Tag Archives: home plumbing

4 Common Winter Plumbing Concerns

4 Common Winter Plumbing ConcernsCold weather can be punishing to pipes and water heaters and taking steps to protect them will save you time, hassle and discomfort. As the temperature drops, be aware of these four winter plumbing concerns and how you can avoid the problems they cause.

Water Pipes

  1. They freeze inside your home. Exceptionally cold weather can make the water freeze inside the pipes in your walls or basement. Homes that lack insulation are most vulnerable, as are vacant homes whose heating systems have been turned off.

Many plumbers and insurance companies recommend leaving the heat set at 55 degrees F when leaving for a winter vacation. You can also leave the cabinet doors under sinks open to prevent the pipes from freezing. Letting the faucets drip will also reduce the risk of frozen pipes.

  1. They freeze outside your home. Even though they won’t cause the same amount of serious damage as a burst interior pipe will, they’re still serious winter plumbing concerns. Before subfreezing temperatures descend, remove the hose. Locate the shutoff valve to the outdoor spigot and turn it off. Turn on the spigot to drain any remaining water.

Water Heater Problems

  1. When the water heater has a buildup of dissolved solids on the bottom, it won’t heat as efficiently or quickly in the winter, especially if it uses gas. If you haven’t flushed a few quarts of water from the heater recently, you could be spending more than you should to heat it. Telltale signs include rumbling or gurgling sounds while it’s heating or it takes substantially longer to heat the water during periods of high demand.
  2. Water heater failure often occurs in the winter because it has to work harder to heat the colder incoming water. These appliances last between eight and 12 years. Heavy use and lack of maintenance will shorten it.

These winter plumbing concerns are largely avoidable through regular maintenance in the case of water heaters, and awareness of weather conditions for your pipes. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted services for Portland-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Saving Water With Your Shower

Saving Water With Your ShowerThe great thing about saving water in the home is that you’re accomplishing two goals at once — conserving a valuable natural resource and saving money on your water bill. It’s a win-win situation. Nowadays, not only does technology offer low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets to help reduce water use; the federal Environmental Protection Agency runs a program, WaterSense, that certifies fixtures that reduce water use below designated levels.

The following are some WaterSense approved methods to save water in your home:

  • In the shower. Save water by taking shorter showers, and when deciding between a shower and a bath, opting for the shower. It uses a lot less water. Avoid running the shower before you’re ready to step into it. Install low-flow showerheads. These fixtures spray less than 2 gallons of water, whereas an industry-standard showerhead will deliver 2.5 gallons or more. In the shower, you likely won’t notice that the low-flow showerhead is delivering significantly less water than one that’s not rated as low-flow.
  • Toilets. More than 60 models of WaterSense-certified toilets are available for purchase. Most water-efficient models flush 20 percent less water than a standard 1.6-gallon-per-flush toilet. Dual-flush models are available that provide two flush options – 0.8 gallons for removing liquid waste and 1.6 gallons for removing solid waste. WaterSense-certified toilets, in a typical household, can save 5,000 gallons of water annually.
  • Bathroom faucets. Low-flow bathroom sink faucets are limited to delivering 2.2 gallons or less per minute, and most spray between 0.8 and 1.5 gallons per minute. This is a big improvement over faucets as recent as the early 1990’s that delivered 3-7 gallons per minute. As with low-flow showerheads, they still provide the impression of decent water pressure. When using the bathroom faucet, save water by not keeping it flowing full-blast when you’re not using it (such as the whole time you’re brushing your teeth).

For more advice on conserving water with low-flow showerheads and other plumbing fixtures, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We provide quality plumbing, electrical and HVAC services in the Portland area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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