Archive for the ‘Plumbing’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Why Have A Service Plan Agreement?

A Service Plan agreement is a great way of protecting your home in the event of equipment breaking down. A service plan is insurance for your furnace, boiler, air conditioner etc. You hope not to have to use it but it is there in case you do.

If your heating and cooling equipment break down when you need them to be working- it can cause a lot of stress and has lots of costs associated with replacing them.

If you choose to purchase our Ashton Value Plan (Silver or Gold), you will receive priority service for plumbing, heating and air conditioning calls (routine or emergency), we will place emergency valve tags on all your safety valves so you will know which ones to turn off in the event of an emergency.

You will also pay no emergency service fees if something occurs after normal business hours and you will receive a 15% discount on all repairs.

What’s more if you purchase our Gold Ashton Value Plan, you will receive an annual performance tune up of your heating or cooling system to keep your systems running efficiently. We will call you to schedule your tune-up or you have the option of calling us when you would like to have the tune up done.

To learn more about our Ashton Value Plans.

 

PostHeaderIcon How To Keep Your Garburator Smelling Good

The hot summer weather sometimes causes the leftover food in your garburator  to create some odors in your kitchen.

Here is a simple and easy way to clean your garburator and rid your kitchen of any smells coming from your kitchen sink.

Using a lemon or lime, cut it first in half and then in half again- throwing away the seeds into your garbage bin or compost.

Drop the slices of fruit into your garburator.

Lemons can clean your garburator

While running cold water, turn the garburator on. The grinders in the garburator will mash up the fruit and a fresh citrusy scent is produced, eliminating the smell.

If you do not have any lemons or limes around- pour a 1/3 cup of baking soda mixed with 1/4 cup of white vinegar down the garburator.

The mixture will foam and cause bubbles to come up your sink as shown in the picture below.

Mixture of baking soda and vinegar cleans your garburator

Let it sit in the garburator for 5 minutes before running cold water to clear the sink.

PostHeaderIcon Take Immediate Steps To Protect Yourself From A Gas Leak

If you smell gas in your home it is absolutely vital you deal with the cause without delay. This is because if it ignites it is extremely dangerous and potentially lethal. It can destroy property and even worse, kill.
Natural gas does not actually have an odor; that is added artificially before it hits the mains. The idea of giving gas a smell is to provide a warning should it leak. Of course not all gas emergencies are caused by leaks, they can be caused because a gas stove has been inadvertently left on and not lit, a pilot light extinguishing; or a malfunctioning gas furnace. Whatever the reason, it is important you take immediate steps to protect yourself, your family and your home.

When noticing a gas leak you should:

• Clear the affected room of as much gas as possible

You should not:

• Light a match or candle as you attempt to find the cause of the gas leak
• Switch on electrical equipment or flick the light switch

These are simple precautions that can be taken. On entering a room or area of the home where there is a smell of gas, open the windows and doors to ensure the gas escapes. This is a very necessary and sensible move and will help reduce the possibility of an explosion.
Matches and candles should not be lit, even if it is dark, because the flame will ignite the gas and cause an explosion. The same could happen if any electrical equipment is switched on or a light switch flicked.

Identifying The Source Of The Smell Of Gas

Only when it is safe should an attempt be made to identify what is causing the gas to escape.
One of the most common causes is that the gas stove has been left on or not lit, or the pilot light for the HVAC system has gone out. The stove is the easiest to deal with as it is just a case of switching it off. It may also be possible to re-ignite a pilot light. It is always wise to read the manual to learn what to do should any of these emergencies arise. If it cannot be lit or if there are concerns about a leak of gas from an HVAC or furnace it should be shut down and an HVAC contractor called in.
If the smell of gas in the home is severe and the problem cannot be dealt with or is continuing then the gas should be cut off at the mains. It is essential that the utility company is contacted immediately. The supplier will have an emergency number to ring for these occasions.

Other Sensible Steps To Take

One of the best and simplest precautions to ensure there are no gas emergencies in the home is to ensure that all gas utilities are serviced regularly, at least once a year. At the time these items are installed it is wise to check whether there is a service plan available.

Ashton Value Plan

The Ashton Value plan is a service agreement in which customers receive priority service, reduced dispatch fees, and no overtime charges for emergencies. All Ashton Value Plans come with a safety inspection of your home. During the safety inspection, the main gas shut off is tagged. You will be shown where you can shut off your gas in the event of an emergency.

If you have any questions about our Ashton Value Plan or inquiries about new equipment please contact our office 24 hours a day 604-283-2383

PostHeaderIcon 5 Easy Things You Can Do Around The Home For The Summer

Each time the season changes, there are different things you can do to minimize headaches and costs while maximizing the time you spend on something you rather be doing, especially during the summer!

1. One way to save money and energy is if you are going away on vacation is to turn down the temperature of your water heater.

2. Be aware of what you put down your kitchen garburator after a barbeque. Most garburators are not equipped to handle cornhusks, celery, banana peels and other “stringy” foods. Other items to avoid are fats or cooking oils because they can form clots in the pipes. Run cold water at full pressure for 15 seconds before and after you put anything down the disposal to flush it through.

3. Plus with the hotter weather and more outside activities it means more clothes to clean. Check your washing machine hoses for leaks or cracks and be sure to remove the dryer lint regularly to keep it working efficiently. Move your machine at least four inches from the wall to prevent hose kinking and damage. Instead of using the dryer-try line drying your clothes outside if possible!

4. Turn on your outside faucet and let it run for a few minutes to clear the pipe leading from the water supply to the outlet. Watch the flow to see if it appears unhindered, and check the visible sections of pipe for any leaks that may have occurred.

5. Sewer line backups are common this time of year due to summer rainwater entering sewer pipes via cracks. New tree root growth from the spring can also cause sewer backup issues as roots are drawn toward the sewer line as a source of nutrition. Have a plumber inspect your sewer line pipes to let you know if you are susceptible to a sewer line backup problem or if damage has already occurred. In either situation, your plumber will be able to provide you with various options for proper drain cleaning.

PostHeaderIcon Prevent Clogged Drains Before They Even Happen

I am sure everyone has experienced a plugged toilet or a sink before. And I am sure it came at the most inopportune time. Perhaps you had your relatives come stay with you for the holidays and your kitchen sink backed up. One of the reason we see a lot of these calls is because the increased volume down the drains can reveal or exacerbate a preexisting problem. Taking some precautionary steps can save you the inconvenience of inviting a plumber over to your dinner party. Have your drainage system inspected by a licensed plumber annually and also follow the steps below in order to cut down on potential blockages.

Reasons For Clogged Drains

Carelessness is the number one cause of blockages. Kitchen sinks are very easily clogged. As you can imagine food can build up in the drains and very easily cause a blockage. Be careful what you put down your sink, and if you use the a garburator, make sure to rinse it down with very hot water. Also avoid putting greasy food and oils down the drain. Bathrooms are another place where backups occur. Try to limit anything you flush down the toilet. You would be amazed at what we find sometimes. Try to avoid flushing paper towels, baby wipes and feminine products down the drain. Also limit the amount of toilet paper. Bathroom sinks and showers often get clogged by hair so be mindful of this.
It is easiest to avoid all this by snaking these drains annually. Or if you notice that its draining a little slow have it snaked more often.

Remedies

You can pour certain chemicals down the drain and some will do the trick. However keep in mind that chemicals are harmful to your body, your plumbing system, and the environment. They may be a quick fix, but we never recommend doing that.
One trick that a lot of people use is to pour vinegar down the drain with a healthy amount of baking soda. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain. Pouring boiling water down the drain on a regular basis can help to prevent blockages.
Sometimes it is very simple to unclog your kitchen sink, especially if you have a double sink. Simply plug one side of the sink with the drain stop and have someone hold it tight. The take your toilet plunger and plunge the drain as you would a toilet. That will usually do the trick.

Prevent and Protect

Your plumbing system is like a machine. It needs regular maintenance in order to run smoothly. You should have all of your drains snaked at least once a year and periodically have a camera inspection to make sure there is not trouble spots where disaster could be looming. To see more check out our drain cleaning page

We would love to take a look at your system anytime! Call 604-283-2383

PostHeaderIcon Vancouver Plumbing: Hydro-Jet Drain Clearing

Vancouver drain cleaning experts at Ashton Service Group use hydro-jetting to clear tough clogs. Water jet drain cleaners are powerful plumbing tools that are specifically designed to unclog the toughest drain clogs. They feature relatively modern drain cleaning technology involving strong water pressure applied in pulses, which differs from traditional drain cleaners. A standard drain cleaning device uses a cable or pipe that simply bores holes through blockages. Cable drain cleaners have a few disadvantages:

1) Debris is simply broken apart and can re-clog the pipe further down the line.

2) Self-healing clogs such as grease re-form after being perforated if some material remains.

Water jet cleaners have the following advantages:

1) Completely flush out all material, preventing further clogs or self-healing.

2) Use pulse flow, which allows the hose to better maneuver inside pipes.

3) Clear sand, soap, grease, ice and mud from clogged pipes with ease.

If you have a tough, hard-packed drain clog, or a tenacious self-healing grease clog, the Ashton
Service Group water jetter will take care of it promptly. Best of all, the high pressure water jet
will ensure that you won’t have to worry about leftover material re-clogging your drain.

To see any of our other services, you can go to http://www.ashtonservicegroup.com/

Click here for a list of our different Plumbing and Heating specials – Please note that these
specials are subject to change at any time.

PostHeaderIcon Ask The Expert

Question: Are there any plumbing items I should do to prepare for the spring?

Yes, there are several things you can do to make sure everything is operating efficiently.

First, you may want to check all your exposed pipes under your sinks and in the basement for leaks. Second, you can pour 4L (milk jug’s worth) of water into drains that you don’t frequently use to fill the trap and prevent odours from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry water away in the event of a flood. If your home has a sump pump, make sure it is working properly by pouring a couple of buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water and then shut off without any problems.

Lastly, you may want to install a backwater valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into the home. The backwater valve will prevent future backups and spare you the odour and clean up headaches.

Now if you do find any leaks in your pipes, the sump pump is not draining quickly or you would like to install a backwater valve, give your preferred plumber a call and they can help solve any or all those issues easily.

PostHeaderIcon Vancouver Plumbing Tip: How to Fix Leaky Tub Faucets in Showers

Do tub faucet leaks sound like a familiar issue in your Vancouver home? You turn on your shower, flip the switch to go from tub faucet to shower head and the tub faucet continues to leak. Not only is it rather irritating, but it draws from the water pressure in the shower head. Let’s take a look at why this happens and how to quickly fix it.

Why the Leak?

There is a valve in your tub’s faucet that diverts water from the tub to the shower head when the switch or lever is pulled to turn on your shower. Because the valve is not a perfect seal, the tub faucet will drip a small amount during a shower. However, if a large amount of water is coming out of the tub faucet and very little is coming from your shower head, it is likely a problem with that valve.

In some cases, the only way to know the root of this bathroom plumbing repair is to take apart the assembly and check all of the valve parts individually for damage. The specifics of the repair process will depend largely on the type of shower and diverter valve you have.

Fixing the Problem

To fix this problem, you can either replace part of or the entire shower diverter valve. Start by removing the faucet and pulling the screw that holds the shower diverter valve in place. Once the screw is removed, take out the rubber washer and replace it. Many times, this is enough to fix the problem.

If it is not, however, you may need to replace the entire shower diverter valve. There are some situations that make it hard to reach the shower diverter valve, such as when you have a shower handle instead of a faucet knob. If this is the case, you may need special tools or professional assistance in removing the knob to access the valve.

If you find that this does not fix the problem or that you are uncomfortable attempting this repair, contact Ashton Service Group who is experienced in removing and replacing shower diverter valves.

 

PostHeaderIcon Tankless water heater versus conventional hot water Tank ???

Today’s well informed home owners decide on a tankless water heater for 3 good reasons. First, they know that tankless water heaters are used throughout the World where energy costs are high. Canada’s energy costs are rising. Secondly, they recognize that a 92-97% thermal efficient gas tankless water heater compared to a 50 – 60% standard gas tank type water heater will save money and help reduce their carbon footprint. Thirdly, the tankless water heater doesn’t store hot water but produces it on demand.

Tankless water heaters are capable of providing an instant, endless supply of hot water. Because these systems function on an on-demand basis, they do not require a holding tank to store pre-warmed water. No storage or holding reserve means that tankless water heaters have a life span that is twice as long as traditional systems because of the risk of rust and corrosion is significantly lowered.

They are hung from the wall saving floor space. They can be installed almost anywhere. Most have warranties up to 15 years with all parts being replaceable and 100% recyclable. They do cost more initially but looking at all the benefits including the re-sale value of your home, they are well worth the expense.

Tankless heaters are not new to the market. They have a proven record dating back to 1950 in Canada. They come in many sizes to suit your needs. Experienced contractors can help you select the right unit.

A tankless hot water heater will save you money, save space and you will never run out of hot water again. Best of all your home and family will be environmentally friendly.

Electric tankless hot water heaters
Electric units heat the water as it passes over an electrical element. To run an electric tankless water heater, you will need to have it hardwired to your circuit breaker/electrical panel. Although, electric tankless water heaters are less expensive to purchase and operate, they typically have less capacity, which makes them less practical for large families or households that consume large amounts of hot water at one time.

Gas tankless hot water heaters
In a gas unit, a gas burner is utilized to heat the water. Gas-powered systems are fuelled by propane or natural gas. To operate one of these units, you will need a gas line running through your home to where the water heater will be installed. It can easily provide endless hot water for one major application at a time. This unit is a great replacement for the traditional 40-gallon storage tank water heater.

There are also provincial grants available under the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive program for replacing your domestic hot water heater with a qualified instantaneous gas water heater which you may want check into as well. For an estimate and potential savings, please call Ashton Service Group at 604-283-2383 and ask for Bob, our residential heating manager.

PostHeaderIcon What Clients are Saying About Ashton Service Group:

2012-04-30 15:10:13

The two service personnel from Ashton came to install our new hot water heater and despite less than ideal location did so very expertly and efficiently. They were extremely friendly & professional even going so far as to “MacGyver” a special tool to shut the water off outside & then replacing that plug with a more user friendly one. Also when my husband was having a very bad asthma attack they stopped what they were doing to make sure he was okay. I would not hesitate to recommend Ashton Service Group to anyone who is looking for a good, professional and efficient plumbing company.

To check out the over 40 reviews follow the link:

http://www.n49.ca/biz/ashton-service-group/bc/richmond/140-4631-shell-road/reviews/id/43300/