troubleshooting plumbing issues in TorontoWater pressure in the house depends on many factors.

The most important is the size of the supply pipe. It is obvious that the larger the pipe, the better pressure. For residential houses with one family in Toronto the minimum diameter of the pipe is 3/4”. Such pipe consists of two portions: the city portion and private area. Even after the private portion upgrade there is no difference until the city side is replaced with a sufficient size pipe. Next factor is the main shut off valve in the basement which is located near the water meter. For example, the gate valve cuts the pressure by approximately 20% compared to a full port ball valve.
In the past, after replacement of the main shut off valve, the water pressure increased and the home owner was satisfied and did not require any other upgrades. Another factor is the piping inside the house. In the “trunk and branches” type of water distribution, only branches must be half inch and trunk must be 3/4”. With the exception of the above mentioned factors, there are some additional ones that are met in certain houses. On the picture, this particular tap and all the other faucets including the toilet fill valves were clogged by carbon from old softener. This means that every cartridge and aerator must be cleaned thoroughly in order to restore the water pressure in whole house.
Mister Plumber has experience in troubleshooting plumbing issues in Toronto and the GTA. Call us for any drain or plumbing help.
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As a licenced Toronto plumber, we provide a wide array of plumbing services to ensure that you get quick and quality solutions regardless of your problem. Whether you need emergency plumbing services or drain maintenance services like drain inspection and drain cleaning, we can help you.

Remember that our Toronto plumbers are available round-the-clock

to accommodate inquiries and urgent requests. If you have any questions or concerns about our plumbing services, send us an email or give us a call at 416-939-1530.

sewer line carries wastewaterThere are two types of sewage: sanitary and storm.

Sanitary sewage is waste water that contains human impurities, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, which can be very harmful if touched or inhaled. Storm sewage is natural ground water that is less dangerous. Residential sewer infrastructure in Toronto is located underground, and consists of 4” pipe that is installed with a slope. It extends from the basement of the house to the nearest road, where it connects to the city sewer system. In older Toronto houses, you can find sewer pipes that are made of clay and are as wide as 6” in diameter. But, this is becoming much less common, even in older homes.

A main drain and sewer system are similar in appearance to a trunk and branches.

With this kind of infrastructure, a waste water pipe, extending from any particular fixture, will always connect to a primary or main pipe. It is essential that a building drain is installed with a slope, so that sewage pipes remain functional, stable and clean. If there is no slope, or even an inadequate slope, there is a likelihood that sewage buildup and blockage will occur. If this happens, waste water will collect and force itself through the closest and easiest adjoining outlet. Since the basement occupies the lowest level in the house, it will be the first place where sewage backup will manifest itself. Due to this and other possible problems that can arise, it is crucial that a home owner checks the basement drain on a regular basis.

To better appreciate both the value of and risks associated with drain infrastructure, it is helpful to understand how sewage backup can arise. When sewage comes up from the floor drain, or other plumbing fixtures, it indicates that there is problem either with the main drain inside the basement or with the outside sewer pipe. If this ever occurs, the first thing you should do immediately is stop using water in the house. Since the problem could potentially be related to your main drain, discontinuing water usage would prevent additional water from being routed to blocked drain pipes in the basement, where it could cause significant damage to the plumbing infrastructure, as well as your house.

pipe blockageThe second step when dealing with sewage issues is to consider alternative causes.

If sewage continues to rise from the floor drain, there is a possibility that it could be related to an issue with the city pipes. You can confirm if your sewage obstruction is related to city plumbing infrastructure by calling your neighbors. if any of your neighbours experience the same issue, then it is almost certain that the main source of the problem is related to the municipal sewer system. If your neighbour does not experience the same problem, then you should immediately call a professional plumber (such as one of ours) for advice and recommendations.

In the event that city plumbing infrastructure is suspected as the main source of the problem, the next step would be to speak to Toronto Sewer. You can reach Toronto Sewer by calling 311. After communicating your issue to them, they will send a licensed plumber to your residence to evaluate the relevant plumbing infrastructure. Fortunately, you do not have to worry about costs associated with this service, as it is offered completely free by all Ontario municipalities.

The degree of difficulty associated with the city resolving this problem can depend on the type of municipal plumbing infrastructure that is connected to your residence.  In many cases, the municipal infrastructure will be what is called ‘clean-out.’ ‘Clean-out’ refers to a vertical pipe that is connected through a y-fitting to a sewer pipe, which extends to the surface with a removable drain access lid just in-front of the property. The drain access lid is an important piece of Inspecting the Draininfrastructure that allows city plumbers to use cameras or snaking machines to determine the best way to resolve the problem. Sometimes, Toronto Sewer technicians cannot perform the required work if there is no clean-out available. In these cases, their advice to home owners will be to hire a private contractor to install clean-out pipes outside as a first step. This can present a bit of an obstacle, however, since there is no easy way to install a clean-out for pipes that are full of sewage.

An alternative option to hiring a private contractor is to call an experienced plumber who is equipped to conduct a thorough evaluation of the plumbing infrastructure and provide an appropriate solution.

Fortunately, the City of Toronto makes this option much more preferable than hiring a private contractor. It provides up to a $3,400 rebate to residents to help protect against potential flooding. Mister Plumber is proud to accept all plumbing services that are funded by this initiative, so do not hesitate to call us for additional information about this option.

Defense Against Basement floodingAfter resolving the sewage backup, the next step would be to call your insurance company and arrange to have all affected areas of your house fully cleaned and restored. Alternatively, you can also call us, as we partner with insurance restoration companies throughout all of Toronto. Doing this can actually help speed up things in many cases. Above all, it is strongly advisable that you do not touch any waste water at any point whatsoever, as doing so could lead to harmful effects, including even electrocution.

To help reduce the chances of sewage backup, Mister Plumber recommends checking your underground main drain and sewer at least once a year to make sure it is in full working condition. Our professional plumbers are adept at carrying out a wide range of plumbing services, including sewer pipe repair, pipe replacement, infrastructure upgrades, and the installation of backwater valves, sump pumps, drain clean-outs.

Backwater Valves to the RescueBelow are some step-by-step instructions you can follow if you ever experience sewage backup in your home.

  1. Immediately discontinue using all plumbing fixtures in your house.
  2. If you have running taps or toilets, turn off the supply valves, or shut the main water valve off.
  3. Call your neighbor to verify whether they have a similar problem.
  4. If sewage levels continue to increase, and you have confirmed that other residents in your area are experiencing a similar problem, then call 311.
  5. If other residents are not experiencing a similar problem, then call a professional and experienced plumber, such as Mister Plumber, who has, and is adept at using, both drain cameras and a snaking machine.
  6. Remember not to touch waste water, as it contains harmful bacteria and can lead to electrocution.
  7. After your drain is unblocked, flush all basement fixtures with clean running water. Also, make sure to pour a couple of buckets of water with diluted bleach down the floor drain. This will help kill bacteria and other harmful organisms.
  8. Talk to Mister Plumber about installing a backwater valve, as well as about other possible options to prevent flooding in the future.
  9. Call your insurance company to arrange for cleanup and, if necessary, renovations.
If you are experiencing sewage backup, or want to make sure that your sewage infrastructure is both reliable and functional, we invite you to contact us directly either by phone 416-939-1530 or by email info[at]


New modern toilet and vanity installed by Mister Plumber

This blog provides some general tips about plumbing for home renovation projects.

As residential properties become older, some of the first things that might require renovation work are washrooms and kitchens. But, what should you prioritize first when renovating these important places in the home? Below are a few recommendations based on our twenty years of plumbing and construction experience.

Connection ABS to sink tailpieceThe first step, when it comes to renovating bathrooms and kitchens, is determining an overall plan.

This involves considering and eventually deciding on the types of products and infrastructure you want: washroom fixtures, vanity, tiles, etc. It also involves getting a total price for everything from drywall to cement boards to screws.

The second step for renovating these rooms is to find a trustworthy and experienced contractor, who is capable not only of doing high quality renovation work, but also of providing you with an accurate cost estimate.

When it comes to selecting individual products for your rooms, we recommend choosing well-known brands, since replacement parts might be required in the future, and these are always easier to obtain from well-established companies. Equally important is the warranty of parts. Many manufacturers offer lifetime warranty on their parts, which would end up reducing cost over the long-term.

Everybody agrees that high-quality plumbing and drain infrastructure are some of the most important aspects of kitchen and washroom renovations. Unfortunately, homeowners often ignore this, and settle, instead, for a simple cosmetic renovation, which prioritizes appearance over substance. In reality, however, it is much smarter and more cost effective to ensure that all plumbing infrastructure meets modern quality standards, even if this requires upgraded pipe and drain installation. In Toronto, there are a lot of houses that still have old cast iron stack pipes, which were installed when they were first built 80-100 years ago. Most residents of these older homes are unaware of the problems that such outdated pipes can cause. Old cast iron stack pipes often become extremely corroded inside, which reduces their inner diameter and usually results in the blockage or reduced movement of waste water. Another issue with old cast iron stack pipes is that they can develop hairline cracks and cause water leaks.

ABS drain installThe best solution for dealing with old plumbing infrastructure is to upgrade to ABS pipes.

Made of high-quality black plastic material and containing a smooth inner surface, these kinds of pipes are ideal for ensuring excellent water flow throughout an entire house.

Another important step when renovating kitchens and bathrooms is to make sure that drain pipes are properly sloped.

In older homes, certain floors become very weak and, as a result, develop depressions of varying degrees. Washroom floors, in particular, can develop depressions that are as big as a couple of inches in depth. Not surprisingly, these deficiencies can eventually cause negative slopes to form on drain branches imbedded between floor joists.

Relatedly, when assessing drain infrastructure, it is important to follow standard plumbing codes and ensure that these pipes are at least 1/4” per foot. If they fall below this threshold, then it is likely that the overall drain infrastructure will not work effectively, and may lead to significant structural damage.

Plumbing service in Toronto by Mister PlumberThe next step will be the selection of water pipes.

Water pipes are primarily made of copper, but professional plumbers usually recommend using PEX pipes made of cross linked polyethylene for both hot and cold supply lines. As a general rule, hot water pipes should be installed on the left and cold water pipes should be installed on the right. If this general rule is not applied, serious problems can arise. For instance, a reversal of this procedure carried out on plumbing related to bathroom showers could lead to functional disruptions, or, in the worst-case scenario, a completely an unusable shower. It is equally as crucial to correctly install shut-off valves for hot & cold sink faucet supplies and cold water toilet supply lines, since similar complications can arise. In order to avoid any risks, it is always advisable to consult with a professional licensed plumber before carrying out these kinds of plumbing installations. Trying to accomplish such work independently own may lead to significant damages, as well as exorbitant costs.

Another step for bathroom renovations is the installation of shock arrestors.

Shock arrestors are important parts of plumbing infrastructure because they prevent ‘water hammering,’ which is best understood as the rattling sound of pipes caused by turning water on or off quickly. This issue occurs mostly at the end of water lines, which are usually located on the second floor. It can also occur in pipes connected to washing machines. This problem is even more pronounced with newer taps that contain ceramic cartridges.

When you make the smart decision to consult with a professional plumber, it will be very important to provide them with all the blueprints and specifications for your bathrooms. This is because many modern vanities require different height installations for both drains and water pipes, and is essential to know beforehand that nothing behind the walls or in the floor could be unnecessarily interfered with or damaged.

When it comes to renovations and plumbing in Toronto, it is essential to know when a permit is and is not required.

For bathroom and kitchen renovations that do not involve relocating or adding new plumbing fixtures, no permit is required. Also, any upgrade or replacement of existing pipes does not require a building permit. There may be some exceptions to these rules, so consulting with a professional licensed plumber will be essential.

Bathroom and kitchen renovations require an enormous investment of both time and money. So, it is crucial that you do not overlook or underestimate any step along the way. Everything from plumbing services to electrical work to construction will affect the overall quality of your final product. As one of the most knowledgeable and experienced Superior plumbing in Mississaugaplumbing contractors in Toronto, we have helped many residential customers in Toronto renovate their bathrooms and kitchens, and we would love the opportunity to help you renovate yours. In addition to providing high quality plumbing services, we have strong relationships with professional electricians and construction contractors, who are essential for any home renovation project. If you are considering upgrading or redesigning your bathrooms and kitchen, we invite you to contact us directly either by phone 416-939-1530 or by email

ABS drain install in Toronto

For many people, plumbing and drain system infrastructure are difficult not only to install but also to understand. This article provides some important information that will help make these topics a little less complicated.

ABS drain install in Toronto

Drains are a very crucial part of plumbing.

Most houses in Toronto are connected to municipal sewers, while a small number, especially in rural areas, have septic tanks. The standard size for underground main sewer pipes for an average family home is 4” inside diameter. It is important to note that the size of pipes and fittings are measured by the inside diameter, as opposed to the outside diameter. This is because pipes and fittings have different degrees of wall thickness, and therefore varying lengths of outside diameter. Generally speaking, one 4” pipe will suffice for a house and sewer connection from the basement to the road. The pipe that is installed inside the house and 1 meter from the outside exterior wall is called the building drain. The rest of pipe infrastructure up to the connection with the main municipal drain is called the building sewer. It is very important that every horizontal drain pipe in a house is installed on a slope, since waste water flows out and away from a dwelling only by gravity.

While all residences should have a slope, however, the degree of the slope differs according to the size of the pipe. For pipes up to 3” in diameter, for instance, the minimum slope would be 1/4” per foot; whereas, for 4” pipes, the minimum slope would be 1/8” per foot. To allow for the proper flow of sewage, it is crucial that no sharp changes in direction exist in the drainage infrastructure, and that all elbows are installed correctly with long radius turns. If there are a couple of branches that have to be connected, it is important to use only Y-fitting and 45-degree elbows.

When it comes to waste water, there are two main types of pipes that should be used: PVC (white plastic) and ABS (black plastic) pipes. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, for condo units, plumbers are required to use non-combustible pipes made from either copper or XFR (dark grey plastic). Underground main drains and sewers can be installed with PVC pipes, but the plumbing infrastructure above ground should always be made from ABS pipes. The size of pipes required in a home can be determined by the number of its toilets and load, which is ideally measured by using special units called fixture units. Vertical 3” pipes can serve up to a maximum of six toilets; whereas horizontal 3” pipes should be used for no more than two toilets. Any house with more than six toilets connected to the same soil stack would require the use of 4” pipes.

ABS drain branch with vent

The installation of vertical drain stack pipes is a bit more tricky.

Because they are placed down into concrete floor in the basement, they must be installed ‘clean-out’ within one meter of the floor. ‘Clean-out’ installation involves the insertion of the removable lid, so there can be access to the inside of the pipes for the purpose of camera inspection. Clearing and inspecting these pipes can sometimes be quite challenging, since construction workers are known to occasionally block their access points by covering them over with drywall.

There are standard pipe sizes for different parts of a house.

3” pipes are used for toilets. 1.5” pipes are installed for kitchen sinks, bathtubs and showers. And, 2” pipes are employed for washing machines. Except when it comes to sloped pipes, standard plumbing codes require the installation of P-trap pipes for every fixture. P-trap is a u-shaped pipe that houses water and prevents sewer gases from entering living space. Every time a tap is used in a house, water is refilled and refreshed in a trap. The floor drain in the basement also has a P-trap installed under the floor and works in a similar way.

If a bad odour ever emerges from the floor drain, the first method of treatment is to pour water into the trap to make sure it is not dry (i.e., trap water sometimes completely evaporates). Current plumbing codes specify that ‘primer tube’ must be installed and connected to the laundry faucet, which discharges small amounts of water during use. Most of the time, this is sufficient to maintain normal water levels in the trap. It is important to note that vent pipe should be used for every trap to ensure negative pressure inside the pipe does not remove all the water from the u-shaped fittings. Moreover, multiple vent pipes should be connected to the main vent stack, which is extended and terminates above the roof. It is similarly crucial to properly support the drain branches, since pipes can decrease in strength over time. In the case of horizontal pipes, support is equally as important and must be at every four feet.

PEX plumbing under the sinkWater distribution systems are a little less complicated, since there are less codes associated with them, as opposed to drains. This is because water in a residence receives its essential pressure from city pipes, which both enable it to change direction multiple times and allows it to run through many different vertical and horizontal offsets. For an average family home, the minimum size of an incoming supply line should be at least 3/4” in diameter.  For pipes that are connected to a water meter, or a hot water tank inlet, the standard size should also be 3/4”. Relatedly, the cold water supply for heaters must have a shut-off valve. During the installation of new pipes, it is important to remember that hot water is always found on the left and that cold water is always found on the right.

When it comes to plumbing fixtures, it is sufficient to have half-inch branches. For lawn sprinklers, the outdoor line should be 3/4” or 1”. Equally important, every sink, toilet, bidet, dishwasher, fridge, and washing machine should have their own individual shut-off valves. Current plumbing codes also require that mixing valves be connected to hot water tank outlets. The temperature inside a tank should be around 70 degrees centigrade in order to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Because our Installation of PEX water pipes in the basementskin withstands up to a maximum of 50 degrees, it is crucial that extremely hot water be diluted with cold water so taps and faucets do not discharge water higher than their maximum threshold.

Mister plumber is one of the most well-known and respected plumbing contractors in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We have earned this reputation in the community over many years by providing high quality drain and plumbing services for both residential and commercial properties.

If you require plumbing services, or are interested in booking an inspection or evaluation, we invite you to contact us directly using live chat, phone, request form or email.

Water service upgrade in Toronto is offered by Mister Plumber, Award winning plumbing contractor. Old waterlines made of lead or galvanized steel are near the end of lifetime and there is a high risk of burst that can make severe damage to the property. Our company provides complete service of pipe replacement including underground utilities location, digging, torpedo drilling and new copper pipe installation. Call us today for free, no-obligation quote. Mister Plumber, your local contractor for any plumbing or drain issue.

Water service upgrade by Mister Plumber

As a licenced Toronto plumber, we provide a wide array of plumbing services to ensure that you get quick and quality solutions regardless of your problem. Whether you need emergency plumbing services or drain maintenance services like drain inspection and drain cleaning, we can help you.

Toronto Water Service Upgrade

Remember that our Toronto plumbers are available round-the-clock to accommodate inquiries and urgent requests. If you have any questions or concerns about our plumbing services, send us an email or give us a call at 416-939-1530.

Today, we replaced the underground lead water pipe in Danforth Ave and Woodbine Ave in Toronto. Two days prior, the customer called us and informed us that the city shut his main supply line because of the leak. Luckily, the water did not flood the basement, and instead produced a hissing noise from the pipe. The water did not flow to the basement due to the newly done basement waterproofing and the sandy soils, where water travels quickly as a result of gravity.

Upgrade of water service in Toronto

Therefore, the Toronto Water representative advised the home owner to replace a private portion of the lead pipe. There were several factors that made the job difficult to complete. First of all, the floor in the basement, with pipes under the concrete slab, was heated. We decided to drill the hole through the wall. This was not a simple task as during the underpinning, done by the previous contractor, poured 2.5 feet thick concrete. On the picture, you can see a new copper pipe coming from the foundation wall.

Toronto lead pipe replacement

Another challenge was to dig an 8 feet deep hole outside with minimum disturbances to the finished flower bed. Following the torpedo drilling, the old lead pipe was disconnected from the city portion and new copper one was connected. The home owner, without water for a couple days, got the service restored. Mister Plumber encourages other home owners to call us to replace the water pipe.

Toronto water service upgrade

If you have any questions or concerns about our plumbing services, send us an email or give us a call at 416-939-1530.

toronto plumber

The water supply is one of the home’s most essential services, right up there alongside drain/sewer, hydro and gas. Without it, you wouldn’t have potable water right at your beck and call, nor would you have hot showers or clean dishes. It’s such an essential, important part of our daily lives that it’s funny sometimes to think that we trust it to pipes that some of us have never even seen before.

Not only that but we trust this essential service to (sometimes) 80-year old pipes. That would be like trusting your car with tires from the 1940s. You just wouldn’t do it. And yet, that’s the case for many homeowners in Toronto – although they might be unaware of the time period and provenance of their pipes, they certainly see the effects.

It’s important for all homeowners to have clean water with decent pressure, but despite multiple renovations, some Toronto houses still have their original pipes, which are 80-90 years old. These old pipes, which are made of lead or galvanized steel, produce a bevy of problems, some of them fairly innocuous, and others quite serious.

We’ve zeroed in here on what we believe are the three main issues (and, incidentally, the most common issues) facing homeowners with old pipes. If you live in an older Toronto home, take note, and never hesitate to call your plumbing experts in Toronto, Mister Plumber. We’ll be there to chat with you about water line repair and get the ball rolling on your brand new plumbing.

toronto plumber

Lead Contamination

At the time these pipes were being installed, 80 or 90 years ago, lead was viewed as an ideal material for pipes, as it’s not affected by corrosion and belongs to a class of soft temper metals. What that means is that underground, when the soil is settling down, the pipe has the capacity to bend without kinking, so the water flow remains unchanged. You can’t blame plumbers of the time for their lack of foresight – advancements in science would have to arise for the plumbing industry to realize its error.

That’s exactly what happened. In the 1950s, scientific research discovered the various health hazards that lead particles pose for humans. Homeowners with lead pipes were (and still are, obviously) susceptible to lead leaching into their drinking water, which can bioaccumulate in the body and cause health problems, especially developmental problems for children and babies.

When lead was found to have negative health effects, another material was approved to be used for drinking water: copper. It has proved to be a suitable replacement, and is still used today. Copper has two types of temper – hard and soft. Above ground, hard temper copper is used (every homeowner can see such pipes in their furnace room) and underground applications require using soft temper, or, in other words, coil.

Lead is no laughing matter, and if you think you might still have some lead pipes in your house, give Mister Plumber a call and get clean water in your home today.


Aside from contamination, old pipes have another common problem: they get a little weak. Just like any of us, pipes carry the passage of time and, gradually, become less structurally stable. This isn’t exclusive of lead, as the above point was, but can affect any type of old pipe.

As pipes get weaker, they might get pinholes, which can cause property flooding as water inside the pipe is under a constant pressure of approximately 50 PSI. This leaking might seem like a mere annoyance, but after some time it can do a lot of damage to your home, not to mention that leaks just look bad.

In this case, there’s no sense in patching the leak. With an old pipe, this is just going to keep happening, no matter how many Band-Aids you slap on it. Your best course of action is to call in the pro plumbers.

We’ve replaced a lot of pipes here at Mister Plumber, and we understand that one of the top priorities for homeowners is a lack of disruptiveness; they don’t want their house upended just to do away with a few leaky pipes. That’s something we’re great at – we are professional, neat, discrete and we get the job done in a timely fashion – give us a call today to do away with leaks.

toronto plumber

Poor Water Pressure

This last one is more of a nuisance than either a hazard (as in the case of lead contamination) or damage (as in the case of leaks), but it’s still a nuisance. No one wants to turn the faucet for their morning shower to find a weak, dribbling stream of water. That’s no way to start a day. Luckily, the question of how to improve your home water pressure is pretty simple to answer.

With older pipes sometimes, after flushing a toilet, the pressure drops so significantly that other plumbing fixtures cannot be used. This is because when these pipes were installed, appliances were neither as powerful nor as plentiful as they are today. These pipes were meant to accommodate a 1920s toilet and shower, not a modern day household with a washing machine, dishwasher, two bathrooms, etc. Their diameter is too small (1/2-inch) that the incoming water flows with less velocity.

If the problem you’re having with your old pipes is poor water pressure, consider yourself lucky. Although you won’t be for too long. Take this poor pressure as a warning that your pipes are out-of-date, and call Mister Plumber to come replace them. They might be lead, or they might be near to the point of leaking – either way, you don’t want them around for long. Plus, after the replacement, you can finally take a satisfying shower!

In the first picture above, you can see a torpedo drilling to make an underground channel for a new pipe installation – it’s not invasive and, as you can see, we do a fantastic job of it. In the second picture, you can see a newly installed copper pipe with new main shut off valve. This is the immaculate plumbing you have to look forward to when you take the leap and replace those old pipes. Don’t wait on change: call Mister Plumber today!

Sump Pump Toronto

Bob Dylan once famously sang, “The times, they are a-changing”. And while he was undoubtedly talking about the social and cultural upheaval of 60’s America, his words apply to just about everything in the modern world, plumbing included. As we learn more about the impact of different materials, as new innovations in emergency prevention are popularized, and as our cultural attitudes shift to reflect a growing eco-consciousness, plumbing as we know it changes.

And those changes are reflected in the plumbing codes. Sometimes codes are slow to – for lack of a better term – get with the times. They mandate what was already considered by plumbers to be essentials, and so they serve as a kind of lagging, written history of improvements in the industry.

Still, there are a few changes every homeowner in Toronto should be aware of, not only for legal reasons, but because some of these mandated plumbing installations can save your home… and possibly your life. As your trusted Toronto plumber, we here at Mister Plumber want to give you the entire package – a service that includes a free plumbing estimate in Toronto as well as advising you on pertinent changes in plumbing that affect your life.

Here we have four of, what we believe, are the most notable recent changes to the code. We’ll do our best in each to explain why the change is important and how you, as a homeowner, benefit.

Backwater Valve Installation toronto

Backwater Valve Installation

The first notable change to the plumbing code that we want to discuss is the mandatory backwater valve installation for new constructions. After about of heavy rains flooded a number of houses across Toronto, causing innumerable costs in damaged basements, the city counsel made a 2007 decision to require backwater valves. The code states that every new house must have a backwater valve, and it is mandatory for existing houses as well, when the homeowner applies for a plumbing permit that implies some work in the basement.

You may be reticent to get a backwater valve because you’ve never had a flood, but it is honestly one of the most important installations a Toronto homeowner can get. It often rains very hard here, and the heavy rain can overtake the city sewer system, pushing its way into private pipes and, eventually, into your home. Before long, without a backwater valve as protection, your basement can be filled with wastewater. It’s not only disgusting, but it’s also incredibly costly and dangerous to your health.

A backwater valve is a device that prevents sewage from backing up to the fixtures located below street level, (all plumbing fixtures in the basement), through the simple use of a one-way valve. The gate allows wastewater to leave your home, but it shuts firm when wastewater tries to enter your home.

Sump Pump Installation

Another change to the plumbing code is the requirement of a sump pump installation in Toronto that manages groundwater. In order to achieve this, weeping tiles are installed along the perimeter of the house, which transports underground water to the sump pit, where a pump then discharges it outside away from foundation walls. In older houses, weeping tiles have a connection to the sanitary drain, using a floor drain trap in the furnace room.

Again, the heavy rainfall in Toronto was proving a financial nuisance to a lot of homeowners, as the water was seeping into the basement via the ground. The City considered the issue, worried momentarily that expelling groundwater into the sewer drain could overload the lake with impurities. Ultimately, the City decided that groundwater doesn’t contain human impurities and can, therefore, flow to the lake without treatment. They did, however, mandate the sump pump, which doesn’t overtax the sewer system, but rather distributes groundwater back to the soil, albeit away from the home’s foundation.

If you like your basement – and we’re sure you do – but you don’t yet have a sump pump and pit set up, call us today at Mister Plumber. We’ve installed more sump pits that we can count, and offer precise, professional and affordable service.

The City of Toronto even offers kickbacks for sump pump installation and backwater valve installation through its Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program. You need to use a licensed plumber to be eligible, but luckily we’ve got your back on that front.

Air Tight Lid for Sump Pump

Air Tight Lid for Sump Pump

The most recent change in the code is that mandate of airtight lids for sump pits. Airtight lids prevent harmful soil gas and/or Radon from entering your living space. According to scientific research done globally, the gas can be in high concentration in the basement and can cause cancer for people living in the building.

Radon, as you might know, is colourless and odourless, so it’s extremely difficult to detect, and yet it’s a potent carcinogen capable of real long-term damage – next to smoking, it’s the main cause of lung cancer. It does this by introducing radioactive inhalant elements into the surrounding air. It comes from the breakdown of soil and rock, so you can see why a sump pit could be ground zero for exposure. Without an airtight seal, the groundwater containing radon that cycles through will emit dangerous levels of the stuff.

If you are unsure whether your sump pit has an airtight seal, call us immediately for plumbing services in Toronto – we’ll take care of it. In the picture at the top of the article, you can see a lid with bolts that make a water- and air-tight connection of the sump basin and lid. The other picture, just above this section, shows some yellow plastic that wraps around the drainpipes so air from the soil can’t go through. 

There are other changes to the plumbing code, nationally and locally, that have either just been introduced or are imminent, like the mandatory water-use efficiency requirements that the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating announced in 2015, which begins its second phase in 2020. But that’s a subject for another blog post. For now, the above three mandates are what we consider to be the most important to Toronto homeowners. It may be technical and complicated stuff, but the end goal is always the same: to keep homeowners safer.

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“When it rains, it pours”. In Toronto, that’s quite literally the case. And we’re not out of the woods yet, in regards to rain for the year. In fact, according to the stats, October has the highest number of rainy days on average throughout the year, beating its closest competitor – May, which is known for its May showers – by a full two days.

This bodes well for gardens, trees and plants since they get their continued fill of life-giving H2O. And it’s not too bad if you’ve forgotten to wash your car recently! It’s annoying, however, when you consider that, along with the uptick in rain, comes an increased risk of basement flooding.

In one of our previous blogs we talked about the different ways in which a basement can be flooded – the different sources of a flood, and how they impact a home. We described how the simple installation of a backwater valve could prevent a costly and foul sewage flood in your home. No need to replace old plumbing or undertake a huge plumbing project. That’s still true, but it doesn’t address the entire problem.

In this post, let’s discuss the installation of sump pits and pumps, which together manage natural underground water. Whereas backwater valves protect you against water coming into your home via pipes, sump pumps are there to defend against seepage from the surrounding soil. The installation process, which is not involved, costly or invasive, can protect your home from costly flood damages.

We’ll take a look at the soil around your home, its potential for flooding, and what you as a homeowner can do to keep the seepage at bay.

Your Native Soil

To start, let’s talk about soil. In Toronto, depending on the area and soil conditions, the underground water table has different depths.

There are, essentially, three types of soil in Toronto and the surrounding areas, upon which your house may be built: clay soil, sandy soil and sandy loam soils. On the one hand, clay soil works as a kind of waterproofing layer and therefore water is closer to the basement concrete floor. Other areas with sandy soil have groundwater that sits pretty deep.

Over the last few years, the underground water level has gone up. We can explain this phenomenon by turning your attention to the disconnection of eavestroughs from the combined drain, which discharges rainwater onto the surface. Take a look at the City of Toronto’s mandatory downspout disconnection initiative, which requires the disconnection of private downspouts from the city sewer in order to reduce both basement flooding and waterway pollution.

It’s a great idea, but it’s not without its ramifications. Consequently, and unfortunately, homeowners should expect more basement floods by groundwater in the future. While the initiative is aimed at preventing backwater flooding, it opens up a keener possibility that many homeowners face seepage and groundwater flooding. For its part, the City of Toronto understands this, which is why they have created an exemption application for homes with the potential for water ponding and basement flooding.

Protecting Your Basement From the Threat Below

You already know how to protect your home from a backwater, slow drainage and backups – so how does one go about defending against natural groundwater?

For homeowners worried about the oncoming fall rain, the installation of a sump pit with a sump pump is the best way to protect your basements. A sump pit itself is approximately 30” deep and 24” in diameter – not all that big or cumbersome. And it works pretty simply: water that collects around the house is transported to the pit via weeping tile pipes, and then the pump takes that water and discharges it back outside.

In the first picture above, you can see an installation job that we here at Mister Plumber completed recently. We dug a hole, and you can see the exposed weeping pipe that is prepared for the pit installation. Now check out the second picture, just below: it shows the pit fully installed with a submersible pump in it. As you can see, the entire process isn’t invasive at all, and the end product looks neat and out of the way. Even if you get hit with a flood in the middle of the night, our emergency plumbing services are open 24/7 to help you out.

Plumbing Codes Surrounding the Sump Pit and Pump

A critical reason that this project isn’t exactly a DIY undertaking is that, aside from the fact that it’s a difficult job to pull off right, there are also complex plumbing codes around the installation.

New plumbing codes state that a sump pit must have an airtight lid to prevent radon (a naturally occurring radioactive gas caused by uranium in the soil breaking down) from entering the living space. It’s unwise to trust an amateur with this since radon can be seriously harmful.

There are other plumbing codes that must be considered as well, like the check valve, the direction and length of the discharge pipe, etc. Then there’s the matter of electricity – sump pumps use 110 volts from a separate breaker. And the question arises: what happens if there is a power outage. For this, we install battery backup pumps that work in both cases, either primary pump fails or no power.

In conclusion, there will never be a year when Toronto isn’t rocked with precipitation. And, as we all know, when it rains it pours. Don’t leave your biggest investment vulnerable to the deleterious effects of groundwater. Look into the plumbing services from Mister Plumber today, and we can chat about installing a sump pit and sump pump. We know the codes like the back of our hands, and have the experience and expertise to do a superior job.

And it doesn’t have to be all out-of-pocket either. Homeowners in Toronto have the great opportunity to install or upgrade their sump pump and get a rebate of $1750 from the City of Toronto. The only catch is that a licensed Toronto contractor must do the work. Of course, if you’re reading this, it means you already know a professional licensed contractor. If you want to protect your home and reap the benefits of a subsidy, give us a shout!

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Water pressure is important – anyone who believes otherwise is either kidding themselves or has impossibly low standards. Have you ever gone to wash a couple of dishes, only to be greeted with a thin, weak stream of water coming out of the faucet? It’s frustrating. Or, worse yet, have you ever turned on the shower in the morning, still half asleep, and had the water dribble out. It’s probably the least satisfying way to start your day.

There’s no single reason for poor water pressure. It can be caused by a number of factors, either acting alone or in conjunction with one another. But the result of poor water pressure is always the same: a daily annoyance that gets in the way of you fully enjoying your home.

Let’s take a stand together against weak water pressure. As one of the top Toronto plumbing companies, our hope here at Mister Plumber is that every Torontonian has access to a satisfying shower. To that end, let’s take a look at a few of the common causes of poor water pressure, and what we can do together to tackle them.

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The Common Causes of Poor Water Pressure

As mentioned, water pressure in the house depends on many factors – pipes, valves and even the aerators on your taps. The source of the problem isn’t always apparent and can take a keen professional eye to spot.

Part of being professional drain repair experts is that we here at Mister Plumber are like detectives for your plumbing – we pick up clues, run tests and determine the source of the issue. Here are a few such sources.

Pipe Size

The most important factor in your water pressure – and arguably the commonest cause of its weakness – is the size of your pipes. Older houses in Toronto usually have half-inch lead or galvanized pipes.

At the time when these houses were built, such pipe diameter was sufficient for a family’s needs; there was one washroom, laundry sink and kitchen sink. Nowadays, people are adding more washrooms, higher-powered washing machines, sprinkler systems etc. A bigger number of plumbing fixtures requires higher pressure.

That’s why the current plumbing code states that the minimum size of underground water service pipes must be 3/4” for one family dwelling. We recommend even 1” for houses with 5 or more washrooms. Another plumbing code states that the diameter of pipe running from the water meter to the cold supply inlet on the hot water tank must be not less than 3/4”.

Some homeowners upgrade only the underground portion and say they are happy with their pressure, so they avoid any work in the basement, especially if it is finished.

Gate Valves

Pressure may also be affected by shut off valves installed in the house. Some valves like a gate valve, for example, cuts up to 20% of pressure because it has a reduced diameter in its body. Other valves like ball type are full port ones and do not restrict the flow. Such valves are reliable too as there is no rubber parts inside that can be affected by the chlorine that Toronto water contains.

Partially Closed Valves

The City of Toronto even suggests before you submit a service request for low water pressure, that you ensure your main water shut off valve is, in fact, completely open. Partially closed water shut off valves can obviously restrict the water flow into your home, thereby negatively impacting pressure throughout the home. This isn’t a tough job and only requires you locating your shut off valves.

However, if opening the valves fully doesn’t amend the problem, it might be time to call in the pros.


Take the example of a garden hose. A garden hose with a hole – or a number of small holes – will eventually siphon off a sizeable amount of its pressure and water, leaving the end to weakly dribble out a thin stream of water. This same principle applies to your pipes.

If you have noticed wet patches or water damage in any part of your home, there’s a distinct chance you have a leaking pipe, which, in addition to causing costly damage, can negatively impact water pressure. Nip this problem in the bud, as soon as you notice anything – water pipe repair that is caught early can save you a lot of money.

Clogged Aerators

Finally, the issue can be as simple and localized as a clogged aerator. If something gets caught in your faucets aerator screen, like dirt or debris, it can throttle the water trying to come out. A major indication that your problem is a clogged aerator and not one of the above problems is that the low pressure is localized in one tap, not affecting other appliances.

Fixing Common Water Pressure Problems

In the picture up above, you can see a pressure upgrade project we did. The old lead pipes in the house were upgraded with new 3/4” copper ones underground and connected to the city curb valve. This greatly improved the house’s water pressure and did away with the potentially harmful lead pipes the homeowners had unwittingly been using. The plumbing in Toronto is often out-dated, so we come across cases like this quite a lot.

The picture below shows a new copper pipe going through a foundation wall, with a new shut off main valve and connection to the water meter. Mister Plumber uses a modern torpedo drilling method to upgrade the private portion of an underground main water supply line with minimum disturbance to the landscaping. That means you can upgrade your water pressure without worrying about overhauling your property.

In Toronto, we replace over 3,000 old lead water pipes. Our reasonable prices and superior quality of work makes us as top customers’ choice. To chat with an experienced professional about your water pressure, give us a call today. Our mission is to make sure every Torontonian loves their morning shower – help us make the mission a success!