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Simpson Plumbing

What You Need To Know About Hybrid Water Heaters And Saving Money

By | Blog, Plumbing

Need a new water heater? If yes, this is for you! If not, well, you’ll probably need one down the road so it’ll still be good to know this information. Learn how you can start saving money and energy and what resources are available for you! 

Heat Pump Water Heaters (aka Hybrids)

Heat pump water heaters are known to be perhaps the most efficient water heaters. They pull heat from the surrounding area and heat the water within the tank. This saves a significant amount of energy since they’re using the heat from outside to heat the water, instead of using energy to generate heat itself (like standard water heaters). It is also worth mentioning that heat pump water heaters are also known as hybrid water heaters. A lot of vocabulary gets circulated around, so for your convenience, just know that HPWH (heat pump water heaters) and hybrid water heaters are the same and can be used interchangeably. 

Benefits of Heat Pump Water Heaters

Energy Savings: We mentioned how efficiency and significant savings come from the fact that the HPWH uses outside air to heat the water versus using electricity. And because it does so, it also cools the space that it’s in. So, during the summer when you have AC running, you won’t have to worry about costs incurred for spaces that you’re not using often (basement, garage, etc.)

Installation: The installation for HPWHs is very similar to others, while tankless water heaters often need new venting, gas lines, and more. So if you’re looking for less hassle, this is a great choice.

Other Details to Consider

You may be thinking, what’s the catch? None really. Just various factors that are important to remember when considering a hybrid water heater. 

Space: Hybrid Water Heaters are larger than others, so you need to make sure that you have the space for it. It generally won’t fit in a small closet, where some people might have theirs. 

Cost: Fact is, these water heaters are more expensive. However, they can save you an average of $300 per year. Not only will that help you recuperate your investment, but also save energy. 

Good News: There’s a Rebate

Clark Public Utilities offers a $150 rebate for qualified Tier 1 Heat Pump Water Heaters, a $300 rebate for Tier 2,3, and 4 HPWHs installed in new construction or those replacing electrical storage water heaters in homes. The Clark Public Utilities website offers a list of what qualifies you for a rebate. 

You may be wondering what qualifying Tier 1, 2, 3, 4 HPWHs are and the answer is simple. These are various water heater brands and models divided between tiers. The Clark Public Utilities has a list of these which you can view to help you determine what to look/ask for. To qualify for a rebate, the hybrid water heater you get installed, would need to be on this list

We’re Here To Help

Some need friends, some need plumbers, just know that you have a friendly plumber in us! Simpson Plumbing has been proudly serving the community since 1981, and as you can imagine, has installed countless water heaters. We want you to have the hot water you need and the optimal water heater to heat it. Which is why we are offering you savings of $150 OFFwater heater installation (members of our Service Plan get an additional 15% off) or $50 OFF a water heater flush. So if you’re ready to save money and energy, we look forward to hearing from you. 

Flowers budding in spring to illustrate spring plumbing tips

5 Spring Plumbing Maintenance Tips

By | Blog, Plumbing

Ready For Some Spring … Plumbing?

Modern plumbing systems are the successful end products of decades upon decades of research and development. Continuous refinement and improvements include not just the techniques and best practices of the plumbers themselves but of the materials with which those plumbers do their work. From the early days of lead pipes, all the way through more modern variations, such as galvanized steel, copper, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), the plumbing trade has seen a steady march toward sturdier and more efficient methods.

That’s why most homeowners can go many years without having anything too disastrous happen with their plumbing systems. It’s also why plumbers have become something more like a technician than a fittings-and-washers installer. Years of rigorous and sustained testing has finally delivered to the American homeowner plumbing systems that are reliable and eco-friendly.

Still, as we all know, if something can go wrong, it will. Despite all that technological advancement and increasing industry know-how, plumbers still urge property owners to undertake a few simple measures to ensure that their plumbing systems are built to last and working as intended. It doesn’t take a plumbing master to do these things, either. Anyone can partake in these check-up activities — even people with zero plumbing experience.

If you’ve got a flashlight, you can perform spring plumbing maintenance. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With that in mind, here are a few spring plumbing maintenance tips that should help keep your plumbing system in tip-top shape. Think of this as your Plumbing Spring Cleaning Guide!

5 Spring Plumbing Maintenance Tips

  1. Consider your water consumption. Does your water bill continue to increase year over year. This may be because of inefficient plumbing fixtures rather than inflation. Consider installing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. Simpson Plumbing can help. Contact us today with any questions!
  2. Check for leaks. Check all your home’s faucets — inside and out. Also check any visible pipes — for example, those under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. If you see water anywhere, let us know, and we’ll diagnose the problem and get it fixed.
  3. Give it the smell test. Do you smell something that seems like mold or mildew — or just generally a wet or moist smell coming from somewhere that you can’t see? That may be a sign of a leaky pipe inside your walls. If you think that may be the case, call Simpson Plumbing. We can do video inspections of your plumbing system!
  4. Check your drains for clogs. This is especially important if you notice that some of your sinks are draining more slowly than usual. Drain cleaners can be purchased at the supermarket and are easy to use. Remember to read the directions carefully.
  5. Consider your water heater. Depending on the make and model — as well as its age — you may want to drain some water from your water heater. This is to help prevent sediment from building up inside. As always, contact Simpson Plumbing with any questions. Think it might be time for a new water heater? We perform expert water heater installations.

At Simpson Plumbing, we’re happy to help diagnose and fix problems with your plumbing system. Contact us today to get started!

Why Does A Water Heater Need A Flush?

By | Blog, Plumbing

When it comes to the home, there are so many things and ways to maintain that it gets a bit overwhelming. And naturally, we just forget! Let’s take water heaters for an example. We use hot water every day, yet we forget about the very thing that heats it for us. Unless of course, it starts malfunctioning and not producing hot water. Fortunately, one simple way to maintain a healthy water heater and prolong its life is to get it drained and flushed. Not only do manufacturers recommend it once a year, it’s also important for the health of your water heater.

Water Heater Flush Infographic

Simpson Plumbing? Here For You

Whether your water heater is producing cold bursts, increasing your energy bill or none of the above, you have trusted plumbers ready to help you. Our goal is to empower homeowners like you to take care of your home; starting with some of the essentials like your water heater. Not to mention, our Service Plan offers a complimentary water heater drain and flush at every yearly home inspection so you know that your water heater will be operating efficiently. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need us. We’ve been proudly serving the plumbing needs of our community since 1981.

Water Heater Installation Requirements

By | Blog, Uncategorized

Don’t you love a nice hot shower in the morning, or a bath in the evening? We think the answer is probably yes all around. That’s all thanks to water heaters, which are one of the home’s necessities.

There are some installation requirements that it’s important to be aware of when getting a water heater installed or replaced. Why? Water heaters are powerful (after all, they do heat water for your entire house) and can cause big-time property damage if not installed correctly. However, Simpson Plumbing can take care of that for you, as installing water heaters is one of our main services. With that said, here are the top five things every home owner should review with a plumber.

Water Heater in Vancouver Home

What You Need To Know About Water Heater Installation

  1. Type of tank: There are three main types of water heaters including conventional, hybrid and tankless. Conventional water heaters use gas/electricity to keep a full supply of hot water. Hybrids use air pump technology to heat to warm water and tankless water heaters heat water on demand.

 

  1. Size of tank: This is determined based on the size of your home along with the current and future use of water.

 

  1. Location of tank: Where you put the water heater is just as important as having one. Due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, water heaters are not to be installed in bedrooms, closets, or bathrooms. A perimeter of at least 24-in is required around the water heater, and if it is placed in the garage, there must be a protective barrier before it. If the water heater is inside or somewhere damage can occur, a pan is to be placed underneath the water heater, connected to a drain line. Don’t worry, our technicians can always guide you in where to place a water heater.

 

  1. Electrical/gas/other requirement of tank: Everything must be exact, when it comes to the electrical aspects. So, gas and water pipes need to be bound with wire and clamps, to the ground system. Moreover, depending on the pressure in your house, the plumber will advise whether a pressure regulating valve is necessary or not. Expansion tanks are another thing (there’s a lot, we know!). When the water heats up, it expands and the water pressure increases. If a home has a closed plumbing system, the water can’t flow back to the main water supply system because it’s blocked. This causes unnecessary strain on the water heater and can decrease its lifespan. The expansion tank holds that extra water that expands as a result of heating.

 

  1. Warranty: There are various warranty options to consider, depending on how long you want your water heater to last. These should be discussed with the plumber.

Other Things to Consider

A permit may be necessary to replace a hot water heater, depending on where you live. Some counties require them, others don’t; the plumbing technician will be able to tell you.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, earthquake straps are a definite requirement, in order to secure the water heater to prevent it from tipping over in case of a natural disaster.

Consider insulating pipes that transport your water. That can save you money and energy.  When pipes that transport fluids, such as water aren’t insulated, it can create temperature inconsistency. In other words, your water heater would need to take more energy to heat up water, than if it were a bit warmer already. And that’s more money out of your pocket. Pipe insulation helps mitigate the difference in water temperatures.

What Simpson Plumbing Can Do For You

Now that you know about some of the requirements, you can be confident that as your plumber, we’ll take care of all of the necessary details. Being in the plumbing industry for over 30 years, we know the ins and outs and are ready to answer any questions you may have and get the work done.

Contact us at (360) 834-5311 and let us know how we can be of service to you. 

Black and white Art Illustration of outdoor faucet

How To Repair A Leaky Outdoor Faucet

By | Plumbing

Outdoor Faucet Leaking?

Knowing how to repair a leaky outdoor faucet is one of those tasks that can be extremely helpful for the average homeowner. In many cases — not all, mind you, but many — the fix is as easy as checking and tightening a nut. Sometimes, however, the diagnosis is not so easily obtained and the fix isn’t so easy to come by — at least not for those who don’t work as a plumber full time.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the basics of checking for and repairing a leaky outdoor water faucet (also known as a hose bib or hose bibbs). If you’ve had an outdoor faucet that’s been leaking for a while, then fixing the problem should do wonders for your water bill — not to mention the environment.

Please keep in mind that this piece provides just an overview of how to diagnose and repair a leaky faucet. As we alluded to in that first paragraph up there, there may be more than meets the eye when it comes to fixing a leaky outdoor faucet. If that’s the case, then you’re always going to be in good shape if you contact Simpson Plumbing. We’re happy to help diagnose the problem and propose solutions that will solve the problem — whatever it may be.

But if the fix is easy — and we’re hoping it is! — then here are the steps for how to repair a leaky outdoor faucet.

How To Repair A Leaky Outdoor Faucet

First off, you’ll probably need a pair of pliers or a sturdy adjustable wrench to perform the fix outlined here. Outdoor faucets can begin to drip over time because the packing nut has come loose. If that’s the case, then you’ll almost certainly notice that water is leaking from the handle. To stop an outdoor faucet from leaking, take your pliers or adjustable wrench and tighten the packing nut that’s located just below the faucet handle. Remember to turn it in a clockwise direction about halfway — righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!

If the faucet is still leaking after you’ve tightened it, then it’s probably because the rubber washer has worn away. This process is a little more involved and requires you to not only buy a replacement washer but to also shut off the water supply going to the faucet. Then you’ll need to unscrew that packing nut (lefty-loosey!) and pull the handle and valve stem out from the faucet. (The valve stem is sometimes surprisingly long FYI!)

Time to Call Simpson?

(Note: If you’re reading this and already thinking this might be a good time to call a plumber, then it’s probably a good time to call a plumber. Call Simpson Plumbing right away! We’re here to help.)

Still here? Ready to carry on? OK, now that the water flow has been stopped, you’ll want to remove the screw on the end of that stem; this screw holds the washer in place. Go ahead and replace the old washer with the new one. Then tighten that screw, re-insert the stem into the faucet housing, and re-tighten the packing nut. Finally, turn the water on again, and check for leaks or drips.

If that fix doesn’t solve the problem, then it’s possible that the valve will have to be replaced. In this case, we’re just gonna go ahead and say it’s definitely absolutely time to call Simpson Plumbing.

Simpson: Your Vancouver Plumber

Since 1981, Simpson Plumbing has been delivering quality plumbing services in and around Vancouver, Camas, and the rest of Southwest Washington. Our philosophy is simple: Give our customers the results they demand at a fair and ethical price.

Simpson is family-owned and operated — just as it has been since Day 1. In fact, a third generation of family members has joined our expert plumbing workforce. We’re more than ready to continue providing exceptional plumbing services and A+ customer service to our Vancouver neighbors.

Be sure to check out our special offers. (They’re updated frequently!)

Full-Service Plumbing

Simpson offers full-service commercial and residential plumbing. No matter the problem, we’re equipped to diagnose and fix it — everything from leaky faucets (both inside and out!), water heater repair, garbage disposal repair, pipe maintenance, and more!

We also provide installation services, including water heaters, sump pumps, and tubs and showers. Last but certainly not least: We can help you with kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, or full-scale plumbing projects on new homes.

Call us today! We look forward to speaking with you.

Toilet Running? Here’s How To Repair It

By | Plumbing

Tips to Fix a Running Toilet

A toilet and tub in a modern bathroom.Is your toilet running? (No, this is not a joke.) Running toilets are one of the most common reasons people call a plumber in Vancouver and Portland. With just a little bit of know-how, homeowners and property owners can usually handle this problem on their own.

First things first: If you have little to no plumbing experience beyond knowing how to use a plunger, it would be best to contact Simpson Plumbing. We’re providing this DIY blog post as an FYI for those who know at least a little bit about plumbing systems.

Doing plumbing work yourself — even the most basic of basics — without proper training and guidance can lead to big-time damage and more expensive problems. If you’re unfamiliar with or have no experience working on plumbing problems, a DIY blog post — even if it’s super awesome like this one! — should not be considered proper training and guidance.

OK, now that we’ve got that disclaimer out of the way …

What Problems Are Caused By A Toilet That Won’t Stop Running?

A toilet that won’t stop running is more than just a mild nuisance. It can cause a whole host of problems — including risks of flooding and water damage. If your home has a septic system, a running toilet can flood the tank — with results that can be, well, messy.

What else might happen if your toilet won’t stop running? A continuously running toilet wastes water, leading to higher water bills and a strain on our already strained environment. It also makes it more likely that there isn’t enough water in the bowl at any one time to flush properly, which can lead to clogged pipes.

How to Fix a Running Toilet

Here’s a quick checklist that should help you diagnose the problem of a running toilet. Before beginning any work, shut off the water to the toilet and drain the toilet bowl with a flush. In order to understand what follows, you might want to take a look at a basic diagram of a toilet tank assembly.

  1. Open the tank and inspect the chain.

    Sometimes the fix is super simple: The chain that holds the flapper (also known as the flush valve seal) has become caught under the flapper itself at the bottom of the tank. Jiggle the chain to free it up. Other times, the chain has a kink, meaning it’s not long enough to allow the flapper to properly seal the drain hole. Try unkinking the chain if that appears to be the problem.

  2. Replace the flapper.

    As mentioned above, the flapper (flush valve seal) is probably familiar to most people who have lifted the heavy ceramic lid off their toilet tank in order to “jiggle the chain.” It is supposed to plug up the drain hole (the flush valve drain seat; see No. 2 below) on the tank bottom. Over time, it can wear out, leading to a break in the seal. You can take the flapper to your hardware store and ask for a matching part that you can use to replace the old, malfunctioning one.

  3. Inspect the flush valve seat.

    This part of the toilet’s plumbing can also become flawed. Unfortunately, replacing this part is a bigger job — one that involves swapping out the entire flapper valve. This is one of those plumbing jobs that’s usually beyond the skills of your average everyday plumbing homeowner. Contact Simpson Plumbing for help.

  4. Adjust the float.

    The float is that big ball that sits on the opposite end of the arm attached to the fill valve. You can turn the screw that holds the float arm to the fill valve (a quarter turn at a time) to adjust the height of the float. This usually solves the problem of a running toilet. (If it’s caused by the water level or the ball sitting too high.)

  5. Replace the fill valve.

    This is another job that involves an expert — not just for replacing the assembly but for diagnosing the problem in the first place. Call Simpson with any questions!

Simpson Plumbing in Vancouver and Portland

Those are the basic troubleshooting maneuvers when you flush the toilet and it starts constantly running. As we stressed before, it’s usually better to get an expert opinion on these matters. This is especially important if you have little to no experience diagnosing and troubleshooting plumbing problems.

Simpson Plumbing can help! For almost 40 years, Simpson Plumbing has provided quality, affordable plumbing services for Vancouver and Portland residents. Based in Camas, Washington, we work hard to deliver results that lead to complete customer satisfaction. We don’t want to just fix a single plumbing problem (although we’re happy to do that!); we want to make you a Simpson Plumbing customer for life.

Contact us today with any questions.

Get Your Home Plumbing Ready for Summer

By | Blog

plumbing ready for summerSummer in the Pacific Northwest is one of the loveliest times of the year. The days are longer and warmer, people are outside grilling, and your plumbing is working hard to water your lawn and keep the sprinkler going for the kids to run through. If you’re looking to get your home plumbing ready for summer months, make sure that your internal piping system is in great condition to take on the extra water use. No one wants a major plumbing problem to ruin a nice summer day. Here are some helpful tips to avoid plumbing issues this summer.

Tip #1: Check your water heater

You may not be taking long hot baths during the summer like you would during the winter, but your water heater will still be put to good use over the summer months, so it’s important to inspect it closely. Look at your water heater in detail and check for signs of rust, leakage, or corrosion. Check underneath the water heater with a flashlight and be sure it’s not wet on the underneath side. Typical water heaters last between 8 and 12 years, so if yours is that old, consider getting it looked at by a professional for replacement.  

Tip #2: Avoid clogs

Clogged drains or clogged pipes are never fun. If you have a slow drain or weak flush issues during the warm weather months, be sure to have the tools handy that you need. For bathroom sinks and tubs, hair clogs usually happen just inside the drain or further down the line. Keep on top of these by cleaning your drain out as often as possible. If you are finding that drains are not clearing and that they are becoming clogged more and more, consider calling a professional to get things taken care of before something more serious occurs.

Tip #3 Learn to conserve water

Learning how to conserve water is not only great on your wallet, but it will also help save the planet. For example, a leaky faucet could waste thousands of gallons of water in a year’s time and you could also literally be flushing money down the drain that way. During the summer months, you’ll likely need to keep your garden and plants watered so they don’t die in the heat, but when you do water them, use only what you need. For example, don’t leave the sprinkler running for long periods of time, but instead used a timed sprinkler system or do the watering by hand.

Plumbing services in Vancouver WA

Is your plumbing ready for summer months? Contact our team of plumbing professionals today for help!

Finding a shower leak

Finding a shower leak that’s causing water damage

By | Blog

Taking care of your home requires a diverse set of skills – sometimes you’re a finance manager, other times a procurement officer, maintenance engineer, or interior designer. You may also take on the roles of electrician, landscaper, painter and plumber. What you really are is a problem solver. When it comes to plumbing issues – from toilets that won’t stop running to the leak near the shower – your sleuthing skills need to be top-notch, because leaks are sneaky and if left unchecked, can cause significant damage to your home. Here are a few tips for finding a shower leak that’s causing water damage.

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water-leak-detection

How Does Water Leak Technology Work?

By | Blog

As humans, we’ve been trying to manage water systems for a long time. Even the Romans, builders of one of the early water supply systems, worried about losing water through leaks, as noted by their Water Commissioner. At the time, and for centuries afterward, visual inspection was the only way to identify leaks from plumbing or water systems. Looking for drips and puddles is still a primary form of water leak detection, but not all leaks are obvious.

Technological advancements now provide us with more options to find hidden leaks. Here’s more information about types of water leak detection and how the technology works.

Acoustic Water Leak Detection

Water makes sounds as it escapes from pipes. It may hiss, whoosh, drip, splash or thump. Acoustic water leak detection technology relies on listening devices and microphones to locate leaks. The system’s listening device picks up sound waves and transfers them to a microphone. Experienced operators determine the location and size of the leak based on the loudness and tone of the sounds.

Higher frequency sounds indicate smaller leaks; lower sounds suggest larger leaks. In some acoustic water leak detection systems, the sensor is placed directly into the water system for an extended time, collecting information about leaks as it travels.

Thermal Imaging Water Leak Detection

A thermal imaging water leak detection system uses an infrared thermography (IT) camera. These hand-held cameras produce images of heat radiation across the color spectrum, with hotter areas showing up as red and cooler areas appearing as purple or blue.  Since water typically has a lower temperature than air, a leak can be recognized as a darker color on the infrared image.

Fiber Optic Camera Water Leak Detection

Fiber optic cameras can provide precise information about water leaks. A miniaturized camera mounted on a long fiber optic cable is placed into the water system through a drain. The camera sends images back to a monitor, showing the location of leaks and the condition of pipes.  

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Water Leak Detection

This water leak detection technology relies on electromagnetic waves bouncing off material below the surface to create two-dimensional reflections of a water system. GPR reflections will be distorted if a leak is present. GPR systems can also create three-dimensional maps to show not only the presence of a leak, but also the direction water is moving, helping to target repairs.

Hydrostatic Water Leak Detection

With this technology, a ball is inserted into a main sewer pipe and inflated to block the pipe. Water is then run into the system and pressure is measured over a time. A pressure drop indicates a leak in the system. Since it only measures the presence of a leak, hydrostatic water leak detection is typically part of a multi-step evaluation. Fiber optic cameras may be used after hydrostatic water testing to more fully understand the location and type of leak.

Water leak detection Vancouver, WA

We’ve come a long way in understanding how to locate and assess water leaks that are not easily visible. For help with water leak detection in the Vancouver area, contact Simpson Plumbing. We’ll put our technology and expertise to work for you to find the leak – and we’ll provide the plumbing repairs you need to get your water system back to peak performance.

Common laundry room plumbing problems

Laundry room plumbing tips to avoid leaks and clogs

By | Blog

When it comes to avoiding issues with your laundry room plumbing, there are some simple ways to prevent small headaches from becoming major issues that will cost you time and money to fix. In many cases, issues with laundry room plumbing can be prevented through simple maintenance and introducing a few new steps to your cleaning routine. While this might seem like a hassle at first, keeping your laundry room in tip-top shape will save you from expensive repairs in the long run. Here are some simple tips to help you preserve the plumbing in your laundry room.

Laundry room plumbing tips

Checking the integrity of your laundry machine hoses is crucial to preventing leaks and clogs. If your laundry room has rubber hoses installed, consider swapping them out for metal ones instead. Older homes and apartments are more likely to have rubber hose hookups for washing machines. These are specially made to avoid clogging, and are less prone to breakage and cracking than rubber hoses. It is also important to make sure your hoses are connected properly to your machines and drainage areas, as loose or broken seals can lead to flooding and costly water damage. The same check can be done for under sinks and even toilets if they share the same room as your laundry machines.

Another simple installation to help preserve the plumbing in your laundry room is a flood sensor. While it can be important to find smaller leaks in your laundry room plumbing before they become problematic, in the case of a large flooding event, a flood sensor can save you from intense water damage. From a backed-up drain, to an overflowing sink, or even a clogged toilet, a flooding sensor can let you know there is a problem before it spirals out of control, keeping your laundry room safer from expensive damage than ever before.

Making sure to clean out your drains and clog catches on a weekly or bi-weekly basis is also key to preventing overflow. Particularly important for a highly used washer that is being run multiple times of every day of the week, preventing clogs is key to the health of your laundry room plumbing. A quick check of hair catches in bathtubs and sinks, as well as checking the catch on your washing machine, can save you hours of plumbing trouble. Also, updating your appliances to modern, water-efficient models can help prevent clogs and save you money on both water use and plumbing problems.

Vancouver, WA plumbing services

Finally, getting a regular plumbing inspection can help you detect issues you couldn’t find on your own, such as internal plumbing issues and aged plumbing. If you are interested in scheduling a plumbing inspection, or have any questions about how to keep your laundry room operating cleanly, contact Simpson Plumbing. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, and can offer professional repairs and consultations on installations and plumbing repairs.