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Tips For Homeowners

Bathroom Sink & Tub Drain Slow

The most common reason for bathroom sinks and tubs to drain slow is hair. First, remove the pop-up or stopper and try to clean out as much hair as possible, reassemble and test. Plungers are usually not very effective on bathroom sinks and tubs, as the hair clings and is not a solid mass easily pushed out of the way. For a plunger to work you will have to cover the overflow tightly of the pressure will just come out there.… Read the rest

Draining Plumbing in a Vacant House

If your house is to be vacated during cold weather and the heating system turned off, follow this procedure:

Shut off the water supply at the main shut-off valve at the street. Then beginning with those on the top floor, open all faucets and leave them open. If available, open the cap on the main shut off valve drain the remaining water.… Read the rest

Garbage Disposals


  • Do run a strong flow of water while grinding.
  • Do run water for at least 30 seconds after out of the disposal.
  • Do run the disposal each time waste is put in.
  • Do use small batches, disposing of large amounts, especially starchy foods (i.e. potato peels, rice, pasta, etc.).
  • Do cut fibrous foods into small pieces before grinding (i.e. cabbage, asparagus, banana peels, etc.).
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Leak in my Crawlspace

If you suspect you have a plumbing leak in your crawlspace, You should determine if the source is the water supply system or a drain. If the leak is in the water supply system – shut off the water to the house immediately. If it is a drain, stop using the fixture(s) connected to the drain – shut off the water to the fixture(s).… Read the rest


If you find a leak in your plumbing system shut off the water supply and call your plumber at once. Water supply systems are under high pressure.  Leaks must have immediate attention. They can progress into a serious catastrophic failure, property damage and a safety hazard – all very quickly.… Read the rest

Low Water Pressure

What if there is no pressure at my faucet?

Frequently what is perceived as a lack of pressure is really a reduction in volume. This is an important distinction. Pressure will be consistent through out your plumbing system and is rarely low through out the house. This can be easily tested with an inexpensive gauge form your hardware store, sold usually near sprinkler system parts.… Read the rest

Noisy Pipes

The general types of noises from pipes found in the home are banging, water hammer, squeaking, chattering and whistling.   If there is the sudden appearance of one of these sounds, this indicates that something has changed or failed.  Frequently this is the pressure in your house.  While this alone will not cause noise, a change in pressure from 60 to 120 psi will frequently make the noise loud enough to be audible and annoying. … Read the rest

Plumbing Code

The plumbing in any private or public building is connected to the community water and sewage disposal system. It is critical to public health that the potable water system is not contaminated and that sewage is conveyed away in a safe manner. The plumbing code is an officially adopted collection of standards, guides and methods that are placed into Oregon law and regulate practices in the plumbing industry.… Read the rest

Plumbing Inspections

All permitted jobs must be inspected by an Oregon Licensed Inspector, this will be arraigned by your contractor.  The exception is minor label permits of which only ten percent are inspected and will be arraigned with the homeowner by the inspecting jurisdiction.… Read the rest

Plumbing License

Oregon law requires anyone who works for compensation in any construction activity involving improvements to real property to be licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board. This includes roofing, siding, painting, carpentry, concrete, on-site appliance repair, heating and air conditioning, home inspections, tree service, plumbing, electrical, floor covering, manufactured dwelling installation, land development, and most other construction and repair services.   To confirm that your contractor is licensed you may check at the Construction Contractors Board website.… Read the rest

Plumbing Permits

A plumbing permit is required to do the following:

  • replace water heaters, alter piping inside a wall or ceiling, or beneath a floor, and for plumbing in all new installations.
  • emergency repair, alteration, or replacement of freeze-damaged or leaking concealed piping, if new piping exceeds 3 feet.
  • remodel or add on to your one- or two-family dwelling when existing plumbing is to be relocated.
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Preventing Frozen Pipes

Before Cold Weather, Prepare

  • Make sure that all the garden hoses outside your home are disconnected. Failing to do so can cause not only the hose but also the hose bib to which it is connected, to freeze and be damaged.  This is especially important with “frost free” hose bibs. The hose must be disconnected to make the faucet freeze-proof. Failure to do so will trap water in the faucet body, which then can freeze.
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Service Calls

Before You Call for Service:

  • Make a list of plumbing problems.
  • Try to reproduce the problem – it’s always frustrating if the problem doesn’t happen when the plumber arrives.
  • Locate any of the original paperwork to help identify the model and part numbers.
  • Group plumbing problems together and make one call.

When Calling for Service:

  • Tell them, to the best of your knowledge, exactly what’s wrong when you talk to him on the telephone.
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Testing of Backflow Prevention Devices

In all cases, irrigation systems require an approved backflow prevention device between the potable water supply and the irrigation system. These devices are not only required by law, but also due to the requirements of the backflow prevention program the devices are required to be tested annually by a certified backflow prevention tester. The annual test is to ensure that the device is working properly protecting the water supply.… Read the rest



What do I do about an overflowing toilet?

First, turn off the water at the valve under the toilet. If it’s a case of too much paper or other matter causing a stoppage, a plunger should work. If the toilet is not operating because the sewer is stopped up, a homeowner can help prevent overflowing by opening their sewer clean-out (located outside the building) to relieve the pressure on the system.… Read the rest

Understanding Backflow Prevention Programs

TVWDThe Federal Clean Water Act and Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 333-61-070 require that Tualatin Valley Water District (and all water purveyors) protect our potable water supplies from contamination by an outside source, through implementation of a Backflow Prevention Program. These requirements try to minimizes the possibility for the water using public to inadvertently contaminate or pollute the public water supply.

This program requires the installation of a backflow prevention device in the plumbing system where the possibility of a cross connections may take place.… Read the rest

Water Heaters

For safety reasons, keep the temperature dial setting at or below the suggested Factory Setting listed on the water heater or in the manual. Above that setting will greatly increase the potential for scalding. Any questions please call the manufacturer or your plumber.

All water heaters are required by law to be equipped with a temperature and pressure relief valve (t & p valve) as a safety feature to prevent damage from excessive pressure (>150 psi) or temperature (>210˚F).… Read the rest

Water Saving Tips

Water Conservation not only will help save water, it will also save you money.

Did you know you can save…

  • 3 gallons – By turning the water off each time you brush your teeth.
  • 7 gallons a day – By fixing a leaky faucet right away
  • 75-200 gallons per week – By running only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  • 20-25 gallons – By taking a shower instead of a bath
  • 200-300 gallons per month – By keeping a bottle of water in the refrigerator for drinking in order to not have to run the tap until the water gets cold enough to drink
  • 1,000 gallons a month – By installing a flow restrictor in a shower (will cut water use by as much as two-thirds
  • 1,500-2,000 gallons a day – By fixing a pin hole leaks (with 60 lbs.
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Where and How to Shut Off Water

Whole-house shutoff.  Knowing where and how to shut off water for the entire house is prudent for every member of the household to know.  The most important valve in the house is the main shut-off valve for the entire plumbing system. This valve, generally located near the foundation (inside or outside), in the basement or in the garage.  Standard practice has changed over the years and it depends on the layout of the house. … Read the rest

Winter Water Tips

There are several measures that can be taken to prevent winter water disasters.

  • Locate and mark the main water cutoff valve for your home. This cutoff valve is usually found near where the water line comes into your house.
    Damage from running water can be minimized if you can turn off this valve quickly.
  • Make sure the water line to outside hose bibs are turned off and the line is drained.
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