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Tips on Your Heating, Cooling & Plumbing Systems

Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. believes that a little preventive action can go a long way to stopping future problems before they happen. That's why we offer our clients in Nanaimo and beyond advice on how to catch and prevent problems from happening, which saves both time and money. Learn more below, or contact us today.


Helpful Tips

  • Air conditioning in Nanaimo British Columbia
    10/04/2017
    What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

    How do you find the right sized air conditioning system for you home and your family’s comfort? This is a question our commercial and residential customers in Nanaimo have been asking us at Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd for more than 45 years. Over the years, we’ve picked up a few hints and tips to help you control your air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repair cost.


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  • Covered air conditioning unit
    06/03/2017
    Reasons Not to Cover an Air Conditioner in Nanaimo

    For more than 45 years, Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. has been a family owned and operated business serving Nanaimo’s gas fitting, heating, air conditioning and plumbing needs. Our team of certified, licensed journeymen can offer a same day response to both commercial and residential customers at competitive rates. During that time we’ve been asked a lot of questions like, should I cover my air conditioning unit during the winter months? Fortunately, we’ve picked up a few hints and tips along the way that can help you, our neighbor, find the answers to your questions. 


    The short answer is predominantly no, with the occasional maybe, depending on the weather. Let me explain.

    The most important reason is that it is not really necessary. All outdoor heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is made to withstand harsh weather conditions and varying temperature extremes. It’s what they are made for and part of the reasoning behind their cost – all of the parts and materials used are designed to stand up to hot summers and harsh winters. You can also add the fact that no major manufacturer specifically recommends that you cover your air conditioner in the winter.

    There are a couple of other reasons that it is not desirable to cover your air conditioning unit, many of which might not be that obvious:
    • Rodents can infest covered air conditioners leading to secondary problems like chewed electrical wires and un-insulated Freon lines due to the rodents stripping them to make a nest.
    • Mold and mildew can grow inside your air conditioner in the winter, blocking proper airflow through your coils, which will also decrease your air conditioner’s efficiency.
    • Covering your A/C unit doesn’t prevent moisture from infiltrating your unit from humidity, condensation, and ground moisture. 

    While covering your air conditioning unit in winter is generally unnecessary, it may be necessary in some extreme weather conditions like hail or during a blizzard in order to keep excess snow from accumulating inside of your air conditioner. You may also want to take a few moments and do some occasional maintenance by removing the snow right around the outside of your unit after each snowfall - it will pay dividends in the long run.

    While covering your air conditioner in winter is unnecessary, regular maintenance is a necessity to keep your unit working properly for years to come. This is also a great time to book your spring maintenance to ensure your air conditioning unit is in working order before temperatures rise.

    If you want to save both energy and money while you cool your space, count on Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. in Nanaimo to deliver a product that does just that. At Norm's Mobile Service Ltd., we have the equipment and expertise to install, service, and repair air conditioning for residential and commercial clients in Nanaimo. Contact Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. at 250-753-3641 for a free phone consultation and to set up an appointment for air conditioning in Nanaimo today.
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  • Woman changing thermostat
    13/02/2017
    Tips to Save on Heating Bills this Winter in Nanaimo

    With our beautiful British Columbia buried in snow and the coldest months yet to come, many BC residents are beginning to ask how to save money on heating costs in our crazy economy. For more than 45 years, Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. has been a family owned and operated business serving Nanaimo’s gas fitting, heating, air conditioning and plumbing needs. During that time we’ve picked up a few hints and tips along the way that can help you, our neighbor, control your heating bill. 


    While numerous options exist, some are easy, some require a substantial investment. So whether you need one or two easy changes or a significant retrofit of your home, here are a few suggestions to get your savings started.

    The simplest and most direct way to save on heating costs is to wear a sweater and stay active. During the day, you can also keep blinds and curtains open on sun-facing windows to take advantage of its natural warming abilities.

    However, to begin to see financial savings start by turning down your thermostat one degree (and leaving it there) to notice a difference in your bills. You can save further using a space heater in the one area of the home where you are and turn the thermostat down for the rest of the house. If you turn your thermostat down during sleeping hours, an electric blanket can pre-warm your sheets and keep you warm till dream time.

    Next, do some maintenance around your home. Start by sealing drafts - find the drafts, and repair them by replacing weather stripping or using spray foam insulation. Annual furnace cleaning and instrument adjustments can make a real difference in your furnace efficiency – and annual operating cost - and a tune-up is the best way to catch small problems before they turn into big expensive ones.

    Once you’ve taken care of all the little steps to improve your home’s heating efficiency, it’s time to look at investing for the long term. Once you’ve done all your home maintenance, or even before you start, a home energy audit professional can search for every air leak and source of energy inefficiency using state-of-the-art technology that produces a detailed report of the steps you can take to maximize your household energy efficiency.

    Replace or upgrade are popular terms for this phase because it involves upgrading your attic insulation and replacing outdated and inefficient windows and doors to defend against heat loss. Finally, if your furnace is 10 years old or older, planned replacement is likely to be the way to achieve the biggest gains in your home heating energy efficiency.

    At Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. our team of certified, licensed journeymen can offer the same day response to both commercial and residential customers at competitive rates. As an eco-friendly company, we believe in doing our part to help you make a smaller impact on the environment - and save money. Take advantage of our FortisBC™ $800 rebate when you upgrade to a high-efficiency gas furnace. At Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. we are a bonded company that carries pollution liability insurance, and all our work is guaranteed. Contact Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. at 250-753-3641 today to get started with your free estimate on our services.

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  • Fixing water heater | Red wrench
    08/02/2017
    5 Possible Reasons Your Water Heater is Breaking Down

    Having hot water is easy to take for granted until your water heater breaks down and you're forced to wash dishes in cold water or, even worse, to take a cold shower in Nanaimo, BC. Hot water tanks, just like almost any home appliance, will eventually suffer from some sort of problem and begin malfunctioning.


    Here are 5 common reasons that the experienced plumbers at Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. often see for why water heaters in Nanaimo start breaking down:

    1) Rust
    Most tanks, because they are made of steel, will eventually rust. A tank that is starting to rust over will need to be replaced, as it will continue breaking down over time. If your water heater has been breaking down, then check for signs of rust around the inlet and outlet connections, the pressure relief valve, and the temperature valve.

    2) Leaks
    Rust and other forms of damage and deterioration can cause your water tank to spring a leak. Leaks are a strong indicator that it's time to replace your water heater, as they are not reparable. You'll be able to spot a leak by looking for any pooling water around the tank, or for signs of moisture around the welded joints and the side-wall seam.

    3) Age
    Even if your water heater is showing no obvious signs of damage and deterioration, it may be breaking down simply due to age. Water heaters in Nanaimo should be replaced at least every 10 years, though some may last for a shorter or longer amount of time depending on use and maintenance. The older your hot water tank gets, the more break downs you can expect.

    4) Thermostat Issues
    Sometimes your hot water tank may simply be breaking down due to issues with the thermostat. If this is the case, then you likely won't need to replace the whole thing. Try resetting the thermostat first. If this doesn't work, then call in a technician to take a look.

    5) Electrical Problems
    Another common and easily fixed reason why your hot water tank may be breaking down is that you've tripped a breaker. Check the fuse box. If your water heater's breaker is flipped, then flipping it back will likely return your hot water. Take care not to overload the circuit again.

    Quality Services for Water Heaters in Nanaimo

    Depending on the cause of the breakdown, your hot water tank may need to be either repaired or entirely replaced. A professional plumber will be able to tell you what the best course of action is.

    At Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. we provide repair, maintenance, and installation services for water heaters in Nanaimo. For 45 years we've been providing plumbing and HVAC services throughout the Nanaimo area. Our technicians have seen it all, and will have no trouble getting to the bottom of why your hot water tank is breaking down.

    Contact Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. and one of our licensed journeymen will soon be along to take a look at your hot water tank.

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  • Air Conditioning Unit
    06/02/2017
    Three Reasons to Call Air Conditioning Repair Professionals in Nanaimo

    Your air conditioning unit is an indispensable tool for keeping your Nanaimo home cool and comfortable on hot and humid days. If you begin to notice significant issues but fail to get them addressed by an experienced air conditioner technician, then your unit could break down and you may be in for some highly uncomfortable days.


    Air conditioning units in Nanaimo put in a lot of work throughout the year, so it's no wonder that they can begin experiencing issues over time. You should definitely be getting into contact with the Nanaimo air conditioning repair professionals at Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. if:

    1) Your House is Cooling Too Slowly
    If your house is cooling too slowly, or if your air conditioner never seems to cool your house completely, then you know that something is going on with the unit. Unfortunately, a symptom such as improper or incomplete cooling can have many different causes. It may be due to low refrigerant, a faulty compressor, a bad thermostat, broken fan motors, or several other problems. Only a trained Nanaimo air conditioner repair specialist will be able to accurately diagnose and fix whatever has gone awry, allowing your air conditioner to cool your home efficiently again.

    2) Your Last Monthly Energy Bill Was Surprisingly High
    Sometimes the only way to tell that your air conditioning unit is not running as efficiently as it once did is to keep an eye on your monthly energy bills. If you notice a sudden spike in energy usage and can't think of anything else that may account for it, then an improperly running air conditioner may be the culprit. For example, if your air conditioner is blocked with debris, dust, or other obstructions, then it may have to work several times harder and eat up more electricity in order to cool your home to the desired temperature.

    3) Your or Your Family Members Are Suffering from Allergies
    If you or your family members are suffering from allergies while indoors, then it could be because your air conditioner is blowing dust, pollen, and other allergens into the air of your home. One of the best ways to prevent this is to upgrade to an air filter which is specifically designed to keep allergens out. The air conditioner technicians at Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. can provide you with a hypoallergenic air filter that will help turn your home into a safe haven from allergies.

    Experienced Air Conditioning Repair Specialists in Nanaimo

    At Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. we are committed to putting your family's comfort and health first. We have been providing air conditioning installation and repair services in Nanaimo for the past 45 years, and have built up a reputation for having dependability, integrity, and fair pricing.

    If you are noticing any of the three signs above, then it's time to have your air conditioner checked out. Contact Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. today and we can help you get to the bottom of the problem as quickly as possible.

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  • Air Conditioning Service
    04/02/2017
    Most Common Air Conditioning Problems Encountered During Summer in Nanaimo

    A properly functioning air conditioning unit is a must-have for staying comfortable during summer in Nanaimo. Air conditioning units, however, are bound to run into problems from time to time. If you start encountering the issues below when trying to cool your home during the summer, then it's time to call Norm's Mobile Service Ltd.


    1) Inadequate cooling
    There are many reasons why your air conditioner may be running but not adequately cooling your home. Fixing the problem could be as simple as checking the thermostat or replacing the air filter. If, however, there doesn't appear to be a quick and easy fix to the issue, then a technician will have to take a closer look.

    2) Non-functioning external fan
    Your air conditioning unit's external fan has to put up with a lot more dirt and debris than the indoor fan, and so may be more prone to breaking. A broken external fan will cause poor air flow, and, if left unfixed, compressor failure.

    3) Faulty wiring
    Air conditioning units have numerous electrical components that rely on proper wiring. Wiring which was not well-installed in the first place or which has worn down over time can interfere with the functioning of the thermostat, the sensors, the condensers, and the compressors.

    4) Refrigerant leaks
    Running low on refrigerant because of a leak in the system will cause your air conditioner to function far less effectively. It will need to run longer in order to cool your home and, if it runs out of refrigerant completely, your unit will eventually start blowing warm air.

    5) Clogged drain line
    Air conditioners remove moisture from the air inside your home and then send that moisture outside through a drain line. If the drain becomes clogged, then the moisture stuck inside your unit can cause some serious damage.

    Fixing and Avoiding Nanaimo Summer Air Conditioning Problems
    Don't hesitate to call the air conditioning experts at Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. at 250-753-3641 if you run into any of the problems listed above. We'll tune what needs tuning and replace what needs replacing. Better yet, you can avoid most air conditioning problems by having Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. come by to perform regular maintenance checks on your unit.

    Stopping minor air conditioning issues before they turn into bigger problems will help keep you nice and cool all summer long.

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  • Smart House keyboard
    02/02/2017
    5 Advantages of Using a Heat Pump in a Mediterranean Climate

    The mild, Mediterranean climate of British Columbian cities such as Nanaimo makes it incredibly worthwhile for residents to install a heating and cooling system known as a heat pump. Heat pumps, which are recommended by the City of Nanaimo, use electricity in order to move heat from the outside to the inside for heating, or from the inside to the outside for cooling.


    The main drawback of heat pumps is that they don't work well in harsh, cold climates, because it simply takes too much energy to draw heat from the outside air when the temperature is below freezing. The mild climate of Nanaimo sees very few freezing days every year, meaning that residents can enjoy the following 5 advantages of using a heat pump in their homes:

    1) Heating and cooling in one system
    Because they can provide both heating and cooling, heat pumps remove the need for running and maintaining two separate systems, such as a furnace and an air conditioner.

    2) Lower heating costs
    According to the City of Nanaimo, heat pumps can reduce heating costs by an astounding 50% when properly installed. This is because heat pumps are much more energy-efficient than furnaces.

    3) Low maintenance costs
    Heat pumps tend to come with much lower maintenance costs than furnaces. They require less upkeep, don't break down often, and can last up to 50 years without having to be replaced.

    4) Increased safety
    Heating systems based on combustion always come with a risk of producing carbon monoxide should something go wrong. Heat pumps, because they don't utilize combustion at all, completely remove this risk.

    5) Increased property value
    The four points above all combine to make heat pumps a great way to boost your property value. A home that comes with lower heating costs and a heating/cooling system that is both safer and easier to maintain looks attractive to potential buyers.

    Heat Pump Installation, Servicing, and Maintenance in Nanaimo

    If you're sold on the idea of installing a heat pump for your Nanaimo home, then talk to the experts at Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. Our technicians have ample experience with heat pump installation, so get in touch with us today and we can get started on saving you money and making your home more comfortable.

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  • Bathroom Renovation
    01/02/2017
    6 Bathroom Renovation Must-Dos for Your Nanaimo Home

    A successful bathroom renovation can help one of the most important rooms in your house keep up with the growing needs of your family. If you're about to start on a bathroom renovation for your Nanaimo home and you want to make sure to do it right, then check out this handy list of 6 bathroom renovation must-dos from the HVAC and plumbing experts at Norm's Mobile Service Ltd.:


    1) Have floor-to-ceiling tile coverage
    It is important that the floor, the walls, and even the ceiling of your bathroom are all durable, easy to clean, and water-resistant. Tiles prevent the humidity created by baths and showers from seeping through these surfaces and causing water damage.

    2) Go with a straight-shaped shower bath
    There are many reasons why straight-shaped shower baths continue to be the most popular choice among homeowners. Not only do they save space by sitting flush to the wall, but their sleek and elegant design never goes out of style.

    3) Choose an elegant sink
    An elegant, pedestal sink is a great compliment to a straight-shaped shower bath. Even when enclosed in a deck to provide for more storage, pedestal sinks are still more appealing than a cabinet vanity.

    4) Pick a theme and stick to it
    It doesn't matter if you choose to go with a contemporary or a more traditional theme for your new bathroom, as long as you stick faithfully to your chosen style. A solid theme will help tie the whole space together and make it much more visually pleasing.

    5) Consider your lighting needs
    Most homeowners give little thought lighting in their bathrooms, even though bathrooms are where we do most of the work of making ourselves presentable. One single ceiling fixture will likely not be enough. Good lightning is a huge bathroom must-have, particularly over the mirror.

    6) Get plumbing work done professionally
    The single most important component of a bathroom renovation done right is professionally installed plumbing. The last thing you want after completing your project is to encounter a plumbing disaster the first time someone takes a shower or flushes the toilet.

    Norm's Mobile Service Ltd. is always ready to help Nanaimo residents with all of their plumbing and bathroom renovation needs. Contact us today and let us know what we can do to make your bathroom renovation dream a reality.

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Locate Your Hot Water Shut-Off


Knowing where your hot water shut off is located can save you money, time and effort if something goes wrong with your system down the line. Don't know how to find it? Give us a call and we'll do our best to advise you over the phone, free of charge!

Locate Your Gas Shut-Off Valve

This is another important shut-off, and knowing where it is before you have a problem will save you a lot of headaches. If you're having trouble locating it, just call us and we'll be glad to help you over the phone.

Save Money by Saving Water

It doesn't cost much to install low-flow toilets and showerheads, but this small measure can save you measure and also benefit your community.

Check Your Hot Water Heater

Did you know the average lifespan of a hot water heater is just ten years? Be sure to check the age of yours before it's too late. If you can't tell your hot water heater's age, give us a call and we'll help you over the phone free of charge!

Check Your Hot Water Thermostat

For every degree you lower your water heater thermostat, you can actually reducing your heating costs by 1 percent! Factory settings for hot water tanks is usually 140 degrees, but we recommend dropping that to 130, especially if you have children or the elderly in your home. Not sure how to do it? Give us a call and we'll help you by phone for free.

Quiet Those Noisy Pipes

Loud pipes keeping you awake at night? You may need to check your water pressure. If you're not sure how, just give us a call and we'll guide you over the phone free of charge.

Inspect Your Washing Machine Hoses

The hoses on your washing machine will wear out over the years, and a broken or burst hose can cause expensive water and flooding damage. Regular inspection can prevent this, and a reinforced washer hose can offer additional inexpensive insurance against these problems. Furthermore, we advise that water supplies to toilets and taps should use stainless braided supplies, and be updated if they currently do not. Older poly and copper supplies can leak or blow apart, resulting in huge floods.

Want to learn more? Check out our tips on the advantages of heat pumps, bathroom renovation and common air conditioning problems.

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