Plumbing Blog

3 plumbing features to check before buying a home

So, you’ve found your dream home- congratulations! Although you may be excited to make an offer and move in right away, it is important to check to make sure things are working properly in this new home. Starting with a home inspection is great, but often inspectors cannot thoroughly inspect the entire plumbing system. A plumber will be able to do this inspection, but many homeowners often ask for this after already moving into the home. Read on for three plumbing features to check before you make that offer.

  1. The Main Sewer
    Most people forget about the main sewer line, but it is an integral part of the home and must be kept in good condition. If your line is close to collapsing, it can be disastrous and may cost you more money that you have budgeted for your new home. By getting a certified plumber to do a sewer line inspection with a camera, you will be safe from unwanted surprises later. Since you don’t always know if you home you are buying has drainage problems, it is better to be safe than sorry!

  2. The Water Heater(s)
    Do you know how old the water heater in your new home is? The average life for a water heater is 10 years, but this can vary depending on a few factors. You can find out the age by the model and serial number on the side of the heater. After you find out the age of your new water heater, take a look at the area around it. If it leaks, will it ruin carpet or hardwood? It is a good idea to get a licensed plumber to inspect the heater and give you some options for either replacing the heater or keeping the current one up to code.

  3. The Toilets
    A common problem among homeowners is a leak at the base of a toilet. Many people do not fix this small problem, and this causes it to turn into a larger case of floor rot. When checking out the bathrooms in a potential new home, look for discoloration or warping around the base of the toilet. Also feel the floor to check if it moves or feels soft. Lastly, the toilet bowl should be fixed in place and not have any wobble. If you are uncertain about if the toilet is leaky or not, consult a plumber.

For help with plumbing inspections in a potential new home, contact us at Goodsense Plumbing & Drain Cleaning today.

3 Causes of low toilet water

It happens to everyone. One day a toilet in your home stops working properly, and you notice the water is low. Many people do not pay attention to their toilet water levels, but this is often the cause of most toilet malfunctions. Take a look below at the most common causes of low toilet water, so you know what to fix next time your toilet stops working.

  1. The Tube
    Along the top of the ballcock you will find a ⅛ inch tube. This tube connects to the overflow tube, but can sometimes become disconnected. If it is not properly connected, water is not able to go directly into the bowl of the toilet. Fix a disconnect by finding some pliers and adjusting the tube back in place. Be careful not to tighten it too much as you could damage the tube or tank!
  2. The Bowl
    Sometimes the bowl of your toilet may have a defect that causes the water level to be low. Small bubbles may occur in the china which may leak out water, but this can easily be fixed by a small patch from the manufacturer. If you get a patch for this problem, keep an eye on it as this can often only be a temporary fix and water may start to leak through the patch again.
  3. The Stopper
    Often the toilet float can be tangled with the chain or there may be something blocking it, which causes the toilet to continuously run. Take a look at your stopper- if the chain is too long is may be able to tangle too easily, or if it is too short it may prevent the stopper from fully sealing. A quick check on this can fix your toilet in no time.

If you have an ongoing problem with a toilet in your home or business, and these quick tricks do not offer relief, contact us here at Goodsense Plumbing & Drain Cleaning today.

Should you turn off the water valve before a vacation?

Summer is in full swing here in Victoria, and that means many people will be taking time off work to travel both near and far. But it can be stressful leaving your home empty, and many homeowners worry about theft or damage to their home. A current debate that is ongoing among homeowners is the question of turning off the main water before leaving in order to prevent a burst water line. So, is this worth it?

A water line can burst at any time of the year, but when nobody is around to notice the flood the damage can become even worse. Even if you are going on a short two or three day trip, water damage can be catastrophic, so it is probably a good idea to try and shut off your water. If you decide to shut off your main water valve before departing on your trip, you may need to find out where it is first. Depending on the home, there are a few places it could be, but the most common places are in basements or crawlspaces. If you have never interacted with your main water valve before, it is a good idea to ask your plumber to show you the location of the valve and how it works. Make sure that the plumber checks that the valve actually works as well, so you know your water will actually be shut off while you are gone. A second step to take during the winter months is to drain the water lines after shutting off the valve in case of furnace failure. This is easily done by turning on a faucet either in your basement or on your main floor.

If you cannot find your valve or cannot turn off the water for another reason, your water company may come to turn your water off at the meter for you. Homeowners should check with their municipality to see if this is available, or to find other options.

Once your water valve is safely turned off, take time to enjoy your vacation without worries about flooding at home!

What’s the difference between ABS & PVC pipe?

So, it’s time to replace one or more pipes in your home. If you haven’t done a plumbing project before, you may not know much about the difference between types of pipe. Although many pipes are plastic, not all plastic pipes are the same. Two of the most common types of plastic piping are ABS and PVC. Depending on the project, one type may be better than the other. Take a look below for some tips on which is the best to use.

Before you read any further, it is a good idea to check your local building codes. Some areas have regulations to use certain types of pipe, and in that case the decision is already made! The two most common types of plastic pipe, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), have small differences depending on the use, but the main difference is that ABS pipe contains BPA while PVC does not. Bisphenol A is a chemical used in many types of plastic, and although there are conflicts about its level of harm towards humans or animals, some prefer to stay away. The Food and Drug Administration currently has recommendations that the current levels of BPA in food are safe.

There are a few other differences between ABS and PVC piping. ABS is always black while PVC is white- and easy way to see the difference quickly. PVC piping offers more flexibility, but ABS is a stronger piping and can resist a higher shock. For underground, ABS is great as it can handle extreme cold and can warp if it is in direct sunlight. For inside your home, PVC may be better as it can be soundproof and muffles the sound of water. Price wise, the two types are often similar.

Another difference occurs in the installation process. ABS piping are connected through special cement, a one step process, while PVC piping must be primed before cemented together, a two step process. Since the primer can be messy and takes time to dry, this can add more time to your project. Due to this, ABS can sometimes be more cost effective as it does reduce labour costs.

If you still aren’t sure which type of pipe is best for your next project, contact Goodsense Plumbing & Drain Cleaning for expert advice.

How to Avoid Common Plumbing Scams

Most homeowners have only basic knowledge about plumbing, and so they trust experts to help them when something goes wrong. Unfortunately, not all who claim to be “experts” really are, and some businesses can easily lure you into a scam with low costs. To help your finances and your home stay safe, here are four common plumbing scams to watch out for:

  • Material Scam: Good quality plumbing materials have high costs, but it is worth it for the quality of the material. In this scam, a plumber will tell you that they are using these high quality materials and charge you for them, but will actually use a lower costing alternative. To beat this scam, you can either request a list of materials from your plumber and take it to your local hardware store to check, or you can also request an invoice which will list the brands and materials used. By checking the items before installation, you may be able to determine if the correct material is being used. If you discover your plumber is charging you too much for the materials used, find another person to do the work.
  • More People Than Necessary: Some plumbers will delegate work out to others that they could do themselves in order to make more money in labour costs. When confronted they will claim that this cost is out of their control. If you are uncertain why so many people are needed in your home, don’t be afraid to stop work and ask some questions to clarify.
  • Overcharging: When providing services in well-to-do areas, plumbers may charge more because they know the clientele has the money to pay for it. Since plumbers do not need to have a fixed hourly rate, they can charge what they want for services. If a contractor notices that you have a nice home or valuables, they may charge you more. To beat this, make sure to get at least three estimates from three different plumbers on the work that needs to be done.   
  • No Paperwork: The evasive type of scam involves a plumber who will verbally tell you an estimate but will never put it in writing. This scam can be costly because the costs that are told to you upfront are often increased by three or four times when the final invoice rolls in. Before letting any contractor begin work in your home, always get a paper quote and sign a contract that specifies your payment. This procedure can help protect you from being overcharged later.

Of course, the best way to avoid these scams is to hire a trusted professional, but some scammers put on a very good show and can be hard to pick out. Determine their trustworthiness by asking lots of questions, and if the contractor ever becomes upset with these questions, you have a scammer in your home.

For trusted plumbing service without scams, contact Goodsense Plumbing & Drain Cleaning today.

Does the location of your water heater matter?

It happens to most people: the discovery of water damage on the floor, in the wall, or in another location that causes annoyance, frustration, and of course precious dollars. If you have recently experienced a leaky water heater, it might not have occurred to you that the location of the heater may have had an impact on the leak. You may have had no concerns about where the heater was when you first thought about it, but read on to see why the location really does matter.

One of the most popular places to have a water heater is in the garage. Many people see this location as safe and out of the way, but even in the garage it is important to maintain your heater as a leak can still be an issue. Before deciding to put water heater maintenance on the back burner, survey the area. Any items stored near the heater along with adjacent walls or floors could be damaged by water in the case of a leak. If you have drywall in your garage, an unnoticed leak can travel a long way and cause a lot of damage.

Some people have their water heater installed in a pan which is an excellent way to help prevent leak damage. It is important to keep in mind that pans are only used for small amounts of water as many do not have drains, so any major damage will not be prevented by this. If you do have a pan, it is recommended to have an alarm device that notifies you when it cannot keep up with the amount of water.

In the case of your water heater, it is always good to assume the worst will happen. This allows you to be proactive in choosing the location you place it and also with regular maintenance of your water heater. If you take care of your water heater, you can avoid costly damages to your home.

If you think you may want to reconsider your water heater’s location, or have questions about maintenance or repairs, contact Goodsense Plumbing & Drain Cleaning today.

4 Signs Your Water Heater is About to Fail

Every homeowner dreads the day that their water heater breaks, as often there are no warning signs and it can happen at a very inopportune time. The good news is that there are actually some signs that your water heater is going to fail in the near future- if you know what to look for. Take a look below at four of those signs that can help you predict a failure and avoid unwanted damages.

  • The Age of Your Water Heater: Do you know how old your water heater is? If you don’t, be sure to check the manufacturer’s sticker on the heater for the serial number. This number will tell you what date the water heater was created, but it will be written abnormally. The serial number will begin with a letter whose place in the alphabet represents the month (ie. f is the 6th letter, so it represents the 6th month, or June), plus a number to represent the year (ie. 05 for 2005). If you cannot figure your own water heater out, check the manufacturer’s website. If your water heater is approaching ten years old, consider replacing it before damages happen.
  • Water that Appears Rusty: If you notice rusty water coming out of your faucets when they are running hot water only, this may be a sign of interior rusting on your water heater. Another cause of this is galvanized piping, so to test the true cause drain a few buckets of hot water from your water heater. If the water is still rusty by the third bucket, your water heater is most likely in danger of leaking soon.
  • Noise or Rumbling:  Water heaters will build up sediment with age, and this sediment will eventually harden at the bottom of the tank. This will cause the water heater to rumble or make banging noises as it heats up because of the extra effort required to heat through the sediment. When you notice this, replace your water heater as it is now taking more wear and is also less efficient at this stage.  
  • Water on the Floor Near the Heater: It is good practice to check around your water heater for moisture once in a while, especially if your heater is older. Moisture on the floor can mean that your water heater has a hole in it, and needs replacing as soon as possible. Be diligent when checking this as the heater can leak sporadically due to the expansion and contraction of the metal, so there may not always be water on the floor. Another thing to check before replacing is the overflow pipe and the fittings, as they could be leaking instead of the tank itself.

If you discover any of these signs in your home, call Goodsense Plumbing & Drain Cleaning today to avoid disaster and fix your water heater as soon as possible.

When do Water Lines Go Bad?

Out of sight, out of mind. With most water lines being underground, homeowners often do not think about them at all- until something goes wrong. The main water line brings much needed water into your home for all plumbing systems, and this line does not last forever. If you are unsure about the age, length, or location of your water line and do not wish to have any unpleasant surprises, read on for some valuable tips on when a water line may go bad.

The first thing for homeowners to realize is the importance of their main water line. Every fixture or appliance in your home that uses water will not work properly if a problem happens with this line, and serious damages can mean no running water for up to a few days. In a perfect place, a main water line can last up to 70 years or more, but often other factors prevent this long lifespan. Since it can be expensive to replace at the end of a water line’s life, the best way to predict repairs is to be proactive and schedule a drain camera inspection bi-yearly. The experts performing the inspection will be able to see early onset damages, which allows you plenty of time to prepare for repair or replacement.

It may be hard to notice damages on your water line because often damages are slow moving and occur over time. Damages can occur both from the outside and inside of the pipe, and include threats such as tree roots, shovels or machinery, rust, or sediment buildup. The best way to combat these damages is to consult with a plumbing professional about the best path to take. Not all damages lines need full replacement, but a plumber will recommend that pipes made of iron or lead be replaced as soon as possible due to the fast rusting and toxic qualities. In some cases, such as with a leak, repairs will have to be done quickly, but the line may only need a patch. Keep in mind that even this repair may require crews to dig up your lawn or break concrete, so if the pipe is nearing the end of its life it may be beneficial to replace it prematurely rather than ruin your yard twice.

Even if your water line is working properly, there may be unseen threats waiting to damage it. It’s best to be proactive and get to know your water line before damages happen. For help locating and inspecting your line, contact Goodsense Plumbing & Drain Cleaning today.

4 Everyday Things That Are Clogging Your Drains

A clogged drain is one of the most common and annoying plumbing problems you can experience. The inconvenience of a sink that won’t drain, a toilet that won’t flush or finding yourself standing in 4 inches of water in the shower is enough the ruin your day. While a clogged drain is not completely avoidable, there are a few things you should never put down your drains.

Coffee Grounds

At one time it was thought that coffee grounds were great for keeping drains clear and smelling good. The truth is that coffee grounds act like cement when dumped down kitchen drains, forming an impenetrable barrier. Instead of flushing them or placing them in the garbage, they can be composted or spread around the garden as they make an excellent fertilizer.


With everyone in the family washing their hair, some hair is bound to find it’s way into the drains of your shower or bathtub. Mixed together with soap scum and other particles it builds up which  contributes to a clogged drain. A good way to avoid this issue is using strainers over these drains – just remember to clean the strainers regularly.


Pouring grease down your drain causes this sticky mess to wind up stuck to the inside of the pipes. Any food that finds it’s way down the drain sticks to the grease, and before you know it you have a problem. If you accidentally pour grease down the drain, pouring lots of boiling water down the drain should help move it through the pipes.

Try keeping an empty jar or can to pour grease or oil into which can then be recycled.


Toilet paper is specifically designed to break down when wet and is the only paper product you should flush down the toilet. Paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and even tissues will flush but will form a clog.  It is best to recycle these products or throw them in the trash.

Even if you follow all these suggestions, clogs are bound to happen and you should never be tempted to use Drano or a caustic liquid drain cleaner. If you’re experiencing a drain problem, calling in a professional plumbing contractor is a better way to protect your pipes. Many of our clients in Victoria, BC find scheduling regular drain maintenance with Goodsense Plumbing and Drainage a good preventative measure.


Why Drain Cleaning Is So Important

One of the realities we can’t avoid are those household chores or jobs. Some are almost pleasant and we don’t mind doing them, while others are a major hassle. One of those hassles is drain cleaning. Because we can’t see that they’re dirty, it often takes a backup or slow running drain to get our attention.

If you stop to think about it, we’re cooking and preparing food, bathing, and washing up inches from filthy drains. Often it takes a problem to get our attention before we maybe dump some drain cleaner in the drain and assume it’s all fixed. When you’ve ignored those drains too long, you may want to consider calling in a professional plumber. Regular maintenance of the drains will keep them clear of buildup that can strain the pipes. If calling in a plumber is something you’d rather avoid, the following reasons will surely convince you to clean those drains.

  1. A breeding ground for mold. Mold thrives in any environment that’s dark and wet like drains. With the many health problems mold can cause, you don’t want it lurking anywhere in your home. What better reason to roll up your sleeves and clean those drains?
  2. Broken/ cracked pipes. Food particles or hair find their way into your drains on a daily basis. Over time they build up, water can’t flow as easily, and the pipes could burst from overworking, no matter if they are old or new.
  3. Unwanted leaks. Any time you have a broken pipe or plumbing fixture there’s going to be a leak. A smaller leak will do less damage than a larger one, but the end result is costly damage, especially if it goes unnoticed.
  4. The longer you delay the more it costs. Homeowners hate shelling out large sums of money needlessly, so it just makes sense to do regular drain maintenance!

Don’t wait until you wind up with damage to your house or a bill from the plumber as a result of a  leak. In Victoria BC contact Goodsense Plumbing and Drainage and let us take the stress out of your drain problems.