How often do you maintain your water heater?

Your heater may be gas or electric, large or small, but all will benefit from some regular care and attention. There are some simple hot water heater maintenance things that a homeowner can do to supplement the services of a professional and save money.

If your hot water tank is not insulated, this is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to improve energy efficiency. Installing an insulated hot water tank jacket and adding foam insulation to the visible pipes can reduce heat loss by up to 45% and save 10% off your gas or electric bill. Insulating these components also means hot water faster at the tap and quicker recycling time, or the time it takes to replenish the hot water after a bath.

Inside the tank is a harsh environment that is acidic, which reacts with the steel lining. On the top of the tank, there is an “anode rod” which is made of a sacrificial metal, like magnesium. The water in the tank will attack the anode rod first, becoming neutralized. If the anode rod has eroded until it’s no longer viable or if it’s covered in calcium, the water will begin to attack the steel lining causing rust and eventually weakening it until it bursts.

Water from wells and city mains has sediment in it that will settle out if it stands for a long enough period of time. The water heater is basically 40 or 60 gallons of continuously standing water so over time sediment will collect in the bottom of the tank. How much sediment depends on your local water quality and filtration. All hot water tanks have a connector that allows them to be emptied from the bottom using a garden hose which allows any sediment in the bottom to be carried out. Regular flushing will maintain water quality and clarity. This is also a good time to test the TPR, or temperature pressure valve, to make sure it’s doing it’s job. The TPR releases water if the tank pressure exceeds the design rating.

Gas hot water tanks require a little more maintenance than electric tanks. Just like a furnace, the gas heater requires an annual check-up by a qualified technician to make sure it’s working safely and efficiently. The homeowner should keep the area around the heater free of anything combustable including dust, shavings, yard debris, etc. Combustable fluids like gasoline or camping fuel should not be stored in the same area because of the risk of explosion from the pilot light or electronic ignition. It is good practice to raise the hot water heater 18” above the floor, and secure it to the wall, to prevent the pilot light from being extinguished in a flood. You may also want to install a gas cut-off valve that will monitor and stop the flow of gas in the event of a line break.

Tips for keeping your furnace in top shape

Autumn is a time to prepare for winter and one item of maintenance that should be on every home owner’s to-do list is to have the furnace checked by a professional. The furnace produces heat by a process of combustion, which releases exhaust gases including carbon monoxide. A poorly maintained furnace can be unsafe but also uses more fuel than necessary. For this reason, your furnace should undergo an annual checkup and tuning to ensure it’s working at peak efficiency.

There are some things that a homeowner can do between maintenance appointments to ensure long life and reliable operation. Replacing the air filter is very easy and can save up to 5% of fuel costs annually for a cost of less than $5. Homeowners can remove the furnace access panel, following all the steps in the owner’s manual, to inspect the interior and vacuum any dust or debris that may have accumulated. The fan belt connects the fan motor to the fan and should be inspected for frayed edges, tension, and glazing that is caused by slippage. The fan motor may have exterior oil bearing caps that can be removed so the motor bearings can be lubricated. Always check the owner’s manual to avoid improper procedures. Your technician from Nagra Bros. Plumbing will take care of these items for you at every service appointment.

Predictive maintenance is also part of the service that Nagra Bros. provides with every service call. Your technician is specially trained to find and correct minor problems inexpensively before they lead to more expensive repairs. Being proactive in furnace maintenance also means that it will run efficiently all winter without a problem. Regular maintenance and tuning is necessary to keep your furnace running at its designed efficiency rate and will prolong the life of the equipment. Annual maintenance is also a good opportunity to calibrate the thermostat cycling time, which in part runs the fan until the plenum is room temperature, thereby extracting all the heat from the heat exchanger.

Is it time to replace the old furnace?

Your technician may recommend repairs or updates that make a new furnace worth considering. Older furnaces have efficiency rates of 50% or less while newer models can be rated to 95% efficiency, which saves money and helps the environment. The time to ask your technician about a replacement schedule is before it needs to be done and not during the heating season. He will be happy to explain the newer technologies and make a recommendation on your home heating needs.

 

Bros Plumbing Services

What To Do When Your Hot Water Heater is Leaking?

What To Do When Your Hot Water Heater is Leaking?

Hot Water Heater Repair Surrey

We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. Contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545.

No one wants to discover that their hot water heater is leaking. While you may feel overwhelmed initially, the best thing to do is stay calm and then follow the guidelines below.

Make sure that your hot water heater is the culprit

Although the water may be pooled near the hot water heater, it may not be the hot water heater that is leaking. Check that the leak isn’t coming from pipes nearby, a faulty or leaky appliance like a dehumidifier, or even the ceiling. Condensation due to damp weather can also be a factor.

Call a professional, then turn off the power supply

Once you have determined that it’s the hot water heater that’s leaking, it’s important to call an expert like us at Nagra Bros. Then, the next step is to turn off the power supply of the hot water tank. This is important, because leaking water and live electricity can be a deadly combination. For electrical hot water heaters, the power supply can be turned off at the circuit breaker by flipping the switch which is directly connected to the hot water tank. Usually these switches are labeled as to what they are connected to. For gas powered water heaters, the gas must be turned off by turning the dedicated gas shut off valve on the gas line to the water tank.

Turn off the water flow

Next, you should immediately turn off the water flow to your hot water tank. The cold water inlet pipe to the hot water tank should have a designated shutoff valve. This valve could look like a wheel handle (more commonly called a gate-style valve) or could look like a knob or a bar handle (also called a ball-style valve). If the handle is a wheel, turn it until as far as it will go. If the handle is a knob or a bar, turn it 180 degrees. If you find that the valve is broken or stuck, the next option is to shut off the water flow to the home. In every home there must be a valve that can block the pipe where water enters the home.

Find out where the hot water heater is leaking from

While you are waiting, you can start searching the hot water heater for where exactly it is leaking from. If you know which part of the hot water heater is leaking, then that will save us some time in getting the job done as quickly as possible. Of course, we’ll still do a thorough check-up, but pinpointing a major part of the problem will make sure that we can get right to the problem immediately.

Why do leaks happen?

The reason the leaks happen in the first place is because of the glass-lined storage tank that the hot water heaters are built with. Slowly over a long period of time, the mineral particles which are found naturally in the water can build up in the inside of the hot water tank. These minerals are typically calcium and magnesium carbonates, which originate from filtering through limestone and chalk deposits in the natural environment. The build-up can lead to a crack in the glass lining and cause your water heater to leak. As the water in the tank becomes heated, the tank and glass lining then naturally expands. If the hot water tank reduces its heat or is turned off, the tank and glass lining will naturally shrink. Although, after a long period of time, this expansion creates stress on the glass lining of the heater and can cause it to crack. The crack can then propagate creating a bigger opening for the water to leak through.

This build-up of the minerals in the water occurs through a process called calcification, which happens more easily when the mineral contents of the water is higher. The higher the mineral content in the water, the “harder” the water is. Calcification from hard water can obstruct the flow of water through faucets and damage other equipment that handles water, including hot water boilers. Some people choose to add “water softeners” to counter the adverse effects of water calcification. Unfortunately, when there is a crack in the glass lining of your hot water heater, it will need to be replaced. This is because the cracks in the glass lining are not repairable. Oftentimes, the leaks will not change the performance of the hot water tank and people end up choosing to wait too long to replace the tank.

We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. Contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545.

Heating Experts

Cutting Down on Your Heating Costs

Cutting Down on Your Heating Costs

heating and air conditioning surrey

heating experts

We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. Contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545.

Winter is coming! But the cold temperatures don’t have to come with oversized heating bills. Make sure to check out parts of your home and see if they need patching up. It can lead to huge savings for the holiday season while keeping you toasty warm.

Keep hot air from escaping

The first place to check for escaping heat is the weather stripping around your doors and windows. If the plastic strip is torn or worn down, replacing it can save you 7%-12% of your home’s heat and prolong the life of your furnace from being over worked. It’s recommended to have the weather stripping replaced every few years, which is as easy as just pulling off the stripping the old one and sticking on a new one.

The next place to look is your door thresholds. If you can see light shining through from underneath the front door, then that’s a sign you are losing heat. The warm air from inside your home escapes out from those spaces where the light shines through the door. Often times there are usually screws that let you adjust the height of the threshold. When it’s raised up enough, the door should just be able to open and close but not scrap it, otherwise the weather stripping will wear out. If you have an attic, the access door to it should be insulated. Since heat rises, the attic is a natural place for the heat to go. Insulating the door will help keep the warm air inside the home, but make sure that the access door is flat and doesn’t have any gaps where the warm air can still escape.

It’s important to also take a look at your air ducts and make sure that they’re sealed to stop air from escaping. Look for places where the air ducts might have separated at the corners or edges. Typically a house that’s heated with forces hot air loses 20%-30% of its heat from gaps in the air duct system. To fix it, just stick on some aluminum tape over the open gaps.

Consider alternative heating solutions

Some alternative options for keeping your home warm can be the use of small portable heaters instead of using your furnace. Since most of the time during the winter people are gathered together in one place like a dining room or living room, it might be more efficient to heat one room with a portable heater than to heat the entire home. The thermostat is a piece of technology that’s scientifically proven to save you heat and money. Just by turning down the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees while you’re out of the home or even asleep, can save you 10% of your heating bill. The programmable thermostats now available cost less than $30 and will save you way more than you paid for them.

Don’t forget Mother Nature

Finally, the easiest and cheapest way to keep your home warm is also the most ancient: the sun. Believe it or not, even though the temperature might be freezing outside, your home can still be warmed by the sun’s rays. Just keep your curtains open during the day, especially on the south side of the home, and at night make sure to close your curtains to protect the heat that’s inside your home. The more exposure to sunlight, the better; and the bonus benefit of this is that you can let in some natural light while sun is up.

We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. For more information for making your home as heat-efficient as possible, you can contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545.

Frozen Pipe

The Right Way to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

The Right Way to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

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We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. Contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545.

While Vancouver is known for mild temperatures, at least when compared to the rest of Canada, we definitely have our share of cold spells. When the mercury dips below 0oC, you may wonder if your pipes have frozen; if a pipe has frozen, then it has to be dealt with (unless you’re okay with a burst pipe and subsequent water damage to your home… which we doubt you’d look forward to). As always, the best way to identify and deal with a frozen pipe is to call a professional like us at Nagra Bros. Misidentifying a frozen pipe, or improperly thawing one, can result in a burst pipe and extensive water damage as a result. Heating it too quickly can also have this effect. That being said, it’s better to know more about a problem than not, so we’re here to walk you through some of the steps that are taken when dealing with frozen pipes.

Identifying a frozen pipe

So, first things first: how do you know if a pipe is frozen? The easiest way to see if a pipe is frozen is to turn the faucet on. If no water comes out, then you’ve got a frozen pipe on your hands. To pinpoint a frozen pipe, you should check places in your home that are most vulnerable or prone to freezing, such as pipes in uninsulated walls, drafty basements or attics, and other places that are exposed to cold air and temperatures. If you see frost on the outside of a pipe, then it will usually have frozen; not all frozen pipes show frost though, so be careful not to overlook ones that have frozen internally. You can open the faucet that is connect to the pipe in question, and see if the blocked area can be zeroed in on.

Thaw it

Once you’ve found the frozen pipe, congratulations! You’re ready to deal with the problem at hand. Thawing a frozen pipe can be a delicate procedure, especially since it has to involve gradual, evenly distributed heat. Using an open flame, such as a propane torch, is incredibly risky and can not only lead to a burst pipe, but also invites catastrophes like being burned or your house being set on fire. A thermostat may work, but it will take a long time and cannot adequately deal with pipes that aren’t fully enclosed in a solid room.

You could use a hairdryer, provided that the heat is being run back and forth in order to evenly distribute it across the pipe. Using a heater can also work, but make sure to avoid a fire by keeping it away from flammable objects like wall materials. Heat tape (also called heat cable) also works, as it can be wrapped around the pipe and then plugged in to gradually warm it up. That being said, make sure to be careful with heat tape and don’t keep it on your pipes all the time, as a risk of fire is still present.

Don’t take chances

The chances of you risking a fire or burst pipe are higher if you try to do it yourself. If you do get a burst pipe, immediately turn off the water valve in order to stop the water from further damaging your home. Don’t take risks; let us do it right the first time by evaluating and fixing frozen pipes.

We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. Contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545.

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Quick Fixes for Plumbing Emergencies

Quick Fixes for Plumbing Emergencies | Nagra Bros Plumbing

Plumbing Emergencies

Surrey Plumbing Emergencies

Vancouver Plumbing emergencies can be alarming, but by finding ways to stop the leak quickly, you can prevent further damage to your property.

If you have ever encountered an unexpected flood in your bathroom or kitchen, you probably know that plumbing emergencies can ruin your day. Nagra Bros Plumbing offers 24-hour emergency plumbing services, but you may wonder how to protect your property before we arrive at your door.

Turn It Off

If water is gushing onto your floor, you want to stop it as quickly as possible. Here’s how:

  1. Locate the main water shut-off and turn the water off.
  2. Find the problematic fixture’s isolation valve to shut it off exclusively.
  3. Turn off your gas hot water heater to prevent a burst.
  4. Turn on outside faucets to direct water outside.

By following these steps, you can get the flow of water under control before you address the mess.

Seal the Leak

During plumbing emergencies, you may not have all of the tools you need to repair a pipe. However, with a few simple items, you can temporarily protect your home from a leak before help arrives. Use Teflon tape or epoxy to quickly seal a damaged pipe. If you don’t have those available, wrap a towel around a pipe and spread more towels over the area to soak up water. You can also use a bucket or even a pot to catch drips and protect your floors from damage.

Don’t Panic – Help Is on the Way!

Plumbing emergencies can be scary and stressful. After you take the preventive actions listed above, take a deep breath. If you stay calm, you can be better able to tend to your belongings and prevent further damage to your home. Nagra Bros Plumbing helps with all kinds of Vancouver plumbing problems, no matter how dire they may seem. Give us a call at +1 (604) 767-0545, and you can rest assured that we will come to your aid as quickly as possible.

Top Surrey Plumbers

Is It Time for Your Water Heater to get Repaired or Replaced?

Is It Time for Your Water Heater to get Repaired or Replaced?

Water heater surrey

We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. Contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545.

Hot water heaters are essential to living comfortably here in Vancouver; everything from washing machines to sinks and showers rely on them for adequate performance. Sometimes we take hot water for granted, but (especially with the constantly changing weather here) Vancouverites depend on hot water heaters every single day, throughout their day. Hot water heaters one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in your home, so you will want to make sure that you can do everything you can to take care of yours and avoid problems and headaches down the road.

Why Maintenance is Important

Maintenance is an investment that pays major dividends. Having the water drained, getting any corrosion-causing sediment cleared out, and having the pressure-relief valve tested are important ways to keep your water heater working well. Neglected hot water heaters can lead to rusty water, cold water, rumbling noise, and leakage. Don’t wait until your garage, basement, or entire home gets flooded!  A tankless hot water heater should be serviced about once a year by a professional, and a tank hot water heater should also be serviced no less than once a year. Of course, if you see a problem with the hot water system, get it looked at no matter how much time has passed since your last routine maintenance. Trust the experienced people at Nagra Bros. to get the job done right, and make good on your hot water heater investment.

Signs that Your Water Heater Needs Repair or Replacement

If your water heater leaks (even if this just looks like moisture around it), does not turn on, or works erratically, it’s time for it to receive some attention. If you determine that the problem isn’t based on an electrical issue (such as a circuit breaker malfunction), then you need to get someone to repair or replace your heater. Another problem that can happen with your water heater is if it doesn’t get the water hot enough. If your water heater uses gas, check to make sure that the gas is connected and that the pilot is lit. You can also raise the setting on the thermostat, to see if that makes a difference. If these don’t work, then that’s another sign that you need to repair or replace your water heater.

Sediment

Even though Vancouver’s water is some of the cleanest in the world, over time sediment can still build up inside your hot water heater. If it does, it can impede upon your hot water heater’s performance; eventually, a tankless system will lock up because of it. As built up sediment hardens inside a tank system, it will cause a rumbling sound. This sound means that your hot water heater is close to the end of its days, and needs to be dealt with. You can drain a tankless hot water heater, but once a tank heater gets build-up, there is no way to get rid of the build-up other than to replace the entire hot water tank. This is one reason why a tankless hot water heater typically has a longer life span than a tank hot water heater does.

Get Professional Advice to Be Sure

The best way to know if you need to repair or replace your hot water heater is to get advice from someone who is an expert. The right tools, skills, and knowledge are essential to not making any problems worse than they already are. We at Nagra Bros. are committed to giving you quality, 24/7 service to help give you peace of mind and professional results every time you need us, both for emergencies and routine maintenance. Contact Nagra Bros. Plumbing and Heating by sending us an email at contact@nagrabros.com, or call us at any time at (604) 767-0545, and we’ll send an experienced technician to help keep your hot water flowing the way that it should.