Author: Oregon Cascade

Dig Safe!

dig safe

Are you getting ready to do DIY projects this summer? Some projects include having to dig for landscaping, adding a gas line or hot tub, etc. We can’t stress enough the importance of calling 8-1-1 to schedule a utilities locate on your property. It’s free and could be a life saver!

The technician will clearly mark where underground electrical, gas, water and sewer lines are so you or the excavator will know where and how to dig. This not only can save you money, you won’t have angry neighbors should you hit a utility that serves the neighborhood.

*Note: the utilities locator will not be able to identify where a leak may be; they will only mark where the utilities are per the maps they have on file.

 

Is It Time to Replace Your Water line?

tree roots in pipe 1We take for granted access to our water supply. The truth is, water lines don’t last forever. If you are living in a newly constructed home, you should not be experiencing any water flow issues. But if you live in a house that is older (say, 25+ years) or have a lot of old tree growth, you may be experiencing some water line issues.

Some water line problems arise when tree roots wrap themselves around or invade the water lines. There are several ways to remove tree roots from the water line including cutting them out to employing toxic chemicals that destroy the roots. If you choose the latter, you need to contact a licensed plumber with training to use the chemicals.

Note that if tree root problems occur over and over, a new water line may be needed.

If your home is very old, the pipes may have just worn out. They do not last forever. Consult your licensed plumber to discuss the options and cost of replacing your water line.

You can prolong the life of your water line with attention to its maintenance and care. Although it may not need to be done annually, having a water line inspection is a good thing. A technician with a specialized camera can survey the inside of the water line to find root invasion, cracks or other problems. The cost of this service is usually reasonable and could be cheaper than having to deal with problems when they become a big headache.

Whatever your plumbing needs, remember that Firkus Plumbing is there for you. We’re one the of oldest family run plumbing services in Central Oregon. Call us today! 541-382-7710.

Multiple Shower Heads: Yay or Nay?

multiple showerheadsThe latest trend in bathroom renovations, or even new building is multiple shower heads. There are many to choose from: round stationary to overhead square. From dual shower heads at multiple angles and possibly a hand held feature.

While you may feel like you are king of the hill with an expanded shower experience, will your wallet agree with you? It is much more expensive to install for the most part.

Things to consider:

-The larger the shower head, the lower water pressure

-Make sure you have enough space in your shower area to accommodate two or more shower heads. If the space isn’t large enough, you run the risk of overspray on your bathroom floor

– Multiple shower heads means more water will be used

-The hot water will get used up faster; you may want to install a water heater that is dedicated to the shower

-Depending on the type of shower head, you may need to install a separate mixing valve for each shower head

-Many multi-shower heads come with digital displays; this means it will be much more costly to install and expensive to repair

-Smaller bathrooms cannot accommodate multiple shower heads; you may have to consider a complete bathroom remodel

Sump Pump Maintenance

There are two types of sump pumps: a pedestal and submersible. The pedestal is sump pump1mounted above the sump, making it easy to service. The submersible is located entirely within the sump. As far as costs go, the pedestal is usually cheaper, but can easily collect debris. Submersible pumps are sealed in such a way that debris collection is not a problem.

Sump pumps are used to rid basements or rooms below grade or water level of water that has amassed due to flooding or substantial rains. But if you don’t maintain your sump pump, you could find that it is not removing the water effectively, if at all.

Usually the culprit is debris.  Small rocks, paper, leaves or anything else could be blocking the filter screen, causing the pump to malfunction or quit entirely. It might be a good idea to note on your calendar times to check your sump pump BEFORE you actually need it. (Several times a year)

The easiest way is to slowly pour a bucket of water into the sump pit. If it automatically fires up, your good to go. When visually inspecting the pump, take some time to clean out the sump pit, removing any muck or debris that has collected.

You may be so ambitious and want to attempt to clean the entire pump. A word of caution before trying this: turn off your electricity before disconnecting the pump. Once the pump is disconnected, take it along with the drain line outside & give it a thorough hosing down. Keep hosing it down until the drain line rinses clear. Make sure the sump pit is clear of all debris before re-installing the pump. Only then re-establish the electricity, slowly pour in a bucket of water and see if the pump engages.

If the pump shows signs of stress, or does not fire up, you will probably need to call a plumber to attend to the problem. Firkus Plumbing will be happy to help you maintain or repair your sump pump. Give us a call today! 541-382-7710

Is It Time To Replace Your Water Line?

tree roots in pipe 1We take for granted access to our water supply. The truth is, water lines don’t last forever. If you are living in a newly constructed home, you should not be experiencing any water flow issues. But if you live in a house that is older (say, 25+ years) or have a lot of old tree growth, you may be experiencing some water line issues.

Some water line problems arise when tree roots wrap themselves around or invade the water lines. There are several ways to remove tree roots from the water line including cutting them out to employing toxic chemicals that destroy the roots. If you choose the latter, you need to contact a licensed plumber with training to use the chemicals.

Note that if tree root problems occur over and over, a new water line may be needed.

If your home is very old, the pipes may have just worn out. They do not last forever. Consult your licensed plumber to discuss the options and cost of replacing your water line.

You can prolong the life of your water line with attention to its maintenance and care. Although it may not need to be done annually, having a water line inspection is a good thing. A technician with a specialized camera can survey the inside of the water line to find root invasion, cracks or other problems. The cost of this service is usually reasonable and could be cheaper than having to deal with problems when they become a big headache.

Whatever your plumbing needs, remember that Firkus Plumbing is there for you. We’re one the of oldest family run plumbing services in Central Oregon. Call us today! 541-382-7710.

Is Your Water Soft or Hard?

hard water 2Depending on where you live, your water will be considered either hard or soft.

In definition: hard water contains higher than ordinary levels of dissolved minerals. An example is magnesium and calcium. When they come into contact with carbon monoxide, the result is water that is deemed hard. Evidence of hard water include: white to greenish residue around pipe joints and openings; soap that does not suds up well and a sticky residue when hard water and soap come together.

Soft water contains low concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions. Rainwater is naturally soft because it has not been filtered through the ground, picking up minerals and other natural compounds that transform it into hard water.

If you live in a location where these minerals are not filtering into the water, then your water will be soft.

Both are safe to drink.

Many people will introduce water softeners into their water system to improve the uses of water, such as making laundry soap clean more efficiently and cleaning tubs and sinks. Hard water can leave laundry dingy and a “ring” or scale around the bathtub after bathing. Some people don’t feel they are clean after taking a bath or shower, because the soap does not rinse well.

Softening your water means you have added material containing high amounts of sodium. Water softens as it passes through these sulfonated beads, exchanging the ions. The hardness minerals attach themselves to the beads, while the beads release the sodium into the water.

In the Central Oregon area, we are fortunate to have plenty of lava beds underground that act as an excellent water filter.

 

Cleaning Your Faucet Aerator

aeratorIf the water doesn’t seem to flow from your faucet as freely as before, it’s possible you need to either clean or replace the faucet aerator. This is something that is fairly simple to do. If you are unfamiliar with the aerator, it’s the little mesh insert in the faucet that helps curb the water usage by mixing air with the water stream. You save up to 30% of the water usage with an aerator.

As with all maintenance or repair projects, always assemble the tools and supplies you think you will need to get the job done. (In fact, it might be a good idea to be over-prepared.)

For this simple repair, you will need the following:

Pliers

A couple of rags

A rubber wrench

A cup of vinegar, teaspoon of backing soda & some water (not mixed together yet!)

Old toothbrush

WD-40 or similar lubricant

First check to see if you can loosen the aerator by hand. If not, then gently try using the pliers to loosen the aerator from the faucet mouth. You may want to wrap the pliers head in a rag to prevent scratching. You may choose to use a rubber wrench if you have one.

You might have to wiggle the pliers or wrench back and forth a bit to loosen the sediment that has settled in crevices. If it is still stubborn, try using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda on it to dissolve some of the sediment. If you are still struggling, spray a little WD-40 on it to loosen. Once the aerator is loose, it’s easily cleaned with the vinegar mixture, old toothbrush and water.

Once the aerator is cleaned and dried, it can be put back into the faucet. Make sure all parts are completely dry before reassembling (that will prevent sediment or rust from getting a leg up).

Viola! You should have ample water streaming from your faucet now.