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Posts Tagged: plumbing

3 ROI-friendly home upgrades for Puget Sound home sellers

Posted On: Filed Under: Doors, Windows, Plumbing No Comments on 3 ROI-friendly home upgrades for Puget Sound home sellers

Invest in new fixtures and hardware.

Perhaps one of the least expensive upgrades you can make, new fixtures add shine and newness to any room. An older bathroom sink can instantly be brought into the 21st century with a new faucet, which can quickly and inexpensively be replaced by Washington Energy Services. The same goes for a leaky or outdated bath faucet.

Updated hardware is also a quick and inexpensive way to upgrade your home. For example, doors with scratched brass doorknobs are given new life with modern brushed metal options. Changing or adding modern or classic cabinet hardware is also a way to upgrade the kitchen—an important and lucrative area when selling a home.

Open the door to higher offers.

The National Association of Realtors develops a report each year that compares remodeling cost versus value. This report rates home projects with the highest and lowest return on investment. Door replacement consistently ranks very high in terms of ROI. That’s because a front door—good or bad—makes a first impression. An old or damaged door screams cheap, while a new or well-maintained door says sophistication.

Door options from Washington Energy Services can replace your outdated or worn-out door with a classic, traditional, or modern option. If a new door isn’t in the budget, invest in a high-gloss paint and give your door a pop of color.

Make the move to vinyl windows.

Many older homes still have single pane or aluminum-framed windows. If you have a few (or more) of these in your home, consider replacing them with vinyl windows. The presence of single pane or aluminum-framed windows are a deterrent that are noticed by potential buyers, because they are less energy efficient, collect condensation, and can be drafty.

If a full window replacement isn’t an option for your home because of budget, pick a few of the more prominent or drafty windows to replace.

Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean your home shouldn’t stand out. Most homes can benefit from a few quick upgrades, and your bottom line can as well.

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Simple prep list for “northwest” winter

Posted On: Filed Under: Plumbing No Comments on Simple prep list for “northwest” winter


Thinking about disaster is never fun, and it often hits the back burner, so if time is limited just start by taking this short list of basics to the store. Stock up yourself or use it to create a great holiday gift for someone you love.

Condition Prep List
Winter Driving Chains & instructions for putting them on*
Snow shovel and ice scraper in the car
with space blanket
Check tire tread. Consider winter radials if you travel over the passes.
Have your insurance card in the car, especially if you have emergency road service coverage.
Winter Sidewalks Rock salt is environmentally safe and melts ice on driveways, sidewalks and front steps.
Check gutters to clear debris and ensure they direct water away from the foundation of the house.
Clear drains, a much city flooding comes from clogged drains.
Add weather stripping to doors to prevent water from coming in under them.
Test sump pump to ensure it is working.
Seal walls in basement with waterproofing compounds.
Power Outage Consider getting a gas powered standby generator or another alternate heating source.
Stockpile wood now for fireplace/stove.
Long burning safety candles
Batteries for the flashlight.
Keep car fueled up as power outages disable gas pumps.
Trim or remove trees on your property that could fall on your house or power lines.

Safety first! Never use portable generators or barbeques in the house – they produce lethal carbon monoxide. You can’t smell it and it can kill you.

Learn more about preparing for disasters at www.ready.gov. Washington Energy is here 365 days a year to help you stay warm and dry this winter. For more information on standby generators, or for plumbing and drain cleaning, give us a call at 800-398-4663.

*Note: chains are not recommended for use on some models of all wheel drive vehicles. Consult your auto maker.

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New technology provides a water leak rescue

Posted On: Filed Under: Plumbing 2 Comments on New technology provides a water leak rescue


A property manager or homeowner can do a lot to prevent water issues by knowing the current condition of their appliances, fixtures and piping, and knowing who they can call and depend on to get the job done quickly and effectively when something does happen. By replacing key heavy use items such as water heaters and water lines proactively, you can avoid some risk. You probably do that today. What is new is that water emergencies and potential damage can be greatly reduced by applying new technology – a unique water leak protection and notification system called Plumber’s Choice. Sounds big but it’s a small device that can detect a leak, shut off your water and notify you by email.

Plumber’s Choice is manufactured by QMI, of Vancouver, BC, Canada. They’ve been making these products for years under the name Water Guardian, and now it’s available in the US. As soon as your water heater starts leaking, this product will sense the water, automatically shut it off and an audible alarm would sound. These systems can be installed for your dishwasher, water heater, washing machine, furnace, and plumbing fixtures. You name it they have it covered. They remotely shut off your main water or just your appliance water, depending on how you set it up. The device then wirelessly sends the homeowner, property manager or even a contractor an email message so you can react as quickly as possible and snub out any water damage.

The water leak protection system can benefit single family homes, but is an even greater value to apartment buildings and condominiums where one leak could affect multiple residences and property managers may not be on site. One of our customers told us this true story. She was a tenant on the 18th floor of an apartment building. At 2am the phone rang and it was the front desk in the lobby. Water was coming out into the lobby and did she have a leak? The surprised tenant stepped out of her bed onto a soaking carpet and quickly they summoned the manager on call. Her dishwasher was stuck mid-cycle and in just a few hours, water ran through every single apartment in the line below for all 18 floors before hitting the lobby. The tenant had no liability, as it was the building’s equipment and not user error. As you might guess, the rest of the story involved repairs and claims throughout the building. This could have been completely mitigated by the Plumber’s Choice products.

Washington Energy Services is the local representative for Plumber’s Choice and qualified to install these systems. For more information on multi-family applications contact Account Manager, Tyler Heagle at 425 766 2319. For single family home installations, please call our service center at 800-398-4663.

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Plumber’s corner: Orangeburg pipe risks

Posted On: Filed Under: Plumbing 14 Comments on Plumber’s corner: Orangeburg pipe risks

What Orangeburg Pipe is and why it matters

If you said YES, you have a high potential of having sewer line pipe made of a material called Orangeburg. Since these pipes are going end of life underground now, and since the sewer line is your homeowner’s responsibility, this has come up as a highly requested topic for our Newsletter.  Here is the important information you need to know about Orangeburg pipe.

Orangeburg pipe is bituminous fiber pipe made from asphalt impregnated layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together – essentially tar paper. Lightweight and brittle, this piping absorbs moisture and deforms under pressure It started out as a substitute to cast iron pipe, which was heavily taxed during WWII to support the war effort.  We have recently performed two sewer line replacements in one block in Tacoma because of problems with this piping material.

How long does Orangeburg Pipe last?

Orangeburg has a life expectancy of approximately 50 years. After 30 years, deformation may begin to occur. All homes with Orangeburg pipe are pre-1972 and 40 or more years old. That could put your house at risk.

What happens when the Orangeburg piping begins to deteriorate?

Once the product begins to break down homeowners can expect frequent clogged lines, tree root invasion and even total pipe collapse. Once the deterioration process begins, Orangeburg sewer pipes deform quickly, allowing tree roots to break in to them and literally shred them.

How do you tell if your Washington home has Orangeburg pipe?

If your house was built between 1940 and 1972, there’s a chance you have Orangeburg. The product was used as the standard piping as late as the 1970’s. Also, if you have frequent clogs in your main sewer line or you see indentations in the front yard that line up with where the sewer should be, it’s might be a sign of Orangeburg pipe deterioration. If your neighbors have Orangeburg, you probably do too.

You have Orangeburg Pipe in your home. What is the solution?

We recommend having a licensed plumber come out and perform a side sewer camera inspection.  This is a video camera review that does not require digging anything up. If it’s determined Orangeburg has been used and is showing signs of deterioration the solution would be to replace ALL of it at once with PVC.  The bottom line is this material will deteriorate after a certain amount of time do to pressure and moisture.  If you do not address the problem, eventually your sewer line will fail which could cost thousands in preventable repairs.

If you would like more information about Orangeburg pipe, please call us at 1-800-590-4969.  PlumbWorks is a division of Washington Energy Services.

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