Frequently Asked Questions of RAY JOHNSON Plumbing, Heating, Gas, & HVAC.

Here are some interesting facts and frequently asked questions we’ve received at RAY JOHNSON Plumbing, Heating, Gas, & HVAC.


Do I really need the skills of a plumber to come to my home to fix a leaky faucet or clear a clogged drain?

You may not know everything that a plumber does. A plumber is a highly skilled craftsman who installs and repairs pipes and plumbing fixtures, diagnoses clogged drain problems and solves all problems related to water and drainage systems in your home. What sets RAY JOHNSON Plumbing, Heating, Gas, & HVAC apart from the others is our dedication to continued training, education and the development of the latest plumbing techniques and tools to do better work for our friends and clients.

Why does my drain get clogged?

Usually drains are clogged because people are not careful of what they put in them, especially in the kitchen. Other drains, like in the bathroom, get clogged because of the hair, oil residue from soaps and shampoos. The best way to fix a blocked drain is to call Ray Johnson Plumbing, Heating, Gas & HVAC.

What happens when roots get inside sewer lines?

Root intrusion in sewer pipes, if left unchecked, will eventually result in slow or clogged drains. Once they penetrate, they continue to grow and can completely fill the pipe with tangled root masses. These masses trap toilet tissue and other debris flowing to the main sewer. Most unpleasant of the consequences is when the roots completely block the sewer line causing the sewage to back up into the house.

How can I be sure my sewer lines are in good condition and properly maintained?

You can start by calling Ray Johnson Plumbing, Heating, Gas & HVAC. We can perform a video inspection of your sewer line to observe potential problems such as root infestation, grease buildup, or failing pipe. If there is a blockage we can use power rodding equipment to remove obstructions and roots from sewer & drain lines.

What should I avoid flushing down the toilet to prevent stoppage?

Technically you shouldn’t flush anything down the toilet, other than human waste and toilet paper.

  • No baby wipes, napkins, facial tissue, or paper towels – these are not meant to be flushed. They will all flush for a while, however will not dissolve in water like toilet paper does and will cause a clog much faster.
  • Don’t flush any sanitary items or diapers (place a trash can next to your toilet for that).
  • No cotton swabs, cotton balls, or dental floss.
  • No hair out of your hairbrush.
  • No large food scraps or cooking grease.
  • No toys (building blocks, cars, dolls, bouncy balls etc.) they definitely don’t flush very well!
  • No cell phones.



Why does Health Canada and the Canada Safety Council and the BC Safety Authority all recommend that you have your chimney, furnace and gas-fired appliances checked by professional technicians every year?

People need to be extremely vigilant to prevent deadly exposure to the serious hazards of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of fatal poisonings in Canada. In BC an average of more than 12 residents lose their life each year due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Exposure to high concentrations can cause death in just a few minutes. Carbon monoxide gas is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels. It can be released by gas furnaces, hot water heaters, cars, fireplaces, wood stoves and kerosene heaters. Faulty burners or clogged chimneys are often part of the problem. To avoid the production of carbon monoxide, you should have your chimney, furnace and gas-fired appliances checked by professional technicians every year.

Are there any safety rules to follow to ensure that carbon monoxide is eliminated at the source?

Yes, there are several you should know and follow:

  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow.
  • Never heat your home with a gas stove.
  • Never use a barbeque, charcoal or hibachi grill in the home or in an enclosed area.
  • Never run a gas powered vehicle, generator, lawnmower, trimmer, snow blower etc. inside your garage or home.
  • Keep the doors between your house and the garage closed.
  • Don’t let people smoke indoors.

OK, I get the annual servicing, and I take care of all of the above things, so what else should I do to protect my family?

Get a carbon monoxide detector! Purchase a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved carbon monoxide detector and place it where you can hear the alarm.

In between the annual servicing, are there any visible signs that there are problems with my natural gas fireplace and carbon monoxide may be coming into my living area?

Yes, if the flames are yellow, that means that the fireplace is not operating as designed and is depleted of oxygen and therefore is producing carbon monoxide. Also, if there is discolouration or soot on the walls near the fireplace, that also means that there is incomplete burning and carbon monoxide is being produced into the living area.

What is involved in servicing a gas appliance such as a fireplace?

At Ray Johnson Plumbing, Heating, Gas & HVAC, we use a checklist which includes but is not limited to:

  • Cleaning the glass, fan, logs, burners, pilot orifice and the main burner orifice.
  • Ensuring there is a proper seal of the glass so that there is no leakage into the room.
  • Ensuring that the flue is properly connected to the fireplace.
  • Ensuring that the vents are not blocked
  • Ensuring that the gas is at the right pressure at the static inlet, the operating inlet and the manifold.
  • Testing for gas leaks.

Source: Health Canada, Canada Safety Council, BC Safety Authority



Smell gas?

Remember these simple steps.

  • Smell rotten eggs? Or if you hear the sound of escaping gas, it could be natural gas. Stop what you’re doing. Do not use your cellphone or landline, don’t smoke, light matches or operate electrical switches or create any other source of ignition.
  • Go outside. As you exit, leave the door open behind you as well as any windows that may already be open.
  • Call For Help. Once outside, use your cell or smartphone to call FortisBC’s 24-hour Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911 or 911.

What does natural gas smell like?

Natural gas and piped propane smell like rotten eggs or sulphur. Natural gas is actually odourless, but Fortis BC adds trace amounts of a chemical called mercaptan, which has a distinctive rotten egg or sulphur-like odour. It smells bad for a good reason! In case of a leak, you will to be able to detect and identify it.

Is there something I should do for my gas appliances?

Regular inspection, cleaning and maintenance ensures your safety and helps keep your gas appliances operating at their best. When you are ready for inspection or servicing, be sure to call Ray Johnson Plumbing, Heating, Gas & HVAC. Safety checklist:

  • Make sure the areas around gas appliances and vent pipes are kept clear of combustible materials like laundry, paper, paints, solvents and propane cylinders.
  •  Do not store lawnmowers, motorcycles and other gasoline-powered equipment or vehicles indoors or near gas appliances.
  • Remember that gas appliances have open flames and can be a source of ignition. Do not use combustible products such as solvents and glues in the area.
  • Make sure there is an adequate supply of air to gas appliances. Do not block off the duct bringing in outside air.
  • Know where to find the shut-off valve for each appliance and how to use it. The gas is “off” when the valve handle is at a right angle to the gas pipe.

Inspect buried piping for leaks or corrosion periodically and repair if necessary. Ray Johnson Plumbing, Heating, Gas & HVAC can locate, inspect, and repair your buried gas piping.

Did you know that indoor air can be three or four times more polluted than the air you breathe outside?

Poor indoor air quality can result in asthma, allergies, stuffy nose, headaches and fatigue caused by things such as dust mites, hair, mould and gasses from building materials, furnishings and cleaning products. Air quality is also affected by other factors, such as: pets, cooking odours, tobacco smoke, perfumes, air cleaners/scents and more. Often, a furnace benefits the household by being a resource fo fresh air. As the air is being pulled through the air duct for heating, it is filtered. Indoor air quality is a growing concern in homes and businesses. Be sure to have your filters changed on a regular basis! Learn more about the indoor air quality of your home at Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Canada’s Centre for National Occupational Health & Safety Resource (CCOHS).

Source: Fortis BC



How can I reduce the allergens in my home?

Allergens and other types of airborne contaminants are associated with the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in your home. To improve the IAQ in your home, it is important to have your ducts cleaned and filters regularly replaced. We also suggest Air Cleaners and Humidifiers.

If my system is over 15 years old should it be replaced?

Replacing a system that 15 years or older will not only work better, but also it will save as much as 55% on electric bills.

How do I know when its time for service?

Routine maintenance is important for protecting your investment and keeping your system running efficiently. However, just like cars, there are some tell tale signs that service is imperative. If your system is:

  • Leaking
  • Producing unseasonable air
  • Making rattling or banging sounds
  • Thermostat is reading incorrectly
  • System is turning on and off

Then it is time to take action before any more problems start and you’re stuck with an emergency situation.

What should I know about A/C efficiency ratings?

The Energy Efficient Ratio (EER) or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is typically listed on the Energy Guide Label on all new Air Conditioning units. What you need to know is that the higher the ratios the more money you save! Units with higher SEER or EER ratios do typically cost more money but they wind up being the best bang for your buck!

How are multi-zone ductless systems different than central air systems?

With a multi-zone ductless system, a thermostat can control the amount of cold air entering the room or it can be regulated by an infrared remote control, like a television remote control. One room or one area of a building can maintain a different temperature from another room or area in the same building. With a central air-conditioning system, refrigerant is pumped from the outdoor condenser coil to a single indoor coil from which cooled air is distributed to each room through a system of ducts. With this system, the amount of cold air in one room cannot be regulated without changing the temperature of every room in the building.

What is an electric heat pump?

During the summer, Electric Heat Pumps extract heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In the shoulder months, when your furnace is not normally on, the electric heat pump takes heat from outside and moves it inside.


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We look forward to hearing from you and servicing all your plumbing, heating, gas, and HVAC maintenance, issues, and emergencies. You can call us at 604-988-4121, or send a fax to 604-988-4110. You can also use our contact form. But if using Social Media portals is more your style, you can “link”, “follow”, “like”, etc., and we will get back to you.