How to unclog drains safely – Clear clogged sinks, toilets, and tubs

how to unclog drains

Drains will inevitably become clogged as they handle water, hair, grease, and other solid substances. However, there is no need to hire a residential plumber for minor blockages in sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets. Various inexpensive and efficient techniques can help you unclog drains quickly and easily, allowing you to resume normal activities in no time.

However, it is essential to remember that even if you can’t unclog drains efficiently after learning the methods below, contact a plumbing company and ask for residential plumbing services.

Safest Methods for Clearing Up Clogged Drains

Numerous products in the market can dissolve the most stubborn substances clogging drains. However, such products usually contain harsh chemicals that are detrimental to your health and plumbing. Therefore, why opt for them when safer alternatives that are equally effective are accessible?

Here are some of the most effective methods to unclog drains without resorting to chemicals.

safest methods for unclogging drains

Use Dish Soap

If you find that grease has congealed in your pipes and is clogging your sink drain, causing a variety of issues, don’t fret. A readily available solution that can be found right next to your sink is dish soap. Here is how you can do it:

1. Boil water in a kettle.

2. Remove standing water from the sink and drain.

3. Pour a substantial quantity of dish soap into the clogged drain.

4. Allow the soap to drip for a few minutes to reach the blocked area.

5. Pour hot water from the kettle down the drain to flush it out.

6. Repeat the process if necessary. If the clog persists, it may be due to something other than grease.

Use Dish Soap to Unclog Drains

You Can Use a Plunger to Unclog Drains

Bathroom sinks are notorious for getting clogged with hair and soap scum. Luckily, you can use a plunger to clear your bathroom sink just like you would your toilet. However, make sure to clean the plunger thoroughly or use a separate one. Here are the steps:

1. First, remove any cover or plug from your drain.

2. Run the faucet until there’s about an inch of water in the sink.

3. Ensure a tight seal by placing the plunger completely over the drain.

4. Vigorously pump the plunger up and down for up to thirty seconds.

5. Observe how the water drains. If it remains in the sink, pump the plunger again.

Use a Plunger to Unclog Drains

Using Baking Soda is One of the Safest Ways of Unclogging Your Drain

Baking soda is a safe and natural drain cleaner that can effectively unclog drains. Combine baking soda with vinegar and boiling water to create a powerful, chemical-free unclogging solution. All you need to do is to follow these steps:

1. Boil water in a kettle.

2. To unclog and warm up the pipes, pour the boiling water into the blocked drain.

3. Refill the kettle with water and heat it up.

4. Pour a cup of baking soda and a mixture of one cup of water and vinegar down your blocked drain.

5. Cover the drain and leave it for ten minutes.

6. Pour boiling water down the drain.

7. The vinegar and baking soda mixture should loosen the clog enough for the boiling water to flush it out.

using baking soda for unclogging a drain

Use Wire Hanger

If you have a wire hanger lying around, you can use it to break up drain clogs. Here’s how:

1. Use needle-nosed pliers to straighten the hanger into a long wire while keeping the hook intact on one end.

2. Insert the hook end into the drain and rotate it while keeping a firm grip on the other end.

3. If you encounter resistance, wiggle and rotate the hanger a few more times.

4. Gently remove the hanger from the drain and wipe away any debris with a paper towel.

5. Repeat until the clog is completely cleared.

6. Be careful when using this method. Too much force can push the clog deeper into the pipe and make the problem worse.

Use Wire Hanger to clear drains

The Most Professional Method is Using Drain Snakes

If a wire hanger is ineffective, you may need to purchase a drain snake specifically designed to unclog drains. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Place the tip of the drain snake into the drain.

2. Rotate the handle at the end of the drain snake to push the tip further into the drain.

3. Continue rotating the snake into the drain until you encounter resistance.

4. Rotate the snake and continue cranking until it breaks through the clog.

5. When you break through the clog, crank the drain snake in the opposite direction to remove it from the drain.

6. Allow hot water to run through your bathroom or sink drain for a few minutes to clear the blockage.

drain snakes

Now Let’s Learn How to Unclog Any Clogged Drain 

How to fix a clogged toilet:

Forcing a clog through a toilet with a plunger can sometimes worsen the problem. Instead, form a seal and apply gentle pressure on the plunger as you push it down, then pull it back sharply. This will help you pull the clog back up towards the bowl, breaking the blockage and allowing gravity to take over.

If the clog is stubborn, a plunger may not work. In this case, a toilet auger can be used. It is designed to fit inside the toilet bowl and enables the user to thread a cable through the toilet without causing any scratches to the surface coating. The auger can break up the clog, hook it, and pull it back through the bowl.

How to fix a clogged lavatory sink:

While plungers can be useful for clearing sink clogs, it is crucial to employ the appropriate method.

Nearly all lavatory sinks that comply with the code have overflows located approximately one inch from the rim. When plunging, the pressure can potentially travel back through the overflow instead of dislodging the blockage. To avoid this, cover the overflow hole with a rag and apply hand pressure while plunging to take advantage of the hydraulic pressure.

If the plunger proves ineffective, resort to using a wire drain snake. Eliminate the pop-up assembly from the sink and insert the wire gently into the drain while rotating the handle. As soon as the snake progresses, add some extra wire and keep feeding it through. This will break up the blockage and force it through the pipe.

The sink drains often converge at a T or Y-shaped connection in bathrooms featuring two sinks. In sinks with T-shaped fittings, if a snake is inserted through one sink drain, it may potentially travel across the pipes and into the other sink rather than traveling down the drain towards the blockage. In such situations, you might need to eliminate the T-fitting, snake the drain, and subsequently substitute the T-fitting with a Y-shaped fitting.

How to fix a clogged bathtub:

When using a plunger on a shower drain, cover the overflow to create a seal. The most straightforward method is to take off the cover, place a cloth over the opening, and apply pressure with your hand. This enables the plunger to generate pressure in the drain system, hoping to push the blockage through.

If plunging does not eliminate the blockage, proceed to feed the snake through the overflow opening and down into the drain system.

The overflow creates a direct route to the trap, circumventing the narrow turn produced by the drain’s T-shape.

How to unclog a clogged drain pipe:

Bathroom fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and showers are connected to bigger drain pipes, which can also become clogged. However, regulations require the installation of a cleanout fitting at every change of direction. Simply remove the cap and employ this access point to clear the obstruction by using a pair of pliers or a wrench,

Using a larger wire snake is one method to unclog drains pipes. These snakes are typically longer and more powerful, with more aggressive tips designed to break up or hook onto the clog for removal.

To clear the clog, insert the wire snake into the drain and continue feeding it until the obstruction is removed. Whenever feasible, run water through the pipes while snaking to flush the loosened build-up through the system.

Drain-cleaning bladders can also be used to clean clogs using hydraulic force. Rubberized bladders can be attached to the end of a hose and placed inside a cleanout. As water fills the bladder, it expands, creating a seal to block the pipe.

The bladder has a hole at the tip that releases water into the drain pipe, increasing the pressure and forcing the clog to move forward and out of the system. However, note that this system can potentially damage older pipes.

Do Not Go for Chemicals

Chemical drain cleaners are only appropriate for infrequent use in running slow drains, as they cannot clear actual blockages. Furthermore, utilizing liquid drain cleaner in a drain can make the task more hazardous for anyone required to remove the blockage using a plunger or snake. In addition, chemical drain cleaners are harmful to the environment and can corrode metal pipes, resulting in drains that are too effective and cause flooding.

Best 5 Ways to Improve Water Heater Efficiency

One of the appliances in our modern homes with the highest energy consumption is the water heater. Do you want to learn how to improve water heater efficiency? If so, then read on. When you improve water heater efficiency, you can cut back on your heating costs.

There are several easy methods and modest investments you can make to reduce energy expenses, improve the performance of your hot water heater, and improve water heater efficiency, whether it is an electric or gas model.

Some of the tips provided are simple, and you can do them easily, while some will require you to get help from a professional. Depending on your needs, you might need residential plumbing, commercial plumbing, or industrial plumbing services to get an efficient water heater system.

Right-Sized Water Heater will Improve Water Heater Efficiency

Is your water heater the proper capacity for your home? You might believe that a smaller water heater makes them superior for saving energy, but you’d be mistaken. Why? Because an underpowered water heater is overburdened, it’s been heated too much, so while you use the hot water, the burner must be running continuously.

This doesn’t help to improve water heater efficiency. Large utility bills may result from that hot water heater running nonstop! Which decreases water heater efficiency. Instead, make an investment in a bigger water heater that can sustain the hot water demands of your household.

If your existing hot water heater seems to be in continual use, it could be time for an update that will improve water heater efficiency subsequently.

Keep an Eye on Particles in the Tank 

If you reside in a region where the water is hard, you are aware that this may have a considerable effect on the efficiency of water heaters. These minerals crystallize and deposit on the bottom of your hot water heater as the water is heated. This debris lowers water heater efficiency and then, over time, slows your water heater.

Emptying the water heater’s tank once a year can help maintain your tank by cleaning the debris to help improve water heater efficiency. You can do this yourself by reading company guidelines and safety instructions or call a residential plumbing service, commercial plumbing service, or industrial plumbing service according to your needs.

To Improve Water Heater Efficiency, Invest in a Tankless Water Heater 

Perhaps you have heard the questions concerning the efficiency of water heaters regarding regular tank and tankless options. Tankless versions are the latest, high-performance, and most efficient type of water heater. This type will require less effort to improve water heater efficiency.

They may give you an infinite supply of hot water while saving you up to 40% on energy costs. Tankless water heaters only operate when you’re actually utilizing the hot water, unlike conventional water heaters. This will improve water heater efficiency for your home.

Traditional water heaters heat the water and afterward keep it hot, switching on and off to keep water held in a big reservoir heated for hours, even when not in use. But on the other hand, tankless water heaters switch on when you turn on the hot water tap and off when you turn it off, resulting in significant savings over traditional tank hot water heaters, which makes this type an efficient water heater.

Improve Water Heater Efficiency by Insulating the Water Tank and Pipes

The tank and pipework of your hot water heater can be considered the source of heat and energy loss. It will lose less heat if you install more insulation around the storage-style water heater. Especially with gas-fired water heaters, install the insulating according to the requirements of the manufacturer to avoid blocking the air inlet.

Consider insulating the water tank and the external pipes to save the most energy and improve water heater efficiency, preventing heat loss as freshly heated water travels from the water heater to its final destination. Insulation blankets are reasonably priced and can significantly lower your energy costs!

While you try to improve water heater efficiency, be sure not to block the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner for gas tanks or the thermostat for electric tanks. Insulate hot water pipes as well. It is more likely that you won’t be wasting energy and resources the next time you use hot water if the water in hot water pipes remains warm after you run the tap. This makes a lot of difference in improving water heater efficiency.

Turn Down Your Thermostat

Simply decreasing the hot water heater’s thermostat can have a substantial impact on your energy bill and help to improve water heater efficiency, just like you’d do with your heater during the winter or your air conditioner during the summer. A hot water heater’s factory setting is normally 60 degrees Celsius.

By decreasing your water temperature by just 10 degrees, you could save 3–5% on your overall water heating costs. It’ll also improve water heater efficiency. If your thermostat is broken or does not display the temperatures, it might be a bit difficult to improve water heater efficiency this way, but it is not impossible. You can just use a thermometer to get the required temperature.

If you have young kids, they may be at risk of accidentally burning themselves because a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius is too hot for human skin tissue. Lowering your thermostat to 50 degrees Celsius is the best way to improve water heater efficiency while also lowering this risk factor. 

All hot water pipes in new home construction need to be insulated. Except for pipes that are easily accessible, such as those in a basement, insulating pipes in older homes can be fairly complex and may not be worth the effort.


An alternative system, such as a solar water heater, will be able to improve water heater efficiency in general and satisfy a larger portion of your needs.

4 Reasons Why Tankless Water Heaters Can Increase Your Home Value

tankless water heaters

Tank-style water heaters are common in many households, but are they really the best choice for your house? They quickly run out of hot water in times of need, are far from energy-efficient, and may even cause some safety hazards. The better choices are the tankless water heaters.

On top of that, tank-style water heaters need frequent maintenance by a plumber to check everything according to a home plumbing checklist to keep them running properly, emptying the tank and washing everything due to rust and sediment is what an average owner of a tank water heater either needs to do themselves or pay for someone to do it for them. Another issue is that if you don’t completely insulate your water heater and its pipes the heat of it can damage its surroundings.

On the other hand, tankless water heaters (also known as instant water heaters or on-demand water heaters) have none of these issues and offer a cost-effective, space-efficient, and endless stream of hot water which is much more desirable in the long term. Tankless water heaters are generally your best option for residential plumbing if you’re considering replacing your current water heater

In this article, we describe in detail 4 reasons why you should consider investing in a tankless water heater.

1. Energy Efficiency of Tankless Water Heaters

Generic tank-style water heaters on average store 40- to 50- gallons of water while a burner constantly heats the water whether it’s being used or not, in this process a lot of thermal energy is wasted just to keep the water warm for when it’s going to get used.

Instead, tankless water heaters only produce hot water when you want to use it, therefore significantly lowering your energy usage and effectively lowering your utility bill. Research shows that tankless water heaters can be 24%-34% more energy-efficient than a common tank-style water heater, and that equates to on average saving 100$ on utility bills annually.

2. Life Expectancy of Tankless Water Heaters

On average tankless water heaters last for 15 to 20 years. In contrast, a common tank water heater lasts for an average of 10 years making instant water heaters an even more valuable addition to your household.

In addition, tankless water heaters offer a longer warranty period, some even going up to 20 years which is over the average lifespan of a tankless water heater, meaning that if something happens or you have any problems with your tankless water heater you rarely need to pay any additional expenses for repairs or replacements making this investment even more sensible.

In the event you have any problems with your tankless water heater, your vendor will most likely provide a professional plumber suited and geared with the best plumbing tools ready to deal with the problem at hand.

3. Tankless Water Heaters Are Compact

Tankless water heaters are commonly around the size of a small suitcase and are mounted on walls to take up even less space while tank-style water heaters are commonly cylinder-shaped, 60 inches tall and 20 inches in diameter.

Depending on the size of your house, the number of its residents, and the amount of your hot water usage, they can vary in size and power. Choosing the appropriate tankless water heater for your house is quite important when buying one.

If you purchase too small of a tankless water heater you will have the problem of your instant water heater not being able to produce enough hot water to your demand. However, if you decide to purchase one that is bigger than you need, you will have to pay extra while never using the tankless water heater to its capacity.

Contact a plumbing service around you and use their counseling so they can design a residential plumbing system best suited for your needs.

4. Tankless Water Heaters Are Safe

Unlike tankless water heaters, tank-style ones can pose a lot of dangers to your living space. Since they always store a significant amount of water on hand and as these water heaters are technologically dated, they do not have built-in safety valves which result in valve blockages or overheating which can cause an over-pressurized tank.

Having a large and pressurized container in your basement or garage isn’t safe and there have been reports of explosions that tear through walls and roofs and cause permanent damage to houses.

Another common risk with the safety of tank-style water heaters is that usually they are left in a basement or garage and forgotten about, given that an unmaintained water heater usually has leaks your house will slowly grow mold that can cause serious health hazards or even affect the structure of the house and make it unstable if left unnoticed.

Having a tankless water heater in your house is a very advantageous asset, understanding the benefits and correctly purchasing crucial home appliances can greatly increase the value of your home and even simplify your daily life.



Commercial Plumbing Systems vs. Residential Plumbing: 11 Differences

commercial plumbing systems

A building is a living thing, and its life depends on various factors. One of the essential factors is its plumbing system. Many people think that commercial plumbing systems are the same as residential plumbing. However, there is a significant difference between these two. As a homeowner or business owner, you should know the differences to find a reliable plumbing professional or contractor to do the job for you. But first, you should know what these plumbing systems or services are.

What is a Residential Plumbing System or Services?

A residential plumbing system is a complicated network in a home that comprises cold and hot water supply pipes, appliances, home plumbing fixtures, drain pipes, vent pipes, water storage tanks, water heat, traps, etc. Generally, the piping runs either concealed inside the walls or on the outer area of the walls.

Essential Parts of Residential Plumbing Systems

Contractors’ residential plumbing services are repairing or installing the three essential components in the above list. So, if you want to ensure that your plumbing systems run efficiently, you should find a reliable contractor to do the job for you.

commercial plumbing pipe lines - O Plus Plumbing Inc. | Leading Plumbing, Plumber & Drain Company in The Greater Toronto Area - Professional Plumbing & Drain In Toronto and GTA

What are Commercial Plumbing Systems or Services?

Commercial plumbing contractors are companies that offer industrial plumbers who work with water supply systems and wastewater drainage systems for public spaces, businesses, complex buildings, and high rises.

Since commercial plumbing systems are more challenging and complex than residential plumbing, it has higher demands in the industry. Reliable commercial or industrial plumbers are responsible for the regular repair and maintenance of all such systems. However, their work scope is almost limitless, depending on their plumbing skills.

Experts in Commercial Plumbing System

As told, commercial plumbing systems and services are complicated and require experience and skill. So, professional plumbers obtain special training for particular facets of plumbing, including:

  • Potable plumbers: These experts work with commercial plumbing systems that involve drinking water.
  • Steamfitters and pipefitters: These commercial plumbers work primarily on cooling, heating, and even electricity generators in industrial environments.
  • Pipelayers: Commercial plumbing system experts generally deal with laying pipework for wastewater drainage.
  • Sewage Systems Plumbers: These commercial plumbers are specialists in commercial facilities sewages.
  • Fuel Gas Plumbers: These industrial plumbers work with tanks and pipelines that contain gas.

Differences Between Commercial Plumbing Systems and Residential Plumbing

Now that you know what commercial and residential plumbing systems are, it is time to understand the main differences between these two, which are:

1: Daily Usage of Residential and Commercial Plumbing Systems

The daily usage of commercial plumbing systems is greater than the residential systems due to frequent use by employees and clients during the day.

However, family members only use a residential plumbing system, so it requires fewer outlets and pipe fitting.

2: Size and Durability

Since commercial plumbing has more usage, it requires large fixtures that have higher grades and more extended durability. Using larger fixtures and long-lasting materials will reduce the breaking down due to pressure or strain.

The fixtures are smaller in the home plumbing systems, and lower-grade pipes are used since they do not undergo as frequent use as commercial facilities.

3: Complexity Difference Between Commercial Plumbing Systems and Residential Ones

Most commercial buildings have multiple floors, toilets, and sinks, while most homes usually have simple and easy navigation through their structure. This means that commercial plumbers understand complex building structures.

4: Efficiency Difference

No plumbing system is perfect, and damages are always expected at any point. A clogged sink or bathroom in commercial facilities may pose a difficulty to many people, and fixing them should be done quickly. So, it is recommended to hire professional plumbers who are experienced in dealing with these complex systems.

commercial plumbing

5: Probability of Damage in Commercial and Home Plumbing Systems

The complex commercial plumbing systems are more prone to damage than residential ones. The damage to home plumbing is limited since it features a minor size system. On the other hand, even slight damage to commercial plumbing can be disastrous.

6: Water Heater In Residential and Commercial Plumbing Systems

Using larger storage tanks and gas levels is required for commercial facilities since industrial buildings have more people who need more hot water than homes.

7: Health Issues with Plumbing Systems

Since more people visit commercial buildings such as restaurants, there is a need to follow strict health care regulations and ensure good hygiene in the plumbing system.

It is easier to manage residential plumbing systems and doesn’t require different sets of plumbing fixtures like commercial plumbing systems.

8: Work Scope

The work on commercial plumbing systems is more repetitive than on home systems. Residential facilities require plumbing services in particular areas, which involves a standard working hour. However, commercial plumbing services take place at any time of the day.

9: Knowledge Prerequisites for Commercial and Home Plumbing Services

Commercial plumbing services need to be more scheduled-oriented. For example, repairing services in a building needs to be done within the time frame as more people depend on it. So, delays in the work can lead to losses. However, the time is not a problem in residential facilities as long as it doesn’t matter to the homeowners.

10: Drainage Systems and Services

Draining commercial plumbing systems is more complex than residential facilities. Additionally, commercial issues are easier to solve in the home plumbing systems.

11: Dripping and Running Water In Commercial and Residential Systems

Determining small water leakages in residential facilities and homes is much easier than commercial buildings. Since commercial buildings have multiple floors, water leakages are easily missed, which will lead to severe damage and large bills.

5 Standard Residential Plumbing Fixtures

residential plumbing fixtures

Plumbing fixtures are devices that interact with water and are connected to the residential plumbing system whether it delivers or drains water. Although the main features of home plumbing designs tend to be the same, the design and usage of each fixture will differ. Some are ornamental depending on the fixtures and items, and some are just practical. However, most residential plumbing fixtures have a single purpose.

There are some standard residential plumbing fixtures that you can use in your kitchen and bathrooms. Since suppliers offer fixtures with various styles, colors, and finishes, you can choose and buy them equivalent to your kitchen’s or bathroom’s design.

Residential Plumbing Fixtures for Bathrooms, Kitchens, and Utility Sinks

We can use various types of sinks for washing our hands, dishes, and other items. Each home has several sinks in different portions that are called basins.

Sinks that are one of the most crucial residential plumbing fixtures have one or more faucets that supply cold and hot water. They also have a spray to provide water continuously. Most of our home’s sinks have drains, and some have incorporated soap dispensers.

There are different residential plumbing problems that you should deal with, and one of them is clogged sinks that occur due to debris and gunk that gets trapped in the piping. If you want to learn more about residential and commercial plumbing issues and their solutions, click the link below.

Residential and Commercial Plumbing Problems and Their Solutions

Sink Types that You Can Choose for Residential Plumbing Fixtures

Residential plumbing fixtures suppliers and manufacturers offer various sink types, which are:

  • Self-Rimming Sinks: Generally used for kitchens and are placed into a hole that is cut into the cabinet’s countertop.
  • Undermount Sinks: They clamp under the cabinet countertop, and waterproofing is complicated with them. They are more expensive than other types, but they look modern and contemporary.
  • Solid Surface Sinks: For a better blend between the countertop and the sink, you can order concrete surface sinks made from the same material as the countertop and glued under.
  • Sink with Rounded Rims: These are called Butler sinks and are not suitable for bathrooms. They have a rectangular shape with a rounded rim, and they are generally smaller than the kitchen ones.
  • Stand-Alone Sink: These are often mounted on a leg of a piece of furniture, and it is finished on all sides. These are the most versatile sinks that are perfect for residential plumbing fixtures.

Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets

Faucets are important residential plumbing fixtures that are used in bathrooms and bathrooms. Investing in high-quality faucets is also crucial.

You can choose a pull-out faucet with a spray head that can be pulled straight out of the fixtures rather than requiring separated sprayers.

If you want to install faucets for your residential plumbing fixtures, make sure to get in touch with professional plumbers.

The most common faucet that suppliers offer are:

  • Bathroom sink faucets for residential plumbing fixtures.
  • Bidet faucets
  • Shower and tub faucets.

decorative plumbing fixtures

Toilet Plumbing Fixtures

Toilets are among the standard residential plumbing fixtures, and the waste is transferred to a septic tank or the local sewerage system using the flush system.

Your toilets are the most complex plumbing residential plumbing fixtures with a difficult filling tank that ensures proper waste flow. The most complicated element is the humble toilet lid.

You have various style options for toilets, including modern, traditional, classic, etc. However, modern toilet plumbing fixtures are more energy-efficient and use less water while offering a more powerful flush.

Faucet Cartridges are Residential Plumbing Fixtures

Faucet valves or cartridges are an essential component of any residential or commercial plumbing system. There are four primary types of valves that are used in areas in the faucets where cold and hot water mix and the flow rate is controlled.

The purpose of all types of faucet cartridges is the same, which is to deliver water at the desired temperature and rate. The most common problems with these residential plumbing fixtures are worn-out rubber rings and clogged passages.

Water Filters for Home Plumbing

These residential plumbing fixtures are optional yet practical. Suppose you experience water heater failure or stains on the laundry, damage to water appliances, or a bad water taste. In that case, you should hire a plumber to inspect your plumbing system for the following signs of water:

  • Inefficient water pressure
  • Water spots on the bathroom doors
  • Mineral deposits build up in your showerheads

Thus, you will have to prevent calcium carbonate buildup from inside the pipes with water filters. This is why the filters are crucial residential plumbing fixtures.




Best Residential Boiler Maintenance Guide for You

If your home has a boiler room, you should know its type and learn how a forced air boiler differs from a steam heat boiler. Each system will affect the energy efficiency of your facility. Besides that, you should know how the residential boiler maintenance process works if you want your home plumbing system to function efficiently.

Nowadays, most modern houses and facilities have different types of boilers that heat water and distribute warm air, steam, or hot water to heat the building. If your residential plumbing system has boiler heating, you will want to ensure it is in good condition before the cold seasons arrive.

As professional plumbers in Canada, we want to get you ready by touching on each type of system and provide residential boiler maintenance tips to help you keep the plumbing system running efficiently throughout the year.

Generally, a residential boiler heats water that moves either steam or water through pipelines to keep your house warm and comfortable via radiators.

Steam and Water Heating Systems in Residential Boiler Rooms

Before getting to the residential boiler maintenance process, you should know the steam and water heating systems and their functionality. Radiators and boiler systems are not generally installed in new homes; however, traditional heating systems are still used in old houses, apartments, and older office facilities.

Steam Residential Boiler System

In the steam residential boiler system, the boiler heats water with burning gas or fuel and turns the water into steam. The generated steam travels through pipelines to convertors or radiators. After the steam is cooled, it condenses back into the water, and the plumbing system returns it to the boiler to be heated.

Hot Water Boiler System

The hot water residential boiler system operates on the same principle as the steam boiler. This system pumps the hot water through the procedure for heating the radiators. Other variations of hot water boiler systems distribute hot water and heat through baseboard units in the walls. The modern systems are radiant in-floor heating systems that go through tubing embedded in the floor.

Advantages of Steam and Hot Water Residential Boilers

Even though hot water and steam residential boiler maintenance and usage are dated, they have some benefits that you need to know:

  • Fewer moving parts
  • Durable and reliable
  • Clean and dust-free heat
  • Maintain the ambiance and appearance of old buildings

Disadvantages of Steam and Hot Water Boilers

  • Uneven and inefficient heat distribution
  • Require diligent gas residential boiler maintenance
  • Expensive installation
  • Accessibility problems
  • Issues with furniture placement

Forced Air Boiler System for Homes

The forced air boiler is another standard system that requires knowledge and residential boiler maintenance. This home boiler heating system heats water and sends it to a hydronic coil similar to the refrigerant coil in your air conditioning system.

As the hydronic coil gets heated, a blower allocates warm air through ductwork through your home or office building, and the water goes back to the boiler for being reheated.

Advantages of Forced Air Home Boilers

  • Circulating air in the system can be humidified, dehumidified, and filtered as desired.
  • Modern air force boilers are more efficient than the old residential boilers.

Disadvantages of Forced Air Residential Boilers

  • Forced air boilers require ductwork.
  • You need space in your home wall’s structure.
  • Ducts must be heated before the system can heat the building.
  • Moving air can cause allergens and dust.

Standard vs. High-Efficiency Home Boiler Replacement

Nowadays, building regulations require that new residential boilers display their AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating. High-efficiency systems that require precise residential boiler maintenance are more expensive since a house must be retrofitted to handle the plumbing system. However, it will decrease your energy bills cost.

With this said, it is better to purchase and use high-energy efficient boiler systems for your home.

Residential Boiler Maintenance Process

Regardless of the differences between the systems above, precise residential boiler maintenance is required for keeping your plumbing system efficient.

Although you can maintain your system with basic residential plumbing skills, it is better to call a plumber to check your boiler once a year.

Before calling a professional for your system, there are things you can do for your residential boiler maintenance.

Residential Boiler Maintenance Checklist

  • If your boiler doesn’t heat the way it should, you can bleed them by placing a protective cloth on the floor and using a radiator key to open the valve. Close the valve after the hissing sound stops, and the water flow starts.
  • Blocked air vents can prevent your residential boiler from efficient functionality. Thus, check the flues and air vents, and if you detect any blockage, clear it to allow the air to flow freely.
  • You should check the water level in your boiler; and if the water is below the manufacturer’s suggested number, check for any plumbing leaks. If there are leaks, you should repair them ASAP.
  • If the overflow pipe of the boiler has leakage, you should hire a plumber to replace it.
  • It would be best if you allowed your boiler to breathe by clearing the system’s area from boxes, bags, and other equipment.
  • Check if your boiler’s flame has a blue color. If it is yellow or orange, call a professional.

Plumbing Issues in Winter and How You Can Avoid or Fix Them

plumbing issues in winter

Winter generally poses some unique challenges and plumbing issues for your homes. The freezing temperature can affect the water in the piping system and cause all sorts of expensive problems.

Fortunately, we are prepared to help our clients with our residential plumbing services and commercial plumbing services during all seasons. Cold winter weather will definitely cause issues for your homes, but we assure you don’t have to worry about them.

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Although it is better to contact us for professional residential and commercial plumbing services, there are simple things you can do to avoid plumbing issues during winter. This article will inform you about common winter problems and how avoiding and fixing them is possible.

Common Plumbing Issues During Winter

Cold weather can cause different types of plumbing problems for your homes. However, there are six common residential plumbing problems that you should expect:

  1. Frozen Pipes
  2. Clogged Kitchen Drains and Issues
  3. Water Heating System Damage and Failure
  4. Damages Around Outdoor Drains
  5. Septic Tank Backup Problems
  6. Broken Water Line

Frozen Pipe issues

Frozen pipes are the first plumbing issues that occur in winter. This problem is caused due to low temperatures and high water pressure. You can avoid this residential plumbing issue by turning on the faucet.

frozen pipes plumbing issues

Clogged Kitchen Drains and Issues

Although clogged kitchen drains are not caused by cold weather, this issue is more likely to appear in winter since you will cook more than you cook during warm seasons due to holidays. Thus, it is more likely that grease, food or other debris will find its way down to the kitchen drains.

This can cause clogged drains which you want to avoid during winter.

Water Heating System Damage and Failure

The cold temperature can cause plumbing problems during winter by damaging the water heating system. Since the water coming to the heater is extremely cold, it will make it work harder to provide hot water for your daily use.

Damages Around Outdoor Drains

These residential plumbing issues are more likely to happen after rain or snow. The water that leaves from the outdoor drains may clump together and turn into ice which will block the draining system or end up with standing water in a damaged drain that freezes over.

outdoor drain problems

Septic Tank Backup Problems

Septic tank backup problems are plumbing issues that you do not want to deal with during cold seasons or any time at! Before winter arrives, contact a professional plumber to check out the septic tank. Professionals make sure that the waste levels are not too high.

Broken Water Line

The most expensive plumbing problems come from the broken water line, which can happen in winter or cold seasons. It is essential to unplug the garden hoses to prevent ice waters and pressure buildup.

Steps to Avoid Plumbing Problems During Cold Winters

There are simple and easy steps that you can follow to avoid winter plumbing issues which are:

  1. Keeping Thermostat above 55 F Degrees
  2. Be Careful with Kitchen Sinks
  3. Conserve Home’s Energy
  4. Install Insulation System
  5. Keeping Outdoor Drains Clear

Keep the Thermostat Above 55 F Degrees

It is easy to set your homes above 55 F degrees. With this simple step, you can decrease the chance of plumbing issues.

However, you may be tempted to turn off the heating system when away from your home. If your house has a safe water heating system, keeping the place warm even when you are not there is better.

Insulate Your Home’s Water Heater to Avoid Residential Plumbing Issues

Before winter, take some simple steps or contact a professional to insulate your water heater. With this, you can reduce the water heater work and increase its efficiency, avoiding residential plumbing issues.

Install Insulation System for Your House

In addition to insulating the water heater, it is better to also insulate your home plumbing pipes with foam sheaths found in hardware stores. Ensure that you apply the foam sheaths on the entire length of your plumbing pipes.

plumbing system insulation

Be Careful with Kitchen Sinks

It is easy to prevent clogged drains in your kitchen by using a drain cover and keeping big food scraps out of the sinks.

Keeping Outdoor Drains Clear is Essential for Avoiding Plumbing Issues

After autumn, it will take you an hour or two to clean up the outdoor drain. Keeping the waterways and drains clear ensures that the water won’t build up and start seeping into the house. You can prevent plumbing issues in the outside drains by raking and picking up any trash around them.