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. 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 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 cant 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.” -Rinnia.ca

Dont 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 duct work. I have no basement and the duct work 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 at 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”

Are You Prepared for Winter?

There may be a sky full of smoke from BC’s burning forests, but believe it or not winter is just around the corner. I remember last year we were in the same scenario. However, around the 3rd week of September guess what we got? Yup, rain! Soon after rain we got our normal chilly west coast winds. So the question is this: “When do I prepare my heating for winter?” The answer is as soon as possible. We all complain about the weather. In the winter its too cold and we want summer. In the summer its too hot and we want winter, which is fine. But if you’re not proactive, don’t complain. If you get your homes heating appliances serviced now, at least you’ll be ready for winter. There may be some money in it too from FortisBC!

So what does preparation look like? The least you can do is service your heating appliances. Whether that be an oil furnace, gas furnace, or gas fireplace, they all need some care. Just like your vehicle, your heating appliances need some attention on an annual, or even semi-annual basis. Let’s start with what each appliances service looks like:

Gas Furnace

When our tradesman comes to service your gas furnace they will check several things.

  1. They will check the ignition to ensure its proper function
  2. The operation of the safety limit controls
  3. Thermostat
  4. Blower
  5. Pressure switches
  6. Checking the air filter
  7. Gas leak test
  8. And general operation

Oil Furnace

Even though oil furnaces are becoming less and less common, if you have one, don’t worry because we at Norm’s have long lasting knowledge in servicing them. Our service will include the following:

  1. Nozzle replacement
  2. Oil filter replacement
  3. Oil level check
  4. Air filter check
  5. Clean out soot around your burner
  6. Check the fan belt
  7. Oil leak test
  8. General operation

Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces also need a servicing each year to ensure proper function. Sometimes they get ignored because they’re not usually a main source of heat, but they shouldn’t be ignored. Our service includes the following:

  1. Burner inspection
  2. Gas valve inspection
  3. Ignition system inspection
  4. Venting inspection
  5. Gas leak test
  6. Interior glass cleaning

Even though you can see how in depth a service is, you may still ask “so what”? I’ll tell you what. Servicing your heating appliances provides many benefits, such as:

  1. Safety: Even though natural gas is used safely every day, it still poses some danger. Regular servicing ensures the safety of your products.
  2. Efficiency: Over use, the operational efficiency of your product will decrease. But maintenance will keep the operation at top performance, costing you less money each month on your heating bill.
  3. Longevity: When you have a licensed technician service your product, they don’t just look at it, but they identify troublesome parts that can hinder the longevity of your appliance. Replacing them will decrease chance of breakdown, especially during the cold season.
  4. Air quality: During servicing, your technician should inform you about potential risks of your air quality and should present options on different air filters to prevent those risks.
  5. Warranty: most manufacturers require regular maintenance to ensure your warranty remains valid.

Want money back? Listen up!

FortisBC is offering grants if you get your furnace or fireplace serviced. This also extends to your boiler.

Find out if you’re eligible HERE.


Find a licensed gas contractor or oil service company that you can trust. You can trust Norm’s Plumbing and Heating. We carefully evaluate your homes heating products and only service what needs to be, no extra unnecessary costs. We’ve been serving Nanaimo for over 45 years and have built a reputation for an honest, trustworthy, knowledgeable company.  Contact us today to book an appointment for your heating appliances, and kick winter in the butt.

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

Thinking about buying from a box store? Think again!


If you have ever strolled through a big box store and saw products such as hot water tanks, toilets, or faucets and thought about buying from them instead of your local contractor, you may be saving a few dollars, but is it worth it? The purpose of this blog is to show the behind the scenes effects from choosing box store instead of contractor.

To start off I wanted to lay out a few issues that commonly occur when you buy from a box store.

  1. Most of the time you’re buying a product of lower quality. Big box stores buy mass amounts of product at one time and they tend to buy the lower quality products to boost their margins. As they should, they are a business, but that doesn’t mean consumers should suffer. A common example we run into is hot water tanks. Big box stores will supply the same brand of tanks that we supply and install, but the models are different. From the outside they look similar, but the working parts inside are different, and to an untrained eye, how are they to know? When you call Norm’s to get a new hot water tank, we go to our local specialty wholesaler to get a quality made tank.
  2. Another issue commonly overlooked is warranty. This goes hand in hand with the quality of the tank. If your tank happens to fail when you buy from Norm’s, we will take care of everything, no hassles and no worries for the customer. But let’s say you bought from the big box store, it’s usually up to you to call some 1-800 number to hopefully reach a person to help you with your warranty. So is it really worth it? Plus, who knows when you will get the tank replaced. With Norm’s and other local companies, we will be there today.
  3. The big one I want to stress is the importance of buying local. We all know buying local has been a big trend in the past 5 years or so, as it should be! So why is buying local important anyways? I found a great article explaining the ripple effects of buying local and how it benefits everyone in the community. I urge to you visit the link and at least read the head lines. It really opens up you mind and makes you think “is saving a hundred dollar at the big box store really worth it”?

Norm’s plumbing and heating is as about local as you get. We’re a third generation family company who invests into our local community every day, and supports our community as well. Instead of paying for corporate pleasures, your helping us help Nanaimo’s prosperity. With over 45 years of community investment and support, we believe local spending is integral to Nanaimo’s growth.

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

Choosing the Right Gas Furnace Installer

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.