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September 8, 2022

New Vancouver House Owners: Check These 5 Vancouver Plumbing Issues

Acquiring a new home is an exciting event, especially in Vancouver. Whether you’ve purchased a place in the East or West area of the city, the age of your new home will help diagnose common Vancouver plumbing issues many new homeowners face. Rather than being surprised, we’ve prepared a short guide on 5 Vancouver plumbing issues to watch out for.

Vancouver Plumbing: Water Pressure

Some common Vancouver plumbing problems occur with water pressure. Most frequently noticed is low water pressure. The telltale signs are reduced water output from your faucets while rinsing dishes or lower pressure from the showerhead.

There are a few primary causes of this Vancouver plumbing problem. It’s a good idea to first start with aerators and showerheads that you’re having water pressure issues with. Soaking them in a vinegar solution overnight could help unclog any buildup. It’s also possible a water main break has reduced the pressure on your taps. You can talk to your neighbours to see if they are having similar issues with water pressure in their homes. If you cannot find the direct cause of the issue yourself, it’s best to call on a professional to diagnose it and find a solution for you. 

Another possibility is high water pressure. If it remains too high for too long, it can cause stress on your pipes and pipe joints. There’s usually a PRV (Pressure reducing valve) where the city’s main is connected to your home’s plumbing system. This valve tends to last about 7-12 years before problems tend to occur. 

Vancouver Plumbing Problems With Poly-B Piping

Polybutylene (Poly-B) piping was commonly used in Vancouver between the late-1970s and the 1990s. However, this piping was banned because it wasn’t waterproof. It seems counterintuitive, but Poly-B pipes react poorly to levels of oxygen found in water and chlorine, and these pipes will become flaky and brittle. What made this a local Vancouver plumbing problem unique is that the local water has a higher level of oxygen. 

If your home was built in this timeframe, make sure to check your pipes for Poly-B. Pipes will have a distinct grey or white appearance and the piping is also made of plastic. If you’re uneasy or unsure about your house’s piping, make sure to contact an expert. 

Worn Shut-Off Valves

Using a shut-off valve is a go-to way to quickly stop excess water from flowing. But what if your shut-off valves fail? This is another Vancouver plumbing problem that can catch homeowners off-guard, especially when they rely on these valves for safety. As you wouldn’t live in a home without an operating fire extinguisher, it’s a good idea to check your shut-off valves to ensure they’re working properly. With the rise of natural disasters like floods, fires and earthquakes, it’s best to proactively check them before something happens. 

Clogged Drains & Toilets 

Clogged drains and toilets are typical Vancouver plumbing issues in homes, even outside the city. For showers and drains, hair and other items that don’t dissolve will cause the clog, like plastic lids or even a toy. Clearing the clog usually gets it running back to normal in no time. 

Having a plunger nearby is always a must for a DIY job. If you’re using a plunger on a drain, having a set of needle-nose pliers or tweezers will help you get the obstacle out. Plumbing snakes, which are small flexible coils, are a nice inexpensive fix to unclog a bathroom sink or shower. If you cannot easily remove the blockage yourself on a toilet or drain, it's a good idea to let a professional handle it for you. 

Leaky Faucets & Pipes

Did you know that a leaky faucet wastes about 3 litres of water every day? One of the most likely issues to occur in homes is leaky faucets and pipes. Fixing leaks properly is a common Vancouver plumbing issue that can save you up to 10% a year on your water bill. Additionally, not fixing a leaky faucet may result in rust, mould and structural damage to your home in the long run. 

Faucets have a washer that forms a seal on the tap. This washer is prone to wear and when it’s damaged, the seal is compromised, causing the leak to occur. Pipe leaks conversely are caused by joints or deteriorated piping. Replacing the washer on a faucet can be a DIY job, but there are sometimes specific tools needed and not all tap systems are built the same. As for pipes, replacing a joint or piping can get messy, quickly. If you have any piping that’s deteriorating, calling a plumber proactively might save you plenty of costs and headaches down the road.