Expansion Tanks, what are they, and do I need one?

When replacing your water heater, it is recommended that if your current water heater does not have an “expansion tank”, you add one to the new water heater installation. You may find yourself wondering, “What is an expansion tank?” and “Why do I need one now when I never required one before?”.

What is an expansion tank?

An expansion tank is a small tank that is installed on the cold water line into your hot water tank. It is designed to alleviate excessive pressure that is built up when the water in the tank is heated, causing it to expand.

Why do I need one now when I never required one before?

In recent years, the plumbing code has changed, requiring a “backflow preventer” to be installed in the cold-water line going into your house. This prevents water from feeding back into the main water supply. Before the days of backflow preventers any expansion caused by the water in the tank being heated would simply flow outwards toward the water supply. Over-pressurization never became an issue due to this. Now that the supply lines are mostly equipped with backflow preventers, when the water expands it causes high pressure situations due to the system essentially being a “closed system”. High pressure systems can cause problems without an expansion tank including water being discharged from the tank’s relief valve, and early failure of the water heaters tank body due to cracks in the glass liner. Most municipalities plumbing codes are now requiring expansion tanks on water heater installations due to this reason.

As you can see, not only is it a code requirement, it is also a good idea to add an expansion tank to your water heater installation. It will protect your family from a potentially dangerous situation, having hot water discharge from the relief valve, as well as protect you from having to prematurely change your water heater due to a leak. If you have a situation where there is not room for an additional tank in your mechanical room, we have alternative solutions, such as an expansion valve, which takes up much less space.

Heat Up BC

Gandy Installations is working with Lennox on a Project called Heat Up BC. We are the first Dealer in BC to participate! Here is some general information about the project so everyone is aware.

We are looking for nominations of someone you know who needs a helping hand.

On Saturday October 7, Dealers across Canada and the sates will be installing donated furnaces from Lennox to the selected nominee. Lennox donates the furnaces, Gandy will donate the installation materials and a few of our Installers have already signed up to donate their time.

The Nomination deadline is Tuesday September 5th

For more details and to nominate a family in need, go to http://heatupbritishcolumbia.ca

Low Bidder

The Low Bidder By Jim Olsztynski

Although this tongue in cheek piece was not written by us, it rings true to so many contractors doing business in the Lower Mainland. So many people focus on trying to be the lowest price out there. Rest assured that this is not what we do! Gandy Installations focuses on finding the highest quality equipment and materials, as well as doing the absolute best job that we can. Sometimes this comes with a bit of a higher price, but it’s like the old cliché says “You get what you pay for” and “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of a low price has faded from memory”. We will not cut corners, or use inferior products or materials. We want your equipment to last you as long as possible, and provide you the most superior home comfort that can be offered! We’ll leave the low bidding to the competition!

Enjoy the article: 

Dear Potential Customer,

You don’t know me but you’ll love doing business with me, because I’m always the low bidder. No matter what price anyone else quotes you, I guarantee I can do the work cheaper.

What’s my secret? Simple. I keep overhead down. Other companies inflate their costs by paying high wages for top-notch workers. They’re too stuck up to hire the people so desperate for work that they will take any job offered them. Not me. Just like you look for the low bidder, I search for help that will work for as little as possible. And then I’m a merciless boss. Think of me as a throwback to the good old days when workers were expected to put in a week’s work for a day’s pay. If they don’t like it, they can go back to ripping out asbestos or whatever it was they used to do before I came along.

Nor do I pamper my workers with costly benefits like health insurance, paid holidays and so forth. Most of my help doesn’t stick around long enough to collect on any benefits anyway. The money I save goes into your pocket when you hire me because I’m the low bidder.

Another reason I’m the low bidder is because I don’t overpay for high-grade equipment when I know I can get stuff a lot cheaper that will work okay for a pretty long time. Do you realize that a lot of tools and equipment they use might actually outlive the plumbing contractor? What’s the point in that? When you really think about it, your best value comes from stuff that will collapse shortly after the owner does.

The same holds true for office machines, vehicles and all the other expensive things it takes to be in business nowadays. Fortunately for you, I save money by not splurging on the best. Also, I don’t buy anything until it’s absolutely necessary. Everything in my gar… uh, shop, dates back to the ’70s and ’80s when things didn’t cost nearly as much as they do now. I believe in using things until they fall apart. My trucks have the baldest tires in town. I make do with dull bits and rusty wrenches. Maybe this means my people have to use a little more elbow grease, but that’s their problem. It saves you money.

Another big cost saving is insurance. You wouldn’t believe what they charge for premiums nowadays. Yet on the vast majority of jobs, it’s a complete waste of money. So I don’t bother with it. It’s a lot cheaper to just keep telling my workers to be careful.

Another big waste of money is all those licenses, permits and other regulations the government is always telling me to comply with. Aren’t you sick and tired of big government? Just hire me, and I’ll show you how to dodge all that red tape.

How can I possibly be the low bidder on every job? People sometimes ask me that. They wonder how I can guarantee being the lowest even before I know what the other guys are bidding.

I’ll let you in on my secret. Because I’m such a sharp businessman, I simply refuse to be underbid. Show me anyone’s job quotation, and I’ll figure out a way to do it for less. I can always shave expenses a little more by cutting corners on labor or materials and employing other tricks of the trade, even if it means short shifting someone else’s job.

Another thing is, most contractors are greedy. They try to make money on every stinkin’ job. I know I can’t do that and still be the low bidder, so I don’t even try. Fact of the matter is, I lose money on most of my jobs. I believe in making it up in volume.

Some of my competitors are so greedy they expect people like you to pay enough to let them live in a nice house, drive a new car and put their kids through college. They don’t understand that this is trade work, and we’re not entitled to make as much money as lawyers and bean counters and all those other office folks who wear ties to work. I know my place. That’s why I’m the low bidder.

You might hear some of my competitors badmouth me because of the way I do business. They’re just jealous because I get so much work. Being the low bidder, I always have more work than I can handle. But rest assured that no matter how busy I might be, I would never turn down your job. I need that volume.

So quit messing around with all those companies that charge more than you want to pay. Just give me a call, and you can be certain that you’re doing business with the low bidder.

I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth.

What is the difference between a furnace cleaning and a furnace tune-up?

There is a common question that comes up when we are scheduling maintenance for a customer, and that is “what is the difference between a furnace cleaning, and furnace tune-up?” Most of these customers have received a coupon in the mail for a $49 furnace cleaning special, or some other “too good to be true” deal. The fact of the matter is, if it seems too good to be true, it likely is. What we are seeing is companies that specialize in cleaning (ie. Carpet cleaning) wanting to break into the “furnace cleaning” market, without having any actual knowledge about how these complex pieces of equipment work. When Gandy Installations, or another reputable contractor, comes out to your house to do a true furnace tune-up we are running your equipment through a number of test and adjustments to ensure it’s safe and efficient operation. Cleaning the inside of the furnace is just a small part of the process.

There are also a number of companies, that are HVAC contractors, that use a low price on a tune-up, just to get in the door so that they can sell you un-needed repairs. The truth is, a company cannot afford to send a technician out to do a proper job for $49. Our advice would be to do some research on the company that you are doing business with, make sure they are accredited with the BBB, or Fortis BC Trade Ally Network. It’s a good idea to avoid companies that knock on your door unsolicited, or phone you when you are not currently a customer of theirs. If there is any question, ask what tasks they perform with their tune-up. Gandy Installations furnace tune-up includes:

  • Heat exchanger inspection
  • Venting inspection
  • Test of safety switch operation
  • Carbon monoxide test
  • Test mechanical room for gas leaks
  • Test hot water temperature
  • Clean thermostat and test operation/adjust schedule to customer’s needs
  • Observe furnace sequence of operation
  • Change/clean standard filter
  • Clean fan blades
  • Clean and oil fan motor
  • Adjust belts (if applicable)
  • Clean all furnace parts and cabinets
  • Clean and adjust air shutters (if applicable)
  • Clean burners/pilot assembly
  • Tidy electrical wiring and tighten any loose connections
  • Measure amperage draw from several components
  • Check temperature rise
  • Observe for proper clearances of venting and combustion air
  • Observe condition and alignment of burners
  • Clean hot water tank and check for gas/water leaks
  • Check and adjust gas pressure
  • Clean and check flame rectification system
  • Clean air sensing ports