Top 10 Plumbing Tips To Try Before You Call A Plumber
Saturday, June 24, 2017
We've compiled a list of the top 10 plumbing tips that you should try before you need to call a plumber. Many of these are easy maintenance tricks that you can perform yourself which may help you avoid bigger, more expensive plumbing repairs. They include using everyday, safe household products to unclog or speed up drains or toilets, freshening your garbage disposal, preventing frozen pipes and excess water damage, as well as some additional plumbing do's and don'ts. If you do have a plumbing problem that you need looked at by a professional plumber, why not contact the master plumbers at WaterSmart. WaterSmart offers fast, reliable, and efficient plumbing services at a reasonable rate.
"Purchased a water softener, price was reasonable, sales staff was very informative and not pushy. Install was quick and clean and he gave instructions on the unit. I would highly recommend Watersmart Systems." - Rob Morgan Read More Customer Comments
1. Use Hot Water To Unclog A Toilet
Heat up about 1 litre of water and pour it into your toilet bowl from waist-height. The temperature of the hot water can help to dissolve any nasty clogs, and the force of the water entering the toilet from a height may help to displace and push down anything blocking the drain.
2. Be Careful What You Flush
Don't be tempted to flush anything that's not human waste or toilet paper. According to plumbdoctorga.com, there is no exception to this rule. Not only can flushing unsuitable things down your toilet be harmful to your own plumbing, it can also present hazards to the environment. Watch this great video for more advice about what you should and shouldn't flush.
3. Use Dawn Dish Soap Instead of Drano
Dawn dish soap isn't just awesome at cleaning greasy dishes. You can also try pouring a quarter cup of dawn into a clogged drain or toilet and then letting it sit for 30 minutes or so. According to OneGoodThingByJillee.com, the soap will penetrate around whatever is clogging the drain and act like a lubricant so that when you run water through it again, the blockage should slide right down the drain.
4. Clean Clogs in a Hurry With Baking Soda And Vinegar
Not only is this tip helpful, but it's also fun. Remember making a volcano eruption for your school science project using baking soda and vinegar? Well according to OneGoodThingByJillee.com, the same principle can apply for unclogging a drain. Simply shake half a cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour in half a cup of vinegar. If you really want things to move quickly, follow this up by adding a little hot water.
5. Speed Up Slow Moving Drains With Hot Water And Salt
If your sink isn't totally clogged, but just slow moving, then you can speed it up by first pouring about one litre of hot water through the drain. Let it clear out and then sprinkle in half a cup of table salt. Next, rinse the salt down the drain with one more litre of hot water. According to OneGoodThingByJillee.com, the roughness of the salt will help scrape off any debris stuck to the sides of your pipes and the hot water will rinse it away.
6. Prevent Frozen Pipes
This is a great preventative piece of advice, especially for our extremely cold Canadian winters. According to plumbdoctorga.com, it is a good idea to keep a small drip of water running during the winter. Moving water takes longer and colder temperatures to freeze. You can also try wrapping your pipes with plumbing insulation.
7. Clean & Freshen Your Garbage Disposal With Lemon & Vinegar
Garbage disposals can get pretty smelly and backed-up. You can avoid a plumbing service call by regularly cleaning it yourself. Simply place some lemon wedges into an ice-cube tray, fill them with white vinegar and place them in the freezer. According to OneGoodThingByJillee.com, every time your disposal starts smelling bad just drop in few cubes and run it until they are broken up.
8. Invest in a Water Softener
The minerals found in hard water can be detrimental to your plumbing system. With time, heavy mineral deposits will build up in your pipes and block or damage them. A good water softener system removes these harmful minerals, thus protecting your pipes and improving the quality of your water. If you would like to find out more about how a water softener could be beneficial for you, contact the water softener experts at WaterSmart.
9. Know Where Your Water Shutoff Valves Are Located
It's important to know exactly where your water shutoff valves are located and how to turn them off. If a problem occurs like an overflowing toilet or a burst pipe, you will need to get the water turned off as quickly as possible to limit excessive water damage.
10. Take Care of the Little Problems As Soon As You Detect Them
Fixing a small problem early, such as addressing a leak in your bathroom faucet, could mean avoiding an expensive plumbing bill later on.
WaterSmart - Your Full Plumbing Service Specialists
WaterSmart can do any plumbing service from a faucet replacement to a complete home plumbing renovation. No job is too big or too small. Your can trust the expert master plumbers at WaterSmart to fix your plumbing problem right the first time and at a reasonable rate. Contact us today for any of your plumbing needs.
Is your tub leaking? You will want to fix it quickly before you have extensive water damage. We have compiled a series of 6 videos which will help you determine where the leak is coming from, and then fix the most common areas where leaks can occur such as the tub drain, faucets, overflow drain and trip lever, bathtub caulking, or the spout. These fixes could be attempted by a do-it-yourselfer. The time it takes for each repair will depend on the extent of the damage, but most of them can be done in under an hour. If however, you don't have the time to do it on your own, or if you discover that the leak is coming from the actual pipes, then contact the professional licensed plumbers at WaterSmart.
Video #1 How To Determine Where The Leak Is: KungFu Maintenance - 5:32 mins.
This first video doesn't deal specifically with a repair but it takes you through the steps that you would take in order to determine where the leak is coming from.
The sound quality isn't the best at the beginning (there is a distracting echo), but it's worth the effort to stick with it. The sound quality does get better. The host shows you easy and inexpensive tests to discover where your leak is. He also does a good job of educating the lay plumber on the various components of bathtub plumbing.
Video #2 Leaky Tub Drain: Chris Wade - Contractor - 3:31 mins.
The first video entitled "Bathroom Fix-It Tips: How to Repair a Leaking Bathtub," is great for the beginner plumber. It is short and simple, and the host speaks in everyday language, avoiding plumbing jargon. The video gives you a clear view of each step of the repair and details how to replace a leaking tub drain. He also includes some troubleshooting tips that you can try before you call a licensed plumber. He notes that if the problem is with the pipes then you will need to contact a licensed plumber.
Video # 3 Leaky Faucet: DIY University - 10:04 mins.
The third video explains how to fix a leaking bathtub faucet quickly and easily. The instructions are very detailed and the host speaks slowly and clearly. There are lots of helpful closeups of the different steps of the repair. It also does an excellent job of educating the viewer as to why the leak occurred in the first place. If you would like to read detailed instructions on how to fix a leaky faucet, click here.
Video #4 Leaky Overflow Drain Gasket & Trip Lever: Joseph K - 16:19 mins.
This next video demonstrates how to replace a leaky bathtub overflow drain gasket and trip lever stopper. I like how he speeds up the video during the repetitive parts, like unscrewing the screws, instead of cutting it out so you actually see every step of the repair. He also does handy close-ups. He is doing the repair in his own bathroom; he's true do-it-yourselfer. He makes you feel like it is something you also can do. He has also included helpful closed captions.
Video #5 Leaky Caulking: Kent Diego - 8:51 mins.
This fifth video shows you a repair done that was caused by a leak in the caulking around the bathtub. The video has helpful summary tips displayed on the screen and the host is very personable. He walks you through the process that he took for discovering the leak and shows you all of the common places that he looked for first. He then not only shows you how to repair the caulking to fix the leak, but he also walks you through repairing the wall that was damaged from the leaking tub.
Video #6 Leaky Bathtub Spout: JunkStar Builds - 14:27 mins.
The final video shows a repair in an older home. It details how to repair a leaking bathtub spout. The host is quite engaging and humorous to listen to. He does an excellent job explaining the tools required and some alternatives if you don't have the exact tool. In addition, he includes simple tips you can use to save water and money.
Is Your Tub Still Leaking? What To Do.
If after watching the videos and trying to determine where your bathtub leak is coming from, you still can't solve your problem, then it's time to call a professional. WaterSmart Systems fully licensed master plumbers can quickly diagnose and repair any plumbing issue you may be having. No job is too big or too small for them. Contact us today to get the job done right and at an affordable price.
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Home Water Kitchener - Options Comparison
Saturday, June 10, 2017
There are many different drinking options you can choose from for your home water. Some people stick with drinking their tap water while others who dislike the taste or are fearful of contaminants in municipally supplied water choose different options. In this post, we will compare the various drinking water options you have for your home water and list the pros and cons of each one. We will look at tap water, small and large bottled water, pitcher water filters, reverse osmosis, and distilled water.
If you are currently unhappy with your drinking water and are looking to change your source of home water, why not contact the drinking water experts at WaterSmart? Our trained and knowledgeable staff would be happy to discuss all of your options and help you make an informed choice.
The following chart summarizes the pros and cons of each type of home water.
Most municipal tap water is safe to drink in Canada, however, no system is 100% foolproof as evidenced by the Walkerton E. coli water contamination of 2000. For more information on the safety of tap water in Canada read our blog Is Canadian Tap Water Safe To Drink?
It is very convenient
It in inexpensive
Many people do not like the taste of minerals and chlorine in tap water
It may contain VOC's (volatile organic compounds) such as pesticides, heavy metal like lead and mercury, or endocrine disrupting chemicals which may interfere with the normal hormones in the body, and fluoride
Small individual bottles of water
Purchasing small individual bottles of water has been very popular for many years, however, its popularity has recently begun to decline as consumers have become more environmentally aware. Add to this the fact that according to webmed.com, many of the major bottlers of water, such as Dasani and Aquafina, simply use purified tap water.
They are very convenient
They may taste better than tap water
In many cases, the water itself is not different than tap water
It costs a lot more than tap water
It is environmentally unfriendly as it requires massive resources to produce and recycle used bottles
Chemicals from the plastic bottle itself can seep into the water
Large Bottled Water
If you like the convenience of small bottled water but you are concerned about the environment, you may want to consider using large, reusable bottles of water.
You can choose to purchase spring, distilled, or reverse osmosis treated water
More economical than purchasing smaller bottles, especially if you choose to fill your own bottle
Can purchase BPA free bottles
Better tasting than tap water
More expensive than tap water
Less convenient than tap water, however, you can order it online and have it delivered for free - learn more here
Pitcher Water Filters
Pitcher water filters such as Brita are a popular choice for people looking to improve the chlorine taste of their water. According to wellnessmama.com, the carbon used in these filters is not solid so it does not remove all of the toxins. Faucet-mounted external filters use the same technology as pitcher water filters.
They are inexpensive to purchase upfront
They improve the taste of your water
They constantly need their cartridges replaced so they actually cost you more money in the long run
They constantly need refilling, especially if you have a larger family
They do not remove all of the toxins from your water such as VOC's (volatile organic compounds), heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, or fluoride.
Reverse osmosis is a water filtration process which forces water through a semi-permeable membrane with very small holes or "pores". The pores allow clean water to pass through while trapping the impurities that are too big. These impurities are then flushed away. Read more about reverse osmosis here.
Reverse osmosis can remove dissolved solids, salts, minerals that cause hardness, organic chemicals, and other impurities. It can improve the taste of water for people who do not like the taste of dissolved mineral solids.
It improves the taste of your water, especially if you don't like the taste of dissolved mineral solids
Removes a lot of contaminants such as fluoride, dissolved solids, salts, minerals, organic chemicals, and other impurities
It also reduces arsenic, asbestos, and heavy metals
It is a great option if your drinking water comes from a private source such as a well and is not safe from microbiological, chemical, or other types of contamination
Treated water will not produce scale in kettles and coffee makers
Because sodium and potassium are removed, people on a medically prescribed sodium- or potassium-restricted diet may benefit
Uses more water than it produces
Does not reduce VOC's or endocrine disruptors
Distilling water involves heating the water up until it becomes steam. This steam rises and is directed and collected in a cooling chamber where it turns back to water. Many contaminants are left behind in the original container.
It removes a lot of contaminants and fluoride
It reduces arsenic, asbestos, and heavy metals
It effectively kills bacteria
Does not reduce VOC's or endocrine disruptors
Distillation systems are large and expensive
They use a lot of electricity
They remove necessary minerals from the water and may cause long-term mineral deficiencies.
Which Home Water Option Is Best?
Water chemistry is complex and there is no single water treatment device that can remove all types of substances from water. Each water treatment device has its own advantages and disadvantages. You need to determine whether or not additional water treatment is needed for your household. If you are unsure, contact the water treatment experts at WaterSmart. They can help you decide which option or combination of options will best meet your home water needs.
The 19 Best Pieces of Plumbing Advice You'll Hear Anywhere
Saturday, June 3, 2017
In this post, we've compiled 19 of the best pieces of plumbing advice you will hear anywhere. We've included tips for your toilet, sinks, and pipes, as well as seasonal tips for getting your plumbing ready for spring, summer, and winter. If you have any plumbing issues that you need fixed, contact the master licensed plumbers at WaterSmart. We know plumbing and no job is too big or too small for us to solve efficiently and affordably.
1. Unclog with a shop vacuum. If a hard object like a toy or a toothbrush has fallen into your toilet or drain causing it to be plugged, don't use a plunger. The plunger may just push the object deeper down. Try a shop vacuum instead to suck out the water and the object.
2. Periodically check your toilet for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and wait about one hour. If the water in the toilet bowl changes colour, then your bowl is leaking. Over time this can waste a lot of water and increase your water bill. A plumber can easily fix this type of leak for you. Call the experts at WaterSmart today to help you.
3. Flush your toilet with a bucket of water. If you are going to be turning off your water supply while doing some plumbing projects, you can still flush your toilet. Before the water is turned off, fill up some buckets of water with about 8 litres of water. When you need to flush, simply dump the water from one bucket into the toilet bowl and it will flush as usual.
The following video shows how to flush a toilet with a bucket of water.
4. Use expanding foam to quiet a noisy sink. According to the Familyhandyman.com, if you have a noisy stainless steel sink that vibrates and sounds like a gong, fill the space between the sink basins with expanding foam. You can do this once it is installed, but it's much easier if done before. Once the foam hardens, simply trim the excess away with a knife.
5. Use pipe insulation to stop your kitchen sink sprayer from sticking. Do you have difficulty pulling out your kitchen sink sprayer? It may be catching on the shutoff valves. To prevent this, purchase 1/2 inch foam pipe insulation from a home centre. It will cost about $3. Slip it over the pipes and shutoff handles. You may need to tape it to make it stay put.
6. Use a plunger before removing the sink trap. If you need to remove your sink trap, take a toilet plunger and give the drain a few plunges ahead of time. This should push out most of the water and mess in the trap for you. If you have a double sink, put a plug in the second drain to keep the air pressure intact.
Watch the following video for tips on plunging a double sink.
7. Protect your copper pipes with adhesive-backed felt. If you have copper pipes, you may have noticed that hot water can make them expand and then grind against their pipe hangers and joists. You can purchase adhesive-backed felt at a hardware store. Cut the felt into strips, remove each hanger, and then wrap the felt around the pipe where it would come in contact with the hanger. Refasten the hanger afterward.
8. Prevent clogged pipes at the drain. Purchase strainers for each of your drains to stop hair and soap from clogging up your bathroom drains and food from clogging up your kitchen pipes.
9. Periodically inspect your pipes. Examine your visible pipes from time to time for any leaks. Replacing damaged pipes before they cause extensive water damage will save you a lot of money.
10. Use electrician's tape for a temporary fix. According to diyplumbingadvice.com if you get a leak in one of your pipes you can temporarily seal it by tightly wrapping it with electrician's tape.
11. Take a picture or your pipes. If you are building a new home or renovating, take a picture of your pipes before closing up the walls for reference later so you know where they are all located for your next project.
12. Locate hidden pipes with a magnet. According to the Familyhandyman.com tie electrical fish tape to a rare earth (neodymium) magnet and feed it into the drain lines through the cleanout plug. Use an ordinary compass to locate the magnet (and the hidden pipe). When the compass is near the magnet it will turn wildly.
13. Slightly turn on a tap to prevent freezing. If the forecast is calling for some extremely cold weather, and you think your pipes may be in danger of freezing, try turning on a tap or two just enough to allow for a slight drip. Diyadvice.com says that this should help because still water freezes faster than moving water.
14. Thaw frozen exposed pipes with a hair dryer. If a pipe has frozen and it is exposed, you can thaw it by directing a hair dryer or heat gun at it. If you are using a heat gun, be careful not to get too close. Keep a close watch for any drips or spraying water.
15. Thaw frozen hidden pipes with a portable heater. If you have a frozen pipe that is hidden in a wall, set a portable heater close by and direct it towards the pipe to thaw.
16. Check your sump pump. If you have a basement and you live in an area that is prone to spring flooding or heavy summer thunderstorms, it is vital that you make sure that your sump pump is working properly. To test your sump pump, pour some water into the pit surrounding it. The pump should start after a few seconds, remove the water and then turn off. If it doesn't, or it's making strange noises, then contact a plumber. You may need to have it repaired or replaced.
This video will show you how to test your sump pump.
17. Check your outside hose faucets. Once the spring thaw comes, you should check all of your outdoor faucets for any drips or leaks. If one of the pipes froze over the winter, it will need repairing.
18. Keep your showerhead clean with vinegar. If you have hard water, the minerals in the water will leave deposits and eventually clog up your showerhead. You can effectively and safely clean your shower head by simply filling a plastic bag with vinegar and securing it around it. Leave it to soak overnight and in the morning it should look like new again.
19. Check your water heater. Your water heater shouldn't be set any hotter than 120 degrees. This will ensure that no one gets burned and it will also save you money on your energy bill.
Summing It Up
We hope you have found our tips and advice helpful. If you come across a plumbing problem that you aren't able to solve on your own, you can trust the professionals at WaterSmart to handle it for you. We have built a solid reputation in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and the surrounding areas for reliability, honesty, and efficiency. Contact us for all of your plumbing and water softening needs.
The 19 Best Pieces of Water Softener Advice You'll Hear Anywhere
Saturday, May 27, 2017
If you are in the market for a new water softener, you will want to read the 19 best pieces of water softener advice you'll hear anywhere before you make your choice. If you are still not sure and have more questions, contact the water softener experts at WaterSmart. We'd be happy to sit down with you, answer all of your questions, and help you choose the best water softener for your family's needs.
"Purchased a water softener, price was reasonable, sales staff was very informative and not pushy. Install was quick and clean and he gave instructions on the unit. I would highly recommend Watersmart Systems." - Rob Morgan Read More Customer Comments
1. Choose the right model of water softener for your needs. The right softener will use less salt and less water which is better for the environment and your budget.
2. Choose a demand initiated regeneration (DIR) softener for highest efficiency. Demand initiated regeneration water softeners only regenerate when needed, unlike timed softeners which regenerate even when water usage is low. DIR models will save water and salt when water usage is low and will also provide enough soft water when your usage is higher.
3. Find out how hard your water is so you can select the right water softener for your needs. You need to determine the actual water hardness level in your area in order to choose the correct size and set up your water softener. Click here to look at helpful maps for Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and the surrounding areas showing the hardness of water in each area.
4. If you have a private well get your water tested. People who have a private well will need to get their water tested for hardness and iron. You will need to increase your grain hardness rating to take into account the amount of iron in your water. You should add 3 grains per gallon of hardness to your hardness total value for every 1 milligram per litre of iron.
5. Purchase the correct size of water softener. Water softeners come in many different sizes. You don't want to purchase one that is too small or too big for your needs. To determine the correct size of water softener for your home, use the handy calculations below.
# of people
of water per day
# of gallons to be softened on a daily basis
grains per day that your softener will use
size of the softener
(40 000 / 32 000 / 30 000)
30 000 /
22 000 /
grains per day
days between regenerations
10 000 backup reserve
(3-10 days is ideal size)
6. Determine your household's actual average water usage; don't simply use your city's average. To determine your household indoor water consumption, look at your fall and winter water bills. Divide your recorded fall or winter bill water consumption (provided in cubic metres/M3) by the number of billing days for that billing period. Next, convert the cubic metres into gallons by multiplying by 264.
7. Don't add an extra person to your water usage calculation if you have a dishwasher. Do not listen to salespeople who try to tell you that you need to add another person to your calculation of water usage if you own a dishwasher. According to watersoftenerfacts.ca, dishwashers, in fact, use less water than hand washing your dishes.
8. Have a professional install your water softener. Don't take any chances with your installation. Let a professional do it for you. If you are concerned about the cost, remember that installation is free for any water softener that is purchased from WaterSmart. Read more about our installation service here.
9. Set your water softener to the most efficient setting. Make sure you have your water softener set at the most efficient setting. If you have purchased a unit from WaterSmart, our trained technician will make sure that it is programmed to run at optimum efficiency.
10. Install a separate cold line for drinking water. If you prefer not to drink softened water you can have a separate cold line installed for drinking and cooking purposes.
11.Purchase a water softener with a silencer. Water softeners create very little noise. The only sound you will hear is the movement of water through the unit during the backwash. If you are concerned about the noise you can purchase a model with a silencer. WaterSmart Systems have a silencer on the valve to cut the noise by approximately 50 percent.
12. Consider purchasing a machine that has controls to minimize water usage. Some machines are designed to minimize the amount of water used during regeneration. Often, one cycling a week will be sufficient for a family of four.
13. Purchase a water softener with a Teflon composite o-ring. Seal kits are a common replacement on water softeners in the Kitchener-Waterloo region because of the chlorine used to sanitize the water here. Teflon Composite o-rings are less susceptible to the effects of chlorine than rubber o-rings. All of WaterSmart's water softeners use Teflon composite o-rings.
14. Keep your resin clean. If your water contains iron, check for iron deposits in the resin bed. Keeping your resin clean will improve the efficiency of your water softener. There are products that you can pour into the salt tank to attempt to clean the resin, such as Iron-out. It costs about $15.
15. Check for salt build-up in the brine tank. To keep your unit running efficiently you should occasionally check to see if a crust of salt has formed in the brine tank. If so, you can vacuum it out. Then clean the tank with soap and water and rinse it well.
16. Check the resin tank injector. If the resin tank injector is plugged with "dirty" salt, then you should shut off the unit's bypass plug, run a manual regeneration, and finally clean the injector and injector screen.
17. Check the state of your salt tank on a regular basis. If your salt tank is over half full of salt with no water in it, pour 20 to 40 litres of warm to hot (not boiling) water into the salt tank.
18. Use the right salt. There are 3 types of salt: rock, solar, and evaporated. Rock salt is the cheapest but it contains more insoluble material. Because of this, solar and evaporated salt will keep your softener cleaner. If your water softener regenerates a lot then you should consider buying solar or evaporated salts to avoid fast build-up in your machine.
19. Use potassium chloride if you are concerned about excess sodium in your drinking water. Potassium chloride is an alternative to buying the more common sodium chloride to use in your water softener. It is more expensive but doesn't have the sodium of the regular salts. You can use potassium chloride in most units but you should check your owner's manual before switching, just in case.
The Best Advice: Come to WaterSmart to Purchase Your Water Softener
WaterSmart has been in the water softening business in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, and Guelph region for more than 20 years. We know this area and the special water needs it has. Let us help you choose the best and most efficient water softener for your needs. Contact us today!
DIY Plumbing: How To Stop Leaky Pipes For Beginners
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Leaky pipes can be a big problem, and if you haven't tried any DIY plumbing before you may find yourself in a panic until you can call a plumber to help you permanently fix the problem. In this post, we will show you how you can stop a leaky pipe, even if you have never attempted any plumbing before, and prevent any serious water damage. Once you have located the leak, shut off the water, and applied a temporary repair clamp, you will need to call a plumber to actually replace the damaged portion. Contact WaterSmart. All of our plumbers are certified master professionals. You can trust us to repair your leaky pipes quickly and at a reasonable rate.
A leaky pipe can cause serious water damage in a hurry. A large amount of water can come spraying out of your pipes at an incredibly fast rate.It's usually pretty obvious if a pipe is leaking even if it is enclosed in a wall or above a ceiling. This is because the water in supply pipes is under extreme pressure (about 50 pounds of pressure per square inch according to Hometips.com). If a leak or breakage occurs, the water will usually spray out with considerable force.
How Do I Find The Leak?
Not all of your water pipes are visible - some are enclosed inside your walls or above your ceiling. If you notice water dripping or staining the ceiling, then the leak may be directly above you. However, it is important to note that water can travel inside your ceiling and walls and stain a portion that is quite a bit further away from the actual leak. If there are no drips or stains in the ceiling or walls, check the pipes in your basement or crawlspace.
Once I Locate The Leaky Pipe, What Should I Do?
Step 1: Turn Off The Water Supply That Supplies The Leaky Pipe
As soon as you locate the leaky pipe, you need to turn off the water supply that supplies water to that pipe. According to Hometips.com, this is preferable to shutting off the water supply to the entire house, so you can continue to use the water in other parts of your home while the problem pipe is being repaired. If the leak is coming from a faucet, toilet, water heater, or washing machine, look for a shot off faucet connected to the water supply tubes, usually located directly under, behind or close to the fixture. Under a sink, you will find one valve for hot and one for cold water. Turn the handle clockwise to close the valve. If it is too stiff to turn by hand then try putting on a pair of work gloves or using a pair of slip-joint pliers.
If you need to turn off the main water supply to your home, watch the following video for instructions on how to locate and turn it off.
Step 2: Make Sure It Is An Actual Leak And Not A Sweaty Pipe
Take a close look at the pipe that is leaking to make sure that it is an actual leak and not simply a sweaty pipe. Sometimes pipes can sweat so much that the resulting dripping water may seem like there is a leak somewhere in the pipe. Sweating occurs when the water inside a pipe is a lot colder than the humid air around it. This can happen both in the summer when the air is naturally hotter, and in the winter when the air is heated by a furnace.
If you have a sweating pipe you can fix the problem by insulating the pipe. According to Home and Garden, you can do this by applying a self-adhesive thick tape that is specially designed to insulate sweaty pipes. Make sure that you completely dry the pipe before applying this type of tape. Carefully wind the tape around the entire section of pipe that is sweating as well as its fittings. This should solve the sweating problem.
Another method to stop a sweaty pipe is to wrap foam around it. Watch the following video for instructions on how to do this.
Step 3: Apply A Pipe Repair Clamp
It is always a good idea to have a pipe repair clamp on hand in case one of your pipes burst. You can buy them at any home improvement store or online. Place the clamp on the pipe according to the instructions. Most pipe repair clamps are applied as follows. Centre the rubber sleeve over the leak in the pipe. Then securely bolt the two-part clamp in place over the sleeve.
If you don't have a pipe repair clamp, you can make your own by taking a strip of rubber, perhaps from an old inner tube, and wrapping it around the break in the pipe. Then securely clamp the rubber with an adjustable hose clamp, a pipe=sleeve clamp, or a C-clamp.
Watch the following video for step by step instructions on how to apply one brand of pipe repair clamp called Leak Mate.
Step 4: Call A Plumber
This is a temporary fix meant to just stop the leak and prevent any further water damage until you can call a plumber to fix the problem. If your pipe has a break in it, then that section will need to be replaced by a professional plumber or an advanced do-it-yourselfer who is comfortable with cutting and soldering copper piping. The cost of the repair will vary depending on the extent of the damage and the location of the pipe.
WaterSmart - The Plumbing Specialists
You can trust the fully licensed, professional master plumbers at WaterSmart to fix any plumbing problem you may have. We have been serving the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding area for over twenty years. We have the know-how and expertise you require. Contact us today for a free estimate.
Should you use bottled water or drink from the tap? We have compiled an extensive list of 24 bottled water statistics to help you decide which course is better for you and the environment. The Walkerton scare of 2000 has made many Canadians question the safety of municipally supplied water, however, the fact is that unless you live in a community which lacks water treatment facilities, then your tap water is perfectly safe to drink. Do you prefer the taste of bottled water over tap water, but you are concerned about the negative effects of using individual bottles water has on our environment? Why not consider switching from multiple small bottles to more economical and refillable large bottles.Talk to the friendly staff at WaterSmart today to find out about our wide range of bottled water products which are cost-effective and include free delivery.
"Absolutely wonderful! After getting many quotes, checking quality of units, warranty and businesses through the BBB, I chose to go with Watersmart Systems. Best equipment, price, warranty, and people!! The gentlemen that came and installed the unit were professional and polite. I will definitely be recommending this company!!"
The following is a list of 24 interesting statistics about bottled water usage and the industry itself.
1. In 2013, Canadians purchased 2.4 billion litres of bottled water which equals about 68 litres per person.
2. The bottled water industry is worth more than $170 billion worldwide.
3. In the U.S more bottled water is sold by volume than milk and beer.
4. According to Statistics Canada, 3 out of 10 Canadian households drink bottled water.
5. Between 2000 and 2009, there were 29 recalls of 49 water products due to contamination from substances such as mold, bacteria, arsenic, and "extraneous material" such as glass, according to the Polaris Institute.
6. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, there was a water recall by Blue Glass Water Co. due to bacterial contamination in 2013.
7. The cost of bottled water ranges anywhere from approximately 8cents/500ml (bought in bulk from a large chain) to $2.50/500ml (high-end brand bought from a vending machine).
8. The cost of tap water for Canadians is approximately tenths of a cent per litre.
9. Nestle pays only $3.71 to draw one million litres of water from a well near Hillsburgh, Ontario. They are allowed to draw 1.13 million litres of groundwater every day.
10. Only about 70% of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles - the type that can be recycled - are recycled by Canadians according to the Canadian Beverage Association.
11. Some of the plastic waste from water bottles gets shipped abroad for recycling. This contributes to greenhouse gasses.
12.It takes up to 3 litres of water to make 1 litre of bottled water if you factor in the amount of water needed to make the plastic bottle to contain it.
13. It is estimated that bottled water is up to 2,000 times more energy-intensive than tap water according to the Pacific Institute.
14. The Pacific Institute found that in 2006, bottled water production required the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil and emitted 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
15. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, 69% of Canadian households reported that they primarily drank tap water at home. This figure was up slightly from 2013.
16. Households in Prince Edward Island (84%) and British Columbia (85%) were the highest reported drinkers of tap water at home in 2015.
17. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, 19% of Canadian households reported that they primarily drank bottled water at home. This is down from 23% in 2013 and 30% in 2007.
18. Households in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba were the highest reported drinkers of bottled water at home in 2015 - both at 26%.
19. According to Statistics Canada, 51% of Canadian households said that they treated their drinking water prior to consumption.
20. 25% of Canadian households reported that they used jug filters to treat their drinking water in 2015.
21. 18% of Canadian households used on-tap filters to treat their drinking water in 2015.
22. 12% of Canadian households boiled their water before consumption in 2015.
23. In 2015, 10% of Canadian households reported that they had been issued a boil water advisory.
24. In response to the boil water advisories, 60% of households boiled their water, 65% used bottled water and 12% filtered their water prior to consumption.
Conclusion - Bottled Water or Tap Water?
Considering the effects on the environment of producing individual small bottled water and the substantial expense, you may want to re-think your drinking water practices. If you think you should switch to tap water, but you really don't enjoy the taste and smell, you should talk to an expert at WaterSmart about our large jug bottled water. Contact us today and we will answer all of your water questions.
In this final installment in our series of relatively easy toilet repairs that you could do yourself, we will show you how to replace a toilet. Our first entry in this series introduces you to all of the parts of the toilet and how it works. You can read part 1 here. The second installment will take you through 11 simple steps for fixing a leaking toilet tank. You can read part 2 here. Our third entry will show you that unclogging your toilet is something that you can do yourself. In the fourth post, we listed causes of a running toilet and how to remedy them. This final post will walk you through the process of replacing a toilet. Whether you are remodeling and want a new toilet or your current one has seen better days, you may wish to attempt this install yourself. However, if you would rather leave this job to a professional, contact us at WaterSmart. One of our fully licensed master plumbers will be happy to do it for you.
"Purchased a water softener, price was reasonable, sales staff was very informative and not pushy. Install was quick and clean and he gave instructions on the unit. I would highly recommend Watersmart Systems."
According to the Family Handyman replacing an old or broken toilet is not as difficult as it may sound. Even a beginner could manage to do it in a couple of hours or less. Simply follow the 12 steps listed below.
Step 1: Measure
If you are replacing your toilet with a new one make sure you get the right size. Measure the distance from the wall to your toilet's hold-down bolts. If it is approximately 30.5 cm (12 inches) then you have a standard sized toilet and buying a replacement will be easy. Some models, however, will measure 25.5 cm (10 inches) or 35.5 cm (14 inches). You may have a harder time finding these sizes. Be prepared to have to order one and probably pay more than you would for a standard toilet.
Step 2: Get Rid Of The Water
Turn off the water supply to the toilet and then flush it several times. This will remove the water from inside the tank and most of the water in the bowl. Scoop out any remaining water in the bowl. Sponge out any last bits of water until the tank and bowl are dry. You want to make sure all of the water is gone so that it doesn't drip as you carry it out.
Step 3: Remove The Toilet Tank
Unscrew the water supply line attached to the toilet tank. Be careful as there may be water left in the hose. Attach an adjustable screwdriver to one of the tank bolts on the underside of the toilet tank. Use this screwdriver to hold the bolt still as you unscrew the tank bolts with a screwdriver from inside the tank. Remove both bolts and gaskets. You may want to ask someone to help you lift the tank from the bowl. If you are doing it by yourself, make sure to bend your knees to lift it.
Step 4: Remove The Toilet Bowl
Remove the decorative caps covering the two bolts on either side of the base of the toilet. Unscrew both nuts with a socket or adjustable wrench. Use a putty knife to score the caulking between the toilet bowl and the floor. Gently rock the toilet bowl from side to side to break the wax seal underneath and free the base from the floor. Carefully lift the toilet off and onto some old towels or newspaper.
Step 5: Remove The Remaining Wax
Using a putty knife, scrape away any remaining wax. Next, plug up the drainage pipe with a rag in order to stop any sewer gasses from drifting up into your home.
Step 6: Check The Flange
The toilet flange sits on top of the floor and connects to a collar that fits through the floor. The flange helps to make a tight connection between the drainage pipe and the toilet. If the flange is corroded and is not fitting tightly in the collar then you should replace it with a new one.
The following two videos will show you how to replace a broken or damaged flange. The first video deals with the newer PVC flange and the second video will show you how to replace an older cast iron flange.
Step 7: Insert A New Wax Ring
Place a new wax ring around the hole in the base of the toilet. The tapered side of the ring should face away from the bowl.
Step 8: Put The New Toilet Bowl In Place
Apply a thin bead of caulking to the bottom of the base of the new toilet bowl and remove the rag from the drainage pipe. Lift the toilet bowl and line it up over the anchor bolts. Rock the bowl back and forth to seal the wax and then hand tighten the bolts. Don't tighten them too hard or you may crack the porcelain.
Step 9: Make Sure The Toilet Is Level
Place a level across the toilet bowl. If it is not level then put plastic toilet shims underneath the bowl to level it out. Fill the decorative plastic caps with plumber's putty and place over the bolts.
Step 10: Replace The Tank
Carefully place the tank back on the bowl. Attach the rubber gaskets/washers to the bolts underneath the toilet bowl. Place a metal washer next and then the metal nuts. Alternating from one side to the other, tighten the nuts until the rubber gaskets are properly seated.
Tip: Try not to overtighten the bolts; you can easily crack the tank.
Step 11: Re-connect The Water Supply Line
Re-attach the water supply line to the underside of the toilet tank.
Step 12: Caulk
Apply bathroom caulk around the base of the toilet to seal between the toilet and the floor. Dip your finger in water and then carefully smooth the caulk along the joint.
The following video will give you a complete overview of the steps you need to do to replace a toilet.
Why Choose WaterSmart
Whether you are simply replacing your toilet or remodeling your entire home, come to WaterSmart for any and all of your plumbing requirements. Our master plumbers have been servicing the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding areas over 20 years. We have the experience and know-how to quickly and efficiently address any plumbing issue you may have. Contact us today for your free estimate.
Toilet Repairs Part 4: How To Fix A Running Toilet
Sunday, April 2, 2017
In this installment in our series of relatively easy toilet repairs that you could do yourself, we will show you how to fix a running toilet. Our first entry in this series introduces you to all of the parts of the toilet and how it works. You can read part 1 here. The second installment will take you through 11 simple steps for fixing a leaking toilet tank. You can read part 2 here. Our third entry will show you that unclogging your toilet is something that you can do yourself. In this post, we will list 4 possible causes of a running toilet and how to remedy them: the flapper, the fill tube, the float, and the fill valve. If any of these repairs fail or you simply don't have the time or desire to attempt them, contact us at WaterSmart. One of our fully licensed master plumbers will be happy to do it for you.
"Before we decided to buy the unit the Watersmart representative was very informative, helpful, and friendly. When it was installed they were quick and explained everything that we needed to know going forward. Would recommend them for sure!"
The most common cause of a running toilet is a defective flapper. When the toilet is flushed, the flapper is lifted up and this releases water into the bowl. Once all of the water is drained out of the tank, the flapper falls back into the drain to form a tight seal which allows the tank to fill up again. With time, the rubber flapper can start to deteriorate. When this happens, the seal around the drain of the tank is no longer tight and water can begin to seep out.
Check The Flapper
Push firmly down on the flapper. You can do this by reaching into your toilet and using your hand. Remember that the water in the tank is clean. If however, you don't want to use your hand, you can use a long object like a stick or ruler. If the water stops running then you know that the flapper is the problem. If you notice any dirt or buildup on the flapper, try cleaning it away to solve the problem. If the flapper is warped or deteriorated then you will need to replace it.
How To Replace The Flapper
According to the Family Handyman, replacing a flapper is a relatively simple fix, even for a beginner and it can be done in usually less than an hour.
1. Turn off the water supply to the tank. You can find the shutoff valve underneath the tank.
2. Flush the toilet. You want to drain all of the water from the tank.
3. Remove the flapper. Make sure you take note of how it attaches to the bottom of the tank.
4. Purchase an identical flapper. It is a good idea to take the old flapper with you to make sure you get the right type as there are several different kinds.
5. Follow the installation instructions that come with your new flapper.
6. Pay special attention to the length of the chain. You will need to add or remove links to get the right length. If it is too short then the flapper will not be lifted high enough when the toilet is flushed, causing a shorter, incomplete flush. If it is too long, then you will have to jiggle the handle each time you flush to get the flap to fall back into the correct position.
Cause # 2 The Fill Tube
If you tested the flapper by pressing down on it and found that it wasn't the cause of your toilet running, it could perhaps be the fill tube. The fill tube is the small plastic tube connecting the fill valve (the main assembly in the tank) to the overflow pipe (the part that drains the extra water when it fills too high).
Check The Fill Tube
Take a look at the fill tube to see if it is underwater. If it is, then simply cut it shorter so that the tube is above the water level.
Cause #3 The Float
The float affects the height of the water level in the tank. If it is set too high, then the water level will rise above the overflow pipe and your toilet will keep running. The water in the tank should sit between 1.5 and 2.5 cm below the top of the overflow pipe.
Check The Float
There are two basic types of floats. Here is how you can check and fix each type.
1. The Ball Float - This type of float is more common with older toilets. You can adjust the height that the float rises by simply bending the arm down slightly so that the water will fill up below the overflow pipe.
2. The Cup Float - Take a look to locate the way the cup float adjusts. This will usually be some sort of pinching mechanism. Slide the float down the central tube that it sits around until it is at the desired water level.
Cause #4 The Fill Valve
If neither the flapper, fill tube, or float are causing your toilet to run, then you may have to replace the fill valve.
How To Replace The Fill Valve
1. Turn off the water supply to the tank. You can find the shutoff valve underneath the tank.
2. Flush the toilet. You want to drain all of the water from the tank. Sponge out any remaining water.
3. Disconnect the water supply line outside the tank.
4. Unscrew the fill valve lock nut to free the valve.
5. Lift out the old fill valve.
6. Purchase a replacement valve. Be sure to take the old valve with you so that you can choose the correct one.
7. Follow the instructions on the new valve to install it. A good tip is to tighten the locknut a half turn past hand tight.
Watch the following video to see how to fix a toilet that keeps running.
In the final part of this toilet repair series, we will show you how to replace a toilet.
WaterSmart - Your Plumbing Experts
WaterSmart has been proudly serving the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding area for more than 20 years. We are your plumbing and service experts. No job is too big or too small for our licensed master plumbers. We will do anything from toilet repairs to complete plumbing home renovations. Contact us today for a free plumbing estimate.
Toilet Repairs Part 3: How To Unclog A Trouble Toilet
Sunday, March 26, 2017
In this installment discussing relatively easy toilet repairs that you could do yourself, we will show you how to unclog a trouble toilet. Our first entry in this series introduces you to all of the parts of the toilet and how it works. You can read part 1 here. The second installment will take you through 11 simple steps for fixing a leaking toilet tank. You can read part 2 here.
In this installment, we will show you that unclogging your toilet is something that you can do yourself by either using a plunger or a plumbing snake. We will give you some helpful tips and instructions for both. If both of these methods fail or you simply don't have the time to attempt them, contact us at WaterSmart. One of our fully licensed master plumbers will be happy to do it for you.
According to familyhandyman.com, 90 percent of clogged toilets can be fixed by simply plunging the clog away. Here is how you do it.
Step 1: Purchase The Right Plunger
It's important to get the right plunger. The black plunger pictured on the left is designed specifically for toilets. It has an extension flange below the rubber bell-shaped end. This is designed to help you get a better seal, thereby exerting more water pressure while you are plunging. By pushing the flange back inside the bell, you can use this type of plunger for a sink or tub clog. The rust-coloured plunger pictured on the right is designed for a sink.
Step 2: Prepare Yourself
It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves and old clothes. You may get wet. You may also want to have some old towels close by or placed around the toilet to soak up any water that splashes out of the bowl.
Step 3: Prepare Your Plunger
Make sure that the rubber flange on your toilet plunger is pulled out. Place the flange snuggly into the toilet bowl drain. Make sure you have enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger. Forcing air through the toilet trap doesn't produce as much pressure as forcing water. According to the artofmanliness.com, it is also helpful to warm up your plunger before you begin by running it under hot water. This will loosen up the stiff rubber and make plunging more successful.
Step 4: Easy Does It
You want your first plunge to be a gentle one. Why? The bell of your plunger is full of air, so if you give an initial hard push, you will be forcing that air quickly back past the seal and into the toilet bowl. The air will blow water all over you and the bathroom floor.
Step 5: Plunge Away
After your initial gentle plunge, you can be more forceful. Continue to plunge vigorously in and out pushing water in both directions. It is a good idea to switch between steady plunging and occasional forceful ones.This should loosen most clogs, but you may need to repeat your plunging 15 to 20 times.
Solution #2: Break Out The Snake
If plunging doesn't work, then it's time to try a drain auger, also known as a plumbing snake. A snake is a bendable metal coil with a crank handle at one end and a corkscrew attachment at the other end. This corkscrew device is designed to dislodge an obstruction in the toilet drain. You can purchase a plumbing snake from most hardware stores that sell plumbing supplies.
Step 1: Insert The Snake Into The Drain Hole
Carefully insert the corkscrew end into the toilet bowl drain hole. The metal screw can scratch the porcelain of the bowl so you need to be gentle. Some more expensive snakes have a rubber sleeve to protect the bowl.
Step 2: Feed The Snake Further Into The Drain
Keep feeding the snake further into the drain until you feel it come into contact with the blockage.
Step 3: Turn The Crank Handle
Once the corkscrew has come into contact with the obstruction, turn the crank handle clockwise to break up the blockage. The screw may also wind into the object blocking the drain so that you can pull it out. Repeat the process if it doesn't work on the first try. Snaking the toilet may take a few minutes or longer depending on the type of clog causing the problem.
The following video shows you how to unclog a toilet using a plunger and a snake.
Solution # 3: Call A Plumber
If plunging and using a plumbing snake doesn't remove the clog, or if you really don't want to to take the time and effort to unclog your own toilet, then it's time to call a professional. The master plumbers at WaterSmart are your plumbing service experts in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding areas. Not only can we fix your clogged toilet quickly and efficiently, but we also specialize in the following:
Kitchens and Bathrooms
Toilets and Taps
Clogged or Slow Drains
Countertop Pre and Post Installation
Tankless Hot Water Heaters
New Plumbing and Renovations
Master Plumber and Gas Fitter
Backflow Testing or Device Installation
Contact us today for a free in-home estimate and let one of our fully insured licensed master plumbers solve your plumbing needs.
In our next installment, we will teach you how to fix a running toilet. Our final part will show you how to replace a toilet.