Gloved hands using a plunger on a clogged sink (a common residential plumbing issue).

The Most Common Residential Plumbing Issues

There are some things we get called to fix over and over again. If you are a homeowner, you’re likely to encounter at least a few of these common residential plumbing issues.

Clogged Drains & Toilets

The problem: One of the most pervasive plumbing issues is a stubbornly clogged drain or toilet. Over time, debris, hair, soap scum, and other foreign objects can accumulate in your pipes, leading to slow drainage or complete blockage. While store-bought drain cleaners may seem to provide a quick fix, they contain harsh chemicals that will damage your pipes over time.

The solution: Invest in a good plunger and reach for it anytime you have a minor clog. For more stubborn blockages, it’s a good idea to call the professionals at JJ&A Mechanical. Regular preventive measures, like using drain strainers and being mindful of what goes down the drain, can also go a long way in preventing clogs.

Toilet Keeps Running

The problem: The constant sound of a running toilet is not only annoying, it’s also wasteful. A running toilet can significantly increase your water bill over time. This common issue is often caused by a faulty flapper or fill valve in the tank.

The solution: Lift the tank lid and check if the flapper is sealing properly. If not, it may need to be adjusted or replaced. You should also inspect the fill valve for any signs of wear or malfunction. Replacing these components is a relatively simple and cost-effective fix.

Low Water Pressure

The problem: Few things are more frustrating than weak water pressure when you’re trying to take a shower or wash dishes. Low water pressure can result from various issues, including sediment buildup in pipes, a partially closed shut-off valve, or a malfunctioning pressure regulator.

The solution: Start by cleaning your showerhead and faucet aerators, as sediment can accumulate there. If the problem persists, check the shut-off valve near the water meter and make sure it’s fully open.

Leaky Faucets

The problem: A dripping faucet can waste a significant amount of water and, if left unchecked, can lead to major issues down the road. The most common cause of a leaky faucet is a worn-out washer, though other internal components may also contribute to the issue.

The solution: Turn off the water supply to the faucet and disassemble it to inspect the washer. Replace any worn-out components and reassemble the faucet. If you’re not confident in your DIY skills, don’t hesitate to call a plumber at JJ&A for assistance.

Water Won’t Heat Up
The problem: When your hot water taps only give you cold water, it might be a sign of trouble with your water heater. This issue can stem from a malfunctioning thermostat, a faulty heating element, or a buildup of sediment in the storage tank.

The other possibility is that the cartridge in your faucet and/or shower may be failing. This will cause the improper mixing of hot and cold water, resulting in your faucet or shower water not getting hot enough.

The solution: Start by checking the thermostat settings on your water heater. If everything seems in order, it might be a heating element issue or sediment buildup. Flushing the tank periodically can help prevent sediment accumulation. If the problem persists, have a professional inspect the water heater and determine the best solution.

If it is an issue with your faucet or shower cartridge, you will need to contact a plumber to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

Whatever your plumbing issue is, our team at JJ&A mechanical has got the solution! Get in touch today for all your plumbing repair, maintenance, and installation needs. We take pride in providing our customers with honest, quality workmanship and custom solutions.

Exposed pipe under a bathroom sink.

Tips to Prevent Plumbing Damage in Your Home

Plumbing damage is always a pain to deal with, but luckily there are some steps you can take to help prevent the inconvenience and cost of plumbing issues around your home. Here are some simple tips to help you maintain a healthy plumbing system.

Regular Inspections

Conduct routine inspections of your plumbing system. Look at all the exposed pipes in your home and check for leaks, hairline cracks, rust, discolouration, and signs of corrosion. Check your water heater and boiler or furnace as well and look for anything unusual. If you catch a minor issue like rust or corrosion, you can get it fixed and keep it from becoming a bigger problem.

Check for Leaks

Regularly inspect faucets, shower heads, and pipes for leaks. Even a small leak can lead to significant water damage over time, posing a threat to the structural integrity of your home. By proactively identifying and repairing leaks, you can prevent the gradual accumulation of water-related issues, ultimately safeguarding your home from significant (not to mention expensive) damage. Regular leak checks help maintain the functionality of plumbing fixtures and increase the longevity of the entire water distribution system.

Monitor Water Pressure

If you don’t already have one, install a pressure regulator to control water pressure. High water pressure can strain pipes and fixtures, leading to leaks and bursts. Make sure that you monitor your water pressure and don’t ignore it if something seems off.

Take Care of Your Drains

Be mindful of what goes down your drains. Avoid putting grease, hair, or food scraps into sinks and toilets. Use drain strainers in showers and kitchen sinks to catch debris. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners, as they can damage pipes. Instead, use a plunger to remove clogs. For more information, see our tips to prevent clogged drains.

Know the Location of Shut-Off Valves

Familiarize yourself with the location of shut-off valves for water supply throughout your home. This knowledge is crucial in case of emergencies. Many homeowners don’t know where their water shut-off valves are located until it’s too late. If you suddenly have a pipe burst or another plumbing emergency, it’s important to turn off the water as soon as possible to reduce the amount of water damage. Make sure you know where your home’s main water shut-off is located and how to use it – this could save you a ton of time and damage in the event of an emergency.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of plumbing damage in your home and improve the longevity of your plumbing system. Regular maintenance and preventive measures will save you time and money in the long run, which is why we recommend hiring a professional plumber annually to do a thorough inspection of your home’s plumbing system. Get in touch with our team today to book a plumbing maintenance inspection.

Assorted tools used for regular plumbing maintenance, laid out on a wooden surface.

How Regular Plumbing Maintenance Saves You Money in the Long Run

Having your pipes, water heaters, fixtures, and other plumbing equipment serviced at least once a year is a smart investment that pays off over time. Here’s how regular plumbing maintenance pays for itself in the long run.

Fixing Minor Problems Prevents Major Problems

Fixing seemingly minor issues with your plumbing can save you a bundle of money because those minor issues left unchecked often become big problems that require costly emergency repairs. For example, if you notice a minor leak under your sink and have it fixed right away, it will be a relatively inexpensive, simple repair. However, if you ignore that leak until it gets bigger and bigger, and then one day the pipe under your sink bursts, you will have to pay for an emergency plumber to do much more complicated repairs, and you may have water damage to fix as well. As they say: if you do not schedule your equipment’s maintenance, the maintenance will schedule you – typically on a holiday or a weekend!

Regular Maintenance Makes Plumbing Equipment Last Longer

You wouldn’t expect a car to last as long if you never took it to the mechanic as it would with regular tune-ups. The same thing is true with your plumbing. Your pipes, fixtures, water heaters, and other plumbing equipment will last longer before needing to be replaced when they are properly maintained. Regular maintenance helps to resolve minor issues, such as mineral buildup, rust, and malfunctioning components. This prevents your equipment from breaking down prematurely, and means you won’t need to replace it as often as you would without regular maintenance.

Increase Efficiency & Decrease Monthly Bills

Having your plumbing and heating systems regularly serviced keeps them running as efficiently as possible. This keeps their energy use low, which translates to savings on your monthly energy bills. While regular maintenance service may cost you money at the time, it pays for itself in the long term with the money you save on monthly bills over time.

Is your plumbing system due for some maintenance? Get in touch with JJ&A Mechanical today to make an appointment!

10 Common Boiler Problems to Watch for

Homeowners should be vigilant about their boilers to ensure they operate efficiently and safely. Here are some things to watch out for:

1. Strange Noises

Banging or Clunking Sounds:

This could indicate a buildup of sediment or air in the system, or it may signal a problem with the burner.

2. Pilot Light Issues

Flickering or Yellow Pilot Light:

This might suggest incomplete combustion, which could lead to the production of carbon monoxide. A steady blue flame is ideal.

Extinction of the Pilot Light:

If the pilot light keeps going out, it could be due to a faulty thermocouple, gas supply issues, or other issues that need attention.

3. Leaks

Water Around the Boiler:

Leaks can cause damage to the system and surrounding areas. Address any leaks promptly to prevent further damage.

4. Pressure Problems

Low Pressure:

Check the boiler pressure gauge regularly. Low pressure can lead to inefficiency and even boiler shutdown.

5. Efficiency Issues

Increased Energy Bills:

A sudden spike in energy costs may indicate that the boiler is not operating as efficiently as it should. Regular maintenance can help address this

6. Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection

Install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector near the boiler to ensure early detection of any leaks. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly.

7. Age of the Boiler

Boilers have a lifespan, and an older boiler may become less efficient and more prone to breakdowns. Consider replacement if the boiler is nearing the end of its expected life.

8. Regular Maintenance

Schedule regular professional inspections and maintenance to keep the boiler in good condition. This can help identify and address potential issues before they become serious.

9. Thermostat Problems

If the thermostat is not working correctly, it can lead to temperature fluctuations and increased energy consumption. Ensure that the thermostat is set correctly and consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat for better control.

10. Radiators Not Heating Properly

If certain radiators are not heating up as they should, there may be air trapped in the system or other circulation issues.

Remember, safety is a top priority when dealing with boilers. If you’re unsure about anything or if you notice any of the above issues, it’s recommended to contact a qualified heating engineer or boiler service professional for assistance.

Woman on the phone sitting in front of a leaking pipe under a kitchen sink.

When to Call an Emergency Plumber

Do you know which problems are considered a plumbing emergency? Essentially, anytime you have a plumbing issue that severely disrupts your day-to-day routine, it would be categorized as an emergency, and you should call a plumber to repair the problem as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common emergency plumbing jobs that we see regularly.

Burst Pipes

If a pipe breaks in your home, the first thing you should do is turn off the water main to reduce the amount of water damage you have to deal with. The second thing you should do is call an emergency plumber. While you wait for your plumber to arrive, clean up as much water as you can and set up a bucket to catch any water that is still leaking out of the pipe. Pipes can rupture for a number of reasons, including freezing, high water pressure, and breaking down due to age.

Severely Clogged Drains

When you have tried everything to unblock your drain, and it’s still clogged, it’s time to call in the professionals. A blocked drain that you can’t use can severely disrupt your household, so it is considered a plumbing emergency. Having your drains professionally cleaned periodically can help to prevent clogged drains.

Water is Overflowing

If you have water overflowing anywhere in your home, call an emergency plumber immediately. We sometimes see this happen if sinks are backing up and water keeps rising. If this is happening, try to keep calm and shut off the water if possible. If you live in an apartment and cannot shut off water to your sink, grab a bucket and bail out water from the sink into the shower (or bath) to keep it from flowing onto the floor and causing more damage.

Your Heating System Stops Working

A functioning heating system is essential during the cold months. If you wake up to find your home has no heat during the winter, it severely impacts the comfort of your household and can even pose a safety risk. Call in the professionals at JJ&A Mechanical to identify and fix the problem and get your heating system up and running again.

You Have No Hot Water

Hot water is necessary for many daily activities, including showering, doing dishes, and laundry. If your water heater stops working, call in an emergency plumber to find the problem and recommend a solution. A lack of hot water could be the result of a number of things, and you may just need a simple fix, or it could be an indicator that it’s time to replace your water heater.

Got a plumbing emergency? JJ&A Mechanical is proud to provide customers with 24/7 support for emergency jobs. Call us anytime, day or night, at 778-926-6539.

We’re also available for all your non-emergency plumbing repair, maintenance, and installation needs.

Hand taking a drain strainer out of a kitchen sink.

Tips to Prevent Clogged Drains

Do you hate dealing with nasty clogs, sink backups, and water damage? We can’t say we blame you. Save yourself a headache and costly repairs by following these tips to maintain your drains and help prevent clogs.

Use a Drain Strainer

Drain strainers are affordable, easy to use, and effective for reducing the frequency of blockages in your sinks and showers. You can pick up drain strainers at your local hardware or kitchen store. Pop one in the shower drain to prevent hair from going down the drain and clogging it up, and always keep a drain strainer in your kitchen sink to catch small bits of food and other debris.

Don’t Use Your Garburator as a Trash Can

Most people do not use their garburators properly, which often results in nasty drain blockages. Garburators are not designed to dispose of large food scraps, they are only meant to be used for the very small bits of food that accidentally end up being washed down the drain. We do not generally recommend using garburators at all (instead, use that drain strainer and don’t let solids go down the drain), but if you do prefer to use one, be mindful of how you’re using it. Avoid putting vegetable peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, and other large food scraps into your garburator.

Don’t Pour Fat, Grease, or Oil Down the Drain

Many people think it’s okay to pour cooking oils and fats down the drain because they are liquid, but they can actually cause big problems in your pipes. While oils, fats, and grease are liquid when they are still warm from cooking, they become solids that will cause blockages in your pipes once they cool down. Instead of pouring oils and fats down the drain, pour them into a can or jar, then toss the whole container into the trash.

Be Careful What You Flush

When it comes to your toilet, a good rule to follow is to never flush anything but toilet paper and waste. Don’t even flush so-called “flushable” products, such as kitty litter or baby wipes. While many of these products may say “flushable” right on the package, they can still take a long time to break down full and cause blockages in your pipes.

Avoid Liquid Drain Cleaner

You may be surprised to find out that plumbers do not recommend using store-bought drain cleaning liquids. Store-bought drain cleaners contain corrosive chemicals that eat through clogs, but they can also corrode pipes and lead to leaks over time. Instead, get a good plunger and learn how to use it. For really stubborn clogs that can’t be taken care of with a plunger, call the team at JJ&A Mechanical to come and clean your drains using specialized equipment that will not damage your pipes.

Got a clog you just can’t get rid of? The team at JJ&A is highly skilled and equipped with drain cleaning equipment and cameras to ensure that your drains get flowing again. Trust us to get the job done right. Contact us today to book service or get a free estimate.

Hands testing the temperature in a shower.

Reasons to Install a Tankless Water Heater in Your Home

For a long time, homeowners have relied on storage tank water heaters for all their household hot-water needs. With the emergence of tankless hot water heaters, many people are now making the switch. If you’re still on the fence about upgrading, here are our top reasons to consider installing a tankless water heater in your home.

Endless Hot Water

Tired of waiting for your old hot water tank to get hot again after a family member, roommate, or tenant just used up the last of the hot water? Tankless water heaters eliminate this issue by providing an uninterrupted supply of hot water. They can deliver a consistent flow of hot water for as long as needed, ensuring you never run out of hot water. This makes tankless water heaters ideal for high-demand households with multiple people who need to shower in the mornings.

Lower Bills

Tankless water heaters are much more energy efficient than conventional hot water tanks. Unlike storage tank heaters that constantly heat and reheat water to maintain a set temperature, tankless heaters only heat water as it is used. This point-of-use heating means that energy is not wasted, which decreases your monthly bills. Upgrading to a tankless water heater is an investment that will cost you some money up front, but will pay for itself in savings over time.

Better for the Environment

That energy efficiency that saves you money, also means that tankless water heaters are kinder to the environment than hot water tanks. With the growing emphasis on sustainability, more and more homeowners are choosing tankless water heaters to align with eco-friendly practices. The reduced energy consumption and longevity of these systems contribute to lower carbon footprints and less waste, helping to protect the environment.

Longer Lifespan

Tankless water heaters have a longer life expectancy compared to conventional hot water tanks. The lifespan of a conventional hot water tank depends on the specifics of the tank itself and how well it’s maintained, but newer hot water tanks typically come with a warranty of 6 years. In our experience in the field, we generally find that these hot water tanks last around 8 to 10 years, while tankless water heaters last upwards of 15 to 20 years. This extended lifespan not only saves you the stress and cost of replacing your water heater more frequently, but also reduces the environmental impact of disposing of old units.

Are you ready to make the switch to tankless and enjoy double the life expectancy of a tank, increased efficiency, and endless hot water? Get in touch with our team today for expert installation of your new water heater.

Act soon and you could even get a $1000 rebate from FortisBC when you switch to a tankless unit!

Close-up of a sink drain with water from drain cleaning

Signs You Need Professional Drain Cleaning

Do you need professional drain cleaning? If you’re not sure, watch for these telltale signs.

Loud Gurgling

If your drain has been making loud gurgling sounds, there may be a blockage in your pipes which is causing trapped air to make noise. Pay attention to sounds coming from your drain or toilet, and if you notice it begins to gurgle in unusual ways that it didn’t use to, you probably have a clog that needs removing.

Multiple Recent Clogs

It’s normal to have the occasional clogged drain, but has your drain been blocked up more frequently lately? This likely means that there is debris in the system that is simply moving around and reclogging again soon after you take your plunger to it. In cases like this, you need to get a professional drain cleaner in to fully remove any debris and blockages.

Slow Drains

Is your sink or tub still draining, but just not as quickly as it used to? If plunging it doesn’t mitigate the problem, you’ve likely got some more severe blockages that require professional drain cleaning equipment. It can be tempting to ignore a slow drain since it still technically “works,” but, believe us, it’s better to address the problem now than wait for it to become a major issue that could result in severe damage and costly repairs.

Foul Odours

What smells funny? If it’s your drain, it may be time to have it professionally cleaned. You may have sewer gases coming up from your system, or there could be bits of food waste stuck to the inside of the pipes and decomposing. Pay attention to strange odours emanating from your drains, and if they do not go away quickly, it’s time for a thorough drain cleaning.

At JJ&A Mechanical, we clean drains with a hydro jetter, which sends high-pressure water through pipes in order to clean out even the most difficult clogs, grease, and debris. Get in touch today to book your drain cleaning or get a free quote!

Technician performing a heat pump installation.

What are the Benefits of Installing a Heat Pump?

Are you wondering whether a heat pump is a good fit for your home? There are a number of reasons why more people are choosing heat pump installations, including increased efficiency, the ability to heat and cool, and the potential for money rebates.

A heat pump works by moving warm or cold air around in order to create a comfortable temperature in your home. In the winter, it moves warm air inside to heat your space, and in the summer, it moves cool air indoors to keep your home from getting too hot. There are two types of heat pump: ducted and ductless. Ductless heat pumps allow for increased temperature control of individual spaces, but ducted heat pumps provide more powerful air circulation and are more convenient for homes that already have duct systems.

Here are some of the top benefits to installing a heat pump in your home:

Gives You Both Heating & Cooling

Heat pumps are a convenient option for many because they provide both heating and cooling in your home. If you are looking for a single system that will keep your home comfortable all year long, a heat pump installation may be right for you.

Increased Efficiency

A reason for the increased popularity of heat pumps is the fact that they are highly efficient. In fact, heat pumps are up to 300% more efficient for heating than electric baseboard heaters and up to 50% more efficient for cooling than A/C units. This means that you can lower your monthly energy bills and feel better about your environmental footprint.

You Can Get a Rebate

Heat pumps can be a little costly to install (although their efficiency can save you money in the long term), but you may be eligible for provincial (Clean BC) and federal (NRCAN) rebates to help offset the cost and increase the amount of efficient energy use among Canadians. To learn more about rebates and how much money you can get back for installing a heat pump in your home, get in touch with JJ&A Mechanical today!

A plumber from your chosen plumbing company, fixing a pipe.

How to Choose a Plumbing Company

When you need plumbing repairs done, it can be overwhelming finding the right plumbing company. Follow these simple steps to make it easier to choose a plumbing company.

Ask Around

If you are not sure how to find a good plumbing company in your area, a useful way to get started is by asking around. Ask friends and family in your area about their experiences with plumbers they have hired before. You might get some helpful recommendations or suggestions on which companies to avoid.

Check Reviews

Another reliable way to learn about others’ experiences with a given plumbing company is to check their online reviews. Once you have a few possible plumbers in mind, take a look at their reviews and see if they are mostly positive or negative, and what the comments are like. Most reputable plumbing companies publish reviews on their own website to showcase their positive customer experience. Check out JJ&A Mechanical’s testimonials to learn what our customers are saying about us!

Ask About Credentials & Experience

Once you have narrowed down your search to two or three companies, get in touch with them and ask them a few questions about their credentials, experience, and areas of expertise. Find out about hiring standards within the company and choose a company that provides employees with ongoing training and skill upgrades.

Compare Quotes

Ask for estimates from a few plumbers and see which one fits best with your budget. Any reputable plumbing company will be happy to provide you with a rough estimate for the job you want done, so if you call a company and they are hesitant to give you a quote, pay attention to that red flag. Remember that suspiciously low quotes might also mean that you won’t get the quality work you want.

Pay Attention to Customer Service

The way that you’re treated when asking for an estimate can tell you a lot about the company as a whole. Pay attention to the customer service of a plumbing company when you contact them with your questions and to get a price estimate. If you feel respected, listened to, and valued as a customer over the phone, odds are you will have a similar experience if you hire that company to do your plumbing job. However, if you find the customer service lacking, you may find other aspects of the company lacking as well.

If you are looking for plumbing services, JJ&A Mechanical is happy to provide comprehensive commercial and residential plumbing services, including 24/7 emergency services.