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The Essential Guide to Buying a Home: Understanding Septic System Inspections

Congratulations on your decision to buy a home! As you embark on this exciting journey, it’s essential to consider all aspects of the property you’re interested in, including the septic system. While a septic system might not be the most glamorous feature of a home, it plays a crucial role in its functionality and value. Here’s everything you need to know about septic system inspections when buying a home:

  1. Why Septic System Inspections Matter: A septic system inspection is a vital part of the home buying process, especially if the property relies on a septic tank for wastewater management. This inspection helps identify any issues with the system, such as leaks, blockages, or structural damage, which could be costly to repair if left unchecked.
  2. When to Schedule the Inspection: It’s crucial to schedule a septic system inspection as part of your due diligence before finalizing the purchase of a home. Ideally, this inspection should take place after you’ve made an offer on the property and it has been accepted but before closing. This timing allows you to uncover any potential issues and negotiate repairs or adjustments with the seller if necessary.
  3. What to Expect During the Inspection: A qualified septic system inspector will conduct a thorough assessment of the entire system, including the tank, distribution lines, drain field, and any associated components – that can be visibly seen when the tank is pumped. They will look for signs of deterioration, damage, or malfunction, such as standing water, odors, or lush vegetation over the drain field. The inspector may also perform tests to check the system’s functionality and capacity.
  4. Potential Red Flags to Watch Out For: During the inspection, be on the lookout for any signs of trouble with the septic system. These may include slow drainage, gurgling sounds from drains, sewage odors, or wet spots in the yard. Additionally, if the property has a history of septic system issues or if it’s been several years since the system was last inspected or pumped, it’s especially important to thoroughly evaluate its condition.
  5. Negotiating Repairs or Replacements: If the septic system inspection reveals any issues, you’ll need to decide how to proceed. Depending on the severity of the problems, you may negotiate with the seller to cover the cost of repairs or replacements as a condition of the sale. Alternatively, you may choose to walk away from the deal if the issues are too significant or if the seller is unwilling to address them.
  6. Future Maintenance Considerations: Once you’ve purchased the home, it’s essential to prioritize ongoing septic system maintenance to ensure its longevity and proper function. Regular pumping, inspections, and responsible usage habits can help prevent costly repairs down the line and protect the value of your investment.

Septic system inspections are a critical step in the home buying process, providing valuable insights into the condition of the property’s wastewater management system. By understanding the importance of these inspections and knowing what to expect, you can make informed decisions and ensure a smooth transition into your new home.

If you are looking at a property and would like an experienced operator to pump and provide a visual inspection – give us a call today 519-323-2000!

5 Common Plumbing Emergencies and How to Handle Them

  1. Burst Pipes:
    • Shut off the main water supply immediately to prevent further flooding.
    • Open faucets to relieve pressure in the pipes.
    • Thaw frozen pipes slowly with a hairdryer or warm towels – or reach out for professional help.
    • Contact a plumber to repair or replace the burst pipe.
  2. Clogged Drains:
    • Try using a plunger or plumbing snake to clear the blockage.
    • Avoid using chemical drain cleaners as they can damage pipes. If you use a chemical cleaner be sure to
    • If the clog persists, contact a plumber to professionally clear the drain.
  3. Leaking Fixtures:
    • Turn off the water supply to the affected fixture or shut off the main water supply if needed.
    • Examine the fixture for any visible damage or loose connections.
    • Tighten any loose fittings or replace damaged parts like washers or seals.
    • If the leak persists, contact a plumber for repair or replacement.
  4. Water Heater Failure:
    • Turn off the power or gas supply to the water heater.
    • Check for any visible signs of leakage or damage.
    • Relight the pilot light if it has gone out (for gas water heaters) IF you feel comfortable.
    • If you can’t resolve the issue, contact a plumber HVAC tech to inspect and repair the water heater.
  5. Sewer Line Backup:
    • Stop using water fixtures immediately to prevent further backups.
    • Avoid flushing toilets or using sinks, showers, or dishwashers.
    • Contact a plumber to inspect the sewer line and clear the blockage professionally.
    • Consider preventative measures such as regular sewer line maintenance to prevent future backups.

Remember, in any plumbing emergency, safety should be the top priority. If you’re unsure how to handle the situation, or if the problem seems beyond your capabilities, don’t hesitate to call a licensed plumber for assistance. Acting quickly can help minimize damage and prevent costly repairs.

We Are The Home Comfort People We Service What We Sell As Well As All Other Makes & Models!

Areas We Service for Plumbing and Heating: 
Wellington County including Wellington North, Mapleton and Minto.
Grey County including Southgate and West Grey.
Mount Forest, Clifford, Harriston, Palmerston, Arthur, Drayton,
Moorefield, Durham, Ayton, Holstein, Neustadt and all areas in between!

Give us a call for your retrofit project, renovation or new home build for a FREE quote!

Click to Call From Your Cell Phone 519-323-2000

Welcome Spring – With Snow & Showers

Its been an interesting start to 2023 Spring, however Im sure all would agree this is a “normal” Ontario Spring where we are teased with some gorgeous summer like weather and then are hit with the snow again 😉

As we are eagerly awaiting the return of our spring weather here are some tips and hints to make the most of your own property!

  • Pump your septic – the spring is a great time to get your septic cleaned out so that you are confident you will be flushing great all year long! We pump out BOTH sides of the septic tank – the liquid and solid. Our driver is extremely knowledgeable and can also pick up on any potential issues for you! A royal flush is better than a full house!
  • Clean and Service HVAC System – this is for your Furnace/Boiler, Air Conditioner, Water Heater, HRV etc. They work hard for us and are able to last even longer when cared for with maintenance! Preventative maintenance can also pick up on issues before they get bad – like the furnace quitting in the middle of the winter!
  • Turn on your outside taps – we highly recommend turning the water supply off to your outside taps during the winter to prevent any freezing or possible water damage. The frost free faucets are much better, however its still good to turn off. Also if you possibly forgot this fall, its a good thing to remove your hose before the winter also, they can hold water and potentially cause issues!
  • Keeping in mind, being friendly to nature, “they” say its not good to do yard or garden clean up too soon, the bee’s also appreciate the dandelions as their first feed so if you can stand a bit of yellow, let it mellow for a bit 😉
  • Clean up around outside vents – ensure they are clear from any debris (especially plastic) and any plant material.

The spring is a great time to begin any projects you were thinking of over the winter

Give us a call today at 519-323-2000 or Email us to book your appointment today!

Preparing and Prepping for the Winter

After a brief slow down back in the Spring of 2020, the trades recovered and ramped up quite quickly with so many people spending more time within their homes. Naturally, people began investing within their home space to make improvements but also spending more time at home, our systems have truly been put to the test!

I understand being in the office of our HVAC and Plumbing office, as well as at the time, I myself was in the midst of our own major renovations on our own home! Trust me when I say patience is a virtue! 

With so many trades with full schedules it is now a great time to ensure you, and your loved ones are prepared in your home. Please ensure you check in on your loved ones living on their own too! Especially the seniors in our lives.

  • Check and change smoke detector and co-detector batteries 
  • If you are on a septic – do you know where your septic tank is? Locate the lids and it is recommended to check and pump as needed every 3-5 years – depending on how many people are living in your home.
  • Whether on septic or town sewers – any packaging that states it is “safe to flush” – please ONLY flush toilet paper and human waste. These “flushable wipes” have caused SO many issues including backups so please beware!
  • Change the furnace filter at least 3-4 times a year
  • Locate your furnace shut off Switch. If your power goes out, sometimes the power needs to be reset, this switch can do that. 
  • Ensure you have a back up source of heat. Permanent examples would be a fireplace on each level of your home. The nice thing about a gas fireplace is they will work when the power is out, except for the fan. Another great and very affordable option is little household space heaters that can be plugged in and moved where needed. If you are comfortable with wood, that is also an option too. 
  • Be sure you know where your main water shut off is located in your home. Along with any other plumbing equipment. 
  • Ensure you have a back up supply of water, in case you are without power or your pump stops working. Even if just for 24-48 hours.

If this past year has taught us anything (I can say this personally),  it’s also that our mental health is a key factor in everyone’s lives. As much as we truly would love to help everyone, we must be realistic and ensure we are able to support our loyal customers while also ensuring to avoid burnout! This is a good reminder for all, and not just those of us in the trades!

So, hopefully these tips will help you feel confident if you find yourself with a furnace, water or plumbing issue that you could handle it to a certain extent before your professional can attend in the morning or next business day. 

Spring Cleaning | Septic Systems

With the first official long weekend to truly kick off Spring I know many of us will be doing some spring cleaning of some kind whether its in the house or outside in our yards and garden’s.

When it comes to Spring Cleaning its good to remember your Septic System every 3-5 years to ensure your waste water and sewage continues to flow without issues!

Do you know the last time your septic system was pumped?

Depending on the number of people living in your home, will dictate how often the tank should be pumped. The system is designed to naturally break down solids and then over time will flow out into the weeping bed from the system to properly drain into the ground.

If the tank has not been pumped regularly and the solids level becomes too high this can cause issues in the pipe from your home to the tank and also from the tank out into the weeping bed. What happens is the system cannot properly break down the solids when there is more solids than water. If this happens the solids could then begin to flow out to the bed, however as they are solids this will then cause a blockage and could potentially cause a sewage backup in your basement if not rectified properly and in a timely manner.

The other thing that could potentially cause issues is if you use too much water and the bed becomes saturated. If you are suddenly using a lot of water, the system will not have time to break down as its designed to and much of the water will just flow out to the bed. If its flowing to the bed, this is good, however ideally the best scenario is for the water to go into the first chamber of the tank with the solids, begin the breakdown process, then flow out into the bed.

How do you know if your tank is in need of a cleaning or there is a problem with the weeping bed?

  • If its been over 5 years since the last time you had it pumped.
  • If you are hearing gurgling from your toilets or drains.
  • If you notice wet spots over the weeping bed.
  • If your drains are not draining.

Remember…

  • Its also important to remember to not plant any trees or bushes around the weeping bed as the roots can grow into the system and cause blockages.
  • Do not pour any oils or grease down the drain as they will harden in the tank and will cause blockages.
  • Do not put any feminine products down the septic system. These will not break down and will pose a potential blockage issues.

A Royal Flush Is Better Than A Full House!

Areas We Service for Plumbing and Heating: 
Wellington County including Wellington North, Mapleton and Minto.
Grey County including Southgate and West Grey.
Mount Forest, Clifford, Harriston, Palmerston, Arthur, Drayton,
Moorefield, Durham, Ayton, Holstein, Neustadt and all areas in between!

Give us a call for your new home build or renovation for a FREE quote!

Click to Call From Your Cell Phone 519-323-2000

Spring Specials for your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Cooling System

Is it time to update your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at your home or business? We have the right options for you! We provide sales and service, so if your system has any issues at anytime after we’ve installed it we will be available for you – whether its during the week, in the evening or on the weekend! We service what we sell and more.

Is your system simply in need of a cleaning and servicing? We can help with that too! For any systems which are still covered under the manufacturer warranty they recommend having your system serviced yearly to ensure the warranty is still valid. A clean and service can ensure the system is operating as it should, could possibly pick up on a potential wear and tear issue on the appliance and by having it cleaned to ensure its operating efficiently this will also save you on your energy bills!

Any questions contact Mike at our office to discuss the various options we have available!

Home Of The Week | August 20, 2015

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From small repairs to custom new build or renovation plumbing and heating system design and installation.

Whether you require HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) or Plumbing Mechanical work look no further than the Mechanical HVAC Contractors at JJ McLellan and Son to provide whole home comfort for all your Plumbing and Heating needs big or small, new or repairs!

Did you know we also service and clean Septic Systems!
A Royal Flush Is Better Than A Full House!

We Are The Home Comfort People We Service What We Sell As Well As All Other Makes & Models!

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.
septic-diagram2

A colour coded diagram of a home’s basic plumbing system.

home-plumbing-system

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

houseplumb1

For those of you connected to town water and sewer,
InflowandInfiltrationDiagram

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.

Greenway GWT_Products_Banner2

Contact Us Online | We Are Experiencing Phone Issues Today

Unfortunately our phone provider is experiencing wide spread issues today and our phone services are extremely intermittent!

If you are in need of our Plumbing or Heating Services please contact us online on Facebook or our website www.jjmclellan.ca.

We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that our provider has the issues resolved asap!

Areas We Service for Plumbing and Heating: 
Wellington County including Wellington North, Mapleton and Minto.
Grey County including Southgate and West Grey.
Mount Forest, Clifford, Harriston, Palmerston, Arthur, Drayton,
Moorefield, Durham, Ayton, Holstein

The Plumbing and Heating Services
offered at JJ McLellan and Son in
Mount Forest and the Surrounding Area