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House traps are an outdated plumbing feature that were originally intended to keep sewer gasses out of your living area.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.


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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.


3 Reasons Why Sewer Camera Inspection is Important in Portland, OR

Why is sewer camera inspection important to a plumber in Portland, OR, and how can it help your home?

How Does Camera Inspection Work?

In strategic areas in your home, there are access ports to your plumbing system. We find these ports and then reach for our trusty drain camera tool. These camera-tipped cables are inserted into your plumbing pipes and maneuvered by a trained technician. The video feed is transmitted back to the plumber via real time monitor so we are able to see the exact location of the problem.

Here at 3 Mountains Plumbing, we perform sewer camera inspection on many of the major drain cleaning jobs that we do. That’s because this state-of-the-art technology allows us to see inside of the pipes and find the source of your drain problems quickly and accurately! If you toilet is backed-up, your sewer main line is clogged, or if you kitchen sink is overflowing, sewer camera inspection helps us find the precise location of what’s causing your plumbing issues and provide the solution.

But even if you don’t have an explicit drain cleaning problem, your home might benefit from drain cleaning anyway! Here are some reasons that Portland homeowners should consider calling for sewer camera inspection today:

  1. Gradual Build-UpOver time, residues such as grease, oil, and sediments tend to build up and create problems for your plumbing from the inside. Have you noticed that your drains are clearing slower than normal, that you have standing water in your kitchen and bathroom sink, or even that your toilet tends to back up more than usual? A sewer camera inspection will help your find the weaker areas of your Portland home’s plumbing.
  2. Outdated Materials Corrode– Your home may have an impending plumbing disaster that you don’t even know about! That’s because many homes built prior to 1989 were made with plumbing that doesn’t hold up over time. Orangeburg, cast iron, and clay pipes often corrode or break, causing Portland homeowners serious headaches. If you have an older home that was made with one of these outdated materials, call for a sewer inspection before you have an issue in your home.
  3. More Accuracy than Other Methods– If you ever suspect that you have a plumbing problem but just aren’t sure, sewer camera inspection is the way to go. It’s the one plumbing procedure that allows you to see all the way inside of your sewer mainline!

If you have drain clogs and need drain snaking or sewer camera inspection, call the Portland experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing today!

5 Drain Cleaning Tips for Portland, OR Homeowners

Here are some ways you can maintain your drains and reduce your risk of drain clogs! These 5 drain cleaning tips with help keep your kitchen drains, shower drains, toilets, and sewer lines in shape all year round!

Clogged drains are especially common this time of year, since right now is when tree roots are going to start spreading through your yard, potentially invading your sewer drains and water lines. When your drains are clogged, you want to have the problem handled as soon as possible – and we can help. With the 3 Mountains 24/7 service guarantee, you know your drains are protected all year round! But in the meantime, there are some things you can do to take care of your plumbing on your own.

Here are five tips that every homeowner should know when it comes to drain maintenance and drain cleaning in your home:

The 5 Drain Maintenance Tips

  1. Throw it Away- Sanitary items such as baby wipes (even the flushable variety), paper towels, toys, hair, diapers and hygeniene products can all become lodged in your drainage system, creating clogs. Even if you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, avoid certain food items such as grease, oil, rice, fibrous vegetables, bones, cores, and peels.
  2. Careful Landscaping- Like we said, we commonly encounter tree roots in the drains of the homes we visit, especially this time of year. Tree roots seek out water sources underground, and even the smallest hole in your drain system can allow the roots to come in. The roots continue to grow until the pipe is either completely blocked or breaks apart! When you’re planting trees, make sure you never plant too close you underground pipes.
  3. Get a Backflow Valve for Your Main Line- One way to prevent main drain backups into your home is by having a backflow valve installed. This valve allows waste water to only flow out and will not allow wastewater back into your pipe system if something goes wrong.
  4. Avoid Drain Chemicals- Drain cleaning chemicals often do more harm than good to your drainage system if you have a clog. These products work by literally eating away at the clog within your system using caustic and extremely dangerous chemicals that can also eat away at your fixtures, finishes, clothing, pipes and skin.
  5. Proper Maintenance- You should have your main drains inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis. Proper maintenance and care of your drains can help prevent drain clogs in the future. A 3 Mountains Plumber can always determine the health of your plumbing system with a sewer camera inspection.

Drain problems? Call 3 Mountains Plumbing today for the solutions!

Kitchen and Drain Problems in Portland

In the typical house, the hardest worked rooms are the kitchen and bathroom. Day in and day out, the drains in your kitchen and bathroom are often under heavy strain. Cleaning up both dishes and bodies, these rooms are tied into drainage systems that get a daily workout. As they are connected to the sewer system they may become clogged and can slow your whole plumbing system to a halt. A variety of items can lead to clogs in your kitchen and bath that require your immediate attention.

If you are experiencing any of the following issues, your drain is likely clogged:

• Frequent plunging of toilet(s)
• Slow draining sink
• Backup into the sink when the dishwasher is running
• Water collecting in tub during a shower
• Non-flushing toilet
• A sink that will not drain at all
• Foul smell emitting from drain

Common Kitchen and Bath Drain Clogs in Portland

• Hair
• Grease
• Food
• Soap scum
• Sanitary items
• Paper products
• Trash
• Toys

Yes, even toys can find their way into a drain through the unobserved play of a child. It doesn’t take much for a drain to be clogged. As time goes by, the normal items that move through your drains may become stuck to the walls of the drain, causing a buildup. Even something as small as a toothpaste cap can then jam up the sink.

Kitchen and Bath Drain Cleaning Features

• The first step to removing a clog is the use of a drain snake. This handy tool helps drain any standing water and allows a plumbing professional the proper access to the drains.

• We will then drop down a drain camera to inspect the make-up and severity of the clog.

• Finally, we use hydro-jetting to clean the drains of our customers. This high-pressure water jet system can remove almost any item that may be clogging your drain and breaks it up in pieces small enough to wash through the sewer. Hydro-jetting is the only method that truly cleans both the clog and the buildup without harming your pipes.

Kitchen and Bath Drain Cleaning Benefits

The inclination of some homeowners may be to reach for a commercial drain cleaner; these often do more harm than good. The caustic chemicals can damage your pipes, ruin the finish of the drains, and lead to more problems in the future. Water jetting will clean the entire drain system and prevent further drain clogs from developing through normal use.

Don’t let clogged kitchen and bath drains slow down your routine and interrupt your comfort. Call our drain cleaning experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing and have your pipes running like new again today!

5 Tips for Longer Lasting Drains in Portland, OR

No matter what you do, your drains will need maintenance at one point or another.  This is because, over time, our drains start to lose flow capacity from having oils from our skin and grease from our foods build-up along the walls of our pipes.  As they age, pipes become more at risk of producing clogs, backing-up, or even collapsing — which is why it’s so important to keep an eye on them!  The 3 Mountains Plumbing experts can restore your pipes with hydrojetting service and routine drain maintenance.  However, you can help make sure your plumbing lasts and continues functioning by following these drain safety tips:

  1. Stay Away from Drain Chemicals– It’s a smart practice to perform regular treatments on your drains, but be careful of what products you use.  Some of the largest drain cleaner brands, such as drain, tend to have corrosive elements in them that east away at and weaken your pipes!  They may solve your clog problem in the short-run, but overtime these nasty chemicals degrade the walls of your pipes and cause more problems than they solve.
  2. When in Doubt, Throw it Out!– Don’t put anything down your drains that you aren’t sure will pass through. Hygienic products and paper towels were not ever mean to be flushed.  Even thick liquids, such as grease, can cause major problems over time if they happen to line the interiors of your drain system.
  3. Be Careful Where You Plant– Beautiful, majestic trees are part of what make Oregon such a gorgeous place to live year-round, but when you’re doing landscaping in your own front yard, beware!  Some major sewer problems are caused by the roots from trees that are planted too near to the piping system.
  4. Install a Back-Flow Valve– During major downpours, sewer main line overflows are fairly common.  These messy disasters are unsanitary and inconvenient — they can only be effectively avoided by installing a back-flow valve in your main sewer line.
  5. Professional Maintenance– Remember, the experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing are always available for emergency service.  If you experience a bad odor, a toilet back-up, a clog, or symptoms of a leak, give us a call right away!

Call 3 Mountains Plumbing for high quality drain and sewer maintenance every time!

Why Choose Hydrojetting

Don’t get us wrong: drain snakes are a cheap and effective means of clearing out clogs, and we use them whenever possible.  For those that don’t know, snakes and rooters essentially work by taking out obstructions with the same corkscrew motion. However, there are some situations where a simple drain snake, or even a hydraulic rooter, won’t get the job done right.  That’s because some drain problems aren’t caused by immediate blockages but, rather, by a gradual loss of flow capacity over time.  You see, even when we use our drains the right way (without ever pouring grease, coffee grinds, hygiene products, and other unauthorized materials) they still lose efficiency overtime.

Food from our plates, oils from our skin, and sediment from inside of our pipes all tend to build-up along the inner walls of our sewer lines.  As build up increases, it reduces the amount of material that can pass through the pipes.  Taking out the clog will temporarily re-introduce flow, but it’s only a matter of time before all of that grime catches something again and causes yet another issue.  Drain snakes and rooters often cure the symptoms, but not the real disease.  Additionally, there are some clogs that are just too tough for the traditional meets to break down.  For instance, most tree roots are too thick and deep inside of your system to get with drain snakes – and besides, they just grow back anyway!

When you call 3 Mountains Plumbing for your drain maintenance, we want to make sure that your drain problems don’t simply come back again.  That’s why we offer hydrojetting.  High water pressure jetting sends a powerful blast of water through your pipe system to open even your most difficult clogs and to restore your pipes by removing some of the grime build-up.  With hydro-jetting you get:

  • A Longer Lasting Solution– With hydrojetting, you’ll have more time between repairs, because the root of the problem (sometimes literally) is actually taken care of.
  • No Expensive Digging– Hydrojetting gives you pipes that are as good as new without having to open the ground and replace the old ones.  That means you save the money and the hassle of having a professional dig up your lawn!
  • Restored Pipes– Having a sewer line that is cleaned rather than simply cleared gives you peace of mind that your home’s plumbing system is safe, sanitary, and set to last for many more years.

So call 3 Mountain Plumbing now, and we’ll perform your drain maintenance on the same day as your call!  If we find that your drains would benefits from hydrojetting, we’ll provide the highest technology in the industry beside our quality service guarantee.  Contact the 3 Mountain Plumbing professionals for a high water pressure jetting today!

Pipe Materials in Portland, Oregon

What are your pipes made of?  The answer to that question determines a great deal about the stability of your plumbing system.  People should always be aware of basic questions about their home’s structure, but most people don’t really think about their plumbing unless there’s an issue.

You can save yourself a great deal of money and time if you call 3 Mountain Plumbing to do a routine check on your pipes today.  Our experts can tell you the approximate age and integrity of your plumbing in a consultation on the day of your call.  All they need to do is take a look!  The difference between piping materials is huge, because the popularity of different pipe types has changed several times over the course of the past 50 years alone! The most common and popular material nowadays is PEX piping: it’s a durable plastic that doesn’t corrode with age.  We’ll use this blog to tell you about the other types of pipes and what they’re weaknesses are.

  • Cast Iron– As early as 30 years ago, cast iron pipes were very popular with plumbers; many homes in the Portland area still have them.  However, these pipes aren’t installed so much anymore, mainly because we’ve found that they tend to rust and corrode overtime. The corrosion leads to sediment build up, and flow capacity is lost.
  • Orangeburg– This type of piping hasn’t been popular since the 50s, but you’d be surprised by how many homes we still see that haven’t been updated since then!  If your sewer system is made with Orangeburg, that means it’s essentially made of compressed wood and paper pulp.  It was immensely cheap and, after WWII, that’s what people needed.  But now we know that Orangeburg tends to become deformed under pressure, and it severely deteriorates within a few decades.
  • Terra Cotta– Some plumbers will actually still install these clay pipes, as they are tremendously sturdy and known to last for decades.  However, they have one major design flaw: they come in 4 foot length segments (approximately) and connect at joints. These joints tend to make the pipes vulnerable to tree root intrusion and leaks.

Would you like to know what your pipes are made of?  Call the 3 Mountains Plumbing experts for drain maintenance service today, and we’ll give you the options you need.

5 Signs of a Sewer Clog

Your sewer lines are underground, but there are many ways that you can tell if they’re having a problem.  Homeowners should always know the signs of sewer clogs!  After all, your sewer line is the most important sanitation-related device in your home, and, as such, it is a tremendously important factor in your family’s health.  Having a sewer that cleanly and effectively removes waste from your home is the difference between a quality lifestyle and a home at serious risk of disease.

So make sure you can recognize the signs!  You may have a sewer clog in your home if:

  1. There’s a Bad Odor– One of the most typical signs of a sewage problem is that stinky sewer smell.  If there’s a foul odor coming from your basement or your kitchen, that means you might have a potential back-up on your hands, call in the professionals right away!
  2. Several Fixtures are Clogged– When your toilet and shower stop working at once, it’s not a coincidence: it means that the problem lies deeper in your sewer — namely the main sewer line in your home.
  3. Backups– You know that having your toilet back-up is a bad sign, but before you get the plunger out you should consider the possibility that there’s a clog in your main line.  To test this, run your sink: if you see bubbles in your toilet, that means there’s trapped air in the sewer line and you need a professional fix.
  4. Drainage at the Clean-Out- A main line clean-out is the capped pipe in most people’s front yards that provides them access to a sewer line.  You can open your clean-out by unscrewing it and checking for water.  If water is coming out or standing in the clean-out, that means you have a clog.
  5. Gurgling Sounds– Drains might make some noise as water rushes down them, but they shouldn’t do any extended gurgling. These sounds could be a sign that water and air are having a tough time clearing all the way through your system.

If you’ve noticed any of the above, don’t wait: call the experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing for service today, and start living in a healthier, happier home!