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Everything You Need to Know About Sump Pumps

If you live in an area that has a history of flooding or in a house with a basement that sometimes takes on water, a sump pump is an indispensable tool. Some houses are built with the foundation at or below the water table much of the year, and others can take on water seasonally.

Understanding how sump pumps work and choosing the right one can mean the difference between a relatively dry basement and taking on water damage. In this article, we’re here to make sure you know everything you need to make an informed decision buying and installing a sump pump.

What is a Sump Pump?

Sump pumps are designed to remove water from a sump pit (or sump basin), usually found at the lowest point of a house’s basement. Common sump pumps detect water levels through a float switch and activate when water reaches a certain level.

The primary sump pump then pumps water out of the basement and away from the home’s foundation. This prevents flooding and water damage. It also preventatively maintains the structural integrity of your house and keeps it free of other problems such as mold.

Types of Sump Pumps

There are two types: pedestal sump pump and submersible sump pump.

  • Pedestal Sump Pumps stand upright and have the motor mounted above the sump and out of the water. This design makes them easier to maintain as the motor is not submerged.
  • Submersible Sump Pumps are mounted inside the sump, are waterproof and are submerged anytime your house takes on water.

Pedestal pumps tend to last longer, while submersible pumps are better suited for homes that require heavy-duty water pumping.

The choice between a submersible pump and a pedestal pump will depend on the amount of water your house takes in and your preferences as a homeowner.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Sump Pump

1. Horsepower: How much horsepower your pump needs really depends on how much water your basement floor is likely to take on. You can predict this through knowing the home’s history, the water table it sits in, and the amount of rainfall your area gets every year.

A pump with more horsepower will be able to move more water faster, which can be important if you live in an area that experienced flooding in the past. A sump pump with lower horsepower may be fine for situations where your basement takes on smaller amounts of water less often.

2. Home Size: The size of your home can also be a factor. Larger homes, with more surface area, can have higher amounts of water collecting around the foundation during storms.

If you have a bigger house, you might need a sump pump that can handle more water at certain times of the year. Small to medium-sized homes might be fine with lower-capacity sump pumps. You’ll want to choose one up to the job and avoid overworking the pump.

3. Cast Iron vs. Plastic: Cast iron sump pumps tend to last longer. Cast iron can dissipate heat better than plastic, which can be a factor in the life of a sump pump. Plastic ones are both lighter and less expensive but will wear out quicker.

4. Battery Backup Sump Pumps: Power outages aren’t uncommon with heavy storms. A battery backup sump pump can protect you against water damage when the power goes out. If that happens, the battery backup pump kicks in automatically, continuing to work while the lights are out.

5. Wi-Fi Capabilities: Some sump pumps come with Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to monitor operation remotely. This can be useful for property managers or homeowners away from home.

With WiFi connectivity, you can get real-time alerts on your smartphone and know the status and performance of your sump pump wherever you are.

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?

A well-maintained and installed sump pump can be expected to last around 10 years. The lifespan can vary based on how often it gets used, the volume of water it needs to handle, and how dirty your floodwater is. Investing in a high-quality pump and proper installation are important steps in getting the longest service life possible.

Regular maintenance is also important. Inspect and check both your pump and the pit for debris, check the operation of the float switch, and make sure the discharge line is clear.

For clogs, check the pump’s inlet screen for debris that might be blocking the flow of water. This screen, usually at the bottom of the pump, can get clogged. Check the discharge pipe and vent hole for blockages. If your pump has a check valve, make sure it isn’t stuck, as this can prevent water from flowing out of the system.

Motor failures can be more complex and will require checking electrical components. If the pump is receiving power but not working, check that the float switch isn’t stuck or malfunctioning. For submersible pumps, water inside the housing probably means a seal failure, which can lead to motor damage. If you’re not comfortable working with electrical components or if the pump continues to fail after checking these areas, it may be time to consult a professional about a sump pump repair or replacement.

Best Sump Pump Brands In Alberta

Choosing a trusted and quality sump pump brand is your first step. Among the best sump pumps available here are three brands we recommend.

Titan Sump Pumps

A titan sump pump, a very popular Calgary sump pump brand. Son-Rise plumbing installs Titan Sump pumps.

Titan Sump Pumps are designed for quick and simple installation, easy maintenance, and smooth operation. They offer versatility and performance, with six submersible models, one column sump pump, and one package system. All pumps come with a two-year guarantee.

Titan models are crafted from high-quality stainless steel and cast iron. Also coming with features like automatic operation, adjustable starting heights, and thermal overload protection, Titan Sump Pumps are a dependable solution.

Pentair Myers Cast Iron Sump Pumps

A titan sump pump, a Calgary sump pump brand. Son-Rise plumbing installs Titan Sump pumps in Calgary and area.

Pentair Myers pumps are also constructed from durable cast iron and engineered for longevity with a stainless steel motor cover.
These sump pumps are a great solution for managing water in your basement. Other features include a single-row ball-bearing construction for long life and multiple piggy-back switch options for easy maintenance and replacement.


Liberty Sump Pumps

A Liberty sump pump, an often installed Calgary sump pump brand. Son-Rise plumbing installs Liberty Sump pumps in Calgary.

Known for their reliability and performance, Liberty’s range has models for many different needs. Like the other two, Liberty pumps are engineered to last and deliver superior performance.
They come built with automatic float switches and energy-efficient motors. In our experience, Liberty Sump Pumps are a great choice for homeowners seeking reliable flood protection and water management solutions.



Get A Sump Pump Installed With Son-Rise Plumbing

Keeping your home safe from water damage starts with the right sump pump. For those looking to install or upgrade, or if you need to talk to an expert about your situation, Son-Rise Plumbing offers consultation and installation services tailored to your needs.

Contact us today for a quote or to learn more about how we can help protect your property from flooding.

Request a no-pressure Quote or Consultation today!

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Everything You Need to Know About Frozen Pipes in Calgary

Calgary’s picturesque winters come with a unique challenge for homeowners – the menace of frozen pipes. As temperatures in Calgary plunge, the risk of pipes succumbing to the cold increases, potentially leading to plumbing disasters.

1: Identifying Frozen Pipes

Recognizing the early signs of frozen pipes is crucial for homeowners to prevent potential plumbing catastrophes. One of the initial indicators is a noticeable drop in water pressure. As temperatures plummet, water inside the pipes begins to freeze, causing it to expand. This expansion can lead to a reduction in the available space for water to flow, resulting in decreased water pressure in faucets and fixtures throughout the house. In more severe cases, ice can completely obstruct the passage of water, leaving taps dry and household activities hampered.

Frozen pipes can have a huge impact on a home’s plumbing system. The expansion of water as it freezes exerts significant pressure on the walls of the pipes. If this pressure builds up to a point where the pipe’s structural integrity is compromised, it can lead to a burst pipe. The aftermath of a burst pipe includes water damage, potential flooding, and expensive repairs.

Residents looking to prevent frozen pipes can look at the City of Calgary’s Frozen Pipes Prevention Program. This initiative provides valuable resources and information to help homeowners identify signs of frozen pipes and take preventive measures. The program underscores the significance of proactive measures, urging residents to stay vigilant, particularly during the winter months, and take steps to protect their plumbing systems from the challenges posed by our frigid climate. A qualified Calgary plumber is an invaluable asset when identifying and repairing frozen pipes.

2: Causes and Prevention of Frozen Pipes

Calgary’s winter brings with it a unique set of challenges for homeowners, and understanding the causes of frozen pipes is key to implementing effective preventive measures.

  • Low Temperatures: The primary factor leading to frozen pipes is, unsurprisingly, the extreme cold temperatures that characterize Calgary’s winter. When the mercury drops significantly, especially during prolonged cold spells, the water inside pipes can freeze, creating a potential hazard. Pipes located in unheated or uninsulated areas are particularly susceptible.
  • Poor Insulation: Inadequate insulation is a common culprit. Pipes located in exterior walls, basements, crawl spaces, or attics are vulnerable to the cold. Proper insulation acts as a protective barrier, preventing the transfer of cold temperatures to the water inside the pipes.
  • Thermostat Settings: A common oversight that contributes to frozen pipes is setting the thermostat too low, especially during periods of extended absence. While energy conservation is essential, maintaining a minimal indoor temperature, even when away, can prevent pipes from reaching freezing temperatures.
  • Exposure to Drafts: Drafts can exacerbate the freezing risk. Cracks or gaps in windows, doors, or walls allow cold air to infiltrate the home, affecting pipes’ temperature. Identifying and sealing these drafts is an effective preventive measure.

Preventing pipes from freezing involves a combination of insulation, controlled temperatures, and strategic actions:

Insulated plumbing pipes

  • Insulate Pipes: Adding insulation to pipes, especially exposed pipes in vulnerable areas, provides a protective barrier against the cold. Pipe insulation is readily available at hardware stores and can be a cost-effective solution.
  • Seal Leaks: Identifying and sealing any drafts or gaps in the home’s structure prevents the intrusion of cold air. This not only aids in preventing a frozen pipe, but also contributes to overall energy efficiency.
  • Open Cabinet Doors: Allowing warm air to circulate around pipes under sinks by opening cabinet doors can be beneficial. This is particularly important for pipes located along exterior walls, where insulation may be less effective.
  • Let Faucets Drip: Allowing faucets to drip slightly (you need only a trickle!) can relieve pressure in the pipes, reducing the risk of freezing pipes. While this may lead to minimal water wastage, it can be an effective preventive measure during extreme cold snaps. If it’s dripping persistently, our faucet repair specialists can help you out.
  • Keep Garage Doors Closed: Garages are often overlooked, but they can contribute to cold air infiltration. Keeping garage doors closed, especially if water supply lines run through the garage, helps maintain a warmer environment and helps with frozen pipe prevention.
  • Maintain Consistent Heat: Keeping the home consistently heated, even when residents are away, is crucial. This ensures that the temperature inside the home remains above the freezing point, safeguarding pipes from potential freezing.
  • Install Pipe Sleeves: For additional frozen pipe protection, consider installing pipe sleeves. These are insulating materials designed to wrap around pipes, providing an extra layer of defence against the cold.
  • Professional Inspection: Engaging in a professional plumbing and sewer line camera inspection, particularly before the onset of winter, is a proactive approach to identifying potential vulnerabilities. Plumbers, such as those from Son-Rise Plumbing, can assess the insulation, identify potential issues, and recommend tailored preventive measures.

3: Thawing Frozen Pipes

Unthawing frozen pipe with a hair dryer - cartoon drawingKnowing how to safely thaw a frozen pipe is crucial to prevent further damage. If you suspect you have a frozen pipe, it’s essential to act promptly.

Safe methods of thawing pipes include using tools such as a hair dryer, a heating lamp, a portable space heater, or an electric heating pad wrapped around exposed pipes. Direct the heat source toward the frozen section of the pipe, starting from the end closest to the faucet. This gradual application of heat helps melt the ice without creating undue pressure within the pipes.

You should never use open flames, such as torches or propane heaters, to thaw frozen pipes. They can pose significant risks, including fire hazards and damage to the pipes. The intense heat generated by these methods can lead to rapid expansion within the pipes, increasing the likelihood of bursting.

If uncertainty or safety concerns surround the thawing process, you should seek out the expertise of a professional plumber like Son-Rise Plumbing.

4: What About Frozen Toilet Pipes?

Different components of the plumbing system, including toilets, require special considerations in freezing temperatures.

To prevent frozen toilet pipes, it’s recommended you insulate water pipes, the toilet tank, and any exposed pipes. Keeping the bathroom door closed to contain warmth and running lukewarm water periodically can also help mitigate the risk of freezing in this specific area.

Are you experiencing this? Give our toilet repair and replacement experts a call!

5: How Can a Calgary Plumber Help?

Calgary plumbers play an integral role in both preventing and remedying frozen pipes. Long-term solutions may involve upgrading insulation or installing specific plumbing solutions tailored to Calgary’s unique climate.

Son-Rise Plumbing, as a local Calgary business, offers a range of services aimed at maintaining optimal plumbing conditions in the face of winter’s challenges. Our experienced team understands the intricacies of Calgary’s weather and provides expert solutions to ensure your plumbing remains resilient in the cold.

Call on Son-Rise Plumbing to Help

Contact Son-Rise Plumbing today if you’re worried about frozen water pipes, burst pipes, or want help to keep your pipes from freezing.

With our local expertise and commitment to the community, we not only address your immediate concerns when your pipes freeze, but can also provide guidance on preventive measures to fortify homes against the impending cold weather.

In the challenging winter climate of Calgary, early detection and timely intervention can make all the difference in ensuring a warm and hassle-free season.

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Why is My Boiler Leaking?

Boilers in Calgary are an excellent, energy-efficient way to heat your home, but if you notice water leaking, your utility bill shouldn’t be your only worry. If you’ve recently headed into your basement and discovered that your boiler is leaking water, you might be wondering if you should treat the situation as an emergency or not.

While a boiler leaking water might be due to an easily-fixable issue, you should always take immediate action if you discover your boiler leaking water.

What To Do When Your Boiler Is Leaking

Discovering a pool of cold water beneath your boiler can be a source of immediate concern. Your boiler leaking water might not necessarily mean that you’ll need to replace the entire system, but it’s crucial to act promptly to prevent any further damage. Here are the steps you should take if you discover a boiler leak:

1. Turn Off System

The first and most important step is to turn off your boiler immediately. This can be done by locating the power switch or shutting off the hot gas supply. If you’re unsure how to do this, consult your boiler’s manual or contact a professional for guidance.

This action will help prevent further water damage and potential hazards.

2. Clean Up Water

Using towels or a wet vacuum, carefully clean up the water around the boiler. Take precautions to avoid slipping or electrical hazards. If the leak is substantial, it’s a good idea to also address any water pooling in nearby areas. Proper cleanup is crucial for preventing further damage and assessing the extent of the issue.

3. Call Trusted Boiler Repair Experts

Contacting a trusted boiler repair service like Son-Rise Plumbing is essential at this stage. The expertise of a licensed technician will be invaluable in assessing the situation and providing guidance on the necessary steps to take.

Explain the situation in detail and ask for their advice on whether a repair or replacement is needed. Remember, attempting to fix the issue yourself could void your insurance and warranty, so it’s always best to rely on experienced professionals.

Why is My Boiler Leaking?

Understanding the root cause of the leak is crucial in determining the necessary course of action. Here are some common reasons why boilers may leak:

1. High Pressure Gauge

Excessive pressure within the boiler system can lead to leaks. This may be caused by a faulty pressure relief valve, a malfunctioning expansion tank, or other issues within the system. All gas boilers have energy efficiency requirements, and an unnaturally high boiler pressure might affect these regulations.

High pressure can put unnecessary strain on various components, leading to potential leaks (either water or leaking gas, which is much more serious). A professional technician can assess and adjust the pressure to ensure it’s within safe limits.

2. Bad Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is a critical component of a boiler. It’s responsible for transferring heat from the burner to the water, allowing for heat cold water efficiently. Over time, heat exchangers can develop cracks or other forms of damage.

When this happens, water can escape from the boiler. A damaged or faulty heat exchanger may need to be repaired, or in more severe cases, replaced.

3. Boiler Corrosion

Boilers are exposed to water, which can lead to corrosion over time, especially if not properly maintained. Corrosion weakens the structural integrity of the boiler and can eventually result in leaks.

Regular maintenance, including inspections and boiler corrosion prevention measures, can help prolong the lifespan of your boiler.

4. Leaky Joints

Seals and joints in the boiler system can deteriorate over time, leading to leaks. This can occur around the outlet pipe, valves, or other connections. Leaky joints may be a result of wear and tear, improper installation, or simply aging components. A

Addressing these leaks promptly is essential to prevent further damage and maintain the efficiency of your heating system.

Is A Leaking Boiler Dangerous?

Yes, a leaking boiler can pose serious risks. Water near electrical components can lead to electrical hazards, potentially causing short circuits or fires. Additionally, if the leak is related to high pressure, it may indicate a potentially dangerous situation that requires immediate attention.

Ignoring a leaking boiler can lead to more extensive damage, higher repair costs, and even the need for a complete replacement.
It’s imperative to address the issue promptly to ensure the safety of your home and family. This includes not only repairing the leak but also identifying and rectifying the underlying cause to prevent future occurrences.

Call Son-Rise Plumbing if Your Boiler is Leaking

If you find yourself facing a leaking boiler, don’t delay- contact Son-Rise Plumbing immediately. Our team of experienced professionals specializes in boiler repair and replacement. We will assess the situation, provide expert advice, and ensure that your heating system is restored to optimal functioning.

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The Cold Weather Is Coming… Is Your Home Prepared?

As the chill of the winter months descends upon Calgary, Alberta, it’s crucial to prepare your home’s plumbing for the impending winter. Calgary’s unique climate, with its frigid temperatures, rapid melt/freeze spells, and heavy snowfall, demands special attention to your plumbing system. Although we are set to experience an El Niño year, that doesn’t mean you should neglect winterizing your home, as mild cold can still cause damage. Here are some comprehensive steps to ensure your home’s plumbing is well-prepared for the winter season:

1. Secure Outdoor Faucets: In Calgary, where temperatures can plunge dramatically, it’s essential to switch off your outdoor faucets. This action allows any residual water to drain out, preventing the risk of freezing and potential pipe bursts.

2. Insulate Vulnerable Pipes: Calgary’s winters can be harsh, and all hidden pipes, especially those in garages, attics, or crawl spaces, are at risk of freezing. To combat this, use heat cables along the pipes and cover them with insulation. This extra layer of protection is vital in maintaining the integrity of your plumbing during Calgary’s intense cold spells.

3. Open Cabinet Doors: During Calgary’s prolonged cold periods, opening your cabinet doors can greatly reduce the risk of indoor pipes freezing. This simple action allows warmer air to circulate around the pipes, providing an added layer of defense against the cold.

4. Thorough Exterior Inspection: Conduct a meticulous examination of your home’s exterior, looking for any visible cracks or gaps. In Calgary, where winter winds can be piercing, these cracks can let in cold air, increasing the risk of frozen pipes. Seal any discovered cracks promptly to safeguard your home.

5. Regular Pipe Maintenance: Regular checks on the condition of your pipes can prevent costly and inconvenient winter emergencies. Calgary’s climate can be unpredictable, so staying proactive with your plumbing maintenance is key.

6. Professional Assistance: At Son-Rise Plumbing & Gasfitting, we’re equipped to ensure your plumbing withstands Calgary’s winter. Our team of experts provides upfront pricing quotations, eliminating surprises on your bill. Whether it’s routine maintenance or emergency repairs, our skilled professionals are ready to assist.

7. Emergency Plumbing Services: If faced with a plumbing emergency, don’t hesitate to contact Son-Rise Plumbing at 403-474-0859. Our experienced crew is available to provide swift, reliable solutions. Remember, we prioritize your satisfaction, and we’re not content until you are.

By following these guidelines and leveraging the expertise of Son-Rise Plumbing & Gasfitting, you can confidently navigate Calgary’s winter season, knowing your home’s plumbing is secure and efficient!

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Understanding the benefits of a backflow prevention system

Have you ever heard of a backflow prevention system? It may not be a topic that comes up in everyday conversation, but it’s an essential component of a well-functioning plumbing system. Understanding the benefits of a backflow prevention system can help you safeguard your water supply and protect the health of your family. So, let’s dive in and explore why this system is so important.

What is backflow?

To grasp the significance of a backflow prevention system, let’s first understand what backflow is. Backflow occurs when the flow of water in your plumbing system reverses, causing non-potable water (contaminated or used water) to flow back into the clean water supply. This reversal can happen due to changes in water pressure such as a water main break, water line repair, or high-water demand.

The dangers of backflow

Backflow poses significant health risks because it can contaminate the clean water supply with harmful substances, chemicals, bacteria, or waste. Imagine the potential consequences if wastewater, pesticides, fertilizers, or other pollutants entered your drinking water. It can lead to serious illnesses and pose a threat to the well-being of everyone in your household.

The benefits of a backflow prevention system

Protects water quality

The primary benefit of a backflow prevention system is that it ensures the integrity and safety of your water supply. By installing a backflow prevention device, you create a barrier that prevents contaminated water from flowing back into the clean water system. It acts as a safeguard, protecting your family from potential health hazards.

Complies with regulations

Many municipalities require the installation of backflow prevention systems to comply with local plumbing codes and regulations. These regulations are in place to safeguard public health and maintain the integrity of the water supply. By having a backflow prevention system installed, you ensure that you meet these requirements and contribute to a safer community.

Prevents costly damage

Backflow incidents can cause extensive damage to your plumbing system, appliances, and property. The contaminated water can corrode pipes, ruin fixtures, and damage appliances like washing machines or water heaters. The cost of repairs and replacements can quickly add up. By investing in a backflow prevention system, you mitigate the risk of damage and save yourself from expensive repairs in the long run.

Provides peace of mind

Having a backflow prevention system in place gives you peace of mind knowing that your water supply is protected. You can enjoy clean and safe water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and all other household activities. It eliminates worries about potential contamination and allows you to focus on the well-being of your family.

Consult with a professional

To reap the full benefits of a backflow prevention system, it’s essential to consult with a professional plumber or backflow prevention specialist. They can assess your specific needs, determine the appropriate type of backflow prevention device, and ensure proper installation and maintenance.

Remember, when it comes to protecting your water supply and maintaining a healthy home, a backflow prevention system is a wise investment. It offers peace of mind, complies with regulations, and safeguards your water quality. By taking this proactive step, you contribute to a safer and healthier environment for you and your loved ones.

Do you have a backflow system? Need help finding it or installing one? Call the Son-Rise Plumbing crew at 403.474.0859.

We are plumbing professionals with years of experience and we are always available to help you! And remember, we’re not happy until YOU are happy!

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The role of residential re-piping in home improvement and property value

When it comes to home improvement projects, one aspect that is often overlooked but holds significant importance is residential Poly B™ replacement and re-piping. The pipes that run through your home are responsible for delivering clean water and removing wastewater. Over time, these pipes can deteriorate, leading to leaks, low water pressure, and even water damage. Understanding the role of residential re-piping in home improvement and property value can help you make informed decisions about maintaining and upgrading your plumbing system.

Enhanced functionality and comfort

By replacing outdated pipes with new ones, you can enjoy a reliable and efficient plumbing system. Re-piping ensures that water flows smoothly, faucets and fixtures operate optimally, and you have consistent water pressure throughout your home. This upgraded functionality enhances your overall comfort and convenience.

Prevention of water damage

Leaking pipes can cause significant water damage to your property. From warped floors and mold growth to damaged walls and ceilings, the consequences of water damage can be costly and time-consuming to repair. By proactively re-piping your home, you eliminate the risk of leaks and potential water damage, providing you with peace of mind and avoiding the headaches associated with water damage restoration.

Improved water quality and health

Old pipes can deteriorate over time, leading to issues such as rust, corrosion, and buildup of sediments. These impurities can affect the quality of your water, impacting its taste, smell, and even potentially compromising your health. Re-piping your home ensures your water pipes are free from contaminants and provide clean and healthy water for you and your family. It’s a proactive step towards maintaining excellent water quality and promoting your well-being.

Increased property value

Investing in residential re-piping can also positively impact the value of your property. Potential buyers consider the condition and functionality of a home’s plumbing system when making purchasing decisions. Updated plumbing signals to buyers that you have taken care of your home and there shouldn’t be any issues. This can make your property more attractive in the real estate market and potentially increase its value.

Residential re-piping plays a vital role in home maintenance and property value. It enhances functionality, prevents water damage, improves water quality, increases property value, and promotes energy efficiency. By considering the condition of your plumbing system and investing in re-piping, when necessary, you not only improve your daily living but also protect your investment and enjoy the long-term benefits of a reliable and efficient plumbing system.

If you are unsure if it’s time to upgrade your plumbing, call the Son-Rise Plumbing crew at 403-474-0859.

We are plumbing professionals with years of experience and we are always available to help you. And remember, we’re not happy until YOU are happy!

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