The Importance of Preventative Maintenance

Let’s be honest, no one wants to call a plumber. Whenever a plumber receives a service call it is because a homeowner’s house has turned against them and they need to call in the big guns. The secret to avoiding that call and keeping your house on your side is: preventative maintenance. The plumbing and heating systems in your home, much like a car, require maintenance to keep them running at peak efficiency. Everyone can easily spot the difference between your well maintained and loved car versus that scrap of metal your teenager is running into the ground. Let me ask you, when is the last time you changed your furnace filter? How about cleaned out your drains? Don’t remember? Well we are about to tell you the same thing you likely nag your teenager about: preventative maintenance will keep your things running smoother, longer, and in the long run save you money. If properly maintained, and there are no manufacturers defects or improper installation, the plumbing and heating systems will run as designed for years and years to come.

There are many options to maintain the conveniences that modern plumbing provides however, not all are created equal. For the handy amongst us there is the option of keeping up to date on the required maintenance and taking on the job yourself. This option, while cost effective, can be time consuming. The easiest items to handle on your own, that will save you money on repair bills in the future, and can cause the most damage is: changing furnace filters once a month, using a preventative drain cleaner such as Bio-Clean, and draining your hot water heater once a year.

Another option that is growing in popularity among plumbing companies are monthly membership programs. This option gives you a “plumber in your back pocket” for a monthly fee. Many of these programs offer incentives such as; being first in the call line, a yearly plumbing inspection, and a percentage off any repairs. This option works well for homeowners who have limited knowledge of the plumbing and heating components in their homes. The draw back to these programs is that no maintenance work is performed. The homeowner is often handed a list of maintenance work to do with a little price tag beside each option. While this list is handy and can provide you with an idea of how much it costs to repair your home it does not resolve or prevent the issues presented. It can be a bit frustrating to pay a monthly fee only to be told that nothing has been maintained and your plumbing and heating systems are on the verge of failure, most likely on a night when it is as cold as Finnegan’s feet on the day they buried him.

The last option is ideal for homeowners who don’t have the time or knowledge to spend the time cleaning drains, draining hot water tanks, and changing out anode rods is to have professionals maintain their home for them. You still pay a fee but at least actual work is being performed. A technician comes to their home and performs detailed inspections and replaces commonly worn parts to keep your home running smoothly. This style of program is typically the costlier option yet most comprehensive.

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a maintenance program for your home and equipment. It is best to decide what your needs are and consider your options.  Keeping these valuable parts of your home running properly will ensure that your life remains uninterrupted. Taking that time today will ensure your home lasts longer than your teenagers car.

Kitchen faucet, kitchen tap, kitchen sink

So, Your Drains Are Running Slow…

Plugged drains are the worst! We have all been there, watching the water drain so slow you aren’t sure if it will ever end. Then the awful knowledge that soon you will most likely deal with a shower full of water, a basement full of sewage, or just a smelly kitchen drain. Its ominous even for plumbers. The fact is no one wants to deal with any of these scenarios, even the poor plumber you may have to pay to come out and unclog it. So, what can you do about it?

The easiest way to avoid a major issue is preventative maintenance. How do you prevent clogs from happening? Easy!

          Install hair catching devices in your tubs and showers;

          Use a biological drain cleaner such as Bio Clean in your drains that will eat clogs before they start;

          Try not to put large amounts of food into your kitchen drain, there are starving kids somewhere in the world after all;

          Avoid chemical drain cleaners which may dissolve metal fittings or pipe;

          If you live in an area prone to root damage have your pipes inspected, use a root treatment product, or install a water softener (roots do not like salt water);

          Clean any traps under your sinks;

If you already have a clogged drain there is not a lot that can be done without proper equipment or knowledge. Drain snakes, if used properly, can help to get most drains running again but a more thorough cleaning may be needed to open a pipe to full capacity.

Many drain clogs happen steadily over time and a little bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way to avoiding catastrophe and expensive service calls. For tips on how to perform any of this maintenance feel free to give us a call, check our older blog posts, or book an appointment.

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boiler, plumbing, calgary, yyc

Maintaining your Hot Water Heaters

Hot Water Heater Preventative Maintenance

While you may never look at it or think about it much, your hot water tank is the heart of your home. It isn’t just about hot showers either, surviving a day with no running water is very trying. We’ve been living with the miracle of hot water for so long that no one really thinks about how this happens. Well lucky for you, Hot Water Tanks are the topic of this week’s blog post.

First, cold water enters the tank and thanks to the theory of relativity sinks to the bottom of the tank. Here the tank’s heating element increases the water temperature. Then when a hot water tap it opened that water surges out and provides you with the toasty warm shower that you’ve grown to expect and love. In Calgary, the average lifespan of a water heater is seven to ten years without preventative maintenance. The hard water in our city can wreak havoc on the internal parts of your water heater but with simple preventative maintenance you can keep that tank providing you with a steamy embrace for fifteen to twenty long years

  1. Drain Your Tank Once a Year:

Draining all the water from your tank once a year and then filling it back up helps to remove any built-up sediment that can cause your heating elements to fail prematurely. It also keeps this sediment from making its way into your pipes or clogging the hot water outlet of your tank.

  1. Inspect the Pressure Relief Valve Once a Year:

The pressure relief valve on your hot water heater is located on the side of you tank and is one of your warning signs that there may be something going wrong. Your pressure relief valve will start to drip water if there is an excess buildup of pressure or temperature in the tank. When you drain your tank each year this part should be inspected to make sure that it is not leaking.

  1. Replace Anode Rod Every Five Years:

Inside every natural gas hot water tank is a sacrificial anode rod. This anode rod gets dissolved by harmful elements in your water keeping any metal parts in your tank from rusting out. If this anode rod is replaced every five years, or every three years if you have a water softener, you can prolong the life of your tank by up to twenty years.

 Tankless Water Heater Preventative Maintenance

Tankless water heaters are a fantastic investment, they take up less space and are more energy efficient than a traditional hot water tank. Unfortunately, too often we see this brilliant piece of technology not properly installed, programmed or maintained. The two greatest enemies of your tankless water heater are scale buildup and lack of maintenance.

  1. Flush Tank Once a Year:

Having your tankless water heater flushed out and descaled once a year will save you a lot of headaches. This preventative measure prevents a buildup of calcium and other minerals from building up within the tubes of a tankless units heat exchanger. This buildup, unchecked, will destroy the heart of your tankless heater leading to a costly repair bill or a replacement tank.

  1. Pre-Filter To Prevent Calcification:

You can help to prevent this buildup with the installation of a water softener or at the very least a filter to help remove harmful minerals from entering the tank.

And as with every blog post, a shameful plug reminding you that if you would prefer to be out living life instead of maintaining your hot water heaters please give Firefly Plumbing a call, we would love to do it for you!!

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