Category Archives: Outdoor Plumbing

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.

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:

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/article/278747

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.

 

Sutherland Plumbing Wishes You a Happy 2018!

Happy New Year from Sutherland Plumbing.

Winter is officially here! The weather will inevitably bring freezing temperatures that have the potential to cause havoc on plumbing systems!

Time to “winterize.” “Winterizing” means: to adapt or prepare something for use in cold weather.

Every year around this time, plumbers are called-out to urgent situations resulting from frozen plumbing. If it gets really bad this winter you may find it more likely to see Santa and his reindeer flying around than a plumber – because every one of us is busy fixing broken plumbing pipes! Let me assure you, the vast majority of freeze-damaged plumbing is completely avoidable.

Here are a few very basic things that you can do to put you & your home at an advantage:

1) Close or block-off your foundation vents:

Foundation Vents

The foundation vents are circled in red. Winterizing Tip #1 is to close or block them off.

2) Turn off the water to exterior hose faucets:

Turn clockwise to shut-off your water valve.

Turn clockwise to shut-off your water valve.

Sometimes this one can be tricky for two reasons: First – do you know where the valve is? Second – the valve may not work properly so you might be in a vulnerable position.

At the very least – remove any garden hoses from the faucets & cover the faucet with something that will insulate & protect it from freezing temperatures. Almost every home center and hardware store sells products made specifically for this.

Covered Faucet

A quick, inexpensive trip to your local hardware store or home center and you can help winterize your home yourself!

Any pipes or plumbing fixtures that have the potential to freeze due to exposure should be drained and empty of fluid. It’s actually not the cold that damages pipes – it’s the liquid inside that freezes, expands & tears the pipe or fixture apart. At thaw, the water or liquid becomes fluid again and: “Houston, we have a problem!”

If you’re not sure or don’t have the ability to evacuate exposed plumbing pipes, then try to find a method of providing a heat source to the fixture. A very common product for this is referred to as ” heat tape”. It comes in different sizes, shapes, lengths & brand names, but basically is a cord of some kind that when energized creates resistance heat. Think of a rope wrapped around pipes that you plug-in like your electric heating blanket.

Heat Tape

“Heat Tape” is another inexpensive way you can “winterize” your own home with just a quick trip to your local hardware store or home center!

3) Open cabinet doors where plumbing is located on exterior walls:

This will allow a better chance for the heat from the room to convect to the pipes inside the wall.

Why is “winterizing” your home or business so important?

The average cost per emergency service call during a hard-freeze with broken pipes is
$450.00!  That’s assuming you can actually get a plumber to your door!

Most times when I meet people to repair their emergency freeze-damaged pipes, I tell them: “Had it been winterized it wouldn’t have happened.” The most common response is: “I didn’t even know I was supposed to do that!”

I’ve seen many winters where every plumber in town has an extremely long list, full of customers with emergencies, with many thousands of dollars in property damage. I’ll bet at that moment the nominal fee to have a professional plumber check things out before the freeze would seem like small potatoes!

Not sure if your Home or Business is ready for winter? Call the pros at Sutherland Plumbing and we’ll come and take a look for you! Call (503) 719-4015. Don’t delay this important call!

Let’s Meet Katrina Sutherland (Part 4) – “The Real Deal!”

Sutherland Plumbing’s Co-Founder & Co-Owner, Katrina Sutherland testing our new Vacuum Excavator made by “Ditch Witch” a great American company!!!

Here’s Sutherland Plumbing’s New Vacuum Excavator In Action!

Sutherland Plumbing’s John Benton & Cameron Bloom working hard with Sutherland Plumbing’s new Vacuum Excavator!  The Vacuum Excavator is made by Ditch Witch – one of America’s premier construction industry equipment manufacturers!

The Vacuum Excavator is Sutherland Plumbing’s newest team member.  At Sutherland Plumbing, we really are ready for virtually everything!  Sutherland Plumbing’s Vacuum Excavator saves hours of messy digging on your property.  The Vacuum Excavator is one of the most important tools a plumbing company can own.  Our new Excavator is used for “Line Location,” including: Power, Gas, Electric, Water, Sewer and Communication lines.  One of the main reasons you may see this machine in action on your property would be to Quickly, Efficiently and Neatly dig around your water meter to access the main water line!  And that’s just a short description of how much the Vacuum Excavator can really do.  Stay tuned for more about Vacuum Excavation from Sutherland Plumbing, and a “shout-out” to the folks at the Ditch Witch Company for this top-notch, outstanding machine!

Let’s Meet Sutherland Plumbing’s Newest Team Member!

The New Vacuum Excavator Arrives at Sutherland Plumbing!

The Vacuum Excavator is made by Ditch Witch – one of America’s premier construction industry equipment manufacturers.

The Vacuum Excavator is Sutherland Plumbing’s newest team member.  At Sutherland Plumbing, we really are ready for virtually everything!  Sutherland Plumbing’s Vacuum Excavator saves hours of messy digging on your property.  The Vacuum Excavator is one of the most important tools a plumbing company can own.  Our new Excavator is used for “Line Location,” including: Power, Gas, Electric, Water, Sewer and Communication lines.  One of the main reasons you may see this machine in action on your property would be to Quickly, Efficiently and Neatly dig around your water meter to access the main water line!  And that’s just a short description of how much the Vacuum Excavator can really do.  Stay tuned for more about Vacuum Excavation from Sutherland Plumbing, and a “shout-out” to the folks at the Ditch Witch Company for this top-notch, outstanding machine!

The Vacuum Excavator arrives at Sutherland Plumbing…

…and the Excavator is ready for some brand new logos….

…new Logos on, Ready for Action!

Sutherland Plumbing’s Vacuum Excavator is about to get hooked up to the truck and get to work!

All hooked-up, Ready to go!

 

 

Plumbing Can Be Beautiful!!!

While we at Sutherland Plumbing take pride in our daily hard work and ability to turn our customers’ unfortunate “problems” into “opportunities for solutions.” We also acknowledge that Plumbing can be beautiful, too…

 

 

The Proof is in The Reviews – Thank You to our Customers!!!

May 25th 2017

This is the first review I’ve ever written and Sutherland Plumbing deserves it!

John and his crew were extremely professional and came over one day to check everything in the house to determine what might have caused our high water bills.

They came back a few days later to replace the upstairs and downstairs “contractor special” toilets; a lowboy, under the stairs, a water heater (including a drip pan & hose to the crawl space in case of an overflow leak) and the outdoor hose faucet with a non-freeze unit.

John explained everything thoroughly, they worked quickly, gave us discounts, used only high grade materials, covered their work shoes and left everything spotless!!! What more could you ask for? You couldn’t even tell they had been here!

And, without mentioning it, John replaced one of the shower heads and even put a light source & switch in the crawl space so that we no longer have to go down there like miners with our flashlight and lantern!

When you consider that we now have low flush, one-piece “Toto” toilets, a secured and potentially flood proof Bradford-White water heater, crawl space lighting and a non-frost outdoor water outlet that will be trouble proof for many years to come, it was worth it.

If you want to use lesser quality/lower price products, they might not be the company for you. But, if you want long-term, solid products put in with excellent workmanship, then Sutherland Plumbing are the ones to call.

5 Stars (Yelp)

The Kent Family – Portland, OR

***

May 13th 2017

Value. Often it’s the peace of mind in knowing you received an excellent product with exceptional service at a fair cost, along with a great warranty.

I’m the maintenance coordinator of a 38 unit condo complex, so I see a lot of contractors every week. When my own hot water heater needed to be replaced, I called Sutherland Plumbing. John was quick to return my call, provided a written estimate right away and by the luck of a canceled appointment, was able to get out to me the same day (which is really helpful when you have no hot water in the house)!

John and Cameron were efficient, clean & punctual. They put plastic covers on the stairs & entryway and wore shoe covers, etc. They improved on the existing situation, explained what they did and how to operate the new unit, cleaned their work area to spotless when finished and the price came in at bid, even showing me how to save $25 on the bill. Nobody likes to have to come out of pocket for unexpected homeowner repairs but I was very satisfied with a job exceptionally well done.

Value. I found it with Sutherland Plumbing and give them my highest recommendation without hesitation!

5 Stars (Yelp)

Charles M – Lake Oswego, OR

***

May 1st 2017

You know when something important or expensive breaks, it’s usually at two o’clock in the morning on a Sunday and no one will help you for days? 

Sutherland Plumbing will help you ASAP.

I’ve called Sutherland Plumbing on multiple occasions. They’ve always been honest, forthright, realistic in their quotes and delivery of work quality. They show up when they say they will and are good at communicating. They are professional, courteous and respectful.

I know Sutherland Plumbing will fix things the right way, the first time and I trust them not to try and up-sell me on things I don’t need or want.

I trust them in my home and I trust them to help me when I need a plumbing expert. Every time.

5 Stars (Yelp)

Sean J – Hillsboro, OR

***

Sutherland Plumbing Gets the Job Done – No Matter What!!!

Sean Anderson is Always First to Volunteer for the Dirty Work!!

It’s a Dirty Job but Someone Has to do it!!

 

Spring Has Sprung!

“Spring has sprung” after an unusually long & cold winter here in the Portland Metro area. This made the last few months an extremely busy yet fun and exciting time for the crew here at Sutherland Plumbing!

Here’s a few of our favorite moments from this winter:

 An unusually cold winter winds to an end in Portland…

Even in the Snow – Sutherland Plumbing is Always Stocked-Up for our Customers!

Sutherland Plumbing Heavy Duty Water-Proof Shoeboot Covers to Protect your Floors!

Snow Day!

Sun, rain, snow we go!

Nothing stops this guy!! Rain, cold, sleet or snow…Sean Anderson always rises to the occasion!

Hot & Cold Frost-Proof Hose Spigot – Installed by Sean Anderson!