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Frequently Asked Questions About Plumbing

Here are some of the questions we get most often from our customers:

  1. Questions about Costs and How Our Services Work
    1. Do you offer plumbing services where I live?
    2. How much will my work cost? What are your hourly rates?
    3. What are your hours, and do you offer emergency services?
    4. Do you have a seniors’ discount?
    5. What are my payment options? Do you give discounts for cash?
    6. What’s your appointment cancellation policy?
    7. What is your warranty?
    8. Are your plumbers fully qualified and insured?
    9. Can you provide copies of license and insurance paperwork for my condo board?
    10. Can you fix work previously done by other plumbers?
    11. Do you install backwater valves?
    12. Can you fix my furnace or my water heater?
    13. Can you fix my washing machine, dishwasher, or other water-using appliances?
    14. Do you have to open a wall to find the leak? Can you use a moisture detector instead?
    15. If you need to make a hole in my drywall, flooring, or tiling, can you fix it at the same time?
    16. If I’ve got damage from a sewer back up or leak, can you repair it as well as the plumbing problem?
    17. Before I give you my email address and other contact info, how do I know you won’t spam me?
  2. Bathtubs
    1. I have replaced the caulking around my bathtub 3 times and it keeps peeling away from the walls. What do I need to do to stop this from happening?
    2. My bathtub is old and grubby looking but I do not want to renovate the bathroom just yet. Are there alternatives?
    3. I have heard of bathtub relining. What is this and is it a good idea?
  3. Drain Cleaning
    1. I sometimes use chemical drain cleaners to keep my drains running. Is it okay to do this?
    2. My drain runs very slowly, I have put down some drain cleaning products and its effect was minimal. What else can I do?
    3. What drain cleaning product can I use that is environmentally friendly?
    4. How do I prevent the city sewer lines from backing up into my home?
    5. I’ve noticed a smell coming from my drains. What could be causing this?
  4. Leaks
    1. I have some marks on the ceiling below my main bathroom, how can I find out what is causing this?
    2. I have a leak above my kitchen ceiling and understand that I may need to have the ceiling opened. If this is the case, do I have to fix the ceiling?
    3. I have water continually dripping from my ceiling. The taps and bathtub are not running. What should I do?
  5. Showers
    1. My shower head does not have the power it used to. What could be causing this?
    2. When I have finished in the shower, I find that there are wet spots on the floor. I keep looking at the shower door, but it appears to be closed properly. What else could it be?
    3. What is a “scald prevention valve” and do I need one?
  6. Toilets
    1. I’ve noticed my toilet has started to wiggle/rock, is this issue serious?
    2. I can hear water running when I enter the bathroom but I cannot find any taps running or any signs of a leak. Is this something I should worry about?
    3. I have heard some people complain about the poor flushing of low flush toilets. Is there really a problem with them?
    4. What are the benefits to getting a low flush toilet?
    5. My toilet tends to clog easily. Why?
  7. Water Supply
    1. The water coming out from my kitchen tap has dropped to just a dribble recently but all my other taps work great. What could cause this?
    2. Where would I find the valve to shut off the water to the whole house?

Costs and How Our Services Work

1. Do you offer plumbing services where I live?

We serve the Greater Ottawa Area, including some outlying towns – you can view our service area map here. Sorry, we can’t service homes in Québec.
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2. How much will my work cost? What are your hourly rates?

We have to see what the situation is in your home before we can provide a quote. This is because plumbing can be very different in different homes.

But the good news is that we don’t have hourly rates – we give you a complete price quote (labour included) for you to approve before any work begins.

Sometimes we can give you a few options – for example, we may be able to either repair something or replace it for you. In situations like this we give you the price for each option, and explain the pros and cons for each one so you can make a fully informed decision.
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3. What are your hours, and do you offer emergency services?

We’re available for regular appointments Monday to Saturday 8 AM to 7 PM. Our evening and weekend appointments are very popular!

We also provide emergency plumbing services 24-7 if you need us. Please be aware that there is an additional emergency fee, but we really are ready to help even if it’s the middle of the night!
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4. Do you have a seniors’ discount?

We sure do – seniors get 10% off (except for some of our specials). We also offer a 10% discount for Canadian Armed Forces veterans. Sorry, these discounts can’t be combined.

Please be aware that we may need to check your ID to confirm that you qualify.
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5. What are my payment options? Do you give discounts for cash?

We accept payment in a number of convenient ways:

  • Credit: Visa or Master Card. Sorry, no AMEX
  • E-transfer
  • Cheque
  • Cash (we regret that we can’t provide change for cash payments, and we don’t offer a discount for cash)
  • If your work costs over $1,000 we can provide financing
  • Sorry, no debit cards

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6. What’s your appointment cancellation policy?

We understand that schedules change, and we try to be as flexible as possible. If you can, please give us 24 hours’ notice when cancelling.

We’re definitely open to rescheduling your appointment, but we cannot do so in a way that would “bump” other customers. Please understand that if you cancel, you might not be able to get another appointment the same day. But we will fit you in as soon as we can.
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7. What is your warranty?

We guarantee our labour and any fixtures that we supply for a full two years. If anything happens during that time, we’ll come back and fix it absolutely free! Learn more about our 100% satisfaction guarantee.
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8. Are your plumbers fully qualified and insured?

Yes. Anyone we send to your home is fully insured, registered with the Province of Ontario, and fully qualified to work on your home.
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9. Can you provide copies of license and insurance paperwork for my condo board?

Yes we can. Please mention that you need this in advance, as our plumbers don’t always carry additional copies of the paperwork that they can leave with you.
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10. Can you fix work previously done by other plumbers?

Yes we can. We’d be happy to do an assessment and let you know the options and costs to fix your plumbing problem once and for all. Any work we do is covered by our two year warranty.
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11. Do you install backwater valves?

Yes. You can learn more here.

We are authorized by the City of Ottawa for retrofit backwater valves under their rebate program. We can do the assessment, camera inspection, report, and final installation. Unfortunately the homeowner must file the paperwork themselves before the installation. You can learn about the rebate and conditions here.
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12. Can you fix my furnace or my water heater?

While we can fix water heaters (both tanks and tankless), unfortunately we can’t fix furnaces at this time.

Before you ask us to fix your water heater, however, please check for a sticker on the unit to be sure it’s not a rental. We are not allowed to fix water heaters being rented from other companies, as they are the property of that company.
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13. Can you fix my washing machine, dishwasher, or other water-using appliances?

Sorry, we can’t. We can fix anything with your plumbing, right up to the point where it connects with the appliance.

The one exception: we can repair the water softener brands we sell.

If you’re not sure if the problem is with the appliance or the point where it connects to the plumbing, we can make that determination for you.
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14. Do you have to open a wall to find the leak? Can you use a moisture detector instead?

We don’t like opening walls, but it’s the only way we can be sure we know where the leak is coming from.

Some home inspectors have a tool they can use to detect moisture inside a wall. Unfortunately tools like that can only tell that water exists, not where the source of the leak is located. There could be water in the walls that is flowing from somewhere else in your home – it is possible the water is running along a pipe for a bit before it drips.
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15. If you need to make a hole in my drywall, flooring, or tiling, can you fix it at the same time?

Unfortunately it doesn’t make sense for you to pay a plumber to fix drywall. You can save a lot of money by hiring one of our trusted contractors (or by doing it yourself if you’re handy). We can give you contact information or even set up the booking if you like.
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16. If I’ve got damage from a sewer back up or leak, can you repair it as well as the plumbing problem?

Sorry, we don’t offer cleaning or other non-plumbing services. But if you’re looking for a reputable contractor, we can give you contact information for providers we know and trust. We’d be happy to set up the appointment for you if you like.
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17. Before I give you my email address and other contact info, how do I know you won’t spam me?

We don’t give or sell your contact information to other companies.

We use your email address to send you an initial appointment confirmation, and to let you know once the plumber is on the way. If you prefer, we could text you.

Our customers can opt in to receive our monthly newsletter (which includes all our special deals) if they accept the invitation to sign up.

Here are the details of our privacy policy.
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Bathtubs

1. I have replaced the caulking around my bathtub 3 times and it keeps peeling away from the walls. What do I need to do to stop this from happening?

The peeling away of the caulking is caused by the weight of the full bathtub stretching the caulking too much. To stop this from happening, fill the tub with water before you apply the caulking.
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2. My bathtub is old and grubby looking but I do not want to renovate the bathroom just yet. Are there alternatives?

The best thing to do is replace the bathtub. As you are not ready to renovate, there are companies that can refinish bathtubs. Generally the finish is not as durable as the original. The length of time the finish will last will depend on the type of finish and the quality of the application.
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3. I have heard of bathtub relining. What is this and is it a good idea?

Bathtub relining is a lower cost alternative to replacing the existing bathtub. A special liner designed to fit in and around your existing bathtub and is glued over the existing tub. The drain is reconnected, sandwiching the liner in the middle of the seals. These liners have been around a number of years and the technology has improved as has the installation. Individuals must decide for themselves if installation of a liner is a good idea. Provided the installation was done well, the liner should work just fine.
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Drain Cleaning

1. I sometimes use chemical drain cleaners to keep my drains running. Is it okay to do this?

If there are no problems with your drains, it is probably a good idea not to use these chemicals. Use of harsh chemicals in piping can cause significant damage and other problems. Doing so may cause you to need professional assistance sooner than anticipated. Most of the chemicals on the market are caustic and not biodegradable and although diluted in the drains their use eventually affects water quality in the local river.
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2. My drain runs very slowly, I have put down some drain cleaning products and its effect was minimal. What else can I do?

Most drain cleaning products are designed to clear blockages, so if the drain has been emptying slowly their use is generally not as effective. The chemicals will drain away just as the water and will usually eat away a small channel in the grime at the bottom of the pipe; but it will not clear the whole pipe. This will mean that the drainage may only improve for a short period of time.
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3. What drain cleaning product can I use that is environmentally friendly?

Here at DS Plumbing, we recommend BioOne, which is a natural biological drain line, septic and grease trap maintainer. It works by releasing naturally occurring bacteria that thrive on grease, oil and stubborn organics found in every wastewater system.
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4. How do I prevent the city sewer lines from backing up into my home?

Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of press on city sewers backing up into peoples home. This is caused by more rain than the sewers can cope with and this occurs particularly in spring with the run off. Installing a back water preventer onto your main waste pipe in your basement can help prevent damage to your home.This has a yellow plastic float flap integrated into the unit, which lifts up when the sewage volume from the road rises, thus blocking the entry into your home.
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5. I’ve noticed a smell coming from my drains. What could be causing this?

You can read a full article on drain smells here.
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Leaks

1. I have some marks on the ceiling below my main bathroom, how can I find out what is causing this?

If there are no signs of leaking from any of the fixtures in the bathroom, the only way to precisely locate the leak is to open the ceiling and see where it is coming from. Depending on the cause, a number of openings may need to be made to find and repair the source of the leak.
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2. I have a leak above my kitchen ceiling and understand that I may need to have the ceiling opened. If this is the case, do I have to fix the ceiling?

In all probability the ceiling will need to be opened to ensure that the leak is fixed. The technicians at DS Plumbing can arrange to have the walls and ceilings repaired so that you are not left with a gaping hole in your home for a number of weeks.
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3. I have water continually dripping from my ceiling. The taps and bathtub are not running. What should I do?

If the leak does not appear to slow down or it seems to be getting worse; the leak is probably in the water supply line. Close the main water shut off valve (located near your water meter) and call us.
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Showers

1. My shower head does not have the power it used to. What could be causing this?

Providing that the water pressure in the rest of the house is good, then the reduction in pressure is going to be caused by the shower control or the head itself. Unscrew the shower head to see if the water flow is any better with it removed. If it is, the shower head needs cleaning or replacing. If this does not solve the problem, than the shower control is most likely the cause and should be looked at.
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2. When I have finished in the shower, I find that there are wet spots on the floor. I keep looking at the shower door, but it appears to be closed properly. What else could it be?

I would check the condition of the caulking around the shower. It is possible that the caulking has become detached over time in some places. If the caulking looks to be in good shape, it could be that there is caulking in the wrong places. A lot of shower door manufactures have specific openings to allow water to drain from the base of the doors. If these openings become plugged, water will often find another way out.
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3. What is a “scald prevention valve” and do I need one?

You can find out here.
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Toilets

1. I’ve noticed my toilet has started to wiggle/rock, is this issue serious?

If you are noticing any movement of the toilet, it will only be a matter of time before it leaks. So have it looked at as soon as possible: your plumbing professional will be able to say whether or not it was leaking at that point and also inspect the condition of the rest of the toilet.
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2. I can hear water running when I enter the bathroom but I cannot find any taps running or any signs of a leak. Is this something I should worry about?

Chances are the toilet is the source of the water running. Water can run from the tank to the bowl without any signs of a problem. While this isn’t a leak, it is a huge waste of water. You should have the parts inside the tank looked at or you could end up with a large water bill. You can learn more about noises to watch out for in this article.
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3. I have heard some people complain about the poor flushing of low flush toilets. Is there really a problem with them?

There were some problems with the early low flush toilets, but now most toilets work well. Expect to pay more for a toilet that will stay trouble free for longer. You can learn more about finding good quality toilets on our toilet installation page.
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4. What are the benefits to getting a low flush toilet?

There are a number of benefits to getting low flush toilets. Firstly, the new standard is a 4.5 litre toilet where as the older standard was 13 litres, so you are using much less water and so reducing your home water bill. There are toilets that use a lot more water, normally in much older homes.
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5. My toilet tends to clog easily. Why?

We’ve got a full article on the possible reasons here.

You can also read some things you can try for simple toilet issues here.
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Water Supply

1. The water coming out from my kitchen tap has dropped to just a dribble recently but all my other taps work great. What could cause this?

If only the one tap is affected, the aerator is probably plugged and needs to be replaced or cleaned.
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2. Where would I find the valve to shut off the water to the whole house?

The main water shut off valve is located by the water meter; this is normally located on the wall nearest the road in the basement.
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We hope you enjoyed reading our frequently asked questions page!