Diamond Dave Posts

Gutter cleaning can be a hazardous task for you and the contractor from gutter cleaning services. However, there are some safety precautions that each and every individual has to consider when cleaning your gutters. The most common is with regards to ladder safety. There are a great number of companies selling different kinds of ladders each year. Parallel to that is the number of deaths accounted with improper usage of ladders by home owners.

Safety Concerns

One of the most important safety tips with regards to using ladders is to make sure that it is on a solid and level ground. You have to double check for ice, grease, snow or mud beneath the ladder. You have to be certain that no such things are found below because all of these can cause the base to move out from beneath as you climb the ladder. In addition, you have to position the ladder correctly. Generally, the base of the ladder should be a foot away from the side of your house for every 4-foot high. Always bear in mind to face forward every time you climb up and down the ladder and never take both of your hands off.

Apart from the ladder itself, there are considerations when working with heights that are important to consider. Should you at any time move onto the roof surface it is important to consider the appropriate footwear. Rubber soled, leather topped (or other tough material) shoes need to be worn to reduce the risk of slipping. When cleaning your gutter, wearing of gloves is an important safety guideline as well. Mold and bacteria grow abundantly on moist places making clogged gutters the perfect place. You should take note to keep away from these harmful organisms as much as possible.

Equipment

If you are wearing gloves, the worst you can get is a number of sneezes. On the other hand, if you have mold allergies it is better to employ professionals or contractors from gutter cleaning services than cleaning your gutter yourself with gutter cleaners. Bear in mind that your health is far more important than any other things in the world. If the building is 2 story’s or more in some states and territories it is a legal safety and insurance requirement that the roof area is installed with a railing or scaffold to ensure your safety when working on the gutters or downspouts. In instances of multi-story buildings it is advisable to hire an insured service provider or contractor.

For many homeowners price is the bottom line, most consumers don’t want to over pay for gutter cleaning. Most companies know this and will accommodate the consumer with a quick and dirty job. But what happens in the end is the homeowner isn’t satisfied with the work or cleanup and continues their search for another cheap company next year. It’s a vicious cycle that we hear all the time from homeowners. The simple fact is quality service costs money. It takes more time to ensure each and every gutter downspout is functioning as it should, to check the drainage underground. Quality rain gutter cleaning Vancouver on most homes is under $350. That is less that .79 cents a day to ensure the rain water is channeling properly away from your roof into your gutter drainage system.

Finding a Good Gutter Cleaning Company

But how do you go about finding a quality gutter cleaning company in your area? Well, you can look in the yellow pages find the section you are interested in and start calling and hope to get lucky. In most homes today we have the ability to go on the internet. You can use a search engine like Google to find a Vancouver gutter cleaning service. Some gutter cleaning companies will offer referrals, although we value our customers privacy, there are some companies that will offer this up to make a buck. You can look to see if the company in question has an online gutter cleaning review, which is a good way to get a feel for their service. Also, just call a few cleaning companies and test their customer service skills by talking with them on the phone or through email.

When requesting an estimate do you need to be home? This is an old sales technique to try and close the deal with the customer right then and there. When receiving the estimate, take note of the way it is presented to you. If the estimate is over the phone or in person are they polite? Do they seem knowledgeable and explain in detail what will happen on your property? Do they have a guarantee? As yourself, what is the overall feeling you get when talking to this company,

After you have selected a company based on all of the criteria that is important to you set up your appointment. If they are busy that is a good sign that people like doing business with them. After the work is completed have a look around the home and make sure the job site is clean and up to your standards. A quality gutter cleaning company will desire to make sure the new relationship is beneficial to both parties. As a consumer you should expect your gutter cleaning costs to rise 6 percent a year on average. Gutter cleaning companies have expenses that continually rise each year, such as wages, fuel, insurance and other business expenses. If the company is not raising prices to keep up with the costs of running a company it may be a sign they are in trouble.

If you live i the Vancouver area here is a local company we recommend.

Reliable Roof Repair
Call: 604-670-0281
408 East Kent Ave S
Vancouver, BC V5X 2X7

Maintenance

We understand how important it is to maintain your plumbing system. It is by far one of the most important utilities in your home and a necessity because no other system in the house is used as frequently. You don’t notice it now, but whenever the water does go out, you will immediately find out how valuable it is to be able to wash your face, take a shower, clean the dishes, etc. We wrote this article so that will help you be on top of your plumbing system and provide preventative care so that you don’t run into any risks. Below are some tips that will ensure your plumbing is running perfectly.

Understanding The Plumbing System

First and foremost, in order to maintain something, we must first understand what we are trying to maintain. Check your plumbing system and see where your pipes are located. Once you found your pipes, it’s best to go through and check to see if there was any damage. This maybe dents, staples, rust, and other issues that could cause problems for your plumbing system. In addition to checking your pipes, this will also give you good knowledge about where your shut-off valve maybe when you have to use it in an emergency.

Avoid Chemical Cleaning Solutions

One of the most recurring problem you can face in your plumbing system is clogged drains. You can buy the chemical products to clear them, but they may do more harm than good. They have been known to erode cast-iron drainpipes. They don’t offer a complete fix to the clog, which makes your reuse the substance over and over again, which leads to more damage towards your pipes, and eventually could cause leaks. Look into hiring a professional or using other recommend methods instead.

Look For Leaks and Repair Issues Early

When you notice something as simple as a leaking faucet, instead of procrastinating the problem. Fix it before it gets worse. The moisture and water it releases puts wear on sink fixtures this will encourage the growth of mold. By repairing and fixing issues before they become bigger problems, you will maintain a better plumbing system and keep your house looking clean.

Maintaining Your Heater

Another very important to your plumbing system. The best way to follow maintenance for this system is using the manufacturer directions and guide. The average life span for a water heater is around 10-12 years. While following those directions, it is also good to check upon your hot water tank very six months. This will help you notice problems before they start, if you notice that your tank is way past its expiration date, then it is best to consider a new model or upgrade.

Professional Help

The best thing you can do for your plumbing system is to have a professional look at it periodically. This will help you by getting licensed expert to see issues that you didn’t notice and also to give you advice for future problems. I would recommend looking around the market for a reliable experienced plumber who you can trust. Read some reviews and do your best judgement. If you would like to look at a professionally designed plumbing website here is one we recommend. https://shamrocksplumbingandheating.ca

Head Office:
Shamrocks Plumbing and Heating
Phone: (250) 575-8138
1325 Elwyn Rd
Kelowna, BC V1X 5M9

Plumbing

It is always best to seek the help of a professional if you are having sewer problems. However, a lot of us prefer to solve the problems ourselves because of the amount of money we believe we can save. In most cases though we just dive in without any action plans thus causing even more problems. Sewer repair is not as easy as it sounds. You need skills and the appropriate training to be able to effectively and efficiently do it. To help and guide you in doing sewer repair on your own, just follow the following tips and advice.

First: Get a hold of the plumbing codes in your area. Normally, you can get these from your local authorities. These plumbing codes enable you to determine just how deep along the pipes you are allowed to dig. So you need to be aware of these codes before you start doing anything to avoid unnecessary problems and issues in the future. It is also for safety purposes.

Second: In repairing damaged sewer lines which are under concrete foundations, you need a cutoff saw, a diamond blade, a metal cutting blade and a heavy hammer to get through the concrete. Use a diamond blade on the cutoff saw to cut through the concrete. If you reach or encounter the steel bars on the concrete, you need to switch the blade to a metal cutting blade. Using a heavy hammer, pound on the already cut concrete to break them into chunks so you can easily remove them from the hole you are trying to dig.

Third: If the damaged sewage is leaking into the street or into the neighborhood, it is advisable that you contact the sewage system services in your locality immediately to ensure that it does not become hazardous to the community. Seek their advice as well on how to get the damaged pipe repaired or replaced..

Fourth:  Follow the following steps when doing sewer repair.

  1. Dig through the soil or cut your way through concrete if necessary to get to the damaged sewer lines. The size of the trench you create should be large enough to allow you to work on the sewers with ease. Make sure there is room for you to cut and move the pipes around. You should be able to position them as easily as possible.
  2. Whether it’s cracked or broken, you have to remove the damaged portion of the sewer line. You may cut through them using a cutoff saw with a diamond or a metal cutting blade.
  3. Get measurements of the removed pipe so you can determine the size of pipe you need to replace it. Use the measurements on the replacement pipe before cutting through it.
  4. Place connectors on the two ends of the pipe you cut through earlier then slowly slide the replacement pipe into place.
  5. Securely tighten the ring clamps around the pipe connectors. Turn the screws on the ring clamps using a suitable screw driver.
  6. Test out the repairs done by running water through the sewer lines and observe if it still leaks or anything.
  7. If nothing seems amiss or leaking, start reburying the sewer line.

Keep in mind these sewer repair tips so you may avoid unnecessary mistakes and risks along the way.

In many cities across North America there are ongoing programs to replace old sewers with a new type of sewer that separates overflow. Most municipalities call it the sewer separation program. In Vancouver BC you’ll find this company doing a lot of work in this area.

K.C.’s Plumbing & Heating Ltd
Phone: (604) 873-3753
1896 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5N 2S7

 

Plumbing

After watching some home makeovers, you would definitely notice that redefining the interior color of any residence gives it a fresh and comfortable look. Consequently, some of us get the itch to do the same. Those who cannot hire a professional Vancouver painting contractor for the task, search for house painting tips which can get them carry on with the task by themselves. Do you want to give this a try as well? Learn from the following insights.

Cover Up – To start off, cover any fixtures attached on the walls or ceilings. Cabinets, wall or hanging lamps, light switches and faucets among others must be properly covered. This will keep them from getting unwanted paint drips.

Smooth Out The Walls – Scrutinize your walls for imperfections. They could have acquired holes, chips or cracks through time. Patch the holes and cracks. Even out the chips. You will need enough patching paste and putty knife to get this right.

Dust Off – This is key in painting a house. Painting over dust-filled walls causes premature cracking and peeling of dry paint. Thus, it is important to clean your walls, baseboards, ceilings and crown moldings. Use damp cloth in doing so. This will keep the dust from fluttering.

Choose The Right Paint – When it comes to the color, it is best to consider the suggestions of the people who are living with you. You do not want this home makeover task be the cause of cold war amongst you, right? Once the hues have been decided upon, purchase some test gallons. Coat sections of your wall so that you can get a view of the finished effect. Moreover, decide on the type of paint you opt to purchase – latex-based or oil-based. When it comes to protection against daily wear and tear, oil-based coat is the better option. For that, they are expensive. When it comes to cleaning ease of cleaning, latex-based is the coat to go for as it can be cleansed with soap and water.

Pick The Right Brush – This is one of the commonly neglected house painting tips. Brushes are made up of natural materials or synthetic materials like nylon. Keep in mind that natural bristles go with oil-based coats, stains and varnishes. Latex-based coats, on the other hand, require nylon bristles.

Apply The Primer – Never apply the paint without priming the surface first. This can cover up the patches that you made on the walls. Before proceeding with the priming, open your windows for proper ventilation. Roller brushes are the best tools for priming. Remove excess lint on in it with the use of masking tape. Lint would mix with the coat if not removed.

Mix The Coats – A paint stick with holes would get your mixing right. For consistent color on all of your walls, use a big bucket to mix all your paint. This is advisable especially for large rooms.

To finish off these house painting tips, eliminate the paint fume by leaving windows open for a few days. Additional natural remedies to this include placing bowls filled with vinegar and baking soda in the room. Onions also absorb paint fumes fast. If you’ve gotten all fired up about painting the house but just don’;t have the time then you’ll want to go online and find a good painting contractor who you feel would be a good fit for your project.

Maintenance

There are certain parts of a central heating system that require adjusting at some time or another. These appliances must be properly maintained or they will fall into disrepair, and in some instances could even become dangerous. Among the various reasons why proper tune-ups are required, safety is the most important.

A heating system professional should carry out the following maintenance.

All Heating Systems:

The condition of your vent pipe and chimney should be checked, as sections of the venting system may have deteriorated over time. Repairs to the chimney can be quite expensive, and therefore the installation of new heating equipment that will not require the use of the current chimney may be justified.

The physical integrity of the heat exchanger should be checked. It is quite easy to identify water leaking from leaky boiler heat exchangers. When leaks occur with furnace heat exchangers, there is a mixture of combustion gases with house air, and to ensure safety it is essential that they are thoroughly inspected.

To provide optimum settings for water and air temperature to ensure efficiency and comfort, the controls on the boiler or furnace have to be adjusted.

If you plan to either replace or retrofit your existing heating system, a combustion-efficiency test should be performed by a technician.

Forced Air Systems:

  • Check for any cracks on the combustion chamber
  • Test if there is carbon monoxide (CO) and remedy if found
  • The blower control and supply-air temperature should be adjusted
  • Clean and oil the blower
  • Dirt, soot or corrosion needs to be removed from the boiler or furnace
  • Adjust if necessary the fuel input and flame characteristics after checking them
  • The connections between the furnace and main ducts must be sealed

Hot Water Systems:

  • Test the pressure-relief valve
  • Test the high-limit control
  • Inspect the pressure tank to ensure that it is filled with air and not water
  • Clean the heat exchanger

Steam Systems:

  • Drain some of the water from the boiler so that sediments will be removed and the heat exchange efficiency improved
  • Both the low-water cutoff safety control and high-limit safety control should be tested
  • Drainage of the float chamber is required to remove any sediments, that could create sediment clogs that would affect the low-water cutoff control
  • Analyze the boiler water and add the chemicals necessary to control deposits and corrosion
  • Clean the heat exchanger
  • See section on steam radiators

central-heating-system

Maintaining Proper Ventilation for Combustion Systems

Air quality should be your main concern once you carry out any maintenance, retrofitting or replacement of a gas or oil heating system. All oil and gas heating systems need combustion air, to support the combustion process. This type of air is created in some homes by unexpected air leaks, or air ducts connecting outdoors.

Several byproducts are created by the combustion process, and they are a potential risk to human health, while also causing deterioration in your home. To protect yourself from these hazards and also maintain energy efficiency, you need to ensure that your chimney system is functioning efficiently and your heating system is adequately ventilated. The installation of a sealed-combustion furnace or boiler can assist in some instances.

Other Ventilation Concerns

Between 1987 and 1993 there were some fan-assisted, non-condensing furnaces and boilers that were installed, and may be horizontally vented by the use of high-temperature plastic vent pipe (not PVC pipe, which can be used safely in the condensing of furnaces). This particular type of venting has since been recalled and stainless steel vent pipe has been used as a replacement.

If horizontal venting was used, there would be the need for an additional draft-inducing fan located near the vent outlet, to create sufficient draft. Special venting problems may arise with floor furnaces, since their vent connector exits the furnace in close proximity to the floor and before reaching a chimney may have to travel a distance of 10 to 30 feet. If you have this type of venting you should check if the venting or the floor furnace needs replacement. Whenever you suspect a problem with your furnace it is imperative that you contact a plumber in Kelowna who is qualified and licensed for heating systems of this type. We do not suggest you attempt to fix or repair your furnace unless you are trained in the electronics and the gas components.

Any smell of gases indicates a venting problem that can negatively impact your health. To get this repaired immediately, contact your local utility or heating contractor. For more information on this subject read our article on replacing the furnace or boiler.

Maintenance

It often seems that plumbers are a necessary evil. They sort out your faulty plumbing. They also fix and service things like your central heating boiler which – like most essentials – always seems to go wrong at the worst possible time. But if your regular plumber is always promising to turn up “tomorrow” or just never returns your calls because he is too busy, how do you choose a new plumber and make sure they are more reliable?

1. Word of mouth

Asking friends and neighbors who they use when they have a plumbing problem can be a good way to find a reliable plumber. Your friends will know first hand whether their call was answered and returned, whether the plumber turned up somewhere close to the agreed time and whether the charge was reasonable.

Ideally you should go for someone who has been used for several years in a row. That will increase your chance of getting good service that is worth the money you pay for it.

2. Check they are registered

In Canada, the Government Gas Safe site has details of all plumbers who have passed their certification requirements. This at least means that your chosen plumber has been tested by an organization that has a reputation to protect.

If there’s any doubt – or if this is the first time you are using this particular plumber – don’t just take their reassurance that they are registered, spend a minute or two online doing your own due diligence.

3. Check how long they have been trading

  • The longer the plumber has been trading, the better.
  • Ideally from the same address.
  • If you’ve got some old copies of Yellow Pages or the Phone Book acting as makeshift doorstops, you can flick through those.

If not – and assuming the plumber has a website – you can easily find out how long their domain name has been registered. Just enter it in one of the many online “WhoIs” tools, enter the domain name and you can find when their domain was first registered. This will give you a good idea of the minimum length of time they have been trading. Always assuming that they have got round to registering a domain name – not always a given with this trade.

4. Check their reviews

  • There isn’t a Tripadvisor equivalent for plumbers but there are sometimes reviews of plumbers on other sites and even in the Google results.
  • As with any review, the chances of someone taking time to post a positive review is a lot slimmer than a bugged customer posting a negative review.
  • There will almost always be the occasional negative review. Just beware if you find too many of them!
  • And beware if you find too many positive reviews with no negative ones interspersed.

You’ll instinctively know what looks natural – go with that first reaction rather than making the facts fit your overwhelming desire to use the first plumber who actually answers their phone or calls you back.

Local Tip

If you live in western Canada then take a close look at Pioneer Plumbing. They have a good reputation online and a professional looking website.  This is a good indication that they are one of the best Vancouver plumbers in this local area.

5. If time permits, get a second quote

OK, this isn’t always possible in the real world. Especially for a profession that is notorious for being poor to respond.

But especially for larger jobs such as replacing an entire central heating system, it’s worth getting more than one quote for the work.

And if it’s a larger job, check what kind of guarantee you get. At a minimum, you need the manufacturer’s guarantee, so check that you get the completed card before you let your plumber leave. Don’t go as far as laying a stinger on your drive but do make sure they’ve legibly completed the card including their (checked!) Gas Safe number if appropriate.

Plumbing

 

Improper drainage can lead to pools of collected water in your lawn and/or around your home or building, both of which pose a threat. When collected close to your foundation, standing water can potentially cause foundation cracks, foundation movement and flooded basements. When collected on your yard, pooling water gives mosquitoes a breeding ground and can leave your grass susceptible to disease.

Foundations: The most costly issue associated with improper drainage is your foundation. Soil naturally expands when it is wet and contracts when it is dry and as long as all the soil underneath your building expands and contracts uniformly, it is not likely to cause a problem. Damage is done, however, when only part of the soil heaves or settles. This differential movement is most often due to differences in soil moisture. Improper drainage on one side of the building can leave wet soil that remains waterlogged for days or weeks (or in worst cases leaves constant water pooled around your foundation walls) while the other side of the structure has soil that dries quickly following a rain.

The wet side has expanded, and remains so, while the other side contracts as it dries, and this action pulls the walls of the structure away from one another. Repetition of this process will eventually produce cracks in the foundations, walls and/or ceilings. Foundation repairs are not usually covered by homeowner’s insurance policies and can cost as much as $20,000 to $30,000 or more to fix, not including cosmetic fixes to drywall, door jams, bricks, flooded carpets, flooring, etc. Anyone who has experienced a flooded basement or cracks due to heaving can attest to a costly fix! In addition, the drainage issues which caused the problem will still need to be addressed.

Basements: The same issue associated with foundations applies to your basement, with the added problem of letting water into your home through the cracks. In addition to damaging carpets, flooring, drywall and furniture, the water increases your basement’s humidity creating the perfect environment for the growth of bacteria and mold. Mold enters your home as tiny spores, which need moisture to grow and multiply. They can grow on almost any surface and they digest and destroy your home as they do. When disturbed, mold spores are released into the air and can be breathed in by you and your family, aggravating allergies and asthma. A small number of molds produce mycotoxins which can induce nausea, fatigue, headaches and lung and eye irritation when a person is exposed to high levels. Furthermore, mites and spiders can proliferate in a moldy basement as mites feed on mold spores and spiders feed on mites.

Waterproofing your basement can help protect your home and is a good insurance policy, but your first line of defense against a wet basement is improving the drainage in the lawn and all areas surrounding the home or building. According to most engineers and home inspectors, 85 to 95% of wet basements and interiors of buildings can be made dry by improving exterior drainage around your house or building. Flushing the perimeter drains around your home once every two or three years is a good way to prevent problems. We suggest you hire a perimeter drainage Vancouver company to do this for you on occasion.

Mosquitoes: We are all familiar with one of the biggest nuisances of the summer but were you aware that mosquitoes need less than an ounce of water in which to lay their eggs? While standing water is generally the egg-laying site for mosquitoes, some species lay their eggs on damp soil and, if your lawn has poor drainage, leaves your grass as a perfect home for these pests. Needing only two to three days to hatch, your property needs to be able to dry out quickly enough either to prevent females from seeing your yard as a prime location or to dry out eggs that have been laid.

With females laying up to 300 eggs at a time, your yard can easily become infested, driving you and your family inside on warm summer nights. Along with the itching and aggravation of bites, mosquitoes bring diseases such as West Nile Virus, Malaria, Dengue and encephalitis. All are potentially fatal. Your pets are also at risk, as mosquitoes are the hosts for heartworm and can communicate this disease to dogs, cats and other animals. Additionally, West Nile and encephalitis can be transmitted to horses. The American Mosquito Control Association instructs property owners to not only eliminate standing water around your home or building, but to ensure proper drainage on your property to eliminate this potential hazard.

Turf Diseases: As the first impression a visitor or customer has of your home or business, it is no doubt important to you to have well-maintained and inviting landscaping around your property. Death and disease of grass and plants is not only ugly, it is a waste of money invested as well as expensive to correct. Excess water on or in your lawn prohibits the growth of grass, plants and trees by robbing them of their air and nutrient supply and leaving them susceptible to attack by fungi, moss and mold. Fungi, the most common cause of lawn diseases, are microscopic organisms that spread by air- or water-borne spores. The spores act like seeds, sprouting to life and infecting its environment when conditions are right.

Rhizoctonia Yellow Patch, Red Thread, and Pythium Blight are some common fungi diseases which appear in moist environments resulting from extreme soil and surface moisture. Many of the fungi diseases are difficult to control once they appear and damage may remain for two to four years following treatment. While fungicides can be applied to help prevent or control lawn diseases, several strains are resistant to fungicides. The best prevention is the absence of favorable conditions, including improving moisture conditions on top of, and under, your turf.

Mushrooms also need extreme wet conditions to grow. While mushrooms do not harm grass, many of them are poisonous and can be a danger to children and pets that ingest them. Poisonous mushrooms have no features to distinguish them from nonpoisonous mushrooms and identification, therefore, is only possible by those educated about the various genera and species.

Erosion: In addition to the issues associated with standing water, water moving too quickly off your property causes problems as well. As raindrops fall on your lawn, if there is sufficient intensity, the impact will dislodge small particles of soil which can then be carried off by the rain as it flows. This soil will either be carried off to sewers or deposited in another area of your yard, depending on your drainage conditions. Over time, original drainage measures, such as ditches and trenches, can become filled with soil, defeating their purpose and redirecting how water moves on your property. Erosion is accelerated where plant cover is sparse and spaces between plants become larger, leaving no protection for your soil during intense rains. Proper grades and slopes stop water from carrying away your soil by keeping water runoff at an acceptable rate. Slowing down water that is running off too quickly gives soil particles time to settle out of the water and back onto the ground before being transported too far away. Additionally, healthy plant life with deep roots protects and holds on to your soil.

Benefits of Proper Drainage

Structural Protection: Having a comprehensive drainage system in place protects your structure by preventing water’s damaging contact with concrete. Water that doesn’t evaporate and isn’t absorbed by soil eventually goes somewhere and, oftentimes, it sits under and around your foundations. Drainage solutions will keep the moisture content around your foundation stable and uniform, keeping contraction and expansion to a minimum. This maintains the integrity of foundations and helps prevent cracks and water seepage.

Plants and Landscaping: Proper soil moisture is essential for plants and lawns to establish a healthy root system. Removal of excess water in the soil deepens the root zone and increases the air in that area. The increased aeration, in turn, increases the supply of nutrients, many of which need the air to convert chemically before they are accessible to plants. The deep root system which grows will then holds on to the soil and protect it from erosion. Additionally, water will not pool in areas of your property, leaving turf susceptible to disease, and help you maintain the pleasing aesthetics in which you invested.

Recreational Areas: By implementing drainage solutions, recreational areas, such as parks, golf courses and athletic fields, improve traffic ability and increased use of the property. Drains help nature clear out excess water and allow turf to quickly recover from rain. The result is that the recreational area can be open for extended periods of time and for more intensive use, resulting in increased revenue.

Spring Showers Are Not The Only Cause For Concern

The Midwest is notorious for extreme weather changes with a drought one year and floods the next. While St. Louis has an average rainfall around 40 inches, in 2008 we had 50.72 inches pour down on us, with nearly half of that amount coming between June and September. If you have weathered winter snow and spring rains, do not let down your guard thinking you are safe for another year. Summer can sometimes bring surprises and the added deluge to your soil will only intensify existing problems requiring more extensive repairs.

A Note About Water Tables

Water table refers to the depth at which the soil always contains 100% water. In some areas the water table is higher than the bottom of the foundation, requiring a complex system of drains and sump pumps to draw the water away from your structure. High water tables can lead to devastating damage to your foundation or basement and is sometimes cited by professional waterproofers as the cause of a problem because of the expensive measures to correct it. The National Association of Home Builders, however, estimates that only five percent of wet basements are due to high water tables. If you have water damage, you are most likely dealing with surface runoff problems which can be corrected through slopes, grades and drains in your yard, along with proper gutter systems. Modern building codes prevent contractors from building basements where water tables are high and if your home or building is less than 30 years old you can be reasonably sure a high water table is not your problem. If you have a wet basement, be aware of this issue! Inform yourself by contacting your local building inspector and getting information about your local water table.

Do You Have Drainage Problems?

Try this experiment: dig a hole one foot across and two feet deep and fill it completely with water during a dry spell. If the hole drains completely in less than five minutes or in more than 15 minutes, you have a problem. A more simple way to spot problems is to look at your lawn during and following a rain. If you have water flowing quickly across the yard removing topsoil during a rain or pools of water on driveways, parking lots or lawns following rain, then you have a problem. Other indicators include yellowing plants, yellowing or thin turf although it receives plenty of sunlight and has no obvious disease, fungus or mold on the lawn, stagnate water smell and water seeping through door sills, basements and garages.

For more info on how to solve drainage problems click here to read more.

Plumbing

A comprehensive drainage system will include surface and subsurface drain solutions. Surface drains remove the large amounts of water that fall in short periods of time and subsurface drains remove the excess water absorbed into the soil. The two systems work in conjunction to maintain the moisture in your soil at the proper level for protection of your landscaping and your home or building.

Gutters: Your first line of defense against foundation flooding is your gutters! During a moderate rainfall, the average sized roof sheds 160 gallons of water runoff per hour. To prevent the runoff from being deposited on the ground next to your foundation, a proper gutter system is essential. Not only is the correct gutter size for your roof area a consideration, but an insufficient number of downspouts is equivalent to having no gutter system at all. Downspouts are needed to handle the volume of runoff your roof will collect and splash blocks must be utilized to direct the runoff away from your home or building and out to your drain system. A better solution to splash blocks, however, is to install PVC piping to the end of the downspouts to remove the water 6-10 feet or more away from your home or building. Furthermore, gutters must be properly maintained to prevent clogs and gutter joints must be inspected for leaks. Having a suitable, effective gutter system should be the first step in your drainage solution.

Grades: To protect structures, the most important grades on your property are those within 10 feet of your foundation or basement. This will prevent the water you just diverted away from the structure from soaking back through the soil toward your structure. Suitable grades vary depending on who you consult but a safe measurement is a 1 inch (or more) drop for every 1 foot out for the first 10 feet. This results in at least a 10 inch slope for the 10 feet closest to your foundation walls. The rest of your yard should contain a continuous slope downward to keep the water moving away from your foundation.

Surface Drains: Surface drainage can be defined as the controlled removal of water that collects on the land from rainfall, irrigation, snowmelt or hillside seeps. As gravity is the primary force driving this type of system, it involves shaping the land with a continuous fall in the ground level to provide a downhill passage for surface runoff at an appropriate rate of flow. For grass drainage channels, or swales, a minimum slope of 1% to 5% is desired. The contours of the land then direct the runoff to a suitable collection site, such as ditches, basins or storm sewers. At the low point of the ditch or interception point, area drains are installed which are connected to a main or submain and prevents the water from pooling in your yard. The underground pipes need a minimum slope of 1% or 1/8 inch per foot to keep water moving through them. If the ditch is long, several smaller drains should be spaced in a series, rather than one large drain in the middle, to help prevent erosion.

For driveways and other hardscapes, channel drains and exposed French drains are ideal. These linear trenches collect sheets of water that run off, as concrete and asphalt absorb none of the water as it falls. The open area of the channel/ exposed French drain is much greater than an area drain and is better suited to the greater volume of rain it will need to collect. Additionally, channel drains allow designers to modestly slope hardscapes, rather than requiring numerous, extreme slopes to direct runoff to area drains.

Subsurface Drains: While the benefits of subsurface drainage are hard to see because they occur within the soil, the difference will be noticeable in your plants, grass and soil. Subsurface drainage is the removal of gravitational water from the soil, which is accomplished by placing French drains underground to collect and remove water to a drainage outlet. Subsurface drains do not remove water necessary for plants, only excess water, which flows to the drains by gravity. Sub-Surface French drains consist excavating a sizable trench and lining it with a filter or geotextile fabric, which helps prevent soil particles from entering the French drain. The trench is then filled with clean rock/gravel and a proper sized perforated PVC pipe for the application is placed in the gravel.

Once the trench is filled with grave, it will be covered with a layer a permeable filter fabric, installing a mixture of high quality topsoil/ sand and lastly installing new sod on top (assuming this French drain will be located in a grassy area). French drains function when water in the soil enters the gravel bed, flows into the perforated pipe and travels through connecting solid pipes to a discharge point. A general guideline for placing French drains is to use 4 – 6 inch perforated pipes, bury them 18 to 36 inches deep and space them 15 to 20 feet apart. In the trenches, pipes must maintain a .1% to a 1% slope. Soil construct, acreage and turf usage, however, may require variation from these guidelines and a professional can help you determine the best solution for your situation.

Discharge Outlets: Once water is collected in the pipes, it must be diverted to a suitable outlet to be released. This outlet can be a street gutter, a storm sewer or an onsite pond. Using a pop-up drainage emitter, water can be diverted to a water-safe area on your property away from your home or building. Pop-up drainage emitters are opened by the hydrostatic pressure of water flowing through the drain pipe, releasing water collected from gutters, downspouts, basins, grates, etc. If placed close to the street, the released water can flow over the curb and into the street without having to drill through the curb. The emitters then close as water flow diminishes, preventing debris and animals from entering the end of the pipe and clogging the system. Property owner or maintenance personnel need to make sure they perform routine maintenance on the pop-up emitters. This can be done by removing the pop-up to make sure there is no debris washed down from the roof gutters or surface drains that could potentially slow down the water flow in a heavy rainfall event.

Cleanout Connections: It is a good idea to install cleanout connections on all drainage systems integrated into your property. This is commonly overlooked until pipes need to be accessed by cameras or cleaning equipment years after the initial installation. Access points are needed for the following three reasons. 1) Routine maintenance, and especially if routine maintenance is neglected because the contractor will have to access the pipe to unclog them for a fee of course. 2) If the systems functionality has declined. 3)

If damage has occurred to the drainage system pipes from heavy equipment or excavation during an on-site construction project. Although cleanouts add cost to your project, it is highly recommended to have cleanouts installed on all downspout connections, all French drain systems and all long mainline pipe runs over 80′ without drain grates in which you can access. This type of maintenance should be done by a Vancouver drain cleaning company, and not left to chance or forgotten.

Before contracting to have you project installed, make sure cleanouts are integrated into your drainage system. It has been calculated that the cost to cut into a pipe and then patch it because there are no cleanouts will be a minimum of twice the cost as having them installed in the first place. Sometimes it is 5-10 times as much when access is needed to an existing French drain without cleanout connections. So don’t gamble because when you’re installing a system with materials that last decades, you undoubtedly will need access; if for nothing else, routine maintenance. A professional drainage contractor should be able to help you determine the best cleanout points for the system their proposing for your property.

For more information on finding a qualified drainage contractor follow this link to another post on our site.

Plumbing

Doing your homework on potential drainage installers is important. You need to be assured that your contractor is insured and has the skills needed to properly install your systems. Be wary of “special deals” or the “great deal from a friend of a friend” – these will most likely cost you more dollars and headaches in the long run.

Tools for Locating a Potential Drainage Contractor: The Better Business Bureau is a great starting point in your search for a contractor. They maintain an online directory for BBB-accredited businesses in your area. You can check not only how long a contractor has been in business, but also any complaints filed about their operation. Angie’s List is another great tool for recommendations, as you can get testimonials from actual customers. Even if you “hear of a guy from a friend,” check their references online. See what other people’s experiences have been and choose a pool of potential contractors from the best you can find.

Portfolio and References: After you have a list of potential people for the job, ask to see a portfolio of their previous jobs and whether you can see former work sites. If possible, see their handiwork in person, perhaps driving by a home or business during or after a rain. This will help you not only to understand their drainage plans for your property, but to assure you they can indeed get the job done right. If you can speak with former customers, ask if they were satisfied with the work they had done by a Vancouver drainage contractor, whether the contractor stayed within budget and if the project was completed in a timely manner. You need to look for the best person for the job, not the lowest bid. You want the problem to be fixed upon project completion; you do not want to be dealing with drainage problems or, in worst case scenarios, legal problems, long after the contractor has left.

Bids: Get at least two bids for your specific job and get them in writing. Furthermore, make sure you understand the difference between the bids. Higher bids do not always mean a contractor is trying to get more money into his pocket. Better materials, more skilled workmanship and better reliability may be worth a slightly higher price. Keep in mind that, usually, you “get what you pay for.”

Insurance: An important issue when hiring a contractor is his insurance. If your contractor does not carry general liability insurance or worker’s compensation, the property owner can held responsible for any accidents which occur while work is being done. To protect yourself, ask for proof of insurance. Reputable contractors will understand that you are doing your research and will not be offended. Be wary of any that try to convince you this is unnecessary – they may have something to hide.

Skills Needed: Make sure potential contractors have the skills needed to do your job. Is your contractor a drainage specialist or merely a landscaper who has dabbled in drainage installation? Can he utilize a transit to analyze your slopes if needed? Does he know the proper depths and spacing for pipe placement in your yard? Most importantly, is he diverting your excess water to a suitable outlet? Purposefully diverting water to a neighbor’s yard, when runoff didn’t already naturally flow to that yard, can result in huge fines. As the property owner, you will be held responsible for your contractor’s end result.

Equipment, Supervision & Project Site Management: Find out who will supervise the work and how often will they be onsite to see that the plans are followed? Will the project continue daily until finished without interruption other than weather delays? You need to know who to call if you have a question or problem. Furthermore, does your contractor have access to the equipment needed to get the job done?

Products: Which products does the contractor use and are they the best in the industry? Be wary of contractors that offer a big discount because they will use materials left over from a previous job. While you may be interested in saving a few bucks, are you certain these materials are suitable for you project and needs? Having the project done with substandard materials that will not last never ends well for the property owner. You might have to have the system torn up and reinstalled a couple years later, costing you double down the road.

Warranty: Make sure there is some sort of a warranty with your drainage system installation once it is complete. More importantly feel confident enough with the company that they will even be in business to fulfill that warranty agreement. See if they can give you a past customer that you can call to talk to where they had a warranty issue that the contractor successfully resolved for them. Many specialized drainage companies offer a minimum of a 12-month warranty of full functionality, some contractors offer more.

Warning: We know of a family who hired a contractor that a friend’s neighbor had used. Although they met with him and thought he seemed like a “good guy,” they did no research on him or his business and references were not checked. After realizing that no real progress had been made in spite of the thousands of dollars they had paid him, they began to investigate. As it turns out, the friend’s neighbor had had similar complaints and was dissatisfied. If the homeowners had spoken to the people for whom the contractor had worked, rather than going by their impression of his personality, they would have been spared a good chunk of change. In addition to leaving their home a complete mess, they lost all the money initially invested and had to pay someone else to finish the job. Furthermore, because they had not done their due diligence regarding the contract, they had little legal recourse. The lesson: always err on the side of caution! Do not assume that a contractor has your best interests at heart; look at their previous jobs and, if possible, consult people for whom they have worked. Most people are happy to tell you about their experiences with a business, whether good or bad, and businesses with a solid reputation are not wary of you seeing their previous work.

Plumbing

When homeowners perform home improvement projects, they often overlook their gutters. Plant debris can corrode and rust gutters, sometimes damaging them so much that replacement is more convenient than performing repairs. Gutter installation may sound like an overwhelming project for a homeowner to do, but it is actually not difficult.

Steps to Take Before Installing New Gutters

Before purchasing new gutters, map out the house and its current gutter system. Determine how long the gutter run must be and calculate the number and length of downspouts. If the old gutter system operated effectively, maintain the configuration with the new system. Make a list of materials and write down all measurements.

If the gutter run does not exceed 35 feet, its highest point will be at one end, with the run sloping downward toward the downspout. If the run exceeds 35 feet, the high point will be at its center, with the run sloping down on both sides to respective downspouts. For both lengths, the high point should be an inch below the fascia board that the gutters attach to and should slope ¼-inch for each ten feet of run. Snapping a chalk line while holding one end of the gutter at the correct angle provides a guide to follow during installation.

Gutter Installation Steps

Downspout outlets can be installed with 1 ¼-inch deck screws. They should be close to the run but not at its end and attached to the end of the house along the chalk line. Attach gutter hangers to the fascia at 24-inch intervals, using 1 ¼-inch deck screws. Fasten these approximately one inch from the roof ends, following the chalk line and leaving room at the ends for new Vancouver gutters.

All corners that do not feature a downspout and are not at the end of a run should be covered with gutter covers. Now, gutter sections can be cut with a hacksaw to fit between the end of the roof and the downspout outlet. Place a cap on the end, snap the gutter section into the nearby downspout outlet, and hook the gutter on the hangers, following the chalk line.

Gutter sections should be connected on the ground using special connectors to attach them. An assistant can support the gutters during hanging. The final step in the gutter installation process involves cutting drainpipes to fit between the elbow joint on the downspout outlet and the joint on the wall and between the wall elbow and the ground.

While gutter installation Vancouver can be a DIY project, we realize a project such as gutter installation is not for everyone. If you would like us to handle your gutters or any other roofing project, please visit our website for more information and pricing. We also provide pressure washing services, which can really spruce up the look of your property.

Maintenance