by putting dirty fingers into your mouth. Wash your hands often in this type of predicament.

If Natural Gas is Involved

Whenever floodwater is threatening gas-fired equipment like a basement furnace, hot water tank or stove, call a plumber you know or ask someone if they can recommend a good company. A Vancouver furnace service specialist will be sent off to switch off the gas service to any affected areas.

Hydro Problems

It is NOT safe to enter your basement if the water level has reached any plug, electrical outlet, extension cord or wall heating system.

If the water has not yet reached a plug or wall heater and your distribution panel and major switch are still above water, you might be able to shut off the power yourself. Since dry wood is not a good electrical conductor, stand on a wooden stool or chair, and then shut off the primary switch using a dry wooden stick such as a broom handle.

If this is not possible, or if the water has reached the panel or a switch, do not touch anything. Call an electrical contractor or a certified plumber with electrical knowledge. Only a trained individual can shut down the power at an outdoors meter, hydro pole or transformer.

Dealing With Electrical

Prior to turning the power back on after the water subsides, call an electrical service provider to inspect your setup and verify that there is no risk of electrocution or fire if the power is recovered.

If the primary switch was flooded or if the service was cut off at the meter or the pole, your city Hydro will reconnect the power after it has been examined and approved.

The Danger of Ignoring Simple Maintenance Jobs

When something as serious as a basement flood in Vancouver occurs, it may not get noticed right away. No matter when you discover something as bad as this your best course of action is to call a 24 hour emergency plumbing company.

There are a number of good companies in every American city. Take a moment and get a feel for the company by reading through a few pages to see if they have taken the time to offer helpful information. If you feel comfortable then call them right away.