My water heater does not work as well as it was working when it was new. Do I have to replace it?

The problem is likely due to sediment and lime deposits at the bottom of the tank. As these deposits accumulate over time, it reduces the heating efficiency of the tank. As a result, it takes longer to heat hot water and therefore energy is being wasted. Hot water tanks should be drained and cleaned of sediment at least every couple of years. If lime and sediment deposits are excessive, then the tank should be cleaned more often.

However, if your hot water tank is more than 10 years, the expected life is near its end. Before the tank expires, consideration of size and type for the next tank should be determined so a hasty decision will not have to be made if the tank should fail unexpectedly.

Lifestyles do change over time. Do you have enough hot water now? Should the hot water tank be replaced with the same size or larger size? Perhaps an upgrade to tankless hot water system would be more beneficial? Contact GreenCity Plumber for hot water tank advice.

Lately our house has a sewer smell which we never had before. All our taps and toilets seem to be working all right. Can you help us?

You may have overlooked unused the floor drains in the house. All plumbing devices contain in-line water traps that hold water as a “stopper” to prevent gases from backing up into your house. You are probably familiar with a plumbing “U” trap or more commonly called a P-trap located under your sink that fills the “U” configured pipe with water every time you use water. However, if no water will be used in the plumbing fixture over an extended period of time, the water in the trap evaporates permitting sewer gases to enter your home.

Therefore, check unused floor drains in the basement and unused showers or bathtubs. Since no water flows down these drains, it is possible that the drain traps have become completely dry. Every couple of months,some water should be poured down these drains to ensure that water is filling the trap.

What’s the difference between a Backflow Valve and Backflow Preventer?

Many people interchange both terms as being the same but the two devices are quite different.

Backflow Valves prevent effluent and sewage from backing up into the home from an overflowing municipal sanitary sewer system through a home’s drainage system.

Backflow Preventers stop the backward flow of possibly contaminated water from private property into the public water supply system or potable water supply system.

My toilets and sinks are draining slowly. A plumber tells me that my drains in the ground are plugged. Does the city have any responsibility in unclogging drains?

The homeowner is responsible for maintaining all drainage and water pipes from the house to the property line. Outside the homeowner property line, the City is responsible.

If a tree is on City property has roots penetrating the drain pipes on the City side, then the City is responsible to clean roots and repair their drain pipes on their side. If tree roots are penetrating on the homeowner side, the homeowner is responsible to clear roots, even though the tree is on the City side.

My neighbours’ basements were flooded out during a storm but my house was spared. Do I have to worry about future flooding in my basement? How can I ensure sewage water from backing up into my basement?

Since the local flooding, your neighbours likely installed backflow valves and sump pumps to keep their basements dry during a major storm. Since your neighbours houses are protected, there is a greater risk then that since no water will get into their basements, neighbours' houses with no protective flood prevention devices could now be at greater peril than before.

The likely cause of sewage backing up during a big rain storm is that the City’s sewers are literally overflowing to capacity from runoff. With no place for sewage to go, the easiest place during a main drain backup is through an unprotected drain system in an unprotected house.

One of the best ways and first line of defense to reduce your risk of sewage backing up is to install a backflow valve. A backflow valve is installed under the basement floor at the point where the sanitary sewer drain leaves the house. The backflow valve acts as a one-way door in the drain pipe that allows sewage to leave the house without any restrictions directly to the City sewer system. However, when the City’s sanitary sewers are backing up, the one-way door slams tightly closed, completely obstructing sewage from backing up into your house.

Currently, the City pays each single family home owner a subsidy to install a backflow valve and will also pay another subsidy to install a sump pump in abasement sump pit to reduce the risk of flooding during a huge rain. The sump pit collects water around the house perimeter footings that are directly below the basement floor. Once the sump pit will be full of ground water, the sump pump motor pumps water from the sump pit directly to the outside of the house.

Check with GreenCity Plumber if your house qualifies for a rebate. City rebates could be in the thousands of dollars waiting for you to take advantage of by the City to protect your home from disastrous floods. You may even be qualified for an insurance premium reduction if you install such flood preventive devices.

Best time to install preventative flood control devices is before the next big storm while the City is still offering homeowners rebates. GreenCity Plumber can install flood abatement devices and prepare the paperwork for you to get your rebate. Contact GreenCity Plumber today.

I can’t hear the toilet leaking water but I see rust appearing on the toilet bowl. Can I check myself to see if toilets are leaking?

A simple way to test if your toilet tank is leaking is by adding 2 or 3 drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If any of the food coloring dye shows up in the bowl within a few minutes, then you can be sure that the tank is leaking. A toilet leak only gets worse as time goes on. Even a slow leak can waste hundreds of liters of water a month. Contact GreenCity Plumbers to fix all our leaking toilets.

Why has water pressure suddenly dropped in my shower?

Firstly, you should check that the supply valve to the shower is fully open. But likely since no one has touched the supply valve, it could be that water pressure and volume have been dropping over time but you are only realizing now that the less water is coming from your shower head.

Secondly, the likely cause of drop in pressure is due to plugged aerators in shower heads due to sediment and built up minerals.

Unscrew the shower head and wash sediment that may have built up. Soak shower head overnight in vinegar to dissolve built up minerals. Shower head should be operating as in new condition with this simple fix.

My toilet continues to run all the time. The flapper valve seems to be seated properly but still there is water leaking to the bowl.

Check to see if the chain from the handle is not interfering with the operation of the flapper. If chain is not the problem it could be that the flapper material has deteriorated to the point that it no longer completely stops water from flowing to the bowl.

If you are handy, replace the flapper with a new one. If you are not sure what to do, give GreenCity Plumber a call.

What do you think of toilet cleaning chemical devices that hang in or sit in a toilet tank?

Our experience is that these chemical pucks lead to premature failure of the rubber and other parts in the flush valve that will result in toilets running or leaking water sooner. We recommend not using them.


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