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.

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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.

good plumber in toronto

“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!

emergency plumber toronto

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.

toronto plumbing

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!

toronto emergency plumbing

Do you remember when you were a kid, and your parents would ask you to go clean your room? Begrudgingly, you would obey, but instead of doing a full, deep clean – vacuuming under the bed, reorganizing your cluttered drawers and closet, etc. – you would just stuff everything away so the room looked clean.

It’s a normal way of looking at maintenance: make sure everything you can see is presentable and in working condition. As for the things you can’t see, only address them when there’s an issue. For the most part, this approach works. But, with plumbing, those unseen issues can be quite consequential.

Everything in the entire world ages, and as things age they start showing signs of deterioration – slowly, in some cases, but certainly noticeable over a long period of time. This happens with drain and water pipes too. Even though they appear out of sight, underground, seemingly protected from all the wear and weather of above ground plumbing, time and deterioration take their toll on underground pipes too.

A lot of houses in Toronto still have their original drain and water pipes underground – in some cases pipes over a century old. While above ground, homeowners will upgrade the plumbing – in some cases frequently, due to multiple renovations – underground, the utilities might remain untouched for long periods of time.

In this post, we’ll discuss a couple of the most common problems homeowners face with their underground pipes, as well as how to know when to call a Toronto plumber for help.

emergency plumber toronto

When to Dig Deeper

It’s understandable that many homeowners just concern themselves with surface-level plumbing problems. After all, if your underground plumbing is solidly built and maintained, it shouldn’t be something you have to continually worry about. When you’re driving in your car, you usually only worry about your oil when your oil light comes on – and sometimes, you wait even past that point, until a problem arises.

This is to say that it’s understandable if you don’t spend your waking hours worrying about a feature of your home that is literally out of sight. People usually only start thinking about their main drain when a real problem occurs, like a sewage smell or a backup.

If your home experiences backups, or foul odours, contact Toronto drain repair experts immediately – not only for the wellbeing of your home, but also for the wellbeing of its residents (your family, in most cases) who can be exposed to toxic and harmful gases as a result.

If you are planning on buying a new home, regardless of how old it is, it’s a great idea to include drain inspection as part of your home inspection plan, that way you aren’t buying a property that needs major work (or, at least, you know the cost of the work needed before you purchase).

Even if you have lived in your house for some time, and there are no tangible signs of plumbing issues, other than the occasional clog, drain inspection should still be a part of your regular maintenance schedule.

Whether you wait until an emergency arises, or inspect your underground pipes regularly, here are some fairly common drain issues you might face.

The Issue With Clay Pipes

Clay pipes seemed like a good idea to plumbers throughout most of history, as far back as the Babylonian empire. After all, clay was abundant and easy to extract. The problem with clay pipes, however, is that they can easily get hairline cracks in them, where roots grow in. The roots naturally gravitate toward the inside of the pipes, because it’s a favourable environment for growth, with plenty of nutrients.

The more the roots grow, the bigger the crack they make. Eventually, roots restrict the flow of the pipe, and cause it irreparable damage.  

Detecting & Replacing Underground Pipes

The sewer scope we use here at Mister Plumber makes records of when pieces of clay pipe fall inwards causing blockage. Such blockage cannot be released by the snaking machine every plumber uses. The only way to fix such problem is to physically replace the pipe.

Nowadays, though, you can see how Toronto plumbing has changed – instead of clay, plumbers use PVC pipes, which are advantageous for numerous reasons. PVC pipes are pretty long and light compared to clay, meaning that there are fewer connections that roots can compromise. And all connections are glued, which makes roots penetrating impossible.

The replacement of old clay pipe can be done with a special torpedo that goes through where the old pipe serves as a guide. This technology is used on straight runs of pipe without a Y-connection.

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The Issue With Lead Water Pipes

Another important underground utility is the water pipe. We rely on the water pipe to feed our homes with clean, healthy, necessary water, but older water pipes, often made of lead, are considered dangerous these days.

As the lead in the pipes corrodes, it makes its way into your drinking water, which can cause serious long-term health problems, especially for infants and children. It’s such a widespread issue that the City of Toronto has a lead pipe replacement program it runs.

Detecting & Replacing Lead Water Pipes

If you think your home has lead pipes, we immediately inspect your drains and replace those lead pipes with copper. Not only are copper pipes durable and easy to work with, but also, crucially, they’re non-corrosive, meaning no harmful metallic stuff will leach into your water.

Another, you might say incidental perk of replacing lead pipes with new copper pipes is that, automatically, we increase the size of the water pipe, as new plumbing codes require a minimum 3/4” inside diameter for one family dwelling. As a result, in addition to the water being free of contaminants, your house’s water pressure improves, and multiple fixtures in the house can be used simultaneously. 

There’s a whole world going on underground. Don’t just put it “out of sight, out of mind”. Fix your underground plumbing problems by calling Mister Plumber today.

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Some plumbing problems are rare, and take an experienced plumber (like Mister Plumber, of course!) to sleuth their way to the solution. Other problems are so common that every homeowner or tenant has seen them before – your leaky faucets, overflowing toilet or slow-draining sink – and that an emergency plumber could probably handle with their eyes closed.

But then there are some big plumbing issues that are neither as frequent as a drippy faucet nor as uncommon as an overheated sump pump – but we here at Mister Plumber see them often enough that we want to discuss them.

One of the things that make Toronto a truly special city to live in is its rich history, with houses ranging from over 200 years old to a day old, and everything in between. But the history that makes it special also makes its houses unpredictable and susceptible to various plumbing issues. Homes built at different periods will have different types of plumbing, some of which are out-of-date and/or harmful.

In general, older plumbing creates some problems for homeowners. Even if it doesn’t leak, it might cause slow drainage, a bad sewer smell, low water pressure, frequent clogs, leaching lead, etc. Different types of pipes have their own advantages and disadvantages, and in this article, we wanted to detail a few different case studies, each of the jobs we’ve worked recently and each of them surrounding a different type of pipe, trap or coupling.

Cast Iron Pipes

Everyone likes cast iron – especially for their pans, which can cook a steak better than just about anything. And it’s this sturdiness that made cast iron so popular among plumbers from the 17th Century all the way to the mid-20th Century.  Cast iron pipes were used as main soil stacks in residential houses. Cast iron makes a pretty strong pipe, one that has a lot of longevity, and (this was especially important for the modest sensibilities of olden day homeowners) remains quiet when water flows inside.

In the picture above, you can see an original cast iron drainpipe, which is 90 years old. For a couple of months prior to calling our plumbing services in Toronto, the homeowner reported multiple instances of blockage in it. Our licensed plumbers conducted an investigation that showed that the inside diameter of the pipe had been reduced to 2.5” because of severe corrosion build-up. This is smaller than the minimum size (3”) required for a toilet. Also, the surface of the inner pipe wall was rough, which easily catches all paper.

We gave our recommendations to the homeowner to replace the pipe with ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), a long-lasting plastic that won’t corrode, rust or block. It’s a newer type of pipe material, and one that you will find used by modern plumbers looking to get their customers the most value. It is a one-time investment compared to multiple services to remove toilet, snake the drain and reinstall the toilet.


The other picture, which you can see just below this section, shows the old drain assembly for a laundry sink. The homeowner called us and complained about slow drainage and a bad smell coming from the sink. In addition to the old pipes and fittings we found, there are some code violations in this plumbing.

First of all, there is what’s called an S-trap (the thing that looks like a sideways “S” in the photo), which is prohibited by Ontario plumbing codes. When water flows down an S-trap, it creates negative pressure behind it and sucks all the water from trap. If there is no water in the trap, a bad sewage smell can easily invade the living space.

In this situation, we immediately remove your old building trap and replace the S-trap with the superior P-trap, which, if installed properly and not left to dry up, works wonders.

Cracked Concrete

Another issue occurs where an above-ground pipe (downpipe) is connected to an underground clay pipe at floor level – the concrete is susceptible to cracks. Recently, we arrived at a customer’s house to find this very problem.

Nowadays, plumbers use rubber couplings to connect different sizes and types of pipes. These couplings provide an air- and water-tight seal that makes it difficult for foul odours to penetrate your home. Another mistake that can be made in this plumbing is a wrong fitting at the connection between two compartments – a sharp change of direction from the left compartment. It’s something that other plumbers might not spot, but Mister Plumber’s experienced team knows to look at small details like that.

We’re always looking out for the wellbeing of your family and your home. Call us about pipe inspection, trap replacement, sump pump installation in Toronto – you name it, we’ll take care of it.

Lead Pipes

Then, there are lead pipes. We’ve discussed lead pipes a number of times on this blog, but it’s because they are still so pervasive and harmful. Old lead pipes, a prominent feature of older homes, can corrode over time and leach harmful lead into your drinking water, which can have profoundly negative health effects. We just recently replaced yet another system of lead pipes for a homeowner.

If you live in an old home or suspect that you might have lead pipes, call Mister Plumber immediately. We’ll inspect your pipes and, if they are lead, replace them with copper pipes, which are not susceptible to corrosion and therefore will not leach anything harmful. It’s a big issue in Toronto: of the approximately 437,000 residences in the City of Toronto, an estimated 31,250 have lead water pipes.

These are just four case studies, but they each illustrate the need to keep your plumbing up-to-date. Materials that plumbers used in the past may have eroded or corroded over time, or may not have been safe in the first place. To avoid the above-mentioned problems, we recommend you consider upgrading your old plumbing. Call Mister Plumber today to help make your home as safe, clean, fresh and functional as possible.

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For the last 15 years Toronto has experienced a number of major floods. Whereas before floods were a rare occurrence, unpredictable in their onslaught, nowadays they seem like an annual rite of passage, as predictable and inevitable as the first flowers of spring. Scientists and news outlets point to climate change as being the culprit, as the strange fluctuations in temperature cause major disruptions to the cycle of precipitation.

One thing is for certain: Toronto can expect more of the same in terms of floods. It’s imperative, therefore, that homeowners remain vigilant, and adapt to the weather’s new way of operating. This means preparing your house against storm damage.

In this article, we’ll look at a couple major floods that have occurred in the last 15 years, as well as what we as a city have learned from those floods about protecting our homes. We’ll discuss what you can do, as a homeowner: when to call us for help to keep your home, your family and your precious possessions safe.

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Two Major Floods

Two of the biggest floods in recent memory were in 2007 in North York, and in 2013 in Etobicoke. During the first one, houses were flooded through the storm system. When the second flood rolled around in Etobicoke in 2013, basements were flooded through the sanitary drains.

In both cases, there was excessive amount of rain, and pipes were not capable of containing or managing all of the water. Pipes, especially those in older homes, can only manage so much water influx, and when they are overtaxed, unfortunately, they allow water into your home, causing damage to possessions both costly and priceless.

The City of Toronto, as well as its professional drain cleaning and plumbing experts learned a lot from these floods, and measures have been taken by both the City and us to ensure that homes in the future do not face the same scale of damage they did in past floods.

What Can Be Done?

Since those two major floods, the City of Toronto has implemented some steps toward preventing such massive damages. For example, they have mandated the disconnecting of downspouts from the sanitary drain, and they have made mandatory the installation of flood protection devices such as backwater valves and sump pumps. In this section, we’ll look at downspout disconnections – their advantages and drawbacks – as well as protection device installation.

Downspout Disconnection

First, let’s discuss about downspout disconnection – it’s sort of a technical term, and might be difficult for most homeowners to picture, so we think it deserves some explanation. After all, the City has made it mandatory. Basically, when you disconnect your downspout from the city sewer system, any excessive amount of rain to your downspout, rather than flooding into the sewer system and causing potentially destructive backups, will be routed away from the foundation of your house toward your lawns or landscaped areas. From there – so the thinking goes – it will be naturally distributed back in the water table.

This is beneficial for the city in a couple ways. Obviously, less water to the city sewer means their system will be able to manage what comes in, even during storms. Also, less wastewater makes its way to their treatment plant, and so fewer chemicals are used to clean it, which probably saves hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Foundational Waterproofing

Downspout disconnection is good for the city, and to a certain extent it’s also good for homeowners, but it leaves a little to be desired. In our point of view, because most of the rainwater is discharged onto the ground’s surface, to penetrate the soil, it eventually raises the level of the underground water table. This creates foundational waterproofing issues for Toronto basements. Sure, the city system may not be overtaxed, but it sometimes comes at the expense of your own personal property. This is why, to do your part to prevent home damage, you need to be proactive about waterproofing.

So, let’s talk about flood protection devices – what tools do you have at your disposal to stem the flow (pun intended) of flooding in Toronto? There’s good news here: Mister Plumber’s expert flood protection in Toronto can help you protect your precious investment, and keep your family safe and comfortable in the event of the next big GTA flood.

A backwater valve is number one. If a city pipe is overflowing, it will cause a sewer backup to all the plumbing fixtures below street level. This issue, unfortunately, is beyond a homeowner’s control. But, in the case of a problem with your private drainpipe, it’s enough to stop using plumbing fixtures in the houses, and the situation will not worsen. The backwater valve is a device you can implement that stops back flow, therefore preventing any harmful sewage backup from the city side from making its way into your home.

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To its credit, the City of Toronto definitely understands the need for backwater valves, which is why it has set up a helpful subsidy program for backwater valve installation. Toronto homeowners are eligible to get $1250 for valve installation, provided that a licensed contractor does the installation (sorry, they won’t let you hire your handyman cousin for the rebate!) As for information on sump pump installation, click here for a rundown of our services.

Of course, you know who happens to be a talented group of licensed plumbers, who maintain competitive, affordable rates and offer round-the-clock service? You guessed it: we here at Mister Plumber would love to help with your backwater valve installation. In the picture above, you can see a backwater valve installation we completed with a restoration of concrete near the front wall of a basement. It’s this kind of sturdy, quality work, with great attention to detail, that you get from Mister Plumber.

Do not bank on Toronto storms getting any better. There is a mountain of good science indicating that flooding, both globally and locally, will be, to put it aptly, on the rise. It’s wise for homeowners to treat floods as a new inevitability, and to take the necessary steps to waterproof their homes. Call Mister Plumber today for a professional plumber with years of experience in waterproofing homes.