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The things you should NEVER flush down the toilet

There are many things you should never flush down the toilet.

In fact, if you’re looking for a basic rule, there are really only two things that should be flushed down the toilet (with some accompanying toilet paper).

If you want to avoid blockages in your wastewater system and not cause problems for your neighbours too, here are some things that should never be flushed.

What should never be flushed down the toilet?

1) Baby and personal hygiene wipes

Toilet paper dissolves in water. Baby and personal hygiene wipes – even “flushable” ones – do not. Instead, they snag on parts of the sewer system and conglomerate with other unflushables.

If you live in Calgary, this problem has hit the news more than once. It was reported in July 2022 that local people called to report emergency blockages over 7200 times in the preceding year.

The culprit was almost always wipes or other unflushable items. Do not flush hygiene wipes of any kind down the toilet if you want to keep it working.

2) Cotton products

Products like cotton pads or Q-Tips also don’t break down like toilet paper does.

Throwing these down the toilet will eventually clog the system. This will only lead to expenditure for you and probably the city too.

3) Feminine hygiene products

More than simply not breaking down, feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads are actively designed to efficiently absorb liquid.

This means they’re perfect for blocking the sewer system if flushed down the toilet. The proper place for these is the garbage.

4) Diapers

Like feminine hygiene products, diapers absorb and contain liquids rather than break down in them.

Plus, diapers can be of a significant size compared to the diameter of the pipes they’re being flushed through.

5) Contraceptives

One more type of product commonly flushed when it shouldn’t be are condoms and other contraceptives.

It should go without saying that, yet again, these are not designed to break down when exposed to liquid. It only takes one to start a clog.

6) Paper towels and tissues

You might be forgiven for thinking you’re on safe ground flushing paper towels or tissues. After all, it’s all just paper, right?

Sadly, no. Different kinds of paper break down in different ways. Even if you have to use paper towels or tissues in relation to toilet activities, don’t flush them.

7) Dental floss

Dental floss also seems like it could be pretty harmless to flush. Unfortunately, it can:

  1. Become an unflushable net – strands of dental floss get twisted around other unflushable items, netting them and blocking pipes.
  2. Do environmental damage – dental floss is non-biodegradable and designed not to tear. If it reaches the ocean it can even suffocate marine creatures. Don’t flush it.

8) Medications

Only in the movies do people flush drugs and medication down the toilet with zero consequences.

In real life, medication doesn’t break down. Instead, it stays in the water, potentially making it toxic.

The simplest rule to follow with toilets is the “Three Ps”. Pee. Poo. Paper. Essentially everything else are things you should never flush down the toilet.

Struggling with a blocked toilet?

Get in touch with us for a swift, convenient fix. Calgary residents have trusted Son-Rise Plumbing & Gasfitting with all their plumbing since 1983.

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5 Common tap problems and solutions

Most common tap problems have relatively simple solutions.

Here are the most common causes behind everyday tap problems and how you can go about handling them.

Common tap problems and what to do about them

1) Tap is constantly dripping

As well as being annoying, a dripping tap can waste gallons of water every year. This is as bad for your wallet as it is for the environment.

If you have separate hot and cold taps, the most common cause of dripping is a faulty, worn, or dislodged washer. These are made from silicon and can stiffen and corrode over time.

In the case of a mixer tap, the problem could be the cartridge. In both cases, the replacement parts are usually very affordable.

2) Tap is stiff to turn on or off

Mixer taps are particularly susceptible to becoming more difficult to turn on or off over time.

This is most often caused by a worn O-ring. As this component degrades, it creates friction by pressing into the surrounding components.

Like replacing the cartridge, this can be reasonably cost-effective to solve as far as tap problems go. Just be sure to turn off your home’s stop valve before you start if you’re going to handle repairs yourself.

Do bear in mind you’re going to have to disassemble and reassemble your tap, which is why most people resort to calling a professional.

3) Tap isn’t dispensing water

This standard tap problem requires some diagnosis. Check your:

  1. Cold kitchen tap – water usually enters your home via this tap. If it’s working, the problem may be somewhere inside your home.
  2. Stop valve – make sure the stop valve under your sink is fully in the anti-clockwise “open” position. It’s easy enough to accidentally turn it.
  3. Neighbourhood – ask your neighbours if they’re experiencing the same problem. If they are, this may mean there’s a bigger fault at work.
  4. Demand – are you running multiple water-using appliances at the same as several taps? Too much demand on the system can lead to lost water pressure.
  5. Pipes – in the depths of the Canadian winter, frozen pipes can cause big problems if not treated quickly. There could also be air locks in your pipes. No water coming out of your taps is a symptom of both of these, meaning a professional inspection is often needed.

4) Tap is dispensing brown water

Those of us lucky enough to be accustomed to clean, clear water in our homes on demand are often horrified when brown water starts coming from a tap.

The cause is usually a pipe or the larger local water system being disturbed for some reason, such as:

  • A burst water main or pump
  • New pipes being laid
  • Routine flushing of the network (you will usually be notified of this)
  • Water being used by the fire service
  • Network valves being opened or closed

5) Tap is making a noise

Groans, whistles, screams, or mechanical grinding sounds coming from your tap can be alarming.

Tap noises have several possible causes. It could be a loose washer or worn stem. Or, if you notice the sound is actually coming from your pipes, it’s likely hydraulic shock caused by a pressure surge.

Like all common tap problems, there are DIY solutions available. However, the safest and easiest answer is to call in a professional to swiftly diagnose the issue and deliver a repair that will stand the test of time.

Need to solve a common problem with your tap?

Give us a quick call today. Son-Rise Plumbing & Gasfitting’s trustworthy professionals have been keeping Calgary residents’ water flowing clear and strong since 1983.

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What causes faucet damage

A broken faucet will waste gallons of water and greatly add to your water bill.

It’s vital to work out possible causes for faucet damage to minimize your water bill spend and your environmental impact.

These are the key culprits behind broken and leaking faucets.

What causes faucet damage?

1) Worn or damaged components

Faucets contain several internal components. Any of these can wear down over time, causing leaks and spreading damage:

  1. Broken seals – the outlet and inlet seals in your faucet help control water flow. They can eventually degrade, necessitating replacement.
  2. Damaged cartridge – A dripping faucet of this style usually results from damage to the cartridge that controls the water flow.
  3. Degraded washers – because the washers in your faucet press against the valve seat, friction can cause them to slowly wear down.
  4. Worn valve seat – corrosion of the valve seat can cause a faucet to leak from the spout.
  5. Loose parts – key components like the steam screw adjustment ring and the packing nuts can become loose, slowly damaging the rest of the faucet.

2) Leaks in the larger plumbing system

Sometimes the fault is in the larger plumbing system, either in your property or the pipelines connected to it.

This requires expert diagnosis to resolve and can be related to complicated older plumbing systems.

3) Unstable water pressure

If you spot water dripping from your faucet irregularly it might mean your property’s water pressure is unstable.

When pressure is very low, water may only trickle out of your faucet even when fully on. When pressure is too high, drips of water are slowly released through the faucet even when it’s closed.

Over time, seesawing pressure like this can lead to faucet damage or generally be a cause of irritating and expensive leaks.

4) Hard water

Hard water isn’t usually bad for your health. It isn’t good for your plumbing system though.

This is because hard water contains a higher quantity of minerals, often calcium and magnesium. These can build up as visible scaly white or yellow deposits on your showerhead, dishwasher dishes, or the faucet itself.

If you’ve spotted deposits like this, it’s probably a sign you have hard water. Left to run inside your pipes and faucets untreated, this can lead to:

  1. Narrowing pipes – this decreases water pressure and can result in clogs.
  2. Corrosion – leading to leaks and breaks in your pipes and faucets.

What causes a faucet to break?

If you’re not an expert, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing a faucet to break. The simplest solution is always to give an expert a quick call.

With even a small leak potentially wasting gallons of water and inflating your water bill over time, working out the cause of faucet damage and dealing with it will always end up being more cost-effective in the long term.

Not sure what’s causing your current faucet damage?

Let’s chat about it. Son-Rise Plumbing and Gasfitting has been helping local people in Calgary care for their homes for almost forty years.

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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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