This is part 3 out of 3 of series on how to buy an old home in Toronto. If you missed first two posts you can check out Part 1: Buying Old House in Toronto Dangers and Part 2: Buying Old House in Toronto Costs
So, you followed my advice and bought an old house. Well, congratulations. After the last mover left your doorstep, you probably want a good refreshing shower. You open up the valve but only a whiff comes out – certainly not enough for a dreamy shower! Well don’t blame me…
Today, as I promised in the previous issue of the “Corner”, we are going to consider the cases of bad pressure, how to get it up again, and at what expense.
Why must we use time division multiple access on our numerous showers? Is the most frequently asked question. Asked yourself several times, didn’t you?
There are four answers:
If you have read the previous issue, you probably know that Toronto can be divided approximately into three parts: Down Town Area 80-110 years old, St. Clair to Lawrence 50-80 years old, from Eglinton to Steels 30-50 years old. Let’s get to your shower from the far end.
The far end is the central water pipe from City property to your property. It is 1/2″ Most of the time it’s made of lead (an extremely unhealthy material) and some of the time it’s copper or galvanized. As time passes, due to clogging process the internal diameter is getting narrower up to 1/4″ and even less than that.
As we get past that the second answer shows up. The central water pipe from the edge of your property up to the central water valve in the basement is made of the same material, has the same diameter, and with the same problems.
The third one is the wrong, underestimated pipe diameter in the basement distribution.
Fourth, one is the galvanized pipes in your walls, ceilings and overlappings. Why the division, you’d ask. After all, the reasons seem to be the same. That is because different services and firms deal with each answer. Uh-oh, more headaches. Now let’s solve those one by one.
The central pipe is both the simplest and the most complicated. According to the old Canadian Code, the permit was to have a 1/2″ pipe in the house. From Down Town up to Eglinton there are mostly galvanized and sometimes copper pipes of this diameter. Well it’s enough for a bungalow with one kitchen and one bathroom of three fixtures for two, sometimes three people. But, after 30-40 years of exploitation, the added on second floor and two fully facilitated bathrooms (one in the basement with a kitchen for lodgers and another – on the second floor for yourselves), you consume three times the water limit. The result is you standing full of soap, cursing your lodger who takes the bath at the same time you do, and really not understanding why is the problem so simple?! And that is why: according to the new standards, the entrance pipe must be a minimum 3/4”. Moreover, the City will replace the pipes free of charge up to your property.
Why the most complicated? Everyone wants the free cookies, so you should sign up at the end of an equator long line. Get ready to wash off the two to five year old dirt when your turn comes depending on location.
Of course, it can be done immediately. For money that is. To be more precise, from $2500 – $3000 within 2-3 weeks.
Let’s say you got that fixed, but you are still standing with a soaped head and fang for your lodger. What’s next? Changing the pipes on your property. At least here you can choose a plumbing company and do the job whenever you want. It will lighten you up by $1500 to $4500 depending on how much of a landlord you are.
Let’s assume you got those two done, but you still can’t water your plants while both your lodgers are in the shower. In this case, the 1/2″ pipes in the basement, from the water meter up to the heater and from the heater up to the main branches out, must be replaced by 3/4” pipes. Costs are $1000 – $2000. A take-two repair works will cost around $3000.
Finally, there are galvanized pipes inside the walls and ceilings. The problem is that the pipes from the basement to the second floor are led through raisers (water booths). Those are made of the same galvanized, clogged, 1/2” pipes or 1/2” copper pipes. Those must be 3/4”, and only the edges near the end facilities should be 1/2”. The prices range $1500 – $4000 depending on the house. Needless to say add in the busted up walls and ceilings on the first and partly second floors to the price.
Let’s add that all up:
- City’s part under ground $2500-$3000
- Your part under ground $1500-$4500
- Basement $1000-$2000
- Piping all around the house $1500-$4000
That’s $13500 worst case. Not including your time, nerves, and building works. And don’t forget that all plumbers in Canada must be licensed and possess a Business Plumbing Metro license. Also, after you’ve finished, you can demand a City inspector to check the plumbing which has been done. Otherwise you could be left moneyless and waterless.
First, not all of us have an extra million for a new one.
Secondly, before the purchase make it a condition of the purchase to have all the pipes and sewage systems checked. Call us, and we’ll gladly check your piping condition, and provide a report with the house owner in order to lower the price for your future home, and maybe get ready for the repairs to secure yourself in the future.
Thirdly, the pipe change order must be from the end to the beginning – from the second floor to the basement, then in the basement itself. Just by doing that you can achieve 30-40% higher flow and this might be enough. If not, you can then also change the underground pipes on your property and on city property. That’s what the city recommends you to do.
Another important bit of advice: Don’t start any costly renovations before checking the underground water and sewage systems or you just might need to do the job all over again. So if the price estimation for the piping and sewage renewal that our representative gave you is OK, we’ll be more than happy to start right away. We have the right tools for the right job: tools, licenses and the most important – experience. Canadian, Israeli and European experience – all put to use when doing the job for you. Our technicians can also arrange the Plumbing and Drain building permits.
Our operators speak English, Hebrew, Russian, Ukrainian and Polish, so you can tell us all about your plumbing problems in your own language.