Category Archives: Water Leaks

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 make use of water from leaky faucets – Ti’s Tips!

While you’re waiting for one of Sutherland Plumbing’s top-notch technicians to arrive and repair your leaky faucet – put a bucket under the faucet to catch the drip. There are more than a few things you can use the water for: flushing toilets or watering plants are just a couple. The possibilities are endless!

To flush a toilet with a bucket of water, expeditiously pour its contents straight  into the bowl. Remember – you’ll roughly need as much water in the bucket as is in the tank. So if you have an older non-efficient toilet, it’s likely you’ll need around 3 gallons to empty the toilet bowl of its contents. A newer, more modern water-saver toilet only requires 1.6 gallons or less.

What are you doing with an old toilet that wastes water and money anyway? When the Sutherland Plumbing technician arrives, remember to tell him that you need an upgrade!

We carry as regular stock premium, high-efficiency 1.28 gallons per flush toilets on our trucks. Call Sutherland Plumbing today!

Leaky Faucet

You can temporarily make good use of water from leaky faucets, but it’s best to call the experts at Sutherland Plumbing before the issue gets worse. Call (503) 719-4015 and have the issue resolved as soon as possible!

Easy Way to Avoid a Bathroom Flood – Ti’s Tips

Look inside your toilet tank.  If there are bolts in the bottom that look like the picture below (corroded & rusty) – then it’s only a matter of time before they break off and water leaks and floods all over the bathroom floor!

Toilet tank bolts

Avoid a messy toilet flood in your bathroom! Call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015.

Ti’s Tips Reminder – “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

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:

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


Another great review from another great customer!!

Sutherland Plumbing deserves more than five stars!  After receiving my last water bill from Sunrise Water it was apparent that I had a leak in my water system.  After looking at the situation, I found that I had a major leak in my main water service line between the water meter and my home.  I called two different plumbing companies in the local area – one of them three times in three days and never received a call back.  The second one called back but could not make an appointment with me for 7 days.  I was telling my son about the problem I was having getting a plumber to call me back.  My son said that he knew of a plumbing company called Sutherland Plumbing, that he had called and they got back to him on the phone in a matter of minutes.  I placed a call to Sutherland Plumbing and left a message.  Sure enough, I received a call from Ti Sutherland within 10 minutes.  We discussed the problem and he asked if I could text him some pictures of the layout of the yard so that he could send me a bid to replace the water line.  I requested that he replace the water line because it had broken two previous times and I was tired of the problem.  Ti sent me a bid the next day and we then set up a time for the repair.  At the same time I  found that my neighbor had the same problem and needed to have her water line replaced!

The morning of the appointment I received a call from Ti around 7:30am and his team was on the job by 8am sharp.  No playing around, these guys are professionals.  They set up their vacuum digging machine and their underground boring machine and by noon had a new water line running to the crawl space under the house.  This was no easy job as they had to run about 100 feet of water line and then make all the connections.  We were up and running with water in no time.  The neat part was that they never had to dig up the yard.  Just enough digging to find the utilities, electric, gas, tv cable, etc.  I was really impressed when I saw Ti and his employees put on “booties” to come in the house.  They also covered everything with throw carpets and tarps so as not to track any mud into the house or even on the concrete.  Yes, they even covered the concrete walkways so as not to track mud on them!

The same day they also did a similar job at my neighbor’s home.  We were very impressed with their professionalism.  If you were to look at the yard you would not be able to tell that they had even disturbed the grounds.  Everything looked as if they had not even been here.  I will never call another plumbing company.  Sutherland Plumbing is the only one I will ever call.  They could teach the other guys how a business should be run.  Look up the definition of “Professional” and you will find SUTHERLAND PLUMBING.  Prompt, efficient, professional, honest and friendly!

Ti, you and the guys are the best in the business.  Keep up the great work!

5 Stars (Yelp)

Gary R – Happy Valley, OR

SP Sand

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


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!

Yet another outstanding review for Sutherland Plumbing!

November 14, 2014

Professional.  Creative.  Informative.  Friendly.  Visionary.

Those are not always the adjectives you’d think of for a plumber, but they fit Ti Sutherland perfectly.

We had a leak spring-up in the pipe from the water main to our house.  A nice little river running down our sidewalk!  We had the Water Bureau guy out and he gave us an initial assessment and thoughts about the type of work that the plumber we’d hire would have to do.  We had several plumbers come out and give us quotes.

While Ti was not the cheapest, he had the best plan.  We were able to ask him questions and get well thought-out answers.  Of all the plumbers, he was the only one to look in the crawlspace to see how the water was feeding into the house beyond the initial shut-off valve in the garage.  One plumber told us they’d have to dig up the sidewalk and re-pour the concrete, which sounded crazy expensive.  Another plumber was going to jackhammer a corner of our garage to re-use existing steel pipes that did not have much time left.

Ti subcontracted some great people who were able to bore a hole from the water main, under the sidewalk, under our garage, and in to our crawlspace.  Ti then did some masterful work creating a new, easily accessible shut-off valve while redoing the spigot at the front of the garage with an easy to use winterizing valve. This turned our house in to a closed (1 way) system, and normalized the water pressure.

After the work was done, Ti took us through all of the modifications and showed us how everything works.  He also gave us some thoughts about the future needs of our house and helped us start planning for eventual updates that will need to happen.

Ti was up front about pricing, and stuck to his quote.  The parts he used are very high quality, and we’re extremely pleased with the quality of work.  We will definitely look to work with him again when we need a plumber!

5 Stars (Yelp)

Sam W – Portland, OR