What are the Landlord plumbing responsibilities in Ontario?

Are you a landlord in Ontario? It can be hard to know what falls under your scope and what does not. We’ve taken the time to break down the rules in relation to plumbing and what, as a landlord, is your responsibility. 

What does the law say about landlord responsibilities?

As a landlord, it is outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act, that you must maintain the premises in good repair and that tenants have access to essentials like heat and power. Water is also an essential service and therefore cannot be withheld from a tenant. This means that if there is an issue with your property’s plumbing system, it is your responsibility to fix it. 

If repairs are needed, it is the landlord’s duty to ensure that any repairs are completed to meet the proper by-law and provincial standards. 

What is the tenant’s role in this?

Whether your tenant runs into something small like clogged drains or leaky faucets, or something more serious like a sewer backup or burst pipe, it can be daunting to try and manage. Tenants, legally, must not interfere with the repair arrangements meaning they are required to allow the plumber entry and to complete the work as needed. If your tenant is failing to allow the repair to take place, register a complaint with the Landlord and Tenant Board so it can be recorded and addressed. 

As a landlord, you want your tenants to respect the property and to live as comfortably as possible in the home. The Residential Tenancies Act outlines the circumstances in which a tenant is responsible for plumbing repairs. Tenants must repair any damage caused by themselves but were not caused by normal use. Meaning that if they’ve broken a fixture or damaged a sprinkler head, it is their responsibility to contact someone to repair the damage. 

How can Wellbrook help?

At Wellbrook we offer our Diamond Club Membership, which is perfect for landlords. A $9.95/month fee means reduced service fees, a discounted rate for repairs, and front-of-the-line service, you can tackle an issue fast and for a good price

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. 


Check These Plumbing Boxes Before You Buy a Cottage

Are you in the market for a cottage? Looking for a summer escape for your family? We love that Niagara is close to so many amazing places for you to find your dream cottage. We do, however, have a few things to help you find a cottage that suits your family’s needs and won’t set you up to spend more money on plumbing issues. 

When looking at possible cottages, it is important to really dive into the plumbing system. Many of these buildings are older, not on a municipal water system, and sit dormant for the winter months which can mask some unpleasant surprises. 

Water Supply:

Identify the cottage’s water supply. Does the water run off a well or a water pump in the lake? You also want to see what condition the pipes associated with the property’s water supply are in. Unmaintained pipes could not only mean problems down the line but could also mean the water source hasn’t been well maintained either. No one wants a leak on opening weekend after a long winter. 

Septic Tank: 

Is there a sewage system or a septic tank/field. This is a crucial piece of information because it can determine long term maintenance planning if your cottage runs on an older septic tank. 

Water Damage: 

Look at the walls and ceiling closely, keeping an eye out for water damage and staining. Previous issues may mean that the system is in need of updates, repairs, or long overdue maintenance. 

Test the Plumbing:

Go around and turn each of the faucets on and off to test both the hot water and water pressure. No one wants a cold shower because the water heater is in need of an upgrade or a tap that hardly runs because the water pump hasn’t been properly maintained over the years. 

Cottages are wonderful and provide an escape from the busyness of everyday life but without the proper information, can become a burden on your pockets. To ensure that your investment is going to be both fun and frugal, make sure your potential property ticks all the boxes with the tips above. It’s a good idea to bring a licenced plumber along for your inspection to catch any hidden issues. Contact Wellbrook Plumbing for an appointment to check out your Niagara cottage 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.