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How do you know when a toilet needs to be replaced?

Most professional plumbers will tell you a toilet can last for around 20 to 25 years.

How long has your toilet been in place?

It can be difficult to tell. If your toilet was badly installed or poorly maintained, there are many signs it may need to be replaced before its time.

How do you know when a toilet needs to be replaced?

1) Regular clogs and blockages

One of the most unpleasant signs your toilet needs to be replaced is regular clogging caused by normal use.

Of course, children could have flushed toys or other items. The problem could also be further down the pipe, which is why it’s a good idea to get a regularly blocked toilet checked by a professional.

If normal use is causing clogs frequently, it’s probably time to look into toilet replacement.

2) Cracking

Cracks in toilets can’t always be seen. The most common sign of a crack is water pooled around the base.

Sometimes, a crack above the waterline in the tank can be repaired. However, a crack below the waterline will probably necessitate replacing the entire tank.

At that point, it’s likely more economical to replace the entire toilet.

3) Serious age

That 20 to 25 year toilet lifespan estimate depends on many factors. It also refers to the overall fixture rather than internal components. These age much faster.

If you know for a fact that your toilet is over 25 years old, it may be worth replacing it.

4) Needs constant repair

Most toilets require repair every once in a while. If you find yourself regularly picking up the phone to call your local plumbers, it’s time to consider your options.

The most cost-effective choice might be toilet replacement now to save the cost of ongoing repairs in the long run. Ask an experienced technician for advice.

5) Repeat flushing required

Modern toilets use two gallons of water or less every flush. Older toilets more commonly use three or even five gallons per flush.

This is a significant waste of water, especially when flushing is inefficient and needs to be repeated. That’s bad for your water bill and it’s not great for the environment either.

If either of these are a concern, updating your toilet to a new model will pay dividends over time.

6) Instability

With a newer toilet, a little wobble is likely just a sign something inside needs to be tightened.

Older toilets that feel unstable might have an underlying cause. Leaking pipes can cause water damage and eventually lead to a floor collapse.

If you notice an older toilet feels unstable, you’ll need a professional to check it out.

Get expert advice before replacing your toilet

If you’re trying to work out whether it’s time to replace your toilet, consult an expert.

An experienced technician can help you work out the most cost-effective approach to toilet repair or replacement, ensuring you’re not wasting your money and that your bathroom is in full working order.

Need expert advice on toilet replacement or repair?

Let’s talk it over. Family-owned and operated, Son-Rise Plumbing and Gasfitting has been caring for Calgary residents since 1983.

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Boiler safety precautions you should be taking

Boiler safety precautions are easy steps you can take to protect your family from boiler-related problems.

Repairing or replacing a boiler is expensive, while simple care is cheap. Taking basic safety precautions is a great way to protect your bank account.

Regular boiler safety precautions

1. Check the operating pressure

Every modern boiler comes with a front panel that displays whether the operating pressure is correct, high, or low. If you notice your boiler doesn’t maintain the correct pressure it’s usually a sign that something is wrong.

The culprit is usually a leak somewhere in the system, commonly the radiators. Occasionally, the fault may lie with a boiler component that’s developed an issue.

In both cases, diagnosis and treatment are as simple as noticing a pressure problem and calling in a technician.

2. Look for leaks or drips

Another obvious sign that something is wrong with your boiler is water or, more rarely, air leaking from some part of the system.

Performing a quick check for leaks around your boiler every so often is an important safety precaution and only takes seconds to do.

3. Get regular professional maintenance

Measures like checking the pressure and spotting leaks are sensible, yet they are no substitute for the regular professional preventative boiler maintenance that is often required by law.

A trained technician will know how to give your boiler a full service, including all the pipes and lines, pumps, valves, gauges, and other components and accessories. They can also handle combustion tests and any other activities you don’t have the time or equipment for.

Preventative maintenance is the best precaution

These days, the only domestic boiler safety precautions most people want or need to take is to set up regular annual safety checks.

After your technician’s visit, you’ll know your boiler is in perfect working order and safe for another year.

Need to be sure your boiler is in full working order?

Talk it over with a friendly and experienced professional today. Son-Rise Plumbing & Gasfitting has been family owned and operated, helping local people in Calgary since 1983.

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How to prevent boiler tube corrosion

Boiler tube corrosion costs Canadian households thousands every year. Even high-quality systems can suffer if not set up correctly or properly maintained.

As always, regular preventative care and maintenance of your boiler will pay off in the long-run, but it’s also helpful to understand common boiler problems if you want to keep your bills to a minimum.

Why do boiler tubes corrode?

1. Poor water quality

Heat exchangers and other key components of most modern boilers are made from stainless steel.

High-quality stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion; however, it is possible for poor water quality to overwhelm even resistant materials if it is bad enough.

High levels of chloride in the water–sometimes the result of using a water softener or of such a device malfunctioning–can be at fault too.

2. Poor material choice or quality

Not all modern boilers are created equal. Nor are the materials used in their construction. Take steel for example:

  1. Material type – stainless steel is usually more resistant to corrosion than mild steel, making it a superior choice for many boiler components.
  2. Material quality – there are several types of stainless steel. Austenitic stainless steel is not as corrosion-resistant as ferric stainless steel and even ferric stainless steel comes in different qualities, denoted by a number.

This makes choosing the right make and model of boiler a key decision before installation. If you’re in any doubt as to the correct choice, it’s always worth seeking professional advice.

3. Leaks caused by material expansion

Different materials expand and contract at different rates when heated. If your boiler’s heat exchanger is made from stainless steel and the fittings are made from brass, water may seep out through the threads very slowly or intermittently.

Over time, this may lead to the build up of calcium and mineral deposits that can look a little like corrosion. This needs to be cleaned off and the system tested but is unlikely to impair its function.

How to prevent boiler tube corrosion

Boiler tube corrosion is a problem that affects thousands of people every year. The most common causes are excessively poor water or material quality, while a mismatch in material expansion rates can lead to leaks that look like corrosion.

Damage and problem prevention is also always more cost-effective and easier than an emergency repair.

This means choosing the right boiler for your home and getting regular preventative boiler maintenance from a qualified technician is the best way to minimize the chance of your boiler developing issues, including corrosion.

Think you might have a problem with boiler tube corrosion?

Have one of our experienced technicians service your boiler today.

 Son-Rise Plumbing & Gasfitting has been meeting the needs of people in Calgary with honesty, professionalism, and integrity since 1983.

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How to prevent garbage disposal problems

Garbage disposals can be a handy addition to your kitchen, but they can also be a serious issue for your plumbing system if used incorrectly.

Here’s how to prevent garbage disposal problems from ruining your day:

Garbage disposal problems and how to avoid them

1. Don’t put everything down the garbage disposal

There are some things you should never use your garbage disposal for:

  • Dense vegetables – anything that’s fibrous, such as celery, onion skins or corn husks.
  • Grease, fat, and cooking oils – will clog after they solidify. Try using paper towels to mop up oil from pans and disposing of them instead.
  • Egg shells – can stick to pipes, clogging them and potentially creating sulphurous smells.
  • Expandable foods – things like pasta or rice are starchy and can expand with prolonged water exposure.
  • Bones, pits and seeds – can jam your disposal as well as dull the blades.
  • Non-food items – things like metal, paper, plastic, or glass.

2. Don’t try to grind large chunks of food

Your waste disposal will struggle with large chunks of food, potentially even jamming or breaking entirely.

Instead, chop waste food into smaller pieces and put those pieces in a few at a time.

3. Don’t let your disposal sit idle

You’ll experience fewer garbage disposal problems if you run your disposal on a regular basis.

Even if you find you don’t have much or any food to dispose of, run your disposal every couple of days. This will help avoid sticking, corrosion, and smells or other issues caused by trapped food.

4. Don’t use hot water

Always use cold water when you run your garbage disposal. This will keep the food as solid as possible, maximizing your disposal’s ability to chop it up.

Hot water will tend to turn food into mush that sticks to the sides and pipes.

5. Don’t stop the moment the food is gone

Keep running your garbage disposal with cold water for at least an extra minute after it’s finished grinding the waste. This prevents food from ending up trapped in the pipe.

Another sensible approach is to feed small batches of food waste into your garbage disposal, making sure the waste is well ground before adding more.

6. Don’t neglect a quick, simple clean after use

Immediately after using your disposal, keep it running with cold water and add a little dish soap to wash away any food remains.

Another natural remedy is to add the occasional bit of citrus peel after cleaning. Lemon, lime, or orange peel will work a bit like a natural wipe around the pipe.

Every few months, boil up a few gallons of water and pour that down your sink to give the pipes a more serious clean.

Garbage disposal maintenance

The best way to maintain your garbage disposal is to use it sensibly and carry out simple, regular cleaning as described above.

The most important thing is to consider what you’re putting into your disposal. Many food waste items can easily be recycled or composted, leaving your disposal to handle that much less.

Finally, a safety tip–your waste disposal contains spinning metal blades; it’s always worth calling an expert rather than trying to deal with most garbage disposal problems yourself.

Problem with your garbage disposal?

Not for long. Call the fully equipped and experienced professionals at Son-Rise Plumbing and Gasfitting to book an appointment and ensure your disposal is in proper working order

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Why your boiler needs preventative maintenance

Keep your home’s heating system functioning safely, efficiently and reliably with some simple preventative boiler maintenance measures.

If you want to keep your boiler repair costs down and maximize its lifespan, here is everything you need to know.

Why carry out preventative boiler maintenance?

1. Keep your family safe

A boiler operates at high temperatures and pressures. Even relatively minor boiler malfunctions can be dangerous, which is why regular check-ups are required by law.

2. Save on repair and replacement bills

Boiler parts and components can be expensive. This often makes full replacement rather than repair the go-to choice when a system has been poorly maintained.

A well-maintained boiler will last for much longer and require less repair work throughout its lifespan.

3. Stay warm reliably and efficiently

Most homes rely on their boilers for everything from hot water to heating and climate control. A boiler experiencing even minor issues can start to require more fuel to operate, increasing your utility bill.

Keep your boiler well maintained to ensure it doesn’t cost you more than it needs to while doing its job reliably.

Basic boiler maintenance you can handle yourself

There are some preventative boiler maintenance measures you can take care of on your own:

  1. Periodically:
    • Check that the area around the unit is clear of combustible/flammable materials.
    • Check and remove any blockage from the combustion air inlet and ventilation openings.
    • Check the temperature and pressure gauges.
  2. Monthly:
    • Check the vent piping.
    • Check the combustion air inlet piping.
    • Check the pressure relief valve.
    • Check the condensate drain system.
  3. Every 6 months:
    • Check the boiler piping and gas supply piping for corrosion or potential signs of leakage.
    • Operate the pressure relief valve
  4. For the User Manual instructions

Boiler maintenance you need a professional for

You will need a professional to perform all but the most basic maintenance on your boiler.

Maintenance handled by an expert will help prevent common boiler problems like:

  1. Water level or air pressure issues – boilers require a certain water level if they’re to work properly and safely. Some models also have cushions of air inside that need to be set at the right pressure.
  2. Boiler leaks – gas or water leaking from your boiler can be a serious problem. If you notice the smell of gas, you need to call a professional fast. Water leaks should also be handled with care. Take swift action to prevent damage to your home.
  3. Air vent blockages – common causes of blocked air vents are dirt or debris. These require someone with the right tools and knowledge to clear.

Why your boiler needs preventative care

Boilers provide heating, hot water, and climate control to most homes. They also function at high temperatures and pressures, meaning they can be a safety concern without sensible regular maintenance.

A poorly maintained boiler requires more energy because of problems like tiny leaks or corrosion, in turn adding to your utility bills. Boilers can also be expensive to repair if uncared for; parts can be so expensive that it’s usually more cost-effective to completely replace a damaged system.

Preventative boiler maintenance is so important. Some basic steps, like cleaning, can be handled yourself. For the more complex tasks, call a professional.

Want to keep your boiler in great shape?

Chat about it with one of our highly experienced professionals. Son-Rise Plumbing & Gasfitting has been helping keep Calgary residents safe and warm since 1983.

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Why is sump pump maintenance so important?

Installing a sump pump is a smart move if you want to keep your property safe from flooding or burst pipes. Sump pump maintenance is important if you want your pump to work when you need it most.

Whether you have never had to use your sump pump or you have had to use it more often than you’d like, you want to keep this vital piece of safety equipment in full working order.

Luckily, maintaining your sump pump is nice and simple. Here’s everything you need to know:

When should I maintain my sump pump?

Most of your sump pump’s time is spent sitting quietly in your basement, waiting to act. This is great for you, as you rarely have to think about it.

Unfortunately, this also means you may not notice immediately if something goes wrong. You should put full sump pump maintenance in your calendar every year and aim to do some quick basic maintenance every quarter too.

Why is sump pump maintenance so important?

  1. Safety – your sump pump might not need to act very often, but when it does you want to be sure it’s going to work.
  2. Pumping efficiency – when you do need your sump pump to start working, you’ll want it to work as fast as possible to keep your home free from water. A poorly maintained pump may not do the job fast enough.
  3. Service life – if you don’t want to have to replace your pump, keeping it in good working order is the best strategy. Ignored pumps are much more likely to break down.

How to maintain a sump pump

1) Do some quick quarterly maintenance

Every season, it’s best to check in with your pump and do a few simple bits of maintenance:

  1. Disconnect the power supply.
  2. Check for any obvious damage or problems.
  3. Remove and clean the pump inlet screen or opening.
  4. Reconnect the power supply.
  5. Test that the sump pump is working by pouring 20 litres of water into the sump pit, ensuring the pump activates to pump out the water.

2) Carry out proper maintenance every spring

Once per year, expand that quick check to full maintenance. You can do this at any time of year, but the start of spring tends to be best because that’s when your sump pump will see its heaviest use.

  1. Disconnect the power supply.
  2. Extract your sump pump from its pit.
  3. Clear the pit and the grate and clean the pump itself.
  4. Grease any bearings if your manufacturer’s instructions say they need it.
  5. Check the power cord and power source for damage.
  6. Check that the drainage pipes that take the water away from your home are sealed and that the final discharge pipe is clear and empties out far enough away.
  7. Place your sump pump back in its pit. Make sure it’s correctly positioned and level.
  8. Reconnect the power supply.
  9. Test that the sump pump is working by pouring 20 litres of water into the sump pit, ensuring the pump activates to pump out the water.

Common sump pump problems

If you’re investigating sump pump maintenance because you’re experiencing a problem and regular maintenance procedures haven’t fixed it, there are a few things you can check for:

  1. Sump pit water level – It is common to find a few inches of water in the bottom of your sump pit and the pump only turns on when water reaches the float switch.
  2. Power problems – most sump pumps are electrically powered. Check obvious problems like the wall plug coming out of the socket or damaged wires.
  3. Jammed float – sometimes your pump’s float will get stuck. This is one of the most common sump pump problems and can usually be easily rectified.
  4. Your sump pump won’t turn off – many things may lead to your sump pump being in constant use. Both sump pit water level and jammed floats can cause this. A constantly running sump pump or a full pit could mean parts of your sump pump are working improperly.

For some problems, calling in a professional is the only solution. When you do, be sure to call on a reputable local company with the experience needed to handle your sump pump maintenance and repair.

Got a sump pump problem that maintenance isn’t fixing?

Contact us! Son-Rise Plumbing has been giving Calgary residents a safe, dependable way to deal with its plumbing problems since 1983.

Get in touch today. Let us know about your sump pump problems or anything else our experienced professional plumbers can help you with

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Son-Rise is happy to be back to business as usual, but our top priority is still the safety of our staff and customers. Here’s how we’re protecting our family and yours:


Pre-visit and arrival screening questions


Sanitization of all contact areas, once the job is done


Prescribed PPE for technicians, by customer request


Social distancing between technicians and customers