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Winterizing Your Plumbing System and Signs of Frozen Pipes

As the colder months of the season are upon us, it’s good to take action with some do-it-yourself techniques to winterize your plumbing system. Winterizing your plumbing is a nearly cost-free alternative to frozen pipes. Further to that, we’d like to share with you the signs of frozen pipes and what to look for.

First, here are some steps on winterizing your plumbing:

Hose bibs:

  • Check all hose bibs and other fixtures for leaks.
  • If you find any drips or leaks, replace fixture. You may want to purchase a freeze-proof hose bib, as they are made to keep the water well back away from the end of the spigot.
  • Drain your outdoor faucets if you have a hose bib that is not freeze-proof (not necessary if you have a freeze-proof hose bib).
  • Purchase a hose bib cover – even if you have a freeze-proof hose bib. They are made of thick foam and keep most of the cold away from the valve.

Antifreeze:

  • Turn off the main shutoff valve or have the water company turn off the service to the house.
  • Starting at the top floor, open all faucets, both indoors and outside.
  • When the last of the water has dripped from the taps, open the plug at the main shutoff valve if possible (you may have to contact the water company), and let it drain.
  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater and open its drain valve.
  • To freeze-proof the system, empty toilet bowls and tanks.
  • Remove the clean out plugs on all sink traps or remove the traps, if necessary.
  • Once emptied, replace them and fill with plumbing antifreeze mixed with water in the proportions specified for vehicles in your climate.
  • You won’t be able to drain the tub and shower taps. Instead, add at least a full quart of antifreeze.
  • Don’t put antifreeze into a dishwashers or clothes washer.
  • If your home has a basement floor drain or a main house trap, fill each with full-strength antifreeze.

Indoor Drains:

If you notice that an indoor drain is clogged, first check that the tub’s pop-up stopper is opening fully and is free of hair and debris. If the stopper isn’t the problem, then the drainpipe is likely clogged. First, try a plunger.

If this does not work, then you’ll need to clear the trap with a snake.

If you are confident in taking care of this on your own and have done so before, then great — but if you try it, and it still isn’t cleared, or if you aren’t comfortable snaking a drain, then this is what we’re here for! Give us a call, and we’ll come give you a hand to get your drain unclogged.

Here are some do-it-yourself tips for keeping your drains unclogged this winter:

  • The holiday season means lots of cooking, but be sure not to put the following items down your drain/garburator as they can clog your drain: coffee grounds, grease, fats & oils, hair, egg shells, and fibrous foods (celery, corn husks, potato peels).
  • The easy, preventative method: baking soda, vinegar and boiling water down your drains. Learn more!
  • Use tea strainers! Fit all of your tubs and shower drains with strainers to catch the hair (and other substances you don’t want going down your drain).

Lastly, here are some signs to look for with frozen pipes:

  • When the temperature is 0 degree Celsius or lower – this is when pipes can freeze and you should be taking the necessary precautions, as listed above.
  • Lack of running water – you notice that there is limited to no water running from your faucet.
  • You notice some frost on pipes that are visible.
  • Smelly! You notice that something smells bad coming from your faucet. This could mean a frozen pipe, because the only way the odor can escape is back up through your drain/faucet.

Drain cleaning is currently on special for $30 off the service! Give us a call at 604-479-2232 or email service@jjs.plumbing and schedule and appointment today.

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5 Easy Ways to Save Water this Summer

June 20th rolled around and BOOM — summer arrived! After a cold, snowy winter season like no other, the heat has officially been turned on and the sun is shining. With the rising temperature however, this leads to increased water usage.

We understand the obsession with green, grassy lawns and long, cool showers to help chill out, but the excess water consumption isn’t worth it, doesn’t help our environment and can contribute to drought in our cities. And guess what? Water conservation actually saves you time and money.

So without further ado, here are 5 tips to save water—and keep your Hydro bill low—in summer 2017.

  1. Water your yard in the evening or early morning. Water evaporates the fastest when the sun is high.
  2. Take quicker showers! Try to shred two minutes off of your shower time.
  3. Use the dishwasher and run it only when it’s to capacity. Hand washing your dishes actually can waste more water than using the dishwasher (plus, it saves you time and is easier on your hands). Refrain from running the dishwasher if it isn’t completely full.
  4. Set your laundry machine to wash with only cold water.
  5. Turn down your water heater temperature while away on summer vacations to save energy.

JJ’s Plumbing wishes you a fantastic summer season. For any questions or plumbing concerns, call us anytime at 604-479-2232 or email service@jjs.plumbing.

 

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3 Common Mistakes People Have About Polybutylene Piping

Polybutylene, otherwise known as ‘Poly­B’, is most common in homes from the late 70s to mid 90s and was used because it was inexpensive to buy and install. As time goes on, Poly-B deteriorates and can leak and cause flooding in the home if not replaced.

Learn more about Poly-B Replacement on our website.

The risks associated with Poly­B waterlines are flooding, increased insurance premiums, cancelled insurance coverage and costly deductibles, as well as mold infestations caused by undetected pinhole leaks within waterlines covered by drywall.

The more we talk to our customers, we learn that there are common mistakes or misconceptions about Poly-B. So, we’ve compiled this list to set the record straight.

  1. Replacing Poly-B is super expensive and hard to afford.

This is a common myth people have about Poly-B replacement. Replacing Poly-B is actually quite affordable, and definitely costs less than if you have a flood in your home to worry about! We know that it’s unfortunate to have to replace your pipes, but JJ’s Plumbing Experts will come up with an affordable solution for you: whether it’s replacing your pipes altogether, or repairing your existing pipes to prolong the lifespan of your Poly-B pipes until you can afford to replace them. Bottom line: there are affordable options and we can come up with one that works for you.

  1. Poly-B problems/leaks happen because of poor installation.

While it’s true that you want a good pipe installer (like us!), it isn’t typically the case that it’s the installation of Poly-B pipes that causes the leaks. Installation quality could contribute to leaks, but in most cases installation does not appear to be the primary cause. The most common reasons leaks occur are: the age of the pipes, water quality/chlorine levels and degeneration of piping.

  1. The Poly-B pipes in my home have lasted for nearly a decade, so they are just fine.

Thinking this way is just waiting for disaster to occur. Most of the time, it takes many years for Poly-B piping systems to leak or fail. Many leaks start to happen in 10-15 years from installation of the piping system, so if you’ve had them installed for a decade or longer, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement.

 

Do you have Poly-B piping and would like to know if you should have a replacement soon? Call us at 604-479-2232 or email service@jjs.plumbing and we’ll help you find out.

 

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5 Fun and Easy Do It Yourself Projects Using PVC Piping

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping is used for a variety of household plumbing tasks. Normally, people think of this material as a practical resource, but just for the fun of it, we’re sharing how PVC piping can also be a perfect supply for do it yourself (DIY) projects made for you or your kids!

Here are 5 DIY projects with PVC Piping (though the many options are truly endless).

  1. Fun for the kids this spring and summer!

How about something new for the kids this spring or summer? Turn PVC pipes into a special misting sprinkler for them to run through in the yard! Or master the art of water balloon fights with the creation of giant slingshots. Two easy DIY projects that will keep them smiling (and out of your hair)!

  1. Custom made towel drying rack

Here’s a simple and cheap way to create a practical towel rack for beside the pool or in the backyard. Make it as tall as you wish, with as many racks as you’d like! Plus it’s nice and sturdy.

  1. Bracelets for you or your kids

You can make numerous PVC bangle bracelets for literally pennies! Plan a wine & craft night with your friends. Or this is a great art project for your daughter and her friends. All you need is paint for a stylish and unique finish.

  1. PVC mirror frame

This is an easy and inexpensive way to create a fun starburst frame for a plain circular mirror. Just cut the PVC pipe, paint the pieces to your liking and glue together.

  1. Last, but not least, a modern wine rack

Our personal favourite—because it’s super easy and involves wine—a modern wine rack, all made from PVC pipe! How could you say no to this project?

Enjoyed this fun and creative article, but have some specific plumbing inquiries? Give us a call at 604-479-2232 or email service@jjs.plumbing.

Guess what? JJ’s Plumbing will be exhibiting at the Ridge Meadows Home Show from May 5-7, 2017 at Planet Ice, Maple Ridge Fairgrounds. It is one of Western Canada’s largest home shows, with nearly 400 exhibitors showcasing renovations, construction, decor, furnishings, electronics, landscaping, wellness, housewares and more. Tickets are only $4. We hope to see you there!

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3 Secret Tips to Keep Your Drains Clear that most Plumbers Don’t Want You to Know

Let’s face it – you’re a guy, and guys like to fix things on their own. JJ’s Plumbing gets that. We know that you’d prefer to try things yourself before spending money or having to call an external source for help.

This is why we’re sharing the following 3 do-it-yourself tips to help keep the drains in your home clear – what many plumbers don’t want to share with you!

  1. Do-it-yourself preventative method: baking soda, vinegar and boiling water. That’s it! Put about ¼ cup of baking soda and ¾ cup of vinegar down your drain. This forms a natural chemical reaction that will break up soap scum that has formed and traps food, hair and other substances in your pipes. Boil some water and allow about 10-15 minutes for the baking soda and vinegar to do their job. Once boiled, pour the water down the drain. This melts any grease build up, and sends it along the way. Need to see it for yourself? Watch this video.
  2. Put strainers in your drains. Use tea strainers, or any kind of strainer, to help your drains stay unclogged. Fit all of your tubs and shower drains with strainers to catch the hair (and other substances you don’t want going down your drain). Be sure to clean the strainers regularly (or ask the lady in your home very nicely to lend a helping hand).
  3. What NOT to put down your garburator, kitchen drain and toilet: coffee grounds, grease, fats & oils, hair, egg shells, and fibrous foods (celery, corn husks, potato peels) are some everyday items/foods that can clog your drain. Coffee grounds are as good as cement in pipes! And here’s a tip: Don’t put any other kind of paper other than toilet paper down the toilet. Toilet paper is specially made to break down when wet. Other kinds of paper, like paper towels and Kleenex are not! Sure, they’ll flush, but instead of disintegrating they can leave your drains clogged.

If you end up in a jam and need to get in touch, don’t hesitate. Our website has an online form, or email us at service@jjs.plumbing.

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“Honey… I think I did it again.” – 3 Tips to Keep Your Drains Unclogged

You turn the shower on, wait for it to warm up, get undressed, step into the shower and… you’re stepping in a little puddle of water forming around your drain. Does this sound too familiar? Or how about this one: you turn on the kitchen sink to do the dishes, have not put the plug in the sink, yet the water is already filling up. The worst part is, this happens far too often, and you do not feel like telling your husband that it has happened again.

JJ’s Plumbing has got your back lady! We’re here to help by sharing the following 3 easy “do-it-yourself” tips so that you don’t have to have that painful conversation (or at least not as often).

  1. The easy, preventative method: baking soda, vinegar and boiling water. Nothing scary or difficult here! Put about ¼ cup of baking soda and ¾ cup of vinegar down your drain. This forms a chemical reaction (not to worry, nothing drastic) that will break up soap scum that has formed and traps food, hair and other substances in your pipes. Boil your water in a kettle or larger pot to allow for about 10-15 minutes for the baking soda and vinegar to do their job. Once boiled, pour the water down the drain. This will help melt any grease build up, and send along its way. Need the visual? No problem, watch this video.
  2. Tea-strainers! You can actually use tea strainers to help your drains stay unclogged. Fit all of your tubs and shower drains with strainers to catch the hair (and other substances you don’t want going down your drain). Be sure to clean the strainers regularly.
  3. What NOT to put down your garburator, kitchen drain and toilet: coffee grounds, grease, fats & oils, hair, egg shells, and fibrous foods (celery, corn husks, potato peels) are some everyday items/foods that can clog your drain. Also, don’t flush feminine hygiene products down the toilet. Yes, they’ll flush, but instead of disintegrating they can leave you with a clogged toilet and mess you won’t want to deal with.

We hope these 3 tips have been helpful to you and will help bring further peace to your home. But of course, feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions or need further assistance with your drains.

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JJ’s Summer Plumbing Check-in and Tips to Save Water

It’s officially summer! The season is a great time to check in on your home plumbing system, but it is also a time where the rising temperature can lead to an increase of water usage. So let’s break it down in 2 parts: 1) Summer plumbing system check-in, and 2) helpful tips to save water and give your Hydro bill a break!

Summer Plumbing System Check-in

Here are some tips for you to stay on top of your plumbing system over the summer:

  • Check all of your appliances and fixtures plumbed into your water system for leakage.
  • More fun time spent outside means extra dirty clothes (especially if you have children). Check your washing machine hoses for leaks, cracks and bulges. A rubber washing machine hose should be replaced about every 3 years.
  • Check your drain spouts and gutters to ensure that they are clean and free of blockages.
  • Figure out where your water shut off valves are and how to shut off water to your toilets, sinks, and any water using appliances, or how to turn off the water to your whole house.
  • Learn how to take care of small problems yourself – every home owner should have a plumber’s tool kit that consists of a plunger, auger, pipe wrench and sewer snake.
  • Repair any damage or problems you see right away! JJ’s Plumbing can also provide annual maintenance inspections to prevent large problems from occurring in the future.

Helpful Tips to Save Water, Energy and Money this Summer

  • Load your dishwasher to capacity – do not do half loads!
  • When going on vacation, turn down the temperature of your water heater to save energy
  • Do your laundry in cold water
  • Water your lawn in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is almost down. Watering your lawn mid-day can waste water, since hot temperatures cause water to evaporate quickly
  • Keep your showers short!
  • When entertaining family and friends, don’t let the extra food go down your drains and clog them.
  • Use low flow toilets.

We are all looking forward to the summer, but it’s important to be responsible for your home’s plumbing system ever season of the year.

No matter the season, JJ’s Plumbing is here to help 24/7. Contact us for any questions or immediate plumbing concerns you may have by calling 604-479-2232 or visiting jjs.plumbing/contact

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Our Plumbing Experts Explore the Question: How Do I Maintain Healthy Drains?

One of the best ways to keep your home’s plumbing systems in check is to keep on top of drain maintenance. Although getting expert help on a regular basis is highly recommended in order to get a professional opinion, there are many things you can do yourself in order to make maintenance cheaper and less frequent.

Drain Maintenance

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A great safe and environmentally friendly way of keeping your drains healthy is by pouring baking soda and vinegar down every drain in your house – this means kitchen and bathroom sinks, bathtubs and shower drains. Around 10 to 15 minutes later, dump boiling hot kettle water down each drain; repeat this process once a month and you will help maintain the integrity of your drains and prevent any detrimental blockages.

Sink Plunger

Always keep a sink plunger on hand and take advantage of it when you notice your water flow begin to get backed up. Start by plugging the stoppers over the drain and then filling the sink with three to four inches of water. Afterwards, remove the stopper and replace it with the plunger – a few good plunges should be enough to clear the drain and get rid or any blockage.

Food Residue

One of the most common causes of clogged drains is food residue and the simplest way to avoid this is by clearing off all of your plates of food on a regular basis. Use a sieve to strain any residue from your pots and throw any leftover food into the garbage, even if it’s just small pieces.

Drain Tile Maintenance

Every 12 to 18 months, every homeowner should clean and maintain their drain tiles in order to avoid problems such as debris blockage and structural damage stemming from root growth and land settling. Failing to properly maintain your drain tile system can lead to water rising from your ground water table, leading to a cracking in your foundation. Some of the damages that can result include:

  • Flooding
  • Drywall damage
  • Damaged personal items

Following the above tips can help you maintain healthy drains and keep your homes’ plumbing in top shape. Of course, even those that keep up on their drain maintenance can still face clogs – if this happens, feel free to contact us and we can help you decide on the best next steps. If you’re having any drain problems and are located in the Vancouver, Maple Ridge or Coquitlam area, our team at JJ’s Plumbing can find the right person for you. Give us a call today at 1-604-479-2232 for a free quote.

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More Summer Plumbing & Heating Tips

Summer Plumbing & Heating Tips For Homeowners

The summer is a great time to perform any outstanding maintenance on the plumbing and heating in your home. With the furnace largely inactive, it is a great time to repair any problem spots that can cause cold areas in your house during the winter time. It is also a good idea to fix any pipes that have been causing issues either inside or outside of your house. Here are a few tips to help you get a start on keeping your home’s plumbing and heating running smoothly all year round.

Get an Inspection

A good place to start with your home repairs is to get a professional to perform a complete inspection of your house’s plumbing and heating systems. By doing so, you will be able to pinpoint the particular points in your house that are in need of heating or plumbing repairs. This can also help you save money in the long run, as a thorough inspection will reveal any points in your house that are venting warm air in the winter, causing you to pay more on your heating bill.

Repair or Replace Now

Should you find any specific area of your home that requires attention, it is a good idea to take care of the issue immediately. Plumbing and heating repairs are especially important to the overall well-being of your home, mainly due to the fact that these systems can potentially be drastically affected by the cold winter weather. For example, a crack in your foundation or a pipe leading to or under your house is something to be tended to right away, particularly in a place like Vancouver that has a wet climate. It is also a good idea to replace any faulty equipment, such as a boiler or water heater that is acting up. These pieces of equipment tend to work harder during the winter, which is why it’s important to replace them well before they break down.

Get Winter-Ready

The cold weather has a funny way of sneaking up on you, and can be potentially devastating to your house’s plumbing. It is vital that you ensure all the pipes in your home that will be exposed to the cold, such as the pipes in the attic, are well insulated. You will also want to make sure your heating ducts or the heater itself is in proper working order. There is nothing worse than waking up to a cold house on that first frigid day of the year. By double checking to make sure everything is in working order, you will have nothing to worry about come winter time.

For more tips on how you can take advantage of the warm weather and get your home’s plumbing and heating systems running perfectly, feel free to check out our website or contact us to schedule an inspection. You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter if you would like to receive current updates about the work we’ve done in the Vancouver area.

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Which Type of Air Conditioning Is For You?

Which Types of Air Conditioning Are Best for Your Home?

Knowing which type of air conditioner will suit the needs of your home may seem like a simple issue, but in many cases people end up choosing a cooling system that costs them more money than they first expected. In order to avoid unnecessarily high energy and repair costs in the future, it is a good idea to become familiar with the different types of air conditioning systems before making a final decision on what to install in your home.

Window Mounted Units

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to keep a single room in your house cool, the window mounted A/C unit is an ideal choice. The unit is self-contained and is available in a number of different sizes designed to fit in most windows, with some units as small as 14”. They can also be mounted on the wall should you decide to cut out a hole leading to the outside of your home, but the real convenience of this unit is the ease with which it can be moved from room to room and mounted in a window.

Portable Units

Another convenient option for cooling a single room in your home is the portable A/C unit. Like the window mounted unit, the portable unit’s components are all self-contained. The portable unit gets its name due to the fact that, unlike the window mounted air conditioner, the unit can be moved around a room to any desired area, as long as the air duct attached to the unit that moves the hot air outside remains connected to a window or outdoor vent.

Ductless or Split Units

These units are often seen in apartments and hotels due to the fact that they are compact and more efficient than a window mounted or portable unit in a larger space. Like the name says, these units do not require an air duct system to distribute cool air throughout your home. They are similar to a central air system in some respects however, since the unit is split into two components located inside and outside. The indoor component contains a fan and evaporator coil to move cool air in and hot air out. The outdoor component, connected by refrigeration tubes, contains the compressor and condenser fan.

Central Air Units

This is probably the best option for cooling an entire house. Central air systems consist of two main components; the compressor located outside your home, and the evaporative unit which is usually connected to the same air duct system as your furnace. If you decide this type of air conditioner is right for your home, it is important to remember to choose a unit that is adequate enough to cool your entire home as efficiently as possible without costing you too much on your energy bill.

The expert technicians at JJ’s Plumbing, Heating and Drainage are qualified to repair all types of air conditioning units. For more information about the best way to keep your home cool this summer, feel free to check out or website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.