Plumbing Service

5 Factors to Consider While Choosing a Plumbing Service

You will, sooner or later, need to hire a residential plumber near you, whether you are constructing a new building or are having some repairing emergency. No matter what your reason is for calling a plumbing repair service, you cannot just choose one from the search list and call them. Plumbing systems need to be handled by experts with the experience to prevent any other issue from developing. You will need to consider a few factors when selecting the most suitable plumbing contractor in your area.

Here are five factors to consider while choosing a plumbing service.

Factor #1- Experience and Expertise: Experience is very crucial in plumbing as there are as many challenging and tricky problems as there are simple ones. A leak may have a source far away from it, which can be mistaken and repaired incorrectly. The water leaking into the walls can cause structural damage to your house and will be costly to repair. Along with the experience, a plumber should also have adequate training to professionally fix all the issues with a warranty in case they return. An experienced plumber will make sure you do not waste your money and time by working perfectly at once.

Factor #2- License: Most provinces in Canada require you to have a legal working permit and license to work as a plumber. The license proves that the plumber you are hiring for residential gas line installation near you or other plumbing services has the knowledge and skills to undertake the job. Moreover, working with piping and sewer systems also requires a great deal of precision that the license will prove your plumbing contractor holds. You will also have peace of mind that you are not wasting your money by hiring a plumber who does not know what they are doing. 

Factor #3- Reputation: It is a good habit to hire people with a good track record of their work. You can search the website of commercial plumbers near you and check the feedback and reviews left by their past clients. A reputable plumbing contractor will work hard to keep their clients for long and maintain their reputation. 

Factor #4- Customer Service: Plumbing services are mostly required in emergencies. Hiring a plumber from plumbing emergency service near you with excellent customer service will ensure that you are not stranded at such times. The team should be approachable at all times so you can rely on them for any minor or major plumbing issues.

Factor #5- Insurance: The plumber you hire must have insurance to cover any damages done by their team to your property. You should also ask for liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance to avoid paying for damages incurred by workers’ negligence.

About Kingstree Plumbing –

Looking for a plumber? Check out Kingstree Plumbing! We provide commercial plumbing services, including plumbing repair, installation, water softeners, water heaters, gas fittings, sump pumps, humidifiers, and whole-house re-piping. It’s our goal to ensure you have an operational plumbing system you can always rely on, regardless of the type of issues you may experience. Our professional plumbers offer only quality services to you, helping you keep your plumbing systems in good operating condition with efficient repairs and replacement when necessary. Fill out our contact form for regular services, or call 780-695-2792 for emergency services.

Plumbing Services

What are the Different Plumbing Services?

Plumbing is an essential service that every building requires. We need water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, washing clothes and utensils, and tons of other stuff. 

Moreover, high-tech, self-sufficient bathrooms and kitchens require maintenance that can only be carried out by professional plumbing repair services. There are lots of different plumbing services that every homeowner should be aware of.

Here are the different plumbing services you can request from a plumbing contractor near you.

Service #1- Drain Cleaning: New drainage does not have any grime collected. But over time, the drained oil, grease, dirt, and other substances stick to the walls and cause blockages. Drains should be regularly maintained to avoid such problems. You can ask your plumbing contractor for drain cleaning services.

Service #2- Garbage Disposal: If you want a garbage disposal system installed in your house, you can call a plumber. A garbage disposal machine shreds down the waste produced in your home and moves it through the pipe.

Service #3- Hydro Jetting: When drains get clogged and are too difficult to clean, a plumber uses hydro jetting to remove the blockages. The hydro jetting process involves high-pressure water jets combined with other solutions to get rid of the blockage. However, only professionals should do hydro jetting tasks as experience is essential for it.

Service #4- Gas Line Installation: Houses also need gas supply for a stove, barbeque, and fireplace. These systems require regular maintenance, and damage to them can be life-threatening. Unlike water problems that can wait some time without harming anyone, gas issues like leakages cannot. They can cause fires, poisoning, and other health risks if not repaired promptly. You should call a plumbing emergency service near you to get such repairs done immediately. 

A plumbing contractor can also help with residential gas line installation near you. They can also help with ovens, natural gas fittings, hot water heater units, and other such appliances.

Service #5- Mechanical Services: Plumbing services are not just limited to water-related issues. Modern households have many appliances that make our lives comfortable by providing optimum living conditions. You can get maintenance, installation, and repairs of heating units, air ventilation, and cooling system services from the commercial plumbers near you. 

Service #6- Water Supply Services: The primary work solved by any plumbing contractor is related to water. These include water supply issues, broken pipelines, backflows, and toilet repairs. You should immediately get any plumbing issues repaired to avoid structural damage.

Service #7- Emergency Plumbing Services: Many plumbing issues can also be emergencies. Most plumbing problems occur at odd times and need to be handled quickly. A plumbing contractor near you can help with such emergencies. 

About Kingstree Plumbing-

Looking for a plumber? Check out Kingstree Plumbing! We provide commercial services, including plumbing repair, installation, water softeners, water heaters, gas fittings, sump pumps, humidifiers, and whole-house re-piping. It’s our goal to ensure you have an operational plumbing system you can always rely on, regardless of the type of issues you may experience. Our professional plumbers offer only quality services to you, helping you keep your plumbing systems in good operating condition with efficient repairs and replacement when necessary. Fill out our contact form for regular services and more information, or call 780-695-2792 for emergency services.

BioSmart Drain Cleaners: A Natural Alternative

We’ve all been there at one point or another. Whether it’s been a toilet at a restaurant that won’t drain, or the shower at your house that’s clogged up again with hair, there’s probably been a time when you needed to unclog a drain.

Usually the first thing we think of is the trusty old plunger. When that doesn’t work, we often turn to chemical solutions like Liquid Plumbr or Draino. But as you uncap those chemicals and pour them down the drain, do you ever feel a little uneasy about the fact that the bottle you’re pouring from is covered in warnings like, “DANGER: May burn eyes and skin on contact,” “Harmful if swallowed,” and “Toxic gas may form if mixed with other chemicals”?

Do you ever wonder if those chemicals affect our communities’ water systems? Anything poured down your drain has the potential to make its way into our water supply, so, really, you should think twice before using chemicals to unclog your drains.

Try BioSmart Drain Unblocker

BioSmart Technologies, the creators of BioSmart’s drain unblocker called BioFlush, is a company that knows all about the dangers chemicals pose to the water supply and the environment. They developed products that contain bacteria and enzymes to break down the hair, oils, plants, proteins, and starches that clog up your pipes.

With BioFlush enzymes break apart organics into small pieces and bacteria eats them, making a meal out of your clog and then flowing out of your system along with water, carbon dioxide and other environmentally friendly elements. (See which enzymes are at work here.)

Things like Liquid Plumbr use lye, which heats up and burns a hole in the clog. With normal use, the pipe will just clog up again, building on the stuff that didn’t get washed away. The bacteria in BioFlush will eat away at the clog and multiply, eating and eating until their food source is gone.

Why Use BioFlush Rather than Draino or Liquid Plumbr?

It used to be that we didn’t think much about the products we used or the effects that our day to day lives had on the world around us. We mindlessly bought whatever was on the shelf. Those days are over. Now we research our products and give careful consideration to what we buy. We reach for things that are labelled “natural,” “organic,” and “non-toxic,” because we want our homes to be healthy and safe.

That’s why BioSmart products are a smart choice. Here are even more reasons why you should choose them:

  • They are safe to keep around the house: Non-toxic to kids and pets
  • Repeated use won’t damage your pipes, the glue holding them together, or your septic system. It’s meant to be used on a regular basis.
  • It doesn’t just burn a hole in the clog like chemicals that use gravity to work. Bacteria eats it!
  • You can use it to prevent clogs by treating your drains monthly

How Do I use BioFlush to Unclog Drains?

BioFlush is just as easy to use as Draino. Here are the steps:

  1. At the end of the day, pour a couple litres of warm water into the clogged drain.
  2. Pour 500 ml of BioFlush into the drain and leave it overnight.
  3. In the morning, run some water down the drain to loosen any material, and you should be clog-free!

In drains that tend to clog up often, you can also use BioFlush as a way to prevent blockage. Just pour some down the drain once a month.

Where can I get BioSmart Products?

BioFlush and other BioSmart Products are sold exclusively through plumbing professionals so you won’t find them at your local hardware store. You can buy them from us, so what are you waiting for? Ask us about getting some BioFlush!

Is Your Clog Too Nasty for Cleaners? Call Kingstree Plumbing

Not all clogs can be conquered with cleaners, even ones as great as BioFlush. So when you run into a clog that just won’t budge, give Kingstree Plumbing a call at 780-410-3554. We use BioSmart products and can help you with any of your plumbing needs: gas fitting, water softeners, hot water tanks, sump pumps, water leaks, humidifiers and more. Find out more about what we do on our plumbing services page for more details.

Need help right away? Contact us today!

Time-lapse Clear Wine Glass With Water from

5 Signs Your Water Softener Isn’t Working Properly

In Edmonton, we’re big fans of water softeners. Our prairie water is hard, meaning it has a high amount of minerals (mostly calcium and magnesium) in it. Hard water isn’t bad for our health, but life is a little brighter with a water softener.

5 Reasons Water Softeners are Good for Your Home

But lately, you’ve suspected that something is wrong with you water softener. Since water hardness is a subtle part of life, it can be hard to tell. So, here are some signs that your water softener isn’t working properly.

1. Your skin feels “squeaky” after you wash it

When your water softener isn’t working, you’ll feel the effects of hard water on your skin. The calcium and magnesium in hard water can leave a film on your skin, making it feel sticky, dry, and itchy. With soft water, your skin should feel healthy and soaps will lather easily.

2. You’re seeing signs of hard water

Other signs of hard water will start to pop up is your water softener isn’t working. Since it’s not as obvious as the feeling of the water on your skin, you might have a hard time noticing these more subtle signs:

  • Stiff clothes
  • Water spots
  • Crusty buildup around your pipes and faucets
  • Soap refuses to lather

If you’re seeing these signs, you can confirm that your water isn’t being softened with a test. Water hardness test kits are sold at hardware and pet stores (in aquarium supplies). Test both the outgoing and incoming water to see how well the softener is working, if at all.

**Tip: Don’t test with a pool strip. Pool strips test for the water’s pH or how alkaline or basic water is, which isn’t the same thing as water hardness. That said, hard water is usually higher in pH and basic water is usually lower.**

3. The water tastes salty

If there’s too much salt in your water softener, you might see a thin, salty film left on the inside of the dishwasher or on faucets. Or it might actually taste salty.

To fix this, the softener may need to be cleaned and then refilled with salt. There are lots of different types of water softeners out there, so check your manufacturer’s guide or website to see how to clean yours. Here’s a general guide for cleaning water softeners.

Once it’s clean, check the salt settings against the current hardness of your water.

Salty water could also mean you have a jammed control or valve in your system, but it never hurts to give your appliances a cleaning every year or so.

4. Your brine tank is out of salt

This is actually the most common water softener problems, not enough salt. Just mark it on your calendar or set yourself a reminder to check the salt level once a month. You’d be surprised how many people will think their softener is broken only to lift the lid and see that it’s just out of salt. Most need to be at least half full of salt.

If the salt is less than half full and looks dry, refill it until it’s about ⅔ full (refer to your manufacturer’s guide for specifics). Those bags are pretty heavy, so be careful when you’re pouring so that you don’t over fill it (or get salt everywhere).

5. Your water softener is not working at all

If your water softener isn’t working at all, the problem could be with the electrical (wires, fuses, the plug-in), or it could mean important parts have worn out. Like all appliances, things wear out or break over time. Eventually your water softener’s life will come to an end.

After ruling out minor issues like being out of salt or needing a cleaning, it could be time to call a pro. Kingstree Plumbing can service or repair your water softener. If it comes down to it, we can even recommend a new water softener and install it for you, giving you the best settings for your home.

So if you have a water softener, look out for these signs that it’s not working and have it fixed right away.

Give us a call at 587-410-3554 or send us a message with your water softener questions and a free quote today!

water leak sensor to detect plumbing emergency

Water Leak Sensors: Why Every Home and Business Needs Them

Wouldn’t it be great to get notified of a water leak before it caused major damage? Even small leaks can create big problems. A leaky tap can lead to costly utility bills , but that’s nothing compared to how much a flooded basement will set you back. Insurance companies will tell you that most claims are water-related so do yourself a favour and pick up a water leak sensor.

What is a Water Leak Sensor?

Water leak sensors are relatively new on the market. They haven’t been around as long as water heaters or refrigerators. They came about with the arrival of computer rooms. Computers used to be huge, expensive beasts that had their own room. Since electronics are vulnerable to water, these rooms needed to be dry. There needed to be a way to detect leaks so that they could be fixed as soon as possible.

Types of Water Leak Sensors Available Today

The first models were pretty basic. They sat on the floor and sounded an alarm when they got wet. There were also ones that used cables to detect water. These could be installed in patterns on the floor or attached directly to water pipes.

Those types still exist today, and you can get a simple and adorable “Leak Bug” water detector for about $15 off Amazon. It sits on the floor and has an ear-piercing alarm if it detects water. But with the growing trend in “smart home” technology, now you can get a really cool, high-tech, wifi-connected water leak sensor.

It’s amazing that 30 years ago we hadn’t even heard of the internet, and now we’ve got thermostats, lights, and even stoves that we control from apps on our phones. What’s more impressive is that some of these “connected” water leak sensors can even detect temperature and humidity!

Where to Put Water Leak Sensors

Every building that has plumbing should have a water leak sensor. Not just in Edmonton, everywhere. They’re essential in commercial buildings where there are a lot of electronics. Museums, libraries, and galleries are all places that should be kept dry.

Some common places to have water leak sensors in commercial buildings are near drain pipes, under vending machines, near dehumidifiers, and in boiler rooms.

For residential use, here are some of the best places to put water leak sensors:

  • At the lowest point of your basement
  • In the laundry room
  • Next to toilets
  • Under sinks
  • Under your refrigerator
  • Under your dishwasher
  • Under water heaters
  • Near sump pumps

That sounds like a lot of water leak sensors, but you can get products that come with a central hub and at least three or four sensors. If you need more sensors, you can buy them individually.

What’s the Best Water Leak Sensor for my Needs?

New water leak sensors come on the market all the time, so it can be hard to figure out which one to buy. Knowing which one is best for your needs takes a little bit of research.

Your basic requirements are that they need to be discreet, unobtrusive, and sturdy enough to get wet and dirty and last a long time. Then you have added features like temperature and humidity sensors, wifi capabilities, alerts sent to your phone, etc.

The Wirecutter website has a great article where it recommends smart water leak sensors after testing them. You can check out the article here.

Call Kingstree Plumbing for all your Plumbing Needs

Water leak detectors are great. They will tell you that water is present when it should be dry. The only problem is that they won’t tell you exactly where water is leaking from. Sometimes you will find the leak in a pipe or washing machine hose. Sometimes you could search and search and never figure out where the water is coming from.

If that’s the case, that’s when you should call a plumber to help find the leak and fix the problem before it becomes a disaster.

At Kingstree Plumbing, we know water and can help you with any of your plumbing needs. We offer a wide range of plumbing services from sump pump installation, gas fitting, hot water heater installation and repairs, and more. Just give us a call at 587-410-3554.

water problems egg smell, leaves stains

5 Home Water Problems and How to Fix Them

Does your water have a gross egg smell, a metallic taste, or particles floating in it? These problems and more can all affect your water supply. Sometimes it’s an easy fix, but sometimes your water system may need extra filtration, new appliances, or even a whole new plumbing system. In this article we tell you about Edmonton’s common water problems and what to do about them.

1. Iron in the water

Iron is one of the minerals commonly found in the water. It occurs naturally in the ground and can seep into your water supply, especially if you take water directly from the ground. A lot of homes outside of cities get their water from wells, so it’s common to hear complaints about rusty looking water.

If you don’t have well water, you could be seeing rusty water because of corrosion in your pipes or your hot water tank.

Iron in the water won’t kill you. Usually it’s safe to drink, but it could have a strong sulfur smell and look dirty. A lot of people use their well water for washing but buy bottled water for drinking. It’s a smart idea to filter the iron out because excess iron can cause clogs in your plumbing and it can stain your tubs, washing machines, dishes, clothes, etc.

It will even affect your cooking, giving food a metallic taste and making them look dark and unappealing.

A water softener will remove some iron (around 3g/L) from the water, but it’s not a filtration system. The iron that is removed from the water ends up at the bottom of the tank. Air injection systems are the most effective and there are many homes in Alberta that use them. They can remove up to 30g/L of iron.

If you think you have high levels of iron in your water, you might be interested in The Government of Alberta’s article, “Alternatives for Iron Removal.”

2. Hydrogen Sulfide in the Water Causing an Eggy Smell

Do you have black water coming out of your taps? No, it’s not the apocalypse. It’s hydrogen sulfide (H2S). And at low concentrations it gives water a strong rotten egg smell. As with iron, H2S usually isn’t in high enough concentrations to create any health problems, but no one wants to suffer through foul water.

There are quite a few methods for removing H2S from water and all they involve changing dissolved H2S into a solid using chemicals, storing the water while the chemicals work their magic, and then filtering to collect the solid H2S particles.

You can read about them in the Government of Alberta’s article, “Removing Hydrogen Sulfide Gas from Water.”

3. Cloudy Water When it’s Fresh from the Tap

Do you ever fill up a glass of water straight from the tap and notice it’s incredibly cloudy? You think, “Ewwwww! Why does my water look like that?” You wonder if you had milk in that glass that you forgot to rinse out.

Well, surprise! Edmonton’s sometimes cloudy water has nothing to do with your plumbing or the quality of your water. It’s caused by millions of tiny air bubbles. You’ll notice that if you let the glass sit for a few minutes, the water will clear from the top down. That’s the bubbles floating to the top and popping.

Cold water tends to be cloudier than warm water, so you’ll notice a difference in cloudiness throughout the year.

4. You Have Hard Water

You won’t smell anything in particular when you have hard water, and the water will look normal. You’ll notice that something’s wrong with the water when you have a look at your pipes and fixtures. Hot water heaters and washing machines are particularly prone to clogs and corrosion caused by hard water because they are constantly exposed to it.

Hard water leaves a buildup of white, yellow, or beige particles that can turn into a flaky crust if left for a long time. Crusty buildup on the outside means the inside of your pipes and appliances are probably affected ten times worse.

If you notice that your dishes aren’t coming clean, your clothes are stiff and dingy, and your skin doesn’t feel clean after a shower, your home would benefit from a water softener. Need more convincing? Read Top 5 Reasons Why Water Softeners are Good for Your Home

5. Grey or White Particles in your Water

There are a couple reasons why you see tiny grey or white particles in your water and they’re both caused by your hot water heater. If the particles float, your water heater’s dip tube is probably disintegrating, and you need to call a plumber.

If the particles sink, you probably have a buildup of calcium carbonate in your water tank and it needs to be flushed and given some routine maintenance.

Call Kingstree Plumbing for Help with Your Water Problems

Kingstree Plumbing can help you with any of your water problems. We can replace your hot water tank if corrosion has taken over. We can also recommend and install a water softener if hardness is causing problems for you. Whatever the problem, we can diagnose it and suggest solutions so you can enjoy clean, clear water in your home or business.

Give us a call at 587-410-3554 or visit our contact page for more information.

Share this article with your friends! They could be having water problems in their home and this information could help them decide what action to take.

Hot water heater

Hot Water Tank Guide



Introduction: Hot Water Tank or Heater Basics

You might already know that down in the guts of your house, among the furnace, the sump pump, and your pipes that lead up into the walls, floors, and ceilings, there’s a machine in your utility room that heats water and pumps it through the house as you need it.

Not too long ago, people had to use pots to heat water over a fire or on a stove for cooking, baths, and washing, but as better technology became widely available, we created the beginnings of modern-day hot water heaters.

The first version was a huge, metal tank that was filled with cold water and heated with elements using oil, electricity, or gas. This hot water tank was wrapped with insulation to help keep the water at a steady temperature, ready for use as needed.

It wasn’t the most efficient system because water cools quickly, so the heating elements had to be on just about all the time.

Now, we have a variety of ways that we heat water for household or commercial use, and in this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about them.

Types of Hot Water Heaters

There are a lot of different types of hot water heaters, and choosing the right one can be confusing if you’re not a plumbing professional. In this section, we’ll tell you about the some of the best kinds to have for residential and commercial use.

Top 4 Hot Water Tanks Types for Residential Use

Electric Tank-Type Hot Water Tank

An electric tank-type hot water heater is exactly what it sounds like. It is basically a tank that holds water with elements that heat water that are powered by electricity.

Gas Powered Tank-Type Hot Water Tank

Another version of the tank-type hot water heater is one that is powered with natural gas. It has the same look as the electric version, but has a few more components, like a pilot light, burners, and gas-specific safety features.

Whole House Tankless Hot Water Tank

Tankless water heaters are the newer, sleeker kind of hot water heaters that work a little differently than traditional tank-style water heaters. They don’t store water at all. Instead, when water is needed, it flows through this machine, gets heated instantly by a gas burner or electric element, and is sent out to where it is wanted.

Point of Use Tankless Hot Water Tank

The smaller version of the tankless hot water heater is called a Point of Use or Mini Tankless Water Heater. It’s so small that it can fit in a cupboard or under the kitchen sink, which can be ideal if you live in an apartment where the central water system doesn’t get water hot enough for you. They’re also great for getting you hot water FAST! With these little guys, you don’t have to wait for your shower to warm up because it gives you hot water almost instantly.

Since they are small, they are only intended to serve one tap, faucet, or shower.

Top 3 Hot Water Heaters for Commercial Use

Boiler Systems

A boiler is a pressure vessel that creates heat and steam that are used to heat water, provide energy, or heat entire buildings. They can also be used in industrial applications.

Commercial Natural Draft

Also known as Condensing Water Heaters, these are high-efficiency water heaters powered by natural gas that capture the residual heat from the combustion process to preheat incoming cold water instead of venting it directly outside.

Commercial Power Vented

Commercial power vented water heaters are designed to have high-efficiency and deliver a constant flow of hot water on demand. If your water heater is located deep inside the building, it’s smart to get a hot water heater with power venting (a blower or fan) to blow the exhaust a long way to the outside. This type of heater can be necessary if there isn’t access to a vertical vent or chimney for the exhaust to escape from.

Components of Tank-Type Hot Water Heaters

These next few sections aren’t intended to be comprehensive breakdowns of all the parts of each kind of hot water heater. They are basic overviews of the main parts of each type to give you an idea of how each one works.

Knowing the components will help you to troubleshoot and provide maintenance on your hot water heater and give you an understanding of how each one works.

The Cold Water Inlet and Shut-Off Valve

Cold water is brought into the tank via a supply line that is controlled by a shut-off valve. Knowing where your shut-off valve is can be crucial if you ever need to turn the hot water off right at the source. If you’re doing dishwasher, washing machine maintenance, or the hot water heater itself, this is one of the first things you should do.

The Hot Water Discharge Pipe

Put simply, this is the pipe that hot water comes out of. When someone turns on the shower or an appliance demands it, hot water comes out of the hot water discharge pipe and flows to the person or machine that needs it.

The Tank Itself

Hot water tanks are actually made up of three layers. The outside layer or ‘jacket’ is made of steel and inside it is a pressure-tested water tank surrounded by a layer of fibreglass insulation. To make hot water tanks retain more heat, some people will add another layer of insulation on the outside of the tank, for a total of four layers.

The Dip Tube

‘Dip Tube’ kind of sounds like the name of a fun waterslide, but it’s really just a plastic pipe that brings water from the cold water inlet down to the bottom of the tank where it can be heated. When water warms up, it rises to the top, ready to flow out of the hot water discharge pipe.

The Anode Rod

An anode rod is an anti-corrosion device. Like the name suggests, it is a rod shaped piece of aluminium, zinc, and/or magnesium pipe that hangs from the top of the tank.

The reason it’s there is because when metal and water come into contact with each other, the metal will corrode or wear down. Since the water tank is made of steel, the idea is that corrosion will feed on the anode rod rather than the steel tank because it is an easier target. That’s probably why it’s also known as the sacrificial rod.

Plastic or glass-lined tanks don’t have anode rods.

Heater Drain Valve

The drain valve looks kind of like a faucet and can be opened to flush out particles of sediment or to drain the tank if you need to.


Like the thermostat you use to control the air temperature in your home, your hot water heater has a thermostat. To adjust the temperature of your water, (usually it is kept around 120 degrees) you use the knob on the side of the tank, near the bottom.

If your water heater has two thermostat knobs, make sure that they are set to the same temperature.

For a full explanation about hot water heater thermostats, watch the video below.

Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

Another safety feature of hot water heaters is the temperature/pressure relief valve. When water in the tank gets too hot or when there is too much pressure in the tank, this valve will automatically release water or steam.

Components Specific to Gas Powered Hot Water Heaters

Venting System

The combustion from the used gas has to go somewhere, so a venting system needs to be in place. This consists of ducts that vent the combustion outside.

Pilot Light

Like all the old furnaces, gas powered hot water heaters also have a pilot light that is always lit. It is used to fire up the burner.


The thermocouple looks like a small piece of copper wire and it works by sending a small electric current to the gas valve that the pilot is lit and to send gas to the burner when the thermostat needs it.

Burner/Pilot Orifice

This is a small piece of metal that controls the flow of gas to the pilot. It looks like a teeny tiny brass cup and you’ll find it at the end of the pilot supply line.

Gas Control Valve

This is a very important piece of equipment for a gas powered hot water heater. It works with the pilot light and the thermostat to control the temperature of the water.

Components Specific to Electric Hot Water Heaters


The element in your electric hot water heater functions just like the elements on your kitchen stove. Usually your hot water heater will have a couple elements, one at the top and another at the bottom.

Thermal Cutoff/High Temperature Cutoff Switch

In the event that an electric hot water tank malfunctions or the water inside it gets too hot, there is a safety device called the high temperature cutoff switch that will shut down the heater and the switch will need to be reset.

Components of Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Tankless hot water heaters differ from ones with tanks in that they don’t store water. Rather, they heat up water as it’s needed and pipe it directly to the faucet or appliance that called for the hot water.

They do have some similar components, like incoming and outgoing water valves, heating elements or burners, thermostats, and temperature sensing equipment. The main difference is that tankless hot water heaters use something called a heat exchanger to transfer heat to the water flowing through it.

Below we describe the major components in tankless hot water heaters.

Temperature Control Knob or Digital Temperature Controller

To control the temperature of the water coming out of the hot water heater, there is a temperature control knob or a digital temperature controller on the control module that you set to the temperature you want your hot water to be.

Control Module

The control module is the brains of the tankless hot water heater. You input the temperature you want your water to be heated to, and the control module works with sensors in the unit to determine when and how much power to send to the heating element or burner.

Cold Water Valve

The water valve in a tankless hot water heater is where cold water enters the unit.

Flow Sensor

Tankless water heaters are activated when water flows into them, which happens when you turn on a faucet. The flow sensor detects water flowing through the water valve and tells the controller that water is coming in.

Temperature Sensor

There are temperature sensors in tankless water heaters that sense the incoming and outgoing water temperatures. These sensors triggers the heating process by sending the information to the control module which determines the amount of power to send to the heating element or burner to reach the desired temperature.

Heat Exchanger

Tankless water heaters work by warming up your water with a heat exchanger, which is a powerful device that transfers heat from warmed coils to the incoming cold water.

Hot Water Outlet

The hot water outlet valve is the pipe that heated water flows from. It leaves the water heater and is pumped through the home to wherever water is needed.

Components Specific to Gas Powered Tankless Hot Water Heaters


In a gas powered tankless hot water heater, there is an ignitor that lights the gas burner whenever water starts to flow into the unit.

Gas Burner

When hot water is required for your shower, dishwasher, or faucets, the gas burner in a gas powered tankless hot water heater is what ignites to heat up the heat exchanger. The water flowing through the unit is then heated to a preset temperature, which is determined by the temperature control knob (although sometimes the temperature control is digital).


Natural gas powered tankless water heaters use a fan to vent combustion gases outside. They turn on when the unit is in use and turn off and on as needed.

Components Specific to Electric Tankless Hot Water Heaters


In electric powered tankless water heaters, the triacs are what signal the heating elements to turn on.

Components of Boilers

Not all boilers are created alike. There are several different models that use various types of fuels and configurations depending on what they are used for. In this area, we outline the basic components residential boilers to give you an understanding of how they work.

Components of Hot Water Boiler - Kingstree Plumbing

Image Source:


An aquastat is the boiler’s version of a thermostat. It’s the brains of the operation that tells the components when to turn on and off to keep the boiler’s output at the desired temperature.

Feed Pump

The feed pump is what pushes the water into the boiler for heating.

Gas Valve

Simply put, the gas valve is what supplies the burners with their the fuel source (usually natural gas).


Like with gas powered tank and tankless hot water heaters, burners are where air and fuel combine to create heat. They heat the unit’s heat exchangers.

Heat Exchanger

A boiler’s heat exchanger consists of heated pipes in a chamber where water is forced through. As the water passes by these heated pipes, it absorbs the heat from the pipes and is then piped out through the building as needed.

Circulator Pumps

Circulator pumps are what keep the water flowing through the system. Water comes in, gets heated, and is forced out to where it is needed with the help of the circulator pump.

Supply Lines

After water is heated, it goes out through the supply lines to where it is needed. These lines go all through the building through the walls to taps, faucets, radiators, and appliances.


Not all boilers have a condenser, but they are becoming more popular because are more energy efficient. They reuse some of the exhaust heat in the flue to heat water.

Pressure Relief Valve

With a device that creates steam, it’s absolutely critical to have a safety in place that will automatically open a vent to release pressure when it is too great. That’s exactly what the pressure relief valve does.

Vents and Flue

Boilers typically have at least one vent where excess heat. They will also have a flue where exhaust from natural gas combustion is vented through ducts to the outside.


In the event that the boiler needs to have all the water inside it drained, it will exit through a drain that is located at the lowest point of water tank in the boiler.

How Do I Choose the Right Hot Water Heater for My Home or Business?

Which Hot Water Tank Brands Can I Trust?

Many companies make hot water heaters, but there are some that we recommend over others. In this section, we’ll tell you about the brands we prefer.


Navien is a leader in innovation and design in tankless hot water heaters. They have the highest energy efficiency ratings in the industry and build their products using high-quality materials that will last a long time.

They offer 15 year warranties on their heat exchangers and 5 year warranties on their parts, so you won’t be stuck holding the bill if something goes wrong after a few years. Their sleek, compact design makes them ideal for residential settings because they are 80% smaller than traditional hot water heaters.

They boast an impressive 15 gallons of hot water per minute and since they heat water as it’s needed, you’ll never run out of hot water.

Check out the Navien website for more information.

Bradford White

Bradford White makes a hot water heater suited for every situation. They have an impressive catalog filled with high-quality, high-efficiency industrial, commercial, and residential hot water heaters that are made using leading-edge technology.

To ensure that their products last as long as possible, they can only be installed by trained professionals like us at Kingstree Plumbers . They offer great warranties, a huge selection, and great resources on their website for troubleshooting and other information.

One model that we’re particularly impressed with is the Extra Recovery Atmospheric Vent Water Heater for residential applications.

AO Smith

AO Smith is another great company that specializes in top-of-the-line hot water heaters. They pride themselves on being technology innovators and were the first to introduce glass-lined tanks that stand up better to corrosion than traditional steel tanks.

To this day, they strive to create products that deliver maximum hot water output at the lowest possible cost.

They offer an incredible selection of hot water heaters. Everything from commercial to residential, with all kinds of fuel types and models to choose from. To see their selection of one of our favourite products of theirs: high-demand hot water heaters.

How to Choose a Hot Water Heater

If you want to have hot water in your home or business, you need to have a hot water heater. That part is easy enough to figure out. The part that’s not so easy to figure out is which one to get.

It’s important to get the correct size of hot water tank for your needs because if you buy one that’s too small, you’ll constantly be running out of hot water and if you buy one that’s too big, you’ll end up with higher purchase prices, higher utility bills, and wasted space.

Keep reading to find out how to choose the right sized hot water heater.

Step 1: Determine Your Power Source

In Alberta there are two main power sources for hot water heaters, electricity and natural gas. Depending on the cost, you may decide to go with one fuel type over the other.

In general gas powered hot water heaters cost less to operate, but will cost more to purchase. For a more detailed comparison of gas and electric hot water heaters, read Gas vs. Electric by Winnipeg’s City Wide Water Heater Service.

Another thing to consider is that gas powered hot water heaters need to vent their exhaust, so they may not be an option if there is nowhere for fumes to go.

Step 2: Determine the Amount of Hot Water You Will Need

Here are the factors to consider when figuring out how much water you use:

  • How many people are present. On average, peak use for one person is 10 gallons per hour in a house. In an office, average peak hour use is only 2 gallons.
  • How many appliances are present
  • The age of your appliances

You’re probably thinking, How do I figure out how much hot water my home or business is going to use? The answer is, you don’t really need to! You can get daily or weekly estimates and just divide by the number of hours in a day or week.

Hot Water Calculator from Rock Paper Sun Ltd

Hot Water Calculator from Ausgrid

Once you have an estimate of how many gallons of hot water you use, you should buy a hot water heater with a First Hour Rating (FHR) that is within a few gallons of your estimated use. The FHR is the amount of hot water a unit can deliver during peak time use. Makes sense, right?

Tankless hot water heaters use a different rating, which is gallons per minute, or GPM. To get this number, divide your gallons per hour rating by 60.

Step 3: Consider the Efficiency Factor

The Efficiency Factor (EF) takes into account the following things:

  • The Recovery Efficiency, which is how efficiently heat from the fuel is transferred to the water.
  • Standby Losses, which is how much heat is lost from the stored water.
  • Cycling Losses, which is how much heat is lost as the water cycles through the unit.

The higher the EF number is, the more efficient the hot water heater is.

It’s a good idea to give some thought to your hot water tank selection so that you end up with the best one for your individual needs. That said, most brands have tools on their websites that will help you choose a hot water heater.

Here’s the Selection Assistant from Navien

Product selector from AO Smith

Water Heating Selection Guide from HTP

Hot Water Heater Safety

Not to be a Derek Downer, but just about anything can be dangerous, even innocent seeming things like spoons or dust. Dropping a spoon on your foot can be painful, and dust in your eyes can cause you to crash your car! Your hot water heater is no exception. You might be surprised to hear this, but every year, a few hot water heaters explode! So read this next section carefully so your innocent hot water heater doesn’t become a danger to your home or business.

1. Setting the Right Temperature

Some like it hot, some like it cold. The temperature you set your hot water heater to is a matter of preference… to a degree. If your hot water tank is set too low, you risk breathing in harmful bacteria that could be killed by higher temperatures, but you’ll use less energy and have lukewarm showers, which can be nice in the summer.

On the other hand, if your hot water tank is set too high, you could end up with burns from putting your hands in super-hot dishwater or scalding showers.

The factory setting on your hot water heater is usually set to 125 degrees, but that can be too hot or inefficient, energy-wise. Changing the setting the temperature on some hot water heaters is very easy. They will have settings like A, B, C, or vacation, lukewarm, warm, hot, and very hot, and you start with one and see if it’s hot enough for you.

You might see a temperature gauge with a range between 60 and 160 degrees, which can be a little trickier to figure out. It’s recommended that you set the temperature at at least 120 degrees to kill the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ Disease.

If that’s not hot enough for you, you can always turn the temperature up, just be aware of the risk of burning your skin. Below is a chart that tells you how long it takes skin to burn in water at varying temperatures.

To check to see if your water is reaching the desired temperature, turn on the hot water for a few minutes, then run a thermometer under it for a few seconds. If you make adjustments to the temperature, wait a few hours before testing it again.

2. Hot Water Heater Tank Explosions Can Happen!

Hot water heater tanks are pressurized cylinders with hot liquid inside of them. Sounds a little bit like a bomb, doesn’t it?

Usually the water is set to the correct temperature, but if something goes wrong, like the heating element or burner won’t shut off, the temperature mechanism fails, or the temperature/pressure valve fails, you could end up with steam instead of hot water. Since steam takes up more room than water and can be trapped in the pressurized hot water tank, it has the potential to cause an explosion.

If you suspect that your hot water heater is producing steam instead of water there are a couple ways to tell:

  • Steam is coming out of your hot water faucets.
  • Your temperature/pressure valve is leaking hot water or steam.

Don’t panic and run if you have the symptoms above. First, shut off the fuel source. For electric hot water heaters, turn off the power at the breaker. For gas powered hot water heaters, shut off the gas valve.

Next call a plumber for emergency hot water heater service.

This actually happens! See for yourself in this funny retro video on the subject of exploding hot water heaters:

3. General Safety Tips for your Hot Water Heater

If your hot water heater uses a pilot light, make sure that you don’t have flammable liquids around it, including bug bombs. If it’s located in a garage, make sure that the pilot light is at least a foot and a half (18 inches) above the floor.

Keep the area around your hot water tank clear of dust and debris.

Proper ventilation is key with water heaters that use natural gas as fuel. Make sure that the vents are clear of dust and debris and that everything is connected. The vents should go straight up and outside without sections that go down.

Insulation is great for a hot water heater. It keeps the water warmer longer, so that you don’t burn as much fuel to keep water at it’s desired temperature. Just make sure that the insulation is at least 6 inches from the flue exhaust and draft hood.

Another insulation-related thing to watch out for is that it doesn’t cover air intake vents or the burner control.

Avoid storing anything on top of your hot water tank.

Hot Water Tank Maintenance

Whether you’ve inherited a hot water tank in the house you just bought or you’ve been living in a home for a while and haven’t checked on your hot water tank … ever… it’s a good idea to read over your water heater manual and give the unit an inspection (we’ll tell you what to look for).

If nothing seems amiss and you are satisfied with how it’s functioning, it should be good to go a couple months before another check-up. Here is a schedule to follow for hot water heater maintenance.

Every Two Months

Check for water leaks

Check the plumbing joints and the water heater in general for any water leaks. You may see little pools of water. If you do, try to locate the source of the leak and then troubleshoot from there to see what could be causing the leak. It could just be a loose joint or a small crack in the pipes. A small pool could also mean that your pressure relief valve has recently opened, in which case you should check the water pressure in your house.

Check to see if the water tank or the surrounding pipes make any odd noises when a nearby faucet is turned on

Turn on a nearby faucet or have a helper turn on a faucet somewhere in the house and then listen for odd noises coming from the water heater, the pipes around it, the vents, and the gas line if your water heater is gas powered.

Check for corrosion

Since minerals in the water can cause corrosion, you may see some signs of it around the plumbing joints. It looks like cream coloured powder or crusty stuff around the water pipe joints or on the top of the unit.

Check the gas line for cracks, breaks, or the smell of gas

Gas leaks are nothing to mess with, and if you smell gas, you should call a plumber to inspect your hot water heater by using a bubble leak locator to identify the source of the leak. You can check the gas line for breaks or cracks, but they can be notoriously hard to find with the naked eye. Your best bet is to shut off the gas line and wait to see what the plumber finds.

Make sure the area around the water heater is clean and clear of debris

If you have kids or pets, you may find that things have found themselves shoved under your hot water heater. Check your vents, air intake areas, and around the pilot light (if your unit is gas powered).

Check that the pressure relief valve opens and closes freely

First you need to make sure that your hot water heater HAS a relief valve, then check to see that it is working properly. Missing or malfunctioning relief valves are the main cause of hot water heater explosions. See for yourself in this list of 101 Bad (or interesting) Water Heater pictures.

Here’s a video that shows you how to test your temperature and pressure relief valve.

Check the temperature of the hot water coming out of your faucets

You can make sure that your water heater is doing its job by checking the temperature of the hot water coming out of your faucets. Turn the water on and let it run for a few minutes. Then check the temperature with a thermometer. If there is a major discrepancy between the temperature the unit is set to and the temperature of the water coming out of your faucets, you may have a problem.

Every Six Months

Flush your system

Edmonton has hard water, meaning it has a high amount of dissolved solids like calcium, magnesium, aluminum, and iron in it that come out of the water and attach themselves to the inside of your hot water heater. These solids cause corrosion, meaning the metal insides of your unit can start to deteriorate.

Deterioration can cause all kinds of problems, so to avoid that, you should flush your hot water heater every six months to expel the solids and corrosive buildup.

Here’s a link to the Alberta Health Services’ guide to flushing your hot water heater that outlines all the steps you take to fully flush your system:

How Do I Flush My Water Heater

After Two or Three Years

Check the anode rod

In hot water heaters that have tanks, there will be an anode rod (also called a sacrificial rod) inside the tank. Its only purpose is to attract the solids in your water. Basically the rod will corrode instead of the metal insides of your hot water tank.

They last up to six years, but it’s a good idea to check on it every year to see what kind of condition it’s in.

For step-by-step instructions on changing out the anode rod check out this WikiHow article: How to Replace an Anode Rod in a Hot Water Heater. In order to check it you will have to take it out, so you can follow the same steps that are in the article. The only difference is you won’t be putting in a new anode rod.

For those of you who like videos more, here’s one where the plumber changes the anode rod and gives you a couple tips along the way:

Hot Water Tank Guide Summary

Finding the best hot water heater for your home can be tricky, but we hope that this guide has helped you understand that appliance in the utility room more than you did before.

If you found this helpful, bookmark this page for future reference and share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about hot water heaters or need plumbing services, give Kingstree Plumbing a call at


or use our contact page to get in touch.


boiler hot water heater problems

5 Signs that Your Boiler Needs Maintenance or Repairs

It’s a fact of life that appliances don’t last forever, and the average lifespan of your boiler is somewhere between 10 and 15 years. When it nears the end of it’s life, it may need some maintenance to keep it going a while longer until you’re ready to invest in a new one.

In this article, we’ll tell you about the signs that let you know that your boiler needs maintenance or repairs.

No hot water

The most obvious sign that something is not right with your boiler is that suddenly you find that there is no hot water, or heat from the radiators, or both. A lack of hot water could be because the thermostat is turned way down, like if you turned it down when you left to go on vacation, but it could also be a bigger problem.

It could also be caused by low pressure, and you can rule this out by checking your boiler’s pressure gauge. If the pressure is lower than 1, you may have a pressure issue.

A few other things that may be behind your lack of water, with the most likely culprit being a broken part or a valve that needs to be replaced. If you suspect it is a deeper issue, give your friendly Kingstree Plumber a call.

Low water pressure

If your hot water is working, but it’s coming out of the pipes very weakly, there might be a problem with your boiler’s pressure. It might be a problem with the whole house or building, so check the main line’s water pressure to rule that out.

Otherwise, a common reason for low water pressure is a leak or blockage somewhere in the system. If you suspect a leak, call a plumber in. He will use tools and his special training and experience to find and fix the problem.

Banging noises

Strange noises coming from the boiler can be very frightening, making you think you’re going have to go without hot water and pay for a new boiler. Sometimes air in the system can be the reason you’re hearing noises. Air can make gurgling, whistling, and banging sounds, but there may be a more serious cause of your boiler’s noises.

Banging noises can also mean that your pipes aren’t fitted correctly and the knock together as heated air and water goes through them. In that case, a plumber would need to come in to refit or adjust your pipes.

Another common cause of banging noises is pump failure. As your boiler’s pump deteriorates, it will get loud. This is something a plumber can diagnose and replace if necessary.

Is the noise coming from your central heating system? Find out what common causes of central heating system noises are.

Pilot light keeps going out

Has your pilot light gone out? Your first thought might be to just re-light it, but you should check your gas supply first. If your gas isn’t working, you need to contact your supplier.

The most common reasons for a pilot light going out are as follows:

  • A draft blew it out
  • There is build-up in the pilot light
  • The thermocouple is broken

Leaks or drips

Since your boiler’s primary function is to heat water and heated water corrodes metal faster than cool water, leaks caused by corrosion are very common. Many parts of your boiler are susceptible to corrosion both inside the boiler itself and in the valves and pipes that lead to and from it.

Finding and stopping leaks is a plumber’s speciality, so if you notice one, give your plumber a call.

There might be a simple solution, so try these things before you call in the professionals

Check the display on your boiler. It could have lights flashing or it might be displaying an error code. If it is, find out what it means by checking the manufacturer’s manual.
Reset your boiler. It’s funny how this tends to fix a lot of things, especially with computers. All you do is turn off the power, wait a minute, then turn it back on. You might find that the boiler’s power got loosened, disconnected, or maybe the fuse in your electrical panel blew.
Check the fuel sources. Make sure that all the natural gas, water, and electricity switches are turned on. An easy way to do this is to check other appliances to see if they’re working.
In the winter, it’s possible that your condensate pipe has frozen. If the boiler senses that the pipe is frozen, it will shut down. Luckily, it’s quick and easy to thaw a frozen condensate, and it may fix the boiler problems you’ve been having.

Boiler Problems? Call Kingstree!

At Kingstree Plumbing, we know all about boilers. If you need repairs or maintenance, we’ve got you covered. Choosing a boiler can be tricky, so if you’re looking for a new boiler, we can recommend the best one for your home or business.

Give us a call for any of your plumbing needs at 587-410-3554.

appliance maintenance how long do dishwashers last

How Often Should I Service My Appliances?

As plumbers, we work with a few of your major household appliances. Washing machines, hot water heaters, dishwashers, and sump pumps all benefit from at-home maintenance, sometimes you need to call for service. This article will give you a good idea of when you should call the professionals to service your appliances.

How Often Should I Service my Dishwasher?

Dishwashers are generally a low-maintenance appliance and they need service when something goes wrong.

Things will often go wrong because it’s a cleaning machine, and if you’ve ever cleaned a car, a room, or a muddy dog, you know that cleaning is dirty work. Dishwashers get dirty. All those food particles that don’t fit down the drain, are caught by traps, or stuck to walls are still there. Sticking and rotting.

The best way to keep dishwashers running is to keep them clean. For one, you get a close-up look at all the drains and hoses so you can spot clogs and leaks. Second, you get a healthy, clean dishwasher!

Here’s how to clean and maintain a dishwasher.

If cleaning and inspections don’t reveal anything, seek help. Your dishwasher may need service if it is malfunctioning in one of the following ways:

  • Won’t fill
  • Won’t drain
  • Making a noise
  • Is Leaking
  • Dishes are not getting clean

Dishwasher Tip: For the best way to load the dishwasher, click here for GE’s tips.

If you notice a puddle near your dishwasher, you should have it serviced immediately! A leaking dishwasher can cause a lot of water damage to the structure of your house.

How Often Should I Service My Washing Machine?

The price of washing machines has come down so much over the years that it doesn’t make sense financially to have them serviced regularly. Even if you do get preventive maintenance done, a lot of the time a breakdown can’t be prevented with service.

Even though washing machines are pretty care-free appliances, you should still be alert of any problems that signal that it needs something fixed. Minor faults can turn into major problems if they’re not looked after.

Here are some signs that your washing machine needs service:

Leaks: Even small leaks can cause shorts in the electrical parts of the washing machine.
Noises: Unbalanced loads can make loud noises and coins rattling can be concerning, but those things can be easily remedied. If you hear other strange noises coming from your washing machine, have it serviced.

Washing machine manufacturers recommend that you do a “service wash” once every few months. Some machines even have a self-cleaning mode. Maintenance is the key to keeping your washing machine in top shape, so check out these 8 Easy Maintenance Tips for Washing Machines.

How Often Should I Service My Hot Water Heater?

Hot water heaters are often neglected, and rightly so. If you have hot water, why would you worry? You shouldn’t worry about your hot water heater, but you should be aware that they can develop leaks.

Appliances that use water are especially prone to corrosion, and corrosion can lead to hot water heater problems. Read our guide to hot water heaters for information and tips on how to maintain your hot water heater.

One thing to note with hot water heaters that have tanks is they have an anode rod that will corrode down to nothing in 3-6 years. Since hot water heaters last 10-15 years, the rod will need to be replaced a few times.

How Often Should I Service Sump Pump?

You might have figured out the theme here. Basically you only need to service your appliances when something is amiss. Your sump pump is no exception. Preventive maintenance will help all of your appliances live longer. Here’s our article about Sump Pump Maintenance.

If something is going wrong with your sump pump, usually there are warning signs. It can be hard to know because your sump is out of sight, but here are some signs to look out for:

It won’t turn on
Strange, loud noises
Frequently turning on and off
Running too long

[Tweet “Sump pumps may give warning signs before they fail. Strange noises? Call a #plumber asap! #yeg #shpk”]

Call Kingstree Plumbing: Our Specialty is Water!

Give Kingstree Plumbing a call for all your water-using appliance needs. We can expertly install, replace, or repair them if you ever have any problems.

Share this article on Facebook or Twitter to give your friends and family a head’s up about servicing their appliances.

sump pump maintenance

Summertime Sump Pump Maintenance

Lately Edmonton has gotten an extraordinary amount of rain. The Whitemud and Fort Road flooded, leaving cars floating in lakes where roads used to be. That kind of water has the potential to cause a lot of damage to homes or businesses, so having a working sump pump can be a life-saver.

Fortunately, every home in the Edmonton that was built in or after 1988 has a sump pump in it, but do you know where yours is and what kind of shape it’s in?

In this article we’re going to tell you about sump pump and sump pump maintenance so you can keep your home protected from unwanted water.

What is a Sump Pump?

You might not know if you have a sump pump because they are located in a pit or sump basin below floor level. Generally you’ll only see a pipe sticking out of the floor that goes into the ceiling or the side of the building.

They can be located in basement closets, the utility room, laundry rooms, or even a corner or spare room in your basement.

Have a look at the image below to see an example of a sump pump setup.

Image source:

There are many, many different sump pump setups, so here is a link to an image search. You might see a sump pump that looks and functions like the one you have.

For more information on sump pumps from The City of Edmonton, click here.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

The way a sump pump works is simple: It collects water in a basin under your floor. When the water level reaches a certain point, the pump is triggered and water gets forced up a discharge pipe and out. Water goes either directly into your city or town’s drainage system or outside to a drain that’s far away from your house.

If it’s working properly, your home will stay dry no matter how heavy the rain is. If your sump pump needs maintenance, isn’t working, or isn’t turned on, you could run into problems.

Here are some things to do when performing a maintenance check-up on your sump pump:

Test your sump pump. To do this, you have to make sure the power supply is connected and the pump is turned on. Next, pour water into the pump. If it kicks in and drains the water in a few seconds, your sump pump is working!

Clean your sump pump. You will have to unplug the pump and take it out of the pit/basin. Once it’s out, clean the pump of debris and gunk. It’s also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guide to see how often it needs to be oiled. It is a motor after all, and motors do need to be greased every so often.

Make sure to clean the pump’s intake as well. A small brush is good for getting it nice and clean. Once everything is nice and clean, you can put it back into the basin, plug it in, and turn it on.

Check the outside pipe to confirm water is flowing towards the street or back lane.

The image below shows an example of a pipe that drains into the city’s sewer system:

Image source:

In this case it is smart to make sure there are no cracks or leaks that you can see.

As with sump pumps, there are many different types of sump pump drainage. You might find that your outside pipe is clogged with debris or, in the case of the picture below, not connected.


Clean away any debris, and if it looks like it’s not connected like the one above, call us to fix it for you.

Locate the discharge pipe inside your house. It is usually black or white plastic and it will run up from the sump pit and into your ceiling or a wall. Check the pipe for any cracks or leaks.

In the winter, it’s a smart idea to disconnect the discharge hose so that water in the line doesn’t freeze and prevent drainage when the snow starts to melt in the spring.

Once you have performed tests, checks, and done a bit of cleaning, your sump pump should be good to go! If you find that it isn’t working properly, or if you can’t find your pump at all, call Kingstree Plumbing, and we can help you with your sump pump!

Our number here is 587-410-3554 or you can reach us by filling out our contact form.