Why That Faucet Costs More Through A Plumbing Company…And Is Worth Every Penny

Maybe this situation has happened to you, or will one day occur: you are planning some plumbing renovations in your home and get a quote on the scope of work from a plumbing company. When you see the part versus labour breakdown, you decide to shop around and see if you can find the fixture for cheaper. You hop online and do a quick Google search and find the part around 30% cheaper at one of the big box home hardware stores. Great! You’ve just saved some money by doing a quick price comparison online, right?

Actually the truth is, it’s smarter to buy fixtures through your plumbing company. You may spend a little more upfront, but not as much as you think. Plus the protection you will get from damage will make it worth it. Let’s break down why…

The Big Box Catch-22Pull-down delta faucet

Big box stores almost always sell a cheaper line of products than you would get from a plumbing supply company or even directly from the manufacturer.  This is because these large retail chains want to keep their prices low, and sell in quantities high enough that manufacturers will actually make custom products exclusively for their stores.

Here’s the part that misleads customers – these models sometimes look identical to those from plumbing supply stores (where your plumber shops), and yet have lower quality internal parts. Generally this means plastic instead of metal. The outcome? The products from big box stores wear out much sooner, and you’ll be looking at replacement plus more labour costs. Plus the big box stores often don’t sell internal parts separately.

Now is when you might be thinking, “Ok, but can those higher quality versions myself at a plumbing supply store?”

The Deal With Plumbing Supply Stores

Yes, you can shop at some plumbing supply stores and showrooms (some are not open to the public), but you will pay more than a plumbing company or contractor would. This is because these businesses have accounts that get them discounts. The same goes with purchasing direct from manufacturers’ websites.

And here’s an additional important point to remember: if a product were to be defective and needed to be replaced under warranty, standard practice is that a plumber/contractor would not handle this for purchases he/she had not made for you.

Breaking Down Warranties

This might seem odd, since we are talking about a manufacturer’s warranty coverage. However the reason is if a company did not supply or recommend the part, they cannot be reasonably held responsible for its performance and the cost of seeking out a warranty exchange, particularly as it could be with a company this company has no relationship with and that is difficult to contact.

So, how long will you have warranty coverage if you buy everything through your plumber? While we can’t speak for all companies, Hy-Mark offers the first year after installation of labour coverage, and the first 2 years of parts coverage on our retrofit jobs. The nice thing is if you purchase your parts through your plumber, not only will you have replacement coverage for those 2 years, you will also have coverage of any damage that could result from a part failure. If you purchase your own fixtures, this may not apply if it’s determined the item was defective.

In the End

In the end, we recommend investing wisely in your plumbing fixtures in order to save yourself money and hassle. You may save a bit up front buying from big box retailers, but you get what you pay for. If you allow the same plumbing company you are entrusting to do work in your home to purchase your parts for you, you will likely get higher quality and performance from those products, plus warranties that offer you peace of mind.

Want a quote on your plumbing job? Give us a call at 1-800-727-0750.

 

7 Bathroom Decor Ideas To Try

mouthwash in glass bottles

1. You’ve spent thousands of dollars on the perfect bathroom – why ruin the aesthetic with ugly plastic bottles?

Instead, try putting mouthwash in an elegant glass bottle from the kitchenware section of any home goods store. Attach a rubber lined spout on top for easy, one handed pouring. Some small, nicely detailed disposable cups are a nice touch, especially for guests.

towels in wine rack2. A display of clean bath towels can add a sense of luxury and comfort.

A wine rack display can stow towels tightly in small areas, with the added benefit of making them easy to find for guests. (Do you really want your guests going through cabinets of old shampoo bottles and prescriptions?) You can also find them in a variety of colours, and in free standing and wall hanging designs.

 

3. Stick to a “cool” colour scheme.

Which of these bathrooms looks better? To most people, the white and blue colouration (cool colours) in the second photo make it appear cleaner and brighter. Though warm tones like yellow or light browns are cozy in kitchens and living rooms, they are also similar to the colour of dirt and water stains…yuck. cool coloured bathroom paintUsing these colours in your bathroom could give the appearance of age and tarnish. Off whites, yellows, reds and browns can also give a retro look. High contrast white and dark wood settings are a much more modern look, and are the popular contemporary design choice.

 

tiered tray on bathroom counter4. Save counter top space with a beautiful tiered tray.

Inspiration comes again from the kitchen, this time from dessert trays. One design element often forgotten is use of depth and height. Whether glass, wood or another material these trays add dynamism to your vanity top. It’s also a way to save valuable space. So get those bottles off your counter top!

 


rustic ladder5. Add a rustic display element.

A weathered wooden accent piece is perfect for adding some country charm and comfort. You can find antique ladders like this at many flea markets and antique stores. Or why not make on yourself from new or reclaimed wood?

 

 

mirrored tray with candles6. Add glitz with mirrored surfaces.

Mirrors are fantastic for brightening up spaces and making rooms appear larger. This shabby chic white trimmed mirror lays a perfect setting for a display of white candlesticks and pillar candles. Dim the lights and add bubble bath for a super relaxing bath experience.

 

DIY light switch frames7. Add statement light switch frames.

True design magic is in the small details, and here’s one that will quickly add a touch of style. Use a subtle ribbed frame fitted tightly to the size of the light switch cover. Ensure there is no gap of space between the frame and the plastic cover. With the right size, the cover should hold the frame by the inner lip with no additional supports.

Planning a bathroom renovation? We can help! Call us at 1-800-727-0750 to speak to a Comfort Advisor.

All image sources here.

 

5 Reasons The AquaTrip Is Our Favourite New Plumbing Innovation

It’s the coolest new home protection device you’ve never heard of.

The AquaTrip is a programmable device that fits on to your water system to monitor water flow and shut off the water automatically if flow exceeds normal use. Consequently, the device minimizes damage in the event of a leak, cracked pipe, a faucet left running, a leaking toilet, or some other plumbing failure.

The result can be you saving thousands of dollars in water damage costs. But there are other reasons we love it too. Here are the top 5 reasons the AquaTrip is our favourite new innovation in plumbing.

1. Installing one can lower your property insurance rate

Did you know that over 60% of property insurance claims are due to water damage? And of those, 9 out of 10 were preventable. That’s why insurance companies are motivated to reward the installation of an AquaTrip by lowering your premium. In fact in some places, it’s becoming a requirement to insure any residence worth more than $3 million.

image of different AquaTrip models2. It’s useful for many different property types

Besides home and apartment application, the AquaTrip is relevant for commercial and institutional properties. These situations where many users are on a single system can mean unpredictable and uncontrollable water usage costs. Operation managers can then monitor – and if wanted, limit – water usage at places like schools, hospitals, retail locations, offices, factories, subsidized housing, and group care facilities.

Cottages that are uninhabited during the winter are also ideal candidates because they could sustain lots of damage if a burst pipe were to occur.

3. In terms of value, it’s the most cost effective leak detection solution on the market today

Other water detection alarms have to be placed near all water using appliances and drains where leaks could occur. If you wanted to monitor for all leaks you would need to buy enough alarms to go near your water heater, sump pump, dishwasher, washing machine, and every sink, bath and toilet.

Even after all that expense, they could still fail to go off if placed improperly. They also do nothing to account for excessive water flow or shut off the water automatically, and do not help if you are not in the house to hear the alarm sound.

image of shower drain4. It was invented for environmentalists

The AquaTrip has its origins all the way down under in Australia, where it was conceived and designed to save water during times of drought. Homeowners or even water companies could set daily water usage limits to enforce conservation efforts.

Here in Southwestern Ontario we just experienced a summer with moderate to severe drought conditions, and many communities were under outdoor water use restrictions. For anyone who is looking to track their own home’s usage and conserve water, the AquaTrip can be programmed to trip automatically when a daily limit has been reached, making it very easy to be environmentally conscious.

5. It can help you isolate water wasting appliances to save on your water billimage of AquaTrip installed on a water line

Sometimes leaks are not glaringly obvious. They can be hidden inside plumbing fixtures, slowly wasting water – water you’re paying for. The advantage of the AquaTrip being tied on to your whole home’s water main is having a device that monitors the whole system holistically. This makes it easier to isolate problems quicker so they can be fixed. Take this real life example from an AquaTrip user:

“I was initially alarmed at my high water bills, so installed an AquaTrip to make sure that I was not losing any water to leaks. As soon as it was installed it detected a leak, which turned out to be a leaking toilet. This was repaired and a second leak in the shower wall cavity was discovered. This was in turn isolated and repaired. Unbelievably, a third leak was detected, which turned out to be a cracked main pipe in the garden. AquaTrip has reduced my water bill considerably and without it, I would still be wasting water and money.”

To learn more about the AquaTrip call us today (800) 727-0750, or visit our Leak Protection page.

2 Ways to Tell if Your Home’s Main Drain is Being Choked by Tree Roots

Tree with large root structureWhat would you think if an appliance in your home started draining slowly or not draining at all?  If you are like most people, you would assume that something that went down the drain is causing a clog.  But you could be wrong; in homes with certain risk factors, it could be the trees in your own yard causing your drains to slow and back up. Learn to identify these risk factors and what you can do if you think your pipes are being clogged with tree roots.

What Roots do to Pipes

Mature trees can have very large underground root structures.  Every year, the tips of these roots expand via very fine, hairlike rootlings seeking more space…and water.  The roots infiltrate underground plumbing pipes such as your main drain through small openings at the pipe joints.  As more and more roots enter the pipe, they create a tangle in your drain and also let in dirt through the openings.  The blockage of the roots impedes waste from your appliances from properly passing through the pipes, catching toilet paper, grease, hair and other debris until the flow is reduced or your drain is completely blocked.  Enough root infiltration and expansion can also eventually cause pipes to crack and collapse.

Risk Factors for Root Problems

1)     The first factor is having large, mature trees within 30 feet of your home’s main drain line to the sewer. (This is a 4 inch drain line connecting your home’s plumbing to the public sewer, and is the homeowner’s responsibility.)  No trees, no root problem.

2)     Second, if your home has clay, asbestos, or cast iron pipes, your drains are susceptible to root damage through the softer material and weaker joint openings.  However modern piping uses harder, more airtight ABS or PVC piping, and roots cannot infiltrate this material. If you’re not sure what kind of pipes your home has, it’s generally the case that homes built before 1970 have the weaker pipes and are at risk for root damage.

Assessing and Clearing Root Blockages in Drain Lines

If your home has the above risk factors and your water is draining slowly, you should have your main drain line assessed for root damage. A qualified plumber will run a camera down a drain in your home and be able to see clearly what kind of pipes you have, and if it is tree roots causing a blockage.  A mechanical auger can be used to clear out roots and flush out debris in the pipes. Keep in mind that once roots have entered a pipe they will continue to grow every year, so it is important to be diligent about monitoring the amount of root spread in your line. If the pipes are quite damaged, the solution is to re-pipe or re-line your current pipes. Hy-Mark offers all of these services, and provides free in-home consultations. Call us today for help with your drains or any other plumbing service at 1 800 727 0750.

4 Everyday Things That Are Clogging Your Drains

1. Hair, hair, and more hair

Hair is one of the number one culprits for drain clogs, particularly in the bathroom.  Though you may only see a few strands going down a day, little by little it does build up in your pipes, especially when it combines with soap to form a sticky gob that is just, well…not pleasant.  Long strands are the worse offenders, but even short hairs can contribute to clogs.drain

What to do

Fit your tub and sink drains with a strainer that will catch hair and any other small particles, and then clean that strainer regularly.  You won’t believe how much gunk you’re saving your drain from.

2. Grease

We’ve all seen the solid fats that form from cooled cooking oil or animal grease. So why are we surprised when it looks like that in our pipes?  The truth is even though you can wash fat down the drain while it’s hot, once it is out of your sight it will cool and form clumps, forming a drain blockage.  And yet we’re not going to give up bacon any time soon, so…

What to do

While it is still hot, pour as much excess grease as possible into a container. An empty tin can works well. You can keep this can covered with a lid in your freezer, which will minimize odours.  Rinse the rest of the grease off your cookware right away, while running lots of very hot soapy water to help break down the oil and help flush it down the drain.

3. Food

Even small bits of food can build up and expand in your pipes.

What to do

Again, use a drain strainer to catch food scraps.  And keep that veggie peeler away from your sink!

4. Bathroom products

Despite being labelled as “disposable,” many bathroom products can still cause clogs. Flushable wipes, super thick ply toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products are all liable to clog up a home’s pipes.  In general, only high powered public toilets can manage to handle these products.

What to do

Dispose of “flushable” wipes and feminine hygiene products in the garbage.  And stick with regular toilet paper. We promise no one will think you’re letting your bum slum.

Still got clogged pipes or backed up drains?  We can help! Call us at 800 727 0750.

The Dangers of DIY Plumbing

DIY PlumbingThe DIY mentality is here to stay.  With information at our finger tips we can proclaim ourselves to be experts at anything with a few clicks.  Almost any kind of home repair solution can be found online, and when budgets are tight you are careful with every dollar spent.  The question we’re asking: is the risk really worth it when it comes to plumbing?

What Could Go Wrong? 

Plumbing is a precise trade that requires practitioners to go through a long apprenticeship in order to obtain a license.  When you don’t fully understand all facets of the job, a minor misstep can turn into thousands of dollars in damage.  In fact, did you know that most insurance coverage will not apply if you do the work yourself, as opposed to hire a professional?

Hy-Mark is here to help.  We have outlined steps homeowners can take for the most common plumbing mishaps.

Drain Clogs

First and most importantly, do not use any chemicals.  The most effective approach is to fill your sink (if you have a dual or double sink, fill both sides) with hot water and pull the plug(s) to let the hot water run through all your pipes and release the blockage.

Wet Spots on your Ceiling

When you notice a wet spot on your ceiling, the first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘what was I just doing?’. Was I using the toilet, taking a shower, having a bath? These answers will help identify if this is a water related issue.  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, immediately stop using that fixture. The next question to ask is ‘can this wait until tomorrow?’.  The reason to consider this is because you are likely noticing this spot in the evening.  Having a plumbing technician come for an after-hours inspection will likely come with an after-hours emergency fee.  We recommend watching the wet spot over the next 30 minutes to see if it grows.  If yes, call Hy-Mark immediately to reach one of our emergency plumbing technicians.  Otherwise make a service appointment for the next day.  This will ensure a solution is found, but at the most affordable price.

To learn more about all plumbing services Hy-Mark offers click here.  Call our office to learn more about our annual plumbing maintenance packages available.

In the Press: Innovation in Duct Materials

At Hy-Mark we pride ourselves in living out our company Core Values each and every day.  Core Value #7 states that ‘We are world class innovators.’  In the March edition of the Plumbing and HVAC magazine, Hy-Mark was featured for our Plumbing and HVAC Magazineinnovation in our use of different duct materials.

Hy-Mark takes a unique approach with duct materials, from standard sheet metal, to duct board, to flex ducting.  All of these duct materials are being used and tested in residential applications.  The article in the March edition of Plumbing and HVAC magazine compares flexible duct to standard sheet metal duct in a townhouse.  Click here for the full article on page 26 and see the results for yourself.

For a full overview of all residential equipment Hy-Mark offers check our Residential menu.