Plumbing Facts and Fiction

Plumbing isn’t always the most accessible topic and misinformation can cause a lot of confusion. Even worse, it could cost you a lot of money if a mistaken idea means you don’t take care of a plumbing issue quickly enough. Vanmech Heating & Plumbing in Vancouver is here to help set the record straight. Keep reading to learn about three common misconceptions as we separate plumbing fact from plumbing fiction!

Leaky Faucets are Nothing to Worry About

Vanmech & Heating Plumbing’s verdict? False. While it might not seem like an immediate problem, minor leaks can lead to a major problem over time. One drip? Okay, but how about ten-thousand? That’s a significant amount of water waste. Leaky faucets, toilets, or appliances should be addressed sooner rather than later. The leak could be the result of a broken seal, a cracked pipe, or potential issues with water pressure. If you suspect that the leak is being caused by more than a loose bolt, call a professional plumber for an inspection.

Water Heaters Can Explode

While it certainly makes for an eye-catching headline, the reality is decidedly less dramatic. It’s true that old, poorly maintained, water heaters can sometimes rupture under rare circumstances. However, the result will be a cracked tank, not an explosion. Moreover, modern water heaters are installed with pressure relief valves that are designed to release built-up pressure and prevent this exact problem. Sometimes water heaters make rumbling noises, which can mislead homeowners into thinking danger is imminent. However, this is generally a sign that sediment has collected at the bottom of the tank and is preventing efficient operation. So if you do hear noises from your water heater, it is probably time for a check-up. In general, valves should be checked every few months, and the tank should be drained yearly. This will ensure your water heater stays in top shape.

Flushable Wipes are Pipe-Friendly

This is a bit of an exaggeration. While a better solution than non-flushable wipes, the flushable variety still aren’t the best thing for plumbing systems. This is because they degrade at a much slower rate than toilet paper and can cause potential blockages or other problems, especially if they are used in large quantities.

How to pick right size Water Heater?

You’re in the market for a new tank water heater. You either want to replace the aging water heater currently in your home, or you’re moving in a new home that doesn’t have a water heater yet. Whatever the case, you’ll have plenty of questions about buying a new water heater. A major one is how big the water heater needs to be. Too small, and your household won’t receive sufficient hot water. Too big, and you’ll have a massive energy wasting appliance on your hands.

You shouldn’t worry about making a choice. Properly sizing a tank water heater is something to leave to plumbing professionals. They’ll make the calculations to determine the size and type of water heater to meet your family’s hot water demands without draining your bank account.

How Professionals Size a Tank Water Heater

To find the right size of the water heater for a given household, installers need to know two important things. The first is the first-hour rating. You can probably guess what this means: how many gallons of hot water the tank can deliver over an hour starting with a full tank. This rating combines other important data, such as the tank capacity, the energy source used for heat, and the power of the heating source.

The other information the installed need to know is peak hour demand. This is how many gallons of water your household uses during the hour of the day when there’s the largest hot water demand. (Usually, this is in the morning.) When the installers know this, they match it to the first-hour rating of the water heater. A peak hour demand of 36 gallons means putting in a water heater with a first-hour rating of 34 to 38.

If you’re looking for installation of a new tank water heater in , Burnaby, Vancouver - Canada, you’ve found the right people. We not only install tank water heaters, but we also work with an excellent alternative, the tankless water heater.

How to Extend the Life of Your Furnace

The last thing you want is to come home, on a cold winter night, to find your 15 year old furnace on its deathbed. It’s every Canadian’s nightmare, and for good reason. Especially with the Farmers’ Almanac predicting a cold winter this year, you want to be prepared.

For most of us, we usually don’t pay attention to our heating and air conditioning systems until it’s too late. When your furnace inevitably breathes its last breath, you’ll be waiting for that emergency HVAC technician to arrive while you and your family are wearing jackets and toques around the house.

This is an experience nobody wants to repeat twice, and probably the reason you stopped by our blog. If you are concerned about your furnace lasting the upcoming winter, we want to equip you with the proper tools and the following 5 tips on how to extend the life of your furnace.

1. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Overworking your furnace is a great way to send your furnace to heaven early. Although you’re currently toasty warm, you’re diminishing your furnace’s longevity. Without implementing balance with your furnace usage, you’ll need to start booking the funeral.

But, we’re human. Sometimes we forget to turn it down or off. So, how do you create a balance with your furnace’s usage without human error? Introducing smart and programmable thermostats.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat controls the usage of your heating system. Basically, it allows you to set a predefined schedule that adjusts the temperature of your home based on time of day and season, turning the heat down at night and during the day when no one is around.

Smart thermostats add an additional level of control by reacting to movement (are people home or not), creating schedules on the fly, smart control via phone apps and additional tracking to allow you much better control of your system – from anywhere in the world. Not only are they useful for furnace longevity but these new thermostats will also save you money on energy costs.

2. Replace Air Filter

If your air filter looks like an old, dusty accordion, it’s past time to replace the filter. Often neglected, your air filter can drain the life out of your furnace if not replaced or cleaned. The air filter function is to clean the air and protect your system from allowing dirt and debris to enter the furnace.

GeneralAire AC22 And AC24 Cleaners

When dirt begins to cover the filter, your furnace must work much harder to move air. Because dirt and dust are covering the filter, the furnace fan will need to work hard to overcome the additional resistance. Also, since less air is moving through the system, your furnace will need to run longer in order to raise the temperature.

3. Prevent Air Leaks

Air leaks rob you of the warm air your furnace works so hard to produce. Not only do air leaks drain your home of that warm air but it also pushes your furnace to work harder and longer, resulting in a reduction of its lifespan. Your front door, windows, walls, bathroom and kitchen vents, basement intrusions and any small gaps and spaces can allow air to infiltrate.

Preventing drafts and eliminating air leaks to ensure your home is properly sealed and insulated is one of the best things you can do to improve the comfort of your home as well as the life of your furnace.

A useful trick to determine if your door or window is causing an air leak is by lighting an incense stick and placing it in front of your inspecting area. If the smoke rises up, there’s no leak. If the smoke moves in a different direction, you have a leak. Most big box DIY stores have a whole section on weather stripping and caulking to help fill these gaps and stop leaks.

How to avoid common bathroom renovation mistakes

If you’re planning on updating your bathroom, or are currently undergoing a bathroom renovation, remember that achieving a great space isn’t just about choosing great tiles, cabinets and fixtures. Real renovation success depends on getting the hidden technical details right behind the scenes.

Take the exhaust fan, for example. Even high-end bathroom renovations often end up with a weak, loud exhaust fan installed to save a few dollars. But the resulting inadequate air flow means your great new bathroom will be much more likely to grow ceiling mould and mildew. Insist on a bathroom fan that moves at least 120 cubic feet of air per minute, with a sound output of less than 1.0 sones (a measurement of sound intensity).

Never settle for old school methods such as setting tiles directly on drywall or pick a new toilet without checking its performance. Canada is a world leader in toilet performance testing, and virtually every toilet on the market has been assessed.Have a tiled shower planned? Make sure the ceiling, walls and base are completely waterproof before the tiles go on. Fabric membranes, drain pans, waterproofing grommets and gaskets are all available to make tiled showers longer lasting and more reliable than they used to be.

The most important thing is choosing a contractor who runs their business the right way and has a proven track record of success with many satisfied customers.

Cold basements: Is a lack of cold air ducting to blame?

The season has changed to fall, and in many corners of Canada the temperature is getting chilly in the evenings. As winter fast approaches (sigh), it’s time to make sure your home heating is in order. Many people struggle with cold basements, but why?

Chances are that your furnace has the capacity to heat your basement and the above-ground levels of your home. Lack of cold air return ducting is often the culprit. For any furnace to deliver warm air to a given room, the cool air that’s already there needs to get out of the way.

Unfortunately, cold air return ducts are often forgotten when basements are finished. To function properly, they need to draw air from the basement floor where it’s the coolest. This work is best done by a professional heating contractor.

If you need professional help making your basement cozy, make sure to hire the smart and safe way with a written contract or service order.