Author Archives: Ti Sutherland

Increased Water Usage Notice – Now What?

See the picture below. If you came home to find a notice like this on your door you’ve got questions and understandably some concerns.

Water Usage Notice

If you receive one of these notices at your home and are not sure why – Call (503) 719-4015 and schedule an appointment with the experts at Sutherland Plumbing, LLC.

Relax, this is routine and quite simply the water company attempting to notify you that compared to your average usage, it’s gone up exponentially. Although there are many reasons that can factor into this, we’ll share with you here the top three reasons that most likely exist (Based on 20+ years of field experience). 

1) Your main underground water service pipe leading from the water meter to the home has sprung a leak and is leaking into the earth. Your options are to repair or replace. There are pros & cons to both options and the solution will vary depending on your budget & expectations. Generally speaking: repairs can end up as expensive temporary band aids while a proper replacement will ensure decades of trouble-free service. Contributing factors include, but are not limited to: the age & material of the existing pipe and the location & depth of the leak. 

2) The irrigation (sprinkler) system is leaking. If connected properly, your sprinkler system “T’s” into or off of your main underground water service pipe. The sprinkler system then runs through an approved back-flow preventer and then goes off to serve the various zones or sprinkler heads. 

3) A malfunctioning or “running” toilet is draining excessive amounts of water down the main sewer drain. Second to this is a faucet that is continuously dripping or leaking. This cause of excessive water usage is the least likely prompting a notice of increased water usage. (Again, this based on our experience.)  It’s our contention that if a faucet was dripping and/or a toilet was running enough to prompt the notice – you’d probably know about it! Generally when a faucet or toilet is broken to that extent, people are aware & set-out to get it fixed before a whole billing cycle comes and goes!

You have options and choices either way. Dozens of times we have visited a homeowner expecting to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars only to find that simply turning off the sprinkler system will stop the leak and buy some time to get control of the situation rather than the situation being in control of you!

If you receive one of these notices at your home and are not sure why, Call (503) 719-4015 and schedule an appointment with the experts at Sutherland Plumbing, LLC.

Anatomy of a Toilet – (How a Toilet Works!)

“My toilet is clogged or has a weak flush, it doesn’t always empty the bowl when I flush it….”

The above quote is a very common symptom reported by many clients. Would it surprise you to know that about half of the time the toilet isn’t clogged at all! Take a look at the picture below:
Notice the spot marked “trap,” this is the place where water & waste travels on its way to the sewer drain pipe. Technically the toilet is only “clogged” when an obstruction exists inside the trap, preventing passage. Note the hollow area around the bowl. When a toilet is flushed, water sitting in the tank rushes into and around these hollow chambers and then enters the bowl via water jets. The main water jet (aka “siphon jet”) is usually at the bottom of the toilet bowl.

Anatomy of toilet

An older, poorly performing toilet can have clogged jets and/or obstructed jets preventing the water from entering the bowl as needed. This causes weak flushing toilets & toilet bowls that don’t empty all the way. Additionally, if the water level inside the tank is too low this results in an inadequate amount of water for a proper flush.
An old plumbing trick called “the bucket test” can narrow the possibilities.  Simply fill a 5 gallon bucket of water and pour it into the toilet bowl expeditiously. If the toilet bowl revives the water with no problem or back up – it’s more than likely your toilet is in need of repair or replacement.
If this is the case, call (503) 719-4015 and speak with the pros at Sutherland PlumbingWe carry as regular stock: premium, high-efficiency 1.28 gallons per flush toilets on our trucks!

How to Locate & Read Your Water Meter!

You will gain giant leaps ahead of the average homeowner in preparedness to avoid or deal with plumbing emergencies by simply familiarizing yourself and understanding the information contained in the following link.

Click below to view a publication distributed by the Portland Water Bureau:

This is a photo of the actual water meter. In most homes the meter is usually located in the ground near the curb. You should see a metal top marked "Water Meter." If in doubt - call a licensed, qualified plumber to come take a look.

This is a photo of the actual water meter. In most homes the meter is usually located in the ground near the curb. You should see a metal top marked “Water Meter.” If in doubt – call a licensed, qualified plumber to come & take a look.


This is a close-up photo of the Water Meter Register. If you have any questions about how to read the register – call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015.


Toilet Caulking – Don’t Overlook This Important Detail!

Toilet bowls require caulking at the base to provide a water-tight seal preventing liquid or moisture from getting underneath it and festering.

Often times an installer will skip this step, does it wrong, and/or the caulking simply fails, as seen in the image below:

Toilet Caulking - Before

If the caulking beneath your toilet looks like this – you should call a licensed, qualified plumber as soon as possible, before the problem gets worse. Sutherland Plumbing is here to take your calls at (503) 719-4015. Call today!

The next image is the same toilet re-caulked properly. Caulking of any kind is only as good as the surface we give it to adhere to. It’s important to remove any & all loose debris and clean the surface with a good all-purpose kitchen & bath cleaner – preferably one with a degreasing agent.

Toilet Caulking - After

Which toilet would you rather have in your bathroom? Re-caulking is relatively easy, fast & inexpensive. Call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015 for an estimate today!

A common complaint from our clients is a consistent “skunky” odor coming from the toilet area. Without a proper seal at the floor any liquid that gets on the floor near the toilet can run up to and underneath the toilet bowl including the occasional “miss” by little Johnny!

Sutherland Plumbing wins Prestigious Award, Four Years Running!

Sutherland Plumbing Earns Esteemed 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award!

This award reflects our company’s consistently high level of customer service.

Beaverton, Oregon, February 28th 2018 –

Sutherland Plumbing is proud to announce that we have earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA).

This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2017.

“The service providers that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award have demonstrated the level of excellence that members have come to expect,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros have provided top-notch service to our members and absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2017 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade & review period grade. The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, record a current trade license attestation and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Sutherland Plumbing has been listed on Angie’s List since 2013. This is the fourth year Sutherland Plumbing has received this honor.

Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. Angie’s List provides unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

Contact: Katrina Sutherland at (503) 719-4015

Water Pressure vs. Water Volume – Ti’s Tips!

Water Pressure or “PSI” (pounds per square inch) is exactly that – a measurement of force. While water volume or “GPM” (gallons per minute) is a measurement of flow.

In most cases, plumbing systems that deliver unsatisfactory performance have a volume problem not a pressure problem. The pressure is most often adequate – it is the pipes that are either undersized, corroded & restricted – or both. In many cases there is excessive water pressure and still symptoms of poor water volume delivery is present.

Too much water pressure can cause a host of problems. Similarly, high blood pressure can go undetected or undiagnosed for years while the negative effects and irreversible damage occurs.

A simple water pressure measuring device can be purchased at most hardware stores for under $15! Eighty (80) “PSI” is considered high – anything over and you’re asking for trouble!

Think you may have a problem with water pressure in your home or business? The pressure may be just fine, it could be a volume issue or another undiagnosed plumbing problem. Call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015 to get an expert opinion!

Do you think you may have a problem with water pressure in your home or business? The pressure may be just fine, it could be a volume issue or another undiagnosed plumbing problem. Call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015 to get an expert opinion!

How to make use of water from leaky faucets – Ti’s Tips!

While you’re waiting for one of Sutherland Plumbing’s top-notch technicians to arrive and repair your leaky faucet – put a bucket under the faucet to catch the drip. There are more than a few things you can use the water for: flushing toilets or watering plants are just a couple. The possibilities are endless!

To flush a toilet with a bucket of water, expeditiously pour its contents straight  into the bowl. Remember – you’ll roughly need as much water in the bucket as is in the tank. So if you have an older non-efficient toilet, it’s likely you’ll need around 3 gallons to empty the toilet bowl of its contents. A newer, more modern water-saver toilet only requires 1.6 gallons or less.

What are you doing with an old toilet that wastes water and money anyway? When the Sutherland Plumbing technician arrives, remember to tell him that you need an upgrade!

We carry as regular stock premium, high-efficiency 1.28 gallons per flush toilets on our trucks. Call Sutherland Plumbing today!

Leaky Faucet

You can temporarily make good use of water from leaky faucets, but it’s best to call the experts at Sutherland Plumbing before the issue gets worse. Call (503) 719-4015 and have the issue resolved as soon as possible!

Reminder – Can I flush wipes & “flushable” products down the drain?

Q: I’ve recently read some articles which say that utility companies, municipal water companies and the treatment plants etc., are “freakin’-out” because folks have started to flush all kinds of pre-moistened towelettes down the toilet.  This wasn’t so much of a problem in the past.  Apparently these can cause havoc all the way down the plumbing system at the treatment plants.  What’s the deal with this?  Is it really that bad?  Can it affect my plumbing lines or only the municipal systems? Is toilet paper the only thing I should ever flush down the toilet?

A: The short answer is YES the treatment plants are “freaking out!”  Unfortunately, this translates into higher rates for everyone because they have to structure & modify their equipment to deal with all of these so-called “flushable” over-the-counter products like wipes, cat litter, female sanitary products etc. The main issue is this stuff does not macerate well like human waste and toilet paper. (Sorry for the visual!)

Eventually everything makes it to a pump system or means of mechanically moving, sorting & filtering (the raw sewer). Some of these “wipes” are just short of a cloth rag. “Flushable” in that it will flush and go down but it’s no good for any part of the system down the line. Plumbers joke around the water cooler about how great these products are for keeping us very busy!

The flushable cat litter is just as bad or worse because it absorbs a ton of water & swells up.  This can cause havoc in the plumbing system!

When I walk down the aisle at the supermarket and see a new “flushable” product, I pause to thank the manufacturer for their patronage. This used to bother me more when I lived in a neighborhood forced to pay sewer rates, but now I have a private septic system!

The Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code addresses this issue: (Oregon plumbing specialty code chapter 3 - 306.1)

The Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code addresses this issue: (Oregon plumbing specialty code chapter 3 – 306.1)

Why Choose Sutherland Plumbing?

Clear, accurate estimates with no surprises:

Today is no different from the past – businesses compete over price and sometimes price alone. One way businesses do this is to quote cheap prices over the phone or advertise low rates and then tell you what it’s really going to cost once they are in your home or business!  A.K.A “the bait and switch!” The cheap rate over the phone is often half the truth. The low rate or quote “sight unseen” may not include or cover a variety of items that usually cost extra.

Sutherland Plumbing technicians will look at the issue, explain the process in detail and answer all of your questions prior to work commencing. This way you know what all of your options are and what costs those options carry before any work begins!

Master Plumber Ti Sutherland will personally provide you with a clear, concise, accurate, written estimate prior to any work commencing. Just call (503) 719-4015. Call Today!

Why the CCB is Important – Ti’s Tips!

The Oregon CCB “Oregon Construction Contractors Board” is responsible for safeguarding the security & property of Oregonians by preventing and resolving construction & contracting problems and by ensuring contractors’ compliance with the law. The Board administers the Oregon Contractors’ Law that provides for the licensing of residential & commercial construction contractors, subcontractors and home inspectors; investigation and adjudication of complaints filed against licensees; and assessment of sanctions against unlawful contractors. In this sense they are the contractor police.

Think: If you were planning to buy a car, it’s conceivable that most people spend hours reading reviews, researching & comparing options and perhaps even asking the opinions of people with first hand experience. Of course, you wouldn’t want to end up with something falling short of expectations, costing too much or breaking down on you, right? All this becomes exponentially risky when choosing to purchase from an unknown or an un-reputable source.

Ironically, everyday consumers find themselves in an unfavorable position & out thousands of dollars because they hired a contractor or somebody posing as a contractor, while at the same time unknowingly forgoing some or all of their consumer rights.

This doesn’t have to happen to you !

Check-out these 16 ways to avoid remodeling, repair & construction problems:

The document in this link is the instruction manual for hiring a contractor and/or planning a construction, remodel or repair project that requires a contractor governed by the CCB. In short, that’s ANYBODY that promises, advertises, delivers or performs improvements, repairs or alterations to, (but not limited to) real estate, structures property and/or land.

Sutherland Plumbing LLC: CCB# 200460