Tag Archives: Plumbing

Solving Common Spring Plumbing Issues

Solving Common Spring Plumbing IssuesThe spring thaw here in Oregon can reveal issues with your home’s plumbing that need attention to prevent water waste and costly property damage. Here are some common spring plumbing problems you might face in your home, with advice on whether you can fix them yourself, or you should call a certified plumber.

Leaking Pipes

Cold weather can be hard on pipe joints, so spring is when you’re likely to notice new leaks. If you discover a damp patch on a wall or ceiling, or an unexplained puddle on the floor, call a licensed plumber right away before extensive damage occurs.

Running Toilet

If you have a problematic toilet that stays running, it’s not only annoying, it’s adding gallons of waste to your water bill. You can try troubleshooting the problem and replacing a bad fill valve or leaky flapper, or get an expert diagnosis and repair.

Leaky Hose Bib

Given the winter freeze-thaw cycles we experience, it’s not unexpected that you turn on your outdoor water supply to discover that the hose bib froze and ruptured over the winter. When you call a plumber about having it repaired, it’s worth asking about having a frost-proof bib installed instead.

Sluggish Drains

If you have just one slow-moving drain, try using a plunger to clear the clog, but avoid caustic liquid drain cleaners that can harm your pipes. If plunging doesn’t work, or the problem is more widespread, contact an experienced plumber who has the tools and know-how to get it resolved.

If you’re experiencing spring plumbing problems in your Portland-area home and need help from a certified plumber, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical.

How to Prepare Your Plumbing for Frozen Temperatures

How to Prepare Your Plumbing for Frozen TemperaturesLast winter Portland saw record low temperatures. While the thermostat seldom dips below freezing here, whenever it’s predicted it’s a good idea to survey your home and property and prepare for the worst. Besides wrapping or covering vulnerable plants, you also want to protect your pipes from the predicted frozen temperature drop.

Protecting Your Pipes

When water in your pipes freezes, it will expand and can burst your pipes and cause flooding. Here’s how to protect pipes.

Outdoors

If you don’t regularly disconnect your outdoor hoses and wrap your faucets when freezing temperatures are predicted, you should. Drain faucets and wrap them with a commercially manufactured faucet cover, or use old towels. It’s best to turn the faucet off at the inside valve if you can, and leave the faucet open to drain. Leaving a trickle of water running slightly will also help.

Water sprinkler lines and swimming pool supply lines are also vulnerable and should be protected. Never use antifreeze, which is attractive to pets and some wild animals and can kill them.

Inside

If you have pipes running through the basement, attic or the crawl space, increase the insulation in those areas to prevent freezing. This will also help lower your utility bill.

Inspect your home for any areas where pipes located on an exterior wall might freeze, such as in a kitchen or bathroom. Even though you might think you’ll always keep the temperatures high enough to avoid freezing, you could have a furnace breakdown in the midst of a cold spell. If this happens when you’re away, you could return to a flooded home. Pipes in cabinets may be particularly at risk.

Wrap pipes in a pipe sleeve or use heat tape or a heated cable. The latter methods rely on electricity so won’t help if your power goes out. You can also wrap pipes in 1/4-inch-thick newspaper or insulation. Also, leave the cabinet door open during cold spells so the heat gets inside the cabinets.

To learn more about protecting pipes when a frozen temperature prediction is issued, contact Roth Heating and 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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Should You Invest in a Tankless Water Heater?

Should You Invest in a Tankless Water Heater?The most common reason most homeowners cite for choosing a tankless water heater is to save money on water heating costs and to save indoor space. As valid as these reasons are, there are other factors to consider before going ahead with a tankless upgrade.

How big is your family?

An average-sized tankless water heater won’t have trouble keeping up with a family of four, but if it’s larger, you may need to stagger bathing schedules or install a larger unit.

How’s the water pressure?

Homes with low water pressure might experience sudden drops in hot water volume, resulting in brief spurts of cold water while bathing. Before ruling out a tankless heater, ask a plumber to help you identify the cause of poor indoor water pressure and find solutions.

Is storage space at a premium?

  • Tankless water heaters use much less space than storage tank heaters. Depending on where you put it, you might be able to add storage or closet space.
  • Tankless systems are an alternative to a new storage tank heater that might require home modifications, especially if you need a large heater. New water heaters use more space because they require more tank insulation, need more venting, or are substantially taller.

How far away are the bathrooms from the water heater?

If the bathrooms are a distance from the water heater, you may want to install point-of-use heaters for the bathrooms. Not only will a separate tank deliver immediate hot water, it cuts water waste.

What kind of electrical service do you have or does gas run to your property?

A standard tankless system requires 200 amp service, but if you need a larger unit, you’ll need to upgrade the wiring to 300 amps, which will add to the installation costs. If you have natural gas running to your property, you can select this fuel for the water heater.

A tankless water heater uses less energy than a storage heater and may be the ideal choice for your home. For more expert advice, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, your plumbing experts for the greater 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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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). 

Fall Plumbing Tips to Follow

Fall Plumbing Tips to FollowThe arrival of fall tells us that winter isn’t far away, so it’s time to get your plumbing system ready for colder weather. Following these essential fall plumbing tips can make the task easier.

Put Away Your Garden Hoses

To keep your hoses in good condition so you can use them next year, disconnect and drain each one. Then, roll them up and store them in a spot where they won’t be exposed to freezing temperatures, like the basement.

Winterize Your Outdoor Hose Bib

If your bib is equipped with an indoor shutoff, close it then go outside and open the bib spigot and let any remaining water drain out. Lastly, cover the bib with a foam insulator for an extra layer of protection against freezing and bursting.

Protect Vulnerable Pipes From Freezing

Adding protection to vulnerable water pipes can prevent freezing and let you avoid the headaches of dealing with ruptures and water damage. First, install insulated foam sleeves on pipes situated in unheated areas, like the garage or basement. If you have accessible pipes running through an exterior wall, you should protect them with heat cable that’s controlled by an automatic thermostat.

Perform Water Heater Maintenance

Since you’re tackling plumbing maintenance, it’s the ideal time to drain and flush sediment from your water heater tank, and make sure that the pressure relief valve is functioning properly. You should also adjust the unit’s thermostat setting to 120 degrees, and install insulated foam sleeves on first four feet of hot water piping coming from the tank. If your appliance is older and not well-insulated, you should also add an insulated tank blanket to limit heat losses.

Check Your Sump Pump

To prevent damage from basement flooding and water intrusions during the fall and winter, this is a good time to test your sump pump’s functionality and clear any accumulated debris from the sump pit. If you don’t already have one, invest in a backup battery so your pump works during a power outage.

For help winterizing your Portland-area home with these fall plumbing tips, contact us 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).

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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