Why Choose Pex Plumbing

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Sep
7

Most of the problems that customers of all sorts – residential, commercial, and industrial – experience with their plumbing result from the fact that the piping is old.  Copper used to be used widely since that was the most reliable option at the time.  Today, though, pex piping is widely used as the preferred option.

Pex piping has several advantages over traditional copper piping, not the least of which is that the water that flows through it does not pick up materials along the way.  Copper piping erodes over time, and particles from the eroding material are easily picked up by water, which, in turn, comes through your faucet.  While one glass of water that has traces of copper in it is unlikely to do much harm, the accumulated effect of this can cause illness in those who consume it.

Not only can the eroded copper lead to health problems, but it can also lead to leaks.  When enough copper gets eroded in a particular part of the pipe, that means that water will drip – or pour – out of that area.  Changing your piping before this happens can save you a lot of damage to your home.

Also important is that pex piping allows for improved water flow.  What this means for you is that you get better water pressure.  The reason for this is that whereas traditional copper piping has several elbow joints, pex piping is more flexible.  That means that there is far less need for these joints, which dramatically slow the flow of water.

If you are ready to explore the possibility of having your copper pipes replaced with a pex piping system, give us a call today.  Feel free to ask whatever questions you may have about the material and how we can replace your current piping with this favorable option.

Economic Plumbing At Home

Posted Posted by Preferred Plumbing in Blog     Comments No comments
Jan
29

We’ve all had the experience of a clogged kitchen or bathroom pipe and have gone from obstruction caused due to it, at some point in our lives. Because of this, we had to call a plumber who sometimes has gained a considerable amount of money to fix something that we might can simply fix ourselves if we want. Therefore, we present to you, some tricks related to home plumbing which can save both the time and money.

Cleared Sink Pipes

You can use vinegar, salt and baking soda in a ratio of one cup per two liters of boiling water and do it regularly for cleared sink pipes.

Dripping Faucet

If the faucet drips, you can still repair it with a trick which is undesirably sound especially at night. What you can do is tie a cord that goes from the mouth to the drain tap. In this way, you will not hear the annoying noise of the drops, since the water will slide silently down the string.

Faucets Easy to Apply and Remove

If you were to place a foolproof homemade trick is to coat the nuts with a little Vaseline, which makes it easier to screw them.

Remove and Replace Silicon in Tub

You must repair the silicone seal of the tubs every year. To do this, you must remove the old seal with petroleum and scrape it with a sharp knife, until it comes off completely. Then, scrub the area, leave it for drying and re-give the new layer some treatment of silicone.

Renovation

Choosing plumbing is the most important step in renovating a bathroom. These products are not cheap, and we buy them for a long time. So you should choose very carefully, by paying attention to all the advantages and disadvantages.

The bathroom should be comfortable. This will depend on how it is undeveloped. In the bathroom, it should be harmonious and combined with each other. Often we are faced with a choice: bath or shower. When the size of the room allows, you can buy something, and more. But if your bathroom is ready to take only one object, you have to choose. Each element has its advantages. Shower enclosure takes up little space and is suitable for active people and Bath also helps you relax and feel the real pleasure.

For example, a leaking tap, clogged pipes, uncomfortable faucet, sink (and the kitchen) and a shower, too cold in the bathroom, etc can all be avoided, if you call the expert plumbers of Preferred Plumbing Solutions.

How To Protect Plumbing in Freezing Temperatures

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Dec
26

When water freezes, it expands. So it is extremely important to protect the plumbing at very low temperatures to avoid broken pipes. Pipes in basements, garages, garden sheds and other unheated areas can lead to damage and repair expenses. Follow these useful tips to prevent the risk of freezing pipes.

1. Measure the diameter of any pipe that is at the risk of freezing. Buy insulating foam sealant of the same size from building supply stores. This insulator is divisible in half, divide it and distribute it through the pipe. You may need to cut some to fit in more pipes.

2. Disconnect hoses from outside the house, which allows water to drain out of the pipes that are connected. When one is connected, an overnight freezing can cause cracks on tap or pipes.

3. Caulk cracks and holes with mass caulking or foam sealant to cover any access port that is not used during the coldest period. You can cover them with hay bales and plastic or straw, which work well in basement doors.

4. Wrap heating tape instead of foam around pipes that are more susceptible to freezing, such as those that are in unheated areas. Plug in the ribbon to an output of electricity, when the weather forecast indicates that the temperature will drop significantly.

5. Add warmth with a small electric heater with thermostat or, in small areas, install an incandescent lamp with a screw base socket to prevent freezing.

6. Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow heat to reach the pipes in basements and interconnected areas.

7. If the temperature drops too much and you can not adequately protect the pipeline, leave faucets dripping to keep the water moving in the pipes. During this type of weather, fully open the taps once every two or three hours to determine any decrease in the velocity of the flow, thus indicating a possible freezing.

8. If a pipe freezes, thaw it with a hair dryer on low speed. Heating it too fast can break it.

9. Close all the water in the house records, if you plan to leave for a long period of time during a harsh winter.

10. Consider installing a permanent source of heating in areas with problematic vain, if you live in a place with harsh winters. An opening in the supply duct heated air, can prevent freezing pipes and can be capped when the weather is milder.

Why Hire a Professional Plumber?

Posted Posted by Preferred Plumbing in Blog     Comments No comments
Dec
19

Your building’s commercial or domestic plumbing and maintenance is essential to keep your systems running in good condition for a long time. When choosing a plumbing business professional, there are a number of important aspects to consider, such as the rapid response, the individual approach, high quality work, estimating the right time, a commitment to long-term maintenance, the company’s reputation, qualification and certification of labor and reasonable prices.

Obviously, all these factors are very important, but one of the most important one is the type of plumbing and repair services offered by a plumbing company. The ideal choice of a professional plumbing company, is more important to protect your investment and increasing its value. Preferred Plumbing Solutions, is one of the best plumbing companies, that offer exclusive plumbing and maintenance services.

There are also tools and materials to consider. If you have a well stocked garage on hand, or have carried out some maintenance projects before, it is very possible to have all the tools, you need and what is required for no additional costs.

If you do not have much time to buy the materials and do it all by yourself, you just have to order your task with the Preferred Plumbing Solutions. We’ll take care of everything and we will send our certified professionals so you can spend your free time, doing what you like, rather than going to make the arrangements for your home.

Hiring a professional plumbing company is one of the best ways to save time and reducing the business costs. Our professional plumbers are well qualified and certified for plumbing services and repairs and gas safety engineers for gas heating services. Our certified professional can easily identify all plumbing problems, that may occur and repair in advance, which can help you save on spending too much for the maintenance and repairs.

If you are looking for local service provider, you have come to the right place. We provide plumbing repairs an efficient and a cost effective maintenance. For more details on Preferred Plumbing Solutions, you can contact us today! This is because this is a qualified specialist work and requires training, experience and understanding of plumbing.

When you are looking for a professional plumber in Markham,

Plumber needs to be efficient, effective and trained as a trained professional to be capable of solving any type of plumbing problem. Hire a skilled plumber as the skilled plumber knows all sanitary aspects of your home.

Follow Preventative Measures, Save Money on Plumbing

Posted Posted by Preferred Plumbing in Blog     Comments No comments
Dec
12

When it comes to plumbing, there are certain preventative measures which can help you avoid unnecessary loss of water and money. Reduce your daily intake of water, make sure faucets and pipes are in a good condition to conserve water and reduce your bill, it’s easier than you think.

Close the Valves

A dripping tap, beyond an annoying sound, may result in the loss of up to 15 gallons of water a day and add about $ 100 to your annual water billing. To avoid wasting valuable water, make sure the faucet is tightly closed. If after closing it completely, its still leaking, you have to get it repaired, which is why, investing in the plumbing maintenance at that time, or calling the Preferred Plumbing Solutions will definitely help you to save money in the long term.

Opt for a Low Flow

Installing a low flow showerhead is an easy way to significantly reduce the water consumption. Even a 10-minute shower can consume up to 42 gallons of water. The low-flow showerheads are easy to install and use less water. Make an effort and set a time limit for taking showers at home. Adolescents living at home may be unhappy, but the reduction in your water bill will be worthy of your complaints.

Discover Hidden Leaks

Not all water leakage can be detected with the naked eye. Some leaks are hidden and need some inspection work for the owner of the house to find them. To determine, if your house has hidden leaks, check your water meter in the different times of the day. If the meter has changed, there must be a hidden leak, somewhere in your home.

Do Not Forget Your Drains

We often ignore drains, and to keep your drains functional and avoid the unwanted accumulations, pour them a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar, every month. In the bathroom, use strainers in sink drains and tub to keep hair and soap buildup in the pipes. Avoid using drain cleaner with penetrating chemicals, they are harmful to the environment and can damage your pipes. Still confused? Then call Preferred Plumbing Solutions at your earliest.

Check Your Toilet for Leaks

According to Environment Canada, the toilet is considered as the largest water consuming unit of a house, because the use of the toilet accounts for 30 percent of the daily water consumption in a home. To check, if your toilet is getting leaked, pour some food coloring in the tank. If the color is dissipated in the toilet during 10-15 minutes, your toilet is getting leaking. Avoid unnecessary water loss by ensuring that there is a leakage in your toilet.

Effective Plumbing After Freezing the Flow of Water

Posted Posted by Preferred Plumbing in Blog     Comments No comments
Nov
27

The freezing of pipes is a quick and efficient way to do plumbing or repairs when it is impossible or impractical to shut off the water, or completely drain the plumbing system. To repair or replace water pipes in homes or facilities is common, as old valves do not work. In apartments or commercial buildings, shutting off the water or drain pipes can be an inconvenience for people in the building, and be challenging for finding the valves.

Freezing kits form a small plug of ice inside the pipe can withstand the water pressure for a sufficient amount of time, to allow installing a T valve. This method works on copper, plastic or metal, both small and large.

There are two types of freezing kits: Spray and Electrical. Both work on the same principle: a fluid evaporating volatile around the pipe. Evaporation occurs when gas molecules escape from the liquid, absorbing enough heat in the pipe to freeze water therein. Freezing kit uses an insulating cover that holds the liquid in a closed atmosphere around the pipe.

The electric machine keeps freezing fluid in a closed loop so that nothing is lost in the process. The engine drives a pump that compresses the gas and a heat exchanger, which cools it to bring it to a liquid, to circulate it in the freezing head. The freezing head fits with the pipe clamp, and the fluid flows through a small capillary tube.

Preparation for Freezing

Before plumbing work, you must stop all water flow in the pipe. Even a small leak from the tap is enough to prevent freezing. When working with a hot water pipe, make sure to turn off any circulation pump and allow the pipe to cool. If possible, freeze horizontal sections of the pipe rather than a vertical one. Natural convection of heat in a vertical pipe can cause movement, and reduce the duration of the ice cap.

The heating pipe may contain antifreeze and corrosion inhibitors. This can increase the time it takes to freeze the pipe. Seamless joints and compression couplings work well, especially if space is limited. You can use welded joints, but leave one or two inches between the coupler and the cover, so that freezing does not affect the welding ice plug.

Using Aerosol Spray Equipment

When using an aerosol spray kit, keep the workspace ventilated. Heat, flames and smoke near freezing fluid, or contact with the spray can cause noxious fumes. Wear gloves, face shields and eyewear when working with the spray, because skin will freeze on contact. Place the cover around the pipe freezing, a few inches from the work area, and firmly tie each end of the cover with tape or rope. Connect the extension pipe from the deck to the aerosol, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Before cutting the pipe, insert a small screw in the pipe section to be removed. If you made the plughole leak water, avoid sprinkling it. If the cap is not properly formed, it is easier to handle a small hole that is partially cut.

Why You Need a Professional Plumber?

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Nov
20

There are many reasons why hiring a professional plumber may be needed. Most people do not realize that plumbers take care of many different types of plumbing problems.

This not only includes a clogged toilet or a clogged sink as in addition to that, there are many reasons why a plumber can be needed. Knowing these reasons will help you decide when is a good idea to call Preferred Professional Solutions. Below are some of the different reasons for hiring a good plumber.

Drain Cleaning – There occur many times when the drains are clogged and no matter what you try, you can not get it unclogged. A professional plumber has the knowledge and the tools to easily uncover many drains.

Drain Repair – There are times that drains need repairing rather than replacement. This is a good time to call us, because this can be a big job, especially if you do not know what you are doing.

Drain Maintenance – When you take care of your drains, this can leave a lot of plumbing problems. A good plumber will provide maintenance of your drains as one of their services.

Replacing drains – The plumbers also replace old sewers that begin to leak, if necessary. With so many different drains in a building, this can be a huge job, so hiring a professional is always a good idea.

Waste disposal problems – Most houses and even some companies have got garbage disposals. When there are disposal problems, you do not want to take it apart to try and fix it all by yourself, as it can lead to all sorts of other problems. Our plumbers know how to solve this problem easily.

Repair – There are many tubes that run through the buildings so that the water can get through them.

These are just some of the reasons why you can be in need of a plumber. For anyone who needs a plumber, we ensure that your plumbing problems are handled right around the first time.

Hiring a professional plumber can become really  complicated at times as, the plumbing service is required quickly in an emergency situation most of the times. in such situations, you don’t get time to call your friends or relatives to ask for an advice, however you can always reach out to us at Preferred Plumbing Solutions as we provide the best professional plumbing services in Markham and its outskirts.

Plumbing and Construction of a New Home

Posted Posted by Preferred Plumbing in Blog     Comments No comments
Nov
13

All homes today have a lot of pipes in almost every corner of the house. Each of these tubes is placed in a way to provide water for facilitation, or to leave the dirty water.

Pipes Used

A PEX Pipe System for water lines and ABS pipe drain lines is used in many areas of the pipes, used during the housing construction. PEX is a plastic tube that is white, transparent, blue and red. For water filters, it can be seen in orange, green, black, yellow and gray. ABS drain lines is a tube made of plastic material, which is available in the black color.

Stages of Plumbing

The first stage of the plumbing of a house is to make a rough concept. This includes the work of earth in a space basement to crawl, drain or ventilate around the rest of the house, through the ventilation system in the attic. In addition, its also used for connecting the bathroom taps and showers to baths and showers.

If you are installing a pump, you will have to dig this into the soil. Make sure you hire a plumber from Preferred Plumbing Solutions, who will air test all water lines before putting the walls up. Also make sure to clean out the drainage system, which would go inside the walls and ceilings, and make sure to check those for the tight leaks. If necessary, you can always use a spanner to force open everything to clean, but if you do not use silicone, the possibility of a leakage will cause problems after everything is done, and the walls and ceilings have been built. All of this will surely cost a lot of money when it comes to repairing, which is why its better to check for leakages at the start of the installation.

The Test Requires That Water Drains

The next phase of the plumbing of a house is to finish plumbing. This is to fix the sinks, toilets and faucets when taking care of the finishing work of tubs and showers. At this stage, it is also necessary to install and connect the water heater. The water lines for hot and cold water should be made of three quarter inch long copper running to about three meters, before converting to PEX. Once all the installation is done, you will need to check the water pipe system by turning on the main line of water. Check for leaks around the bathroom tanks, and under the sink in the sewer lines and water lines. That’s all for plumbing in a house. 

Basic Plumbing Techniques For Your Plumbing Needs

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Oct
22

Plumbing seems like a very complicated subject matter. On one hand, it is a real science; plumbers need to be highly skilled at what they do before they can be considered as masters in this field. On the other hand, homeowners must try to learn even the basics of plumbing. You will be able to do some minor repairs and maintenance procedures to be able to save a significant amount of money.

 

When trying to remove clogs, avoid using chemical drain-cleaners. There are two reasons for this. First, chemicals do not really remove the clogs. They can soften a portion of the clogging material, but they do not remove the very material itself. So in other words, your clogging problem would recur eventually. Secondly, chemicals are likely to eat away your pipes. Of course, this does not take overnight. You might think that this does no damage, but the damage only becomes obvious after months of abuse. And once the damage surfaces, it is usually too late for repairs.

 

If your flapper is damaged, do not try to repair it. Instead, buy a new flapper or a flapper seat. Not getting a new one would mean that water would leak out, and this would eat away at your budget for your water bills.

 

What can you do if you have a minor clogging? You do not need to call the plumbers at once, there is the so-called ‘first aid’ that you can do. You can actually pour in hot water to the affected part. This would soften the clogging material, and would make it easier to remove.

 

However, in the event that there are major issues with regards to your plumbing, do not have second thoughts to call our Markham plumbers for assistance. We are professional plumbers, and are the best in what we do.

Timers Save You Money and Extend Your Water Heater’s Life

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Aug
9

In many aspects of our lives we have integrated the use of timers in order to be more efficient and remove a variety of wasted energy. In houses around the world you will find timers and sensors controlling lights, sprinkler systems, water softeners and even HVAC systems through the use of programmable thermostats that keep the house comfortable when you’re there but allow the temperature to fluctuate more when the house in empty so as not to waste electricity, propane or natural gas. These devices range from simple manual timers which get plugged into the wall between the outlet and the appliance, all the way up to heavily computer controlled systems which must be installed and maintained by professional Markham plumbers or electricians. A prime example of the latter coming with the introduction of electric cars into the mass market; you can now find the rare instance of a timer only allowing the car to be charged after a certain time at night, once the electric rates drop during ‘non-peak’ hours.

However, amongst this plethora of timers there is one appliance that can be found in nearly every home and business across Canada which uses a substantial amount of energy and has been almost completely ignored by this efficiency trend. Ask any Markham plumber and they will tell you that if you have tank-style (also called storage style) water heater, a large percentage of the energy that it uses is being wasted on trying to keep the stored water hot during the long stretches when no one is using it.

In order to solve this issue, you have two basic choices. First, you can talk to your Markham plumber about replacing your current water heater with a newer, tank-less model. This will provide greater efficiency due to the fact that it does not store hot water but rather heats it as it flows through the pipe when a shower, spigot or other outlet is opened. However, while the greater efficiency and longer useful life allows these models to pay for themselves over time, they can also represent a fairly steep upfront cost, especially if your current system isn’t very old. The second option is to have a water heater timer system installed to control your current hot water system. While this combination cannot match the efficiency of a top of the line tank-less unit, it is many times cheaper and will still provide a significant improvement over the amount you’re currently spending on your utility bills. These timers work by only allowing your system to run during the times of day when you’re most likely to actually need hot water and allowing the temperature in the storage tank to deviate more when demand is going to be low such as while you are sleeping or at work.

Water heater timers are just one of a multitude of ways a certified Markham plumber can help your family or business save money on your monthly utility bills. Leave a comment here, give us a call use our online contact form to talk to one of our expert plumbers about how we can help you.

Replacing a Faulty Fill Valve in Your Toilet

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Aug
9

We heard a funny story from one of our Markham plumbers the other day and it made us realize how many people actually have no idea what is going on inside of the bathroom fixture they probably use more than any other. That’s right; we’re talking about the toilet.

Anyway, our Markham plumber was apparently at a friend’s house over the weekend and noticed that the toilet was running. He asked his friend about it and pointed out that a running toilet could add up to hundreds of dollars in wasted water. The friend responded by stating he knew nothing about toilets and planned on getting around to calling Preferred Plumbing to repair it eventually. Our plumber was shocked by this as his brain started spinning through the simplicity of the repair and the amount of money which was being wasted through his friend’s attitude. Needless to say, he immediately dragged his friend to the store, purchased the parts and showed his friend how to repair the toilet in a matter of minutes.

Now, there is never anything wrong with calling a Markham plumber to perform any repairs you don’t feel comfortable with. Actually, we encourage it as it is the way we make our living and because a poorly performed repair can eventually cost significantly more than simply having it repaired by an expert the first time. However, there are some repairs which can be simply performed with anyone with the inclination to try and the ability to read instructions. One such repair is the replacement of the fill valve in the toilet which is one of the most common causes of a running toilet.

Most hardware or plumbing supply stores sell ‘fill valve repair kits’ which come with everything you need for less than $20. Following the instructions, you will see how incredibly simple this repair will be, but we’ll cover the basic outline.

  1. TURN OFF THE WATER SUPPLY TO THE TOILET!! Sorry, for the ‘all-caps’ but this is by far the most important step. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a big mess. This can be done by simply turning the valve on the supply line under the toilet.
  2. Remove the tank lid, and flush the toilet to drain the tank, if the tank starts to refill after you flush it, go back to step one and turn off the water before attempting this step again.
  3. Put towels on the floor under the tank, there will be some dripping in the next step from the small amount left in the bottom the tank.
  4. Remove the first plastic nut under the tank and disconnect the supply line where it enters the tank. After that, remove the other plastic nut which secures the fill valve to the tank allowing the valve to be lifted out through the top.
  5. Now, simply reverse these steps according to the instructions in order to install the new fill valve then reconnect the supply line, and turn the water back on and you’re on the way to saving money.

And there you have it; — simple steps and you’ll be saving money in no time. But like we said before, if at any time you feel uncomfortable or like you’re in over your head, please don’t hesitate to call us. Our staff of professional Markham plumbers is always happy to help and willing to explain every step of the work they’re performing.

Citizen Science (Trust Us; This Does Tie into Plumbing… Promise!)

Posted Posted by Preferred Plumbing in Blog     Comments No comments
Aug
9

If you’ve been following us on Twitter, Facebook or even just reading our website for any length of time; you’ve undoubtedly noticed that at Preferred Plumbing we have a deep respect and passion for nature. This passion stems from multiple sources, but a large portion of it comes from the knowledge we have gained over our years as Markham plumbers. Our chosen profession has put us on the frontline in the battle over both water pollution and waste. However, thanks to advances in technology provided largely through the internet, Markham plumbers are no longer alone in this battle.

Recently, there has been a fast growing trend toward ‘citizen journalism’ as an alternative to more traditional news sources. This has not only provided a wide variety of viewpoints on any given story which might not otherwise have been heard, but has also provided several instances where citizen journalists have broken important stories well before any of the mainstream sources had the chance.

So, how does this relate back to the world of Markham plumbers? Well, a natural extension of the ‘citizen journalism’ movement has been the ‘citizen science’ movement which brings us back to our love of the environment and how it can be effected by the plumbing work we do.

Now, how does this affect you and how what can you do to help?

Recently, we came across this (Please insert this link: http://rabble.ca/news/2013/05/digging-stories-and-crowdsourcing-data-age-amateur) great article discussing this exact topic and the struggles that citizen scientists often experience in their efforts to be taken seriously. Thankfully, the struggles suffered by those who led the way in the citizen scientist field have been quite successful in paving the way. This has made it much easier for those of you who decide to get involved to do so through established methods, groups and services.

Want to help the environment but don’t feel up to the ‘citizen scientist’ level? Get in touch with Preferred Plumbing, our team of Markham plumbers are experienced and capable of making your home more efficient. Every small step you take can add up to a big difference in end, and a small investment now can not only help the environment but also save you money on your monthly bills.

Three Steps to Finding the Perfect Plumber for Your Job

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Jul
18

One of the toughest things for any homeowner is the task of finding the right Markham plumber to hire if they don’t already have one they know and trust. Obviously, we’d always recommend that you call us, but we know that you don’t want to just take our word for it. So, here are our top three tips for finding the right plumber for your home while avoiding the pitfalls too many homeowners fall for every year.

1.      Do your research

Fifteen years ago the only resources you had to find a plumber or any kind of contractor were your friends, family and the yellow pages. Friends and family are still a great first step to finding a trustworthy plumber. Many of them will have a plumber who they have used for years with great success and that is the best reference a plumber can get. Fortunately, we now have the vast depths of information available on the internet. Online review sites and directories can give you a great overview of the Markham plumbers available to you and your fellow citizen’s experiences of them.

2.      Make multiple calls

Once you’ve done the research, choose the top 3-5 prospects and start making phone calls. A good plumber will have no issue with you calling and asking questions about their history, qualifications and experience. If one of the names on your list doesn’t want to answer your questions, eliminate them and move onto the next name. Additionally, if you know what needs to be done, attempt to get a quote over the phone.

3.      Add up the facts and make your decision

Many people fall into the trap of going with the cheapest option and end up regretting it later. This is why we’ve done all the research leading up to this point, now it’s time to put it to use. Take everything you’ve discovered and put it all down on paper and weigh your options against one another until you find the best possible choice in as many categories as possible.

These steps may seem like common sense, but as we stated before, many people just go with the first or cheapest Markham plumber they see a listing for. Take the extra time to do the research and you’ll be much happier in the long run.

The Funny Business of Plumbing

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May
4

We can only help but wonder where it all started. Plumbing had become a funny business in front of our very eyes, but we are clueless of how it all began. We have come to enjoy it though. Seeing our fellow plumbers’ slogans and business names; we cannot help but smile at such creativity and passion each one of us brings on to the table. We may be competitors as businesses, but we belong to the same industry, hence; we still share some traits, and one that we want to point out now is sense of humor.

Believe it or not; our sense of humor allows us to be more efficient in what we do. Our sense of humor takes the dirt out of our job. It makes working in the sink, bathroom and toilet a little less gross and ultimately enjoyable.

For whatever reason, terminologies we use on the job are called odd names. Some are not recommended to be spoken in front of a young audience, otherwise; some explaining may be required— explanations that only plumbers can do. Ballcock, mating, nipple and sweating the pipe may sound offensive but they are just a part of the rich terminology of the plumbing industry.

Seen the plumbing service vehicle that makes its driver look like he is sitting in a toilet bowl? Have you heard of slogans like; “We repair what your husband fixed”, “Got a leak, I’ll take a peek” and “Flushed with success since 1999”?  The funny truth in the first statement, the odd rhyme in the second and the seemingly ongoing act of flushing the toilet in the last make these slogans appeal to the crowd.

We can go on and on with a lot more other funny lines and stories about plumbing, but we won’t. The funny business of plumbing must end. Not that we want all these fun to conclude. What we are just trying to say is that at some point, playing around should stop and some serious work needs to be done. We know this is possible because that is exactly how we work. At Preferred Plumbing, you will meet the most amicable and funny plumbers you will ever get to work with, but as soon as they start working, the Einsteins (Trivia: He wants to be a plumber) in them come out.

Plumbing will always be a funny business for as long as the job is done and it is done right. Remember to hire plumbers who both take pride and delight at what they do. It matters in the satisfactory completion of a plumbing job.

Installing Low-flow Urinals to Save Water and Money

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Mar
28

If you own or even rent a commercial building in which you have to pay the utility bills, you know how much water can really cost. One of the biggest uses of water in a commercial setting is the toilets and other bathroom fittings. This is especially true if you have a large workforce or even customers who are using the bathrooms on a daily basis. Ask any Markham plumber and they’ll tell you that one of the worst offenders within the bathroom is the urinal.

Normal toilets can only have their flow reduced by so much before they are unable to move solid waste down the drain. Fortunately, urinals do not have this limitation and therefore can be reduced to a bare minimum of water usage. This means that in many cases the Low-flow urinal installed by a professional Markham plumber will only use a pint of water per flush instead of the full gallon used by the average standard flow urinal.

Now, some of you who have done a little research on the topic will be wondering why we wouldn’t recommend a waterless urinal instead. That’s a fair question since we’ve put such an emphasis on the cost of water and how much money you can save by reducing the usage. However, there is a good reason for our choice. Waterless urinals require a significant amount of maintenance including the regular replacement of the cartridges which allow them to function without water. These cartridges are not cheap and will usually more than offset the difference in water savings between that and a low-flow urinal in a fairly short period of time.

Now, this isn’t to say that waterless urinals don’t have a time and place, they certainly do. It’s simply one of those things you’ll need to talk about with a certified Markham plumber to determine the best course of action. Give us a call today, we’d be happy to help you.

Common Plumbing Emergencies

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Mar
14

There’s little more terrifying than seeing a toilet not flush when it’s supposed to. Some plumbing problems may build up over time, but all of them strike instantaneously, and with little warning. When this happens, most people recognize that it’s best to immediately call any of the plumbers in Markham to solve the problem. But what about next time? Once the plumber finishes the job, he may not have time to explain to you what just happened. So you pay him his due, scratch your head and worry about next time.

It helps to know in advance what kind of things can go wrong. Here, then, are a few of the most common emergencies in the plumbing world, so you can better understand what’s going wrong when things go wrong. With this information in mind, you might even be able to reduce the amount of damage if you sense a problem arising.

1 – Leaks

Anything can happen to pipes. You can’t do much to protect them aside from basic check-ups and maintenance. Over time, all pipes will rust and freeze, and sometimes they break. Good advice is to turn off your main valve and water heater to avoid more water seeping out. This will cause more rust and mold in the area. Fixing this issue will almost always remain a job for plumbers in Markham.

2 – Clogged Drains

Solids and viscous liquids like oil and grease tend to stop up sinks more easily than people realize. When faced with a clog, you can investigate the issue yourself by placing a bucket under the U-shaped pipe under your sink, which is where your sink trap is located, and taking a look for yourself. Sometimes clogged materials can be easily found and removed there, although it’s a messy way to handle it. Pouring chemicals down the drain to fix the issue blindly sometimes works, but it depends on the nature of the clog; some homeowners swear by a combination of vinegar and baking soda, followed by boiling water. If all else fails, there are plumbers in Markham you can call for help.

3 – Overflowing Toilets

The nightmare scene of every romantic comedy, an overflowing toilet, is perhaps the most recognizable plumbing emergency. The first thing to do is open the tank at the back of the toilet and jiggle what’s called the “float arm” — that is, the floating ball at the top. Sometimes it’s merely the device that’s broken, not the plumbing underneath. If that doesn’t solve the problem, though, and diving in with a plunger doesn’t help, you’ll have to call a professional

Why Use Pex Tubing For Your Plumbing

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Feb
20

If you’re looking for some materials to restock your plumbing kit, then you may want to look into pex tubing for your next gig, or to keep around the house for whatever repairs you might need to get done. If you’re wondering why you’d want to seek this tubing out to keep on hand, here’s what you need to know about pex:

1. It’s More Flexible Than PVC

PVC is relatively flexible in comparison to other types of tubing, but it can become brittle and crack over time. Pex lasts a lot longer without cracking and is a lot more flexible than PVC without sacrificing sturdiness and durability.

2. It Won’t Dent

There’s nothing worse than spending fifty bucks on copper tubing only to have it bend and dent before you even get it into place. Pex is flexible and durable and most of all resilient, ensuring that you won’t have to deal with it being bent and twisted out of shape before you get a chance to put it to use.

3. It Won’t Corrode or Develop Pinholes

A big problem with metal tubing for plumbers In Markham is that it can corrode and develop tiny pinholes over time. This may not seem like a big deal at first, because how much water do you really lose through a tiny pinhole? But when that leak leads to mold in your walls, it can become a bigger problem than spending an extra dollar or two on the water bill every month.

4. Fast Installation

Traditional tubing requires a whole load of various connectors to be attached before plumbers In Markham can put it in place. Pex can be wrapped and twisted around whatever you need to wrap and twist it around and put in place in far less time than other tubing materials.

Plumbers In Markham will tell you that there are instances where metal tubing might be preferable to pex. If you have tubing that needs to go outside, metal may stand up to the elements better than pex, and if you ever have frozen pipes, it’s easier to take a heating device to metal than to pex, but whenever pex works, pex really works, not as one choice, but frequently as the best
choice.

http://web.archive.org/web/20080306104704/http://geoheat.oit.edu/bulletin/bull19-1/art59.htm

http://www.drinkingfountaindoctor.com/glossar

Three Steps To Finding The Perfect Plumber For Your Job

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Jan
16

One of the toughest things for any homeowner is the task of finding the right Markham plumber to hire if they don’t already have one they know and trust. Obviously, we’d always recommend that you call us, but we know that you don’t want to just take our word for it. So, here are our top three tips for finding the right plumber for your home while avoiding the pitfalls too many homeowners fall for every year.

  1. 1.      Do your research

Fifteen years ago the only resources you had to find a plumber or any kind of contractor were your friends, family and the yellow pages. Friends and family are still a great first step to finding a trustworthy plumber. Many of them will have a plumber who they have used for years with great success and that is the best reference a plumber can get. Fortunately, we now have the vast depths of information available on the internet. Online review sites and directories can give you a great overview of the Markham plumbers available to you and your fellow citizen’s experiences of them.

  1. 2.      Make multiple calls

Once you’ve done the research, choose the top 3-5 prospects and start making phone calls. A good plumber will have no issue with you calling and asking questions about their history, qualifications and experience. If one of the names on your list doesn’t want to answer your questions, eliminate them and move onto the next name. Additionally, if you know what needs to be done, attempt to get a quote over the phone.

  1. 3.      Add up the facts and make your decision

Many people fall into the trap of going with the cheapest option and end up regretting it later. This is why we’ve done all the research leading up to this point, now it’s time to put it to use. Take everything you’ve discovered and put it all down on paper and weigh your options against one another until you find the best possible choice in as many categories as possible.

These steps may seem like common sense, but as we stated before, many people just go with the first or cheapest Markham plumber they see a listing for. Take the extra time to do the research and you’ll be much happier in the long run.

Dealing with Water Damage after a Flood

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Jan
9

Floods can be caused by a countless number of causes from a broken pipe to natural disasters. Some of these can be foreseen and prevented while others occasionally happen with no warning and no way to stop them. No matter what the cause of your flooding issue might be, the aftermath needs to be handled in the same way. Most homeowners are going to want to call a Markham plumber and other professional help, but if you’re a proficient do-it-yourselfer, there are some basic steps you need to follow to get your home back to normal.

Step 1: Check for Danger

Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a professional; this is the most vital part for any home owner experiencing flood damage. Anyone who passed second grade science class can tell you that water is a very good conductor of electricity. What many people forget however as they rush into their flooded room to survey the damage is that the walls, ceiling and in many cases the floors of their home are filled with the electrical wires which power their home. This means that the very first thing you should do is go to your breaker or fuse box and turn off the power to the affected area of the home.

Step 2: Identify the Source

Once you have made sure the area is safe, the next step will be to identify the source of the leak and the sort of water which is now filling your home. In general, a Markham plumber will tell you that there are three categories of water which can flood your home.

Step 3: Cleanup and Damage Prevention

As we said before, if you’re looking at a Category III flood problem, you need to call an expert immediately. We still recommend calling an expert no matter what sort of flood you have, but with a minor Category I or Category II flood, you may be able to take care of things yourself. First you need to get any furniture out of the room. Wooden furniture will continue to wick water up into itself and become further damaged as long as it’s exposed to the wet area. Additionally, this will give you room to work while cleaning up the rest of the area.

Baseboards, wainscoting and other wall coverings will also continue to wick water up from the floor and cause damage to the walls. As long as these remain in place and remain damp they will provide ideal places for mold to begin to grow. If you find any mold while removing these items, stop what you’re doing and call a professional immediately. Certain strains of mold can be extremely dangerous especially to children, the elderly or anyone with respiratory problems.

Once the room is empty and the walls are stripped to the drywall, you can begin to attempt to dry the floors. This process involves large floor fans and dehumidifiers, items which most homeowners do not own but may be available from an equipment rental company.

Follow these steps and you may be able to salvage the room and its contents without too much damage. However, calling a professional may save you a significant amount of time and money as the longer it takes you to get things dry the more permanent damage there may be.

Are These Plumbing Myths Costing you Money?

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Jan
2

In spite of all the information available on the internet, many people are still falling for pluming myths which are costing them money every month or possibly even doing damage to their systems. Much like doctors and medical myths, Markham plumbers have long struggled to push the truth ahead of the myths which perpetuate throughout the industry. Thankfully in the plumbing world, unlike the medical field, the results are rarely a matter of life or death.

Myth #1: As long as it goes down the drain, everything is fine

This is one of the most common myths we hear on a daily basis, especially upon getting called to repair a customer’s clogged drain. Waste such as pasta and rice will easily flow down the drain, but it often settles in trap where it begins to absorb water and expand. This creates a blockage which slows and eventually stops the drain flow.

Myth #2: All plumbers are equally trained, capable and professional

Just because a plumber is licensed and insured, doesn’t mean they’re the best there is. Continuing education courses are constantly available to Markham plumbers and plumbers in every other region. These courses are what allow the best plumbers to stay ahead of the competition as they keep up to date on the latest materials, techniques and appliances on the market. Sub-par plumbers will not take these courses and therefore may not be able to perform necessary repairs on newer plumbing systems.

Myth #3: Plumbing fixtures require little or no maintenance

You use soap and water to wash your body, so it won’t hurt if you leave the residue on your shower or other plumbing fixtures right? Not so much. Leaving water and soap residue on these fixtures can lead to significant damage over time. The soap builds up in the moving parts of the fixture, eventually jamming them completely and requiring replacement. At the same time, water causes corrosion, which also leaves to the eventual early failure of your plumbing systems. On the other hand, if you have a spare bathroom which does not get regular usage, you can have problems there too. These fixtures should be run once every month or so to keep rubber bushings and other parts from drying out and eventually failing.

We’ll do another post soon covering more of the most common myths and the problems they cause. If we can help you avoid wasting money on some of these easily avoided problems, we’ll all be a little happier down the road.

Proper Septic Tank Cleaning and Care

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Dec
26

As an increasing percentage of the population moves into cities and those cities continue to grow, so do their sewer systems. However, according to a recent study approximately a quarter of all people in North America still live in areas where septic tanks are the norm. These areas include the suburbs, small towns and other rural areas in which our Markham plumbers frequently work.

In the vast majority of cases, a well-designed and maintained septic tank can last as long as 50 years before needing to be replaced. Unfortunately, many tanks require early replacement due to homeowners who are not properly educated in the maintenance of their system. For the most part, this isn’t the homeowners fault as they are either give inaccurate information by subpar Markham plumbers or simply not given any information at all.

That’s where this post comes in; we’re going to finally give you the information you need.

Obviously, these few pointers do not cover everything you could ever need to know about your septic system, but they do cover the most common questions we hear as Markham plumbers. As always, if you have further questions, please feel free to call us or leave a comment here.

Three Steps to Finding the Perfect Plumber for Your Job

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Dec
11

One of the toughest things for any homeowner is the task of finding the right Markham plumber to hire if they don’t already have one they know and trust. Obviously, we’d always recommend that you call us, but we know that you don’t want to just take our word for it. So, here are our top three tips for finding the right plumber for your home while avoiding the pitfalls too many homeowners fall for every year.

1.      Do your research

Fifteen years ago the only resources you had to find a plumber or any kind of contractor were your friends, family and the yellow pages. Friends and family are still a great first step to finding a trustworthy plumber. Many of them will have a plumber who they have used for years with great success and that is the best reference a plumber can get. Fortunately, we now have the vast depths of information available on the internet. Online review sites and directories can give you a great overview of the Markham plumbers available to you and your fellow citizen’s experiences of them.

2.      Make multiple calls

Once you’ve done the research, choose the top 3-5 prospects and start making phone calls. A good plumber will have no issue with you calling and asking questions about their history, qualifications and experience. If one of the names on your list doesn’t want to answer your questions, eliminate them and move onto the next name. Additionally, if you know what needs to be done, attempt to get a quote over the phone.

3.      Add up the facts and make your decision

Many people fall into the trap of going with the cheapest option and end up regretting it later. This is why we’ve done all the research leading up to this point, now it’s time to put it to use. Take everything you’ve discovered and put it all down on paper and weigh your options against one another until you find the best possible choice in as many categories as possible.

These steps may seem like common sense, but as we stated before, many people just go with the first or cheapest Markham plumber they see a listing for. Take the extra time to do the research and you’ll be much happier in the long run.

How To Avoid Plumbing Scams

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Dec
3

It’s extremely disheartening when we constantly see news stories about fraudsters pretending to be plumbers and either 1) doing more harm than good 2) taking the money and doing no work or 3) committing robbery or worse against the homeowners. As professional Markham plumbers, we spend our whole careers building up a strong reputation by going above and beyond to help our customers. We work for years to build trust and grow our business often to see it all torn back down by one bad guy who decided that pretending to be a plumber would be the best way to commit their crime.

Fortunately, with the few tips we’re going to share in this post, you can feel confident that you’re getting a genuine Markham plumber and not some scumbag.

  1. Ask for credentials – genuine plumbers should all be licensed and if you ask about it they should be more than willing to prove it to you. If you ask a plumber to prove they’re who they say they are and they refuse, do not let them into your house.
  2. Ask for recommendations – if your family is anything like ours they are far from shy about sharing their opinion on everything and anything. Ask your friends and family who they call for their plumbing needs and what they think of them.
  3. Make a plumber your own – once you find a trustworthy plumber, don’t let them go. Show your loyalty to the plumber by scheduling all of your future regular maintenance through them and you can be sure you’ll always be treated right in the future.
  4. Return the favor – if you already have a great plumber, tell everyone about them. Not only will you be saving the people you tell from the potential dangers of choosing a bad egg, but you’ll also be helping your favorite Markham plumber out by giving them more business.

There you go; those are the 4 things you need to know if you want to find, and keep, a great plumber to work on your home. If you still feel unsure, just give us a call, you wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t already trust us.

Why Does My Water Heater Keep Popping?

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Nov
26

When it comes to questions we hear on a regular basis as Markham plumbers, this one ranks very near the top for frequency. If you have a tanked water heater that is more than a few years old, the odds that you have experienced this situation in your home is pretty good. The odds run even higher if you are on a well or other water supply which contains a significant amount of minerals or other dissolved sediment.

As the water sits in your tank and heats, these minerals and come out of the water and begin to settle in the bottom of you tank. With time, the amount of sediment can increase to significant amounts and form deposits on the inside walls of the tank, predominantly on the bottom as gravity pulls it down.

Now, if you ask any Markham plumber they will tell you that your water heater depends on the heat conductivity of the tank walls to transfer the energy and heat your water. The sediment buildup changes your tank’s ability to transfer the heat when the burner kicks on which leads to uneven heating of the tank and therefore the water within. It is this uneven heating which leads to the popping and other noises you hear when you turn on the water.

So, what can be done to stop the noise or even prevent it from happening in the first place? Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done. You can hire a Markham plumber to have your tank drained, pulling all the water and as much of the sediment as possible from your system. However, this is only a temporary fix as the drain plug can easily become blocked and not all the sediment will flow out anyway. If the noise is enough of an annoyance that you feel it’s worth trying, you may receive some temporary relief from the process, but you shouldn’t expect miracles. It only takes one piece of sediment to make a pop.

Unclogging Your Toilet Without A Plumber

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Nov
19

One of the most frustrating things that can happen with your home plumbing is the clogged toilet. If you ask us, it ranks right up there just behind burst pipes and failed water heaters first thing in the morning. Fortunately, a clogged toilet is much less destructive than a burst pipe and generally a quicker fix than either. We can’t guarantee that the tactics we discuss here will allow you to unclog your own toilet every time, but they are certainly a place to start before calling a Markham plumber.

The first step will be to determine whether you toilet is continuing to run or not. If it is working properly, then you have no further problems, but if it’s continuing to run you might be in for a flood. If it’s already overflowing, or closely approaching the rim, this needs to be your first concern. Find the valve on the water supply (usually right behind the toilet on a piece of waterline running from the floor to the toilet’s tank and turn it off.

Now that you’ve eliminated the risk of flooding like a true Markham plumber, it’s time to unclog the drain. Step one will be to use a toilet plunger in order to clear the blockage. This device works by forcing water into the drain under pressure with the goal of pushing the blockage to a point where it can flow freely again. Don’t be afraid to really pump the plunger hard, in most cases, it will take a significant amount of force and several pumps to clear the blockage. This simple device is a worthy investment for any home owner and will be the only step needed to repair the majority of blockages.

In the cases where this isn’t enough, you may need to use a small toilet auger in order to break up the blockage. These can be purchased at many stores for a very small price and are basically just composed of a flexible cable just long enough to pass through the toilet with an auger on one end and a handle on the other.  The auger is inserted into the toilet’s drain and the handle is cranked until it reaches the obstruction and the bowl can drain. After the bowl is fully drained, the auger can be removed from the toilet.

This should clear nearly blockages, but every once in a while a rare clog will still resist. If you have tried both of these tools and the toilet is still clogged, then it may be time to finally call in the expert Markham plumbers.

Water Heater Elements

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Nov
12

Everyone knows the importance of a properly functioning water heater, especially as the mornings get colder. There is nothing worse on a cold winter morning than waking up to find that your home has no hot water. Here are some quick tips from your favorite Markham plumbers to make sure you never have to worry about that happening again.

The main piece of your home’s water heating system which can fail and cause this problem is the water heating element. These elements generally screw in through the side of the water heater’s tank and are heated by an electrical current, in turn keeping the water in the storage tank at the appropriate temperature until it is needed.

Electric heating elements come in a variety of sizes and styles to account for different usage demands. Obviously, too small of a unit will not provide sufficient hot water for your family’s needs, but bigger isn’t always better either. Having too large of a system will not only cost you more upfront, but can also lead to inefficiencies in your home which will cost you more in utility bills every month. Professional Markham plumbers have been trained in order to judge your family’s water usage and thereby install the proper size.

Failure of your water heater’s element(s) is one of the most common causes of that cold shower we’ve all unexpectedly experienced first thing in the morning. It’s the worst possible way to start your morning which is then made all the worse by the knowledge that you’re going to have to call a plumber and pay out even more money for that.

Fortunately, calling a Markham plumber to give your home water heating system an onceover before something fails is the best way to keep you from going through that experience again.

Surviving Winter Power Outages

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Nov
5

With hurricane Sandy slamming the east coast this past week and spreading its effects as far as the Great Lakes region with high winds and snow, millions were left without power. Power outages can be extremely annoying any time of year, but are seldom more than an inconvenience most of the year unless the temperature happens to be exceptionally high. However, power outages in the winter are a different story all together and are always dangerous unless certain precautionary steps are taken to assure your family’s safety.

When you begin your preparation checklist, your first call should be to a certified Markham plumber. Frozen pipes are the most common consequence from the power going out when the temperature is at or below freezing, but thankfully it is also one of the most preventable. Markham plumbers know how cold the weather can get in your area and exactly how to best avoid catastrophically frozen or even burst pipes which can lead to thousands of dollars in damage. Proper insulation is going to be the first step in prolonging the amount of time it takes for the water in your pipes to freeze.

The ultimate solution however is not something that your Markham plumber can take care of, though they can probably provide a recommendation of a trusted professional who can. Generators produce power to your home until grid power is restored.

When choosing a generator, the first decision you’ll have to make is portable versus automatic. Portable generators are less expensive than their automatic counterparts, but also provide less power meaning you may only be able to run the most elements of your home such as the freezer, furnace, water pump etc. They also require someone to go out in the storm and manually attach the generator to the home and get it running. Alternatively, the higher cost of an automatic generator allows for a permanent installation which in many cases will provide power for the whole home as well as automatic engagement when the power is cut from the outside.

Whether you can afford the luxury of an automatic generator or not, you really can’t afford to not have your pipes professionally insulated by a Markham plumber.  In addition to that, every family should have an emergency kit to assure they are ready for the worst case scenario. These kits can be purchased at various websites across the internet or easily assembled at home. These kits should contain all of the basics including:

These few items can be assembled from scratch for less than $50, but you already probably have most of them in your home. Just place them in a container and put the container in a place where you won’t be tempted to raid it next time your television remote dies.

Shower Doors

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Oct
29

One of the most overlooked pieces of the average bathroom is the shower curtain or door. Shower curtains are still popular in many homes around the country but require constant cleaning or replacement to avoid mold and mildew buildup. This is just one of several reasons why any Markham plumber you ask will always recommend that you replace your old, mildewed curtain with a nice glass door.

Sticking with the cleaning angle to start, most shower doors will only require a quick spray and wipe down with standard glass or shower cleaner to remove any calcium or soap scum build up that might arise.

A well-chosen and maintained glass door will appear far more impressive to any guests who happen to see your bathroom than any curtain. Modern shower doors come in an abundant variety of sizes and designs nearly guaranteeing that you will be able to find the perfect one to compliment the rest of your design points. In addition to this, many showers do not have an overhead light mounted on the ceiling above them. This leaves many showers with curtains dark and gloomy whereas a door will allow more light into the room and allowing for a better experience.

If you ask your favorite Markham plumber for their opinion on the most important reason you should replace your shower curtain with a door, they’ll most likely tell you about the safety considerations. These considerations start out simple, water inevitably escapes the shower when you use a curtain and depending upon what sort of flooring you have can lead to the possibility of slip and fall injuries. On top of that, this water will also soak into your trim, flooring and walls over time eventually leading to mold and even rot. If allowed to go on long enough, you’ll end up needing a carpenter in addition to the Markham plumber in order to repair the damage.

Hot Water Temperature Fluctuations

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Oct
22

There is nothing better than a nice hot shower first thing in the morning on a cold winter day to wake you up and get everything started on the right foot. Unfortunately, many Canadians with older water heaters experience a lack of hot water after the tank has been allowed to cool by hours of not being used. This type of scenario leads to thousands of our fellow citizens calling their local Markham plumber with the impression that their water heater needs to be replaced. Fortunately, this fluctuation of water temps may not always be a sign that the full unit needs to be replaced and can frequently be resolved by much simpler repairs.

One of the most common problems that can cause these sorts of issues is a failure of the dip tube within the tank itself. This tube runs from the cold water intake to the bottom of the tank and delivers the cold water directly to the burner while hot water is drawn off the top of the tank and dispersed to the house. If this dip tube fails, the cold water is now delivered to the top of the tank, mixing with the hot water and being immediately taken to the shower or sink where the tap has been opened.

Another possibility that our Markham plumbers see on a fairly regular basis is a temperature probe that requires replacement. This probe measures the temperature of the water in the holding tank and controls the burner. Over time this probe can become crusted with lime, rust and other mineral deposits that are commonly found in your water supply. As this crust forms, it insulates the probe and therefore delays its ability to properly control the burner leading to lukewarm water after long periods of dormancy followed by excessively hot water caused by a delay in burner shutdown.

If you notice any of these symptoms occurring in your hot water system and were afraid that you’d need to have your entire unit replace, there’s nothing to fear any longer. Pick up the phone and give us a call, we’ll be happy to send one of our professional Markham plumbers out to take a look and see what it would take to get you back to enjoying that hot shower every morning.

Preventing Clogged Toilets: Your Paper Choice Can Make a Difference

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Oct
15

One of the things that we put very little thought into as Canadians is the effects our choice of toilet paper has on our toilets. Sure we spend plenty of time thinking about how they feel when we actually use them, the thickness, the softness the amount of lint they leave behind and everything else that Mr. Whipple told us was important. But unless you’re a professional Markham Plumber, the odds are that you never think about the paper again one you flush it.

The exception to that rule is when your toilet is clogged and you have to deal with either clearing it yourself or calling a Markham plumber to take care of the problem for you. Wouldn’t you rather take a simple step to greatly minimize the chances of a clog ever occurring?

Thankfully, it’s possible to do exactly that simply by choosing the toilet paper which has the best decomposition rate. This is the rate at which it breaks down once flushed and therefore directly corresponds to the likelihood of you ending up with a clogged toilet.

This is where the news gets even better though, we don’t even have to do any kind of testing or complicated calculations or anything to determine what the best toilet paper is for preventing clogged toilets, because the kind folks over at Consumer Reports have already done it for us.

Charmin Ultra Soft 2-ply, Canada’s favorite toilet paper, as judged by the amount sold every year was found to be a great toilet paper from every aspect of comfort, thickness, etc. except for one. Unfortunately, that one is the only one we care about; it took longer than average to break down and therefore was more likely to cause a clog than the best rated toilet paper.

If you’re guessing that the single ply, 100% recycled, PC Green paper was the best, you’d be wrong again; it was found to be both the most uncomfortable to use and took longer than other brand tested to decompose. It’s great for the environment, but not so great for your sensitive areas or your plumbing.

The brand with the highest scores in testing was Royale brand toilet paper which is made right here in Canada and also scored well in the comfort tests as well. However, it’s important to remember that these tests are performed in a lab and not the real world. Royale brand may be a good place to start, but if you continue to have problems with clogged toilets, as your Markham plumber what they would recommend or just buy different brands each time you go shopping until you finally find the one that works the best with you plumbing. It may not be a glamorous experiment, but it’s a lot more fun than an overflowing toilet full of sewage.

How Is Your Water Being Used And How Can You Reduce It?

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Oct
8

Photo Credit: Allianceforwaterefficiency.org

The above chart is from the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and does a great job of really demonstrating where the water we use each month goes. The Alliance is an American organization, but as our usage habits are very similar to our southern neighbors, we can use it as an accurate representation of our own uses. As Markham plumbers, we are often asked by our customer what simple steps can be taken to help them reduce their water usage.

Outdoor

One of the biggest users of water in your home only applies in the summer and if you notice a huge swing in your bill between the seasons you might be a victim of the over active sprinkler system. Many home owners simply set their sprinklers to go off for a set duration at a set time and forget it, but this is the worst possible way you can manage your water usage and we can’t even begin to tell you how many times we’ve seen sprinklers blasting on someone’s yard in the middle of a rainstorm.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is purchase and install an inexpensive rain sensor that will register the moisture in your lawn and only allow the sprinklers to run when they’re actually needed. These small devices are simple enough to be installed by any homeowner but your favorite Markham plumber can also do the work if you really don’t feel comfortable with it.

Indoor

Now you’re wondering “What if I don’t have a sprinkler system? Is there anything I can do to reduce my water bill?” That’s a very good question, and yes there is. We’ve covered many of these tips in various Markham plumber blog posts in the past, but in case you missed something before, you might as well keep reading.

As the chart shows, the toilet uses more water in the average household than any other appliance or fixture. This is because many homes still contain out of date toilets that use much more water than they need to in order to clear the bowl. You have two distinct choices to solve this issue, the first of which being the obvious; replacing the toilet with a new high efficiency model. This is not a job for the faint of heart and unless you have previous experience with installing toilets, it would be better left to a professional Markham plumber. The alternative for anyone on a budget would be to purchase an inexpensive kit which allows any toilet to be converted into a dual flush model with different usages for solid and liquid waste disposal.

Next on the list of high water usage is the clothes washer unfortunately these are expensive to replace and should probably be passed over unless you need a new one anyway.

The next tip corresponds with the third biggest water user, your shower. Showerheads have seen major improvements over the past few years and can now offer a luxurious shower experience while using a fraction of the water that your old showerhead did. These high efficiency heads are clearly labeled on the packaging and can be found inexpensively at any hardware or Markham plumbing supply store for you to install as soon as you get home. Just don’t forget the Teflon tape for the threads.

The final piece of the water saving puzzle is the faucet aerator, these pieces cost less than $5 and can be installed in about 30 seconds. All you need to do is unscrew the old end piece from the faucet in your sinks and replace them with the new aerators. Running an average faucet for 5 minutes uses the same amount of energy as a 60 watt light bulb uses in 14 hours, these aerators can reduce that usage by as much as 55%.

All of these water saving techniques can be easily implemented in a single afternoon and will leave you wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. For further tips on how you can save money in your home or business, give one of the experts at Preferred Plumbing a call today and we’ll be happy to help.

The Limits Of An In-Sink Disposal Unit

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Oct
1

If you have a kitchen in your home, and we know most of you do, it’s a good bet that you probably have an in-sink disposal unit installed to take care of food waste that gets washed down the drain while you’re washing the dishes. However, in spite of their saturation across this country, as Markham plumbers we have come to notice that many of our fellow citizens have the wrong impression when it comes to what these machines should and shouldn’t be used for.

Far too often Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area end up calling us or our fellow Markham plumbers to come out and perform services that could easily be prevented by proper disposal usage. Thankfully, these errors are seldom serious and amount to an annoyance and wasted money much more often than severely damaging the plumbing system and the owner’s wallet. So, here are some common issues that we see and a few tips to help you avoid having to make that embarrassing call to us.

NEVER run your disposal without cold water running – we’re starting with this one as it is one of the rare instances that can cause serious damage and therefore the most important. The disposal depends on that flow of water to both assist in clearing the shredded waste from the blades as well as cooling all of the bearings and other moving parts. When it comes to any kind of moving parts, heat will always be the enemy of a long lifetime and repeated abuse can lead to failure of the unit.

The disposal unit is not a trashcan – This is probably the most common disposal related issue that we get called out on and therefore a good runner up for the top spot in importance. The good news is that this mistake rarely results in serious damage and can generally be fixed quickly and easily by one of our professional Markham plumbers. We have seen all sorts of things shoved down these units and that is simply not what they’re designed for. These units are designed to grind up the small scraps of food leftover on your plate after your done eating, not for grinding up bones, wrappers or other non-food items. Also, avoid washing pasta into the units. The pasta won’t jam the grinder like the previously mentioned items will, but even ground up into small pieces, the pasta can collect in the p-trap and expand to the point where it completely blocks the drain.

Use ice to sharpen the unit – This sounds like an old wives’ tale, but believe us, it really does work. Simply take a few ice cubes once every couple of months and drop them into the unit with the water running and let it bust them up until they’re gone. Keeping the blades sharp means that the pieces that make their way into the drain will be smaller and thereby less likely to cause a blockage.

If you follow these three simple rules and apply a little bit of common sense in between, your disposal unit can last for a decade or more with ease. Not only does that save you from having to call us because of an incident that could have been easily avoided, it also saves you money by keeping wear and tear to a minimum and prolonging the life of your unit.

What Is ‘Hard Water’ And Why Should You Be Concerned With It?

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Sep
24

Most people are familiar with the term ‘hard water’ and have water softeners installed in their homes to take care of this issue but the majority of them have no idea what hard water is or why it needs to be softened before it can be used in their homes.  Hard water is commonly defined as water which contains high levels of dissolved minerals; with 1000mg/L typically set by Markham plumbers as the standard line between hard and soft. These minerals deposits consist mostly of calcium and magnesium but may contain any number of other substances as well.

Hard water is not known to cause any health problems to the vast majority of people, but it will be noticeable to most people. This is especially true for those with sensitive skin, rashes or other skin conditions that may be exasperated by the minerals left on the skin as the water dries. In addition to this unpleasant feeling, soap does not lather as well under hard water conditions, so you will also find yourself using significantly more soap than you would if you’re water was being properly softened.

The biggest concern that Markham plumbers face when dealing with homes exposed to hard water actually has nothing to do with your health or personal comfort, though the latter is an added bonus of a properly functioning water softening system. Rather, they look at the effects that hard water has on your home’s plumbing systems and appliance which use water. Over time, the minerals drop out of solution and harden against the walls of your pipes and inside of your washing machine, dishwasher, coffee maker and ice maker. These deposits can drastically reduce the interior diameter of the piping, severely limiting water flow, potentially blocking it completely.

The first areas where you will notice mineral build up will be in places with small water nozzles such as shower heads, the spray wand of a dishwasher or a refrigerator with built in water/ice dispensers. If you notice reduced flow or visible mineral accumulation in any of these areas, it’s probably time that you should consider calling a certified Markham plumber to come out and look at your system.

New Faucet Technologies Lead to More Sanitary Kitchens

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Sep
17

Just a few years ago, hands-free faucets were only found in public restroom at your local grocery store or restaurant. However, new innovations from big name faucet manufacturers have made it possible to have this same convenience installed right in your own home by a certified Markham plumber.

One of the biggest health concerns in any home takes place in the kitchen, right where your family spends so much of their time and all of your food is prepared. As a matter of fact, it is the food preparation that is responsible for the danger. Commonly referred to as ‘cross-contamination,’ it refers to the improper handling of raw foods such as chicken and pork and the disease factors that they can carry.

Proper cooking destroys the risk of illness that may be present in raw meats, but if you were to prepare a salad or other raw food without properly washing your hands and work spaces you may endanger your family’s health.  This is where hands-free faucets can make a huge difference in the sanitary conditions of your kitchen. When installed by a professional Markham plumber, they eliminate the need to touch the standard handles with your contaminated hands. This is the mode of cross contamination that is most frequently overlooked by homeowners who do wash their hands, but don’t think of the fact that they just touched the same surface (the handles) with both their dirty and now their clean hands. This quick touch is all it takes to transfer the bacteria and virus back to your skin.

A potentially lower cost alternative to hands-free faucets that you can discuss with your local Markham plumber is the so-called ‘one-touch’ style of faucet. These faucets turn on and off simply by coming into contact with any part of your skin. This allows you to keep your contaminated hands away from clean surfaces by turning the water on with your elbow, forehead or any other clean body part that will reach the faucet.

No matter what kind of faucet you choose, the health and safety of your family will certainly be worth the cost. Call a certified Markham plumber today to see what they can do for you and your family; the longer you delay the more you’re risking their health.

Does Your Home Need a Sump Pump?

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Sep
10

Most people have at least heard the term ‘sump pump’ but a far smaller number can tell you what one is or what it does (other than “it pumps sumps” which is technically true Haha). As professional Markham plumbers, we have even come to realize that many homeowners have no idea whether their home needs a sump pump or not and in more than a couple cases the homeowners couldn’t even tell us whether or not they had one installed in their home.

While the actual job of installation should be left to your favorite team of Markham plumbers, the knowledge of whether or not your home has a sump pump and its location if you do have one is information every home owner should possess.

First of all, let’s cover what a sump pump is and how to tell if your home has one or not. If your home has a basement, you should have noticed whether it contains a basin which extends down below the level of the floor. This basin, called a ‘sump basin’, ‘crock’ or simply a ‘sump’ will contain the sump pump and will be the first place where water will gather as it begins to pool around your home’s foundation during times of heavy rain. The pump will contain a float switch which will cause it to turn on when the water in the ‘sump basin’ reaches a certain level. This is a very important feature to have installed by a professional Markham plumber in areas with high precipitation to avoid costly flooded basements.

Sump pumps are an absolute necessity in any area prone to flooding or with a high water-table, but are also a good idea in any climate. Many people keep their clothes washer and dryer in their basements which means they have to have plumbing installed to these areas which always runs the risk of failure and flooding by those means. These appliances can also experience a short in the event of a flood no matter what the cause and potentially cause a fire.

Sump pumps can cost a little bit of money to have installed, but their benefits far outweigh their upfront costs. The cost of repairing flood damage to the structure of your basement can run deep into the thousands of dollars and that doesn’t even begin to include the costs of replacing furniture and flooring that you may have installed. If you have any further questions about the importance of sump pumps or are ready to have one installed in your house, give us a call and a member of our expert staff will be happy to help you.

Slow Draining Sinks

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Sep
3

As certified Markham plumbers, one of the most common residential plumbing issues we see or hear about is slow draining sinks. This most commonly occurs due to the buildup of hair, grease, dirt and other substances that are routinely find their way into the sink and eventually down the drain during normal day to day usage. With time, this detritus can form a blockage which will continue to grow and decrease the available area for water to flow through the drain pipes. If ignored long enough, the pipe can eventually become completely blocked and stop the water flow all together.

Thankfully, this is a very easily handled issue that can be handled by the majority of homeowners without the need to call a professional Markham plumber. The first thing you should do when you notice the drain’s flow rate starting to slow is to buy some Liquid-Plumber, Drain-o or similar product which is designed specifically for this kind of issue and use it according to the directions on the bottle. The fact that these products are household names and so widely available should give you a fair idea of how common of a problem this really is.

If the chemical treatment fails to restore your drain to its former, free-flowing self, then you will need to check the P-trap for a blockage. This is the point where many people will call a Markham plumber, but unless you really feel uncomfortable, it is a very simple process.

Credit: LifeHacker

The p-trap (pictured above) gets its name from the fact that it is shaped roughly like the letter ‘P’ laying on its side. These are legally required to be installed on all drains to keep a pocket of water in their bend and prevent dangerous sewer gasses from backing up into your home. It can be easily disconnected via the two large nuts at either end of the trap and removed. Before you do this, it is important that you place a bucket or other container below it as the water in the bend and any water in the sink if your drain is completely blocked will flow out as soon as the trap is removed.

With the trap disconnected, you will be able to clearly see if a blockage in this area is causing your problems. If it is, you can clear it out by hand and then reinstall the trap. If the trap is clear, then you unfortunately have a much larger problem causing your slow drain flow and it is going to require a call to your certified Markham plumber.

Have you ever replaced a P-trap or done any other simple plumbing repairs? We’d love to hear about your experiences and any advice you can share with your fellow readers.

Bathroom On A Budget: Where To Splurge And Where To Save

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Aug
27

In our years as Markham plumbers we have seen countless bathroom remodels from extremely thrifty to extremely expensive and everywhere in between. We understand that most of your budgets will fall somewhere in the middle of the extremes, but no matter where it falls on the spectrum everyone wants to make sure they’re getting the best value for the money they are spending.

This simple fact seemed like it would be a great topic to explore in a blog post so we started doing some  research. As it turns out, we’re far from the only people who have realized this and there was a lot of information for how to get the best possible value when remodeling your bathroom. Since we know you all have busy lives, we thought we’d do the research for you. Here’s the list of what we, as professional Markham plumbers, see as the general consensus as to where you should splurge and where you can afford to save.

Splurge

Save

That’s the list that we came up with, so now it’s your turn to let us know what you think. And when you’re done with that, it’s your turn to get to work on finally treating yourself to the bathroom you’ve been dreaming of.

Preparing Your Pipes for the Coming Winter

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Aug
20

With the recent hot weather we know it’s hard to even believe that the freezing cold temperatures of winter are less than 3 months away. However, it’s the truth and even though it may be 30oC outside right now, there’s no better time than right now to make sure your plumbing systems are ready for the winter cold. The best way to do this is to call a professional Markham plumber to come out and provide an assessment of your system, but if you can’t afford that there are some things you can do yourself that will help.

Many people who have never experienced the problems associated with frozen pipes imagine it to just be a minor inconvenience which stops your water from flowing. They neglect the fact that water expands as it freezes and becomes ice, this causes your pipes to stretch every time they freeze eventually leading them to fail and burst. Burst pipes can then lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage within your home within just a few hours while you’re asleep or even worse if you happen to be away for a few days when the problem occurs.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening in your home? First of all, make sure your pipes are all properly insulated. This will not completely prevent freezing in the coldest temperatures, but it can buy you a few hours that you may not otherwise have if the temperature is borderline for freezing. On average, it takes approximately 4 hours for uninsulated pipes to freeze at -2o to -3oC; with proper insulation, it may take as much as twice as long allowing the temperatures to rise above freezing once again before the pipes can fully freeze.

The simplest thing you can do to prevent freezing on days when the temperature is expected to remain well below freezing for an extended period of time is to open your faucets to a slight trickle and allow them to run. This isn’t a fancy solution, but it will guarantee against freezing in all but the absolute coldest climates as the flow of water keeps it from dissipating too much heat at anyone point and prevents it from freezing.

The best thing you can do for yourself is always going to be having a professional assessment done by a professional Markham plumber who can find the areas where freezing is most likely to occur and make the corrections needed to minimize the risk. One last tip before we wrap this up, when you leave the house for a vacation in the winter, the tendency to turn off the heat to save energy must be avoided at all costs as it will allow the temperature of your whole home to drop below freezing in the event of an extended cold spell while you’re away and potentially lead to the freezing and bursting of interior pipes that are uninsulated as they were never expected to see such cold temperatures. Simply turning the thermostat down to 10oC while you are gone will save considerable energy while still providing your home with enough warmth to prevent freezing.

If you have any further questions, please leave them in the comments section or give us a call to personally speak to one of our expert Markham plumbers.

Bottled Water: A Growing Problem

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Aug
13

As expert Markham plumbers, we like to think we know a thing or two about water and one of the things we know is that there is a lot of misinformation being passed along to consumers by the marketing departments of bottled water manufacturers.

http://www.onlineeducation.net/bottled_water/water_full.jpg

The above link leads to a great infographic which is aimed specifically at the bottled water consumption of our southern neighbors in the United States, but also contains many facts that are universal and can be applied to our use here in Canada. Let’s look at some of the myths that have been passed as fact and the truth behind them.

Bottled water is safer/healthier than tap water

False. For the most part, bottled water is actually drawn from a municipal water source (in other words tap water) within a factory and simple placed in bottles to be sold. However, in rare cases it can actually be worse for you as bottled water is not required to meet the same strict testing standards that the government requires for tap water distribution.

Bottled water comes from a spring in the beautiful snow covered mountains shown on the bottle.

Once again, false. As we said before, the vast majority of bottled water is pulled directly from the water systems of major cities.

Bottled water is cheap.

This one always gives us the biggest laugh. Depending on the brand and where you live, a gallon of bottled water will sell for anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times what you would pay for an equal amount of tap water.

Bottled water tastes better/fresher than tap water.

Taste is a subjective measurement and will vary from person to person, it can also be tampered with by the use of marketing materials telling the consumer that the bottled water will taste better than tap and thereby subconsciously making them think it actually is better. However, when the marketing and branding elements are removed in an environment such as a blind taste test, bottled water repeatedly comes out equal to or worse than tap water in the final totals.

Freshness however is a definite measurement and tap water will win every time. Depending on where you live, any experienced Markham plumber will tell you that your tap water has spent no more than 3 days in the water system by the time it leaves your faucet. By comparison, bottled water spends weeks or even months in storage tanks and then in the bottles sitting in warehouses and on store shelves before you ever get around to drinking it.

Are we saying everyone should give up bottled water completely? No, that would be unreasonable and our Markham plumbers will frequently stop and pick up a bottle during a long day out on the road as it is still significantly healthier than the alternatives of soda or dehydration. All we’re suggesting is that you simply consider these facts and try your best to cut back on your consumption wherever possible as if we all just make a small change, it can add up to big changes in the long run.

For More Information:

http://www.museums.ca/Sustainable_Development/Tap_water_vs_bottled_water/?n=30-48-174

When to DIY and When to Call a Pro

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Aug
6

Many homeowners believe that plumbing is an extremely simple task and that they can handle any problem that may arise without ever needing to call a Markham plumber. It’s just getting water from point A to point B, how hard can that be… right?

This can be the case in many instances if the homeowner is fairly handy and has the proper tools and supplies on hand to complete the job. Tasks such as fixing a leaky toilet, changing a shower head or even installing a kitchen faucet are quite straight forward and generally come with instructions that are designed to allow just about anyone success should they attempt it. However, it’s very important to follow those instructions closely and to make sure you have all of the tools and parts that are required before beginning any work. We feel comfortable saying these jobs are safe for the average homeowner because they are simple and usually require nothing more than simple hand tools that most people already own. Even more importantly, these jobs are generally of the sort that even the worst botch job isn’t going to cause any major damage before it is noticed and can be repaired by an expert Markham plumber.

The other end of the spectrum involves jobs like running pipe through walls to add a bathroom or installing a shower stall. These jobs should always be reserved for your local Markham plumber as they have had extensive training to be sure that everything is installed properly and are insured in case the rare failure should occur. A poorly installed shower or cracked pipe that has been installed by an amateur can easily lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to the walls, floors and ceilings of your home before it becomes noticeable and needs to be professionally repaired anyway.

That is obviously an extreme example, but it’s also far from unheard of. We end up billing tens of thousands of dollars every year to customers to repair damage they did to their own homes attempting jobs that would have only cost a fraction of that amount if we had been called in the first place. As with most things in life, a little bit of honesty and common sense can go a long way in the world of DIY plumbing; be honest with yourself about your personal skill level and the required skill level of the job before deciding to attempt any major plumbing project.

Roof Drains

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Jul
25

While it is exceedingly rare to see a home with a flat roof these days, it is a very common occurrence with stores and other commercial buildings. One of the major differences that must be constantly addressed in these situations is the potential for rain and snow to build up on the roof and cause problems as it eventually leaks into the occupied spaces. To prevent this, roof drains are installed at the time of construction by an experienced Markham plumber.

Years later, if a roof leak ever occurs, the owner’s first reaction is almost always to call a roofing contractor assuming their problem can be solved with a simple roof repair. However, many times the leaking roof can be a symptom of the problem and not the actual problem itself. If that is the case, then the leak will happen again and again as other parts of the roof fail under the pressure of continually backing up water.

These repeated leaks are frequently caused by a neglected roof drain that has become plugged with years of detritus from nearby trees, litter and other sources of material that can be washed into the holes. When a clogged roof drain is suspected, you need to call a Markham plumber before you bother calling a roofing contractor to repair the leaks. Industrial and commercial plumbers in Markham have the tools and experience needed to clear the drain and allow the water to flow freely away from the roof once again.

If your flat roof is several years old and you haven’t had a leak yet, consider yourself lucky and call your Markham plumber today. Regular maintenance is the key to avoiding clogs in the first place and much cheaper than roof repairs and especially replacements later on. Get your building on a regular schedule of cleaning with a certified commercial and industrial plumber, you won’t regret it later.

Dishwasher Not Draining: What Now?

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Jul
18

This problem is not an overly common one that we see in the Markham plumbing business, but it does come up from time to time. You open up the door on your dishwasher and the bottom of it is filled with several inches of water. What do you do now? There are several things you can try if you feel comfortable before calling a certified Markham plumber.

First remove the bottom basket to allow access to the bottom of the appliance where the water is sitting. Now, look and feel for the drains along the bottom surface and make sure they are clear. Large pieces of food or even paper products sometimes get mistakenly put into the dishwasher if the dishes are not properly rinsed first and can cover the drains stopping the water flow.

If the drains feel clear, the next step is to attempt adding some liquid plumber or similar chemical drain cleaner to the dishwasher drains in an attempt to break up the clot that way. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, or you don’t feel comfortable using chemicals, you can attempt to remove the drain covers, which are usually held in place with just a couple of screws. After removing the covers you can try feeding a long flexible rod or plumber’s snake into the drain to attempt to manually break up the clog and restore the flow of water through the drain. As an alternative, if the bottom side of the appliance is accessible, you can remove the trap completely and clean it that way.

If none of these solutions solve your problem, or you simply don’t feel comfortable enough trying them yourself, then it’s time to call an expert Markham plumber. These experienced professionals can quickly diagnose and repair the cause of your problem and usually repair it in the same visit.

Five Tips to Avoid Common Plumbing Problems

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Jul
11

In our years of experience as Markham plumbers we have seen pretty much every type of plumbing problem that you can possibly imagine. In those years we have discovered that the vast majority of common problems can be easily avoided by following just a few simple guidelines. So that’s what we will be discussing today, the top five tips for avoiding common mistakes that can cost you a lot of money in repairs.

Flush only human waste and toilet paper – Failing to follow this simple rule is the most common cause of plugged toilets. Feminine hygiene products, diapers and paper towel should never be flushed down the toilet. These products invariably plug drain pipes when flushed and can cause serious damage in older homes with clay sewer pipes.

Keep drains clear – Buying a cheap strainer that fits directly into your kitchen drain can go a long way toward keeping large pieces of food and other objects from falling into the drain and causing clogs. Most clogged drains can be easily cleared by removing and cleaning the p-trap under the sink, but more serious problems may require a call to the Markham plumbers at Preferred Plumbing Solutions.

Check your washing machine hoses – One of the most common causes of flooding in homes is a ruptured washing machine hose. These hoses are easily accessible behind the machine and should be regularly checked for cracks or leaks.

Clearly label the main shut off valve – When a washing machine hose or another pipe bursts within your home, the main shut off valve man be the only way to stop the flow of water before too much damage is done. This is why you should not only label the valve but also make sure everyone who lives in the home is familiar with its location and how it operates in case of an emergency. Also, turning off the main valve when you go on vacation can eliminate the possibility of coming home to a flooded house.

Leave the heat on when leaving home in the winter – This will keep your pipes from freezing and bursting when extreme cold hits. Just like turning the main water valve off should be on your preparation list when going on vacation there is nothing worse than coming home from a vacation and finding your home full of water.

Leaking Showerhead Repair

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Jul
4

It is a usually a good idea to call a professional Markham plumber when you need repairs to the water system of your home. Sometimes though, you can save yourself a lot of money by trying a few simple things yourself before calling in the professionals.

A dripping showerhead may seem like it is passing a very small amount of water when you watch it only release a single drip every few seconds. However, when that single drip is multiplied over the course of a year it can add up a lot of water. According to the EPA, the average leak can add up to as much as 10,000 gallons of water over the course of a year. You don’t have to be a certified Markham plumber to realize that that quickly adds up to big money.

Don’t worry, hope is not lost. A leaking showerhead can be one of the simplest household repairs to accomplish. All you will need is an adjustable wrench, Teflon tape and a screwdriver.

If your showerhead is fairly new but leaking at the joint where it meets the pipe coming out of the wall it can usually be fixed by simply replacing the Teflon tape. To do this, remove the showerhead with the wrench and remove the Teflon tape that is on the male pipe threads. Reapply the new tape in a counterclockwise direction (note the way the old tape comes off and go the same way) and then reinstall the showerhead, being sure to snug it down with the wrench.

While you have the showerhead removed it is a good idea to soak it for a little while in vinegar or a commercial product like CLR to eliminate the possibility that a clogged head is causing the issue. A clogged showerhead can cause a backup as the water that flows to it cannot all escape and the pressure causes the water to leak out through the small gaps in the joints. In addition to leaks, a clogged head can also lead to erratic spray patterns that can be very annoying.

The other most common cause of a dripping showerhead is a bad rubber washer. When you remove the head, you can look into the back end of it and you should be able to see a black rubber washer. This is easily removed with a small screwdriver and should be inspected for any cracks, tears or other damage that can occur with time. If the washer needs to be replaced, just take the old one with you to any hardware store and they’ll be happy to help you find one to match.

After you have attempted all of these repairs, if your showerhead still leaks it could be a sign of a more significant problem. At this point you have two options left, either buy a new showerhead to replace the old one or call your Markham plumber and have them take a look at it. Even after attempting all of the repairs yourself, calling the plumber to fix the leak will be far cheaper in the long run than just ignoring the problem.

Tankless Water Heaters: Pros and Cons

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Jun
27

Tankless water heaters are a great innovation that has been available on the market for a few years now and offer many advantages over the traditional storage type heaters with very few drawbacks.

These devices look and function differently from traditional water heaters which work by heating water and storing it until it’s ready to be used. Tankless models however heat the water inline as it flows to the sink, bath or shower that is demanding it. Since it heats the water in this way, it is impossible to run out of hot water. This is the number one reason why our Markham plumbing customers make the switch to tankless heaters.

Another major advantage that comes with the switch to a tankless heater is the fact that you no long have to wait for hot water after turning on the faucet. This is because the water is heated internally in the machine as it flows through the pipes.

However due to its compact size and lack storage tank, one of the few drawbacks of this marvelous piece of equipment is a reduced flow rate when compared to a traditional storage type water heater. The average flow rate on a tankless model is generally between two and five gallons per minute with gas fired units offering a higher rate than their electric counterparts. Therefore more than one unit may need to be installed in larger homes to make up for this lower rate.

On the plus side, tankless heaters tend to have longer lifespans than those of the traditional storage variety leading to big savings for our Markham plumbing customers. Just imagine the benefits of a water heater lasting you as long as 20 years as opposed to storage models which can fail after as few as 10 years.

To make sure you get the maximum life out of your tankless heater there is only a minor amount of maintenance required and it can be easily handled by any certified Markham plumbing professional. This mostly involves simply flushing 3-5 gallons of vinegar or another light acid through the system periodically so as to remove any calcium deposits that may build up in the heater’s internal mechanisms.

Exterior Sinks: Material Comparisons

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Jun
20

Exterior kitchens have seen a huge bump in popularity over the past few years and one of the most important parts of any kitchen is the sink. Now, you’re clearly going to want to have it installed and properly plumbed by a certified Markham plumber and while they will be happy to help you with any questions you may have concerning all aspects of your outdoor kitchen, hopefully this will give you a starting point and get you headed in the right direction before you start any official work.

One of the biggest decisions you can make–and possibly allow yourself to save some money by shopping around–is deciding what kind of sink you want to use. There are many options in sink color and style that are going to depend on your personal preferences and design styles, but here are some general guidelines to consider when choosing the actual material that your sink will be made of.

Copper

Copper is an aesthetically beautiful choice for any sink–and due to its natural anti-bacterial properties, it can also be considered a very sanitary choice as well. However, copper sinks tend to also be very heavy and can be prohibitively expensive for some homeowners. Also, with copper scrap prices at an all-time high, risk of theft is also a concern that must be considered.

Stainless Steel

Like copper, stainless steel could be considered a classic option when designing your outdoor kitchen. These sinks look beautiful and will remain that way forever as they are non-reactive–meaning they will not corrode and are also very strong, leading to good scratch resistance.

Plastic Materials

Probably the best choice if your sink will be in a high traffic area and subject to a lot of abuse from the kids. While it is probably the cheapest option available, it is also the least long lasting. Plastic sinks can become weak over time with exposure to the sun and elements, leading to eventual cracking and discoloring, but as they are cheap and very common, they can also be quickly and easily replaced by your local Markham plumber.

Porcelain or Enameled Cast Iron

Another classic option that has been around for decades, these sinks are made from cast iron and then covered in either porcelain or enamel coating in order to add color and to protect it from corrosion. While the cast iron is quite durable and unlikely to crack, the coating can become scratched or chipped with repeated abuse.

Those are going to be your best options when choosing the right sink for your outdoor kitchen. Read through the pros and cons of each, do a little research into the style and price ranges of each, and then call a certified Markham plumber to finalize the plans that will end with the outdoor kitchen you’ve been dreaming of.

Simple Plumbing Terms Every Homeowner Should Know

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Jun
13

Don’t worry; this isn’t going to be a long, boring class on every minute detail of plumbing, that’s our job to know all those things, not yours. However, we frequently get calls about a ‘broken thingy’ or a ‘dripping whatchamacallit’ which can lead to confusion–and in the worst case scenario–an emergency that gets put off until a regularly scheduled appointment, or something minor that could end up costing you an unnecessary emergency fee. That’s where this post comes in; we’re going to go over some basic plumbing terms to avoid potentially costly miscommunications.

Potable – Potable water is water that is fit for human consumption, it is clean and safe coming straight from your well or municipal water supply.

Gray-Water – This is water that has been used, but isn’t contaminated with biological or chemical waste such as the water coming out of your washing machine, dishwasher or bathroom sink drain. When a gray water recycling system is implemented, this water is treated within the home and reused for tasks such as flushing toilets or irrigation.

Sewage/Black-water – Water that is thoroughly contaminated with biological or chemical waste and cannot be used again, it is carried away to a water treatment plant or septic system.

Supply – Pipes and tubes that bring potable water to a sink, toilet or other appliance to be used.

Drain – A pipe or tube for taking sewage and/water away from an appliance.

Backflow – Backflow refers to water flowing in the opposite direction of the normal flow, this can lead to contamination of the potable water supply and other serious issues.

Trap/P-Trap – A 180o turn in a drain that holds water to prevent unpleasant and potentially dangerous sewer gases from flowing up the pipes and into the home.  All drains in a home are legally required to have a trap, if yours doesn’t have one, call a certified Markham plumber immediately.

Faucet – A faucet is made up of a spout and some sort of control or handle to manage water flow and temperature into a sink or basin.

That’s enough for now to get you started in case you have to call us for a consultation in the future. At Preferred Plumbing Solutions, our master Markham plumbers are willing and able to help you through any problem you may be having, but unless we each understand what the other person is saying we’ll never get anywhere.

Do you have any questions about terms you’ve heard or parts you’ve seen in your home? Leave us a comment or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Grey-Water Systems: Saving Money and the Environment

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Jun
5

One of the best things to come out of the environmentalist and ‘green’ movement that has captured the country over the last few years has been the emergence of grey-water systems into mainstream plumbing design.

According to diydata.com grey-water is defined in the household setting as “the waste water from baths, basins, sinks, washing machines, dishwashers etc., which has been used to clean things and which is considered to be only mildly dirty.” The name grey-water comes from its position midway between fresh-water and sewage (black-water) and while not acceptable for human consumption can still be used for things such as flushing toilets or irrigation.

The use of grey-water recycling systems has been shown to reduce the amount of water consumption from outside sources by as much as 40% in the average household. This means your family not only saves money on your monthly water bills but you also have a smaller impact on the environment.

There is a wide variety of systems on the market depending on your budget and your needs, all of which can be easily installed by a certified plumber. Your local plumber can also be a valuable resource when it comes to assessing your current water usage to make sure you choose the best suited system for your household’s needs, assuring you don’t waste your money on system capacity you will never use or run into problems down the road from installing too small of a system that can’t meet your family’s demands.

The simplest type of system consists of replacement toilet tank lid like the one shown above. It takes clean water that would normally go directly into the tank and reroutes it through the sink’s faucet with the grey-water then draining into the tank refilling it for the next flush.

This picture represents the next step up which utilizes a small tank retrofitted under the existing sink. This type of system allows all of the water you use in the sink to be collected, treated and stored until it is needed to flush the toilet. When the toilet is flushed, the water comes out of this tank instead of being pulled from the municipal system.

Finally we have a large scale system which would collect all of the grey-water your family produces treating and storing it in a large tank, usually in the basement of the home. This is going to be the most efficient system for reducing your monthly bill since it collects and recycles 100% of the grey-water, however if you live alone and don’t have a garden, you will never see a return on your initial investment, making one of the smaller units a better choice for your money.

 

Preferred Plumbing Solutions: The Blog

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May
28

The title pretty much says it all doesn’t it? This is the official blog of Preferred Plumbing solutions, the place where we intend to impart all of the wisdom of the plumbing world unto you, the reader. We hope that over the coming years we will be able to teach you many things about the world of plumbing, as well as have share some laughs and maybe shed a couple tears… well, ok, probably not tears.

Anyway, now we’d like to tell you a little bit about Preferred Plumbing Solutions and what we do. PPS was founded in 2007 by master plumber Raphie Konsker, to service Thornhill and the Greater Toronto Area. Over these past five years, we have become both Red Seal Certified (allowing us to work anywhere in the country) and holders of an OWWA Backflow Prevention License, certifying us as Cross Control Connection Specialists.

At PPS, we consider ourselves experts in all areas of the plumbing business. Our crews are able to handle any potential problem that might arise within your residential or commercial plumbing system with availability with an appointment or on an emergency basis. In addition to repairs, we also offer new construction, renovation and upgrade services to both residential and commercial customers, working in all major pipe materials from copper and galvanized steel to PEX.

Now that we’ve covered the all the background information that you’ll ever need to know, we can move on to the purpose of this blog. This page, along with our website preferredplumbing.ca, will act as our conduit of information to you, the people. We’ll get the ball rolling off the start here with a variety of topics we find interesting over the next few weeks, but our hope is that you’ll interact with us through the comments section and let us know what you want to see on here. Ask us question and give us comments, our plumbers thrive on the feedback of the customers they see every day, and we don’t want this to be any different.