3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Water Heater Installation in Lake Oswego, OR

Buying a replacement or new water heater is not something any given homeowner generally becomes an expert at. Thanks to the relatively long life of the appliances, it’s something that only needs to be done once or twice over the course of owning a home. So, if you’ve found yourself with the difficult task purchasing a new water heater for your new home, or need to replace the old clunky one that’s no longer functioning in your current home, you may not even have any idea of where to start. Don’t worry, though! Unlike so many other appliances, there aren’t that many factors that go into figuring out what water heater is right for you. Here are 3 questions to ask yourself before water heater installation in Lake Oswego, OR.

Should I go with a storage tank unit or a tankless one?

While storage tank units are the most common type of water heater, and generally the cheapest, they’re also not as efficient as tankless ones. Since they store and heat a large amount of water, they consume a ton of energy, and “recovery rate” is a consideration — the time it takes for the tank to heat up another tank full of water after you use one up. Consider going tankless to save money on utility bills, as those units only heat water as you need it.

How much space do I have to situate my water heater?

This is a pretty important one — if your chosen water heater won’t fit in the given space, it’s a wash! If you’re limited in the amount of space you have, consider getting a “lowboy” or tall unit. These don’t hold as much water as standard units, but they do fit more easily into unusual or tight spaces.

What bells and whistles do I want for my water heater?

Yes, there are a few extra “bells and whistles” you can acquire for your water heater. ENERGY STAR certified and High Efficiency units, for example, both save you money and help the environment. On the other hand, a lot of newer and more technological units also include intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces and Wi-Fi capability that allows you to remotely control the temperature of your water.

Buying a new water heater might not be something you have to do all that often as a homeowner, but be sure to consider your options carefully — it’s a decision you’re going to have to live with for a long, long time. And when you finally do decide, call 3 Mountains for fast and efficient water heater installation in Lake Oswego, OR.


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4 Things You Should Ask Before Installing a Gas Water Heater in Portland, OR

Installing a gas water heater in Portland, OR sounds like a great idea, right? You get to save so much more money for the same amount of hot water. It makes your life easier, and you certainly don’t have to worry as much about the stress of increasing costs on utility bills. But before you just go out and install any old water heater, you need to stop and put installation into serious consideration. You need to ensure you’re getting the right water heater to meet your needs and won’t put a huge dent in your savings.

And if you’re looking for assistance during the installation process, the team here at 3 Mountains is proud to give you a helping hand. Not only will we provide you great water heater installation, we’re also here to make sure you’re getting the gas water heater that best meets your specifications. You deserve a water heater that provides hot water to all of your fixtures, so we’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep you satisfied!

Before Installation, Ask These Questions!

Before equipping your home with a high-quality gas water heater, go ahead and ask your local service company these 4 questions:

  1. How much does it cost to install? Before anything else, you must think about the cost of installation. The average cost of a non-gas water heater usually hovers around $700 to $2,000. The average 50-gallon natural gas water heater will cost around $900 to $1,700. Since it’s cheaper to install, a gas water heater is a much more preferable option if you’re not looking to spend as much money on water heating.
  2. How can gas water heaters operate safely? The key to safe operation is by making sure the water heater’s vents are properly installed to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide gases produced by combusted fuel. Exposure to carbon monoxide can result in illness or death. Please make sure to hire an installer who is trained in how to properly vent exhaust gasses.
  3. How much money will you save with a gas water heater? Water heating will take up 25% of your monthly energy bill, but you can keep that percentage down thanks to a gas water heater. Since gas water heaters are much more energy-efficient than the average water heating system, they can cut energy use between 10-50%. Take how much you would spend on non-gas water heaters and cut it in half.
  4. How can long a gas water heater last? The lifespan of your water heater is dependent on what type of water heater you install. A conventional tank water heater will last you somewhere between 10 to 12 years. Meanwhile, a tankless water heater can last you up 20 years. However, though a tankless water heater can give you hot water for a longer period of time, it is more expensive to install.

Contact 3 Mountains today if you are looking for a gas water heater in Portland, OR that can save you time, money and energy!

Why You Need Preventative Maintenance for Your Water Heater in Portland?

As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your household runs as smoothly as possible. You rely on certain appliances to keep your family safe and comfortable, and when those appliances don’t work, your life can be brought to a stand-still. You rely on your water heater on a daily basis to meet your household’s hot water demands, and you can’t afford to let it fall into disrepair. 3 Mountains is a professional plumbing company that has over 15 years of water heater maintenance experience. They’re a community-based business that truly cares about their clients, and they want to make sure that your household never has to go without consistent hot water. Here are three reasons why your water heater in Portland, OR needs preventative maintenance from 3 Mountains.

  1. Avoid Costly Breakdowns: The key to extending the life of your water heater in Portland, OR is catching small problems before they turn into expensive repairs. Most water heater problems don’t happen overnight. They start with barely detectable changes in function that if caught early, can be easily fixed. A plumbing technician from 3 Mountains will be able to catch things like minor leaks, corrosion, and loose wires before they have time to cause serious damage. A preventative maintenance bill will be nothing compared to what it costs to repair a major water heater breakdown.
  2. Increase Efficiency: Out of all of your home’s appliances, water heaters are notorious for being energy wasters. Your water heater is responsible for a large portion of your energy bill, but preventative maintenance is an effective way to improve energy efficiency. As your water heater ages, it collects sediment that impedes its function and lowers its efficiency. A preventative maintenance expert will be able to recognize when sediment buildup is affecting your energy bills, and they will clean and flush the system to solve the problem.
  3. Peace of Mind: You use hot water for everything from washing the dishes to cooking, and you go about your day assuming that you’ll have access to it whenever you need it. Life is stressful enough without having to worry about whether or not today will be the day that your water heater stops working for good. The plumbing technicians at 3 Mountains are highly trained and experienced, and one visit from them will reassure you that your water heater in Portland, OR is in good condition.

You may be able to learn to love cold showers, but there is no substitute for hot water when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting your home. All you have to do to guarantee that your water heater will live a long, efficient life is call 3 Mountains and schedule a preventative maintenance appointment. They also invite you to visit their website for more information about their services.

5 Warning Signs You Need Water Heater Replacement in Portland OR

No one wants their hot shower to be interrupted by an onslaught of icy water, but if your water heater is nearing the end of its life expectancy, frigid showers will become your norm. The plumbing professionals at 3 Mountains are standing by to help you stop this trend. 3 Mountains has specialized in water heater replacement in Portland for the past 16 years, and they use their experience and expert knowledge to provide their clients with the reliable services that they need. Be on the look-out for these five warning signs that suggest you need a new water heater.

  1. Inconsistent Temperatures: Cold showers are always an indicator that your water heater is on its way out, but a general inconsistency in water temperature is also a sign that something isn’t right. Your water may be too cold or too hot, but either way, you’re not happy. If your thermostat is set somewhere between 120 and 140 degrees, but you’re still not satisfied with the temperature of your water, it’s time to call a professional.
  2. Loud Noises: As your water heater ages, it collects sediment that builds up on the bottom of the tank. When that sediment comes in contact with the heating element, it is burnt away and this process creates loud bangs, creaks, knocks, and whines. The extra noise is annoying, but too much sediment will also affect the efficiency and function of the water heater.
  3. Leaks: If you’ve noticed puddles surrounding your water heater but no obvious leak, your tank may have developed thin fractures that are only noticeable when the water heater is activated. As the metal tank heats up, those cracks widen and become serious leaks. They may be tiny, but those hidden cracks mean your water heater has reached the end of its life.
  4. Rusty Water: If you’ve noticed that your hot water comes out of the faucet looking rusty and discolored, but your cold water is clean and clear, your water heater may be rusting on the inside. Rusty water obviously isn’t ideal for showering and washing dishes, and it also means that your water heater will soon crack and start to leak. Once this happens, there is no way to repair the problem, and your only solution is to replace the unit.
  5. Age: It is recommended that all water heaters that have passed the ten-year mark be replaced even if they haven’t shown signs of an obvious problem. It’s only a matter of time until an aging water heater cracks and causes water damage to your home. Taking the initiative to replace it before that happens will save you money and frustration.

Water heater replacement in Portland doesn’t have to be an expensive, stressful process. 3 Mountains will come to your home and replace your water heater in one day. Call them today to receive a quote and take advantage of their expert services.

How Can You Find the Best Water Heater Warranty?

You should expect any professional installing your water heater to stand by his craftsmanship. Any decent plumber will recommend a product they know they can trust. This is where having years of experience in the field comes in handy – our water heater specialists know firsthand what water heater models are best and what brands can be relied on to perform as long and as well as promised.

But that’s only part of the warranty you’ll need! A water heater installation should come with two forms of coverage: a workmanship warranty and an equipment warranty. What should you expect from this sort of deal? How can you tell what warranty is a real guarantee of quality?

In this article, we’ll talk about water heater warranties and what to look out for on your search.

Protect Your Purchase – 3 Warranty Rules

A high quality water heater will generally cost between $600 and $1,200 to install. When you’re making that sort of investment, you’ll want to make sure you get your money’s worth. Here are three rules to follow when inquiring about a water heater warranty:

  1. Get Your Paperwork from the Source – You don’t want a big box company to cover your warranty. Home improvement franchises include the potential for failed items in their costs, which allows a certain percentage of their clients to be set up for failure. Make sure your warranty comes from the manufacturer of your product and the plumber doing your installation – not a go-between!
  2. 6-Year Minimum on Conventionals, 10 for Tankless – The average lifespan of a standard, tank-type water heater is about 8 to 12 years. However, for many people who have well water or live in parts of the country where water hardness is a naturally occurring problem, they can expect that ideal lifespan to be reduced. A tankless water heater has a significantly longer lifespan, typically between 15 and 20 years (this may be yet another reason to consider tankless options). You should expect the manufacturer’s warranty to cover their products for at least the bottom of the lifespan bracket, this way they guarantee there are no defects in the materials you receive.
  3. Look Out for Workmanship Warranties – When you choose to have your water heater installed by our company, you’re guaranteed to be getting the finest product available. Our skill is our pride, and quality is our tradition. Still, you should always expect at least a one-year workmanship warranty no matter who does your installation. This ensures you’re covered in the event that your water heater fails to meet efficiency standards due to poor installation.

For water heater installation done right, trust the company with the best warranties in the business. Call 3 Mountains Plumbing for a consultation or for more information on our warranties today!

How Does Your Water Heater in Portland Work?

Did you know that the technology behind your water heater is over a hundred years old? The patents for both tankless and tank-type water heaters were filed by mechanical engineer Edwin Ruud in the 19th century. Automatic water heaters started as a luxury and quickly became a necessity as the product began changing life in American households from coast to coast.

Of course, the equipment itself has made dramatic advancements since 1889 in efficiency, convenience, and durability. The design of the modern water heater is leaps and bounds ahead of the products on the market just ten years ago, never mind the original concept. Still, any system that has stayed in practice for over a century must be doing something right.

Let’s talk about the technology of your water heater. Understanding how the process works will help you cut through the jargon when making your purchase. Here’s how a water heater works, as described by our experts in layman’s terms.

A Simple Guide to Water Heating Technology

We mentioned above that Edwin Ruud invented two separate types of water heating system: tankless and tank-type. The process of getting hot water to your faucet, shower, or other hot water fixture can be broken down into three simple steps:

  1. Bringing in the Cold Water – Your water heater is connected to your main water line via a “dip tube.” This element fills the storage tank by balancing pressure. All water heater dip tubes should feature an automatic shut-off valve – this way, if the pressure inside of the tank has failed (i.e. you’ve sprung a leak), the valve closes to avoid wasting water.
  2. Heating the Water – Here’s where tank-types and tankless do it differently. In a conventional tank-type water heater, the water is kept in a 40 to 60 gallon insulated cylinder at a constant temperature ranging between 120 and 180 degrees. Since heat rises, the water at the top of the tank is always the hottest. The water at the bottom is heated by a burner or element, which is controlled by the thermostat. A tankless water heater removes the storage phase entirely. Instead, the cold water is released heated in a series of copper appliance coils. It may take longer for the hot water to get to you, but you do save a great deal of energy by not heating water constantly during the day.
  3. Sending it to the Fixture – The “heat-out pipe,” located at the top of the tank, releases hot water when a faucet is opened, siphoning the water with high pressure. The hot water is pumped out against gravity until it reaches you.

Want to learn more about water heater technology? Just ask an expert plumber at 3 Mountains Plumbing! If your water heater in Portland needs maintenance, replacement, or repair, call for a consultation today.

High-Efficiency Water Heaters in Portland

So what’s the big deal with efficiency these days?

It seems like every appliance on the market is advertising itself as the more efficient, more eco-friendly, and more environmental solution. Energy efficiency is one of the foremost priorities of manufacturers, and most states have regulations in place to set minimum efficiency standards for residential and commercial products.

Basically, energy efficiency means getting the most while spending the least. By installing the right water heater, your purchase can pay for itself in as little is 3 to 5 years! Our professional plumbers are here to help.

Improve Your Water Heater Efficiency & Save Money Now

When it comes to water heaters, efficiency means three things:

  • More insulation to prevent heat from escaping the storage tank.
  • Proper sizing to ensure you receive hot water fitting your home and lifestyle.
  • Best fuel source for your home – a decision between gas and electric.

If you do your upgrade right, savings from your energy bills will eventually cover the cost of your water heater installation. The time it takes to get your money back will vary on the model you choose, the area you live in, and the amount of hot water you need. Ask your plumber about your water heater’s payback period. Finding the right balance between the cost of the installation and the savings per month is the secret to smart water heater buying!

Maximizing efficiency doesn’t stop at your bill’s bottom line. There are a number of best practices for conserving energy and reducing monthly bills to be aware of:

  • Invest in water heater insulation –A hot water heater “blanket” can save you money by holding heat energy inside your storage tank where it belongs – you can find one at just about any hardware store.
  • Reduce the temperature settings during vacations – When you’re going on a trip, find the thermostat on your water heater and turn it down. Your water heater should be between 120 and 180 degrees during regular operation, but there’s no need to keep burning gas if you aren’t going to use the water.
  • Consider on-demand water heating – Looking for a water heater replacement? Why not look into tankless water heating? Tankless units heat water on-demand rather than in storage, giving you a perpetual stream of hot water without ever paying for heat you don’t use.

Make an investment in comfort that will pay for itself. Call for a consultation with 3 Mountains Plumbing on water heaters in Portland now!

Water Heaters in Portland: Gas vs. Electric

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make in buying water heaters in Portland is what fuel source you’re appliance is going to use.

Technically, there are four options for water heating fuel sources: gas, electric, oil, and propane. Oil heating is significantly more expensive, and it has been declining in popularity for many years – unless you live in an older home with oil heating already set-up, you’ll probably want to consider one of the other options to give you access to the most advanced models on the current market. Propane is basically just an alternative to natural gas: people who want gas heating but don’t have direct access to a natural gas line can safely and efficiently substitute a propane tank with more or less the same effect.

So really, the choice is between natural gas and electric water heating – and it’s not a simple one. You’ll definitely want to talk to a professional plumber about your specific situation before choosing. Only a skilled local expert can tell you what hook-ups are most immediately available, what people in your area are finding success with, and which fuel source better suits your lifestyle.

Here are some of the basics to comparing gas and electric water heating. Keep in mind that every home is different, so you’ll want a recommendation from someone who is familiar with your particular set-up.

Pros & Cons: Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters

Most of the difference between gas and electric water heaters comes down to the installation.

Gas water heaters are more difficult to install – they are typically larger and require more extensive ventilation to prevent combustion byproducts from entering your home.

However, electrical water heaters are typically less efficient in the long run. You may find your gas water heater costs more to install, but has a shorter payback period and larger monthly savings.

  • Advantages of Gas Water Heaters include cheaper fuel, higher performance rates, more advanced water heating technology, and more available rebates.
  • Advantages of Electric Water Heaters include cheaper installation, simpler function, safer operation (no carbon monoxide risk), and longer lifespans.

The choice is yours to make – but be sure you make it with the help of a pro. Call your local water heater specialists at 3 Mountains Plumbing for a consultation today!

Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Me?

So you’re looking into a brand new water heater, and now you have some choices to make. What type of water heater is going to offer the best performance for the best price with the best energy efficiency?

Your decision will come down to one determining factor: how your water heater stores (or doesn’t store) hot water.

There are three types of water heater storage to consider:

  • Conventional water heaters have a 40 to 80 gallon storage tank for keeping water at a constant temperature – when you open a hot water faucet in your home, this water is immediately pumped to that location.
  • Tankless water heaters do not store water. Instead, they heat water on-demand in a series of coils, so you only spend energy heating water when you need
  • Hybrid water heaters combine both storage types into a single unit: the appliance keeps a small tank of water heated constantly for immediate use, but also heats water on-demand to save energy.

The storage type of your water heater is the biggest factor to consider when replacing or upgrading your appliance. To be sure you get the type best suited for your home, follow this handy list of comparisons, straight from your local plumbing professionals!

Compare and Contrast Each Water Heater Storage System

Each of the water heater storage types has a distinct list of pros and cons. To help you keep all of the information straight, we’ve arranged this list of which water heater systems belong in which types of houses.

  • Large Household, 4+ Members – If your family is taking more than 4 combined showers in a single day, you’re going to want to go with a conventional water heater. Make sure your plumber
  • Small Household, 1-2 Members – The compact size and high efficiency of tankless water heating makes it perfect for a smaller home with two occupants who aren’t home all day long. On-demand water heating means you use less energy, and you don’t have to worry about heating water you’ll never use. Tankless water heaters are easy to install and fit just about anywhere! And they last longer, too, making them easier on your wallet.
  • Mid-size Home, 3-4 Members – Hybrid water heaters combine the energy efficiency of the tankless with the convenience of the tank-type – the 1 to 2 gallons of heated water is always there when you need it, and the on-demand water has you covered all day long.

Want to learn more about water heater storage and the difference it makes? A local plumber can help you with an in-home estimate. Call 3 Mountains Plumbing today to determine if a tankless water heater in Portland is right for you!

Water Heater Installation Portland: Choosing the Right Water Heater Size

Do I Have Space for a New Water Heater?

We see it all the time in this industry: a homeowner needs a water heater replacement, so they order one from a big box company…and that’s where the problems start.

The water heater shows up, and it’s too big for their closet, attic, or basement. They wind up paying far more than they otherwise would have just to get their pipes resized, walls knocked out, and drywall cut out to make room! In the end, the result is always the same: they wind up with a slapdash job and a huge bill.

Getting your water heater replaced always seems like a hassle, and many people just want to be done with it as soon as they can. However, as with all hassles in life, doing the process right will save you precious time and money. Here’s how:

Be Smart About Space – Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes

The homeowners in the scenario above are trying to do the right thing, but they made a few costly mistakes:

  1. Never Buy From a Big Box Company – Home Depot or Lowe’s may quote you the lowest price on a water heater, but what that price tag doesn’t show you is all of the extra cost you’ll wind up with from the installation. Call your local plumber instead! A licensed professional will take the time to take measurements and do the job right the first time around.
  2. Always Demand Upfront Pricing – Pay for the appliance and the installation from the same professionals to ensure you’re getting the right product at the right price. Our professionals always offer upfront pricing, which means the number on your estimate is guaranteed to be the same as the price on your bottom line. It’s the only honest way to do business.
  3. Know Your Regulations – In April of 2015, new water heater regulations went into effect for water heater manufacturers. The new laws require all water heaters to have more insulation so they waste less energy. The additional installation makes the new models about 2 inches taller and wider, sometimes more. If your water heater needs to fit through a tight attic access or into a tiny utility room, ask one of our plumbers for a consultation before you buy.
  4. Consider Switching to Tankless – The homeowners who order from big box companies are often unaware of all the options at their disposal. One space-saving alternative to conventional water heating is to go tankless. Tankless water heaters save energy and room by heating water on-demand instead of in a storage tank. These appliances are about the size of a carry-on bag, and they can be installed on just about any interior wall!

So don’t fall into the trap of lazy buying! Know who you’re working with and how they plan to get the job done. Not sure what size water heater you need? Call for an in-home estimate from one of the professionals at 3 Mountains Plumbing today!