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The Popular Plumbing Problems That Homeowners Will See

There are certain plumbing problems that directly relate to Toronto households. They relate to specifics with the municipality like its history of home construction and its water system. While running toilets, clogged drains and flooded basements are universal dilemmas, these are issues that residents of the Greater Toronto Area will likely encounter.


Pipe Problems

A lot of plumbing issues from pipes come from age and years of corrosion finally wearing down the original system. We can repipe cast iron drains and steel drains for Toronto homeowners when they show signs of wear and tear — these signs include leaks and foul odours invading the house. We can replace the older pipes with durable corrosion-proof upgrades that have a twenty-five-year warranty.

While the re-piping process can seem like a big commitment, it will be worth the peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to worry about expensive leaks or terrible smells.

 Plenty of Toronto households are fitted with pipes made from materials other than galvanized steel or cast-iron. Some of these different materials present unique plumbing problems and put homeowners in tough positions. Read the following to see if your pipes should be replaced to avoid serious ramifications.


 Clay Pipes

Lots of Toronto houses built more than fifty years ago use clay pipes for their plumbing system. Clay is a lot more sensitive than other pipe materials and its brittle nature means it is very susceptible to cracking, disjoining and leaking.

Tree roots are lured by these cracks in the surface and often burrow into clay pipes to make blockages that homeowners can’t get rid of on their own — they need a plumber to remove the tangle of roots and to fix the ruined pipe. Trying to treat the roots so that they stop creeping closer to the pipes only delays a headache from happening. Replacing the clay pipes with different options is a better investment and gets to the root of the problem.

plumbing problems

Lead Pipes

The fact that Toronto still has a large number of homes with lead water connections could be surprising to some who thought these systems were relics of the past — research in 2016 revealed that over 31,000 homes in the city still have these connections. Lead pipes are mainly found in properties that were built more than fifty years ago and that haven’t changed the plumbing since.

The material is concerning because drinking water from these corroding pipes can cause lead poisoning — unfortunate signs of the condition are anemia, headaches, memory loss and kidney dysfunction. Exposure to the material is especially damaging to young children and causes long-term harm to their mental development.


Kitec Plumbing

From 1995 to 2007, many houses and condominiums were given Kitec plumbing systems for their water pipes because they were advertised as better alternatives to copper piping. Since those years, Kitec plumbing has not measured up to its advertising — it has managed to deteriorate quite quickly in comparison to traditional copper pipes.

The pipes are notorious for leaking or bursting and causing significant water damage to households. The failures became so frequent that Kitec was involved in a class action lawsuit in 2011.

Homeowners who don’t replace Kitec plumbing run the risk of flooding. When a disaster like this happens, you should try to turn off your main water valve and then call an emergency plumber in Toronto to limit the severity of the water damage. Take the one burst pipe to mean the rest of the installations are close to failure, as well. Since they are all corroding at the same rate, none of them are safe bets to keep in the house.

The entire system should be replaced with pipes made of more reliable material. If you are worried about the cost of the repairs and replacements, you can save money with these special promotions like $50 off emergency drain repairs — this will make the payment for such an unexpected debacle a little easier to deal with.


Low Water Pressure

When you turn on a tap to its full extent, the stream coming from the faucet is weak. If you try to rinse off your hands, you can barely manage to get the soapy residue off of your skin. When taking a shower, the water comes out of the showerhead at a drizzle and barely rinses the shampoo out of your hair. The washing machines fill up at a snail’s pace so that it takes much longer to finish a single load of laundry than it should. These are all signs that your water pressure is much lower than it’s supposed to be.

The main reason that Toronto residents deal with frequent water pressure issues is that the municipality has hard water — this type of water has a high concentration of minerals like Calcium and Magnesium. The city’s water contains an average of 124 milligrams of calcium carbonate per litre, which puts it in the category of hard water. The category of very hard water must have more than 180 milligrams per litre. A supply of hard water affects plumbing systems because its high level of minerals causes scale build-up on the insides of pipes and fixtures, which can restrict the water flow over time.

Before you call in a professional, you can try to figure out if the problem is isolated or if it affects the whole household. If it’s just one faucet or showerhead that seems to have suspiciously low water pressure, it could just be build-up and debris inside of the fixture. A sign of calcium build-up is white chalky or crusty build-up on top of showerheads and faucets.

You can get rid of the build-up on your own. For a faucet, block the drain of the sink with a plug or rag, so that you don’t drop any important parts and lose them altogether. Unscrew the cap of the aerator from the faucet spout, then soak the components in white vinegar for several hours. After the vinegar soak, carefully scrub the debris loose with a toothbrush and then rinse the parts with warm water. Before you reinsert the aerator, you should turn on the tap to flush out any additional debris. Put the aerator back onto the faucet and give it a test run to see if the water pressure has changed.

You can always replace the aerator with a new one instead of cleaning the older version. They are available at most home supply stores and their price usually ranges between $1 to $15, depending on the type of faucet you have at home.

You can apply the same technique for your showerhead, removing it from the fixture and dunking it in a bowl of vinegar for several hours. When you think it’s finished soaking, take it out of the bowl and pour warm water through the top. The remaining deposits should come out of the holes, which you can scrub off with a toothbrush. Give it another rinse and wipe away any residue, before inserting it back onto the shower fixture.

There will be bathrooms that have showerheads that can’t easily be removed, but it’s still possible to clean the calcium build-up. You can clean a showerhead that won’t come off by filling a plastic bag with white vinegar and tying the bag around the neck of the showerhead so that the sprayer is completely immersed.

Another cause for low water pressure could be that your main water shut-off valve isn’t fully open. If it’s not entirely open, the plumbing won’t have the water flow that you’re expecting. The valve is traditionally found in the basement on the foundation wall, close to the water meter. Check if the handle is fully turned so that the valve is completely open.

If you can’t seem to find it, you can call our Toronto plumbers from downtown for assistance because we know exactly where shut-off valves and supply lines are situated. It’s important for people to learn where this valve is located, in case a pipe bursts and you need to stop the house from flooding.

We can check to see the extent of the calcium build-up in your home’s plumbing system. The build-up could be serious enough that you need to replace your pipes and upgrade your appliances. For instance, scale caused by calcium build-up can damage a water heater and force you to get a replacement before the ten years it typically takes to break down.

If you’re not sure what is wrong with your plumbing, we solve plumbing issues by doing a thorough inspection of the system so that you can get an expert diagnosis and get your water pressure back to a comfortable level.

Every single city will have plumbing issues that relate to their region’s history, their water treatment system and even the type of water coming through their pipes. While Toronto has obstacles relating to hard water, other places will have problems with their soft water. All you need is a knowledgeable plumber and some maintenance for your home system to run smoothly for years to come.


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