How Inflation is Impacting Plumbing Projects

Plumber performing plumbing project in Portland OR - D & F Plumbing

Plumber performing plumbing project in Portland OR - D & F PlumbingIf you’ve ever listened to your grandparents reminisce about how low prices used to be when they were younger, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of inflation. While it can be fun to hear about the days when you could get a cheeseburger for under a quarter, the reality of inflation has had a detrimental effect on many households today – especially when it comes to home improvement projects.

If you’re planning a plumbing project, then you’ve probably noticed how prices have been gradually rising over the last several years. Understanding how inflation is impacting plumbing services and products can help you anticipate prices while lowering the overall cost of your project.

Why Are Plumbing Projects Getting More Expensive?

While inflation has definitely contributed to the steady rise in plumbing prices, it isn’t the only factor at play. Another big reason why home improvement projects have gotten more expensive in recent years is COVID-19. The global pandemic worsened trade labor shortages and sparked supply chain issues, resulting in much higher prices for products and services alike.

How to Save Money on Plumbing

Plumbing is a crucial part of your home, and some repairs or improvements are essential. Though inflation and rising project costs can be overwhelming, there are a few ways you can make plumbing more affordable. Here are a few tips you can follow to save money on your plumbing projects:

  • Plan ahead: A little bit of planning can go a long way. Scheduling service far in advance will ensure your project is completed on time even if there are labor shortages. Buying parts ahead of time could also save you money and stress if there are supply chain issues that would otherwise cause delays.
  • Work with a professional: While it may be tempting to cut costs by DIY-ing your projects, large plumbing projects are best left to the professionals. Small errors could lead to leaks or breakdowns, which could cause significant damage to your home and lead to even more expenses than if you had worked with an expert in the first place.
  • Ask for a full quote: Requesting a detailed quote in writing allows you to anticipate expenses and avoid surprises. This not only allows you to plan ahead, but it also provides you with the opportunity to discuss costs with your contractor before they begin work.
  • Work with local plumbers: Local plumbers generally offer faster and more cost-competitive services than national companies. Most local contractors are responsive and willing to deliver personalized services tailored to your individual needs. They are also well-versed in local codes and regulations, which helps projects move along seamlessly.
  • Look for discounts: Some plumbing companies offer special deals to make their services more affordable. When shopping around for a plumber, try looking for coupons or asking about discounts to see where you could save money.

Your Local Plumbing Contractors

If you’re looking for quality plumbing services in the Portland OR area, you can count on the experts at D & F Plumbing! Our experts have proudly helped homes and businesses since 1927, and we are dedicated to providing you with fast and dependable services that you can rely on. From pipes and drains to water heaters and other plumbing appliances, our team has you covered! Just give us a call today to get your personalized quote.

Your Spring Plumbing Checklist

Your springtime plumbing checklist in Portland OR & Vancouver WA - D & F Plumbing

Your springtime plumbing checklist in Portland OR & Vancouver WA - D & F PlumbingSpring has sprung, but hopefully a leak hasn’t! With the warmer weather rolling in, it’s time to tackle that to-do list that’s been piling up all winter – and that includes taking a look at your plumbing system. To make sure your system is in great shape for the new season, go through this spring plumbing checklist:

Check for Leaks & Clogs

Winter can wreak havoc on your plumbing system – particularly on the pipes or fixtures that are located outdoors or near external walls. To make sure nothing is leaking and causing damage throughout your home, it’s a good idea to check around your property for any leaks or clogs. If you notice any issues, a professional plumber can help identify and fix the root cause of the problem while preventing any further damage to your home.

Change Your Hoses

While you’re checking your pipes and fixtures for leaks or damage, you can also take a look at the condition of your hoses. Check the hoses to your dishwasher, washing machine, fridge, and other appliances. Keep an eye out for any bulging or discoloration in addition to leaking and cracks. You or a professional can replace any damaged or worn out hoses to keep your appliances functioning flawlessly.

Clean Your Storm Drains

If your storm drains are clogged, you could face some serious flooding during springtime rain. Taking the time to remove any leaves, sticks, or other debris from your storm drains will keep things flowing properly, which will protect your property while preventing other issues like soil erosion. If you run into serious blockages or drainage issues, then it may be useful to invest in an outdoor drain cleaning service to keep everything in good working order.

Test Your Sump Pump

Your sump pump plays a big role in preventing basement flooding, particularly during times of heavy rain. That’s why spring is the perfect time of year to check in on your sump pump and make sure it’s functioning properly. To test your sump pump, first look to make sure that it’s plugged in correctly. Then, pour a bucket of water into the basin to see if the pump is able to clear it. If your sump pump is unable to clear the water, or you notice any signs of moisture issues in your basement, then it may be time to contact a professional.

Adjust Your Water Heater

Water heaters get a lot of use in the cold winter months, which is why spring is the perfect time of year to perform any maintenance and check in on your system. An expert can flush your tank while also screening for any potential issues to make sure yours is working wonderfully for the new season. Now is also a good time to turn down the temperature, which will save you money during the spring and summer.

Why Your Sink is Slow to Drain

We can fix clogged sinks like his around Portland OR and Vancouver WA - D & F Plumbing

We can fix clogged sinks like his around Portland OR and Vancouver WA - D & F PlumbingAt D & F Plumbing, we know that when your sink is slow to drain, your temper is quick to rise. It’s easy to take something you use so often in your daily life for granted until your sink, and, in turn, your bandwidth, overflow. Also, it’s not helpful to learn that there are many more potential causes than you might imagine for a clogged sink. The problems just keep building up!

You’re probably wondering, how can the plumbers at D & F unclog my sink? Before we do that, we’d like to help you figure out why your sink is clogged in the first place. Read on and we’ll clear things up!

Reasons for a Slow Sink Drain

There are several reasons why your sink might be slow to drain, some of which you might have to own up to, others far out of your control! Let’s find out where you can place your blame:

  • Minor clogs: This is the most common reason for a slow-draining sink. Dirt, soap scum, food, and hair can all contribute to clogged pipes. There are plenty of at-home solutions to minor clogs, but there’s no way to tell if this is your problem without the eye of a plumber.
  • P-trap issues: The P-trap is the part of your pipe directly under your sink. The most common reason for a P-trap clog is grease being poured down the drain. When grease settles in the P-trap, it catches other items and creates more blockage.
  • Tree roots: Tree roots growing into a sewer line can disturb the entire system. This problem is usually only identified and certainly only corrected by a professional plumber who can remove the growth and replace the damaged piping. Try on your own if you like, but let us know how it goes!
  • Deterioration over time: Just like we do, plumbing systems tire with age. Corrosion by chemical cleaners, rust, and wear from outside factors all contribute to the weakening of a plumbing system, which can result in a clogged sink.

How to Fix a Clogged Sink

You can pour all of the chemical drain cleaners down your sink that you wish, but you’ll never know if you’ve assessed your problem properly until it eventually works or you run out of product. To add, as we’ve covered, too much exposure to corrosive chemicals can contribute to further problems in your plumbing fixtures.

The benefits of hiring a professional to take care of your plumbing don’t stop at seeing the bottom of your sink again. You’ll also save your kitchen or bathroom from mold and mildew build up, improve the longevity of your system, and have the chance to have any other current issues assessed and dealt with. Leave the work to us!

5 Common Winter Plumbing Issues

5 common winter plumbing issues in Vancouver WA and Portland OR - D&F Plumbing Services

5 common winter plumbing issues in Vancouver WA and Portland OR - D&F Plumbing ServicesOnce you’ve got your fuzzy socks and a warm mug of cocoa, you’re all ready for winter – right? Well, though these things are definitely essentials, you might be missing a couple of important steps. Before you bundle up for the winter, it’s important to prepare your home – or more specifically, your plumbing system – for the cold weather.

Your plumbing system is particularly susceptible to breaking in freezing temperatures, and damages could be quite expensive to repair. Experts estimate that a single burst pipe costs about $5,000 in damages (eek!). To ensure your home is protected from the cold weather, it’s important to know about the common winter plumbing issues and how to prevent them:

1. Burst Pipes

When water freezes inside of a pipe, it expands and causes an increase in pressure that could cause the pipe to break. That’s why burst pipes are such a common problem in winter, and why it’s crucial to protect your plumbing system as temperatures drop. To avoid a burst pipe, you can insulate exposed pipes with heating tape or other pipe insulation. If you aren’t sure how to properly insulate your pipes, an expert may be able to help.

2. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are a common plumbing issue that can happen during any season. However, winter holidays often mean more cooking and more guests. The combination of increased usage and possible substances – like oil or fat – going down the drain could cause a tough clog. To prevent a backup this winter, try to keep things like coffee grounds, eggshells, and grease from going down the drain.

3. Water Heater Failure

When cold temperatures hit, your water heater has to work much harder to bring you the same amount of warm water – especially if you have guests who are increasing your water usage. The extra strain on your water heater could increase wear and tear while amplifying any problems with your unit. To ensure your water heater is prepared for winter, we recommend draining your tank and scheduling a professional inspection.

4. Frozen Septic Tanks

Septic systems are particularly susceptible to the cold. If your tank freezes over, it could prevent bacteria from treating the sewage, which may cause your tank to overflow or leak raw sewage. That is why it’s critical to winterize your septic tank before winter is in full swing. You can do so by insulating exposed pipes, regularly using hot water, and keeping the drain field clear of any traffic. If it has been 2 or more years since you last pumped your tank, you may also want to do so before winter to avoid backups. To ensure your septic system is totally protected from the cold, you could also contact an expert for personalized recommendations.

5. Leaks and Drips

Leaks and drips are common plumbing problems year-round, but they are more common in the winter. Cold temperatures often cause old or weakened pipes to freeze over and develop more leaks, which are often more challenging to fix in winter weather. To prevent more leaks and drips in the winter, we recommend scheduling a professional inspection to fix any weakened pipes before cold weather sets in.

Plumbing Winterization in Portland OR

Winterizing your plumbing system is an important part of protecting your home from the damage that freezing temperatures can cause. A little bit of preparation and maintenance could save you a lot of time, money, and stress.

If you want to ensure your plumbing system is completely protected from the cold, call a licensed plumber like those at D & F Plumbing to get personalized recommendations. Our skilled technicians have been proudly serving the greater Portland OR area for nearly 100 years, and we can use our expertise to help keep your home safe all winter long. If you want help winterizing your plumbing, call the experts at D & F Plumbing today!

Oh Snap! Don’t Let a Frozen Pipe Ruin Your Winter

Learn how to avoid frozen pipes with the D&F Plumbing experts in Vancouver WA!

Learn how to avoid frozen pipes with the D&F Plumbing experts in Vancouver WA!A frozen or burst pipe can really throw a wrench in your winter plans. The last thing you want is to be patching leaks over the holidays or redirecting a waterfall on New Year’s. But, as temperatures drop, your plumbing system could freeze or crack, leading to some serious and potentially costly problems.

So, as winter sets in, it’s time to get snappy and protect your plumbing! Here are some tips for keeping your pipes in good shape through freezing temperatures this winter:

  • Wrap pipes with insulating materials. Wrapping any exposed pipes in insulating materials, such as heating tape or mineral wool, is a great way to protect them from the cold. That way, they won’t freeze over and risk cracking and leaking.
  • Seal leaks around your home. A lot of homes have some drafty areas. But, if your home has a lot of cold air blowing near your plumbing system, it could become an issue. Sealing off any air leaks around dryer vents, pipes, or electrical wiring can keep your pipes from freezing.
  • Shut off and drain water from outdoor plumbing. Your outdoor pipes are most at risk of freezing and breaking. Since most of us don’t use our outdoor spigots during winter, it’s usually best to shut off water to your outdoor plumbing when cold weather hits. We also recommend draining the pipes and storing your garden hoses indoors.
  • Keep your thermostat the same temperature day and night. A lot of people are in the habit of shutting off their thermostat for the night – after all, you’ll be cozy and wrapped in blankets anyway! But, temperatures are lowest at night, and a particularly cold night is all it would take to freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks and near exterior walls. The heat inside of your home can seep into your exterior walls, keeping your pipes nice and toasty. Opening up cabinet doors near exterior walls can facilitate the transfer of warmth from your home to your plumbing system.
  • Keep garage doors closed as much as possible. The more you keep your garage doors open, the colder your home – and plumbing system – can become. Keeping your garage doors closed can protect the pipes near that part of your house.
  • Thaw frozen pipes with warm water or hair dryers. If worse comes to worst and you notice a pipe is frozen solid, you’ll want to thaw it out quickly. Warm water or the heat from a hairdryer will likely do the trick. It’s important to remember that this should only be used as a last-resort tactic, and you should never use an open flame to thaw out a frozen pipe.
  • Call for help immediately if you run into problems. If you wake up to a burst pipe or a flooded basement, it’s important to call for immediate help. An experienced plumber can help fix the leak quickly and efficiently while providing some guidance on how to prevent future plumbing problems.

Dependable Plumbers in the Pacific Northwest

Winter plumbing problems can be intimidating, not to mention costly without the right attention. However, you’re not alone! The expert technicians at D & F Plumbing in Vancouver WA and Portland OR are committed to helping you keep your plumbing system in great condition. Whether you are facing broken pipes or just want help with winterizing your plumbing, we’ve got you covered! Just give us a call today to get started!

Winter Plumbing Tips

Frozen outdoor pipe. D & F talks about winter plumbing tips to help prevent a pipe from rupturing in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

Frozen outdoor pipe. D & F talks about winter plumbing tips to help prevent a pipe from rupturing in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

Frozen pipes and burst pipes are expensive and stressful to deal with. During cold temperatures, burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage, estimating about $5,000 in repairs. Yikes! Save yourself the cost, stress, and damage related to frozen pipes and follow these helpful winter plumbing tips from us instead, before Old Man Winter strikes! You’ll be glad you did.

Insulate Pipes

The pipes most at risk are the ones located in attics, garages, and crawl spaces. However, pipes in cupboards and exterior walls can also freeze. One way to protect the pipes in these vulnerable areas is with pipe insulation. Pipe insulation is affordable, easy to install, and can be found at most hardware stores.

You can also use a heat cable for vulnerable pipes as long as you have an electrical outlet nearby.

Apply Faucet Covers

Whether you call them faucets or sillcocks these outdoor plumbing fixtures can burst from cold air if left unprotected. Drain all of your outside faucets and cover them. You can purchase foam faucet covers from most retailers. After you’ve insulated your outdoor faucets, deactivate them at the shutoff valve.

Winterize Outdoor Drains

Remove foliage and other debris from your gutters, downspouts, and storm drains to ensure all of your exterior drains work properly. This will help prevent flooding during heavy rainfall and snow.

Shut off the Water When Leaving Town

If you’re heading out of town for a few days, you may want to shut off your main water supply. This will help prevent excessive damage if your pipes do freeze and burst while you’re gone.

Keep Your Thermostat Consistent

Although many homeowners tend to lower their thermostats to save money, this plan may actually backfire. Burst pipes cost much more than the money you’d be saving on your energy bill. Instead, we recommend you keep your thermostat settings consistent throughout the day and night. This will keep your home comfortable and keep your pipes free of ice.

Inspect Your Water Heater

You rely on your water heater for showers, laundry, and dishes. The last thing you want is for your water heater to break during a cold snap, so make sure it is running properly and efficiently. Signs you may need water heater maintenance or repairs include rusty water, water leaks, and unusual sounds from your water heater.

Keep Kitchen Drains Clear

This time of year is a common time for holiday gatherings and feasts. Just be sure to properly dispose of food. Don’t pour grease, oils, or fats down your kitchen drain or garbage disposal or you may suffer a drain clog.

Let the grease harden then scrape it in a trash can. If you do experience a kitchen drain clog, don’t use any store-bought products. These are not long-term solutions and can damage your pipes as they carve away at the lining. Instead, contact your local plumber. They have professional-grade equipment like snakes and video inspection tools.

What to do if you have a frozen pipe

If you have a frozen pipe, it’s important to react as quickly as possible before it bursts. Apply warm rags to the pipe. If the pipe is inaccessible, contact your local plumber to thaw it and inspect it for damage.

We hope these tips help you as you work to winterize your plumbing this year. If you have a frozen pipe or burst pipe on your hands, give us a call. We provide emergency plumbing services and affordable financing.

Is it Time to Replace Your Plumbing?

Frustrated women holding bucket to catch water leaking from ceiling. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA reveals ways to determine if it's time to replace your home's plumbing.

Frustrated women holding bucket to catch water leaking from ceiling. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA reveals ways to determine if it's time to replace your home's plumbing.Pipes, like most other things, will eventually need to be replaced. This is especially true if your plumbing is over 50-years-old and still has galvanized steel piping. Your plumbing can begin to fail due to age, lack of maintenance, or extreme weather fluctuations. And when your plumbing completely fails, you run the risk of property damage.

Your plumbing, for the most part, is concealed behind walls and concrete so you may not often think about it; out of sight, out of mind. So today, we’re delving into home plumbing and discussing ways you can help identify a failing plumbing system.

Signs of Failing Plumbing

Some of the most obvious signs that your plumbing is failing are:

  • Water leaks
  • Corrosion
  • Cracked pipes

However, you may also experience:

  • Water-stained floors
  • Warped flooring
  • Wet baseboards
  • Low water pressure
  • Unusual noises in your plumbing, like gurgling or rattling
  • Frequent clogs
  • Rust-colored water

Frequent plumbing repairs are another indicator that your plumbing is failing. If you’re constantly spending time and money on repairs, you may want to consider entirely replacing your home’s plumbing. Getting your home repiped will save you more money in the long run.

Types of Piping

There are a variety of pipe materials out there used in home plumbing, each with its own set of lifespans. At D & F Plumbing, we strongly believe in copper and PEX (PolyEthylene Cross-linked) for home plumbing.

PEX blue piping. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA reveals ways to determine if it's time to replace your home's plumbing.
PEX piping.
  • PEX: This is a high-density plastic material manufactured without solvents, chemicals or glues. It is durable, flexible, and it doesn’t corrode, freeze, or scale. PEX also requires fewer fittings and less labor, making the installation process quicker and affordable.
Up close of copper piping. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA reveals ways to determine if it's time to replace your home's plumbing.
Copper piping.
  • Copper: Copper has been the preferred material for decades. This material is corrosion resistant and has a lifespan of about 50+ years.

It’s also worth noting, both of the materials can be used in conjunction with one another.

The Benefits of a Whole House Repipe

  • Improved water pressure
  • No more water leaks
  • High-quality water
  • Peace of mind
  • A positive selling point for your home
  • Increase in home’s value

The Problem with Galvanized Pipes

If your home was built over 20 years ago, you may have corroded or damaged pipes that could cause you costly problems for you later. Galvanized metal pipes which were common before 1960 can deteriorate very quickly and cost you thousands of dollars in water damage. They can also contain amounts of lead.

If you think your home could use a copper repipe or PEX repipe, you’ll want to contact your local plumbing company, for an estimate.