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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Tips to Prepare Your Plumbing for Spring

Spring is right around the corner, so you’re probably getting ready to start your spring cleaning! If so, don’t forget about your pipes! Your plumbing system is one of the most important parts of your home, so you need to be sure that it’s working properly at all times. Whether you experienced any trouble during the winter season or not, spring can be just as damaging and unpredictable. In order to keep your plumbing prepared for the transition of the season, there are a few things you can do.

Get Your Plumbing Ready

  • Check for leaks. Leaks can happen anywhere, which is why it’s important to thoroughly inspect your pipes and water fixtures. Look around your home. Make sure there is no water dripping out or around the connections, especially when a fixture is not in use. Some leaks may be hard to find, but you can usually spot the warning signs. If you find a leaky fixture or pipe, water pooling in places they shouldn’t be, or constantly hear running water, you should call a professional.
  • Inspect your sump pump. Your sump pump may have overworked itself this winter to keep your basement flood free, which means it could be due for some maintenance. Make sure to fill the basin to the top with water, your sump pump should start immediately. If it doesn’t, then something is in need of repair. If you remove the basin, there’s a grate at the bottom that needs cleaning. It may also be worthwhile to have a plumber inspect your sump pump, as well as other water appliances.
  • Clean your drains. Clogs are a nuisance for you and your plumbing, and they can happen anytime. It’s always a good idea to consistently clean your drains, as it can not only prevent clogs but bigger plumbing problems. Avoid chemical drain cleaners when cleaning the drains, as the chemicals used can eat away at your pipes and destroy expensive coatings on your sinks and counters. Hot water, dish soap, baking soda, vinegar, and citrus peels are all safe alternatives.
  • Check your water heater. Besides the sump pump, spring is a good season to tune up your water heater. It’s recommended that you service your water heater every six months to ensure it functions properly. A water heater in need of maintenance, or worse, a damaged water heater, is at risk of bursting and flooding your basement. Make sure to flush the tank of any sediment deposits and debris that could have built up inside. An inspection can also help detect any potential problems before they get serious.
  • Look for any winter damages. The winter season can be a lot on your home, which is why it’s a good idea to inspect for damages as soon as possible. The extreme cold, ice, and snow could have damaged your home’s exterior and plumbing. Check for any cracks, leaks, or broken connections which could have been caused by a frozen pipe. The longer a broken pipe is left untreated, the worse your plumbing can get, call a plumber right away if your plumbing is damaged.
  • Inspect your basement plumbing. Not all of your plumbing is hidden inside the walls. While you’re busy inspecting your appliances and water fixtures, it’s important not to forget the basement plumbing, as well as what’s underneath your house. Check any exposed pipes for potential damages. If you notice wet spots, pools of water, or smell mold, you most likely have a leak that needs urgent repair.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Nobody wants to deal with a plumbing catastrophe, but they can happen. That’s why proper plumbing maintenance is important, especially as you’re going from one wet season to another. Spring can be just as tough on your plumbing without the right preparation. Keep your home dry and plumbing happy by scheduling an inspection with a plumber today.

3 Mountains Plumbing: A Delightful Portland Plumbing Company

We Make Plumbing Delightful

Plumbing?  Delightful?  Huh?!

We know, we know, these are two words you don’t often hear together. In fact you have probably never heard  delightful and plumbing go together—unless of course you’ve worked with the team with 3 Mountains Plumbing.

Over a decade ago when we set up shop in Portland, we knew we needed to do something special to stand out and gain customer loyalty. Providing what we call delightful plumbing service informed by training and expertise seemed like a good place to start.

A Portland Plumbing Company Plus a Little Something Extra

What is that little something extra, you ask?

Here is a quick list of some of the benefits we offer that differentiate us from the crowd:

  1. Fixed Rates (and we mean it): There are never any surprises.  We are committed to providing an up-front fixed rate, and that’s that.
  2. Minimum One-Year Warranty: We provide a minimum one-year warranty on all products and services.

It is our hope that working with 3 Mountains Plumbing will bring you peace of mind.  We work to save you time and money by providing an array of affordable household plumbing solutions.  Of course, to us, delightful plumbing is not all only about savings, but also about customer service.

Professional Portland Plumbers Committed to Excellence in Customer Service

Our team is comprised only of highly skilled and consistently trained journeymen and master plumbers.  Our professionals arrive at your home in uniform and even protective booties to keep your household interior clean and safe.  Our trucks are fully-stocked with tools, parts, and equipment for any job so that we can finish what’s needed right away with no rescheduling hassles.

We place all of these advantages under one umbrella term: “delightful plumbing.”  Delightful plumbing is what we provide and how we deliver.

Please give us a call today to learn more about any of these plumbing benefits or to find out about available coupon offers or warranties.

At 3 Mountains Plumbing: No Quotes, Just Up-Front Fixed-Rates

Your Local Portland Plumber Helping to Make Your Plumbing Needs Easier!

It may seem strange at first, but in the last 13 years we’ve learned that the best way to run our Portland residential plumbing business is to be as up-front with our customers as possible.  To us, this means being a transparent company that strives to provide superior customer service and nothing short of excellence in our plumbing practice.  Simply stated, quotes and random pricing methods do not fit into our professional model.

We Do Not Believe in Quotes!

When it comes to pricing and providing quotes, the 3 Mountains Plumbing philosophy is this: Quotes are not accurate.  Quotes can and will change.  If a plumbing company offers an average quote which is naturally subject to fluctuation—usually an increase—then the company simply doesn’t know what the job entails.

At 3 Mountains Plumbing, our professionals believe that if we don’t know exactly what the job will cost, then we don’t know what the job entails, and if that’s the case, we don’t think we deserve to do the job.

We Do Believe in Providing Up-Front Fixed Rates!

A fixed rate means exactly that—fixed.  It will not waver, it will change.  That’s our guarantee.  Here’s how it works:

1.     Call us with your plumbing challenge or question.

2.     An informed professional will facilitate your call and schedule a time for a plumber to visit your home.  We aim to do this at your convenience and on the same day if possible.

3.     Should you choose to go forward, we will complete all of the work right then and there until the job is 100% complete.

4.     The initial dispatch fee is then put towards your overall, final invoice.

Call or visit 3 Mountains Plumbing today to get up-front fixed-rate pricing for your Portland home’s plumbing systems.  

Downside of DIY Plumbing Portland

Most Plumbing Projects Should be Done by Professionals

Do-it-yourself projects can be fun.  These creative endeavors engage the entire family and may even bring about a sense of community, not to mention personal achievement.  More and more we receive calls from customers looking for various plumbing parts and equipment.  These adventuresome few are giving plumbing a go their own, and we commend them, but when it comes to household plumbing there are some very serious consequences to consider.

Why Try DIY Plumbing? We’re Not So Sure.

The biggest reason people try DIY projects is to SAVE MONEY!  Of course!  Who wouldn’t want to save a buck or two?  The problem though is that when it comes to plumbing, oftentimes do-it-yourself projects quickly escalate to larger catastrophes.

There are an abundance of how-to videos on YouTube, but are these reputable?  Are these so-called plumbers fully-licensed journeymen who receive ongoing training in the latest technology and safety procedures?  Chances are, no.  Plus, are you going to stand below a gushing pipe while continuously referencing your laptop for advice—again, no.

You’ll have to find the right parts, equipment and tools.  Then, you’ll need to return to the store to replace a part that was incorrectly sized, and then return again for something else.  It’s an endlessly time consuming process that may temporarily alleviate whatever problem you’re having, but with plumbing, temporary just isn’t good enough.  Remember: If plumbing isn’t done right the first time, it will lead to greater future expenses.

The Benefits of Calling-In a Professional

Right off the bat…

  • Warranties: Stay protected and worry-free.  At 3 Mountains Plumbing we offer a one-year warranty on all parts and services.  We even have warranties that last between three and 10 years, depending on the service.
  • Superior Parts Installation:  Our team undergoes constant training and we are, for example, certified installers of Wirsbo pipe.  Wirsbo comes with a 25-year warranty from its parent company.  This long lasting pipe is perfect for water main service replacements.
  • Save Time: We provide same-day service as well as 24/7 emergency assistance.  We are prompt.  We are professional.  We are ready to work on our first visit to your home and are always prepared with a truck full of industry leading technology and equipment.

Don’t waste time on a DIY project.  Plumbing is not a project—especially not when it comes to the plumbing system in your home.

Contact an informed professional at 3 Mountains Plumbing of Portland today to learn more about how we can save you time and money by getting the job done fast and getting the job done right. 

3 Mountains Plumbing: We’re a Little Different

Your Local Portland Plumbers

One phone call to 3 Mountains Plumbing of Portland and you’ll know we are a different kind of plumbing company.  We do things a little different because quality service is more than just a catch-phrase.  For us, it’s a way of business.  Our goal is to make sure our customers have a delightful plumbing experience.

Each call is received by a knowledgeable and informed staff member who is ready to answer your questions and book appointments—most of the time these are same-day appointments.

What Happens When a Plumber Comes to My Home?

  1. We arrive on time: Our fully-licensed journeymen plumbers arrive on time, in uniform, and with a truck containing industry-leading equipment and technology.  We know it’s better to be prepared in the moment than to waste your time calling in additional parts and tools.
  2. We provide up-front pricing: We do not set a pay-timer and leave the meter running!  We do tell you exactly how much the job will cost and we will not deviate from that price.  We provide a $59 inspection visit and if you choose to go forward with our services within 30 days, your inspection visit fee will be reimbursed on your final invoice.
  3. We inspect, diagnose, and repair:  Most of the time we get the job done right then and there.  No need to reschedule.

Our Service Guarantees

At 3 Mountains Plumbing gaining and maintaining the trust of our Portland community is crucial to our continued success.  We work hard to forge lasting customer relationships and begin by adhering to our service guarantees in the following areas:

  • Workmanship
  • Inspection
  • Punctuality
  • Cleanliness

3 Mountains Plumbing wants to help meet the challenges of your Portland plumbing needs.  Speak to one of our professionals today to learn more!

Ask a Portland Plumber: Why Am I Having Irrigation Problems?

Keep Your Water Safe and Fresh

Summer! It’s here! It’s time to plan some day trips to Willamette Valley for wine tasting or perhaps to Mount Hood or Columbia River Gorge for some hiking.  No matter what your plans, you’ll most likely be outside and hopefully even spending some time away on vacation.

3 Mountains Plumbing wants to extend to you a few plumbing tips to make your transition through the Portland summer season safe and convenient.  This way you can spend your summer enjoying the sunshine, confident that your household plumbing systems are in check and that you’re doing all you can to maintain safe, fresh water for you and your family.

One of the last plumbing issues any homeowner wants to deal with is finally setting up the yard for summer, only to find that their irrigation system is not properly functioning.  While 3 Mountains Plumbing doesn’t directly manage irrigation systems, we can help with plumbing problems associated therein.

Often we find that these seasonal irrigation problems appear to be caused by one or more of the problems listed here:

Perhaps the most common irrigation-related problems we see this time of year are associated with home backflow prevention devices.  These function to protect your water from contamination by separating your home’s water supply from the city’s water.  Backflow prevention devices may be connected to your home’s irrigation system to provide clean sprinkler system water.  They are essential to any home that has an irrigation system and are, in many cases, legally required according to Portland’s plumbing code.

Sprinkler system control valves may also be the culprit as they sometimes deteriorate and develop leaks.  This is not only problematic, but also potentially hazardous.  If a sprinkler system valve is not working correctly and there is no backflow prevention device in place, chemicals and other toxins may back into your irrigation system.

What Can You Do?

Get an inspection—by an experienced and trusted plumber.  Remember that the certified journeymen plumbers at 3 Mountains Plumbing have over a decade of experience servicing the plumbing system and backflow device needs of the greater Portland area.

When it comes to potable water, it’s best to immediately contact a professional.  It is never worth taking excessive time or risks when it comes to keeping water free of contaminates.

Contact 3 Mountains Plumbing today and let us help you enjoy your summer by taking the worry out of plumbing. 

Ask a Portland Plumber: Is it Time for Toilet Replacement?

Toilet Upgrade Could Save You Money

We use our toilet bowls so frequently and yet rarely think about proper toilet maintenance or what to do if something isn’t working as it should.  Slow drains and clogs are not only frustrating and inconvenient, but can also be unsanitary, or the sign of a larger plumbing problem.

The experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing have been repairing and installing toilet bowls at homes in the greater Portland area for over a decade.  We know what to look for and are always happy to help with tough toilet repairs, but when we begin to see the same problems repeatedly, we know it’s time for a new toilet installation.

Yes, do it yourself plunging at home will often clear toilet drain clogs, but there are also a number of reasons to consider installing a brand new toilet.

First, let’s look at a few signs that it may be time for a new toilet installation in your Portland home:

  • Frequent repairs
  • Habitual clogs
  • Persistently slow drainage
  • Cracked pipes or porcelain
  • Surface scratches

How Can Purchasing a New Toilet Save Me Money?

A new toilet will work more efficiently using less water to accomplish its task.  For the ultimate in water conservation, we highly recommend having a 1.28 gallon toilet bowl installed.  The 1.28 gallon bowls are the most environmentally friendly and efficient on the market.  There’s no need for toilet water to fill back up to the rim between flushes so make sure your bowl isn’t wasting water.  Less water usage is certainly better for the environment, but also better for your wallet.

At 3 Mountains Plumbing, we highly recommend Toto UltraMax toilet bowls.  Another great buy, although not quite as powerful, is the American Standard Cadet Pro toilet.  Both are in stock and ready for delivery and installation by a trained journeyman plumber.

Benefits of New Toilet Installation

  • Conserve water
  • Keep your home and bathroom clean and healthy
  • New bathroom fixtures and renovation projects typically increase the ROI of homes at the time of resale
  • Saving money

Contact Portland’s trusted plumber today for information on toilet repair or installation. We provide warrantees on all parts and services with up-front fixed pricing options.

Portland Plumber: Spring Cleaning Checklist

It’s Time to Review Your Home Plumbing System

In Portland, springtime is a beautiful time of year—a time to enjoy the outdoors while dusting up and reorganizing things indoors.  As a season of renewal, spring is the perfect time of year to catch up on household projects we’ve been putting off.  Part of that cleaning should include a review of our home’s plumbing systems.

One of our biggest plumbing concerns this time of year in the northwest is excessive rain.  For over a decade 3 Mountains Plumbing has been serving the greater Portland, Oregon area and we repeatedly receive flooding and sump pump emergency calls during the spring months.  In addition to providing your sump pump with some extra TLC (more on that later), there are a number of other simple actions homeowners can take to ensure the safety of their home’s plumbing systems.

Incorporating the following list of tasks into your regular spring cleaning routine may prevent future emergency plumbing situations:

  • Check your sump pump:  Make sure your sump pump is properly functioning before another major rain storm.  Sump pumps are typically located in the lowest part of your home’s basement or crawlspace.  Their primary function is to move unwanted and excessive water build up to a safe location away from your home.  The most common problem we see with sump pumps are the float switches.  Testing may be accomplished by pouring water into your sump pump to see that it functions properly.
  • Replace dripping faucets:  Not only can dripping faucets be pesky and annoying, they can also be sending your money right down the drain.  Help maintain your utility bill costs by inspecting your faucets.  3 Mountains Plumbing can certainly help repair leaky bathroom or kitchen faucets, but we can also guide you through a remodeling project.  Bathroom and kitchen fixtures are an easy and affordable place to begin.
  • Avoid drain clogs:  One simple way to avoid toilet drain clogs is to clear all space above and behind your toilet.  We are often called to remove a range of fallen items such as knick-knacks, toys, candles, and more from toilet drains.
  • Clear gutter debris:  Take a walk outside and double check that each of your gutters, downspouts, and plumbing vents are clear of debris such as leaves, sticks, and animal or insect nests. 

While most of these checklist tasks are fairly simple things to do, we find it’s more a matter of just making the time to take a look.

To keep your home and accompanying plumbing systems safe and clean, or for a thorough Portland springtime plumbing inspection by experienced professionals, contact 3 Mountains Plumbing.   

Ask a Portland Plumber How to Avoid Basement Flooding

It’s Easy! Check Your Sump Pump

It’s springtime! And in Portland spring means rain, lots of it. 3 Mountains Plumbing recommends that homeowners check that their basement or crawlspace sump pumps are in proper working order before an emergency occurs.

3 Mountains Plumbing has same day service available to meet all of your emergency plumbing needs, basement flooding included, but why not be proactive and find out of there is a problem ahead of time? Basement flooding is not only a costly inconvenience, but it can be an unsanitary and potential health hazard detrimental to the structure and value of your home.  No one wants a flooded basement, and a properly functioning and well-maintained sump pump could save the day.

Know these common sump pump problems so you and your family can work to avoid a flooded basement this spring.

Common Sump Pump Problems:

  • Faulty Float Switch: Faulty float switches are the most common sump pump related problems.  The sump pump’s float switch functions as the brain telling the sump pump to continuously remove excess water from your home’s basement or crawl space.  We recommend checking and testing your sump pump’s float switch before a major rain storm
  • Too Much Rain/Overwhelmed Pump: Excessive rain is another major culprit of sump pump failure.  Portland, known for its rainy season, remains particularly vulnerable.  Excessive raining and leaks simply overwork sump pumps—all the more reason (especially in Portland) to ensure that sump pumps are properly installed and maintained.
  • Age/Poor Maintenance:  To be on the safe side, is typically best to replace your sump pump every five to seven years.  With careful maintenance sump pumps may last longer, but it’s best to have it inspected by a professional to ensure your basement and home won’t suffer.

Our advice? Be proactive. Check your sump pump before rain storms to see how it’ holding up.

If you suspect there is a problem with your sump pump, take comfort in knowing that 3 Mountains Plumbing has over a decade of experience repairing and replacing sump pumps in the greater Portland area.  3 Mountains Plumbing also provides a three-year warranty on all parts and service. The licensed journeymen plumbers at 3 Mountains Plumbing count on Zoeller products for long lasting sump pump durability.  As always, there is a three-year warranty on all parts and service.

Need help maintaining your Portland sump pump?  Contact 3 Mountains Plumbing for quality and expertise you can count on.