TANKLESS WATER HEATERS

You’ve heard about them and perhaps your’re contemplating installing one.

Tankless water heaters [ A.K.A. hot water on demand ] are a great idea for those who are concerned about long term energy costs, water conservation and our carbon footprint.

Let us answer your questions.  Baker Plumbing qualified technicians can give you the low down on this product

Call us at 403-279-7554 or at info@bakerplumbing.ca

FATHER’S DAY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

Bring that gas BBQ out of hibernation.  Check it out for cracked pipes or fittings, clean it up and get started. Summer is short in Calgary and we want to make the best of it.  Everyone loves a great steak or a juicy burger, especially Dad.

If you have purchased  a new BBQ, need it hooked up or require a gas line install, please note that you require a gas permit from the City and a licensed gas fitter.  Baker Plumbing’s gas fitters can make short work of supplying natural gas to your BBQ, ensuring your home and family’s safety and years of enjoyment.

Cost of a gas line depends upon the complexity and length.  It also depends upon whether or not your existing line, if you have one, needs to be upgraded to a larger size. If you require a quote, we will happily supply one.

 

Call us 403-279-7554 24/7 or at info@bakerplumbing.ca

SUMMER FURNACE MAINTENANCE

Be prepared with summer furnace maintenance and you will have the peace of mind to know that when it suddenly gets cold everything will be up and running.

  1. Examine your furnace set up and look for any damage
  2. If you use air conditioning you will already know these components are working. If not, check the thermostat and vents
  3. Make sure to change or clean furnace filters and run your furnace once before it gets cold
  4. Remove anything that may be flammable that might have been stored near your furnace while it wasn’t in use
  5. You must call a professional should you notice a crack in the heat exchanger. A cracked heat exchanger will cause carbon monoxide problems when you turn it on

Call Baker Plumbing for a furnace maintenance inspection and a qualified technician will ensure that your furnace is safe and working properly. We are available 24/7, online at info@bakerplumbing.ca  or call 403-279-7554

FIVE W’S OF DRAIN CLOGS

Clogged pipes are a nuisance and can be the cause of damage to your home. These 5 W’s are some of the common factors that will help determine why your plumbing isn’t  working properly.

WHOA THERE!

Be careful that you do not wash down your sink drain any large objects or grease.  That could be your problem right there. Protect your pipes from any abuse

WIDESPREAD CLOGGING

If more than one fixture in your home is clogged, especially if it is the toilets, it could be a sign of blockage in your sewer system. In this case, call a professional or the city

WEIRD DRAINING

Unusual effects after using a fixture, like one fixture causing another to back up is usually indicative of a sewer problem

WOODED AREAS

If you are experiencing draining issues and have a lot of trees on your property, you may be experiencing a root clog. Professional plumbers should be called to remove the root and keep the problem from recurring.

WORN PIPES

Sagging or cracked pipes can trap water and allow backfill which will affect drainage. These pipes will need to be replace by a professional. Baker Plumbing is at your service to solve any of these issues. Call 403-279-7554 24/7

Furnace Information

Background

A furnace is a device that produces heat. Not only are furnaces used in the home for warmth, they are used in the industry for a variety of purposes such as making steel and heat treating of materials to change their molecular structure.

History

Central heating with a furnace is an idea that is centuries old. One of the earliest forms of this idea was invented by the Romans and called a hypocaust. It was a form of under-floor heating using a fire in one corner of a basement with the exhaust vented through flues in the walls that were connected to chimneys. This form of heating could only be used in stone or brick homes. It was also very dangerous because of the possibility of fire and suffocation.

Furnaces generate heat by burning fuel, but early furnaces burned wood. In the seventeenth century, coal began to replace wood as a primary fuel. Coal was used until the early 1940s when gas became the primary fuel. In the 1970s, electric furnaces started to replace gas furnaces because of the energy crisis. Today, the gas furnace is still the most popular form of home heating equipment.

Wood and coal burning furnaces required constant feeding to maintain warmth in the home. From early morning to late at night, usually three to five times a day, the furnace will require attention. In addition, the waste from the ashes from the burnt wood or coal must be removed and disposed.

Raw Materials

Today’s modern furnace uses stainless steel, aluminized steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and fiberglass. Stainless steel is used in the heat exchangers for corrosion resistance. Aluminized steel is used to construct the frame, blowers, and burners. Brass is used for valves, and copper in the electrical wiring. Fiberglass is used to insulate the cabinet.

Design

The original gas furnace consisted of a heat exchanger, burner, gas control valve, and an external thermostat, and there was no blower. Natural convection or forced air flow was used to circulate the air through large heating ducts and cold air returns to and from each room. This system was very inefficient—allowing over half of the heated air to escape up the chimney.

Today’s gas furnace consists of a heat exchanger, secondary heat exchanger (depending on efficiency rating), air circulation blower, flue draft blower, gas control valve, burners, pilot light or spark ignition, electronic control circuitry, and an external thermostat. The modern furnace is highly efficient—80-90%, allowing only 10-20% of the heated air to escape up the chimney.

When heat is requested from the thermostat, the burners light and heat is run through the primary heat exchanger. The heated air then flows through the secondary heat exchanger (90% efficient furnace only) to the exhaust flue and chimney. The average furnace has three heat exchangers each producing 25,000 BTUs for a total of 75,000 BTUs. A flue draft blower is placed in the exhaust flue to supercharge the burners and increase efficiency. The heat exchangers perform two functions: transfer heated air from the burners to the home and allow dangerous exhaust gases to escape up the chimney. The transferred heated air is circulated throughout the home by a large blower and heating ducts.

SUMMERTIME PLUMBING MAINTENANCE TIPS

At Baker Plumbing & Heating, we are always looking for ways to ensure your home comfort. Summertime is for relaxing and we want nothing more than for our customers to enjoy their time off without facing a plumbing problem. Before the sunnier days arrive, there are a few precautionary steps you can take to have fun in the sun without facing a meltdown. These steps not only avoid headaches later, but also save money, which can be put toward vacations.

In the summer, water usage is particularly high. An average family’s water usage is typically increased by 25 to 50 percent. The more water you use, the bigger chance you have of a plumbing setback occurring. That’s why we’re here to provide a few pointers before small problems potentially become big ones.

Clean and maintain your sprinklers regularly. If you have a sprinkler head that’s not working properly and sticks out of your lawn, you run the risk of a lawn mower accidentally breaking it. Clean and maintain your sprinklers as to avoid future costs.

Research before you plant trees. lf you’re not careful, tree roots can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. If you’ve recently planted a tree, check to see if there is water oozing out of your lawn or if the water pressure is unusually low. A Baker plumber can attack the problem at an early stage, before the damages worsen.

Check for leaks. The cold winter months might have caused damage to your outdoor plumbing. Inspect your hose. A leak could affect outdoor activities.

Follow these simple steps to make your summer easier and more enjoyable or contact Baker Plumbing & Heating. If a problem occurs, Baker’s expert plumbers can easily diagnose the problem and treat it with the most advanced solutions.

 

Gas leaks: how to prevent and detect a leak

With 31 deaths and over 1,000 injuries labelled as gas-related incidents in the past three years alone, gas leaks are something every household should take seriously

Here we discuss what can cause a leak, how to detect a gas leak and what to do if you think there is a leak in your home.

What causes a gas leak?

Gas leaks in the home are usually the result of poorly fitted, badly maintained or faulty appliances like boilers and cookers.

If your appliance is badly fitted, gas can escape — typically from the gas hose that leads into your appliance or from around the seal — so you should always make sure your appliances are installed by an accredited gas fitter.

If your appliances are a bit older and you are having them serviced, Call Baker Plumbing & Heating.

You should also be cautious of old or second-hand appliances, particularly if you are just moving into a new property or renting. Luckily there are some easy-to-spot signs that will tell you if your old appliances are faulty (which we cover below).

What can happen if a gas leak isn’t dealt with?

A gas leak can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, fires and even explosions.

So, if you smell gas, you should take immediate action.

How do you detect a gas leak?

The most tell-tale sign of a leak is the smell of gas in your home. But there are also particular physical symptoms you may suffer from if there is a leak.

If you are feeling lightheaded, ill, dizzy or nauseous you should go outside immediately. If the symptoms go away in the fresh air you could be feeling the effects of a gas leak or carbon monoxide poisoning.

There can also be some clear signs from your household appliances that can indicate a leak, even if you can’t smell gas:

  • Always look for a crisp blue flame, rather than an orange or yellow flame.
  • Likewise, look out for a pilot light that always seems to blow out.
  • On the outside of the appliance watch out for soot or any black or brown scorched areas around your appliances.
  • Watch out for excessive condensation on the windows, or a musty smell in the air.

What should I do if I smell gas?

To avoid the worst, you should always take action immediately if you smell gas in your home.

The first step is to turn off the gas supply at your gas meter. The valve that regulates the flow of gas will be connected to your pipe at a right angle, but can sometimes be difficult to locate and/or hard to access.

That’s why you should always familiarise yourself with whether your gas supply can be turned off — especially if you’re in a new property or have recently made changes to the layout.

The next step is to get fresh air into your home to help disperse the gas. Open all the windows and doors and leave them open to ensure air flow.

If you can’t open the windows because they’re locked or for any other reason, get outside and into the fresh air as soon as possible.

While you are airing out your home, avoid using any electrical switches, as the sparks could cause an explosion. This includes light switches or electronic doorbells. Similarly, avoid smoking, using matches or burning any naked flames (e.g. candles) as they could all ignite the leaked gas.

A Few Plumbing Tips From Baker Plumbing & Heating

 

Know where your water main shuts off. If you live in a condo, find out if individual units will shut off or if the whole building has to be turned off. This comes in handy when you have a very bad leak.

 Remove hoses from outside faucets before they freeze in the fall. When you remove the hose, it allows (new, frost free) faucets to drain out and not ice over.

 Check and make sure all stops under sinks and behind toilets turn easily so you can shut those off if you ever have a problem.

 If you’re installing or designing a new bathroom, make sure you have access to tub and shower valves from the other side of the wall(s) on which they are located. Never place new valves on an outside wall.

When buying a new home, make sure the sewer lines are checked for any root or settling problems.

 Don’t put large quantities of coffee grounds or MOST ANY STARCH PRODUCT (rice, potatoes, bread, etc.) down your garbage disposal! Starch will turn into a paste and clog the drain. Coffee grounds tend to attract grease and build-up. Small chunks of the stuff are fine but if you peel a dozen potatoes into the sink and then try to stuff everything down the sink you are asking for it!

Make sure you know where all of your clean-outs (the access to the sewer line) are located.

Over time, galvanized water lines can corrode or rust shut. Copper lines are great. The new pex or plastic pipes – although far less expensive than copper – are not nearly as durable and don’t perform nearly as well.

Dripping taps and the cost!

How leaking faucets cost real money in wasted water:

Do you know how much money a leaking faucet will cost you? You can find out. Of course it will depend on the cost of your water, which you can also find out. A search on the web will lead you to a number of water leak calculators. Knowing the volume and the cost as well, you will arrive at the real cost.
I used one such calculator, provided by a Georgia government agency. I told the calculator that I had three faucets dripping at a rate of one drip per second. I was all a lie, of course. I have no drips and would fix one as soon as I found it. But here’s what the drip counter said. If the above conditions were true, I would be wasting:

259,200 drips per day;
which would be 64 liters per day;
which is also 17 gallons per day;
which would be 6,248 gallons per year;
and those gallons of water could provide 124 baths per year.

Not being satisfied with these statistics, I opened the default calculator program on my computer and calculated that such a volume of water would flush an old-school toilet about 1,800 times, or one of those new ones that don’t work all that great about 3,000 times or more. That’s a lot of flushes.
This how-much calculating is fun. Try it for yourself. Here are some average water use per event numbers. These vary, of course, according to type of device used and other factors.

But just for fun:

A shower uses about 2 gallons per minute. A bath may use 50 gallons or more. Tooth brushing uses about 1 gallon of water. Washing of hands uses 1 gallon. Shaving takes about 1 gallon. A dishwasher needs 20 gallons per load, while hand-washing dishes requires 5 gallons. A clothes washing machine averages 10 gallons per load. You can do your own calculations to figure how many showers, clothes washings, and so forth that your leaky sink may be costing you.
Another cost to consider is the damage the leak may do. Water running down the drain is pennies wasted. Water leaking onto the floor or into the walls may cause thousands of dollars in damages.

In addition, there is the cost to the community to maintain facilities to provide the water. Out of all the water cost calculators that I found, none took into account the cost to citizens to provide and maintain water facilities. That cost I have no way of adding in at this time.

I will briefly state that a person of sound environmental conscience might also consider the needs of wildlife when contemplating water wastage. A deer, I am told, needs from less than one gallon of water a day up to eight gallons or more, depending on climate and other factors. If the thought of thirsty deer doesn’t bother you, how about a dry steak? Cattle need lots of water, each requiring up to twenty gallons or more a day, depending again on climate and other factors. Think about it.

And if you do get worked up about the constant drip, drip, drip, or are stricken with conscience pangs about wildlife wasting away, or if you are planning a barbecue and want a drippingly juicy mouth-watering steak, what should you do? You can attempt to fix it yourself. If you have tools and talent, that might be the easy way to go. If you are not gifted in the home-improvement arena, or just don’t want to do it yourself, you could call a plumber. It shouldn’t cost all that much, and you will be blessed with peace and a clear conscience.
All right, now we get down to the penny pinching. How much does that drip cost you, in real dollars? Ok, remember, it varies with your cost for water, which varies with location. It’s not that simple. But, since I know you won’t be satisfied without a dollar figure, here’s a guesstimate.

Using the Georgia water calculator, and expensive California water, those three dripping faucets might cost you three-hundred dollars or so per year. Or that would be about one-hundred dollars per faucet. If you live on cheaper water, it could be much less.

So the cost isn’t really in the pennies. It’s in the potential for damage and the annoying sound of drip, drip, drip. Add to that the weight of a conscience burdened by the thought of deer with tongues hanging out, panting for water, or juicy steers loosing valuable moisture content. Now you have enough reasons to fix that leak or get it fixed by a pro. Then pat yourself on the back, take a nice shower, and go enjoy that steak with a clear conscience.