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Frequently Asked Questions

Just like any standard appliance, your plumbing system needs to be regularly maintained to ensure that you will not experience problems. At Red Seal Drainage & Plumbing, it is important to our team that our customers in North Vancouver, East Vancouver, West Vancouver, Downtown Vancouver, West End, and Burnaby have a good understanding of their drainage and plumbing system. We also want to make sure that when a problem occurs within your plumbing system that you have a good understanding of how to best solve it through professional plumbing services.

It is important to note that no matter what type of plumbing problem you are experiencing, the best solution is always to contact a local Vancouver professional to prevent more damage from occurring, resulting in costly repair and replacement.

Plumbing Questions

In case of emergencies, in older homes the main shut off valve is in the front part of the home and in newer homes it is located in the mechanical room. Always have good access to the water shut off if a pipe bursts.

Have all water supply pipes insulated in crawl space and walls. When the temperature drops to minus 5 in winter, turn on a cold tap anywhere in the home enough so water can flow through pipes before it freezes and bursts. Shut off the water feeding the outside hose and have outside hose turned on to bleed the line. The shutoff is usually located in the inside wall behind the hose or mechanical room which should be labeled.

Turn the power off. Using a long screwdriver and flashlight look into the garburator for any foreign objects or hard food particles. Remove with long needle nose pliers. Press the little red button on the bottom of the garburator and turn on power while running water in the sink. ?

Most likely it is due to old seats, cartridges or washers. Shut off water supply from under sink or vanity. With proper tools, remove cartridge carefully and replace with identical part.

It is always useful to have rubber sleeves and MJ bands to temporarily repair pin hole leaks. These can be purchased at any home improvement store.

If any flooding is in the area it most likely means it is a water main break. Make sure you have easy access to the shutoff in the yard. Your shutoff is usually referred to as a curb stop or city shutoff. The leak can either be repaired or do the full line replacement. We always recommend to do the full replacement, especially if it is an older line.

Most likely its due to an old or faulty tub spout which cannot divert all the water to the head anymore. It's always a good idea to replace the spout first since this would be the easiest solution.

There is a temperature limit set inside the body of the rough-in. Valves will need to be shut off in the unit and reset the temperature or replace the cartridge.

Hot water tanks should be replaced every 10 years. If your tank is leaking, shut off the valve on top of the tank located on the cold line. This will not let any water back into the tank. If you want to drain the tank, attach a garden hose to the drain on the bottom of the tank and drain it to the nearest floor drain.

Shut off the water to the toilet and remove lid on the tank. It is most likely leaking from an old flapper or the chain from the handle being snagged under the flapper. You can replace the flapper and adjust the chain to the right height.

Your fill valve needs to be replaced. Turn off the water to your toilet and remove lid on tank. Adjust height of new fill valve making sure it is 1” below overflow.

Drainage Questions

Most sinks are plugged due to hair or soap scum around the walls of the pipe. Remove the p-trap under the sink and run water into a bucket. If the tap that ran into the bucket did so slowly, then it’s a plug in the tailpiece of the sink. Use long needle nose pliers to pull out hair either from top of sink or bottom. If water flows freely in bucket then the clog is further down the line and will require a small auger.

Toilet paper and fecal matter are the only things that should be flushed down the toilet. Anything else can clog a toilet and should be put in the garbage. We have seen plugged toilets from q-tips to toothbrushes. Keep your toilet lid closed so items cannot easily fall in. A plastic accordion style plunger works the best to unclog toilets. If the plunger doesn’t unclog the toilet, use a toilet auger.

Kitchen sink clogs can happen from grease or food that is drained into the sink. The plug does not happen right away but usually over a longer period of time. It is good practice to remove any leftover food or grease in the compost or garbage. Garburators also cause clogged drains as food goes down the drain. If you use a garburator always run water while it is in use. Every couple weeks fill your sink with hot water and let it drain. It can flush out food waste that is in the drain line.

Tubs and showers clog up due to hair and soap scum. Lift up drain cap and see if any hair is clogging it. Usually hair or debris can be reached with long needle nose pliers. If not, it will require a small hand auger. If your tub is clogged, remove the overflow on top of tub and use small hand auger.

Look for clean out to access with small auger. Most likely auger will not be able to go through standpipe because p-trap is hidden behind wall. Usually a small auger will be required to unclog the drain since it's usually further down the line.

A sewer main can back up from tree roots in your yard, a cracked or rotted cast iron drain, a collapse in a line, etc. It is the worst of plugs and requires larger machines to clear the line. Sometimes if the line cannot be cleared then a portion or the whole line has to be replaced either by digging or pulling.

This is caused by a plugged sewer main. To clear the blockage do not use any water in the household at all. Any water that is used will overflow. This problem often occurs in basements or the first floor. A large auger will need to be used to clear blockage and it’s always a good idea to put a camera down to see what the cause of blockage was and if there is any unforeseen blockages in the line.

Drain tiles should be cleaned at least once every year or two depending on how old the house is. Rain water from around the house and roof go into the drain tiles that are buried along the foundation and are carried away into the city storm drain.

A camera inspection or a large auger are used in this situation. In older homes, spot digs at the corner of the house are done if the tiles are concrete or clay and they are old and hard to navigate around bends from the top of the ground. We can also dig up drain tile along your house if the lines are collapsed and hard to clear.


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We are open Monday to Friday 8:00am-5:00pm. Emergency Service Available. Please call us at (604) 618-4988.

Red Seal Drainage & Plumbing Inc.
2790 east 21st Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
V5M 2W2

At Red Seal Drainage & Plumbing, we are proud to serve Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Langley, Surrey, and Richmond with expert plumbing services.

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