Posts Tagged ‘plumbing’

Efficient Toronto Plumbers Are a Must

January 22nd, 2013

When you end up with a problem relating to your plumbing system that requires a drain to be cleaned, potable water to be installed, a sewer be repaired, or installation of a plumbing fixture you need to call a trained professional – a plumber in Toronto. One of the most common tasks that plumbers perform is diagnosis and repairs of plumbing systems. Hiring a plumber should always involve some careful consideration for the contractor you are hiring. It’s important that your plumbing system be maintained properly to prevent costly service calls in the future. Make sure that the plumber you hire is experienced in their area of work; they should understand drain cleaning procedures such as drain snaking, hydro-jetting, and CCTV drain inspection. Any professional, licensed Toronto plumber will be able to provide service for your drain or plumbing needs.


An efficient, professional plumber will always take the most appropriate steps to provide an economical, long-lasting solution to your plumbing issues. In areas that provide rebates for plumbing work, your plumber should do their best to provide all the necessary documentation to the municipality so you can claim your rebate. This is particularly the case for instance in the City of Toronto where there is up to $3,200 available for the installation of flood prevention devices such as a sump pump or backwater valve.  With the stormy summer weather these devices can help to save your basement from flooding causing tens of thousands in preventable water damage.

When you encounter problems such as a collapsed sewer, or blocked drain pipe that you just can’t figure out on your own it’s time to call up a professional. A professional, licensed plumber will come out to your property and conduct a full investigation into the problem by way of a camera they insert into the problematic pipe. This camera will relay a high-definition video feed of the interior of your pipes, lit up with multiple LED lights on the end of the cable all of your problems will be revealed. This technique is called CCTV drain inspection and it will help to find problems in your sewer lines, drain lines, and any other pipe that can be easily accessed. This technology saves time in diagnosing the problem as there is no need to excavate and in most cases we can precisely repair the problem area.

Here are a few tips to keep you from calling your local Toronto plumbing contractor:

  • Always use a drain snake to attempt to clean your drain before resorting to chemicals which may cause corrosive damage.
  • Suspect your drain may be clogged? Pour baking soda and vinegar down it; this will help to break up some clogs and is a safe alternative to harsh chemicals.
  • Avoid pouring grease and oil down your drain; it may look like it goes down no problem but these substances build up on the interior of your drain system further down the line and attract other foreign debris.

With a little care you can manage to save a call to your plumber and prolong the life of your plumbing system.


The History of Your Average Joe Plumber

November 21st, 2012

When you think about plumbing you aren’t perhaps immediately filled with excitement; yet the concept of plumbing can be considered to be one of the earliest and most widespread examples of great engineering that mankind has put into practice. Plumbing is a fundamental part of our lives and one that we readily take for granted as a standard function of contemporary living; but the means with which to source water into and out of our homes wasn’t always as easy as it is today.

During the Neolithic period of man, between approximately 10,000 – 2000 BC, the first signs of large human settlements began to emerge across central Europe and North Africa. These communities placed an emphasis on the farming of animals and the building of tools. In this respect, the communities exhibited the first examples of a lifestyle that was no longer considered transient; the communities were now fixedly located in a specific area and work habits and family orientated lifestyles became the norm.

Life in the Pits

It was during the Neolithic era the first pit toilets were ‘built’ – in the loosest possible definition of the word. A Neolithic pit toilet was simply a hole dug deep into the ground into which Neolithic folk relieved themselves. Decomposition would then take its natural process before soil was tossed over the waste.

Don’t Pit On Your Own Doorstep

As a result of the emergence of these larger communities of people who settled in a specific area for the duration of their lives, the concept of a designated area for communal relief became the norm. Tribes tended to build their pit toilets away from their huts and in nearby bushes.

When in Rome, Do a Do-Do as the Romans Do

Flash forwarding a couple of thousand years, the public sanitation systems in Rome displayed the first examples of plumbing as we now know it today; evidence of public latrines can be traced back to 200 BC. The Roman latrine was a large U-shaped wooden box or stone tablet with a series of holes cut into the top and far from being a private affair the latrines could seat up to twenty people at any one time; with no partitions and no privacy. The act of going to the toilet was considered to be a social affair in which family and friends would meet to swap gossip. One such toilet, located close to the Theatre of Pompey in Rome, had a squatting capacity for as many as a 100 theatre-come-toilet goers.

In place of toilet paper the Romans used a dipstick – a short wooden stick with a sponge attached to one end, an item which gave rise to the derogatory word ‘dipstick’ and the confused state of getting ‘the wrong end of the stick’!

Flushed Out

After use the dipstick would then be washed in a small stream that ran around the foot of the latrine which, in turn, ran into a deeper stream located a couple of metres underneath the squat hole. This stream then ran into a larger sewer system and into the river Tiber and then out into the sea in one of the earliest examples of plumbing on a large scale.

Going to the John – Approaching the Contemporary

In 1596 the courtier Sir John Harrington invented the first flush toilet which came complete with a flush valve that realised fresh water into the basin and a wash down system that carried waste away. Whilst lauded as a great invention at the time it wasn’t considered to have practical applications due to a widespread lack of running water with which to use the devise. Harrington has survived in contemporary expressions with the use of the American idiom, ‘going to the John’.

Modern Plumbing – The Bog Standard

As a result of Harrington’s invention and the widespread construction of sewer systems, combined with water on tap, bathroom plumbing evolved to how we now know it around the 1960s. Up until this point many UK households didn’t actually have an indoor toilet and toilet-goers were relegated to using an outhouse in the backyard.

A Plumb Job

Contemporary plumbing now incorporates all manner of paraphernalia such as bidets, designer bathroom suites, rainwater guttering and fast-action boilers that feed hot water into your home in a matter of seconds.

If you are considering reworking any aspect of your household plumbing then companies such as The Plumb Store offer a consolidation of all modern plumbing services available in the UK. All jobs and installations are considered, with the exception of the pit toilet – it’s perhaps best to leave that in the past.

Plumbing Tips and Tricks for Homeowners

September 21st, 2012

One aspect of owning a home is to know how the plumbing system works in the house. You need to be able to quickly deal with blockages in drains, waste pipes and air vents. The drainage system in any house is designed to pull waste away from toilets, bathtubs, showers, sinks and other devices that are connected to the water supply, such as washing machines and dishwashers. To keep your home’s plumbing system up-to-date, it’s imperative that you frequently check to see if there are any blockages. You should deal with them in a timely manner.

Preventing Blockages in the First Place

A fundamental rule of home plumbing is that you should avoid putting solid items in the sinks as much as possible. Not all liquids are suitable for sinks as well, especially oil and fat. Many people flush hair after brushing or shaving down the sink, but this can build up very quickly in the piping. When hair builds up, it also bonds with any liquids that do not mix well with water such as oil, fat or body fluids and causes clumps that clog up the pipes. It’s best to throw hair into a garbage can instead of flushing it down the sink.

Likewise, when using a toilet, make sure that you only put toilet paper into it as that is usually the only paper thin enough to go down well. Tissue paper, paper towels, sanitary pads, diapers and contraceptive devices should never be flushed down the toilet. Moreover, if you are flushing old food into the toilet when cleaning pots or pans, make sure that it is free of bones or other large solids that can block up the pipes.

Winter Tips & Tricks for Home Plumbing

Another important aspect of preventing blockages in your plumbing comes into play in parts of the world where the temperature drops below freezing in the winter. Ideally, water should be used regularly (at least several times a day) in winter homes, so that it does not have a chance to freeze up in the pipes. If you are going away from home in the winter, leave a tiny trickle of hot water coming out of the taps so the pipes do not freeze. Ice in pipes can cause serious damage when it expands. This can be very expensive (not to mention that you won’t be able to use your water at all until repaired).

Dealing with Minor Blockages at Home

If you only have a minor blockage in one of your sinks at home, then they are usually easy to deal with using a commercial drain cleaner. Toilets can be unblocked easily with a plunger. Before you try a chemical cleaner on your sinks, it also pays to give it a shot with a plunger first and see if you can get anything blocking the pipes out by force.

If you are having difficulty with unblocking pipes at home, then you might want to call in a professional plumber.

Dos and Don’ts of DIY Drain Cleaning

September 18th, 2012

If you have indoor plumbing as many modern homes do, you will eventually be plagued with stopped-up drains.  In the best of circumstances, it is a minor annoyance; in the worst of circumstances—say, during a family gathering or house party—it can be catastrophic.

However, there is no need to panic.  There are plenty of do-it–yourself remedies you can try before calling a plumber.  But, be aware that the methods and tools needed vary according to which drains are affected.

Using a Plunger to Unclog Drains

It is always better to use environmentally friendly solutions when possible.  One tool no home should be without is a basic plunger.  Used since the late 1800s, a plunger is the first line of defense for any drain blockage.  This simple device is effective on any drain and can often solve the problem in a matter of seconds.

A plunger works by creating suction in the offending drain.  The procedure is the same for any drain in the home.  Make sure there is enough water – in the toilet bowl, sink or tub – to fill the plunger cup.  After ensuring a tight seal, vigorously work the plunger in an up-and-down motion for approximately 15 seconds, releasing it sharply from the drain on the last stroke.

When done properly, you will feel water moving in the drain.  This movement will either push or pull the clog out of the pipe, allowing the water to flow freely through the trap.  Several attempts may be necessary to clear the line.

What if the Drain is Still Clogged?

When dealing with a toilet that will not unclog, it is possible that an object such as a washcloth or a child’s toy may be stuck in the trap.  In this situation, you will need a commode auger to clear the obstruction.  Augers are tools designed to fit into toilet bowls and grasp the object, allowing it to be removed.

For sinks and tubs, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda poured directly into the drain will cause a chemical reaction that should usually clear the pipe.  After letting the mixture work for several minutes, flush the drain with a large container of boiling water.  This will remove hair, soap scum and even grease build-up, which are often the primary causes of sluggish draining.

Can Chemical Drain Cleaners Be Safely Used?

If the eco-friendly measures are unsuccessful, the clog may require a stronger, chemical drain-clearing agent.  At this point, it is worthwhile to call a professional plumber as most commercial products contain lye or hydrochloric acid and can be dangerous.  Using the wrong product—or the wrong amount—can seriously damage your septic system.  Safety should always be priority, and the cost of a new sewer system will greatly outweigh the cost of a plumber.  In this situation, be smart and contact your local plumber for help.