Energy Efficient Kitchen Part 3 | Vancouver Plumbers Blog

Stove

Using a small pot on a large burner wastes over 40% of the burner’s heat! Save energy and money (approximately $20 to $40 annually) by making sure you use 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 more energy in your kitchen with a high efficiency range hood. These guys help to remove cooking odors and control air moisture when cooking on the stovetop. EnergyStar certified models use 60% less energy than standard models, and they’re also quieter!

Telephone

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

For more energy saving tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Furnace Tips | Vancouver Plumbers Blog

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!

Did you know that 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 you 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 your old furnace, assuming that your old furnace is in the 60% AFUE (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 and your furnace, as well as the environment a favor, and have your furnace serviced today!

For more plumbing tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Energy Efficient Kitchen Part 2 | Vancouver Plumbers Blog

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

Refrigerator

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.

Dishwasher

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!

Microwave

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.

For more energy saving tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Energy Efficient Kitchens | Vancouver Plumbers Blog

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!

Lights

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

Windows

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!

Sink

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.

For more energy saving tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Energy Efficient Bathroom Pt. 2 | Vancouver Plumbers Blog

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.

Faucet

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!

Showerhead

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!

Toilet

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.

For more energy saving tips from Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and for our water heater division, follow @yourwaterheater

Cleaning a Sink Sprayer – Vancouver Plumbers Blog

Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue bring you a step by step walkthrough of cleaning a sink sprayer. Sink sprayers are typical composed of the following parts: sprayer mount (mounts to sprayer hose in faucet), spring seat (base for spring)  and spring, cartridge cylinder (fits in sprayer body) and sprayer body, spray lever, insert (for spray outlets) and spray outlets, and an outlet cover.

Note: Above parts describe typical parts of a sink sprayer that has only the spray function. Multi-function sink sprayer parts will vary.

Step 1: Pry the sprayer head cover off and remove the perforated disk.

Step 2: Soak the disk overnight in a vinegar or lime dissolving solution.

Step 3: Brush the disk clean using a small wire brush, and using a paperclip, clean any clogged holes in the perforated disk. Replace any damaged parts or parts that cannot come clean.

Step 4: Reassemble the sink sprayer.

Note: Use white vinegar for the water-vinegar solution.

For more plumbing tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Aerator Cleaning | Vancouver Plumbers Blog

Vancouver Plumber Plumbing and Drain rescue knows the havoc that hard water can reek on your drains.Because hard water is rich in minerals, these minerals build up and may eventually cause a clog in your fixtures’ aerators, showerheads and sink sprayers. Cleaning an aerator is often as simple as removing the part and running water through it backwards. However, when the deposits harden it’s time to remove the parts, soak them and clean them. Soak the aerator in an equal parts hot water-to-vinegar or lime-dissolving solution. To clean it, use a small brush or a paperclip.

Cleaning a Faucet Aerator

Step 1: Using water pump pliers, unscrew the aerator from the faucet spout, being careful with the applied pressure so you don’t crush the aerator.

Tip: Wrapping the jaws of the pliers with masking tape will protect the surface of the aerator.

 

Step 2: Remove the parts of the aerator by pushing them out with your finger, then soak them in the vinegar or lime dissolving solution mentioned above. It is best to let the parts soak overnight, to ensure all mineral deposits have loosened.

Tip: If a part of the aerator is completely stuck, soak the aerator in a vinegar solution (see above for vinegar solution mixture,) then use tweezers or a pick to remove the pieces from the aerator.

 

Step 3: Remove the parts from the cleaning solution, wipe them dry, then using a small wire brush, remove the mineral deposits that loosened overnight. Parts may require additional soaking if not all mineral deposits have loosened. Replace any parts that are damaged or that cannot be cleaned.

 

Step 4: Reassemble the aerator and screw it back onto the spout, only as comfortably tight as your hand can make it. Turn on the tap and check for any leaks, and retighten as necessar

Note: Use white vinegar for the water-vinegar solution.

For more plumbing tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Shutting Off the Water – Vancouver Plumbing Blog

While it may seem like an obvious task, shutting off the water can be a tricky job on its own. Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue have seen their fair share of water valve blunders.

Fixtures

Most homes built within the last 40 years have separate stop valves (a.k.a. fixture shutoff valves) for each toilet, faucet and fixture. Typically, a supply tube will run from the valve to the fixture.

(Keep in mind that faucets will have two supply tubes/stop valves- one for hot water and one for cold.)

If your fixture does not have a stop valve, you will need to shut off the water to all (or at least part) of your home before you start the job. Stop valves are typically chrome in color and are made for use in emergencies and repairs. That said, be careful not to crank on the stop valve or the handle may break. Also keep in mind that some stop valves will close after only a quarter turn. In addition, be aware that some tub/shower faucets may have in-faucet stop valves, one each for hot and cold water. For in-faucet stop valves, use a large slot screwdriver to turn the valve off.

Main Water Shutoff

Every home has at least one main shutoff for the main water supply pipe, however, there are often two located on either side of your water meter— one inside the home, and another outside. If you have difficulty finding the indoor valves, note that main shutoffs inside the home are generally located at the pipe’s point of entry—in a crawlspace or below the basement floor. When you locate the main pipe, follow its path to the shutoff.

If you live in an area with mild winters, your main shutoff will likely be outside where the main supply pipe branches off from the street’s main water line. In temperate regions, outdoor shutoffs may be located inside a plastic or concrete box called a Buffalo box, which you may need to dig up to locate. In colder regions, the shutoff will be below the frost line, typically in a tube covered in cast-iron. You may need a long-handled wrench to reach down to these shutoffs; your water utility department will often lend you a key for it. If you cannot locate your main supply pipe, call your water utility department for assistance.

Intermediate Shutoffs

When looking for shutoffs, you may find additional shutoff valves on exposed pipe i.e., in your crawlspace, basement or access panel behind a bathtub. These are called intermediate shutoffs. Intermediate shutoffs are typically in pairs (for hot and cold water pipes,) and can shutoff water to just a portion of your home. To test what portion of your home’s water supply is controlled by each shut off valve, shut off a valve and then run water from each fixture in your home to see which fixtures have (and no longer have) water flowing to them. Remember to listen to see if your toilet tank refills after flushing, as you will always get one flush after the water supply gets turned off!

For more plumbing tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Ready, Set, Start Plumbing – Vancouver Plumbers Blog

As Vancouver plumbers we make it our responsibility to help homeowners who shy away from plumbing tasks because they are often viewed as difficult and potentially messy jobs. Unfortunately homeowners who take on even the most skilled plumbing jobs end up with messy results. The best way to be prepared is to have a basic understanding of plumbing in general, and an advanced understanding of your home’s plumbing system in particular.

Typically, any plumbing that is exposed- that is, not hidden behind a wall- is easy for a handy DIY person to tackle. Using inexpensive tools, exposed p-traps and faucets can be unclogged, taken apart, replaced or repaired with relative ease! As the fixtures you work on become bulkier and more complex, so too will the plumbing job. For example, a kitchen sink is more difficult to install than a bathroom sink due to the amount of plumbing underneath the fixture.

On the same note, dealing with bathroom fixtures such as showers may require additional skills due to the shower supply lines being hidden behind walls. It is also important to note that when you move on to more complex projects such as installing fixtures and pipes in a new location, you need to follow local codes and have your project inspected by your local building department.

After you’ve scoped out your plumbing job, consider putting down a kneeling pad or drop cloth to cushion your knees, put a flashlight in place if the area is dark, and shut off the water supply to the fixture/area you will be working in. Next, test to ensure the water is off, and consider putting down a bucket or some old towels to catch the small amount of water that maybe dribble from open pipes.

Plumbing and Drain Rescue are your greater Vancouver plumbing experts! Check back often to our blog to see whats new or call 604.484.1515 today!

For more plumbing tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!

Getting Started DIY Plumbing Tip From Vancouver Plumbers

Before being a Vancouver plumber, we all started as DIY plumbers. The first thing you should know once you’ve decided to become a DIY plumber is how water gets to your home. Residential plumbing requires three systems: a supply system, a drain system and a vent system.

1) Supply system: Typical to new homes, a single supply pipe will bring water through a 1 inch diameter (though sometimes larger) pipe. This pipe runs through one or two shut off valves, a water meter, then into your water heater where it branches into hot and cold pipes. Hot and cold pipes travel in pairs towards the plumbing fixtures in your home, such as the kitchen sink or bathtub. Newer homes use copper, plastic (CPVC), or polyethylene (PE or PEX) pipe, as they are not prone to corrosion or deposit build up, unlike the galvanized steel pipes used in older homes. The diameter of pipes used inside your home is narrower than supply pipes- typically ¾ inch to ½ inch in diameter. Each fixture in your home should have stop valves (a.k.a. fixture shutoffs) for both hot and cold pipes, and from the stop valves a supply tube leads right into the fixture.

2) Drain system: Drainpipes can be tricky as they have to be installed according to exact specifications. Always check local building departments before installing or working on drainpipes. Older homes typically have cast-iron or galvanized steel drainpipes, while newer homes have white PVC, black ABS, or copper drainpipes. Drainpipes lead from faucets to the main drain, which connects to the main vent stack. The main stack is typically 3 or 4 inches in diameter and runs up through your roof to vent, and down to the sewer line. Some homes may have secondary stacks 2 or 3 inches in diameter to provide drainage from a specific room; typically the kitchen. Branch pipes 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter travel horizontally from fixtures to the stack, and must slope at ¼ inch (minimum) per foot at all points. Special p-shaped P-traps allow for a slug of water to form a seal between drainpipes and drain lines, and prevent gas from entering the room. Finally, cleanouts allow for access to auger pipes— good drain systems will have cleanouts in easily accessible places, such as basements.

3) Vent system: Venting systems allow air to enter pipes to aide in the smooth flow of water, and they also allow noxious, harmful gases such as methane to escape through the roof. Plumbing codes are specific about the location, means, and size of vent pipes. Branch vents lead to vent stacks and the part of the main or secondary stack that extends through the roof is called the main or secondary vent. The larger the drainpipe, the less likely it is to become completely filled with water, thus acting as its own vent. Every plumbing fixture must connect to a vent and meet plumbing codes; sometimes an air admittance valve (AAV) can augment or substitute for a vent that runs through the roof.

If these tips don’t pan out and your DIY has gone pear shaped call Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue at 604.484.1515.

For more plumbing tips, follow us on twitter @plumbingrescue and follow @yourwaterheater for water heater tips!