Plumbing Details

There are many plumbers in Nanaimo that can install a water heater, but do they do it correctly, and safely? This Blog will talk about water heater safety and common mistakes.

Yesterday I went to replace a standard water heater. When I was cutting it out, I noticed that the Temperature and Pressure relief valve (T&P) was jammed up against a 2×4. To the untrained, not a big deal. but in reality, it’s a huge deal.

The T&P is a safety device responsible for relieving excess pressure (Over 150psi). It’s also discharges steam/water when the temperature reaches over 210 degrees. The basic reasoning for this is to keep the tank within a safe limit. Without this device, your tank a could implode or explode, causing great damage. When I installed the new tank I made sure to install it so the T&P valve could open easily if needed.

Another thing I noticed was that the previous installer had the tank spun around so the drain at the bottom was near the back where it was not accessible. To the homeowner, it’s no big issue. But to the next installer, your setting them up for a challenge. I couldn’t get a hose on it to be able to drain the tank, luckily the piping was PEX, o i was able to spin it around. These little details might not mean much on their own, but together they separate the pros from the beginners.

Along with making sure the drain valve is accessible, is making sure the electrical elements or gas valve is accessible. Sometimes these parts fail and only they need to be replaced. If they’re easy to access, then the serviceman doesn’t have to drain the whole tank and spin it around to service the tank, which saves time and money for the homeowner.

These small details come with experience, and Norms plumbing and heating has that experience. We have been operating for 50 years right here in Nanaimo, and you don’t get there without the small details. If you ever need a new water heater, you can count on us. And remember, every water heater we install we donate directly to the Nanaimo Ladysmith School Foundation, which provides lunches for children in need.

To read more about our Tanks for lunch program, visit:

Home Plumbing and HVAC Inspection

The real estate marketing is still strong, and with interest rates dropping down to 1.99%, houses are going to be selling fast this summer. A house is an investment, you’re putting your hard earned money into a home for you and your family; the worst thing to happen is you find out your home is a money pit. We always recommend a home plumbing and hvac inspection done by a certified plumber & gas-fitter to ensure its proper functionality.

Plumbing Inspection

There are a few things that a general home inspector might not pick up on when they do their building inspection. Your hot water tank is the first thing we would look at. We want to know the date of it, the condition, and whether or not upgrading to a high efficiency tank is best for your situation.  It could be possible your tank is in fact leaking or very close to it.

Next we want to look at the type of pipe your plumbing has. Poly-B piping is the worst to have as it is very common for leaking. It is also difficult or expensive to get insurance if your home has this type of piping. If your home does have Poly-B, we can give you a rough estimate to change it out for new piping.

Your main water shut off valve is very important, not only to know where it is, but to know if it works. If you have an emergency leak in your house, knowing where that valve is and being able to turn in off can save you thousands of dollars in potential restoration costs.

HVAC Inspection

Having your homes’ HVAC system inspected is a quick process that if ignored, can leave you cold and stuck with a non working heat source. When we conduct an inspection on your hvac system, we will check what heat source you have. You may have an oil furnace, electric furnace, gas furnace, heat pump, or electric baseboards.

No matter what source of heat you have, we need to make sure it’s in good working order, and that it isn’t ready to break. Furnaces have many working parts and processes. If a furnace has been neglected or is very old, it’s not only more likely to have issues, but its not going to be an efficient heat source compared to modern furnaces.

Electric baseboards & furnaces are something to note as well. Electric baseboards are a very inefficient way to heat your home, especially if your home has natural gas available. Even if it doesn’t, there are other products to heat and cool your home, such as a ductless heat pump. If natural gas is available to your home, we can evaluate whether or not upgrading is right for you and your family.

natural gas nanaimo

If you have a Heat pump in your potential home, we can have our licensed HVAC technician inspect it to again ensure it is working properly and efficiently. Or, we could look at potentially adding an Air conditioner to your home for efficient cooling in the summer.



After reading this article, we hope you now consider having Norms Plumbing and Heating do a home plumbing and hvac inspection on your potential new home. Hopefully you learned more about what to look for when viewing a home, and know which questions to ask your real estate agent, too.

Nanaimo top plumber



Ductless Heat Pumps in Nanaimo

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

Are You Prepared for Winter?

There may be a sky full of smoke from the states’ 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”