Winterizing Your Plumbing (Inside and Out!)

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As you ready your house for the colder months ahead, don’t forget about your water system. When water freezes, it expands. So if the temperature of your water pipes drops below 32 degrees, even for a short period, you run the risk of a pipe fracture or worse. Take the following precautions now to avoid a major headache (and costly service call!) later.

  1. Inside Your Home – Anywhere cold air blows on a pipe, it creates the potential for freezing. To make sure your pipes are well-insulated, close crawl space vents and stuff insulation over the openings. Even a tiny hole can let a lot of cold air blow in; make sure you fill in all the cracks.
  2. A bathroom or laundry room located above or next to a garage can be particularly vulnerable, so keep the garage door closed to maintain maximum heat.
  3. If your bathroom pipes run along an outside exterior wall, try keeping the vanity door(s) open to allow heat inside. If you’re anticipating a deep freeze, consider using a fan to help circulate the air near the pipes, or purchase a small space heater for some extra temporary heat.
  4. Never turn off the heat when you leave home during the winter. Instead, set the temperature to at least 55 degrees F (higher if you’ve had problems in the past or live in an area of extreme cold). If you have multiple heat zones, be sure to adjust all thermostats appropriately.
  5. Outside Your Home – Disconnect and store garden hoses. If your home has a separate shut-off for external faucets, turn it off and drain the water from those faucets.
  6. Turn off and drain sprinkler systems. You may want to call in the professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines. A broken sprinkler pipe can do damage to the delicate components that make up the entire system, increasing the cost of repair.
  7. Know where your main waterline shut-off is before problems arise. Depending on the age of your house, it can be inside a garage, basement or laundry room, or underground in your yard. After turning the water off, turn on faucets to allow the water to drain and release the pressure in your pipes.

How do you know if you have frozen pipes?

  1. If you turn on the faucet but nothing comes out, your pipes may be frozen. Look in the most likely places and use the techniques listed above to gently thaw the area. Whatever you do, do not use a blowtorch to warm up a frozen pipe! Many homes have been set on fire this way!
  2. If the water is turned off but you hear rushing water running anyway, your pipes may be frozen. This could be a sign that you have a leak somewhere. You should turn off the water lines immediately and investigate.

If you are still unsure if your pipes are frozen, call in the experts at Hunter Plumbing & Heating, we thaw out frozen waterlines & can also replace split or broken pipes to prevent them from leaking. We can also help you take necessary precautions to prevent your waterlines and drain lines from freezing this winter. Call us today to prevent bigger problems tomorrow!

Existing Water Wells

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If you live in a rural area, you more than likely have an existing well that supplies your household with water. As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to maintain your well and keep it properly sealed to prevent groundwater contamination. Water wells are a serious business and many are not aware of how to properly maintain them or what options are available to them to keep them running. This article hopes to provide information on existing wells and make homeowner’s, like you, be more “well aware”.

Upgrade your well, or construct a new one?

If there are significant problems with your existing well, one option is to drill a new well. A new well may be the best way to go if your existing well is:

  • poorly located, close to permanent sources of contamination, or at risk from flooding
  • producing insufficient quantity for the intended use
  • substandard and cannot be upgraded for technical or regulatory reasons (e.g., a brick-lined dug well)

Well pits

Prior to the mid-80s, well pits were commonly used to protect water line connections from freezing. Due to age and deterioration, some wells located in pits no longer provide potable water because the pit can fill with surface water and debris. This debris and surface water can be drawn into the water supply, leading to contamination. An MOE-licensed contractor, like Hunter Plumbing & Heating, can do a thorough assessment of your well to help you determine whether your well can be upgraded. Upgrading may involve extending the well pipe to the required height above grade and filling in the pit.

Chemicals and fuels

Any chemical or fuel spills that infiltrate the ground can contaminate your drinking water source. Check that gasoline, pesticides, and other chemicals are stored in proper containers designed to help prevent spills or leakage. Don’t store these materials anywhere near your well(s). Refuel lawnmowers and other machinery a safe distance from the well. (One litre of gasoline can contaminate up to 1 million litres of groundwater.) Refuel over hard surfaces to help prevent infiltration of spills. Change the oil in your vehicle on a sealed surface such as pavement or concrete, away from the well. Clean up spills with an absorbent material (clean sand or kitty litter) and remove to a Household Hazardous Waste depository. Keep a bucket nearby for quick access when spills occur.

Underground storage tanks are used to store home heating fuel and large fuel supplies for equipment. These tanks, pipes and fittings may leak, especially if they are over 15 years old or lack corrosion protection. Underground storage tanks are a special concern if the water table is shallow or if the tank is close to your well (or surface water). If possible, replace underground tanks with above-ground storage that has proper spill/leak containment.

Septic systems

Malfunctioning septic systems are a leading cause of private well contamination.  Ensure that your system conforms to the Ontario Building Code and is a safe distance away from your well. Keep chemicals other than human waste out of the system. Pump out your septic tank every two to three years and keep your system in good running order.

Inspecting your well

Ontario’s Wells Regulation requires that you maintain your well to keep out surface run-off and foreign materials.

It is recommended that you conduct an inspection of your well at least once a year, as outlined below, at the same time as you check for potential contaminants.

If you have problems with your well water, or concerns about your well, have your well inspected by an MOE licensed well contractor, such as Hunter Plumbing & Heating. Contact us today to learn more!

Things to consider:

Access

As part of your maintenance routine, keep your well head clear of brush, debris, and other obstructions.

Well cap

Check the well cap for signs of cracking or damage, and have it fixed or replaced immediately if there is a problem. The well cap should be firmly attached to the casing. The vent should face the ground and be properly screened to keep out insects. Only air should enter. Clean the air vent regularly to remove debris and moisture.

Annular seal

Look for problems with the sealant used to fill the annular space between the drilled hole and the well casing. A depression in the ground around the edge of the casing can indicate that the sealant has shrunk, collapsed, or cracked. If you can move the casing around by pushing it, that’s a bad sign. Cracking and gaps allow run-off and surface water to move down the outside of the well casing and contaminate your drinking water. A faulty annular seal should be repaired.

Well casing – condition

Look for any external signs of damage, cracking, or dislocation on your well casing, e.g., due to vehicle damage. If your well has been damaged, removing the cap is not recommended. Visibility is limited and you could cause contamination or further damage, especially if you have a submersible pump. At this point, it may be time to call in the licensed well contractor, such as Hunter Plumbing & Heating.

If you have a structurally sound well – drilled, dug or bored – you can remove the lid with care. Be mindful of electrical wiring and debris falling into the well. Inspect the inside the casing using a strong flashlight. Look for holes, evidence of animal infestations, or stains from casing joints that may indicate water leaking into the well.

Backflow prevention

Under certain circumstances, contaminated water can flow backwards through your plumbing into your well. Backflow prevention devices are available from your MOE-licensed well contractor.

Well pit

Remove the lid of your well pit and look for water, debris, vermin, etc. at the bottom of the pit. (Remove the cement outer cover, not the well cap inside the pit). Do not enter the pit or breathe the gases which may fill the pit and take extra care to ensure children do not gain access to the well pit. The pit should be clean and dry. If water or other material has entered the pit, your well water is at high risk of contamination. Consider upgrading or constructing a new well.

Hiring a Contractor

Ontario Ground Water Association and/or your Ontario Ministry of the Environment district office if you have any questions or concerns about the qualifications or work procedures of contractors. Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc. is a licensed MOE well contractor and specializes in well and septic system work. With over 50 years of experience and knowledge, their team of professionals can certainly help homeowners maintain their well and keep it running. Contact us today for your well inspection and quote!

 

Fall Maintenance Checklist

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It’s that time of year again! Fall is a perfect time of the year to start getting your home ready for those winter months ahead. Cold weather can have a big effect on your home’s plumbing and heating system. If not properly prepared, you could face frozen pipes, burst pipes and “no heat” service calls that end up being costly. Luckily, these disasters are easy to prevent. The professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating have compiled a fall maintenance checklist to help get your home winter-ready:

  1. Turn off and drain sprinkler systems. You may want to call in the professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines. A broken sprinkler pipe can do damage to the delicate components that make up the entire system, increasing the cost of repair.
  2. Check, clean and inspect your humidifier, furnace, water heater, HRV, and fireplaces to ensure each unit is working properly. The professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating provides yearly heating system inspection and maintenance service visits. Contact us today to customize a plan to suit your needs!
  3. Change your furnace air filter. This goes hand in hand with your furnace cleaning, but just in case you forget, we recommend changing your furnace filter every 1-3 months to keep the air in your home clean and prevent problems with your furnace.
  4. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat. If you are planning on travelling someplace warm during the winter, a programmable thermostat can help keep your home at the correct temperature during the day and night to save on energy costs and keep your home comfortable.
  5. Change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. You never know when you might need them, so make sure they are all in good working order!
  6. Clear gutters and inspect your sump pump & drain lines to ensure there are no blockages and the pump is functioning properly.
  7. Fix any waterline leaks you are aware of. You can usually spot these from water marks on your basement ceiling. It is also a good idea to inspect your water pump, water softener, iron filter, water heater and pressure tank to ensure nothing is leaking around these units either. Hunter Plumbing & Heating also provide yearly water system service inspections. Contact us today to customize a plan to suit your needs!
  8.  Inspect your well and well lid for cracks and damage. It is not uncommon in the dead of winter to deal with frozen well service calls due to improper well maintenance. You don’t want to be stuck without water until your system thaws out, trust me!
  9. Insure waterlines are properly insulated to prevent freezing and bursting. Close crawl space vents and stuff insulation over the openings, ensure pipes that run along outside walls are well insulated and stay warm. Even a tiny hole can let a lot of cold air blow in; make sure you fill in all the cracks.
  10. Shut off and drain outside taps and store garden hoses. If you are not sure where the shut off is for your exterior taps, contact the experts at Hunter Plumbing for help!

Start your fall maintenance checklist today before you forget! Sometimes winter can strike early and you’ll be unexpectedly caught in the cold. The last thing you want is for a burst pipe or falling gutters to ruin an otherwise cozy winter day. Don’t have time to complete your checklist? Call in the professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating for help! We provide complete plumbing and heating services to get your home ready for winter.

Bin Rentals

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HUNTER PLUMBING NOW DOES BIN RENTALS!

Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating now offers dumpster bin rental services for household cleanup, junk removal, renovation waste, re-shingling your roof, yard cleanup or anytime you just need garbage brought to the landfill. Or, we could drop the bin off full of mulch, stone, topsoil or fill for your landscaping needs and pick the bin up full of your waste, ready to be dumped. We service Brantford, Paris, Princeton, Woodstock and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free quote!

 

Spring Cleaning Checklist

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Winters can be tough on your plumbing, with freezing temperatures putting a strain on your pipes and pressure on your tank, it’s no wonder homeowner’s experience unfortunate drips and leaks that didn’t exist last fall. Let Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc. help you with your spring cleaning checklist to ensure your plumbing, heating, water well, septic system and drains are in good working order! Here are 10 things to check over this spring:

  1. Check over your drains – Spring is here and so is the rain and wet weather. You need to make sure the drains in your home are clog free and ready to take on anything. If you have any unused or infrequently used floor drains in your basement, fill the trap by pouring in a gallon of water. You can also do this to test your sump pump by pouring a few buckets of water in your sump pump pit. The sump pump should immediately switch on and pump out the water before turning off again. If it doesn’t do this, it is best to get your sump pump checked over by the professionals at Hunter Plumbing and Heating before it’s too late and your basement floods.
  2. Check over your exterior plumbing – Your exterior plumbing can and will have a negative impact on your home if it is not in good working order. It is not uncommon for leaks and flooding to occur. Start by cleaning out all the gutters and eaves and ensure the downspouts are directed away from your house at the right degree. Check visible pipes and faucets for leaks or erosion. Also check your roof vents to ensure the mesh surroundings are clear of leaves, ice, sticks and possibly even a bird’s nest.
  3. Check over your water heater – You will want to check for leaks before anything else. Look around the bottom of the tank for water and around the fittings at the top of the water heater. Depending on if it is a big leak or a slow leak, there may be just a few drops of water or a big pool of water. If left unchecked, these leaks can become worse, more costly problems in the future. Also, look for the flush valve on your water heater and pump out a few gallons. This will drain out sediment and allow you to look for corrosion in the tank. Doing this once a year can actually make your water heater a more effective system and protect the life span of your water heater. Not comfortable checking this out yourself? Call in the experts at Hunter Plumbing and Heating! We provide service, maintenance and repair services on plumbing and water heaters!
  4. Check your toilets – While running toilets are easy to spot and hear, you may not know how to look for a leak. Try putting a few drops of food colouring into the tank of the toilet. If the colour appears in the toilet in less than an hour, it is time to get that toilet fixed. If you also notice water around the base of the toilet or water dripping from the supply, it is time to call in Hunter Plumbing and Heating to fix and/or replace your toilet to prevent further mold and water damage.
  5. Check your faucets for drips or leaks – Look over your kitchen and bathroom taps for water leaking around the base or water dripping from the drains under the sink. Ensure that all drains are in good working order and drain properly. If they are slow, check the drains for clogged food debris and hair. Clean mineral deposits from your shower heads, toilets, bathtub tap and faucets using vinegar or CLR. If you find you cannot unclog your drains yourself, or fix the leak at your faucet, call in the experts at Hunter Plumbing and Heating before the problem worsens and becomes more expensive!
  6. Check your septic system – Septic system cleaning is important for many reasons. The primary reason cleaning your septic system is important is to ensure that your septic system lasts as long as possible in good condition. It is recommended that your septic tank should be pumped out every 2-5 years, depending on the number of people living in your household. After the tank is pumped, call in the experts at Hunter Plumbing and Heating to inspect your system for potential problems that may arise, so you can get them fixed.
  7. Inspect your air conditioner – Your furnace has worked hard all winter and now is a good time to change your air filter if you haven’t already done so to get things ready for spring. Check over your air conditioner to ensure it is clean and there is no debris, such as leaves, in and around the unit. Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc. offers yearly air conditioner inspections, if you are unsure or notice a potential issue with your unit.
  8. Inspect your well – Snow and ice buildup can cause your well lid to crack, leaving areas for contaminants to enter. Inspect your well lid and casing and re-seal where necessary. Clean debris such as leaves, mulch, soil, etc. around your well and regrade the soil so water runs away from it. If you do notice any issues, or areas where bacteria and other contaminants could enter, call in the experts at Hunter Plumbing & Heating to inspect your well. We will recommend the best solution to protect you and your family.
  9. Install new batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – Now is a good time to ensure these detectors are functioning in case there is an emergency.
  10. Inspect caulking – Be sure to inspect the caulking in your bathroom around sinks, toilets, taps, bathtub and shower surrounds. In your kitchen around sinks, taps and counter tops and around windows and doors. Re-caulk where necessary to prevent water seepage and mold growth.

Spring is a busy time of year both inside and out, but your household plumbing, heating, well and septic system should not be overlooked. Drips, leaks, and floods can become costly and easily ruin your home. If you are too busy, or notice a problem but don’t have the time or know-how to fix it, call Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc. at (519) 458-4488. We are here to help with your spring repairs and projects!

Thinking about a whole home generator?

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When the power goes out in your neighbourhood, you usually cannot tell how long you will have to go without it. Sometimes, hydro crews are able to get it up and running in a matter of a few hours, but it is not unusual for neighbourhoods to be without electricity for an entire day and night, or even longer.

We can lose power for a number of different reasons from weather-related events to environmental events such as wildfires and road construction or a blown substation. Whatever the reason, it makes our lives more difficult when we don’t have the power we need to run our household. One of the best ways to prepare for a power outage is to install a whole home generator.

How much could you lose during a power outage? Without a whole home generator in place, you could end up with any of the following issues:

  1. Spoiled Food – If you refrigerator is out for more than a day, you could have to say goodbye to a couple hundred dollars in groceries.
  2. Water Damage – Do you have a sump pump keeping your basement dry? Electrical outages are often associated with storms. If the power goes out, your electrically powered sump pump won’t be able to prevent permanent damage to your property and could result in costly insurance claims.
  3. No Heating or Air Conditioning – This is a particular problem if you live in an area that tends to experience either weather extreme. You and your family cannot go very long without working heat or air.
  4. Hotel Stays – Without heating, air conditioning, and other important electrical equipment like a water pump if you live in the country, you may turn to a hotel so that you can feel comfortable and remain productive. This can get quite costly if you are housing your entire family for more than a couple nights.
  5. Any Life-Saving Equipment May Not Work – Some homeowners have family members who rely on life-saving medical equipment to work all the time. While these devices often have a battery back-up, a whole home generator ensures continued performance for an extended period of time.

So you can see the importance of a whole home generator and how the initial cost could in fact save you money in the future by letting you resume your life without any work on your part.

Having the best equipment is part of being prepared too. Stand alone generators are designed to seamlessly transition you to your back-up power should you lose yours. Here are some reasons you will want to consider the installation of a whole home generator:

  1. Automatic Operation – Each whole home generator is equipped with a sensor that will instantly switch your home’s power to the generator as soon as power is lost, whether or not you are home. The generator will also turn off automatically once power is restored.
  2. No Manual Refueling – Whole home generators are made to work with two fuel types, natural gas or propane, and both are piped directly to the generator from your house supply.
  3. Connected Directly into your Electrical Panel – Whole home generators are wired directly into your home’s electrical panel so there is no need for long extension cords.
  4. Overload Protection – In the rare case that your generator gets overloaded, it is equipped with overload protection which will disconnect the unit from the load.

Being prepared means having the best tools at your disposal for the worst possible circumstances. Losing power isn’t a usual thing, but when it happens, it can disrupt our lives entirely. Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating supplies and installs whole home generators. Contact us today for a quote! We have several options available, including financing.

Well & Septic System Inspections

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When making that all-important decision of buying a home, check if there is a water well and/or septic system on the property. Homeowners must ensure that their well water is safe to drink, and that their septic systems are properly maintained. A malfunctioning well or septic system can pose a health risk to your family and your neighbours, and can be expensive to repair or replace. It is therefore very important to conduct a detailed inspection of both the well and septic systems prior to purchasing a home.

If the well is active, have both the water and the condition of the well inspected by one of Hunter Plumbing’s licensed well technicians before making the purchase. Our team of licensed professionals can thoroughly inspect, service and decommission your well to ensure you and your family are protected from bacteria and other contaminants that could enter your well.

Here are a few things we look at when we perform a well inspection:

  1. Well Record – Obtain a copy of the well record from the Ministry of Environment or the current homeowner. This will tell you the location of the well, date of well drilling, depth and diameter of well, static water level, pumping water level, recommended pumping rate and recommended pump setting.
  2. Location – A well should be located at least 15m or 50ft. from any source of contamination if the casing is watertight to a depth of 6m, otherwise, the separation distance should be at least 30m or 100ft. Sources of contamination can include septic system, manure storages, fuel storages, agricultural fields, and roads (salt runoff). Wells should also be located at least 15m or 50ft. from a body of water.
  3. Well Cap – The cap should be at least 0.3m or 12″ above the ground. The well cap and seal should be securely in place and watertight. This applies to both the well cap on drilled wells as well as the well cover on dug wells.
  4. Well Casing – There should be no visible cracks or settling of the well casing and the ground should slope away from the it.
  5. Drainage – Surface water should drain away from the well and water should not pool around the well casing.
  6. Well Pump – The well pump and distribution piping should all be in good working order.
  7. Abandoned Wells – All abandoned wells on the property must be decommissioned (plugged permanently) by a licensed well contractor to avoid contamination of the underground aquifer.
  8. Inside the Home – Check for sand or grit in the faucet strainer which may indicate a corroded well screen. Verify that the pressure tank reads 40-60 psi. Ensure that the check valve (or foot valve) is able to sustain the system pressure by drawing no water for 30 minutes to an hour and monitoring the pressure. The pressure should not drop and the pump should not start up during this dormant period.

We can also test the quality of your water for hardness, iron, sulphur and pH levels. Even if there is water treatment in the home, how can you be sure it is working properly? A water test will help determine if any levels are higher than the accepted concentrations, and how much it would cost for new/upgraded water treatment if need be.

If the septic system is active, have the condition of the septic tank & leaching bed inspected by one of Hunter Plumbing’s licensed septic system installers before making the purchase. A septic system should last anywhere from 20 to 25 years, and could cost upwards of $30,000 to replace, so it is important to get it inspected before you purchase your new home.

Here are a few things we look at when we perform a septic system inspection:

  1. Compare the size of the tank and the expected water use, observe the general condition of the tank including the baffles, partition wall, look for cracks and leaks. A steel tank is likely corroded and in need of replacement.
  2. Observe the water levels in the tank (too high suggests a clogged leaching bed while too low suggests a leaking tank).
  3. Have the septic tank pumped out by a septic pumping company (normally the homeowner pays for this when selling their home).
  4. Observe the connections to the house and the leaching bed, look for direct discharge of surface drainage into the tank.
  5. Clean the effluent filter by rinsing with an outdoor hose.
  6. Check for effluent on the surface, odours, lush growth, soggy field/saturate soil.
  7. Check for obstructions to the leaching bed (pavement over the bed or trees over the bed).
  8. Verify that surface drainage is directed away from the leaching bed (ie. – downspouts are not saturating the leaching bed).
  9. Dig test pits in the tile lines for signs of ponding water and slime growth.
  10. Inspect all mechanical equipment (pumps, aerators and alarms) to ensure they are in good working order.
  11. Check for leaking faucets and run-on toilets which can flood a septic system. Slow moving drains and sewer gas smells from flowing drains can also indicate a failing system.
  12. Verify the plumbing to ensure it meets current building code or health department standards.
  13. Inspect the sewer vent stack for damage or blockage.

A proper well and septic system inspection performed by Hunter Plumbing & Heating’s team of licensed professionals will ensure you are aware of any issues before you purchase your home so there are no surprises down the road! Call us today for a free quote on a well and septic system inspection. We can provide on-site written reports as well as letters and quotes on work that we recommend completing before you make the biggest purchase of your life.

Common Plumbing Mistakes Homeowners (Like You!) Make

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In our 50 years of experience, we’ve seen a variety of plumbing problems from a simple leak to a complete disaster. But did you know that the majority of plumbing problems are caused by you, the homeowner?! Most often extensive plumbing repairs are the result of careless use and poor maintenance techniques. Here are the most common plumbing mistakes homeowners (like you!) make and how you can avoid them:

  1. Ignoring signs of plumbing failure:A homeowner may see and acknowledge the signs of a plumbing problem, but put them off until later, or ignore the issue altogether. When you don’t take immediate action to keep your pipes running effectively, you create conditions in which these issues and minor symptoms can snowball into full-blown plumbing disasters.

    When you notice frequent drain clogging, insufficient water flow and pressure, leaks and irregular water concentrations, act. Too often, major plumbing problems are the result of homeowners letting smaller, minor problems slip by; these indicators will often worsen over time, and require extensive plumbing repairs later on if left untended to.

  2. Poor and irregular plumbing maintenance: You shouldn’t wait for the warning signs of plumbing failure to maintain your pipes; a regular, once a month self-inspection could help prevent a variety of future plumbing problems. The key to plumbing self-inspections is prevention. With a regular inspection schedule, you can stay ahead of any plumbing issues and resolve them proactively, before they develop into disasters.

    Additionally, we recommend having a professional plumbing inspection at least once per year. Trained specialists will have a stronger eye for plumbing issues you may not even be aware of, so having that input could save you money in the long run, should they catch an undetectable warning sign early. The experts at Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc. provides yearly water treatment, pressure system and water heater inspections to help you detect problems. Contact us today to set up your annual visit!

  3. Excessive use of chemicals: Another common plumbing mistake we see all the time is the gratuitous use of chemical cleaning products (Drain-O) to dislodge clogged drains. These products, while an emergency solution for minor clogging and grime buildup, can actually harm your pipes after extensive use, as the chemical reactions that make these products work can eat away at inner pipe walls, and are even dangerous upon contact in some conditions.

    Instead, we recommend less harmful home remedy solutions, such as simple vinegar and baking soda solutions, or even a hot water flush. Simply filling you tub and sinks with hot water approx. once a month and then releasing the drain to let the natural water pressure clean your drain will work great at preventing drain clogs. Chemical cleaners can be counterproductive when run through your plumbing systems; instead, opt for equally effective, much safer alternatives.

  4. Careless drain use behaviors: Many plumbing problems also come from poor treatment of pipes, drains, garbage disposals and sewer systems. Often, homeowners run whatever they want through their plumbing, thinking their pipes and disposal systems can take it; however, this is a grave mistake, and very commonly leads to severe pipe damage and buildup later on.

    Know what can and cannot cycle through your garbage disposal and sewer systems. For instance, avoid running fibrous, stringy foods, plastic wrappers, animal bones and excess fat/grease in your in-sink garbage disposal. These agents can damage your disposal’s blades, and very often cause significant buildups within home pipe systems. Also be careful what you put down your toilet and sinks. Things like baby wipes, household cleaning wipes, kids toys and kleenex should not be flushed down the toilet, but rather disposed of in the garbage.

  5. Attempting DIY repairs, unprepared: Another extremely common (and extremely risky) plumbing mistake we come across occurs when homeowners attempt DIY plumbing repairs without the right tools, techniques or system know-how to effectively resolve their plumbing issues. Frankly, it’s better to seek a specialist’s opinion than to get in over your head with difficult DIY repairs.

    However, if you do attempt DIY repairs to fix issues with your home plumbing, it’s important that you have the right tools on hand and also make sure you know fully what part of your plumbing system is causing a problem, and how best to fix that problem. With something as sensitive as plumbing, you don’t want to go in “blind” and make matters worse. It is not uncommon for Hunter Plumbing to receive emergency service calls from angry wives whose husbands have tried to fix a plumbing issue themselves and, in fact, made it worse.

  6. Not getting help when you need it: The above point, of course, leads us to one of the biggest plumbing mistakes you can make: not getting professional help when it’s necessary. Yes, calling your local plumbing specialist and having an expert inspection and renovation will cost you money… but it will be cheaper than ignoring the problem, or attempting DIY repairs.

    If you find yourself in over your head with pipe damages or failed DIY repairs, contact the professionals at Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc.! Not getting the help you need when you need it, or putting off calling an expert until later, are some of the worst mistakes you can make with issues in your home plumbing. Don’t make these careless plumbing mistakes; take care of your drains and pipes, and call a professional when necessary.

Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc. provides specialized sewer system repairs, waterline & water service upgrades, drain cleaning, backflow installations & certifications, lead pipe replacement, re-piping and emergency plumbing services to Princeton, Woodstock, Brantford, Burford, Paris and surrounding areas. We use the latest technology to effectively troubleshoot and quickly repair any plumbing problem, and provide fast 24/7 emergency service! Contact us today!

Fall Maintenance Checklist

By | plumbing, water wells | No Comments

Fall is a perfect time of the year to start getting your home ready for those winter months ahead. Cold weather can have a big effect on your home’s plumbing and heating system. If not properly prepared, you could face frozen pipes, burst pipes and “no heat” service calls that end up being costly. Luckily, these disasters are easy to prevent. The professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating have compiled a fall maintenance checklist to help get your home winter-ready:

  1. Turn off and drain sprinkler systems. You may want to call in the professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines. A broken sprinkler pipe can do damage to the delicate components that make up the entire system, increasing the cost of repair.
  2. Check, clean and inspect your humidifier, furnace, water heater, HRV, and fireplaces to ensure each unit is working properly. The professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating provides yearly heating system inspection and maintenance service visits. Contact us today to customize a plan to suit your needs!
  3. Change your furnace air filter. This goes hand in hand with your furnace cleaning, but just in case you forget, we recommend changing your furnace filter every 1-3 months to keep the air in your home clean and prevent problems with your furnace.
  4. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat. If you are planning on travelling someplace warm during the winter, a programmable thermostat can help keep your home at the correct temperature during the day and night to save on energy costs and keep your home comfortable.
  5. Change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. You never know when you might need them, so make sure they are all in good working order!
  6. Clear gutters and inspect your sump pump & drain lines to ensure there are no blockages and the pump is functioning properly.
  7. Fix any waterline leaks you are aware of. You can usually spot these from water marks on your basement ceiling. It is also a good idea to inspect your water pump, water softener, iron filter, water heater and pressure tank to ensure nothing is leaking around these units either. Hunter Plumbing & Heating also provide yearly water system service inspections. Contact us today to customize a plan to suit your needs!
  8.  Inspect your well and well lid for cracks and damage. It is not uncommon in the dead of winter to deal with frozen well service calls due to improper well maintenance. You don’t want to be stuck without water until your system thaws out, trust me!
  9. Insure waterlines are properly insulated to prevent freezing and bursting. Close crawl space vents and stuff insulation over the openings, ensure pipes that run along outside walls are well insulated and stay warm. Even a tiny hole can let a lot of cold air blow in; make sure you fill in all the cracks.
  10. Shut off and drain outside taps and store garden hoses. If you are not sure where the shut off is for your exterior taps, contact the experts at Hunter Plumbing for help!

Start your fall maintenance checklist today before you forget! Sometimes winter can strike early and you’ll be unexpectedly caught in the cold. The last thing you want is for a burst pipe or falling gutters to ruin an otherwise cozy winter day. Don’t have time to complete your checklist? Call in the professionals at Hunter Plumbing & Heating for help! We provide complete plumbing and heating services to get your home ready for winter.

Annual Service Plans

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Did you know Hunter Plumbing, Heating & Excavating Inc. offers annual service plans to inspect & maintain your heating, cooling and water system equipment? Avoid costly repairs and replacements by keeping your current systems in good working condition! Our team of licensed professionals can inspect everything from:

  • Pressure Systems:
    • Inspect for leaks
    • Verify tank pre-charge
    • Check water pump operation and controls
  • Water Treatment:
    • Service Water Softener
      • Set time and setup system
      • Clean injector
      • Check meter operation
    • Service Iron Filter
      • Check peroxide level & pump
    • Service Ultraviolet light
      • Change UV bulb
      • Clean sleeve, as required
      • Check overall operations
    • Service Reverse Osmosis System
      • Change filters, yearly
      • Change membrane & polishing carbon, every 3-5 years
  • Furnaces (Gas, Propane and Electric):
    • Clean and inspect furnace burner, blower and related components
    • Clean all drains and condensate equipment
    • Clean burner and flame rod
    • Test operation and combustion
  • Air Conditioners:
    • Clean A-coil in duct system
    • Check outdoor unit and wash out condenser
  • Fireplaces:
    • Remove the glass and logs
    • Clean the glass, burner and vacuum the blower assembly
    • Re-assemble unit
    • Test operations
  • Water Heaters (Gas, Propane & Electric):
    • Blow out and vacuum burner
    • Inspect vent system
    • Check operations
  • Automatic Generators:
    • Clean cell and filters
    • Check spark plugs, voltage and battery
    • Inspect all connections
  • HRV Units:
    • Change oil
    • Check intake and exhaust hoods
    • Clean system

And all of our service plans come with yearly service notifications, appointment setups and inspection reports! Our plans can be customized to suit your needs and include all of your heating/cooling and water system equipment. So contact us today for a free quote!