When to change a water pressure reducing valve

By | Plumbing

Pressure Reducing Valve - Kelowna PlumbingIf you’re having issues with your water pressure (too high, too low, or fluctuating), it may be time to replace your home’s pressure reducing valve (PRV). Another tell tale sign is hammering or vibrating noise in your pipes. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, there is good reason not to ignore it.

What is a pressure reducing valve?
A pressure reducing valve is a key piece that connects your municipal water line to your home’s water lines. Just as the name suggests, it reduces the high pressure coming from the water source down to a lower pressure for your home.

Why is it important to have a properly working PRV?
Aside from annoyances in water pressure and noises from water pipes, your home’s water lines, faucets, and appliances (dishwashers, hot water tanks, laundry) weren’t designed to handle this level of high pressure. This can lead to excessive wear and tear and an increased potential of water leaks.

How often should you change your PRV?
A PRV will typically last 10-15 years with some lasting up to 20. The lifespan will depend on a variety of factors. At the first signs of water pressure issues, water pipe noise, or visible corrosion on your PRV, you should have it inspected. It can potentially cause major issues if left ignored.

What else can you do to protect your home?
Monitoring issues in your water pressure can leave a lot of grey areas. One additional tool that you can add to your home is a water monitoring system. A popular choice is Flo by Moen. This can detect changes in water pressure such as leaks or a failing PRV. It connects to your smart phone and will alert you of any issues and also allow you to remotely turn off your water supply. It can add a lot of peace of mind if you’re vacationing and also potentially save money on home insurance. If you install at the same time as you replace a PRV, it will usually save you on installation labour. Read more on these monitors here.

Wondering if it’s time to change your PRV? Contact us and tell us about the issues you’re having. We offer free quotes.

How Mini Splits Can Offer Major Savings on Energy Usage

By | Air Conditioning, Heating, HVAC, mini split, Plumbing

Ductless mini split systems have been popular in more moderate climates for decades. In recent years, advances in technology have made them an excellent heating and cooling solution in colder northern climates like the Okanagan. They offer significant savings on costly baseboard heating and function as a dual purpose air conditioner in the summer.

If your home doesn’t have central air ducts, has smaller ones that are inadequate for modern furnaces, or even if you have a more modern ventilated system that produces hot and cold zones, mini splits can be an excellent solution to keeping your home comfortable. Here are a few of the top reasons we recommend considering them.

 

What is a Ductless Mini Split System?

A mini split system functions both as a heat pump in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. This consists of one or more wall-mounted indoor units and a heat pump located outside your home. The two are connected by small refrigerant lines, making installation locations much more flexible.

mini split heat pump and ac


What Are The Benefits of Mini Splits?

A Solution to Hot and Cold Zones in the Home

Even new homes with brand new duct distribution systems can have issues maintaining a balanced delivery of air throughout the home. When the summer sun bears down, it’s common to have hot spots in top floor, westward facing rooms. In the Okanagan, the hottest parts of the day are between 2-6pm and those rooms with full exposure aren’t going to be as nice as the dark basement or eastern facing rooms. The best solution is to add a mini split heat pump AC unit to help make those spaces more tolerable for living and sleeping. The reality is, those hot spots are also cold spots in the winter, so you’re covered with the heat pump during winter months and stay cozy throughout the year.

Energy Savings Over Baseboard Heating

If you’ve been running baseboard heating through the winter, you know how electrical bills can rack up. The addition of ductwork requires a major renovation, so central air isn’t an option for most homes without it. The flexibility of installation makes a mini split system our recommended solution. A single interior head unit can often displace 4-6 baseboards in a main living area, each at approximately 1000 watts. While the savings will vary depending on the home size and layout, the heating costs are often cut by 20%-50%. In ranchers or single-level homes with open plans, a single indoor head unit can adequately heat and cool the entire space.

Mini Splits Are Dual Purpose with Air Conditioning

One other drawback when your home isn’t equipped with ductwork is air conditioning in the hot Okanagan summer. For years the only option was to hang an AC unit out of your window. Similar to baseboard heating, a mini split is much more efficient than a window unit. These systems will also increase home security because an open window isn’t required.

Improved Air Quality and Quality of Heat

A mini split system provides air circulation that improves indoor comfort in a few ways. First, because of the airflow, the filtration system inside will remove dust and allergens from the air throughout the year. The other advantage of air circulation is that it will provide more consistent temperatures throughout the home as opposed to warm and cool spots created by baseboards.

Create Climate Controlled Zones

In a home with multiple mini split heads, each one can be zone controlled for that particular space. This can offer further energy savings if units are switched off in infrequently used areas.

Energy Efficiency Rebates

While mini splits will require an upfront investment, there are incentives beyond the savings on energy bills. FortisBC offers energy savings rebates of $1,200 on a single head installation and $2000 on an installation that uses two or more units.

Interested in discussing a mini split system in your home? Contact us for a free estimate.

Top Reasons to Consider Switching to Tankless On Demand Hot Water

By | Plumbing

Have you considered making the shift to a tankless natural gas hot water system? On demand hot water systems have seen a rise in popularity in recent years. Although the upfront investment is greater than a conventional hot water tank, they can potentially save you money in the long run. Here are the top reasons why we’ve seen homeowners make the switch.

On Demand Hot Water Can Save Energy

On demand water heating systems can save energy and money on bills because you only heat hot water when you need it instead of constantly keeping a tank hot. If you spend a lot of time away from home or take extended vacations, why use energy to keep hot water?

On Demand Heaters Have a Much Longer Lifespan

Did you know that many home insurance policies won’t cover a failed hot water tank older than 10 years? Some policies cover as little as 7 years. The Navien on demand systems we install have a life expectancy of 20 years. Some insurance providers even offer a discount for shifting away from a hot water tank. Not having to replace tanks regularly can save both the cost of installation and waste going to a landfill.

Tankless On Demand Hot Water Heater

FortisBC Offers Energy Saving Rebates of $1000

High-efficiency natural gas hot water heaters qualify for an energy saving rebate of $1000. Full details and terms are available on the FortisBC website.

Switching From Electric to Natural Gas Qualifies for FortisBC Rebates

If you currently operate an electric hot water tank but are a FortisBC customer for other services, you qualify for the $1000 rebate. Switching from an electric tank to an on demand hot water heater has the potential to significantly reduce your bills. 

Never Run Out of Hot Water

Do you run out of hot water when you have guests? Or do they sometimes get caught taking a cold shower? Making the switch will allow you to skip this juggling act, so you don’t have to try and estimate how much hot water you have left in the tank.

Space Savings of Up To 80%

If you live in a smaller home or a condo, space comes at a premium. On demand systems usually save about 80% of the space used by a conventional hot water tank. On demand systems are also wall mounted, saving valuable floor space. For condo owners using storage lockers, this can instantly save a monthly expense.

 

Interested in learning more about an on demand hot water heater? Contact us for a free estimate.

Interested in financing? Find out financing details and prequalify here in 5 minutes.

When Should a Hot Water Tank be Replaced?

By | Plumbing

There are a few signs that a hot water heater may be about to fail you should be on the lookout for. Before seeking these out, you may just want to start with the age of your heater. If your heater is older than 10 years, your insurance may not cover you if a failure happens. Some policies may even be less than 10 years.

How do I find out how old my hot water heater is?

Hot water heaters will have rating plates with a model and serial number.  The age of the tank can be found by looking up the manufacturer’s serial number which incorporates the month and year.  If the label is missing, there may be a date stamped into the metal.

What are the signs my tank may fail?

Common signs of a tank that may be ready to fail include:

  • Rust on the tank or in the water
  • Failure to heat water
  • Any leaks around the tank
  • Noisy operation

What’s the most cost effective solution?

In the short term, replacement of a hot water tank is the most cost effective solution. You could repair a tank, but it may not be worthwhile if the tank is getting older for insurance purposes alone. 

 

In the long term, particularly if you plan to own your home for an extended period, you could consider investing in an on demand hot water system (tankless). These can save cost because they won’t need to be replaced at regular intervals and also because they use significantly less energy. Fortis BC offers an energy savings discount of $1000.

 

Not sure if it’s time to replace your tank? Contact us for a free estimate. We offer up front pricing and have low-interest financing options available to keep you on budget.

On Demand Hot Water Heater Installation