Design Ideas

Plumbing Problems and Solutions

house plumbing system
Internal Plumbing

Every house must have a plumbing system: it is an essential and intrinsic part of any place where people reside. To maintain excellent levels of sanitation and cleanliness, an efficient, effective system has to be in place. Plumbing involves a wide range of equipment installed in the kitchen, bathroom, toilets and sewers, all set up to make running of clean water around the house efficient. To be efficient, routine maintenance and inspection has to be carried out to ensure the whole system is functioning properly. Any breakdown results in the system is unacceptable, hence maintenance is paramount to making this work effectively.

The range of problems that may lead to the breakdown of this system includes clogged and blockages, leakages, worn out and broken equipment and low pressure.

Clogs and Drain Blockages

Consistent use of water delivery and drainage equipment eventually will lead to this problem. To ensure that water gets to desired locations, the kitchen, bathroom and toilets, piping and outlet faucets must be well maintained to make sure that water is available when needed. Used water has to be discarded hence drainage pipes have to be fixed to drain used water to the municipal sewers or the home’s septic tank. Any unwanted solid material in the system may accumulate and clog the pipes and taps causing a breakdown. To fix this, the clogged sections have to be disconnected and clogging materials removed by the home owner or a professional.

Water alone may eventually clog pipes due to mineral deposits slowly piling up, especially at the joints. Toilets, bathtubs and sinks are the main exit points of materials; hence, to minimize blockages, one has to ensure that toilets are flushed after use, and no unwanted materials find their way in. Plumbing maintenance begins with the users’ efficient use of equipment.

Pipe Leaks

Leakages may occur at any point of the system. This may be due to blockages leading to a build-up of pressure stressing the system, worn out or loosely joined pipes and taps or physical breakdown. This reduces the volume of water at outlet points due to water loss at leaking sections. Routine checks should be made because some leaks may not be noticeable; leaks left unchecked may rust the pipes and stain walls adding to the repair costs. It is necessary to identify leaks as early as possible and fix by replacing the pipes and taps, fixing loose sections or adding material that can stop the leakage.

Worn-out and Broken Equipment

Worn-out equipment leads to failure of the system and requiring replacement of the failed components. Some problems lead to a plumbing emergency situation which is always a costly affair. Cost is always a factor to consider; affordable pipes and taps can be acquired from hardware stores or plumbing outlets. Toilet and bathroom equipment must be replaced as this compromises the sanitation of any home or other building.

Low or High Pressure

Water pressure depends on the delivery mechanism being used to deliver the water. A set-up depending on gravity requires that the storage is positioned above the locations intended to distribute water. Those that depend on power can deliver water at any location. Maintenance requires that these systems are periodically checked to rectify any breakdown. In areas like the Pacific North West many communities are in a delta with mountain fed water. In these places high water pressure a common issue with burst pipes a frequent service call.

Maintenance ensures that the system runs efficiently and that any problems detected in the system is fixed. If problems are left, the cost of maintenance and repair becomes very high hence routine checks and efficient use greatly reduces maintenance costs. The problems may go as far as sanitation, especially in toilets, bathrooms and kitchens, which may be a health hazard adding costs to health issues.

Avoid a Wet Basement At All Costs

If you have discovered a plumbing problem in the basement you had best call a plumber. There are lots of choices online and in the local newspapers, but don’t let that discourage you. It is actually quite easy to find a company with the right stuff. Just include the word “reviews” in your search and you should find dozens of plumbing companies with customer reviews. Some will be glowing and some not so much. But the thing is to find a company with a few good and maybe one of two not so great reviews.  That will probably be the real deal. If you feel there are too many reviews that all look fantastic then they may be fake.

Fixing a Wet Basement

A wet basement can be an expensive problem. If you find even the least hint of a leaking pipe, or the sewer line stinks it is time to call a plumber. A stinking sewer line could indicate a clogged drain or possibly a sewer connection that needs to be corrected. If you have the even the slightest suspicion of a plumbing problem call someone right away. Better to be safe than sorry. We all know that wet basement problems are no fun for anyone. If this is the case then there may be basement waterproofing work needed.

If you are just puttering around the house and want something to do here are a few tips for keeping things in working order.

For The DIY Handyman

Tightening a pipe too much is just as bad or even worse than not tightening it enough. You can harm its threads or crack it, so tighten it to where the leak stops, and then stop.

Ensure that the overflow holes in your sinks are not clogged. Overflow holes drain sink that fill too full and may go unnoticed until they are needed. Clean the overflow holes when you can, like when doing periodic checks for various other repairs and problems.

The dryer has a lint trap that must be kept clean. This could prevent you from a tons of trouble, and it can also prevent fires. Search the lint trap to see if there are any tears or holes, this helps to prevent lint from getting into the pipes, which can cause clogs and many other problems.

One Last Thought

Always be careful when searching for a plumbing company. Trust your instincts and choose someone you feel comfortable with.

When Plumbing Becomes a Problem

plumbing problemsPlugged pipes in the plumbing system are a surprisingly common occurrence and one that might lead to concern. Over time, deposits from the water restrict the flow similar to cholesterol building in your veins.

Just as built up cholesterol is not healthy for us personally, clogged pipes can lead to health problems for you entire house. Leaky pipes can cause expensive water damage that may not get found until it’s too late and you discover rotten floor boards.

Those concerns might lead to replacing the plumbing:

  • Joints sometimes create condensation when there’s a temperature differential between the water inside and air temperature/humidity outside. At times, that can get a bit mucky due to spores in the atmosphere but that sort of accumulation will usually just wipe off and is typically harmless – though condensation is best avoided through various forms of lagging etc.;
  • Some old joints were soldered using materials, including lead, that have now long been superseded by better and higher-tech modern products. The older products may degrade over time and that’s what might be causing the problem. It’s best not ignored but instead checked out and dealt with, if necessary, by a qualified plumber;
  • At times, inside the pipe you can get a chemical reaction between the water, the metal and some of the chemical components used in soldering. That can sometimes become visible externally but equally it can break off and start to circulate internally in your heating systems. That might cause inefficiencies in radiators (it often builds up at the bottom) or with pumps etc. Get the system flushed relatively regularly and use inhibitors;
  • The gunk on heating pipes can also arise due to corrosion of the metal itself – particularly if you have a very old iron pipe system. This is not usually considered to be an encouraging sign and should be looked at quickly by someone who knows what they’re doing. Replacement might be advisable;
  • Be particularly quick to get a professional check when any substances appear to be accumulating on gas or fuel pipes feeding a heating system boiler or indeed around any flues and ventilation. It shouldn’t be there and this is not an area you’ll want to take chances with as it can lead to dangerous situations.

No simple article of this nature can diagnose why you have accumulations of gunk on your pipes. It is probably harmless but it might not be. So, don’t gamble but instead call a plumber. We like to recommend a Vancouver plumbing company we have dealt with in the past.

Mr Rooter Plumbing
Phone: (604) 433-5555
1322 Adanac St
Vancouver, BC V5L 2C3

How to Find a Good Plumber

plumbing partsIf have you ever encountered unexpected plumbing problems, where can you find a quality plumber? In case you need repair, replacement, upgrade, or installation you can always find plumbers on the internet. However, you should be very careful when searching an internet plumbing directory. Why? Because these days you actually cannot trust everyone. Many people use the internet to deceive others so you must take extra caution while using this source. If you do not know a plumber personally and a friend or a family member cannot refer you, here are few of the most important things to consider:

  • Check if the plumbers or plumbing contractors you see in the internet are licensed and bonded to their current employees.
  • Identify if you need a residential or a commercial plumbing service.
  • Look up for testimonials, if possible, on their past work.
  • Ask for fair prices.
  • Make sure they can guarantee you clear sewers and drains and ask if refund is possible if you are dissatisfied with their service.
  • Ensure they can repair leaks, plumbing fixtures, and broken pipes, if that’s what you need.

What services are offered by dependable plumbers? Of course it depends on what type of plumbing service you need. Either you need a quick fix for your kitchen sink, water tanks, heaters, faulty pipes, pumps, or other home improvements. Hire only experts who know how to assess a plumbing situation, has the ability to professionally diagnose your plumbing problems, and can provide you educated suggestions of your possible options to resolve your plumbing issues quickly and with the right value for your money.

Reliable Vancouver Plumbers

Where to find the best plumbers? Check out Mr. Rooter Vancouver, Sino Plumbing and Heating, and Sarkinen Plumbing to solve your everyday and emergency plumbing repairs. These three plumbing companies in Vancouver are usually referred by many people because of their quality service. Notice that when you go online you are bombarded with too many plumbing companies and you do not know which can guarantee you a good service.

While a recommendation from a friend or a relative is often the best way to get to that plumber you need, looking up for good review sites is your next best option. Check out Yelp, N49, or 4square for plumbing service related reviews. Once you find the perfect plumbers to fix the issue, hire them, observe how they have helped you, and leave a comment on the review site you just checked out so others may also get to see which plumber has the best service.

Another place you can look is on YouTube. Some of the best plumbing companies will record helpful tips. This usually means they are in it for the long haul and care about their reputation. Usually a good bet. Here is a sample of a good tips video.


Mr Rooter Plumbing

1322 Adanac St
Vancouver, BC


On the Job With Steve – Plumbing

House Painting and Colour

Exterior PaintingBeauty is very much in the eye of the beholder and that also holds true for what are or are not acceptable colours for the outside of your house.

It’s Your Decision – Sometimes

Broadly speaking, how you choose the colours for your property’s externals is pretty much up to you but there are two things to be taken into account:

  • There might be local regulations which theoretically restrict just how excessively exuberant the colours used on the outside of your property can be. Whether these are just examples of archaic dumb laws or not doesn’t matter and they may rarely be exercised but It might be an issue in conservation areas so do a bit of research;
  • If you live in close proximity to neighbours, painting your house in 1960’s style psychedelic designs just might cause friction and generate objections. Keep in mind that poorly-maintained external paintwork or colour schemes that are massively eccentric just might have a knock-on effect on their property values.

Design sense

Entire libraries are full of specialist works governing the science and ascetics of color combinations.

Most people will have their own views about what is right or wrong in this area but when you are speaking about the external paintwork, there is one important factor to consider.

Typically, it’s harder to change the colours of your external paintwork if you realise you’ve got them wrong than it would be in the case of your internal colour schemes. Many people quite sensibly choose professional painting services, particularly for external work, and you’ll probably want to avoid the expense of calling them back in if you change your mind.

So, perhaps going for an inherently conservative and reasonably neutral colour scheme for the outside of your house is likely to be the most sensible. Look around at the other properties in the area and the environment you are in. Try to select colours that look balanced in those two contexts.

Of course, there is no reason why you can’t inject some individuality and the thought of looking exactly the same as other properties in the vicinity might not be one that appeals to you. Many professional painters have not only huge practical experience but also a lot of knowledge of colour design. They might well be able to share some very useful ideas with you.

So, even if you are naturally flamboyant, try to think practically when selecting your external colour schemes. Don’t forget that one day you may wish to sell your property and designs you believe to be individual might well be seen by a potential buyers as being eye-wateringly jarring!

If you live in the south west corner of BC you might consider hiring a local house painting contractor.  We have listed our recommendation below.

Heritage Painting & Decorating
Phone: (604) 818-5485
5845 Culloden Street
Vancouver, BC V5W 3S1

Paint with Kevin Hill – Small House on the Lake wet on wet HD

Basement Renovation Design Choices

basement renovationsMost modern houses have underground rooms but a lot of home owners are sometimes too busy to realize that they are not utilizing the full potential of these rooms. You should decorate your underused basement with attractive ideas and also increase your house’s square footage in case the members of you family also increase.

Desirable Basement Renovations

Basement renovations can be done without actually disrupting the lifestyle that you and your family lives and most frequently, the whole family will be happy and enjoy that extra room. The following tips will help you have the perfect basement renovation:

  • Check ceiling height- Basements may not be necessarily built or designed like the living rooms’ spaces and mostly will have a shorter height. Measure the height of your ceiling and take note of the locations of the duct work. You might be required to dig deeper underground or shift the duct work so as to create a more comfy space.
  • Natural light- Make sure to let in enough natural light. This is because most basements have the tendency of being dark and murky. The correct plan of the basement design and well placed and sized windows will make the room look bright and gleeful.
  • Hazardous materials inspection- look out for harmful materials that may be stored in the underground room and that might get disrupted during the basement renovation process. Most common of these materials are asbestos and lead paint. Deal with the problem before it escalates.
  • Be familiar with the building code of your local area- Codes will include such thing as fire safety methods and standards that are in regard to exits. Building a window with the correct size will in most cases work for you.
  • Choose the correct color- You should avoid dark colors when designing the basement renovation look, this will be of no much help to the already dark and rather dull basement. Choose colors that will brighten the room instead. Colors add glamor to the basement and would make it more enjoyable to stay there.
  • Set up a sound proof lining- You should consider installing that insulation that will minimize and cut down the noise traveling from the upper and the lower rooms. Ceiling tiles that are of special design or sound hindrance fiberglass insulation can be a good solution. Add them on top of that drywall in your basement’s ceiling.
  • Design that basement having the future in mind- During construction phase of a home renovation job, you should consider how you are going to use that space in the forthcoming days or near future. Make sure that the renovation can transform when your family also transforms. It may be a playroom for your kids at the moment, but the kids will surely grow up and will not need the room to play anymore.

When renovated incredibly well, that finished underground room will of course add more value to your home and also your lifestyle. Make sure to follow these guidelines and obtain the very best out of your modern and latest basement renovation design.

Michael Sheppard on BBC Britain’s Empty Homes