Eight Tips to Prevent Clogged Drains this Spring

Clogged drains are a common, yet incredibly annoying problem that most people have to deal with. Although clogs occur often, there are things that you can do in your home to reduce their chances of escalating. Here are eight tips to prevent clogged drains this spring:

What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

  1. Keep grease and oil out of your drains. Instead, you can pour it into a disposable container and throw it away in the garbage. Grease and oil harden once they get into your pipes, and can build up over time. Other debris can stick to it on their way down, which can quickly cause a clog.
  2. Use drain screens if you don’t already have them. Your drains regularly deal with soap, hair, dirt, and other debris that can cause problems in your plumbing system. A stopper will be able to filter these materials, while still allowing your wastewater to pass through.
  3. If you don’t have a garbage disposal, no food should be allowed down your drains. Accidents happen, and particles will find their way in.
  4. If you do have a garbage disposal, there are certain things that you shouldn’t put in. This includes peels and skins, coffee grounds, and eggshells to name a few. Not only can they damage your disposal, they can stick to the sides of your pipes and cause blockages.
  5. Whenever you use your garbage disposal, you should have a steady flow of cold water coming from the faucet. Contrary to popular belief, cool water is better than warm for flushing out debris. This will help to carry it all the way through your drainage system.
  6. Never flush anything (besides toilet paper) down the toilet. Paper towels, regular towels, or other materials are too heavy for your plumbing system to handle. They can easily cause clogs or backups, so it’s best to throw them in the trash.
  7. Every week or so, you can pour boiling water down your drain. This will help to flush away grease or debris that may have built up.
  8. The most important step of all is making sure that your plumbing fixtures get professional attention! Early detection is key in preventing major malfunctions down the road. At the first sign of an issue, call 3 Mountains Plumbing.

How 3 Mountains Plumbing Can Help

No matter where your clog is located, or how advanced it is, 3 Mountains Plumbing can fix it. Our trained and licensed professionals will be able to restore your plumbing to working condition. To help relieve your clogged drains, we offer:

  • Video Camera Inspection: We use state of the art drain-imaging tools to get a real-time look at the inside of your drains. This allows us to pinpoint the makeup and location of the clog so we can give you an honest and accurate quote.
  • Drain Snake Services: A professional drain snake is a powerful way to clear even the toughest of clogs. Harsh chemicals and DIY snaking can damage your pipes even further, so it’s best to leave clog removal to the professionals.

Keep your drains clog-free this spring by calling 3 Mountains Plumbing at the first sign of an issue. 


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5 Drain Maintenance Tasks To Accomplish This Summer and Fall


Drain maintenance may not be easily linked to summer and fall, but these seasons really are the perfect time to get these tasks done. There are some projects that you can tackle at certain times during the year that just feel like common sense.

4 Reasons to Tackle Drain Maintenance Tasks in Summer and Fall

  1. Fewer weather-related problems mean that it’s the perfect time to resolve winter issues
    In the summer, the weather is often drier and there’s less rain, so it’s easier to get these projects done. It also makes it easier for the plumbing specialist to work on the drains, especially when it comes to inspections outside of your home. The summer and fall are usually milder when it comes to weather changes, so you won’t have delays like you would with snow or ice, which create their own sets of issues in your drain system. These seasons are the perfect time to prevent winter-related problems from worsening or recurring in the winter.
  2. It May Be Less Hectic at Home in the Fall
    With fewer activities and demands on your time, and potentially fewer children under foot, you may have more time and energy, which allows this task to be less stressful. This means that it may be a quicker job for the plumbing professional you hire to clean your drains. That means fewer interruptions and less stress for you.
  3. Stopping Leaks in the Pipes During the Summer Can Lessen Potential Problems in the Fall and Winter
    Autumn is a terrible time to have leaky pipes, especially if you’re in an area where wet, rainy weather is the norm. This is because fall storms can p0ut stress on plumbing systems by adding quite a bit of water to the sewer lines, especially if there are leaks and cracks in the pipes, or other drain issues. The longer you leave drains without cleaning, the more expensive (and encompassing) the problems can be when you get around to taking care of it.
  4. Less Potential for Bad Smells
    If you let your drains go without maintenance throughout the summer, there’s a greater chance that you’ll have more stinky smells to deal withy. Bacteria grows in warm weather, and this only leads to unpleasantness. That also leads to the potential for illness, if someone in your home is sensitive to mold and things in the air.

Drain Maintenance Tasks to Perform in the Summer and Fall

Undertaking a few maintenance tasks in the summer and fall months can lead to a less stressful winter and spring, with less risk of serious plumbing issues. Some of these are easy do-it-yourself tasks, but others should be undertaken by a professional.

  1. Add a Drain Strainer to Your Bathtubs and Showers
    This is a simple and inexpensive step to take as part of your preventive maintenance tasks that make life easier and extends the working lives of your drains. A drain strainer is a basket-shaped insert that you can set into the drain. Bathtubs, sinks and floor drains are perfect for drain strainers, which keep hair and other items from slipping down the drain and causing major clogs or damage to your pipes.
  2. Remove Leaves and Debris from Gutters and Downspouts
    Not only does this reduce the chances of problems with your home’s gutters, but this also reduces the chance of gross stuff (think mulch-like slimy leaves) getting into your outdoor drains to clog them.
  3. Check for Leaks
    As noted above, autumn is a terrible time to have leaks in your plumbing. Even if you don’t think leaks are an issue, it’s just good maintenance to check for issues like leaks and cracks once or twice a year.
  4. Have a Perimeter Drain Inspection
    Perimeter drains that get blocked can create major headaches, from basement floods to foundations p0froblems. If you have a crew come out and inspect during the summer, you’ll have peace of mind that your foundation is safe from leaks, and that your family is safe from mold issues in the basement too.
  5. Consider Adding a Backwater Valve to Your Floor Drains
    A backwater valve is a god addition to a floor drain if you live in areas where summer and fall storms tend to overwhelm their storm drains and cause sewer line issues. If you have a plastic drain, it may be easy to install, but if there’s corrosion in a cast iron drain, there’s the potential for some difficulties to occur. If you can’t straighten the threads in a cast iron drain, then it might be time to call a plumber.

Call 3 Mountains Plumbing for all your plumbing needs, or to learn more about drain maintenance!

4 Signs of a Blocked Drain: Understanding How Drain Clogs Happen

How often do you think about the drains in your home or business?

If you’re like many individuals, you probably don’t think about it until there are obvious signs of problems. There’s nothing wrong with that, but life can be much simpler and less messy if you pay a bit of attention ahead of issues like that. Understanding the causes can help you to fix the problem more easily and more quickly.   It helps to understand what causes drains to clog and back up, and how to avoid it in the first place if possible.

How does a drain work?

A drain system consists of a line that runs through the building and connects to the sewer system. The drain also connects to each sink, toilet or washing machine in a home of business.

The sink connects with a trap and a pipeline that leads to the drain line and sewer system. It’s pretty simple. But, there are multiple places where clogs can cause problems (like in the pipes themselves, or in the traps connecting the sink or toilet to the plumbing system for example).

How do drains get clogged?

Most often, accumulations in the pipes and drains create clogs. This can be food from a kitchen sink, or hair and soap buildup from a bathtub or bathroom sink.  When it comes to a toilet, an abundance of toilet paper of things not meant to be flushed can cause clogs in the drains.

Signs of a plumbing blockage

If you’re concerned about a blockage, here are a few signs to look for:

  1. A slowly draining sink or bathtub.
    A slow drain can be the first sign of a problem. This often happens when they diameter of the pipe is constricted by a thickening layer of grime and soap, of because of a blockage somewhere in a pipeline.
  2. A stinky smell.
    An unpleasant smell can come before a slow drain, potentially, but is a sign of a problem. It could be caused by several things: rotten food in a kitchen sink or drain, even a small rodent in another area of the drain and sewer system connections.
  3. Toilets that back up instead of flush.
    These blockages are often caused by too much toilet paper going down, or more commonly, the wrong things being flushed down the toilet (like a small child’s toy or female sanitary products). This is serious because the item blocking the drain could damage the pipeline, or lead to damage to your bathroom as the water comes out of the bowl. If a plunger doesn’t help, you should probably call a professional to examine the pipes and drain system.
  4. Drains that gurgle.
    The gurgling noise means that air is trapped somewhere in the plumbing. This could be caused by buildups in the drain, like grease, food, and oil. Food deposits may not always be easy to remove with drain cleaner – sometimes a professional’s high-powered tools, like a hydro-jetter, can sometimes improve the interior of the pipe at the same time as they remove the clog causing the problem. Damage to the sewer line could be another reason for gurgling in a drain. This issue is far more serious than a clog, and usually requires a professional to safely fix the problem. Yet another reason for gurgling noises in a drain is a blockage in the vent pipe that attaches to the drain pipe and goes to the roof to let sewer gas escape the system. If these are not taken care of, you could find that sewer backs up into the drain system.
  5. Water on your lawn, or plants growing near your sewer line.
    This is a little different from the other signs, as those occur inside the home and these are obvious outside. If you have found a puddle in your lawn, you’ll want to have a professional come in to evaluate the drain and take action to remove the clog or damage from the sewer line. Foliage and trees growing near the sewer line can create big problems because the root systems can damage the sewer and water lines underground.

Blocked drains can be more than just a nuisance. For homeowners who pay attention and know what causes these issues, it’s possible to reduce the potential of a major drain clog that leads to a major plumbing issue.

Whether you take action to clean the drains yourself or call a professional in, you can be sure that your plumbing systems will be clean and work well.

3 Mountains Plumbing is here to help you make the best decisions to protect your home comfort. Call us now for your plumbing needs!

How Can You Avoid a Clogged Drain in Gresham, OR?

A clogged drain may seem like only a minor inconvenience, but it’s actually a plumbing issue that has potential to cause serious problems. Clogs keep water from freely flowing through your plumbing system, and all that backed up pressure will eventually lead to leaks and even burst pipes. When dealing with a clogged drain in Gresham, OR, home and business owners know they can trust 3 Mountains to solve their plumbing problems. 3 Mountains will effectively clear away the clog, but preventing the clog from forming in the first place will save you time, money, and frustration. Here are three simple things you can do to avoid a clogged drain in Gresham, OR.

Don’t Overuse Your Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is designed to handle certain solid foods to make after-dinner clean up as easy as possible, but being overly dependent on your disposal will affect the efficiency of your plumbing system. By reducing the amount of solid, sticky, and slimy substances you put down the disposal, you reduce the risk of that material being caught in the pipe and causing a clog. A compost pile is a convenient and earth-friendly alternative to garbage disposables.

Use Mesh Screens Over Drains

Covering your drain with a mesh screen will prevent random objects from accidently falling into the drain and causing clogs. Mesh screens are especially useful in shower and tub drains, because they effectively block hair—one of the biggest clog-causing culprits. You’ll find these drain-saving devices at nearly any hardware store. Placing one in every drain in your house is one of the simplest ways you can actively prevent a clogged drain in Gresham, OR.

Invest in Professional Drain Cleaning

No matter how diligent you are about keeping your drains clean and clog-free, time and everyday use will eventually thwart your efforts. The insides of your pipes will become coated in grime and slime, but a professional drain cleaning service will be able to restore them to their originally clean condition. It’s recommended to have your drains professionally cleaned at least once a year to keep your plumbing system running smoothly.

With over 16 years of service experience, 3 Mountains Plumbing is your solution to all your drain cleaning needs. Whether you’re currently dealing with a clogged drain in Gresham, OR, or want to do everything you can to prevent one, they have the knowledge and equipment to get the job done. Call them today to schedule an appointment, or visit their website for more information.

Fix Your Blocked Toilet in Portland, OR with These 3 Common Solutions!

Indoor plumbing is a relatively modern convenience most of us can’t imagine living without. This convenience is a part of our daily lives that we take for granted – until something goes wrong. If you’re experiencing the annoyance of a blocked toilet in Portland, OR, here are three common solutions that can help get you back up and running in no time at all.

1. A Proper Plunger: The trick to getting rid of a blockage with a plunger is to use the right plunger for the job in the first place. A plunger with a round, flat opening is designed for sinks and tubs. A plunger with a protruding flange is designed for use in a toilet. This good old fashioned tool combined with good old fashioned force and elbow grease should be able to clear most blockages.

2. A Plumbing Snake: A plumbing snake is another relatively simple-to-use tool. Insert it into the toilet and with a combination of pushing, pulling and twisting motions, you should be able to dislodge most blockages.

3. A Potent Potion: One part baking soda, one part white vinegar and one gallon of hot water make a powerful drain cleaner. Pour one part baking soda into your toilet. Follow it with one part plain, white vinegar and let it work its magic. Let this concoction sit until it completes its bubbling action. Follow this up with a gallon of very hot water.

A blocked toilet is an inconvenience that can’t wait. It impedes your comfort and hygiene and creates a very unhappy living situation. Comfort and convenience can quickly be restored to your family with these three easy-to-implement strategies. When you can’t get a plumber immediately, they can work wonders in a pinch. They’re low-cost, low-tech, low-maintenance ways to clear a blocked toilet in Portland, OR. Call 3 Mountains today!

How Can You Avoid Clogged Pipes in Lake Oswego, OR?

Clogged pipes in Lake Oswego, OR are among the most common plumbing problems you’ll encounter in your home, but just because it happens to everyone doesn’t mean it should be treated with any less seriousness. One clogged pipe can create a domino effect that will soon result in problems with your entire plumbing system. In addition, it can cost you so much more on utility bills the longer you allow clogged pipes to persist in your home.

3 Mountains is here to provide you with service on clogged pipes in Lake Oswego, OR that will eliminate any source of clogging immediately. We have a wide range of cleaning solutions that are aimed at meeting the unique needs of your plumbing system. Plus, once we’re looking out for your plumbing system, you are guaranteed even the slightest traces of a clog will be removed and you’ll continue to enjoy high-quality plumbing for years.

Helpful Tips for Avoiding Clogged Pipes in Lake Oswego, OR

Sometimes, the well-being of your pipes comes down to the decisions you’ll make. If you find yourself on the verge of making a huge mistake with your drains, remember to adhere to the following:

  • Keep food scraps far away from your drains. If you own a garbage disposal, it can be used to chop up larger parts of food before they enter the drains. Even then, large pieces of produce, pasta and rice, and even cooking oil should be avoided altogether as it will be hard for the disposal to chop up and wind up clogging your drains anyway.
  • Call a professional at 3 Mountains for sewer drain cleaning. Having your main sewer line cleaned out under the watchful eye of a professional will guarantee your pipes will be less likely to experience problems in the future, especially with tree root buildup.
  • Consider installing strainers in kitchen and bathroom drains. Strainers will help keep out hair, food, and even objects from entering your pipes. All you would need to do is empty the trainer periodically so it can continue to do its job.
  • You enjoy coffee in the morning, right? If so, awesome. But don’t throw those coffee ground down the drain. Coffee ground can build up and stick to the walls of your pipes, creating a clog that will leave you calling for drain cleaning service immediately.
  • Pay attention to the costs on your water bills. If it appears the cost is becoming inexplicably high, then it’s possible clogs are apply pressure to your pipes, resulting in leaks that will waste you gallons of water. Call a professional at 3 Mountains before the situation gets much worse for your savings.

Contact 3 Mountains today if you want to avoid clogged pipes in Lake Oswego, OR and our team of plumbers can provide you with truly amazing service!

What are the Main Causes of Drain Clogs in Portland?

You know what can really put a damper on your fun this fall? Drain clogs in Portland. Yes, while it may look like your drains are working perfectly, one clog can ruin the overall state of your entire plumbing system. You rely so much on your plumbing fixtures several times a day but when they’re not working due to a clog, it can really bring some dysfunction to your everyday life. It can prevent you from having full access to the shower, washing your hands in the sink, or even using the toilet. There are also some unsanitary consequences if the clog interferes with your sewer line.

3 Mountains is here to save the day with cleaning service that can rid drain clogs in Portland and improve the performance of plumbing fixtures. Our plumbers know several things can cause your drains to be clogged, and we’re here to point them out to Portland residents who are unsure what exactly is causing the overall performance of your drains to suffer. Above all else, we just want you to have a better understanding of what causes drain clogs in Portland so you know how to stop them.

What’s Causing Your Drain Clogs in Portland?

Though our plumbers work fast to get rid of clogs, it’s important for to know what’s causing it in the first place. Here are a few of the most common causes for drain cleaning:

  • Cooking Grease Buildup: Cooking grease can often slip down drains and while you would think grease would actually create an easier, slicker drain pathway, grease actually hardens and slows down passage through pipes significantly.  For any food waste that uses a significant amount of grease, it’s better to store the grease in a plastic bag before throwing in the garbage.
  • Toiletries: The main cause for clogged toilets is toiletries such as cotton swabs, baby wipes, and dental floss. This can also lead to toilets overflowing, which can create a huge mess even the most experienced plumber would struggle to clean up!
  • Large Food Items: Foods like whole fruits and vegetables, potato skins, and rice should not go down your drains. While your garbage disposal, if you do own one, can chop up smaller food items, anything bigger can create huge problems for your drains and lead to major clogging.
  • Soap Buildup: The somewhat thick consistency of dish soap can prove harmful to your drains and buildup until you experience a clog. Dish soap passes through your drains too slowly and while it can clean your dishes, it’s best to keep it away from your drains.

Contact 3 Mountains today if you want to learn more about drain clogs In Portland and we’ll help you stop them for good!

What Are House Traps? The Drain Cleaning Experts Explain

If you live in a home constructed before 1989, chances are high that your main line was installed with a device known as a “house trap.” These obsolete drain components may cause recurring plumbing problems and even unsafe conditions in your home! House traps are known to cause all of the following, so if you notice any of these issues you should call in a 3 Mountains Plumber right away:

  • Sewer Odors in Your Living Areas
  • Multiple Plumbing Fixtures Out of Order
  • Frequent Toilet Back-Ups
  • Drains Leaving Standing Water
  • Back-Flow/Flooding in Your Basement

House traps are an outdated plumbing feature that were originally intended to keep sewer gasses out of your living area. In order to do this, a house trap collects water to block odors from escaping through the drains. Hence the name “trap”: the sewer gasses are literally trapped in the sewer system, unable to return into the home.

The problem with house traps is that, at this point, most of them have become rusted and are creating more problems than they solve. As corrosion sets in on your old drains, the house trap becomes a stopping point that doesn’t allow waste-water to properly pass. It also makes your line difficult to inspect with a sewer camera.

But what are those solutions? At 3 Mountains Plumbing, we suggest installing the more advanced and efficient version of a housetrap: a sewer clean-out.

The Benefits of a Sewer Clean-Out Installation

A sewer clean-out looks like a vertical, capped-off pipe extending from an existing line. They perform the same function as house traps (i.e. preventing sewer odors) but possess the three following advantages:

  • Manual Checking– A sewer clean-out can be manually checked to see if your main line is experiencing a clog: the above-ground cap should always be full of water.
  • No More Drain Problems– Drain cleaning might temporarily clear the clogs and restart your sewer line, but installing a sewer clean-out solve your drain dilemmas for good!
  • Superior Materials– Whereas house traps corrode over time, clean outs can be made with superior, PEX pipe materials that are immune to rust, erosion, and sediment build-up.

Don’t live with recurring drain issues and old plumbing — if your Portland home was built before 1989, call the 3 Mountains Plumbing professionals for an inspection and possible sewer clean-out installation today.

3 Types of Drain Repair in Portland, OR

Choosing the right plumber to perform your drain repair is absolutely critical, and the most important quality for any plumber is having the right tools. If you need drain repair, you need a plumber who is going to show up to your home in a fully stocked truck, ready to tackle any problem! They will also need to be licensed, certified, and trained to use the most modern pipe repair solutions. The plumbing industry is becoming more and more advanced every day, and some companies are not keeping up. At 3 Mountains, however, we’re always on top of the latest and greatest in plumbing tech. When you call us for drain repair, you’ll have options.

Here’s what we mean.

Methods for Drain Repair

When drain clogs or pinhole leaks are left unattended for too long, they tend to create larger issues that can be much more problematic to address. For instance, a main line sewer clog from corroded sediment build-up will eventually develop into a much more serious backflow problem that could possibly even flood your basement. Having sewage reenter your home isn’t just a smelly and gross disaster — it’s a very serious health hazard. You’ll need to call in the experts right away. A 3 Mountains plumber will arrive at your home and perform one of the following:

  1. Sewer Camera Inspection– With a sewer camera inspection, you can pinpoint the exact issues in your sewer system and act accordingly. A camera tipped cable is threaded through the main access port in your home, and the interior of the pipe is displayed on an external montior. You might find that there are tree roots in your sewer line that have caused an obstruction, or you might discover that some underground pipes are made with outdated materials that have corroded past repair. Either way, the diagnosis will be quick, painless, and exact.
  2. Water Jetting (Hydrojetting)– Not only can high pressure water jetting blast away the toughest obstructions in your plumbing system, but they can also restore pipes that suffer from extensive residue build up problems. Blast away grease, sediment, fat, oils, and other materials that line the interior of your pipes and restrict flow. It’s one of the most modern advancements in the drain repair field, and it doesn’t require any excavation!
  3. Epoxy Lining– In the event that your drains have been damaged beyond repair by clogs and corrosion, you may be able to do the repair without digging up the underground line. This is called a “trenchless” drain or pipe repair because it circumvents the excavation process by essentially building the replacement pipe inside of the old one. The safe and code compliant epoxy liner is poured into a pipe around and inflatable bladder, and once the lining hardens the bladder is deflated and removed.

Not every plumber has access to these methods, since they require updated tools and training. So if you need drain repair and you want a plumber who gives you options, call 3 Mountains Plumbing and request drain repair today!

The Truth About Tree Roots (from the Drain Cleaning Experts)

Every year, homeowners in Portland tend to have the same problems with their drains: over the course of the winter and rainy season, tree roots in search of moisture have invaded their underground sewer and water lines, causing blockages and even more serious problems. That’s why our drain cleaning experts have taken the time to put together this information about tree root intrusion and how to deal with it! If you’re having problems with pesky tree roots in your drains, this what you’ll need to know. First, though, we’ll talk about how you can tell if tree roots are the problem in your Portland home’s plumbing system.

Drain Cleaning Tips from 3 Mountains Plumbing: Tree Root Trouble

You can prevent tree root intrusion by being careful about your landscaping…however, if there are already full grown trees near your underground pipes, you already have a problem. If tree root intrusion happens to your pipes and drains, you may start to experience:

  • Main Line Back-Flow
  • Odors in Your Kitchen/Bathroom
  • Backed-Up Toilets
  • And Even Flooding in Your Basement
  • Standing Water in Your Sinks or Tubs
  • Failing Plumbing Fixtures

Clogged drains, leaking drains, broken drains…all of these can result from tree root intrusion, and all of them would cause one or more of the issues above. But how can you tell if tree roots are definitely the problem?

At 3 Mountains Plumbing, we diagnose sewer issues with video camera inspection. A sewer camera is an advanced plumbing tool that allows us to see inside of your pipes and discover the source of problems. Here’s how: a camera tipped cable is threaded through your main drain access port, and the image of the pipe interior appears on an exterior monitor. We can find tree roots and deal with them accordingly!

So how do you deal with tree roots? Conventional rooters often won’t work for clearing roots, and drain chemicals are almost always a bad idea. No, the drain cleaning solution for tree roots is most frequently hydrojetting.

Hydrojetting (High Water Pressure Jetting)

A water jetter is a state-of-the-art plumbing tool that can blast away roots with high pressure H2O. Not only can it clear tree root clogs that a rooter would get tangled up in, but it can also clear away the residue and grime build-up along the walls of the pipes, restoring their flow capaPortland. It’s the absolute latest in drain cleaning, and we trust it for nearly every major tree root obstruction job we get.

If you’re experiencing drain problems, the drain cleaning experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing can help! Call 3 Mountains Plumbing today to get a sewer camera inspection, hydrojetting, or drain cleaning for your Portland home.