Tag Archives: Plumbing

Plumbing Upgrades You Need This Season

Plumbing Upgrades You Need This SeasonNow that summer is waning and you’re spending more time indoors again, it’s a good opportunity to make some beneficial plumbing upgrades around your home. Here are five upgrade suggestions that can lower your water and energy bills, increase your comfort and help the environment too:

Invest in a New Water Heater

If your water heater is 10 or more years old, it can be up to 20 percent less efficient than the new appliances on the market. Today’s gas-fired storage tank water heaters are better insulated to reduce standby heat losses, and they offer features like electrical igniters and flu damper controls to curb your gas consumption.

Install Low-Flow Fixtures

Did you know that faucets and showers account for about one-quarter of the total household water usage in an average home? Installing low-flow fixtures can cut that consumption by 30 to 50 percent and bring you significant savings on your water and energy bills.

Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Toilet

Replacing the water-guzzling older toilets in your home with high-efficiency models is a great way to reduce your water bills and help the environment too. The latest models include dual-flush toilets that use jet-powered siphonic flushing action to empty the bowl completely while using as little as .9 gallons of water.

Have Pressure-Compensating Valves Installed

Do you notice a distinctly unpleasant pressure and temperature change when you have the shower running and someone flushes or turns on a faucet elsewhere in your home? If you have a pressure-compensating valve installed, you can set it and never experience more than a three-degree temperature change again.

Install a Water Filtration System

If the taste or quality of your home’s water supply is less than ideal, consider adding a point-of-use or whole-house filtration system. A licensed plumber can test your water and help you choose the right system, such as activated-charcoal to remove odors and improve taste, reverse-osmosis to filter out sediment, UV light to kill bacteria and viruses, or a multi-stage system with combined capabilities.

To learn more about plumbing upgrades for your Portland home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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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The Main Plumbing Problems in the Summer

The Main Plumbing Problems in the SummerIn the summertime when the weather is lovely, your home’s plumbing system gets a workout — both indoors and out. Staying vigilant for summer plumbing problems can help you avoid unnecessarily high water bills or costly water damage to your home.

Here are the main problems to watch out for:

Toilet Clogs

When your children are off school for the summer, the toilets in your home will get used a lot more. Since it’s impossible to continuously monitor exactly what’s going down the drain, there’s a greater chance that your toilets will get clogged by excessive amounts of toilet paper or foreign objects being flushed. You can try clearing a clog with a plunger, but if it’s stubborn, you may need help from a plumbing pro who has the skills and specialized tools to get your toilet clog free.

Outdoor Hose Bib Damage

If the hose bib wasn’t drained and insulated last fall, it may have frozen and cracked at some point during the winter months. To prevent water waste and the risk of a leak around your exterior wall and foundation, check for leaks before you attach and begin using the hose this summer.

Sprinkler System Leaks

An automatic sprinkler system makes it easier to keep your landscaping green and healthy during the summer, but leaks in the system can damage your foundation or basement, and increase your water bill dramatically. You can prevent both these issues by checking for damaged or clogged sprinkler heads and testing for leaks before you start using the sprinkler system this summer.

If you need expert help from a licensed plumber to solve summer plumbing problems in your West Linn-area home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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

Benefits of Installing a Tankless Water Heater

Benefits of Installing a Tankless Water HeaterIf you’ve been thinking about switching to an on-demand or tankless water heater from a storage tank model, you might be put off by the heftier price tag and higher installation costs. To make an informed decision on which type is the right option, be sure to weigh the upfront costs against the following benefits you’ll gain from going tankless.

Prolonged Lifespan

On-demand units have the longest lifespan of all the different types of water heaters, providing an average of 20 years of reliable service. If you’re replacing a storage tank model with an expected lifespan of just 10–13 years, be sure to factor in these additional savings for a more accurate cost comparison.

Operating Cost Savings

Switching to a tankless water heater can reduce your household energy consumption and utility bills. Water is heated on demand, so the appliance doesn’t need to cycle continuously to maintain the temperature of 40 or 60 gallons of hot water. Over the years, this can add up to substantial savings that more than offset the higher initial cost.

Flexible Placement Choices

Tankless units are typically hung on a wall, and their compact size that’s comparable to a small suitcase provides a lot of flexibility in where they can be placed. The only constraints on the choice of location are the necessary connections to the gas and electrical lines.

Cleaner Hot Water

When you have a tank-type appliance, there are accumulations of sediment, scale and rust inside the tank, so the hot water that flows from your fixtures contains minute bits of all three. With an on-demand model, the water gets heated right in the piping, so it’s free from such particles.

Continuous Supply

Turning on a faucet or shower activates an on-demand heater, and it typically takes a few seconds for hot water to begin flowing. Once it does, there’s a limitless supply, so you won’t run out or have to wait for long periods while a tank full heats up.

To learn more benefits of installing a tankless hot water heater in your Portland home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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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Common Plumbing Problems: How To

Common Plumbing Problems: How ToDid you know a dripping faucet wastes enough water in one year to fill the average water heater tank 50 times? That’s nearly one tank a week! If common plumbing problems have you puzzled or fearful you’ll make matters worse, read these tips on how to solve basic problems with your home’s plumbing and fixtures. You’ll help conserve a precious resource and save money.

Running Toilets

If you’re tired of jiggling the toilet handle, it’s time to fix it. The problem of running toilets is usually with the chain or the flapper and seat. If it’s the chain, bring in the slack so it doesn’t get caught in the flapper. When it’s a flapper and seat problem, try cleaning these parts. If that doesn’t work, pick up a new assembly at your home store.

Water Pressure

Low water pressure is often due to blockages in aging pipes, fixtures and appliances. If low water pressure is isolated to one outlet or fixture, such as a shower head, you’re in luck. Simply clean or replace the fixture.

High water pressure throughout your home usually requires adjusting the water pressure regulator. This device is typically located at the connection of the main water line to your home’s plumbing. This is actually a job for your plumbing professional.

Slow Or Clogged Drains

If there ever was a common plumbing problem, it’s slow or clogged drains. Like water pressure problems, the problem may not be as severe if it’s isolated to one drain. If slow draining is occurring throughout your home, you have a problem in the main drain line or the vent line.

For isolated problems, such as a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink, turn off the water. Next, place a bucket under the trap. Remove the trap. Be ready in case a lot of dirty water flushes out, but that’s what you want. Clean the trap out and re-install it.

If you need help with common plumbing problems, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today. Proudly serving the Portland metro area for over 40 years!

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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Easy to Solve Common Water Pressure Problems

Easy to Solve Common Water Pressure ProblemsDealing with poor water pressure is an inconvenience, but many homeowners simply live with the annoyance because they don’t realize there are some relatively simple fixes that might restore an ample flow. Here’s how to solve some common water pressure problems that occur in Portland homes.

Individual Plumbing Fixtures With Low Pressure

If water pressure has decreased at just one faucet or showerhead, you may be able to correct the underlying cause yourself if it’s clogged with sediment or scale deposits. To attempt a faucet fix, unscrew the aerator and rinse the screen thoroughly to clear out any tiny sediment particles. If the problem is a scale buildup, mix a 50/50 water/vinegar solution and soak the aerator for 20 minutes or longer until the minerals dissolve. With a showerhead, remove the nozzle end and follow the same steps. If the problem persists, it’s time to replace the aerator or showerhead.

Poor Hot Water Pressure

If you notice a lack of pressure on the hot water supply at all of your plumbing fixtures, the likely issue is a significant sediment buildup in your water heater tank. If you haven’t had the tank flushed in a while, a serious accumulation can clog up the water lines and block the tank’s drain and pressure relief valves. To avoid any potential safety hazards, it’s wise to get the appliance inspected, drained and flushed by a professional plumber.

Low Pressure Throughout Your Home

If your entire plumbing system suffers from insufficient cold water pressure, make certain that the home’s main water valve is open all the way. If the valve is fully open, it’s best to have a licensed plumber assess your system. A pro may discover that pressure is low in your neighborhood, and suggest installing a pressure booster. There may be a leak that requires repair in your home’s main supply line. A malfunctioning reducing valve on the system is another possibility, or aging galvanized plumbing pipes that are corroded and due for replacement.

For expert help solving water pressure problems in your Metro Portland home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical.

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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Ways to Decide if You Should Get a Plumbing Upgrade

Ways to Decide if You Should Get a Plumbing UpgradeYour plumbing is a vital household system that may not get a lot of attention until age-related problems begin to develop. If you don’t have the problems identified and addressed, you can end up dealing with costly water damage to your home. Learning how to recognize the warning signs of plumbing deterioration gives you an opportunity to get professional advice about whether a plumbing upgrade is needed before extensive damage occurs.

Ways to Tell You Have Problematic Plumbing

If you can relate to one or more of the following plumbing issues, it’s wise to have a licensed plumber inspect your system to help you decide if an upgrade is warranted.

  • Galvanized piping. If your home still has galvanized piping, you may not realize that it can be badly corroded on the inside even though it appears to be in good shape because the outside is treated against corrosion. If you start to experience issues with low pressure and frequent clogs, corroded plumbing pipes may be the cause.
  • Mixed materials. If a portion of your galvanized piping was replaced with copper and dielectric unions weren’t used between the two materials, your system can deteriorate faster than expected due to metal incompatibility.
  • Advancing age. The useful lifespan of residential plumbing system components is typically about 60 years. If your home is approaching that age, you have a chance to avoid extensive problems or damage by having the system assessed and replaced if it’s advisable.
  • Evidence of decay. You can tell a lot about the condition of your plumbing system by doing periodic checks on any pipes that you can easily access. Check the pipes coming off the water heater, running to the kitchen and bathroom sinks, or lines situated in unfinished spaces like the garage. Look for discoloration, dimpling or flaking metal, and fresh or dried water stains on adjacent surfaces. An increase in minor leaks and/or rusty-looking, discolored water coming from the faucets are other signs of deteriorated plumbing. Evidence of decay is not always easy to spot by the untrained eye.

For expert advice about whether a plumbing upgrade is necessary in your Portland-area home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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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These are the Keys to Preventing Freezing Pipe Bursts

These are the Keys to Preventing Freezing Pipe BurstsPipe bursts can really ruin your day. Protecting your pipes when the Portland weather freezes can prevent devastating damage to your home and belongings as well as save you a considerable amount of money in cleanup costs. Here’s how to keep your pipes cozy to prevent them from freezing in the winter.

Insulate Your Pipes

Preventing pipe bursts starts with adequate insulation. Use inexpensive, pre-fabricated foam pipe insulation sleeves to insulate both hot and cold water pipes that run exposed through the basement, crawlspace, or other cold area. This is a good time to add an insulating jacket to your water heater to save on your energy bill.

Attach a Heat Cable to Your Pipes

When pipe bursts seem imminent due to freezing weather in the forecast, a heat cable can save the day. This flexible electric heating cable wraps around a plastic or metal pipe in an unconditioned area to prevent it from freezing. A built-in thermostat heats up the cable when the temperature dips below 38 degrees and turns it off when it reaches 45 degrees.

Open the Cabinets and Turn the Water On

To reduce the chances of kitchen or bathroom pipes on an exterior wall freezing, open the doors to the cabinets that house the pipes. On the coldest of days, leave warm water running very slowly to help combat freezing.

Don’t Forget the Outdoor Spigot

Once the gardening season ends and you no longer need the outdoor spigot, locate the shutoff valve and turn it off. Open the smaller valve on the side to drain the remaining water from the pipe.

If Your Pipes Burst

If your pipes burst while there’s still ice in them, turn off the water to the pipe and call a plumber. Knowing ahead of time where the main shutoff valve is can save you a few minutes of panic and enable you to contain the damage quickly if a burst pipe thaws and sends water rushing into your home.

For more expert advice about preventing pipe bursts, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, proudly serving our Portland-area neighbors.
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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Need a New Toilet? Use Our Tips to Help You Shop

Need a New Toilet? Use Our Tips to Help You ShopSo, it’s time to buy a new toilet for your home, huh? You shouldn’t take this endeavor lightly. It calls for research and the proper selection of a unit that is right for you and your home. To help you out, we’ve compiled some great tips that will narrow your selection:

Start with Consumer Reports

The first thing you should do is check out a variety of reviews and information. A great place to start is the Consumer Reports website, where you can find out what experts think of different models, their flush rates, etc.

Lower Your Water Usage

Certain toilets are better for keeping your water usage down. We’re talking, of course, about high-efficiency and low-flow types. They may be slightly higher in price, but the water and money savings are more than worth it.

Pick Up a Pressure-Assist Model

Pressure-assist toilets work by holding water in a special tank, which is then released with great velocity to get rid of waste instead of relying on gravity. These models are perfect for homeowners who want to save water. Just be aware that pressure-assist types are very loud.

Make Clean-Up a Breeze

Cleaning a toilet is not only disgusting at times, but it’s annoying due to the way they’re designed with a series of nooks and crannies. If you invest in a wall-hung model, you won’t have this problem. These models are much easier to clean, even if they do look a little strange since their design is out of the norm.

Try a Taller Model

Toilets in the handicapped stalls in public restrooms must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in order to provide proper comfort. What many people don’t realize is that they can also be great for elderly persons in your household, along with those who are a bit on the tall side.

For more expert advice on finding a new toilet for your home, or if you have any other questions related to home comfort, please don’t hesitate to contact the friendly professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the Portland area since 1976.

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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Checking the P-Trap for a Clog

Checking the P-Trap for a ClogThe p-trap is that 180-degree bend in the drain pipe just underneath most sinks. Its curvy configuration performs a couple of very vital plumbing functions. If anything goes wrong down there, you’ll know about it pretty soon.

In normal conditions the trap always retains a small amount of water from the last time you used the sink. That water acts as a seal to prevent the reflux of sewer odors. Without a functioning p-trap, every sink would be releasing the pungent, unmistakable smell of sewer gas into your home.

The p-trap’s other purpose is to catch debris washed down the drain that might otherwise flow even deeper into the drain system and form a clog that’s hard to get to. The u-shaped bend in the trap slows the flow of drain water to retain debris where it can be easily cleared out. If a drain clog forms in your p-trap — or you drop a valuable like a ring down the drain — you can get to it by cleaning the trap. Most traps today are made of PVC with large slip nuts and are easy to loosen and remove by hand. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Put a bucket under the trap to catch water and drain debris.
  2. Loosen the two large slip nuts in the drain pipe. One is right above the p-trap in the vertical section of the drain pipe, the other is just beyond the trap where the drain pipe becomes horizontal.
  3. Pull straight down on the trap and separate it from the drain pipe segments.
  4. Clean the clog or other contents out of the trap. If the trap is severely clogged, take it outside and flush it clean with a garden hose.
  5. Fit the trap back into the drain pipe and hand-tighten the slip nuts.
  6. Turn on water in the sink and check for leaks.

For qualified professional service to handle clogs in the p-trap or elsewhere in your plumbing system, contact Roth Heating & Cooling.
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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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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