Hard water can have more of an impact on your home than you might think. That’s why it’s crucial to know and recognize its signs. Here, we outline the signs of hard water, how to test for it, and the solutions to dealing with hard water in your home.

How do you know if you have hard water?

There are a couple of signs to tell if you’ve got hard water. These signs are:

  • Watermarks on faucets, even after cleaning
  • Excessive lime and chalk buildup on the walls of sinks and showers
  • For clothes, white clothes look dingy, or your colours fade unusually quickly
  • Water has a strange taste or smell
  • Your skin feels dry or itchy after a shower
  • Low water pressure
  • Appliances breaking down quicker than they should
  • Dishes have watermarks and residue on them when dried

If you’re noticing any or all of the above, then the chances are that your home has hard water.

How to test for hard water

If you’re looking to run a test to ensure that your home does have hard water, you can easily pick one up from your local home improvement store. You want to be sure that you pick up a test kit from a reputable water-testing manufacturer and that the kit tests for water hardness.

Solutions for hard water

The simplest and most effective solution for dealing with hard water is having a water softener installed. A water softener works by removing the minerals from the water through a process known as ion exchange. Mineral ions that cause hard water are trapped by resin within the system.

If you’re interested in water softener installation services in Calgary, then Westhills can help! Give us a call today to schedule a water softener installation appointment!

At first, having a water softener in Calgary might sound like a luxury. But once you learn about all the benefits that come with having one, you might be convinced otherwise. Here are the top three benefits of having a water softener in Calgary!

Saves You Money

The buildup of minerals caused by hard water on your pipes and appliances can wreak havoc with them. Soft water lacks the minerals that cause this buildup, which can save you from having to pay for expensive repairs. With soft water, you save money because you don’t need to worry about the repairs or replacements you would otherwise have to make with hard water.

Cleaner Hair, Softer Skin

Soft water is often very beneficial for your hair and skin. The minerals in hard water can cause it to form soap scum, which can leave a film behind on your skin and hair. With soft water, you’ll enjoy a deep lather to your soaps and shampoo. Additionally, it can also help with alleviating the effects that hard water can have on your skin and hair because of how hard water strips your skin and hair of natural oils.

Your skin will be clearer and retain moisture much better if you install a water softener. Hard water can remove the skin’s natural oils, which dries out your skin and can cause it to become itchy and irritated for some.

With your hair, soft water can help with balancing the pH level. Hard water, on the other hand, can make your hair feel brittle and dry, while also potentially dulling hair colour.

Cleaner, Clearer Dishes

If you live somewhere with hard water, then you know firsthand just how difficult it can be to keep your dishes clean. Often, your dishes and glassware are left with a cloudy appearance once fully dry. A water softener can fix the issue right at the source, but removing the minerals before they have a chance to buildup on your dishes. Plus, since soft water works better with soaps and detergent, you get more cleaning power out of your dishwasher!

Having a water softener installed can be costly but well worth it. A water softener in Calgary is definitely a good investment, so you should seriously weigh the benefits of having one installed now. Give Westhills Plumbing & Heating a call today to book an installation appointment!

Oh no! Electrical system issues aren’t only annoying — but hazardous. Call us for a Calgary electrician. Here are four common electrical problems we can help you out with:

Lights Keep Flickering

If your lights flicker, check if there is a loose plug or bulb. If they aren’t loose, you may have a more serious issue. Notice when the flickering happens and for how long. These clues can help our electricians pinpoint the issue.

Lights can flicker for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Your neighbor on the same transformer may be using too much power.
  • Fluctuating voltage may be the issue if flickering happens when appliances are off and light bulbs are burning out frequently.
  • Loose or outdated wiring can cause flickering — along with a fire.

Receptacles Heat Up When Used

An electrical receptacle can get warm if something with an internal transformer is plugged into it (e.g. laptop charger or smartphone charger). Unplug it to cool. But, something is definitely wrong if the receptacle becomes hot, and that increases the risk of an electrical fire or shock. A circuit could be overloading or there could be a loose contacts in the receptacle. UpgradeHome.com warns, “If your electrical plug gets hot while it’s plugged in this can be due to faulty wiring. The best thing to do is to turn off the outlet at the breaker, unplug all appliances and call a professional to come and fix the problem before you use the outlet again.”

Plugs Keep Falling Out of Walls

It’s irritating to plug in your vacuum and have the plug come right out of the wall! If every cord you’ve tried to plug in falls out, your receptacle has faulty contact points which aren’t gripping the prongs tightly. This can start a fire, and it happens more with 2-prong plugs. You’ll need a Calgary electrician to replace them.

Circuit Breaker Tripping When the Microwave is Used

Microwaves are notorious for overloading circuits. To rule out a malfunctioning microwave, plug it in elsewhere. If that breaker trips right away, the microwave needs replacement/repair. If the breaker isn’t tripped in this receptacle, then your microwave needs its own dedicated spot in the breaker box.

Calgary electrician can remedy common electrical problems — and more. Don’t deal with frustrating flickering lights, overloaded circuits, hot receptacles, and plugs falling out of the walls any longer. We’ll make your life easier — and safer! Call Westhills Plumbing & Heating today!

Are you considering a new tankless water heater installation in your home? Old, traditional style water heaters can take up a lot of room. They also have to heat water and hold it in a large tank, keeping it hot until you decide you need it. Tankless heater units can last years longer on average since they’re easier to repair, and their energy efficiency makes them attractive. With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why tankless water heaters are so popular!

1. Hot Water on Demand

If you’ve ever run out of hot water while more than one appliance is running or many family members have taken a shower or bath around the same time of day, you know that it takes a while for the hot water tank to fill up again. The wait is terribly inconvenient. A tankless water heater heats water on demand, so you aren’t inconvenienced while you wait for a large tank to fill.

2. Longer Lifespan

On average, a traditional style water heater lasts about 8-12 years. A tankless water heater typically lasts 15-20 years (if it’s been properly used and maintained). That’s a major boost in longevity from old style to tankless!

Tankless water heaters are also easier to repair than traditional styles. Plus, you don’t have to worry about major leaking or even the tank exploding — which are possibilities with traditional water heaters.

It’s important to have a qualified technician do any water heater installation. Do-it-yourself installations can cause your unit to malfunction, severely reducing the unit’s lifespan. You also need to follow building codes, pick the correct size for your particular home, possibly obtain a permit, etc. Improper installation could create a dangerous situation. This is a job best left to us professionals.

3. Energy Efficient

Upfront, tankless water heater units may cost more. However, a tankless water heater usually uses 30 percent less in energy costs. That’s phenomenal news for your wallet!

However, tankless water heater installation may not be the best option for every home. Contemplate these questions before purchase:

  • How much hot water does your household use?
  • How many rooms does your house have?
  • How many people live there?
  • How much is your current utility bill?

If you’re considering tankless water heater installation, give Westhills Plumbing & Furnace a call. We can go over the benefits or drawbacks with you so you make the best decision for your own home.

When you’re considering the installation of a new heating system, you may hear about two types of thermostats: Line Voltage and Low Voltage. What’s the difference, and why does it truly matter which you choose to purchase? Heating companies in Calgary can help you understand the difference between the two major types of thermostats so you can find which will work best for your unique situation.

Fortunately, both types of thermostats have a lot of pros — and only a few cons — to consider. Whether you’re building a new home or you’re installing an updated heating and/or cooling system in your current house, you’ll need to choose the type based on your circuit line capability, usage, and costs. (Some homeowners will use both thermostats if more than one kind of heating distribution method is used.)

Line Voltage Thermostat

Line Voltage thermostats use direct current: 120V or 240V (AC) and can be found in your home’s outlets. They’re considered high voltage thermostats. Forced-fan heaters and baseboard heaters usually use Line Voltage thermostats.

  • There’s a larger variety of Line Voltage thermostat products to choose from.
  • They’re easiest to install.
  • They’re affordable.

Of course, Line Voltage thermostats do have a few drawbacks:

  • Their temperature control isn’t as precise as Low Voltage thermostats.
  • They use more energy.
  • Higher voltages are more dangerous.

Low Voltage Thermostat

Low Voltage thermostats are thermostats that use 50V or less. Most homeowners will find Low Voltage thermostats are most common. You, as well as your neighbors, probably use oil, wood, propane, or natural gas as heating fuel. According to TheHomeHacksDIY.com “This means that people most likely use a hydronic based heating system, such as radiators or a duct-based system. So if you have one of these two systems, you use Low Voltage thermostats to heat your home.”

  • Generally, these use about 24V to operate, so you’ll save money over time in energy costs.
  • Low Voltage thermostats pair better with new smart technologies like smartphones and Wi-Fi.

There are a few cons though:

  • They’re more difficult to install since they need a step-down transformer and use more wires than Line Voltage.
  • Installation costs more.

Usage and costs should factor into your new thermostat decision. Ultimately, the choice of Line or Low Voltage in an older home will depend heavily on which kind of circuitry is already there. Heating companies in Calgary can take a look and help you with your decision. Call Westhills today to get your quote.

If it has been some time since your water heater was installed and you don’t have it regularly serviced, it may abruptly stop working one day. To avoid such as scenario, it is important to look out for the following signs:

A Very Old Water Heater

On average, water heaters will last for eight to 12 years. If you have had yours for a long time, it would be wise to look into replacing it before it stops working. If you don’t know how old yours is, check the manufacturer’s label on the side. You can also find help with this on the manufacture’s website or the International Association of Home Inspectors website where you will find a water heater dating chart.

Higher Energy Bills

An older water heater will not be energy efficient. It will definitely take more energy to run it. Also, newer models will be made with technology that makes the most of materials and methods that use minimal energy such as those that can be digitally controlled.

Not Enough Hot Water

Perhaps you aren’t enjoying your baths or showers as much as before because the water isn’t hot enough or there isn’t enough of it. This could be because your water heater is full of sediment. In hard water areas, this could be the calcium, magnesium and other minerals in it. The sediment could also be from the limescale that forms on the walls of the tank and the burner. This layer could compromise how hot the water gets and how much hot water you get.

Rust-Coloured Water

If you notice that your water looks dirty or has a rust-coloured colour, again, an old water heater could be the culprit. It could be that the heater has rust which could eventually wear out and start leaking.

You can confirm if the problem is being caused by the heater by draining a number of five-gallon buckets of hot water through it. If you are still seeing rust when you pour the third bucket, you can safely conclude that the problem is the water heater. If you don’t see rust, then the problem might be with galvanized piping that is rusted rather than the water heater. That is still a problem you will need to get looked at by a water heater repair and installation company.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Taking preventative measures is always best. Prevent problems with your heater by having a water heater repair and installation expert come and check yours. They will determine if it needs to be replaced or repaired. If a replacement is needed, you will be advised on the best brands. Call your water heater repair and installation company before it becomes an emergency service. Call Westhills Plumbing & Heating today!

Choosing the right water heater for your needs will ensure you have plenty of hot water for cooking, cleaning, washing, and more. Technological advances mean there are many types of energy-efficient water heaters to choose from. The following are different systems that the team at Westhills Plumbing & Heating can install in your Calgary home.

Conventional Water Heater

Standard storage tank water heaters use either gas or electricity to heat water to a pre-set temperature that you can adjust via your thermostat. Once heated, the water is deposited within the storage tank where it is kept hot and ready to go. Most residential systems are between 36-56 gallons.

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless systems are also known as “on-demand” systems. These can be electric or fueled by natural gas. The water is heated as it flows into the unit’s pipes, which means that this type of system will deliver a virtually unlimited amount of hot water.

Solar Water Heater

Solar systems operate by circulating water through solar collectors where it absorbs solar radiation; this process transfers the thermal energy to the water, thus heating it up. Once heated, the water is transferred to a storage tank for use. These well-insulated systems can be utilized year-round and can be paired with a backup unit to ensure you have sufficient hot water after dark.

Condensing Water Heater

Condensing systems use a fan to push air and fuel into a combustion chamber where the hot gasses are then forced through a heat exchanger within the water tank. Condensing water heaters are incredibly efficient and are available in both tank and tankless variations.

Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat pump water heaters use a compressor to collect heat from the surrounding air. This heat is transferred to the storage tank where it heats the water. This is an efficient, effective operation that can provide reliable hot water year-round. It is our pleasure to tell you more about these water heater options and to help you determine the best system for your needs. We encourage you to contact us at Westhills Plumbing & Heating to speak with our certified HVAC specialists about Calgary water heater installation.

Cleaning a sewer line is important for three main reasons: safety, efficiency and capacity. Sewer systems may be located above or underground. They are typically placed parallel to rows of houses or commercial buildings. The system includes a series of pipes, clean-outs, culverts, lift stations, manholes, traps, siphons and other systems. These and other structures do the combined work of collecting the wastewater in an area and moving it into a treatment plant or a disposal system. These structures are engineered to work with gravity to move wastewater away from houses and commercial buildings.

Blockages and Stoppages

If the different structures that make up a sewer system are working well, everything will keep moving smoothly. There is definitely a problem when wastewater stops moving away. Stoppages are caused by obstructions in the pipe or a defect like a leak or joint failure in a pipe.

Stoppage causes wastewater and any debris in it to back up instead of drain away. Eventually, it overflows and causes a blockage. This is a state that poses a threat to human health whether the waste is backing up into a home or commercial space.

Keeping Your Sewer Line

As the owner of a home or commercial building, it is your responsibility to prevent blockages or stoppages. The best way to do this is by taking the preventative measure of routine inspection and cleaning of your sewer line. A sewer line cleaning service can do this for you.

How Sewer Lines Are Cleaned

Sewer line cleaning services companies use machinery to safely and efficiently clean sewer lines. The machinery has high-pressure water jetting and a high-flow vacuum source. This type of machine is known as a combination sewer cleaner. It is the best because it cleans and unblocks at the same time. These two parts work in combination to scrub pipe lines clean and to vacuum up any debris causing stoppage and blockage. If there is any, it is removed and normal sewer flow is restored.

Even when there is no stoppage or blockage, there is still a need to clean sewer lines periodically. This is because dirt never stops accumulating over time. It may not be visible, but there is always debris such as leaves, sand and gravel that is carried by stormwater. When enough of it has accumulated, then the blockage is seen.

Keep Your Line Clean

It is at the least unpleasant and at worst unsanitary and a health hazard to see wastewater and debris from the sewer back up to your space instead of flowing away. Engage a sewer line cleaning service to start doing periodic checks and cleaning and it is a problem you will not have to deal with. Westhills Plumbing & Heating is here to help; give us a call today for a quote on our sewage line cleaning services.

It’s essential to keep your water heater running smoothly. After all, it provides an invaluable resource to your home: hot water. If you need a local Calgary water heater repair company, look no further than Westhills Plumbing & Heating. Here are our top three signs that your water heater needs repairs.

Strange Noises

If your water heater is making an odd noise, like a popping, cracking, rumbling, or banging, it causes concern. Call a hot water technician if you hear any unusual noises coming from your water heater, as these can be an indicator of another, more profound issue.


You want to have a qualified professional plumber come and examine your water heater if you notice it leaking, particularly if you see water pooled beneath it. It’s essential to do so because a minor fracture will only get bigger, and you run the risk of your tank or plumbing bursting.

If you do notice a leak from your water heater, then do the following: turn off your water heater, turn off the water that feeds the tank, call in a professional repair technician.

No Hot Water

Several potential causes for your water heater not to produce hot water. Sediment build-up can cause your water heater to operate at less than peak efficiency, which only gets worse over time. It could also be a broken heating element. If that’s the case, it’s a relatively easy fix for a qualified plumber. Lastly, it could be that your water heater’s tank is too small for your household. If that’s the case, you might be looking at needing to upgrade the unit.

Keeping your water heater running is essential. That’s why you should call a professional at the first sign of trouble. For a local Calgary water heater repair company, call Westhills Plumbing & Heating. We can help troubleshoot and fix your water heater quickly. Give us a call today.

The thermostat is the first thing to check if you’re experiencing issues with your HVAC system. Your thermostat controls HVAC system operation and, if it breaks or isn’t working correctly, it can make it appear that something is wrong with the system itself. Replacing your thermostat is a quick repair, and Westhills Plumbing & Heating can help.

HVAC System Doesn’t Turn On

One of the most obvious signs that your thermostat isn’t working is that the HVAC system won’t turn on or respond to it. If you make any changes to your thermostat or turn on the system and get no response, your thermostat is likely in need of repair or replacement.

Thermostat Doesn’t Respond to Changes

If you make changes to your thermostat, it should respond immediately. If you get no response to the change or the system doesn’t respond after the changes are made, you likely need to replace your thermostat.

HVAC Short Cycles

Short cycling is when your HVAC turns off too early, thus failing to complete an entire cycle. The result is that the system is ineffective at keeping your indoor environment comfortable. This could be a sign that your thermostat needs replacing or repair but could also indicate a deeper issue with your system. In the case of short cycling, it’s essential that you call a furnace maintenance specialist to diagnose the problem correctly.

Thermostat Settings Not Working

With today’s programmable thermostats, keeping consistent settings over time is easy. However, if your thermostat keeps losing track of these settings, then it could indicate that it’s time to replace the thermostat. If you’re having issues with your thermostat, then it’s essential that you know whom to call. Replacing your thermostat is quickly done and something that Westhills Plumbing & Heating has experience with. So call us today to get your thermostat diagnosed!