The Valve That Could Save You Thousands

Coming into your home is about 100 PSI of water. Without a valve placed on that line, there would be no stopping that pressure and volume of water should there be a leak. You might know where you valve is and how to operate it, but some people don’t. The purpose of this blog is to educate our customers and explain the risks of not knowing where it is, and also the benefits of knowing where it is.

Why you need to know where your main water shut off is?
  1. Emergency situations: In the case of a plumbing emergency, such as a water leak, knowing where that valve is could save you tons of money on your restoration bill. Just imagine water leaking in your home, and you scrambling around not knowing where to shut it off. Now your waiting for someone from the city or your plumber to come out and shut your water off from the street. Now you’re having to deal with huge water damage restoration, an insurance claim, and a big avoidable mess.

Another situation is you have a water leak, you go to your main water shut off; subside the issue until your plumber comes to fix it. The potentially huge water damage is minimized to a small drywall repair and a small plumbing bill.


2.  Easy for plumbing upgrades: If you have a plumber at your house, it’s a huge relief for us when we don’t have to go searching throughout your house to find your shut off.

So where is you’re valve and does it even work?

You’re main water valve usually located on the ground floor or in you’re basement, or near you’re hot water tank. It will also be beside your homes Pressure Reducing Valve, which reduces down the city pressure of up to 150psi down to about 70psi.

Even though you have a main water shut off, and you know where it is, doesn’t mean it works! We come into a lot of situations where these valves actually wear out and don’t work.

Types Of Valves
  1. Straight stop valve

This type of valve isn’t as common as valves replaced in residential homes today. This is the valve more commonly found in your home if it hasn’t been replaced yet. It’s harder to turn, and commonly fails after a long time.

2. Ball Valve

This valve is the most common valve that replaces straight stop valves. It is more effective, easier to use, and less likely to wear out and fail. The reason we use this valve for the main water sut off valve is because it wont stick and its so easy to turn off in the case of an emergency.


I hope you found this blog educating and valuable, as knowing where your main water shut off is can save you thousands of dollars. If you need help locating your main water shut off, or want a 1hr home evaluation on your plumbing and heating systems, give your local experts a call!

Norms plumbing and heating is a family owned and operated company. We have been operating in Nanaimo since 1971 and are Nanaimo’s largest residential plumbing and heating service crew.

Bath Reno’s and Why You Should Choose Norm’s

There have been lots of companies offering bathroom renovations in Nanaimo lately, and sometimes we have to shake our heads on the process on how they convert you into a new tub or shower. Just to clarify somethings, we have a lot of experience in bath and shower renovations and work closely with contractors, landlords, renters, and property managers; we know a thing or two when it comes to your Nanaimo bathroom renovation.

The Difference

There are some companies that won’t remove your existing tub, however, will place a new one over it, making it look pretty. While this is less messy, it’s also a good way to cause more issues. By doing that, they’re simply putting a band-aid over your tub and leaving old pipes, valves, drainage, and maybe even rotten boards underneath your tub.

As a professional in the trade, this is the correct way to reno your bathroom. Leaving your customer with an old problem causing pipes and drainage is not good practice.

The professionals at Norm’s Plumbing and Heating will completely remove your old tub. We will ensure the floor underneath is strong and not rotten, as well as no mold behind the walls. We’ll also install a new shower valve, shower head, and waste and overflow for your drainage. We guarantee our work; we often complete the job in a day, and work with you to ensure your happy and completely satisfied with the work –  without just covering up the problem.

If your interested in renovating your bathroom, or have any other plumbing, heating, or air conditioning projects, feel free to call us for a free quote.

Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

Contact Us Today!


All About Tankless Water Heaters

Have you heard about a tankless water heater? Wonder what it is or how it works? What are the benefits of a tankless water heater are?

Then this blog is for you!

Tankless water heaters, or on demand water heaters, are simply a home water heating appliance that doesn’t store your hot water, however, heats the water as it passes through it.

Tankless water heaters are very popular, and they should be. They have so many benefits and last twice as long as a conventional tank; more if maintained properly.

How does a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Work?
  • When the need for hot water arises by turning on a shower, washing machine, dishwasher or faucet, cold water flows into the Rinnai Tankless Water Heater from the inlet pipe at the bottom of the heater.
  • The flame is ignited and heats the two heat exchangers that are included in the Super High Efficiency models.
  • Water is preheated as it passes through a stainless steel heat exchanger, capturing any extra heat (or latent heat) before it escapes into the vent system.
  • Water continues to be heated as it passes through the heat exchanger, and exits from the hot water outlet pipe to travel through the pipes of the home to the water fixture where hot water is needed.
  • The tankless water heater will adjust flame output as needed to ensure the temperature set point is maintained.
  • As the hot water fixture shuts off, cold water stops flowing into the tankless water heater and the flame extinguishes. The tankless water heater is now off until the next time hot water is needed!
So what are these benefits of a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater
  1. Endless Hot Water

When demand is high, a traditional tank can leave you cold, or having to wait 1 hour before getting hot water again. The Rinnai Tankless Water Heater heats water as it passes through the pipes, allowing you to have endless hot water. Plus, Rinnai’s technology allows you to have no tank, no storage, no pilot light, but gives you ultra-efficient heating coils – you have the power to use up to 40% less energy than a traditional water heater!

       2. Save Valuable Space

Traditional tanks take up valuable space is closets, garages, attics, or basements. With the Rinnai Tankless Water Heater you get that space back. The Rinnai Tankless Water Heater is about the size of a suitcase and gets hung on the wall, conveniently, safely, and out of sight.

       3. Affordable, Efficient Savings

Trading up to a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater is an investment in your home and your comfort. Thankfully FortisBC is offering grants regarding installation of a Tankless Water Heater in replacement of a traditional tank. Plus Rinnai’s Tankless Water Heater is energy efficient and cuts CO2 emissions compared to a traditional tank. Since it only heats water when you need it, it saves you tons on your water heating cost, especially if your upgrading from electric.

      4. Total Confidence

You expect the best for your home, so it makes sense to trust the #1 selling gas tankless water heater brand in North America. With a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater you’ll enjoy the total confidence that comes with over 30 years of innovation, support, and integrity. Plus, when you choose Norms Plumbing and Heating, your choosing a Rinnai Ace Dealer, specialized to install and service your Rinnai Tankless Water Heater.


Why Rinnai Is The Leader In The Industry!
  • Fully Stainless steel Heat Exchanger = No Rust, Ever!
  • Self Developed Gas Valve Resulting In Not Needing A Buffer Tank; And Eliminates The Water Sandwich Effect
  • Each Unit Can Meet The Demand Of 1-24 Bathrooms
  • An Impressive 15 Year Warranty (Plus 5 More When We Install It)
  • Endless Product Innovation & Expertise

As always, Norm’s is a family owned and operated company that has been serving Nanaimo and area for over 45 years. We strive to lead the industry in expertise, product knowledge, and customer satisfaction.


Link to Rinnai’s Webiste

FortisBC rebates page






Tips to check your Homes Plumbing

We often get calls from customers sincerely curious about the proper function their homes plumbing systems. Most of the time the homeowner can do a general check of their system on their own. But what does this check look like? It’s as easy of looking as looking at pipes, but can involve a tiny bit of hands on too.

  1. Main Water Shut Off

One of the most important things to check in your home is the main water shut off. This is usually located in a basement, or near the hot water tank. Once located, shut it off and ensure it actually works. Once shut off, just turn on a tap and see if water continues to come out. If it works, great! Next step is to label it and make sure your whole family knows where it is. Knowing where your main water shut off is and ensuring it works can be the difference between a small leak and a flooded house.

If it doesn’t work, please call us to have it replaced immediately.

2. Hot Water Tank

Another part of your homes plumbing system that should be checked is your hot water tank. You should be checking for signs of leaking. The signs of a leaking tank are water underneath it or rusting drips coming out of the panels or seams. A leaking tank should be replaced sooner rather than later. It’s one of those things that if you don’t do it now, it’s only going to cause more damage left alone. Also, nobody likes to be left without hot water. For peace of mind, you should also check the age of your tank. Depending on the tank, they usually last 8-10 years. Most tanks come with a date embedded in a code on the rating plate. Most of the time you can google the brand on the model/serial number. If you aren’t able to decode it yourself, feel free to call us.

3. Drains

Checking drains is more of a preventative measure. It’s less of an emergency, but still, good practice to maintain your home. What you can do is visually inspect under your kitchen sink and also your bathroom sinks. If you notice water underneath then you should have us come and fix your drains. You can also check their function by plugging the drain, filling up your sink, tub, then pulling the plug and watching how fast/slow they drain.  A very slowly draining basin can indicate a plug downstream. You can keep a note of it or get your drains cleaned by us. We do not recommend using chemical cleaners as they can deteriorate your pipes.

4.  Valves

An important one to check every month or so are your valves. These include the valves on your supply lines leading to your sinks and toilet. They will most likely be small chrome valves, and what you’re checking for is simply water underneath them. These should be changed as quickly as possible since behind these valves are full pressure from your main valve – lets hope that’s working.

If you are unsure about any of the topics mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’re always happy to assist you over the phone, or if need be we can come to check your home’s plumbing for you. We hope you learned something new, and maybe we helped you prevent a future disaster.

Norm’s Plumbing and Heating is a family owned and operated company since 1971. We’re staffed with 9 journeyman Plumber/Gasfitters and can make it to your house the day of your call on most occasions.

You can email us Here, or find us on Facebook Here.

Basement Suite Heat?

With housing costs on the rise and no show of slowing down dramatically, more and more families are renting suites out. Converting old basements into functional liveable spaces are a great way to help pay for the mortgage. Some people specifically look for houses that already have those areas built just so they can rent them out. This blog is focused to help you-the homeowner- heat your suite efficiently, and economically, for you and the renter.

Natural gas- it’s affordable and effective. Natural gas might just be your headache reliever when it comes to heating your home and billing your renter. Have you ever had trouble calculating how much you’ve used VS how much your renter used? Or do you split it 50/50 even though there a chance they’ve used a lot more than you have?

We’ve found that the easiest and best way to heat your basement suite is through a secondary gas meter serving only the suite. The heating appliance you will want to use is a Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace. The combination of the Rinnai Wall furnace and a secondary isolated gas meter is the best way to save you money by not paying for the renters’ heat. This also benefits the renter because they are receiving consistent, comfortable heat from the industry leader Rinnai. It’s a win/win.

Not convinced natural gas is the way to go? The graph below shows the up to date price on natural gas compared to Electricity.

So what is a Rinnai Direct Wall Furnace?

  1. A small ductless furnace
  2. Wall furnaces are installed on an exterior wall with a 4″ vent to outside for air intake/exhaust
  3. It circulates heated air with the help of a circulating fan
  4. They can heat up to 2000 sq ft, depending on which model you select
  5.  They are super efficient

See the picture below for an image on one installed:

The experts at Norm’s are ACE Rinnai installers, meaning we have the proper training and education involved in installing their products. As a FortisBC trade ally member, we’re proud to announce that the Rinnai Wall furnace is also eligible for a $700 rebate!

Call us today for more information on Rinnai, FortisBC, or other plumbing and heating inquiries.

Find information on your own at

Norm’s Plumbing and Heating is a family owned and operated company. We have been serving Nanaimo for over 50 years and is 100% independent. We have the latest knowledge on innovative products, rebates, and installation methods. We’re the experts you can trust.

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Image result for fortis bc gas prices compared to electricity

Time to Power-Up your Heat Pump

Why You Have No Heat

During the cold months, your furnace is your best friend, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect it during the rest of the year. The purpose of this blog is for customers to better understand why their furnace isn’t working properly, or at all. Its also to educate homeowners and can also provide good information so you can understand what the technician is talking about when we come to fix your furnace.

Since oil is still prevalent on Vancouver Island, ill cover those furnaces. Since most homeowners are either on gas or switching to, when possible, ill cover that as well.

Gas Furnace

  1. Lack of maintenance: Just like a vehicle, maintenance is the pinnacle of a properly working furnace. “Maintenance” is a very broad topic though, so lets go into detail.
  • Air filer: Surprisingly enough, your furnace filters the air through the return air duct, making your homes air cleaner. But for it to do this properly the filter needs to be changed every 3 months. Since the filter is on the return air side, it is also important that the air coming back is at proper flow. If your furnace filter is clogged or dirty, your furnace is going to run improperly. Most of the time a no heat call or lack of heat is simply due to a clogged filter [Click for image of dirty vs clean filter]. Our technicians cannot stress enough – Replace your filter!
  • Thermostat: Just like replacing your air filters, another common issue that homeowners can fix is dead batteries in their thermostat. Upgrading your thermostat too can improve the operation of your gas furnace. New thermostats can be programmed to your lifestyle so your furnace can run more efficiently.
  • Hot Surface Ignitor: A hot surface ignitor is just what it sounds like. It’s a hot surface that ignites the gas flames during the initial start up of your gas furnace. The most common reason for a faulty hot surface ignitor is simply age. Another reason is because of the installer. When installing a hot surface ignitor, your fingers cant touch a certain part of it because of the oils on our fingers. Unfortunately these products aren’t life proof, and they do need replacing. With a faulty ignitor the gas is simply not being lit, resulting in no flame.

Essentially, a properly running furnace is because it has a service done annually. Obviously they are more complicated then what is above, but I’ve outlined the most common issues and the issues you can even manage yourself.


Oil Furnace

  1. Lack of Maintenance: That’s right, just like gas furnaces, oil furnaces need annual maintenance.
  • Air Filter: Who saw this one coming? I think you get the gist of it. Proper air flow results in proper furnace operation.
  • Oil Pump: During operation, oil flows from the tank to the pump to which the pump pumps the oil into the furnace. If it’s not pumping enough oil then it wont spray enough oil into the blast tube. These are a common replacement part, which we stock for your convenience.
  • Transformer: A transformer on an oil furnace uses electric voltage to ignite oil spray. When a transformer fails its not producing enough voltage to ignite the oil spray, resulting in no heat. We also stock these.
  • Nozzle: The nozzle on an oil furnace sprays the oil in a certain angle [to match the burner requirement] into the blast tube. As much as we want our oil to be perfectly clean, it isn’t. As the oil passes through the nozzle, particles also pass through causing it to clog up. This is the most common issue we find with no heat oil furnace calls.
  • Oil filter: Because your oil tank and the oil you receive is never perfect, it is imperative that your oil filter gets changed every 3 months along with your air filter. You would be surprised how dirty your filter can get.
  • No oil: It is surprising how many no heat calls we get just for us to show up to the house simply having no oil. Please double check you have oil before calling us out to fix your furnace, it will save you money.

Of course, other parts of your oil furnace can fail, but these are the most common reasons why your oil furnace isn’t working.


The moral of the story is this: An annual furnace service will save you time, money, hassle, and cold winter nights. We recommend you service your furnace at least once a year, preferably in September so you beat the cold. Here at Norms plumbing and Heating, we have 4+ gas specialists and 2+ oil specialists ready to serve you. If you are experiencing no heat, dot hesitate to call us. We make no heat call a priority, because comfort and warmth is essential for our client satisfaction.


Low Water Pressure?

We had a call recently from a customer with concerns over low water pressure. Normally a leak could be at fault, or even clogged pipes restricting the flow. We did a quick inspection of the homes water pipes, faucets, and the outdoor meter. Quickly our Journeyman discovered a cause much more serious cause then an old faucet with faulty interior parts.

So what did we find? A 1/2” watermain…

So why is that bad? Normally a watermain coming from the street is 3/4” to allow the water to have proper volume/flow. Since this main pipe was undersized the house wasn’t getting the amount of water it was demanding, thus, low pressure. Not only that, but the “plumber” who piped the house continued with 1/2′‘ throughout the whole house. It’s a plumbing disaster.

This is a classic scenario of an unlicensed person plumbing a house for their friend, or even themselves, with no understanding of water movement or demand. To replace their whole water system they’re probably going to spend at least a few thousand dollars to get it done properly.

Fortunately for you, Nanaimo’s best residential plumbers, Norm’s plumbing and heating, has 10 Journeyman plumbers ready to serve. Were a family owned and operated company that’s been serving Nanaimo for over 45 years. Watermains and re-pipes are no issue for our specialists. Don’t let water flow or pressure issues disrupt your comfort, call us today for a home evaluation.

BC’s Climate Action Plan

As a small business in Nanaimo, we might not be thinking about BC’s long term goals or political/economical legislature. However, to be successful and forward thinking, we must consider the economic changes throughout BC and even the world. We saw this change directly when the US put extra tariffs on Canadian steel. This tariff didn’t just affect the 30,000 people who rely on the steel industry in Hamilton Ontario, as per  This tariff also caused the manufactures of hot water tanks to increase their cost to our wholesalers, who in turn charged us more for buying the tanks. This was shown in an increased cost for you, the consumer.

In this blog, I’ll be outlying the potential benefits of BC’s new climate action plan, and what it means for us at Norms and other local businesses.

BC’s premier John Horgan outlines the main goal of the new plan in the following statement:

“The low-carbon economy we build together will bring opportunities and jobs throughout the province[.] By moving to clean, renewable energy — like our abundant supply of BC electricity — we can power our growing economy and make life better and more affordable for British Columbians.”

Within this plan are several defined goals in which Horgan would like BC to accomplish. These goals are as followed:

  • “The requirement that every new car sold in BC will be a zero-emission vehicle by 2040.
  • Speeding up the switch to cleaner fuels at the gas pump – with further reductions to the carbon intensity of transportation fuels: 4.0 Mt of carbon pollution reduced by 2030
  • Every new building constructed in the province will be “net-zero energy ready” by 2032.
  • Helping BC to reduce residential and industrial organic waste, turning it into a clean resource: 0.7 Mt of carbon pollution reduced by 2030
  • Helping industry lower its emissions and reduce its pollution: 8.4 Mt of carbon pollution reduced by 2030.” (John Horgan, 2018)

To assist with the implementation of this strategy, BC needs labour. Not just any labour though, we need skilled labour. By encouraging skilled labour training and an abundant of workplace opportunities for this skilled labour, John Horgan’s plan is to increase our economical strength.

So what does all this mean for a plumbing and heating company in Nanaimo. First, it shows speculation as to where the home services industry is going. In the past ten years we witnessed a change in efficient products. Now, every furnace sold is a high efficient furnace. Consumers are demanding more efficiency and energy saving products, and their willing to pay for it. If a company didn’t invest in training and hiring good employees, they didn’t last or barely made it.

Our speculation is that solar panels will be on every home. In the Netherlands, solar panels cover the homes and supply electricity for home heating and water heating to supplement the natural gas. Could BC be following what the Netherlands is doing? If so, I suggest consumers start saving for it now and prepare your home for changes that will arise.

So will you see Norms’ employees at solar panel training sessions? You just might! You might also see us driving electric service vans too in 10 years. These changes in my opinion are forward thinking and greatly beneficial for everyone. More jobs, less waste, stronger workforce, and a province who will be imitating the Netherlands, who is a leader in energy savings and a powerful workforce.

Plumbing and HVAC companies around the province may opt in to hiring the skilled workforce to install these solar panels, or they may choose to stay out of the game and not invest in the extra labour. Either way, forecasting the potential benefits is worth your while, because change is in our horizon.






Product Feature: Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace


In today’s post, I’ll be featuring one of our most loved products to install into homes, Rinnai’s Direct Vent Wall Furnace. Although it’s not a well-known product among homeowners, it has every reason to be. Its innovation on energy saving technology surpasses its competitors, giving you the savings you need. Its the option everyone should know about, and that’s what this post is for.


The Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace is at the top of the list for an efficient, effective, and reliable source of heat in a home without ducts. The Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace is fueled by natural gas and only requires 120volt plug to power the display, costing you little energy consumption. It also modulates the usage of gas, optimizing energy efficiency. By using unique modulating technology, it produces the specific level of heat needed at any given moment, responding to the smallest temperature changes. Meaning the output of gas is exact at any given moment.


The Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace provides your home with not only efficient solutions but also consistent warm heat. The Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace constantly monitors room temperature, and consistently detects temperature changes of less than 1′ F. Also it adjusts to increase or decrease fan speed and BTU output to reach desired preset temperature, meaning you always get the heat you want. But in case of a sudden influx of cold air, the Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace automatically adjusts fan speed and BTU to quickly restore warmth to the room. Plus, since it requires no ducting, heat loss is minimized.

The perfect solution

The Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace isn’t right for every home though. If your home has ducts and you already have a gas furnace, maybe simply replacing your gas furnace to an efficient model is what you need. But if your home is heated by electric baseboards or an electric fireplace and you have gas available, this is the product for you. I can’t stress enough the innovation and superiority of The Rinnai Direct Vent Wall Furnace.

Why Rinnai?

“For nearly 100 years, Rinnai has been fiercely
committed to delivering nothing less than our absolute
best. With headquarters in Japan and a network of
20 subsidiaries and 86 sales offices in 13 countries, this
commitment has made us one of the world’s largest
gas appliance manufacturers, specializing in highefficiency
home heating solutions. Our value-added
products continue to stay in step with the demands
of our changing world.”

Don’t just let me tell you about it, listen to our customers:

“Norm’s Mobile Service came by and recommended a Rinnai gas wall furnace for my home instead of a traditional gas furnace with ductwork. I have no basement and the ductwork would have been monumental. The wall furnace was installed in less than 5 hours. I only have glowing remarks for Norm’s, their workmanship, quality, and knowledge is among the best. They are professional, clean and reliable and I am one happy WARM customer. Thank you very much!”

To Finish off this post, I want to let you know how to get more information on this product. Of course, there is Rinnai’s site. You can also find information on our website. If you would like to see the product and talk to our knowledgeable staff, find us at the Nanaimo Home Expo from September 28-30. We will also have a model on display.


“Large Enough to Serve you, Small Enough to Care”