Why is My Basement Flooding?

Flooded basement-D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains why your basement may be flooding.

Flooded basement-D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains why your basement may be flooding.It’s been months since you’ve been in your basement. But after watching hours upon hours of HGTV, you’re finally feeling inspired to get down there and organize it once and for all.

You begin walking down the steps and get a whiff of mildew. Oh no! Your basement is flooded!

Although we can’t take you back in time, we can help you prevent future incidents from happening. So continue reading (after you clean up your basement of course)!

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

Preventing a flooded basement is easier than it sounds, all it takes is some dedication to your home’s state of health. To stop flooding before it begins you can:

  • Improve drainage, aim to clean your drains and gutters twice a year.
  • Seal all basement cracks and openings.
  • Build a 6-inch soil incline around your home so rainfall is driven out to the street.

While these are great tips, if you’re really wanting to ensure your basement is protected, it’s best to install a sump pump.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump is a naturally constructed cavity below your basement floor also known as the basin. This pit is designed to hold and protect the sump pump. A sump pump’s job is to relocate water sitting around your home’s foundation to an area further away. Sump pumps aren’t only cost effective, but they can last for many years after installation (about 25 to 30 years).

A sump pump is also able to detect when and how much water needs to be pumped out away from your property. Moreover, they are known for being very effective tools to prevent flooding.

Professional Sump Pump Installation

A flooded basement can not only destroy some of your most valuable possessions, but it can also impact the structural integrity of your home. So if you’re looking for professional Sump Pump installation, D & F Plumbing has got you covered! Our plumbing technicians are highly experienced in sump pump installations and we’d be happy to equip your basement with an effective anti-flooding system, so contact us today!

Tips for Adding a Backyard Water Feature

Brightly Lit Waterfall and Pond. D & F Plumbing in Portland OR and Vancouver WA offers tips for adding a backyard water feature to your property.

Backyard water feature. D & F Plumbing in Portland OR & Vancouver WA offers tips for adding a backyard water feature.Do you need a little spice added to your backyard? Is it bland and needs a little seasoning? Well, look no further because we have the perfect idea for you — add a beautiful water feature to bring a little sparkle to your yard! Keep reading for the best tips and tricks in the biz.

How to Choose Your Water Feature

When choosing your water feature, there are many details to consider. Keep in mind that with any water feature, you can make it as simple or extravagant as you like! Here are just a few ideas for inspiration:

  • Swimming pool
  • Hot tub
  • Pond
  • Fountains
  • Stream
  • Waterfall
  • Wishing well

Fitting the Water Feature Into Your Yard

An important thing to keep in mind when choosing your water feature is to make sure that it fits okay in your yard. Make sure the sizing doesn’t get in the way of any electrical or plumbing. If the water feature requires any digging, you will want to check that there aren’t any pipes or electrical that could be damaged in the process.

Plus, depending on the type you choose, you’ll need to consider the landscape of your yard and how the feature will function and flow. For example, if you decide on a stream, you will have to have a slight incline for it to work properly.

Making sure your water feature fits perfectly in your yard is a key piece of picking the right type.

Figure Out the Statement You Want to Make

This tip sort of fits in with the last one because you want to be sure that the water feature fits the natural aesthetic of your yard. But you also want to make sure that the feature is making the right statement.

Do you want a breathtaking oasis with expansive pools, caves, and waterfalls? Or do you want something charming and subtle, like a quaint little wishing well?

Take some time to think about this before you make a materials list and start breaking ground. Your space and budget will have a big role in how you can transform your backyard.

Living Water Feature

Depending on which type of feature you choose, you can add something living to make it even more special. This works best with ponds because you can add fish and different sorts of water plants. Go as simple or fun as you like! Maybe you’ve always wanted some rare fish or plants — this is your perfect chance to add them to your yard.

Maintenance

Make sure to do your research on what type of maintenance you will need to do for the water feature you install. For some features you may need a pool skimmer or pump to help keep your feature looking good and clear of algae and debris. Keeping it clean and well maintained are important if you want to avoid repairing or replacing your feature.

And it’s also important to be positive you’re getting a good installation. Whether you DIY it on a weekend or hire a team of contractors to handle the install, this will help you to relax and enjoy your feature instead of worrying when it’s going to break and interrupt your free time.

A good installation and a little maintenance now is much better than a complete replacement soon after it’s finished.

When to Choose a Pro

Tackling a DIY water feature project can be a fun task, but if you need to hook up some plumbing, you should call in a pro. This will save you from having to deal with pesky leaks, water waste or major malfunction. There’s a good chance hiring a professional will save you tons of money and a headache in the future!

Making your backyard a beautiful retreat may take a bit of elbow grease, but it can be a rewarding addition and can even increase your home’s value when done right!

If you want a water feature that impresses — the Plumbers in Plaid can help you plumb your beautiful backyard water feature.

Do You Need A Water Softener? 7 Warning Signs of Hard Water

Hard water on faucet. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains the 7 warning signs of hard water and if you need a water softener.

Has your skin been dry and itchy? No, this isn’t an ad for a lotion…but it could help! Your flaky skin could be because of your water.

The type of water you have can affect your skin, clothes, faucets, and more.

Let’s have supple skin with ultra-gentle water, shall we? Here’s a deeper look into how to know if you need a water softener.

Water softener. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains the 7 warning signs of hard water and if you need a water softener.What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener is an appliance that hooks into your water supply lines. This appliance helps get rid of any extra magnesium and calcium ions and replaces them with sodium or potassium ions.

The process used to waste much more water and be less energy efficient. Luckily this technology has improved.

To see if a water softener is right for your house, you’ll want to check the hardness of your water. If you don’t have hard water, there could be impurities instead. In that situation, you might need to replace your pipes or add a water filtration system instead.

Let’s do some investigating to see if hard water is causing a problem in your home. Read on!

Is There Scale Build Up on Your Fixtures or Appliances?

Last time we checked, your coffee pot isn’t supposed to look crusty! If your coffee pot is starting to have a chalky build-up, you may need a water softener.

This nasty build-up is made of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate. The limescale on your coffee pot can also end up on your pipes, which makes them less efficient.

You might notice staining on your faucets too. Limescale can be removed by wiping the deposits with a little vinegar or using a cup of bleach with a half cup of dish detergent. But, the best way to keep the stains and deposits away is to get a water softener.

Smelly water. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains the 7 warning signs of hard water and if you need a water softener.Does your water taste bad?

If you notice that your water tastes bad, it could be due to the hardness of the minerals in your water.

Harder waters don’t contain as many dissolved salts and usually have a more metallic taste than softer waters.

The most common causes for this are scale build-up on pipes (mentioned above) or an increase in concentration from chemical reactions with other substances found in tap water like chlorine.

To make sure that your incoming water tastes like water should, invest in a whole house system that has built-in filters. This will remove any other impurities and salt content levels before they reach your faucet!

Clean fresh drinking water from the tap is the way to go!

Is Your Glassware Fragile?

Sadly, the minerals that are in hard water cause glass to be a lot more breakable. Buh-bye favorite wine glass!

It also commonly causes stains on your glass dishes. These stains can be removed, but that’s such a pain to deal with (who wants extra chores on their to-do list? Not us!).

It’s much better to solve the bigger problem and prevent more stains from appearing.

Does Your Plumbing Constantly Need to Be Fixed?

The limescale buildup from your hard water can cause less efficiency, which leads to plumbing problems.

For example, if you start having build-up around your washing machine and dishwasher valves, the valves can’t fully close, which causes leaks.

This can also shorten the lifespan of your appliances.

The effect hard water has on your pipes can depend on what kind of pipes you have in your home. Although hard water isn’t good for any type of piping, copper and pvc pipes handle it much better than other types.

Not sure if your plumbing problems need the attention of a pro? Find out if you need a fix with these signs that it’s time to call in the experts.

Person with high bill. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains the 7 warning signs of hard water and if you need a water softener.Is Your Water Bill Going Through the Roof?

Having hard water means your pipes are likely clogged and working less efficiently. This means they are working extra hard to allow the same amount of water to flow.

That’s when the water bills skyrocket!

Worry not! A water softener can help with that efficiency, resulting in lowering your bills. The investment is worth it when you’re already paying more than you should.

Does Your Water Stink?

Who doesn’t love a basket of fish and chips in the summer? But if that fishy smell happens every time your water is turned on, you could be experiencing transient odor from your pipes.

This happens when sulfates in hard water react with organic substances that are present in ground or surface waters and sewage systems.

Not only is the smell annoying, the result of the hard water can irritate your eyes!

The best way to prevent this from happening is by installing a water softener system that contains an activated carbon filter and a salt-based ion exchange resin bed.

Frizzy hair. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains the 7 warning signs of hard water and if you need a water softener.Is Your Hair Frizzy and Unmanageable?

If your hair feels like a horse mane or looks like a mad scientist, it might be time for a water softener. Unless that’s the look you’re going for…

Hard water and hair don’t mix. After showering, you might even notice more soap scum in your bathtub than usual. If bathtime is more brutal than the spa session you’re dreaming of, consider a water softener.

As you can see hard water can cause a lot of problems.

Call the Plumbers in Plaid today and flush this plumbing problem down the drain! We’re well-qualified and experienced in water softener installation.

Common Plumbing Repairs to Make When Selling Your Home

Home for sale sign and house. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA explains the common plumbing repairs to make when selling your home.

Home for sale sign and house. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA explains the common plumbing repairs to make when selling your home.From trimming the lawn to painting the walls, there are several things homeowners do when preparing to put their home on the market. However, you don’t want to get caught up in just the aesthetic qualities. It’s also important to ensure the home’s essential features function too–like the toilets, faucets, and water heater.

A critical part of the buying process also includes real estate inspections. During real estate plumbing inspections, plumbers examine pipes, hydrants, toilets, water heaters, bathtubs, and lines–anywhere water runs through the home. They’ll check for leaks, inspect water levels and flappers in toilets as well as check temperatures and pressure relief valves in water heaters.

We understand you may already be drained (pun intended) which is why we’ve put together the following list of plumbing repairs you can do now to help ensure you get a fair offer.

Plumbing Checklist for Selling a Home

Toilets

Go to every bathroom in the home and flush the toilets, to check for leaks, clogs, unusual sounds, and low water pressure, then make repairs as necessary. While leaky toilets are often easy to fix, deep clogs require a professional plumber.

Drains

In addition to clogged toilets, blocked sink and shower drains are also plumbing problems that will make your home look bad to a homebuyer. We recommend you have your drains and pipes cleaned by a professional to inspect and correct the problem.

Faucets

Leaky faucets can contribute to mold growth, rust, and eventually a burst pipe. So leaking faucets shouldn’t be ignored. You’ll want to take apart the faucet, replace any damaged parts, clean the valves, then put the faucet back together.

Basements

The basement is a good place to identify vulnerabilities in your plumbing system. You’ll want to check for signs of leaks, rust, and water damage. Also, take time to inspect your water heater and have it flushed to give you more negotiating power.

Experts in Plumbing Repairs

Plumbing issues can range from minor to severe–which can all pose a problem if you’re selling your home. Whether you need a plumbing inspection or need help with your plumbing repairs, the team at D & F Plumbing can help fix any unforeseen problems, to help ensure you get your asking price. Give us a call today to schedule service.

How to Tell if Your Main Water Line is Leaking

Water main leak - D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how to tell if your main water line is leaking.

Water main leak - D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how to tell if your main water line is leaking.Spring has sprung! And after a cold winter some of your underground water pipes may have sprung a leak too!

Main water lines are the pipes that bring clean water to your home from your community water line. These pipes bring water for your plants, shower, drinking and anything else that needs water in your home.

Leaving a main water line leaking can cause health and financial problems. Here’s how to know if your main water line is leaking.

Rising Water Bill

A rising water bill is an indicator of a leak, especially when you haven’t used excess water recently. A substantial water main leak will be noticeable on your bill. An increase of several hundred dollars from the same time last year will be an obvious indicator. If you’re connected to city water, you can look at your water meter to give you another clue.

Even if you’ve been using extra water for gardening your beautiful spring flowers recently, it shouldn’t change your water bill too much.

Average household leaks cause up to 10,000 gallons of water waste per year. Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste more than 90 gallons per day. And even basic leaks from a faucet in your home could be the result of problems with your main line.

Don’t let your money go swooshing down the drain. Fix your leaks as soon as you notice them to save money. An experienced water leak detection plumber can test to determine if your leak is related to the main water line.

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be caused by many different types of leaks, but a main water line leak is one of the most common.

How do you know if you have low water pressure? Here’s a little test to check and make sure your intuition is correct — turn on the water in your shower and then flush the toilet. If the shower stops running or slows to a trickle when you flush, then you have low water pressure.

Another way to check if you have low water pressure is by looking over your water meter. Inspect the meter before you begin a two hour period of using no water, and then survey it again after the two hours is up. If the meter changes at all then you probably have a leak.

Cracked Foundation

This one is a serious problem. If you have a leak, water can seep through the ground and get to your home’s foundation. This can cause cracks and eventually make your house unsafe.

If you are noticing wet spots, there might be a leak in your main water line. Don’t just leave them be or try to do a quick fix. Waiting to correct the problem could cost a lot more money later on…major structural cracks can cost anywhere from $10,000 or more to repair.

If you have any of these symptoms of a main water line leak, get it diagnosed as soon as possible.

Fixing it can be costly, but waiting and having to fix your foundation or other property damage will cost a lot more.

Call the plumbers in plaid, because we’ve got a main water line special for you.

 

Signs Your Home Needs Repiping

Brown water coming out of faucet. D & F Plumbing in Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about signs your home needs repiping.

Brown water coming out of faucet. D & F Plumbing in Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about signs your home needs repiping.The pipes that make up your home’s plumbing system work hard day in and day out to deliver your family water, but they don’t last forever. Eventually, they’ll start to corrode, leading to insufficient water pressure, leaks, and discolored water–yuck!

Brown or yellow water is unhealthy as it is unappealing. If your pipes are in poor condition or not working efficiently, D & F Plumbing is here to help. Below, we’ll share signs of when it’s time to repipe your Portland area home.

5 Signs You Need New Pipes

Pipes are out of sight and out of mind. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s important that you contact a plumber to take a look at your plumbing.

1. Water Leaks

Water leaks in basements and utility rooms are easier to identify than leaks within walls or ceilings because the pipes here are exposed. If you experience frequent leaks, this often means your pipes are worn. Some or all of these may need to be replaced.

2. Discolored Water

Brown or yellow water is often a result of corroded and rusted pipes. Not only is this unsightly, but it can be potentially harmful if left untreated.

3. Frequent Clogs

Aging pipes cannot handle what new pipes can. They even struggle with two-ply toilet paper. So if you experience frequent drain clogs in your home, despite being careful with what you place down the drains, it may be time for a home repiping.

4. Low Water Pressure

Is water coming out of your faucets slowly or is your dishwasher or washing machine taking longer to run? This can result from too much buildup in your pipes. Left untreated, this blockage could result in leaks and even pipe bursts.

5. Noisy Pipes

Your plumbing shouldn’t be noisy. If you hear gurgling sounds, rattling, sounds, or any other noise coming from your pipes, you’ll want to call a plumber to inspect your pipes before a big problem develops.

Repiping Services in Portland OR

Don’t let old, worn-out pipes damage your property. Have your home repiped. Sound daunting? Get in touch with the team at D & F Plumbing in Portland OR and Vancouver WA. We’ll inspect your pipes and provide you with an appropriate solution that meets the needs of your home. Give us a call today to schedule your plumbing inspection.

When is it Time to Call a Plumber?

Woman inspecting her kitchen faucet. D & F Plumbing in Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about when it's time to call a plumber.

Woman inspecting her kitchen faucet. D & F Plumbing in Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about when it's time to call a plumber.How do you know when to call a plumber? There are many different reasons you may have to make the necessary call. Some may be obvious and pop up in a day, while others may take years to form and cause an unexpected plumbing emergency.

Don’t pull your hair out over a small problem developing into something bigger. We’ll tell you exactly when it’s time to call a plumber.

Is Your Faucet Dripping?

Do you hear that? Drip drop, drip drop…It’s that pesky faucet keeping you up at all hours of the night. 

A leaking faucet may not seem like too big of a deal most of the time. But the average family will waste about 9,400 gallons of water in a year just from leaks! 

Don’t let your money slowly drip down the drain — take action and have a professional troubleshoot that dripping faucet,

Do You See Signs of Water Damage?

Are your beautifully decorated walls looking a little funky? This may actually be because of your plumbing. Your pipes are hidden behind your walls, and if those pipes spring a leak, moisture can quickly cause damage. 

Signs of water damage could include:

  • Bubbling paint or wallpaper
  • Discoloration
  • Strange smells
  • Visible mold
  • High utility bills

Don’t just go painting over your problems! We’re here for you 24/7.

Does Your Grass Have a Green Patch?

Having greener grass is always great unless it isn’t. If you notice a patch of grass greener than the rest of your yard, this could be a sewer problem. 

City sewer lines run between your house and the street. A section of grass that is more vibrant and lush could mean a sewer pipe rupture. A lot of times in Portland and Vancouver, the cause of sewer line problems comes from tree root invasions

Is Your Toilet Wobbling?

Is your toilet wobbling like it had a rough night at the bar? If you want your toilet to sober up, it might take the expertise of a good plumber. A wobbly toilet can sometimes be fixed by replacing loose screws. This is a task many homeowners feel comfortable handling themselves.

But oftentimes the seal around the bottom of your toilet gets worn out, causing your toilet to move side-to-side. This broken seal can cause leaking and water damage to ruin your floor. Avoiding this problem will cost more than it would to call in a professional plumber.

Do You Have Low Water Pressure?

Having weak water flow could be simply solved by cleaning out a fixture. You might be able to improve your water pressure by soaking the end of your faucet in hot water and vinegar. 

If that doesn’t solve your water pressure problem, you might be facing:

  • Sediment buildup in your water heater
  • Calcium buildup in your shower head
  • Size of your water heater piping

In these situations, calling a plumber will save you a major headache. 

No homeowner wants to see their toilet overflow while scrambling for towels. Or watch their hardwood floor get ruined by water damage. It may be tempting to put off repairs, but a true professional can save you a lot of trouble and money down the road.

We’re here for you 24/7 when it’s time to get your plumbing under control!

Ways to Avoid Expensive Plumbing Repairs

stressed woman calling plumber to fix water leaking from ceiling - D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about ways to avoid expensive plumbing repairs.

stressed woman calling plumber to fix water leaking from ceiling - D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about ways to avoid expensive plumbing repairs.It’s no use crying over spilled milk, but a leaky pipe–well that could certainly send someone to tears. Although emergency plumbing issues are rare, they do happen. And when they do, they can take a big chunk out of your wallet.

This is why it’s important to prevent major problems from happening and take action when they do occur.

Perform Regular Plumbing Maintenance

Keeping your pipes and plumbing fixtures in good condition can help prevent leaks. Have regular plumbing maintenance performed to ensure all of your plumbing connections are secure. Have your water heater flushed to remove sediment and improve efficiency. Also, make sure your sinks aren’t leaking.

Protect Your Pipes

Plumbing leaks and pipe bursts often occur in the winter when temperatures drop. Burst pipes can cause serious damage, so insulate them in vulnerable areas like basements, garages, and crawl spaces.

Adjust Your Water Pressure

A high-pressure shower may be enjoyable, but having it set too high can cause damage to your plumbing fixtures, joints, and pipes. This doesn’t mean you need to suffer with just a trickling of water, but simply keep it below 80 psi.

Have Regular Plumbing Inspections

One of the best ways to avoid expensive plumbing repairs is to have your plumbing system regularly inspected by a professional. When you work with D & F Plumbing, we’ll inspect your plumbing and repair any small issues before they become costly emergencies.

Your Trusted Plumbers

A major plumbing problem can not only mean expensive repairs, but it can also cause flooding and other damages. If you discover a plumbing issue, turn to D & F Plumbing. Since 1927, homeowners have trusted our experienced and qualified plumbing contractors for their plumbing needs. We not only offer affordable financing but we also offer plumbing specials regularly! View our website and contact us today to schedule your plumbing service!

How to Fix a Running Toilet

Up close look at the inside of a toilet. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how to fix a running toilet.

Cartoon of a toilet running. D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how to fix a running toilet. Is your toilet running?
Better catch it!

Ba dum tss!

Okay, okay, now that we’ve got that dad joke out of our system, it’s time to talk about running toilets. You know, the kind that continue to make a sound long after you’ve flushed it.

Running toilets are one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners face. But you don’t have to deal with them forever. Here are some suggestions we at D & F Plumbing have created to help fix your running toilet.

Check the Flapper

In a normal working toilet, pushing the toilet lever down will cause the flapper to lift so that clean water can fill the toilet blow. Once the flapper returns, it creates a seal, preventing more water from entering the bowl. With wear and tear however, the flapper may lose its integrity and cause water to seep through. An improperly sized flapper can also let water through, resulting in constant running.

Check the Flapper Chain

If you’ve determined the flapper isn’t the cause of your running toilet, the flapper chain may be the culprit. The flapper chain has one end attached to the flapper and another attached to the handle arm and it must be appropriately sized. If the chain is too short the flapper cannot form a seal and if the chain is too long, the flapper cannot open and shut properly. It may even block the flapper from sealing. A professional plumber can measure your toilet and ensure your flapper chain is the proper length.

Check the Toilet Handle

If the first two components are working just fine, you could be dealing with a damaged toilet handle. Toilet handles are used pretty frequently so over time they may wear down, corrode, or even stay in the down position, causing the toilet to run continuously.

Is Your Toilet Running?

Running toilets are not just a nuisance. They can cause gallons of wasted water and high energy bills. Save your money and conserve your water by contacting the professionals at D & F Plumbing. From running toilets to whole home repiping, our team can diagnose and repair any plumbing problem.

How Long do Garbage Disposals Last?

Person putting food down kitchen drain. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how long garbage disposals last.

Person putting food down kitchen drain. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how long garbage disposals last.Garbage disposals are a luxury or an essential kitchen appliance, depending on who you ask. They help get rid of waste and keep your plumbing system clear of clogs. However, like other appliances, your garbage disposal also comes with a life expectancy.

Understanding your garbage disposal and its lifespan can help you maintain it and help you plan for a new one when the time comes.

What Impacts the Life of Your Garbage Disposal

Here are some factors that can contribute to the life of your garbage disposal.

  • Garbage disposal frequency: the more you use your garbage disposal, the more the blades and motor are being used
  • What is being put in the garbage disposal: what you put down your drain has a big impact on how your garbage disposal lasts. For example, putting grease, egg shells, and coffee grounds is a no-no.
  • Quality and installation of garbage disposal: today’s garbage disposals are more durable and powerful than older models. Investing in a newer, heavy-duty one will be beneficial in the long run.

Signs it’s time to Replace your Garbage Disposal

Think it’s time for a new garbage disposal? Check for these surefire signs!

  • Bad smells in your drain that just won’t go away
  • Your garbage disposal is making strange noises
  • You’re frequently repairing your garbage disposal
  • You often press the reset button
  • Your garbage disposal won’t turn on at all

Need a New Garbage Disposal?

On average, a garbage disposal will last around 12 years with normal use, but that number can decrease with overuse or neglect. If you’re ready for a new garbage disposal or simply need a repair, the journeyman plumbers at D & F Plumbing are here to help. We’ve been helping homeowners in the Portland and Vancouver area since 1927. With upfront pricing and same-day & next-day availability, you can always count on us.

Interested in a garbage disposal installation? Learn about the cost and see photos of our professional installation from our satisfied customers!