Category Archives: Family & Home Safety

School’s Back – Safety Reminder!!

Here in the Portland Metro area and across the nation, school is officially back in session!  As a family company, we here at Sutherland Plumbing would like to remind all of our blog readers to please drive safely.  Here are a few tips to help keep you, your family, your neighbors and your community safe:

  1. Carefully read and follow all traffic safety signals and signs.

  2. When in a school zone please take extra precaution to closely obey the reduced speed requirements.

  3. When in a school zone, please DO NOT speed-up until you are completely out of the school zone.

  4. DO NOT text, email or instant message under any circumstances while driving.  If it’s that important – pullover to a safe place before using your phone.

  5. Even if you’re on a phone call using a hands-free device, please be aware that your attention is still distracted and be extra cautious while using the hands-free device.

  6. This time of year, there are many kids around, even outside of school zones and school hours.  Please be careful even while driving outside of school zones and/or school hours.

  7. If in doubt – SLOW DOWN!

Ti in Corn Maze

Let’s all work together to keep our kids safe. Drive with extra caution and safety this school season!

Sutherland Plumbing is one of the Highest Rated Plumbers in Yelp History – John Benton Proves Why!!!

Since opening in 2013 Sutherland Plumbing has 163 “approved” reviews on Yelp. 158 out of the 163 are rated at 5 STARS!!! That’s a whopping 97% 5 STAR RATING!!!

We don’t just claim to go above & beyond the call of duty. Sutherland Plumbing delivers! Look what John Benton did for this lady in the ice storm last winter. We’re not just plumbers. We care about people & we care about our community!

17 Emergency Situations When You’ll Be Glad You Know a Plumber!

Check out this great article from Chadwicks:

“We’ve all been there. The water tank is emitting a strange gurgling sound and we know something’s not right. We call the plumber and pray that the house hasn’t become the Niagara Falls by the time he arrives. We wait on tenterhooks, anxiously watching the clock. Finally, the doorbell rings and there he is. We’re so relieved we want to kiss him.

Instead we get a hold of ourselves and usher him up to the attic. Using wrenches and pliers and working by torchlight, he emerges some time later – t-shirt soaked with copper-coloured grime – and pronounces the job done. Oh the joy of having running water once more! We take a look at 17 Emergency Situations When You’ll be Glad You Know a Plumber – and express our gratitude to all those nifty plumbers who keep our modern conveniences in good nick.”

Courtesy of: Chadwicks.ie

Time to replace your water heater? Save $100 Now!!

When is the last time you took a good look at your water heater? If it has any characteristics of the one found in the picture below (or it is 15+ years old) it is a ticking time bomb! This water heater absolutely flooded our clients’ home causing untold thousands of dollars in damage! The tragedy is they said “yeah I’ve been looking at that for the last seven months I knew I should’ve gotten a new one…”

Waterproof rubber rain boots are for outside in the rain, we had to wear ours during this entire job to keep our socks dry while standing in the living room!

Mention this posting and receive a $100 discount towards the installation of a new water heater good through the month of April!

Old Water Heater

 

School’s Back – Safety Reminder!!

Here in the Portland Metro area and across the nation, school is officially back in session!  As a family company, we here at Sutherland Plumbing would like to remind all of our blog readers to please drive safely.  Here are a few tips to help keep you, your family, your neighbors and your community safe:

  1. Carefully read and follow all traffic safety signals and signs.
  2. When in a school zone please take extra precaution to closely obey the reduced speed requirements.
  3. When in a school zone, please DO NOT speed-up until you are completely out of the school zone.
  4. DO NOT text, email or instant message under any circumstances while driving.  If it’s that important – pullover to a safe place before using your phone.
  5. Even if you’re on a phone call using a hands-free device, please be aware that your attention is still distracted and be extra cautious while using the hands-free device.
  6. This time of year, there are many kids around, even outside of school zones and school hours.  Please be careful even while driving outside of school zones and/or school hours.
  7. If in doubt – SLOW DOWN!
Ti in Corn Maze

Let’s all work together to keep our kids safe. Drive with extra caution and safety this school season!

All about sink overflow holes…

Stinky sink? Many times my clients complain of a constant, persistent foul odor in their bathroom that’s reminiscent of a “wadded up wet towel left in the bottom of the hamper for a week or two”. Oh, no!

Most all lavatory sinks have what’s called an “overflow”. By design it allows water to flow down the drain – in the event the sink were to fill too high – and not over the top & onto the floor. Unless of course the drain was plugged or slow draining but that’s an entirely different story.  The image below is a common bathroom sink with the overflow in the back of the sink. Some sinks have the overflow hole in the front of the sink – same thing just different design. Often this overflow area can collect foul mildew smelling bacteria. Simply flood the overflow hole with plain white vinegar to kill the bacteria. Use a funnel, or perhaps simply cup your hand as to divert the Vinegar into the hole or just let it glug out of the bottle into the hole. Nothing fancy, remember plain white vinegar is cheap and it’s hard to use too much.  Repeat as needed!

Sink Overflow Hole

How to shut-off the main water supply to your home!

“Do you know how, more importantly where to shut-off the main water supply to your home?”

After 20 years it still surprises me that so many (in fact most) clients don’t know how to go about turning-off the main water supply to their homes.

Every home should have a readily accessible, functional main water shut-off valve. The fact is many times the valve is concealed, not easily accessible, non-functional, all of the above or missing altogether!  Regardless, here’s a pretty sure-fire way and/or backup plan to get the water shut-off quickly in the event of an emergency:

1) Locate and know where your water meter is located, typically you can find it near the curb or sidewalk in front of your house.

Shut-off valve closed2) Open the lid to look inside.  Not all lids are the same.  Sometimes it’s necessary to remove the entire cover to see the meter or to access the shut off valve inside. 

Shut-off valve open

3.) There are a couple of ways to turn the valve.  Ultimately you’re trying to line up the two circles, about a 1/2 turn clockwise. There is a tool made that goes by a few different names, the most common of which is “Meter Key” sold at just about every home center and hardware store.  Expect to pay $10.00-30.00
Meter Key
You might have some hand tools laying around that may work in a pinch.  Namely a crescent wrench and something long, narrow & ridged like a screwdriver. See illustration on how to use these common hand tools to do the job in place of a “meter key.”
Hand Tools

It would do you well to familiarize yourself with the “how to” described here.

I can usually tell if a customer/client has lived through a plumbing emergency or catastrophe by their knowledge of where & how to turn-off the main water supply.  One family I met recently, had a bright red meter key conspicuously hanging on two nails in the garage.  My client told me about a nightmare experience they had in the past, wherein a toilet supply line had ruptured and nobody knew the first thing about getting the water shut-off. The water line leaked several hundred, maybe thousands of gallons of water into the house before the water was shut-off by a responding emergency plumber.  Not to mention the expense of the emergency service call, they now faced not only the repair of the broken toilet line (the least of their worries), but thousands of dollars in restoration repairs and a hefty insurance claim.  The client went on to say that now everyone who lives in the house (including their 7 year-old) knows what the meter key is and how/when to use it!

Important – Press Release from Oregon CCB:

SALEM – People pretending to work for legitimate heating and air conditioning businesses are
approaching homeowners in the Willamette Valley, demanding money up-front and working
without a contractor’s license.

In at least some cases, they are selling and installing equipment improperly.

In recent weeks, suspects tried to solicit work cleaning ducts and inspecting heating & air systems both door-to-door and through phone calls. Generally, they targeted Willamette Valley homeowners over age 65.

One suspect fled in his van after a caretaker for an elderly Keizer resident called the heating company to verify employment.

It is rare for legitimate, licensed contractors to go door-to-door, and they don’t usually call you out of the blue,” Construction Contractors Board Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup said.

The suspects give out a business name with their pitch to work. When homeowners say they don’t recognize the business as the one they normally use, the suspects often say they are a subcontractor. Or, they might say they bought another company’s maintenance contract or they use a different assumed business name.

At least 10 legitimate heating and air conditioning businesses report people fraudulently claiming to be affiliated with legitimate HVAC companies.

The Construction Contractors Board is among the state and local law enforcement agencies that are investigating cases.

***

Report scams.

If you are not sure about someone approaching you for work:

1)  Ask to check your calendar and say you’ll call back. Call the business you regularly use to verify any appointments. If someone shows up at the door, tell them “no.”

2)  Report suspicious encounters to police or sheriff’s deputies.  Also, alert the CCB (503-934-2229) or the Oregon Department of Justice (877-877-9392).

3)  Never give out personal information such as a Social Security or credit card number or pay in cash.

4)  Always check a construction contractor’s CCB license number to verify a worker is  legitimate. You can do that online at www.oregon.gov/ccb or by calling 503-378-4621

Ti’s Tips Reminder – How to adjust your water heater!

Are you happy with the temperature of your hot water? Adjusting it might be simpler than you think! Hotter water has its advantages and disadvantages, the same holds true for cooler water temps. If you’re uncertain, do some research to learn what’s best for you and yours.

IMPORTANT – Read and follow the printed Installation Instructions that came with your water heater. The printed Instructions and product labels contain model-specific information, important warnings and safety notices. If you lack the necessary skills to install, troubleshoot or repair the water heater, get help from a qualified person.

Gas Water Heater Adjustment:

Gas Heater AdjustmentIf you have a gas water heater you are in luck as far as adjusting the temperature! There’s nothing to remove or replace. Simply turn the dial located on the front of the gas control valve.

 

 

Gas Heater Adjustment 2

The warm setting will be in the 90 to 110 degree range. The hot setting will average 140 to 150 degrees.

 

 

 

Electric Water Heater Adjustment:

Electric Heater AdjustmentTurn off the water heater breaker. If you have a double-element water heater, remove both access panels (upper & lower).

For single element water heaters, remove the lower panel.

 

 

Electric Heater Adjustment 2Pull the insulation to the side or remove it so you can see the thermostat.

Remove the plastic cover if it doesn’t have an access hole for the adjustment screw.

 

Electric Heater Adjustment 3

The thermostat adjusting screw is located at the bottom of the thermostat, just above the element. As you can see you’ll need a small flat blade screwdriver.

***Remember: if you have a dual element electric water heater (the vast majority) make sure both thermostats (top & bottom) are adjusted to the same temperature.***

Replace the plastic cover. Place the insulation back over the thermostat and element. Replace the access panels and turn the power back on.

Electric Heater Adjustment 4

 

Ti’s Tips, Reminder! Promoting Water Conservation…

High water pressures waste water. Many municipalities today not only charge homeowners and businesses high rates for water consumption, but also charge consumers equally high rates for the disposal of wastewater. Furthermore, reducing water consumption reduces the excess energy required for heating additional water.

  • Water Saving: Twice as much water flows through a system at 150psi pressure than at 50psi. Much of this additional water is wasted.
  • Energy Savings: When less water flows through the system, less energy is needed to heat the water. Calculations show that a Watts water pressure reducing valve can save as much as 30% on water heating costs.
  • Wastewater Savings: When the community’s wastewater treatment load is reduced, cost benefits accrue to both the environment and your bottom-line. Many municipalities prorate sewer usage fees based upon the water meter reading.

Water Conservation