Spring Maintenance

It’s May and spring is in full swing!

Plumbing maintenance is a great addition to your spring cleaning list.

Exterior Home

Cleaning gutters isn’t a commonly favourite chore, but it needs to be done at least every spring. In addition to clearing leaves and debris from your gutters, don’t forget to clean the downspouts. These can get clogs too! A plumber’s auger can be used to clean downspouts to prevent leaks and water damage.

clean your gutters and downspouts

Check for birds’ nests in outdoor vents!

Inspect exterior hose bibs and faucets for signs of wear and tear. Make sure water can run freely. If there is no flow, it could indicate you have a cracked pipe caused by freezing weather. Hosebibs can also be replaced or repaired if they are not functioning adequately.

Basement and Crawlspace

When is the last time you paid attention to your water heater? Spring is a great time for an annual hot water tank flush. Sediment and debris should be flushed at least once a year to protect against corrosion and leaks. Flushing your water heater can add life to your hot water tank merely by performing this simple task. Also check to make sure there are no flammable chemicals or objects stored close to or on top of your tank, and clear any dust in the area.

yearly tank flush

Furnace filters should be changed twice a year in the fall and spring.

Check the pipes in your basement and crawlspace for signs of leaks. Turn your main water valves to make sure they move to open and close easily. Water valves can seize from lack of use so perform this check each year. When you have an emergency and the water needs to be turned off quickly, and the last thing you want is a shut-off valve that won’t move!

Interior Home

Check under your kitchen and bathroom sinks for leaks. Supply hoses for the dishwasher and washing machine should be looked at for wear and age as well. It is better to change an aging supply hose before it causes a problem than to find that your laundry room has flooded because the hose burst while you were away.

Test your toilet for leaks by putting a couple of drops of green or blue food colouring in the tank and wait about 20 minutes. (Don’t flush.) If the water in the bowl becomes coloured of coloured water drips down the tank or bowl, your toilet is leaking.

toilet tank leaking

maintenance plumbers

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Drain Tips

What can go down the drains in and around your home?

Your home has sink drains, floor drains, bathtub drains, laundry drains and storm drains. Read more for tips to avoid clogs and over flowing drains.

Ensure all drains have a mesh screen over them to catch any debris, such as hair, food scraps, dirt, lint, etc.

mesh drain screen

Kitchen: Always scrape your dishes into the green bin or compost before rinsing, then put them in the dishwasher or wash them in the sink. Remember to run your dishwasher only when you have a full load for maximum efficiency and energy savings.

food composter

Bathroom: Brush your hair right before a shower to ensure you are getting out as much loose hair as possible, but do not flush it. When it comes to pets, try to wash them outside when the weather is warm to avoid excess hair in your drains. If you can’t wait, try investing in a wash tub for your furry friend!

Invest in a quality auger or plunger. If draining doesn’t go your way, avoid chemical plumbers and call a real one! Liquid drain clearing solutions aren’t as great as you would assume, as the corrosive chemical products will eat your pipes and your plumber’s hands.

chemical drain cleaner

The things that you probably wouldn’t want in your own drinking water or ocean should never be put down the drain. This includes nail polishes, bleach and other strong household cleaners, anti-freeze and motor oil, and even cosmetics and perfume.

To keep drains in good working order, pour a good amount of hot water down the drains, especially your rarely used ones, to ensure that they are in good working order when the time comes for use!

Using Your Garbage Disposal

What can go down the garbage disposal?

The garburator seems like a product that can handle anything, but it has limits. Learn what you can and can’t put down the garburator.

NEVER attempt to clear your garburator when it is turned on.

Fat or grease: This should not go down the garbage disposal or any drain. It will eventually cool and harden and stay that way. The best way to dispose of it grease is to pour it into a jar while it’s hot and once it cools, put it in the garbage or green bin.

Onion skins: Onion skins may seem harmless, but they are thin and can easily stick to the inside shredder ring of your disposal, eventually causing major problems. It’s best to put these in your green bin or composter.

Fibrous or stringy vegetables & fruit: The stringy part of fruits & vegetables like celery can easily be cut by the garburator blade, but similar to onion skins, the rest can wrap around another part and cause damage.

Coffee grounds: These little leftover caffeine beans don’t harm your disposal itself, and might make it smell nice – BUT they can cause a lot of damage and clog the drain pipes below the garburator and throughout your home. Put these in the green bin instead.

Egg shells: Similar to the vegetables, the membrane on the inside of the egg can wrap around parts of your device that they shouldn’t touch and cause your garburator to malfunction. (Yes, green bin it!)

Bones or fruit pits: While the garburator has powerful blades, they usually cannot stand up to the strength of the bones and pits which cause significant damage. Often this kind of damage requires a garburator replacement.

Pasta, rice & breads: These foods are like the cotton swabs in a toilet. Since the pasta, rice and bread can stick together, they can absorb a lot more water and block your drain.

Additional things to avoid: Shrimp shells, pennies, jewellery, banana peels, silverware, hands and fingertips.

garbage disposal

What Can Be Flushed?

What can I put down my drain?

Have you ever had a moment where you thought, “Is this flushable?” If you have, you’re not alone.

There are times we need to second guess the power of our plumbing systems. Here are a few tips on what you can and cannot flush, pour, or drop down your toilet. The worst kind of thing to think with plumbing is out of sight, out of mind, but you might eventually see a lot more than you want to.

Just because your toilet can make it disappear, doesn’t mean it leaves your pipes. Here are some of the things you should NOT flush down the toilet.

Baby/disposable wipes: While these are marketed as a “flushable” product, they are not flushable. While they may flush down the toilet bowl, they will build up. They can easily get caught in p-traps or pipes and cause a major blockage. Put baby wipes in the garbage for proper disposal.

Cotton balls & cotton swabs: Cotton is absorbent, which means that once they are flushed, they expand and collect which can easily be the next thing to block your pipes.

Dental floss: This is not biodegradable. When it is flushed, dental floss will wrap itself around other objects in the pipes, making small clogs much worse in an instant.

Band-aids: Like floss, bandaids are not biodegradable and will just get worse with time.

Cat litter: Cat litter will clog your pipes no matter what the label says. Cat waste also can contain toxins and parasites that shouldn’t be in our water systems, so please use a biodegradable bag and put cat waste in the garbage.

Feminine hygiene products: Feminine products contain materials that expand when liquid is introduced and can cause major blockages. Both you and your plumber will be embarrassed when this is the source of your drain blockage. Dispose of feminine hygiene products in the garbage can.

Medications: Medications are toxic to our water systems and pollute the ecosystem that our fish and wildlife thrive off of. Take your old medication to the pharmacy and they will disposed of it properly.

Toilet clog

Kitchen Plumbing Part 3

Kitchen Plumbing Tips Part 3

The kitchen is a hub for cooking and conversation. Learn home kitchen energy tips with this blog series.


Using a small pot on a large burner wastes over 40% of the burner’s heat. Save energy and money (approximately $20-$40 annually) by using the right sized pot on stove burners, and cover pots and pans to contain heat when you’re cooking. If you have a gas range, keep the burners clean to ensure the efficiency of your stove.

Green tip: Blue flames indicate good combustion; yellow flames indicate that your range may require service. Servicing your range when you see a yellow flame can help to ensure that it is burning efficiently.

Greener tip: Replace your electric or gas range with an EnergyStar certified range to save the maximum amount of energy possible!

Range Hood

Save energy in your kitchen with a high efficiency range hood. Range hoods remove cooking odors and control air moisture when cooking on the stovetop. EnergyStar certified range hoods use 60% less energy than standard models, and they are also quieter!


Chat in the kitchen on an EnergyStar certified cordless phone with switch-mode power supplies and smart chargers for maximum telephone energy saving as you cook and chat.

How to Unclog Your Toilet

DIY: How To Unclog Your Toilet

Nobody wants a clogged toilet in their home or business. Luckily a toilet clog can usually be cleared using the easy tips below.

Tools required:

Plunger (flange or ball type, not the cup type which is used for bathtubs)

Toilet auger



  1. Don’t try to flush the toilet. It’s tempting to consider that perhaps by some miracle the toilet will unclog itself, but more often than not, this isn’t the case.
  2. Grab your plunger and slowly push it into the water to the bottom of the bowl. Fit the plunger around the water drain (hole) at the bottom of the bowl and push the handle up and down rapidly until you feel the stoppage release or see the water level drop in the toilet.
  3. Don’t flush the toilet yet. Remove the lid from the tank portion and very slowly lift the flapper seal at the bottom of the tank to allow some water to enter the toilet bowl. Be careful not to lift it all the way though as this will cause the toilet to flush. If the water in the toilet bowl leaves the bowl easily then your job is done! If not, move to step 4.


  1. Turn off the water supply to your toilet.
  2. Making sure the auger cable is fully retracted into the handle, put the auger into your toilet so that the curved part where the cable comes out of the handle is facing in the same direction that the toilet drains- either the front or back of the toilet bowl.
  3. Advance the auger cable into the toilet drain by cranking with gentle pressure until you feel the cable tighten or the handle stops turning as you’ve likely located the stoppage.
  4. Quickly crank the auger to break the stoppage up. If you get to a point where you can’t crank it anymore, crank in the reverse direction. Continue cranking until the auger cable has been inserted all the way. Be careful not to be forceful as it may damage your toilet and cause a bigger problem!
  5. When the stoppage has broken up and you’re able to run the entire auger cable into the toilet, remove the auger and plunge the toilet again.
  6. Don’t flush the toilet yet. Repeat Step 3 first. If the water leaves the bowl easily, then try flushing the toilet to see what happens.
  7. If your toilet flushes normally, turn the water supply back on then clean your toilet auger outside to avoid contamination. You can spray the cable with a lubricant like WD40 to get rid of remaining water/moisture after it has been cleaned to extend the life of your cables. Finally, hang it by the handle in a warm place to dry.


SPECIAL NOTE: If your toilet still won’t flush after you’ve used the hand auger, this means that the blockage is further down the pipe and will require some advanced tools & techniques to clear. Call the plumbing professionals at Plumbing & Drain Rescue to bail you out! 604-628-3333

Furnace Tips

Furnace Tips

Do you service your furnace every year? Read below for more home furnace tips.

Did you know that in order to maximize your furnace’s efficiency, it should be cleaned every year? Like any service, there is a cost associated with having a technician clean your furnace, but it is incomparable to the cost of having an emergency serviceman dispatched on a cold winter’s night. Get your furnace serviced in the spring or summer to avoid running into an issue when you need heat in colder months.

Furnaces can be as high as 98% efficient. There are many benefits to having a high efficiency furnace installed in your home. High efficiency furnaces can save hundreds of dollars a year in heating costs. A furnace with an efficiency of 89% or higher can typically deliver heating savings of 20% to 35% more when compared to old furnaces in the 60% AFUE range. This range is typical of furnaces from 1970 and earlier.

You can offset the cost of having your high efficiency furnace installed and ensure that you keep your heating bills lower by servicing your furnace every year. In the long run, your furnace will have paid for itself in energy savings and you will be helping the environment too.

Do yourself, your furnace and the environment a favor, and have your furnace serviced today!

Kitchen Plumbing Tips Part 2

Kitchen Plumbing Tips Part 2

The kitchen can be a busy gathering place. Learn home kitchen energy tips with this blog series.

Plumbing and Drain Rescue, professional plumbers in Vancouver bring you part 2 of our 3 part blog post on energy efficient kitchens.


Learn about the specifications of your current fridge, and consider upgrading to an EnergyStar efficient model if you don’t have one already. When your new refrigerator is installed, recycle your old one by putting it in another room or the garage, or pass it on to someone you know who has an older (and likely less efficient) fridge!

Did you know: If your current fridge was made prior to 1993, it uses twice the amount of energy required by new models!

Green tip: There are ways to recycle your old refrigerator if you do not have the space or a place to put it. By recycling your old fridge you can prevent 5,500 to 20,000 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions. Check out the EnergyStar website for places to recycle your old fridge.


Save water by scraping your dishes into the garbage (or compost!) instead of pre-rinsing before they go in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher only when it is full and use the air-dry option if your dishwasher has that feature.

Did you know: Appliances account for roughly 12% of energy bills. By replacing your dishwasher to a high efficiency model, you can lower that percentage, and save money and energy!


Save energy with your microwave by only using it to reheat or cook small portions of food. Doing this can cut the cooking energy you use by as much as 80%, and will also help to save on air conditioning and fan costs in warm summer months, as microwaves generate less heat than an oven or stove.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our 3-part blog series on kitchens!

Kitchen Plumbing Part1

Kitchen Plumbing Tips Part 1

The kitchen is often the heart of the home. Learn home kitchen energy tips with this blog series.

Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue bring you another segment in keeping your home energy efficient. Today we are talking about making your kitchen green!


As mentioned previously, by replacing the type of bulbs used in your kitchen light fixtures, you can save energy! Energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) light bulbs are great alternatives to incandescent bulbs. Upgrading your light bulbs is simple and easy to do, and it’s a good first step to take when living greener!

Green tip: Turn the lights out when you leave the kitchen. If you’re not in the room, then you don’t need a light on! You can also save energy during the day by allowing natural sunlight to illuminate your rooms.

Greener tip: Recycle your old light bulbs! Call the Recycle Council of BC to find your nearest location: 604-732-9253


Replacing your windows screens with storm windows during winter months will act as an extra barrier against the cold outdoor air by helping to prevent heat loss. Another suggestion is to weather-strip and caulk around your windows to prevent air leakage.

Green tip: By changing your current windows to EnergyStar windows, you can save from $150-$500 in annual energy costs! EnergyStar windows can cut drafts and even reduce the fading of your interior furnishings!


As in the bathroom, there are many ways you can reduce water usage with your sink faucet. Repair any leaks immediately to save gallons of water. (Follow our DIY, or call on our technicians to fix your faucet for you!) Another way you can save energy is by installing a low-flow aerator on your faucet.

Green tip: If you hand wash your dishes, fill up the sink and wash all dishes at once, and then rinse the soap off all of the dishes at once when you’re finished. You’ll save energy by filling your sink up just twice instead of letting the water continuously run.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our 3-part blog series on kitchens!

Bathroom Plumbing Part 2

Bathroom Plumbing Part 2

The bathroom is a highly used area of the home. Learn some bathroom energy tips with this blog series.

Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue continue to raise awareness of the issue with today’s lack of energy efficient homes in today’s post about energy efficient bathrooms part 2.


There are a few ways you can reduce water usage with your faucet. Firstly, repair any leaks immediately as a leaky faucet can waste gallons of water over time. Follow our DIY, or call on our technicians to fix your faucet with expert timing! If water pressure is not a major concern in your home, installing a low-flow aerator on your bathroom faucet will also reduce your water usage. Another easy-to-adapt-to water saving tip is turning off the water when brushing your teeth instead of letting it run. This tip can also be applied to men who shave with the water running!


Keeping water pressure preference in mind, switching to a low flow showerhead or aerator is one of the easiest routes for saving water while you shower. If you’re the type that likes their pressure, try shortening your shower time to conserve water. A shower longer than 10 minutes uses more water than a full bath takes!


For the technologically savvy homeowner, there are bathroom shower, toilet & sink sets available that connect the three fixtures and conserve water by using tap water to fill the cistern on the toilet. For those with less technological inclinations, or for those on smaller budgets or lack the space required, you can save energy with your toilet by installing a low-flow toilet, or a toilet with multi-flush options. Using less toilet paper will also reduce the need to “courtesy flush” and of course, there is always the Selective Flush option, which happens to rhyme (“if it’s yellow…”) For those who are less than tickled by the latter options, or for those who cannot install a new toilet fixture, say, because they are rental tenants, the easiest way to conserve water with your toilet is to report a running toilet or any leaks to building maintenance immediately, and ensure that spray foam or caulk is used to seal any holes around penetrations near your fixture, such as pipes.