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Home Buying and Selling – Heating, Cooling and Plumbing Inspection

Buying a home is quite possibly the largest single purchase anyone will make in their lives. With such a large purchase you want to ensure you do your own homework as well as working with a reputable realtor to find the perfect house to make your home!

Having a home inspector is important, however having a qualified, experienced, licensed and insured technician to inspect the home’s heating, ventilation and cooling system is highly recommended to ensure you are fully informed with the condition of the HVAC and Plumbing system before firming up on your purchase.

The technician will inspect the equipment to ensure they have been properly maintained and are working efficiently. If the tech notices anything which may potentially go wrong or has failed due to normal wear and tear, not having the system maintained or simply due to age; as the buyer, you will know before signing the papers if you may need to invest money on repairing or replacing any part or the entire HVAC system. Typically if there is something serious found with the system this can be negotiated within your purchase for repair, replacement or a credit to the buyer to repair or replace at their discretion after taking possession.
An experienced plumber can inspect the home’s plumbing system to check for any leaks or evidence of previous leaks, water pressure in the toilets and faucets, water softener and if there is a well at the home the plumber can complete a well flow test. If the home has a septic system this is important to know the age, location and maintenance history. The plumber can do a walk around the yard to visually inspect the area around the septic system and weeping bed. Visually walking around the home and looking for any signs or evidence of water leaks can indicate a previous or ongoing plumbing issue. Things to look for are water stains on the walls, ceiling or floor, a musty smell, sagging floors (by a water source – ex kitchen and bathroom), mold or mildew near water sources, cracked or missing caulking in the bathroom around the tub. Toilets which do not flush properly can also indicate a potential problem within the drain lines or within the septic if you have one.

The important factors to look at when buying a home.

1. HVAC and Plumbing – As mentioned above it is highly recommended to have a qualified, licensed, insured and experienced technician inspect your HVAC and Plumbing System. Is the system the proper size for the house, what is the age, is there any warranty, any maintenance records. What are the monthly utilities costs? Could a newer system be more efficient and affordable? Has there been any plumbing repairs? How old is the well or septic? How old is the softener, water heater… Do you require any water treatment? Has a water test been performed to ensure the water is safe to drink and use for bathing, cooking etc.

2. Roof – Look for any missing, curling, broken shingles. Ask the age of the roof, if there is any warranty on the shingles, if the current owners still have the original paperwork.

3. Attic – Take a look up in the attic to see the amount of insulation, any evidence of water damage, if there is any mold or mildew, any evidence of animals in there, holes etc.

4. Basement – Typically if there has been water issues in a home the basement will smell very musty. Look for water spots on the floor, wall, trim, and ceiling. If you have a moisture meter this is a good idea to take with you to check for moisture levels in the basement. Check to see if the current home owners are running a dehumidifier this can be an indication of having dampness or water issues.

5. Septic – Ask the home owner for a diagram of where the septic is located, when it was installed and the last time it was pumped. Typically with home purchases one of the conditions is to have the septic pumped the month prior to closing. When having the septic pumped it is very important for the health of the tank to ensure both the liquids and solids are pumped out. If only the liquid is pumped out, sludge will build up and if not properly monitored could potentially cause a blockage in the outlet to the weeping bed or within the weeping bed.

6. Electrical – Is the home’s electrical system up to date and legal. Many old home’s have smaller panels which must be upgraded to handle the demand of many people and their lives today. This can also pose a safety risk depending on the age of the home if the wiring has never been updated.

7. Exterior, Doors and Windows – Take a walk around the home, is the exterior in good condition, note any damage. Is the grading of the soil around the property sloping away to keep the water away from the home or is there potential for pooling near the foundation. How old are the doors and windows? Note any damage. Open and close the windows and doors.

8. Garage – Is the garage insulated, heated, are the doors insulated, check to ensure the garage door(s) work properly.

Before you buy give us a call at JJ McLellan and Son Plumbing and Heating to complete an HVAC and/or Plumbing inspection on your home purchase. Call us at 1-866-565-5513 or 519-323-2000 or EMAIL US. We are the home comfort people who service what we sell and more!

Taking Care Of Your Home & Business Plumbing System | Happy World Plumbing Day 2015

“A Royal Flush Is Better Than A Full House!”

Did you know its World Plumbing Day!?

WPC mission statement is: “To promote the role of plumbing in improving public health and safeguarding the environment, by uniting the World Plumbing Industry, for the benefit of all.”

Join us in saying a great big THANK YOU to everyone (especially our hard working plumbers and technician’s) who work hard everyday to ensure we have clean, safe water and that our sewage continues to flow! It can be a tough and sometimes very tiring job!

As a part of World Plumbing Day and our appreciation for indoor plumbing, clean healthy water and safe sewage systems we must also remember the importance of water conservation in our daily use and taking care of our home and business plumbing systems.

A few things to remember to help conserve our water and plumbing systems!

  • Shut the water off when not in use.
  • Upgrade to a low water consumption use toilet.
  • Install a new shower head.
  • Ensure all plumbing leaks are promptly repaired.
  • Upgrade old water lines to ensure clean, proper and efficient water flow.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it is full.
  • Replace old appliances with new energy star appliances (dishwasher and washing machine).
  • Install a water softener which will clean your clothes better and rinse soap off your body, dishes and clothes easier.
  • If you notice your drains are slow or not draining properly, have this investigated before it causes a back up into your basement.
  • Space out your water usage rather than doing large amounts of laundry in one day (which can flood your septic system) space it out over the evenings of the week and only do a couple loads on the weekends.
  • Use a rain barrel to catch rain water for use in gardens.
  • Ensure you have a proper septic system – septic tank and weeping bed.
  • Know the location of your septic system and weeping bed. When your home was built there would have been a septic plan.
  • Ensure the septic tank lids are always accessible – this is especially important during the winter if you have a back up. There are risers and plastic lids that can be installed which are easier accessible at anytime of the year.
  • Check your septic tank yearly to ensure it is draining properly and pump when the sludge build up is lessening the capacity of your tank. (Approx 3-5 yrs) When in doubt always call a professional.
  • If you have a garborator in your home ensure your septic tank is pumped yearly – or if you are on a septic put your food scraps in a composter.
  • Never put any kind of grease down your drains or into your septic system.
  • If you have a septic system be careful what cleaners you use in the toilet – heavy bleach cleaners can kill micro-organisms important in breaking down and treating waste water.
  • Do not flush paper towels, baby wipes, feminine products, kitty litter, condoms or anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.
  • Do not pour any chemicals into the septic tank – the system is designed to work with the natural biological’s which enter the tank to break down.
  • Never drive over, park on or build over top of your weeping bed. In the winter it is important to never plow the snow above your weeping bed, this will help insulate and prevent freezing in colder winters.

How does your Plumbing System Work???

Here are a few pictures to give you visual of the system!

This is a typical home septic system.
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A colour coded diagram of a home’s basic plumbing system.

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A home’s plumbing system coming out to the main sewer.

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For those of you connected to town water and sewer,
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Winter Tips To Stay Warm – Extreme Cold Temps, No Heat and Frozen Pipes

It’s another extremely cold winter day.

Cold temperatures with blowing snow, it can be a disaster for your home’s Plumbing and Heating!

1. Go out and dig ALL the snow away from all Heating vents – Furnace, Water Heater, Dryer, Fireplace.

2. Some vents have a little screen in them (to stop critters from climbing up in) this can freeze over with the condensate exhausting from the furnace, if it does just pull it out and ensure the vents are completely 100% clear.

3. Prevent your water from freezing by running all your taps consistently over the day to keep water running through the pipes or leave a tap running. Especially if you have washrooms you rarely use.

4. If you do not have a heated basement get a heater for the mechanical room – A small room heater that is meant for indoor use will help!

5. Its too late – your pipes have froze…
– Leave the cupboard doors open so heat can get to the pipes.
– Insulating your pipes will help as well or putting a piece of hard foam insulation at the back of the cupboards.
– Place a small heater close to the pipes – be very careful not to leave it in the cupboard and unattended – do not create a fire risk. If you do not have a small heater, a lamp will help provide extra heat.
– Open your taps so that the water has somewhere to expand to, if it does not this is when pipes will burst.
– It is essential to have heat in your mechanical room.
– Wherever your water pipes are outside do not drive over this area as it can push the frost down and cause pipes (and even sewage/septic lines) to freeze!

6. Please do NOT leave your pets out in these temperatures!

7. It’s way too cold for children to play outside – make it a board game movie day or check out public skating.

8. Vehicles will need to warm up even just for a few minutes before driving.

9. Clear all the snow and ice away from all doors to ensure a proper latch for them to stay properly closed. In temperatures like this it won’t take much to cause problems!

10. It’s Family Day, if you really do not need to go out, Don’t! Enjoy the day with your family and stay cozy warm!The sun is shining brightly but its darn cold out there!

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Why A Water Softener Is A Benefit To Your Home or Business | Plumbing System

Are you considering installing a water softener in your home? You may be if you are finding your clothes are not washing properly or the soap does not lather in the shower, perhaps your skin is very dry as well.

There are different options when it comes to water treatment and we are equipped to handle all of them from simple water softening to iron or sulfur removal.

Having a qualified and licensed plumber install your water treatment system you can rest assured that it will be installed properly and any adjustments or plumbing re-routing can be done by the same plumber who can install your system – saving you from having to make a second call if there are any issues with your plumbing prior to the install.

Benefits to having a water softener:
• Your hair and skin will feel cleaner, soap will rinse away without leaving any residue.
• Your dishes will come cleaner with less residue or spots.
• Your soaps and shampoo will lather better.
• The fabric of your clothing will be softer without the use of fabric softener.
• Your appliances will benefit from soft water by not having the hard water build up, making them run more efficient and overall last longer.
• Your water heater will heat the water up faster and over the years there will not be as much build up inside when soft water is used, as there would be with hard water and lime build up.
• Your pipes and drains will run cleaner with less residue and build up, which over the years can result into major problems if they accumulate too much and eventually plug up which may cause a back up in your home.

We deal with Greenway Water Technologies for our Water Softeners. Below is information from their website. Click on the title to go to their website.

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Greenway Water Softeners
Greenway Water Technologies’ Water Softener systems are Engineered for Health and Designed for Life.

How does a Water Softener work?
Hard water is found in various regions globally. In North America, hard water is prevalent Calcium, magnesium and other ions are found in “hard” water. These hard water ions can interfere with your plumbing and potentially decrease the efficacy of water heaters and other water appliances because of the build-up of lime scale. Soap and cleaning products’ effectiveness are also affected and therefore are not as efficient.

Water Softeners usually work on the principle of replacing the hardness ions (calcium and magnesium) with sodium ions through the use of ion exchange resin. The hard water to be treated is passed through a bed of the resin. Negatively-charged resins absorb the hardness ions, which are positively charged (Ca++, Mg++). The ion exchange resins most commonly contain Sodium (but can be found in potassium and hydrogen form also). Calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water replace these sodium ions on the resin, therefore decreasing the calcium and magnesium in the water, making soft water with no formation of lime scale

When all of the resin is “full” of the calcium and magnesium hardness ions, the softener regenerates by allowing high concentrations of sodium chloride (salt) to be reintroduced onto the resin, taking the place of the calcium and magnesium ions and discarding them into the discharge drain water. The water softener is then ready to be used once again.

How are Greenway® Water Softeners different than other water softeners?
At Greenway Water Technologies, we take your water treatment seriously. We have collaborated, researched and designed water softening systems with our customers in mind.

There are four categories of Greenway® water softeners, each with its’ own unique features and characteristics based on your level of hard water and water flow requirements.

Our Greenway® Standard Series water softener line includes two options; either an easy to use Clack 3 over 2 valve with bypass, resin tank, and salt tank OR a metered Fleck Valve including bypass, resin tank and salt tank.
The Greenway® Advance series water softener line additionally includes our unique Greenway® valve head with bypass and added collar, resin tank and salt tank.
The Greenway® Pro Series water softeners are our NSF certified units come in a variety of sizes. These will be available later this year (2011).
Our Greenway® Cabinet water softeners are designed to be compact and are used when space is minimal. Some customers prefer this style of water softener as the resin tank and salt tank are built into one cabinet. Our customers can program in their own water hardness based on desired salt usage (low, medium or high salt settings) for effective results.

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Click the photo below to see all the products offered by Greenway which can be installed by our Plumbers.

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Fall Plumbing and Heating Newsletter | JJ McLellan and Son Mount Forest

JJ McLellan and Son – Fall

The Home Comfort People

Its time for your fall heating check up!

The cool fall evenings are here!
If you haven’t turned on your furnace yet, it will be very soon.
A couple things you can do before you turn your heat on
1. Clean or replace your filter, and
2. Vacuum all registers and cold air returns. This includes taking them off or pulling them up and vacuuming down into the duct as well – you may be surprised how much dust and dirt can get trapped down there!
Why is a fall heating check up important?
Having your equipment cleaned and serviced is preventative maintenance and can catch a problem before it even begins. This is especially important for the overall operation of the appliance, to ensure it is working as it is designed to. The benefits to having your system serviced is when it is clean the appliance works much more efficient – thus saving you money on your utilities!

Some helpful tips for this fall !

  • Headings away on holidays? Save energy by adjusting your thermostat 2-3 degrees.
  • On sunny days keep your curtains or blinds open to take advantage of the “free” heat.
  • Replace or clean your furnace filter.
  • Ensure your outside exhaust vents are free from debris such as bushes, trees, leaves.
  • Find your comfort zone within your home, set your thermostat and always keep it within 1-2 degrees of this temperature (unless going away on holidays) this helps your home maintain a constant comfort level and does not cause the system to over work from each day.
  • Have your unit serviced yearly by a professional.
  • Check doors and windows for any air leaks and caulk if necessary.
  • Clean your dryer vents – including the lint trap and vaccuum very well.
  • Cover your Air Conditioner for the winter.

Please remember that unless you are trained and licensed to work with fuels it is very important that under no circumstances should you tamper with your heating system or any other fuel appliance. If you need to locate a Qualified Heating Contractor in your area please check www.tssa.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Plumbing Tips From The Pro’s

  • Check all outdoor faucets for any leaks and have them repaired before the temperature drops. 

  • Shut off the water supply to your outside taps from inside and then open the taps outside to ensure the water has properly drained.

  • Check around the base of each toilet for moisture – over time the seal can breakdown and may need replacing

  • Check your tub and shower for any caulking that may need to be replaced to prevent water leaking down behind your walls

  • Have any toilets that are running checked – one toilet can waste gallons of water!

  • Check water connections and drains under your kitchen and bathroom sinks – if your pipes froze last year install insulation against the outside wall to help keep the heat in.

  • Check your washing machine water connections – many are hidden behind the machine and out of sight

  • If you have a septic – when was the last time it was pumped? If it has been a while the ideal time to pump is in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Schedule your service before the snow flies!

  • Ensure your eavestrough drains away from your home.

  • Have you been experiencing any slow drains? Gurgling toilets? Saturated lawn (by your septic)? Best to have the pro’s check it out before winter arrives!

Plumbing Preventative Maintenance is not as common as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), however just as important.

When is it important to have your home or business plumbing system checked?

  • What is the age of the home or building?
    Many older homes have old piping, over the years the pipes build up and your water pressure will slowly decrease. You may notice small particles in the water which could be from the pipes.

  • Are You Buying A New Home or Building… Did you just move in?
    Having a professional walk through to check the plumbing system before moving in or closing on a purchase could save you $!

  • What is the age of the equipment? Ex. Water Heater, Pump, Pressure Tank, Water Softener, Expansion Tank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you in the market for a new water heater?

We now offer a very affordable option to purchase a water heater and be covered with a 10 year parts and labour warranty for the same or less than it would cost you to rent!

Natural Gas Water Heaters – Buying and Renting Tips from Union Gas

VIEW OUR NEWSLETTER ONLINE

With this cold weather comes frozen pipes… Some tips to keep your water flowing!

JJ McLellan

JJ McLellan – Broken Pipe – Froze and burst!

When water freezes it expands, this is why if your pipes freeze they can and will burst – such as in the photo!

Open your cupboard doors – If you are worried about your pipes freezing and the potential of bursting… If you have pipes/taps on outside walls, open your cupboard doors to allow heat from your home in.

Heat from a lamp – If that doesn’t help plug a lamp in and put it under the sink (safely… not near anything flammable!) the heat from the bulb will help.

Run water – If you are really concerned, turn on the tap and let it run, a small consistent stream will help prevent freezing.

Insulate – If your home is very old and does not have a lot of insulation in the walls you could add some foam board insulation to the back of your kitchen cabinet to help prevent freezing.

What if I dont have a basement? If you live in a mobile home or a home with a crawl space, ensure you have heat tape for your pipes and that the underneath of the home is properly insulated and sealed! If your home was built on a slab on grade most likely you will have in floor heating, ensure the heating system is kept at a consistent temperature and have your system maintained regularly.

Getting away from the cold – If you are going away ensure you have someone checking on your home at least once a day – twice in cold weather like this.

Consistency – When the weather turns cold it is very important to keep your thermostat at a consistent temperature even during the night. Set your thermostat at a comfortable level and leave it.

Its too late… what should you do?

If your pipes have froze you can try to thaw them yourself. First open your taps, second use a heat source such as a hair dryer or a small portable heater. Be very careful to ensure you remove anything flammable prior to applying heat – especially in the kitchen if there are cleaners in the cabinets.

If you are not able to get your pipes thawed its time to call the professionals. Our plumbers have dealt with many frozen pipes! Either way once you get your problem solved – ensure you will be ok for the next deep freeze with proper insulation such as wall insulation, floor insulation, pipe insulation and heat tape.

Do not wait until you have issues to take preventative action. Ensure you have proper wall insulation, ensure the underside of your home (this includes basements) is insulated properly. If you are already planning a renovation pipes can be re-routed to lessen the chance of freezing. Unless you are considering gutting an older home back to the studs to completely re-insulate the home, sometimes in an older home re-routing the plumbing is the best option to get the pipes off of an outside wall. The costs for preventative maintenance will be well worth the costs you could face if your pipes freeze and burst!

Unsure of what you should do? Feel free to give Mike our Comfort Advisor a call he would be happy to recommend some options for you to ensure your home is safe!

Stay Warm!!!

Faucet Selector Tool || Moen

Faucet Selector from Moen

Considering all your options available for replacing your bathroom or kitchen faucets, Moen has made it that much simpler for you!

Begin with your style selection… to help narrow the results!

  • Just the Basics
  • Clean & Contemporary
  • Classic
  • Sleek & Sophisticated

Next you can select within your budget… finish & features!

Only step left after you select your faucet is to give a call to have it installed 😉

 

Our Homes Magazine | Home & Builder Feature

I still remember checking my email and seeing a response from the Our Homes Magazine team wanting to see photos of the custom built home we did the Plumbing and HVAC in… I was stoked! Be sure to watch for the Wellington County Fall Edition of the Our Homes Magazine to see the wonderful write up about the contractors who worked on this home, yes including JJ McLellan & Son.

Over the months that our technicians did work at this home I continued to hear more and more about it and the enthusiasm in their voices was just contagious! Everyone wanted to hear more about it, the guys all wanted to talk about it and talk about how much fun it was for them to do something out of the ordinary. For example each washroom was different, different fixtures, colours etc. The kitchen had a variety of stations, appliances and the finishings are just beautiful! The guys also put in the septic system for the plumbing.

I was lucky enough to get a few tours of the home by both our guys and the home owners. I loved going when the guys were there and having them show me what they each thought was awesome. Our plumbers of course were so very proud of the custom shower in the mastersuite as well as the other washrooms each with their own distinct look and then in the kitchen all of the cool features and finishes. Our heating tech’s were just as proud to show of their pride of the home… the mechanical room!

And where better to start than the true “heart” of the home, where everything mechanical is housed and runs. The mechanical room that our tech’s are so very proud of ! The mechanical room is for both the heating and cooling for the home as well as the hot water. The home has infloor heating in both the main floor and downstairs as well as geothermal (for heating and cooling). The infloor heating in the basement provides and excellent and very efficient way to keep the “chill” out all year round!

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Next up some of the work our plumbers are extremely happy with!

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May be a “standard” shower but an upgraded more custom shower head system!
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Master Bath Ensuite
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“His” side of their custom walk in shower.
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“Her” side of their custom walk in shower
At first I will be honest I thought really, does a married couple really need that big of a shower or an end for each other. After seeing the shower, my opinion has changed quite dramatically. Its genius really! I know my husband and I both use different products and there is only so much room on the shelf and the rest is on the floor of the shower… I would LOVE to put in a shower like this in our master ensuite!
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Isn’t an IN the wall dishwasher genius ! I want one thats for sure 😉
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AND… as if the quality of workmanship and materials/finishings wasn’t enough inside – the true cherry on top! Our door living space including an outdoor kitchen, bar, bbq, table and chair set and of course for after eating a couch!
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Be sure to watch the Our Homes Magazine Website to see the entire Fall Issue!

Why everyone woman should know something about plumbing… and when to call a professional!

 As a woman growing up in a plumbing and heating family business Ive heard my fair share of horror stories over the years! One thing that is for sure is that for a woman it is so very beneficial to have some sort of a clue when it comes to your plumbing system in your home!

After all… we all know “A Royal Flush Is Better Than A Full House!”

Although I lived as a child with my father who was a plumber and heating technician (and…etc) I never really paid THAT much attention to how things work until I had my own house. For one thing the old homes in town have REALLY old pipes that need to be replaced in a lot of homes – our first home was one of them, I was so glad to get rid of those old galvanized pipes – over time they built up on the inside, flaked off gross things and our water pressure was awful! We had the pipes replaced and amazing how much better the water pressure, flow and colour was – such a difference!

Being new to country living now having a well and septic this very hot dry weather we have been having has certainly been something to be mindful about with water.

Even certain plumbing issues within the home which may seem small or simple, could actually be your worst nightmare! A small leak – which can typically be detected during routine cleaning can be your biggest warning sign – seeing water on the inside of your bathroom vanity or under your kitchen sink, never assume its just by chance. Within my own home again, while cleaning under the sink I found our drain had been leaking, thankfully it was an easy fix, however if it had been left much longer it could have begun to rot out the inside of the cupboard and work its way through the ceiling of the basement – which then becomes a huge, dirty and expensive mess!  Did you know even a small hair line crack in your bathroom basin drain (silver part) can cause a lot of damage! Did you know even if your toilet ran a very small amount this small issue could infact be using  wasting many gallons of water!

It truly pays to hire a professional! Did you know that even as the home owner you could be liable if a handy man gets hurt at your home?! Yup its true! If you hire someone to do work, it does not matter that you have hired them, what matters is if they actually have WSIB coverage and insurance. If they don’t … you are on the line for any accidents OR damage which could happen due to the repair or install. Of course everyone is not perfect, yes even pros’ can have a slip up or make a mistake, this is where having business insurance is smart!

Take a walk through your basement, become familiar with where the pipes run, where your plumbing appliances are (softener, hot water heater etc), do monthly checks of your faucets and drains to ensure there isnt any leaks or cracks. If you live in the country and have a septic system, find out where it is, figure out when it was last pumped, do not wait until you are in an emergency situation to call for help!

Preventative Maintenance is a very valuable investment as a home owner, very common with vehicles, however over looked by many property owners.

Give us a call at 1-866-565-5513 or 519-323-2000 and speak to Pam  to book your preventative maintenance appointment where we will send a qualified plumber out to do a thorough inspection of your plumbing system.

JJ McLellan is a family run Plumbing and HVAC Business which has been in operation since 1948!

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