Category Archives: Plumbing Tips

Don’t have a plumbing nightmare before Christmas!

Now that the Holiday season is in full swing, we at Sutherland Plumbing would like to help our readers avoid a potential plumbing “nightmare before Christmas!” Click on the link below for a great article with some very useful plumbing & other home Holiday tips…

Don’t have a plumbing nightmare before Christmas!

Important information about Lead in drinking water!

From our neighbors across the river in the City of Vancouver, WA – here’s a primer on lead in drinking water:

“…lead in drinking water comes primarily from materials and components used in household plumbing. The more time water has been sitting in pipes, the more dissolved metals, such as lead, it may contain. Elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially in pregnant women and young children.

To help reduce potential exposure to lead: for any drinking water tap that has not been used for 6 hours or more, flush water through the tap until the water is noticeably colder before using for drinking or for cooking. You can use the flushed water for watering plants, washing dishes or general cleaning.

Use only water from the cold water tap for drinking, cooking and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead. If you are concerned about your water, you may wish to have your water tested.”

Information on lead in drinking water is available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or www.epa.gov/safewater/lead

Ti Sutherland, Master Plumber – Sutherland Plumbing, LLC (CCB# 200460)

Ti’s Tips – “The cheap comes out expensive…”

Ever heard it said: “The cheap comes out expensive in the end?” 

This especially applies in the plumbing trade! 

The image below is of two 1.5″ tubular slip nuts, I haven’t found a house yet without one. They make the seal under your sinks to the drain pipes. 

(Right) is a cheap plastic one, notice the huge crack

This resulted in a damaged wood cabinet, damaged wood floors, stinky, gross drain water all over the place & an unexpected service call from the plumber!

(Left) is a solid metal one.

Note: Sutherland Plumbing only uses the higher quality metal ones!

Had the original plumber invested about .50 cents more – all of this would have been avoided!Tubular Seals

Summer Reminder – How to check your water pressure!

To all of our valued customers:

Don’t get us wrong, we love all the work you’re giving us, but if you want to do something proactive to avoid unexpected & costly plumbing breakdowns – check & know what the water pressure in your home is.

Per the plumbing code (not to mention good practice) anything that’s at 80 PSI (pounds per square inch) or higher is excessive and MUST be regulated.

Excessive water pressure is analogous to high blood pressure. The devastating effects & havoc are caused over time. Irreversible damage can (and will) take its toll! High water pressure is one of the most common core problems discovered by plumbers day after day, service call after service call.

I’ll make this as easy as possible: Check the link below. It will take you to Amazon to purchase the very same tool we purchase as professionals to check your water pressure. It’s literally as easy as hooking up a garden hose!

Click here to check-out the “Rain Bird P2A – Pressure Gauge.”

The time for a new water heater is NOW!

There’s never been a better time to have your storage tank type water heater replaced!

SAVE $$$!

If you’re even considering a new water heater or have the slightest concern your existing one is “on its last legs,” it would do you well to familiarize yourself with some major changes and new efficiency standards which have totally transformed the water heater market as we know it.

Cutting through all the “blah blah blah” – this means purchasing a new water heater after April 16th 2015 as required by state and federal authorities, costs you more money! Although more efficient than ever, here are a few reasons why the new heaters cost more:

1) The appliance itself is more expensive right out of the box.

2) Installation can become more labor intensive.

3) The new units are becoming larger in size due to increased amounts of insulation. This means in many cases where space is already limited, options include but are not limited to: completely relocating the appliance, substantial demolition & construction to accommodate the newer larger size and retro-fitting for a tank-less model upgrade. The larger size heaters may also require additional manpower to lift and locate the unit.

4) Newer Energy Star Gas models require 120 volts in order to operate. This means not only might you need plumbing & mechanical work, but an electrician may need to be summoned to run a new electrical circuit. Sutherland Plumbing can provide this service upon request. (https://www.energystar.gov)

All of this means more $$$!

Make no mistake, the new appliances are more efficient – but not by a large margin compared to today’s already energy efficienct standards – unless viewed in the grand scheme of things. For example; it is estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy that a staggering 63 billion dollars will be saved in energy costs by 2044! Now zoom in from there and consider what part of that will be your share of the 63 billion over the course of 25 years. Remember, water heaters only last on average 15 years before requiring replacement. If you’re tracking the numbers – that’s approximately two brand new water heaters for you and your home.

More money spent by consumers on goods and services as described above improves the economy, while less money spent on utility bills conserves precious energy. You see the win-win situation there?

Installation of a new Bradford White 50 gallon gas or electric water heater.

This job includes:

  • Removal & disposal of old water heater.
  • Install new Bradford White 50 gallon gas or electric water heater.
  • New premium isolation (shut off) valves replaced / installed on Hot outgoing and Cold incoming.
  • Earthquake restraints: industrial grade Seismic restraint kit installed & fastened securely to framing structure with blocking as needed (aka studs).
  • Thermal expansion tank.
  • Solid brass and copper fittings (no steel).
  • COMPLETE 10 year WARRANTY on ALL parts.
  • Sutherland Plumbing’s labor warranty.
  • Required plumbing permit.

http://www.bradfordwhite.com

Call or email us today for a NO COST written estimate for a new water heater installation or to schedule an appointment!

Bradford White 50 Gallon Natural Gas Water Heater – Newly Installed by Sutherland Plumbing!

Ti’s Tips – How to Fix a Dripping Hose Faucet!

As the weather heats up, more and more people are using their garden hoses & outdoor hose faucets. This means many more service calls to fix “dripping” hose faucets. While some of these service calls require some specialized skills and materials to repair – many times all it takes is a basic hand tool like an adjustable wrench…

Adjustable Wrench
…and a few seconds to remedy.

Most outdoor hose faucets have what’s called a “packing nut.” It’s common after several dozen times of turning it on and off the packing loosens causing a slight drip. Sometimes if left unattended it worsens over time and drips or leaks profusely. You may be able to save yourself a service call by attempting to tighten the packing nut, just remember “right to tight & left to loose.”

Adjust your wrench or pliers to fit around the packing nut of the faucet – usually no more than a quarter to a half turn does the trick.

There, you’re done!Packing Nut

Take the money you would have given the plumber (to drive out a big truck full of equipment) to do the same job and go out to a nice dinner!

Summer Weather’s Here – How to Water Your Lawn!

How to Water Your Lawn:

Knowing how to water a lawn the right way is critical to the overall health of your lawn. The frequency and amount of water you apply to grass may vary – depending on soil, time of year, weather conditions, type of grass, and so on. Follow these tips when watering, and your lawn will shine:

1) Water to the proper depth: Moisture should penetrate to about 6 to 8 inches deep.  Watering less deeply results in a shallow-rooted lawn that dries out quickly.

On the other hand, applying water that penetrates much deeper than 6 to 8 inches is wasteful because most grass roots don’t grow longer than that.

Check how deeply the water penetrates your lawn by probing the ground with a stiff metal rod or long screwdriver. The rod moves easily through wet soil and then stops, or becomes difficult to push, when it reaches dry soil.

2) Allow the lawn to partially dry out between watering: This step creates the good moisture-air relationship that is essential for healthy roots. The lawn shows you when it’s getting dry and needs water: When you walk on the grass, you can look back and see your footprints. The grass also changes color from bright green to a dull, almost smoky, grayish-blue when it is dry.

3) Avoid runoff: If you apply water faster than the lawn can absorb it, which happens with many types of sprinklers, the water runs off into street gutters and into oblivion. That’s wasteful, so don’t do that. Instead, water in short intervals of about 10 to 15 minutes, turn off the water (or move the sprinkler) to let the water soak in, and then turn the sprinkler back on for another 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this procedure until you get the water down to about 6 to 8 inches deep.

You can avoid runoff in other ways. One way is to use sprinklers that apply water very slowly. The other method is to get rid of “thatch,” a layer of organic crud that builds up near the surface of a lawn and dramatically slows water penetration.

4) Water in the morning: Early morning is the best time to water. The weather is usually cool and calm, humidity is usually high, and water evaporates less. The wind also doesn’t blow the water into the neighbor’s yard! Morning watering gives the lawn a chance to dry off before evening, which can protect your lawn from disease and pests.

5) In midsummer, most lawns need between 1 and 2 inches of water per week: You can apply the whole amount of water once a week, but most people get better results by splitting it into two applications. In sandy soils where the water penetrates quickly, splitting the water into three applications may work better. Watering more frequently than three times a week is verboten.

6) Watch your lawn and make appropriate adjustments: If the lawn doesn’t seem to dry out between waterings, stretch the intervals in between. If the water doesn’t get deep enough, apply a little more at each watering, but water less often. If everything seems fine, try cutting back on the amount you apply anyway and see what happens. Maybe you can conserve some of that valuable resource.

7) Watering newly planted lawns is a whole different ball of wax: You need to water new lawns more often until the grass plants become established.

 

 

Plumbing Can Be Beautiful!

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

 

 

Sutherland Plumbing Wishes You a Happy 2019!

Happy New Year from Sutherland Plumbing!

Ti’s Tips – How to “winterize” your home:

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:

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.

Turn clockwise to shut-off your water valve.

Turn clockwise to shut-off your water valve.

3) At the very least – Remember to insulate your outdoor hose-faucets & irrigation systems.

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!

4) 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!

5) 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!  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, that 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!

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 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 flashlight, he emerges some time later, t-shirt soaked with copper-colored 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 shape.”

Courtesy of: Chadwicks.ie