Reasons You Shouldn’t “DIY” A Plumbing Repair

Thinking about not hiring a professional plumbing company and attempting to do the repair on your own? Following are some reasons you shouldn’t “DIY” a plumbing repair and what could go wrong if you do.

Know Your Limitations
You can YouTube DIY plumbing repair tutorials as much as you want, but don’t take on the job if you don’t have any real-world experience. You should always avoid taking the “trial by error”
approach. Numerous problems can develop due to multiple causes. So, even if you think you’ve fixed the problem, chances are there are underlying issues that can cause additional damage in the
future. Expert plumbers know what to look for and will be able to find any hidden problems related to the first. The bottom line is, know when a plumbing project is beyond your skill set.

Unfinished Business
Most do it yourselfers don’t have the skills it takes to fine tune a DIY plumbing repair job. For example, if you don’t tighten a pipe effectively or install a rubber gasket correctly, you’re going to have problems. While it might look like you did a great job, for example, no longer see any leaks, that doesn’t mean you are not going to have problems down the road. A small drop of water can eventually lead to a significant leak, causing water damage, mold, and high-water bills.

Lack of Professional Plumbing Tools
Plumbing repairs require the use of specialized tools of the trade to fix most problems. Even if you invest in some of the necessary tools, you probably don’t have the proper training to use them effectively. Most novices who have taken on a DIY plumbing project have experienced how easy it is to get in over their heads. Even the slightest error can lead to malfunctioning fixtures, leaks, and several other serious plumbing problems.

If you have attempted to fix a plumbing problem but ran into trouble, don’t try to resolve it yourself – that will only lead to added costs over time. The expense of repairing any amount of water damage and mold growth is just not worth it. When you hire expert plumbers, you can trust that the job will be performed correctly, significantly minimizing the risk of future problems and added expense.

6 Causes of Common Blocked Drains

Blocked drains should be dealt with right away because clogs will only worsen over time. Being able to recognize the causes of commonly blocked drains will help you avoid problems before they start. Here are 6 of the top offenders.

1. Flushable Wipes

Whether is baby or cleaning wipes, these types of products should never be flushed down the toilet. Even if the wipes you buy claim to be “flushable”, don’t do it. Basically, the only thing that you should flush is toilet paper. Drains clogged with flushable wipes typically require professional plumbing services.

2. Hair

Human hair is a common reason behind blocked drains because it can knot up, combine with substances like grease and soap scum, and end up affixing itself to areas of the drain. Most stubborn clogs have hair involved, especially in showers, bathtubs, and bathroom sinks.

3. Fat, Oil and Grease

Greasy substances can cause serious problems to drain systems, solidifying and causing blockages. It only takes a little bit of grease to cause a big problem because it coats the pipe and at some point, hardens. Even if this doesn’t happen, it can cause debris to build up, eventually making it impossible for the drain to do an adequate job.

4. Soap Scum

Soap scum (residue) accumulates over time, especially in bathroom, shower, and laundry drains, leading to slow drainage and eventually backups. Soap scum can also end up combining with other debris to create blockages. Switching to liquid soap can help avoid these types of clogs because they wash down the drain a lot easier than the residue created by bar soap.

5. Leaves and Plants

It’s easy for exterior drains to get clogged up by leaves and plants, especially throughout the fall season. You can help prevent leaves and plants from causing blockages by using a drain guard. Drain guards allow water to filter through but keep the leaves and other debris away from the surface of the drain.

6. Tree Roots

Tree roots can end up breaking through drain pipes, causing an extreme amount of damage. Even the smallest crack in a drainpipe can make it easy for tree roots to force their way in. Once the tree roots work their way inside, they continue growing, obstructing water flow, causing a lot of damage. At this point, you’ll need to hire a professional for drain cleaning to resolve the problem.

Blocked drains are one of the most common plumbing problems. The good news is that you can prevent them from happening by avoiding the common causes of clogged drains listed here.

How to Increase Your Family’s Safety & Prevent Basement Floods

Burst pipes, hot water tank failure, leaky basement windows, drainage failure, and debris in the gutters are common causes of basement floods. Basement floods are always unexpected, and very few people prepare for the cost of the repairs and replacement of property. Floods can destroy photos, memorabilia, and other irreplaceable personal items stored in the basement and other costly but replaceable goods. It is disheartening to consider losing precious keepsakes from an avoidable flood.

Also, consider how undetected and excessive moisture can ultimately lead to molds. Mold and mildew are types of fungus that release spores that can get into the airways of your home, causing coughing, wheezing, throat irritation, skin problems, and irritated eyes.

Advantages of a Sump Pump Installation

Wet basement repair costs can be steep.

Emergencies are never inexpensive. Yet when the basement floods, there is no time to shop around for the best price, so the situation necessitates paying whatever it cost to get the job done. With a bit of foresight, you can avoid unnecessary costs and heartaches by planning to have a sump pump installed.

There are two types of sump pumps available.

Either the pedestal or submersible sump pump is an ideal solution for water leakage and flooding. Select the pedestal pump for situations where the sump pump pit is narrow or shallow. They require less space, and the motor tends to last longer since it is not submerged in water.  The submersible pumps are more powerful and permanent as they sit at the bottom of a sump hole. They also take up less space and resist overheating issues. Our specialists will help you make the best decision.

Sump pump maintenance is routinely simple.

Whether you have a pedestal pump or a submersible pump, you can keep your pump in perfect condition by following a few basic guidelines. Check the pump annually if there have been no floods and more often if prior flooding has occurred. Ensure there are no blockages by cleaning out the sump, greasing, or oiling the bearings if the particular model requires, and then checking the power cord for power. If everything is in working order, that is all the maintenance it requires.

6 Places You Should Clean This Holiday Season

It’s the holiday season, and in addition to shopping, wrapping presents, and cooking, deep cleaning your home should be on your holiday prep list.

Here are six places homeowners forget when making their home cleaning list and checking it twice:

Remove Scum From Bathroom Fixtures

The holiday season means hosting overnight guests. Ensure your bathroom fixtures are free of soap scum that can accumulate on your soap dish and other places in your bathroom.

Remove stubborn soap scum with over-the-counter cleaning agents, or use a homemade mix of baking soda and vinegar with a non-scratch sponge.

Since soap scum thrives on minerals found in hard water, you can limit mineral accumulation at the source by installing a water softener in your home.

Deep Clean for a Pristine Potty

A dirty toilet can gross out your guests. Makes sure you clean all parts of your toilet, not just the inside bowl. Take time to remove everything that might prevent a deep clean, like a plunger, candle, or tissue.

Since the toilet is a prime place for bacteria to grow, make sure to use disinfectant on the handle, tank lid, and toilet seat. Wipe them clean with a disposable paper towel so you aren’t spreading the germs around.

Pull Back the Shower Curtain

Just as important as a clean shower is a shower curtain liner free of mold and mildew. Shower curtains are susceptible to mold because they often can’t dry out.

You can wash a fabric shower curtain with detergent, vinegar, and baking soda or replace a plastic liner with a new one.

Clean Tile Grout, Don’t Pout!

You can have a clean bathroom that doesn’t look clean because of stained grout. While it can be tough to remove, cleaned grout makes a huge difference in the appearance of your bathroom tile, whether on your floor or in your shower.

Avoid harsh chemical grout cleaners and clean grout with materials you find in your kitchen.

Sterilize Your Smelly Dishwasher

Your dishwasher doesn’t just save time. It saves you money, too, by using less water than hand washing. But even your dishwasher can get grimy.

Air Out Your Dirty Laundry With a Clean Washing Machine

Soap scum, minerals, and bacteria can build up inside your laundry machine, diminishing the function of your appliance, so your clothes never smell clean.

The best way to tackle a foul washing machine smell is to wipe down surfaces and areas where water frequently pools with white vinegar on a damp cloth.

Don’t Let Plumbing Problems Ruin Your Holiday

The holiday season can be a busy time for your home’s plumbing system. Cleaning your home is important, but so is inspecting your plumbing system for leaks, clogs, and breaks.

Choosing the Best Commercial Plumber

Let’s just be clear about this from the start—commercial plumbing is not to be taken lightly. Depending on the scale and type of business you run, commercial plumbers need to be extremely well-trained in a deluge of local codes and plumbing solutions. Likewise, on the side of the business, hiring an amateur or a plumber that’s not prepared for what’s needed could result in losing thousands of dollars in revenue and unhappy customers, which is arguably worse.

Choosing a team for commercial plumbing in Vancouver, BC isn’t just about flipping through the phone book until you find the first choice. It’s up to you to choose a team with the right experience, availability, equipment, and expertise in order to have your business thoroughly cared for.

So today, we’d like to go over what you can expect from a perfect commercial plumber. This includes things you might not have considered before, along with some tips of the trade when deciding if a contractor is right for you.

The Benefits of Quality

We can’t stress enough the sheer amount of benefits you get from working with a contractor that knows what they’re doing when it comes to commercial plumbing. A contractor that knows what to expect with your business needs can make your life easier and provide monetary benefits in the form of happy customers and clean plumbing.

Industry-Specific Experience

The most difficult aspect of finding a commercial plumbing team is the specific nature of your business. If you’ve got a restaurant that needs service on a grease trap, and easy availability for the large number of plumbing issues you might need—signing up with a team that’s only worked on offices might be a horrible idea. Each business requires unique plumbing needs depending on the customers, health requirements, the type of business, and much more. Hiring a team that’s used to those specific business needs can make your life a lot easier.

Experience in the Field

This should always be a conversation that comes up when looking to hire a contractor for commercial plumbing. It’s a good idea to bring up the different plumbing needs of your business, like a grease trap, the hours of your business, the scale of your business, and everything else that you think matters.

Larger businesses often need a larger team to service them, since a residential plumbing company won’t come close to having the necessary tools for the job. Even if a plumbing team has some experience working with commercial plumbing, they might not have the sheer amount of employees, equipment, or availability necessary to keep your business doing well.


Make sure your commercial plumbing team is responsive to your needs. After all, one bad plumbing issue could cost you thousands in revenue or unhappy customers, which means you need attentive contractors who can get there and fix your issue handily. If your business has certain special hours when it operates, it’s a good idea to find a team that can respond to those hours and provides service exactly when you need it.

13 Words Commonly Used in the Plumbing Industry

Plumbing industry jargon proves to be confusing to the average homeowner, however, we're here to help you out! From gray water to branch drains to blowbags, it's no wonder you get confused when listening to plumbers talk. Next time you need to hire a plumber, do it with confidence! Understand their lingo by learning the following terms.

  • Blackwater: This frequently-used plumbing term serves as a euphemism for a rather unmentionable reality of daily life. Blackwater means wastewater, especially the sewage that flows from your toilet every time you flush it. Alternatively, it can also mean wastewater that remains stuck in your clogged toilet.
  • Greywater: Greywater refers to wastewater that flows from all other household fixtures besides toilets.
  • Hard water: Hard water flows through the pipes of billions of homes around the globe. When plumbers use the words “hard water,” they’re describing water with an overabundance of mineral content, which can lead to corrosion and clogged fixtures.
  • Water softener: A water softener removes excess minerals from hard water by means of a specialized substance or device to produce a more comfortable bathing experience and avoid damage to kitchen and bathroom appliances and fixtures.
  • Branch drain: Branch drain refers to the pipe directly connected to your sinks, shower floors, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and more. It flows towards your main drain pipe, which, in turn, connects to the main sewage line that your local government controls.
  • Drain field: Below the surface of your yard, a drain field represents a network of pipes connected to a septic tank. The drain field clears septic tank water of contaminants before allowing it to enter the soil and, ultimately, the water table.
  • Fittings: A fitting represents a common plumbing part that connects two separate pipes together.
  • Potable water: As one of the oldest plumbing terms in the trade, potable refers to water that remains safe for human consumption. Although most modern societies no longer store drinking water in pots, the word continues to see significant use in the plumbing, legal, and medical fields.
  • Trap seal: All drains connected to the sewer have a curved pipe called a trap to prevent noxious odors from leaking into a home or place of business. The trap seal refers to the water that sits in the trap, blocking the unwanted gasses from entering.
  • Tee: A tee is a T-shaped fitting that connects three separate pipes. Plumbers typically use it to create branch drain lines.
  • Blow bag: As one of the most commonly used tools in the plumbing industry, a blow bag busts through a clogged drain using bursts of forced water. It consists of a nozzle and bladder and connects to an ordinary garden hose.
  • Dope: Dope is a sealant that plumbers apply to threads in order to create a lasting leak-proof, pressure-tight connection. It has a thick paste consistency. One should not confuse it with plumber’s tape, which serves a similar purpose but is more like a stretchy film.
  • Snake: A plumbing snake consists of a flexible, metal cord wound into a spiral. Plumbers insert it into drain pipes to break up especially stubborn clogs.

Call Us Today & Use Your Newly-Acquired Plumbing Jargon!

Now that you know the lingo, you can hire a plumber and feel like one of the pros! If your home or business is in need of some plumbing assistance, you can trust our team to solve the problem. We service the Vancouver area so give us a call at (604-992-3156) to schedule with us today.

Commercial Plumbing Concerns and Questions

Commercial plumbing systems differ greatly from those found in residential homes. While both residential and commercial plumbing systems are often susceptible to similar issues, the way in which you prevent or address these problems may be different. Understanding the top commercial plumbing concerns your property faces can help you take steps to reduce the impact of these issues on your plumbing to save money, time, and even protect your reputation by ensuring your plumbing is never out of service. When you do need help with your commercial plumbing in Burnaby, Vancouver, don’t hesitate to call your professional plumber for prompt assistance, rather than trying to resolve the issue on your own. Check our homepage to learn more about our services or learn more about us and what we stand for.


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An Aging Plumbing System

The age and maintenance history of your commercial plumbing system are two of the most important factors in its overall performance and its risk for developing problems. Because many commercial properties are established in existing and leased spaces, you may not know how long your plumbing system has been installed or its current condition. Rather than waiting until your plumbing has developed several costly leaks or you have experienced a downturn in the quality of your water due to ageing pipes or appliances, talk to your commercial plumber about performing a comprehensive evaluation of your plumbing system to determine its condition, its risk factors, and the best plan for long-term maintenance.

Clogs and Backups

Just like residential homes, commercial spaces can be prone to clog and backed-up pipes and drains. However, clogs and backups can be a bigger concern in a commercial space due to both the increased usage volume and the potential for property damage and hazardous conditions for employees or clients if a major clog occurs. One of the simplest ways to prevent clogs and backups is to educate employees regarding proper waste management. Clogs are often caused when debris or chemicals are flushed down drains that the pipes are unable to handle. Placing trash cans in easily accessible locations can also reduce the misuse of drains to improve their performance and lower the risk of clogs. If your plumbing system is older or you have had several issues with clogs in the past, talking to your commercial plumber about hydro-jetting could help you restore the like-new condition of your pipes by removing years of buildup left by minerals, grease, fat, and other materials.

Leaky Fixtures

Commercial plumbing fixtures may be used by tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people each day. This frequent use can quickly result in problems such as leaks that waste water, reduce performance, and give your clients the wrong impression of your property. It’s important to keep in mind that even minor leaks will not go away on their own—as soon as you notice a leak, contact your plumber for prompt repairs. Making it easy for employees to report problematic fixtures is a great way to reduce your response time and handle these issues quickly while discussing the best type of fixtures for your needs with your commercial plumber can ensure that you choose high-quality fixtures that will hold up under heavy use.

Are you looking for a service to care for your commercial plumbing in Burnaby, Vancouver? Contact us any time and we will be more than glad to help. Our plumbers have experience with the needs and challenges of commercial plumbing systems to provide the top-quality service you want to protect your property and your plumbing. You can find out more about our comprehensive plumbing services and solutions when you click through our website, where you’ll also discover additional plumbing tips, information, and news on our monthly blog.

3 Common Commercial Plumbing Problems

Commercial plumbing isn’t like residential plumbing. When an issue comes up, it can have major consequences if not addressed appropriately and quickly. That’s because buildings and businesses are usually up to code that can result in a lawsuit or an issue with the permits if the plumbing isn’t fixed according to local standards.

That being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for the next commercial plumbing problem to arise. They might not happen at the most convenient moments but they don’t have to cause as much panic in you and your staff as they usually do. That’s why we’re going to go over some of the most common commercial plumbing problems that our customers have experienced, and we’ll talk a little bit about how they form and what you can do.

Overall, commercial plumbing in Vancouver, BC is best left to the professionals. If you notice anything on our list of common problems, don’t hesitate to give our team of experts a call.

Drain Clogs

More often than not the most common problem in commercial facilities, whether in an office building or a restaurant, are drain clogs. Just based on the sheer number of people that might use your facility’s bathrooms or kitchens, drain clogs are bound to happen and there’s not much you can do to stop them. At least when it comes to residential drain clogs, there are fewer people using each drain and they can be more proactive at how clean they keep their appliances, but with commercial plumbing that all changes.

Clogged drains can often not only be an inconvenience but can harm the presentation of your company and your building. Restaurants that have clogged drains can have trouble functioning up to health and safety standards because fewer employees might be washing their hands or correctly washing produce if they’re having trouble operating faucets and drains.

Basically, a clogged drain should be fixed by a professional plumber as soon as possible.

Faucet Leaks

As we mentioned earlier, these problems aren’t just inconveniences but can signal to customers or clients that your building isn’t up to code. A faucet leaking in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else can be a signal that you’re wasting water. Faucet leaks are pretty hard to predict and there are multiple reasons for why they might exist. Whether it’s just a loose valve or a problem in your main water line, you’re going to need a professional plumber to fix the issue.

Low Water Pressure

This problem is the opposite of a faucet leak since you’re turning on the sink and not receiving the amount of water you’d like. This can be especially bad for buildings in the food industry, since washing produce, cleaning hands, and keeping stations clean are paramount to health and safety. Without the correct amount of water pressure, the kitchen staff will take longer to clean their stations and your business will not be up to snuff.

If your company works with chemicals or any other type of material, you might have eyewashes and showers that need the correct amount of water pressure as well. These are tedious systems, and they need to be repaired almost immediately for them to remain up to safety standards.

Causes of Sewer Odors in Your Commercial Building

The hygiene of a commercial facility is essential for its operation. When sewer odors appear in your facility, it can indicate serious problems. But even smaller issues must be resolved quickly, and it requires professional commercial plumbers to track down the source of the problem so it can be remedy promptly and correctly.

There are several potential causes for the odor of sewage to enter a commercial building. Below we’ve listed a few of the most common.

Dried p-traps in unused or abandoned areas

Large facilities may have sections that are no longer used or have been sealed off. If there are drains in these areas still connected to the main sewage system, sewer gas can escape up through the drains and waft into the space. The p-traps in these drains (the curved section directly underneath the drain) will have dried out and removed a barrier from the movement of sewer gas. We recommend having plumbers seal up the pipes with cement.

Leaking sewer vents or inadequately installed vents

Sewer vents allow the build-up of sewer gas in the drainage system to rise and escape through the roof, balancing the pressure. If leaks develop along the sewer vent pipes, it will allow the sewer gas to enter rooms through the walls. It requires plumbers using leak detection methods to find the precise location of the leaks so they can be accessed and sealed or repiped.

If the drain vents were not installed correctly (the wrong pipe diameter, for example), poor venting will result in sewer gas rising up from drains. Plumbers will need to replace the sewer vents with the properly sized pipes.

Clogged plumbing vents

Damage to the vents, animal nests, or storm damage may clog the vent openings. This will push the sewer gas back down into the drainpipes and up through drains. (You may notice a gurgling sound coming from drains; this indicates sewer gas percolating through the water barrier in the p-traps.) Please don’t try to go to the roof of your facility if you think this is the trouble! Leave all this work to the commercial specialists.

Sewer line, septic line clogging or leaks

The sewer line (or septic line if your facility uses a septic tank) may become clogged with debris or tree root infiltration, leading to a backup in the line that will affect the whole building. Odors are often the first warning sign of a major issue like this. Professional sewer line cleaning or repair is necessary to fix the issue. In extreme cases, the sewer line may need to be replaced.

For commercial sewer line repair and commercial drain cleaning in Burnaby, or any other commercial plumbing service your business needs to keep running, you can depend on our team.

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.