Doing More Harm than Good with DIY Drain Cleaners

Everyone dreads the day they hop into the shower, turn on the tap and instead of the water flowing down the drain, it begins to back up and you’re left with more of a bath than a shower. Your first thought might be to grab a bottle of drain cleaning from the nearest hardware store. These at-home solutions are so heavily advertised, it makes sense. 

While these at-home solutions seem convenient at the time, they are actually doing more harm than good! 

Drain cleaners can cause damage to your home’s pipes.

Commercial drain cleaners like Drano are made of ingredients like hydrochloric acid and other acid ingredients that eat away at your pipes while they sit. Despite many of these products being advertised as ‘safe for pipes’, unfortunately, they aren’t. 

While at-home drain cleaners may solve your clogged drain problem for a period of time, they are not effective at solving the entirety of the problem so you’ll end up with a clogged drain before long. 

DIY Drain cleaners are harmful to you.

With such visible warning labels, it isn’t surprising to hear that these at-home drain cleaners are harmful to you while in use. They can burn your skin and eyes if they come in contact, gloves are always recommended. But it isn’t as well known that the harmful chemicals from these products linger in the air and can damage your lungs! Protect yourself, family, and pets by avoiding these harmful products. 

Home drain cleaners, are they bad for the environment?

Not only are at-home drain cleaners bad for you and your pipes, but they are also bad for the environment. When you’re standing in ankle-deep water, trying to take a shower, it’s hard to remember that the water you’re using drains back into our water system. When you pour that thick, chemically smelling drain cleaner down your pipes,  you are pouring it right into your water system. Be mindful of your impact when choosing the way you choose to solve your clogged drain problem! 

While there are clean, easy ways to help solve a clogged drain at home, it is suggested that you call in the professionals so that they are able to remove all grease and debris ensuring a clog-free, damage-free future for you and your showers, sinks, and garbage disposals. Let Wellbrook save you from the annoyance of clogged drains today.

Water Heater Options for your Home

Are you looking to replace your water heater? There are a lot of different options out there for you and not every water heater is going to fit you and your family’s needs. Before you make a decision, take a look at our outline of the different residential water heater options. 

Conventional Water Heaters

There are a few different types of water heaters, the two major categories being: conventional and tankless. 

A conventional water heater is powered by electricity, natural gas, propane, or in some cases, oil. These heaters have a large tank that heats water with a coil at the bottom of the tank and then stores the heated water. When you turn on a tap or have a shower, water is pulled from the top of the tank of water and cold water fills the bottom and is heated. These tanks usually hold between 40 to 50 gallons of water. 

This method of heating water means that you can on occasion run out of hot water while the tank is refilling and heating water to replace the water that has been used. 

These water heaters are not as energy-efficient because heat is lost from the tank and through the pipes as the water travels to you. To keep your home’s water hot, a conventional water heater is using energy even while water isn’t in use. 

Tankless Water Heaters 

Tankless water heaters are also referred to as instantaneous or on-demand water heaters because of the way they heat the water. With a tankless water heater, when you turn on the tap, water is called into the tank and heated with a coil then travellers through the pipes to you. This method of only heating water that is being used means that you never run out of hot water. Major perk! 

A tankless water heater is more environmentally friendly because heat is not lost while waiting to be used and therefore energy is only used while the water is on and being used. The cost of a tankless water heater and its installation is much higher than a conventional water heater but because of the way it heats water, you end up saving money on your energy bill. 

All in all, a tankless water heater is more budget and environmentally friendly in the long run and if you have a large family, the idea of hot water on demand can be very appealing. However, if you’re in a pinch and have a smaller home/family a conventional water heater may be all you need! For more information and a consultation, contact Wellbrook. We can help you figure out what kind of water heater is best suited for you and your family.

A Guide to Your New Home Pre Delivery Inspection

Congratulations on your new home! Buying a newly built home is exciting; you’ve waiting months, chosen every fixture, and you’re the first people to live in your new home! But before you take possession of your new home, you’ll need to go through a Pre Delivery Inspection or PDI with your builder. 

What is a Pre Delivery Inspection?

A PDI is a required step before possession and it is the moment when you’ll be able to really inspect each element of your new home before you move in, allowing for any issue you find to be noted and solved. In Ontario, Tarion is the insurance body that governs new home construction. They back the workmanship of the builder for 7 years after possession.  

What to look for during your PDI

While you walk through your newly built home with the builder these are the things to make you are paying attention to.

  • Ensure the toilets are properly fastened to the ground by sitting on them and ensuring there isn’t any rocking back and forth. 
  • Flush each toilet and look for leaks around the base, where the toilet meets the floor.
  • Turn every faucet on and off, checking for water pressure, good water temperature changes between hot and cold and ensure that each faucet has the hot and cold taps installed properly.
  • While running each tap, check under the sinks for any leaky plumbing.
  • Walk the outside of the home, looking to see that all gutters and downspouts are installed and properly directing water away from the home’s foundation. 

What to do if you spot something wrong?

Documentation is key during this process. If you or your home inspector come across something that was done incorrectly or poorly, take photos and fulsome notes. The PDI and inspection process through Tarion is strict and enforces stringent timelines. 

Be thorough. It is normal to find things that aren’t quite right as you spend more time living in your new home and really getting to use each item and fixture, but be as thorough as possible during your PDI and don’t feel rushed by the builder representative. This will be your home for years to come and you don’t want any surprises down the line. It’s a good idea to bring a licenced plumber along with a home inspector for your PDI to catch any hidden issues and make sure your new home is built to your satisfaction. Contact Wellbrook Plumbing for an appointment to check out your newly constructed home today. 

 

How Rain Affects Your Plumbing System

Living in the Niagara region means that we are no stranger to lake effect weather, whether it is white and cold or warm and wet, we get it all. During the spring and early summer, rain is prevalent, especially this year, which can be hard on your plumbing system. 

Pressure on your pipes

Rain turns the ground around your pumps to mud which weighs considerably more than dry soil. This means that your pipes that run underground will suddenly have more exterior pressure and weight on them than usual. Your plumbing system is flexible and built for changes like these, however, too much rain too quickly can mean that your pipes are suddenly burdened with more than they can handle. The more external pressure placed on your pipes the more likely they are to shift and possibly rupture causing a flood. 

Pipe Blockages

As we mentioned, the additional pressure placed on your pipes by excess rain can cause them to shift. This shifting can sometimes cause cracking if they are forced into a position that they were not meant to be in. The problem with this is that these cracks can allow rocks and sediment to seep into the pipes and cause a backup, which means water in your home. In the spring and summer, keep an eye out on your lower levels for signs of moisture as this can be a sign of a larger issue. 

Tired Sump Pumps Spell Trouble

More rain equals more water runoff. We know that because of gravity, rain runs downhill. If you are located in a floodplain or at the bottom of a slope, you likely have a sump pump that works to collect water and pump it back up and away from your home. When we receive excess rain, your sump pump can get overworked and become unable to keep up with the amount of water runoff. This means your more susceptible to flooding in your crawlspace or basement. Ensure that you have a sump pump powerful enough for the size of your home, that you perform regular maintenance, and that there is a backup source of power in case of a blackout. 

In order to help prepare your home for rain, we suggest that you contact a licensed plumber to perform annual maintenance and check for any aspects of your plumbing system that may be in need of repair or replacement before they become a larger cause for concern. At Wellbrook, our experienced technicians are well versed in both above ground and underground plumbing systems, which means that you can sail through the rainy season without worry.

Common Summer Plumbing Issues

For many people, summer means the kids are home from school and more people are at home during the day. For your plumbing system, this means more pressure, and on the rare occasion, foreign objects that aren’t meant to be in your pipes.  

Common clogs 

Having the kids home for the summer is great but it can mean that your plumbing system is going to get a workout. Make sure that your kids understand some simple things like how much toilet paper is too much (the most common source of clogs is too much toilet paper) and what you can and cannot flush down the toilet. Following these simple guidelines could mean the difference between smooth sailing and a plumbing problem. 

Check your connections

Summer means more laundry (Thank you beach trips!), more dishes, and more toilet flushes. Make sure that you’ve checked your plumbings connections so that the extra work doesn’t cause any leaks. Check the washing machine and dishwasher connections to make sure that everything is in tip-top shape. 

Sprinkler System Failure

Underground sprinkler systems have sat unused for the winter so when you get them back up and running again, there could be leaks that affect not only your pipes but your water bills! Portable sprinkler heads need to be cleaned before the first use of the season to remove any build p that can cause the water to back up in the hose. For any kind of sprinkler system, ensure that you have checked the heads for damage to ensure that water isn’t being wasted by spraying in every direction other than where you are hoping to water. 

Water heater

Headed away for a few days this summer? Turn down your water heater while you’re away. Your water doesn’t need to be heated while there isn’t anyone there to use it. This helps extend the life of your water heater, which is on average 8-11 years. Plus, your wallet will thank you as well. 

Summer should be so much fun, don’t let one of these plumbing problems dampen your vacation. Call Wellbrook Plumbing if you’re noticing any moisture in and around your appliance connections, if you end up with a kids toy down the drain, or if your sprinkler system is serving you with less than ideal water pressure so your summer plans don’t get washed away.

Your Plumbing Checklist for Renovation Projects

Renovating your home is an exciting time, however, there is no doubt that it can also be a stressful time. Many people try to take on a number of their renovation projects on their own. When it comes to renovations that include plumbing installations, it is best to leave it to the professionals.

There are some steps you should take when beginning your renovation. Here are some things to do in order to set yourself up for success.

Map Out Your Renovation

When planning a renovation it is important to create an overarching plan that covers more than just aesthetics. Make sure you have a full understanding of all the new plumbing that needs to be added in, old plumbing that needs to be removed, or current plumbing that needs to be moved or updated. This includes any appliances that will or currently use water. Having a plan that includes all this information will be incredibly helpful when moving through subsequent aspects of your renovation. This plan will also speed up the process of getting the necessary permits to begin your renovation.

Do Your Research

In many cases, changing the plumbing system of your home requires a permit, and in order to obtain the proper permit and adhere to building and plumbing codes, you will need to be prepared to present your plans. Consulting a licensed plumber can help ensure you understand the plumbing needs of your renovation. Bring your renovation plan to your consultation to ensure both you and your plumber have a full idea of what will need a permit or what can be undertaken without one.

Understand What Fixtures You Need

Once you’ve created a plan that outlines all of your plumbing needs, you will be able to It is important to have a plan and know exactly what you’ll need before starting. Ordering your fixtures and supplies with plenty of lead time will ensure that your renovation doesn’t get held up waiting for a delivery. In many cases, changing the plumbing system of your home requires a permit, and in order to obtain the proper permit and adhere to building and plumbing codes, you will need to have a detailed plan.

 

As part of this plan, you should create a list of all of the plumbing fixtures and appliances using water that will need to be installed during the renovation. This will not only help you organize your renovation, but it will speed up the process of getting the necessary permits to begin your renovation.

Hire a Licensed Niagara Plumber

Working with a trusted and experienced Niagara plumbing company with renovation experience is the best way to be sure your renovation goes smoothly, and that all work is done with building and plumbing codes. An experienced Niagara plumbing contractor can work closely with you during the renovation process to help secure permits and make recommendations for the most effective plumbing solutions in your plan.

If you are beginning a renovation, call Wellbrook Plumbing. Our team of Niagara based plumbers are experts in plumbing installations and have worked on a number of renovation products. Call (289) 686-4695 today or head to our contact page for more information.