Category Archives: Ti’s Tips

Ti’s Tips – How to “winterize” your home: Tip #4

Winterizing Tip #4:

“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!

“Heat Tape” comes in different shapes, sizes & lengths but basically is a cord that when energized creates resistance heat.

Think of a rope wrapped around pipes that you plug-in like your electric heating blanket.

“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!

Ti’s Tips – How to “winterize” your home: Tip #3

Winterizing Tip #3:

Remember to insulate your outdoor hose-faucets (hose bibbs) & irrigation systems.

Remove any garden hoses from the faucets and 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.

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

Ti’s Tips – How to “winterize” your home: Tip #2

Winterizing Tip #2:

Turn off the water to exterior hose faucets.

Turn clockwise to shut-off your water valve.

Sometimes this can be tricky for two reasons:

First: do you know where the valve is?

Second: the valve may not work so you may be in a vulnerable position.

Turn clockwise to shut-off your water valve.

Ti’s Tips – How to “winterize” your home: Tip #1

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.

Let me assure you, the vast majority of freeze-damaged plumbing is completely avoidable.

1) Close or block-off your foundation vents: The foundation vents are circled in red. Winterizing Tip #1 is to close or block them off.

Foundation Vents

Don’t throw that down the garbage disposal!

The handy kitchen garbage disposal is useful for getting rid of a variety of food scraps & waste that might otherwise create unpleasant smells in the kitchen. However, many foods can actually damage your disposal or render it useless. These tips can help keep your garbage disposal running smoothly: 

1) Avoid putting fibrous foods or tough-skinned vegetables into the disposal. 

The strings of celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, corn husks, carrots, onion skins and potato peels can wrap around the blades, preventing proper operation of the motor. If you feel you must put fibrous foods into your disposal, do so in very small quantities and run the cold water while you operate the unit.

2) Don’t put extremely hard foods into the garbage disposal. 

Items such as bones and fruit pits can dull and even break the unit’s blades! In a worst-case scenario, hard foods will jam the disposal, preventing blades from turning and causing the motor to burn out.

3) Keep grease and greasy foods out of the disposal. 

Greasy foods will distribute a film over the blades, diminishing their effectiveness. Eventually, the grease will begin to decay, causing an unpleasant odor in the kitchen. Pouring grease into a garbage disposal can result in clogged drains when the grease solidifies.

4) Contrary to popular belief, egg shells have no place in the garbage disposal. 

Some people claim that egg shells sharpen the blades of the unit, but this is not true. The shell’s stringy membrane layer can wrap around the shredder ring and the shell itself will be ground to a sand-like consistency capable of clogging pipes.

5) Avoid putting “expandable” foods such as pasta and rice into the garbage disposal. 

Even small particles of these foods can swell with water and eventually clog the trap.

6) Exercise common sense, and don’t put non-food items into the garbage disposal. 

Avoid the example of homeowners who have placed rubber bands, twist ties, cigarette butts, pull tabs, fabric, sponges and plant clippings into their disposal units! These items cannot break down enough to wash down the drain.

7) Two methods to help tame stubborn garbage disposal odors:

*The first is to freeze white vinegar in ice-cube trays. Put the frozen cubes down the garbage disposal and turn it on. The texture of the hard ice will aid in the removal of odor-causing sludge & grime.

*The second method is “Borax.” This stuff is time-tested and proven to be an effective and inexpensive cleaner & deodorizer. Simply pour a few scoops into the disposal while running the water. I prefer to put the scoops of Borax in the sink and wash it into the disposal with running water.

In order to maximize results, do either of these when you plan on not using the unit for a few hours, like the last thing before bed. This way these products have the best fighting chance to eliminate and neutralize odor!

The garbage disposal is a sturdy kitchen appliance; however, even the best model cannot handle unsuitable items. If you run into any problems with your unit, you should seek the help of Sutherland Plumbing, LLC

Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal problems? Call (503) 719-4015 & speak with the pros at Sutherland Plumbing. Call today!

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

Question: “I’ve recently read some articles which say that utility companies, municipal water companies and the treatment plants 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?”

Answer: 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, 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!

Ti Sutherland, Master Plumber – Sutherland Plumbing, LLC

#COVID #portland #plumber #wipes

 

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

Protect your family, is the water pressure too high?

Ensuring Practical, Safe Working Water Pressure:

Municipal and private water companies use pumps & pumping stations to boost water pressure in the supply mains. This enables adequate water supply for fire-fighting and for high-rise buildings to overcome the loss of pressure as elevation increases. These pumps & pumping stations also maintain water supply to water towers and supply tanks. Pressure in water supply mains can exceed 200psi.

Most plumbing codes require water pressure reducing valves on domestic systems where the municipal water main’s pressure exceeds 80psi.

Higher pressures could rupture pipes, damage fixtures and injure the people using them.

Protect your family, have a water pressure reducing valve professionally installed. Call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015

Keep your home clean and your family safe!

Keep your home clean and your family safe! If your “Temperature/Pressure safety relief valve” is leaking, Call (503) 719-4015 and speak with the experts at Sutherland Plumbing today!

Is your Water Heater’s “Temperature/Pressure safety relief valve” dripping or leaking?

If so, it’s doing it’s job and trying to tell you, no it’s screaming at you:

“Houston, we have a problem!”

Most often the drain pipe and valve connected to the water heater runs right off the top or side of the heater and is open-ended just above floor level.

Don’t let anybody tell you that simply changing the safety valve will solve the problem. There’s very likely a larger core issue at hand causing the above mentioned symptom. Like excessive water pressure and/or trapped thermal expansion. Thermal expansion refers to a basic law of physics: anything that increases in temperature increases in size. The water inside your plumbing system is no exception. Trapped thermal expansion is a problem. The hot water has nowhere to expand to, so it takes the path of least resistance – you guessed it…leaking out of your safety valve often right onto the floor 😦

Fortunately there are specific remedies that work great to solve the problem and the plumbers at Sutherland Plumbing, LLC are experts at it!

Temp Pressure relief valve

Keep your home clean and your family safe! If your temperature/pressure safety relief valve is leaking – Call (503) 719-4015 and speak with the experts at Sutherland Plumbing today!

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:

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. Sometimes this can be tricky for two reasons:

First: do you know where the valve is?

Second: the valve may not work so you may be in a vulnerable position.

Turn clockwise to shut-off your water valve.

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

Remove any garden hoses from the faucets and 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.

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

4) “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!

“Heat Tape” comes in different shapes, sizes & lengths but basically is a cord that when energized creates resistance heat.

Think of a rope wrapped around pipes that you plug-in like your electric heating blanket.

“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. However, we do not recommend this step if there are children and/or pets in your home.

Opening cabinet doors is a free way to winterize your home. However, we do not recommend this step if there are children and/or pets in your home.

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