Author Archives: Melissa Guy

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Verify contractor’s license, before asking for bids or entering into any agreements with a contractor. When checking a contractor’s license:

  • Verify the contractor is actively licensed. This means the contractor can legally work in British Columbia bonded with proof of liability insurance and Work Safe B.C. compensation insurance.
  • Check the contractor’s history of complaints (disputes) and any other licenses associated with the contractor’s name.
  • Get more than one bid from licensed contractors before making a decision.
  • Don’t automatically accept the lowest bid. A higher bid may be worth the price in better materials or workmanship. If you get a very low bid, the contractor may have made a mistake or not bid everything. If the bid is too low to make a profit, they may use cheaper materials or take shortcuts.
  • Ask for references. Check with previous customers. Were they satisfied with the work? Was the work completed on time? Did the contractor return phone calls?

Emergency Plumbing Tips

It can happen any time: a plumbing emergency. From your faucet leaking, your pipes bursting, or an overflowing toilet, your house can surprise you, often when you least expect it.  Here are a few things to arm yourself with to minimize the possible damage to your home and property.

What You Need To Know:

  • Where your main water shut-off is located.
  • How to turn off your water heater.
  • How to turn off your toilet’s water line – and teach your children!
  • How to turn off your washing machine’s water supply, and the machine’s circuit breaker on your electrical panel
  • Where your kitchen faucet shut off is located.

These are the most common areas where plumbing emergencies tend to happen.

If you have questions, or need help locating anything you believe is causing your plumbing emergency, we are happy to walk you through getting your immediate plumbing needs taken care of. We want to be the company you think of first when you have plumbing issues.

Clogged Drains

That slow, annoying emptying of your bathroom sink. Too much tooth paste? Long hair? This is a relatively easy fix. Clogged bathroom sinks and bathtubs can be a real problem, especially for those of us with long hair. Often times, you will find the culprit – hair – just under the top of the drain.

The tool being used above, a “Zip Stick”, can be purchased at most big box stores such as Home Depot. The same clog is also common in bathtubs and the Zip Stick often works well there, too.

Many of these calls could be avoided by taking greater care in what you put down drains – especially the kitchen sink drain; the most used and most clogged drain in the house. I also recommend regular treatment with Bio-Clean, a biological drain cleaner sold only through plumbing contractors.

The Dishwasher

Automatic dishwashers are another appliance that should last a decade or more. However, you often can save money by buying a newer energy-efficient unit. Brand new units can be bought for $400-$600 while repairs of various operating mechanisms typically run $150 and up.

If your dishwasher is getting near the 10-year mark, a major repair may be a signal that other components are also on their last legs. It won’t take many service calls to pay for a brand new unit.

The Disposal

Stoppages and minor malfunctions are worth repairing. You are better off though replacing the entire unit if the motor goes out or the blades break. This is especially true if you deal with a plumbing company that warrants the product for 5-10 years or even longer.

Plumbing: Unjamming a Garbage Disposal

Jammed garbage disposals can be quite a nuisance especially when they clog up your kitchen sink. The good news is that it is often a simple task to unjam the disposal.

As you can see from the image above, a disposal will jam, or stop turning, when a foreign object such as a bone becomes caught up in the impeller blades.

You know your disposal is jammed if it makes a humming sound when the switch is turned on and it is not turning inside. If there is no sound when the switch is turned on, the unit probably became too hot and turned itself off.disposal_2

Pressing the reset button on the bottom side of the disposal will restore power to the unit and it can be turned on again to see if it is still jammed.

If it is still jammed, you will need to use a tool in an effort to unjam it.

Note: never put your hand inside a garbage disposal and *always* turn the power off at the electrical panel while performing any repair work.

You can, however use a 1/4″ or 5/16″ Allen wrench. Simply insert the wrench from below and work it back and forth until it frees up. If it doesn’t free up, the disposal is bad and will need to be replaced.