Category Archives: Ti’s Tips

Ti’s Tips Reminder – How to check your water pressure!

To all of my valued customers: Don’t get me wrong, I love all the work you’re giving me, 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.”

Ti’s Tips, Reminder – Act NOW before it’s too late!!

Ignoring symptoms of a failing plumbing system – i.e. Weird or strange sounds, leaks, drips, loose & wobbly faucets or fittings, slow or clogged drains, or poor water pressure etc. is like ignoring a traffic citation. It can’t magically vanish, it only gets worse over time…………

Don’t ignore symptoms of a failing plumbing system. Call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015. Call today!

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

Winter is almost 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 an average and assumes your paying time-and-a-half or even double-time, travel and service call charges, materials & emergency dispatching fees. That’s also 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!

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!

Ti’s Tips – How to fix a dripping hose faucet…

As the weather heats up, more and more people are using their garden hoses and outdoor hose faucets. This means many more service calls to fix “dripping” hose faucets. While some of the 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/leaks profusely. You may be able to save yourself a service call by attempting to tighten the packing nut, just remember right to tight and 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. 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. With what plumbers are charging for service calls these days – make it a steak dinner!

Packing Nut

 

Ti’s Tips Reminder – Oh no, Clogged Drains!

Hi Everyone!

I’m Ti Sutherland, Co-Owner & Master Plumber for Sutherland Plumbing in Portland, Oregon.  Here at Sutherland Plumbing, we strive to be the Portland Metro area’s #1 family-owned plumbing service.  Our customers receive top-quality work from technicians who are always 100% drug-free.  But that’s not all.  At Sutherland Plumbing we understand the importance for our customers to keep their plumbing systems running smoothly and efficiently all year-round.

So it’s in the spirit of “shared knowledge” that I present reminders from my column – “Ti’s Tips” :

Ti’s Tips Reminder – Oh no, Clogged Drains!

The use of so-called liquid drain cleaners or openers is discouraged! There is NO marvel of design in these products. Most are made of highly caustic acids that only serve to dissolve, eat and destroy anything in their path including your plumbing pipes. Some even go as far as to claim “safe for all pipes” even if the results from using these products are temporary at best. You be the judge. Drains clog for the most part as a result of grease, fats, oils and other matter accumulating inside the pipe. In order to CLEAN the drain one must scour the inside with proper equipment and knowledge. This is commonly referred to as snaking or “rootering” the drain. There is a big difference between “CLEANING” the drain as opposed to “OPENING” the drain. Baking soda and vinegar? Use at your own risk. Those items work best when baking or cooking food and are wasted when poured down the drain!  Don’t say we didn’t warn you!Image

Ti’s Tips – How to check your water pressure!

To all of my valued customers: Don’t get me wrong, I love all the work you’re giving me, 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.”

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

Winter is upon us! 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 an average and assumes your paying time-and-a-half or even double-time, travel and service call charges, materials & emergency dispatching fees. That’s also 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!

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!

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

Ti’s Tips – What would you do with an extra $20 per month?

What would you do with an extra $20 per month?

*That’s the next premium channel line up package with your cable TV / internet provider!

*That’s at least 4 premium coffee drinks!

*That’s about 75 miles traveled in an average car!

*That’s two movie tickets for the at your local cinema!

*Heck, in a year were getting close to a car payment!!!

Unfortunately, it’s also about how much money many unsuspecting homeowners pay for water that flows literally right down the drain………

Dripping faucets & weepy toilets add up very quickly. Many toilets can weep water completely undetected. Here’s a simple trick to see if your toilets are up to par:

Simply add two or three drops of food coloring in the back of the toilet tank. Give it 10 minutes or so.  When you return – if the water in the bowl is colored with the food coloring – you have a weeping toilet! Go ahead and try this test – it’s simple, quick and cheap!

What did you spend $20.00 on last?

Do you suspect a leak in your home or business maybe literally "pouring money down the drain?" Simply try the test mentioned above, or you can contact the pros at Sutherland Plumbing, LLC.  Simply go to our main website at: www.sutherlandplumbing.com and click on the "ask the plumber a question" link right at the top of our website!

Do you suspect a leak in your home or business maybe literally “pouring money down the drain?” Simply try the test mentioned above, or you can contact the pros at Sutherland Plumbing, LLC. Simply go to our main website at: http://www.sutherlandplumbing.com and click on the “ask the plumber a question” link right at the top of our website!