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.   


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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.

Sump Pump Failure Portland

Portland Plumber: Why Your Sump Pump Fails

It’s March—and in Portland that means rain, rain, and more rain. As spring approaches, 3 Mountains Plumbing recommends that Portland homeowners be prepared. No one wants a flooded basement or crawl space, so know what to look for to avoid possible sump pump failures.

What is the # 1 Cause of Sump Pump Failure?

The number one cause of sump pump failure is a faulty float switch. The sump pump’s float switch is like the brain that tells the sump pump when to do what it is supposed to do—remove excess water from areas of your home where it is not wanted. If the float switch is broken, your home could be in danger.

We also receive a lot of calls for sump pump basin replacements. Sump pump basins often become cracked or corroded from extensive rain water, so it’s important to make sure they are in good working order. A far less frequent, but possible cause of sump pump failure, could be due to electrical shortages.

Why 3 Mountains Plumbing?

3 Mountains Plumbing has been providing plumbing expertise to the greater Portland area for over a decade. If you need help with your sump pump this rainy season, you can expect the following from 3 Mountains Plumbing:

3 Mountains Plumbing will get the job done right, and with a warranty on all parts and service, there’s little to lose!

Give us a call today and let us know how we can help prepare your home for Portland’s rainy season. Make sure your sump pump and float switch are ready for the rain.

Backflow Device Installation Portland

Portland Plumber: Do You Have a Backflow Device Installed?

3 Mountains Plumbing has recently been receiving a number of calls regarding the installation and repairs of backflow devices in the greater Portland, Oregon area.

Backflow prevention devices serve to protect water from contamination. Backflow devices are essential in keeping your home’s water supply separate from the city’s water–something that is required according to Portland’s plumbing code in certain circumstances.  Still, there are many Portland-area homes that are unfortunately without this backflow device.

How Does this Happen?

Some Portland-area home owners simply do not even know what a backflow device is, let alone that one might be legally required. Some much older homes may never have had these devices installed in the first place, but now they have become necessary at any home with an irrigation system.

What Should You Do?

  • Check the code and know the law: Ideally you would do this before purchasing a home, but if not, it’s best to be informed sooner rather than later with the particulars of your city and of your neighborhood.
  • Contact a knowledgeable and experienced plumber who knows how to install these devices: 3 Mountains Plumbing has been serving the greater Portland area for over a decade and knows which neighborhoods are especially sensitive to the needs of backflow devices.  We only employ licensed journeymen plumbers who come prepared and know how to neatly and efficiently get the job done right.
  • Find a plumber who offers a warranty: As always 3 Mountains Plumbing provides warranties on all parts and services.

3 Mountains Plumbing is a safety conscious plumbing company and so we encourage you to be proactive about backflow devices.  Give us a call to find out how we can help you, your family, and your Portland home. 

What Makes Portland Plumbers Unique?

3 Mountains Plumbing Team Made Up of All Journeymen Plumbers 

Journeyman plumber licenses are not required in every state, but they are in Oregon—making the plumbers at 3 Mountains Plumbing in Portland, Oregon all the more qualified to assist with your plumbing needs.

Need a plumber? Don’t call just anyone. 

Make sure you and your Portland area home receive the best service possible.  Plumbers and plumbing companies vary greatly, particularly in the areas of both training and professionalism.

In addition to serving Portland for over a decade, 3 Mountains Plumbing makes it our mission to hire only the best journeyman plumbers to work in your home.

What is a journeyman plumber?

While the qualifications of a journeyman plumber may vary greatly from state to state, Oregon plumbers must be particularly competent to achieve this respected status. Oregon plumbers must meet the following criteria:

  • Obtain a high school diploma or GED
  • Attend work-related class for four years while employed as an apprentice at a licensed plumbing company
  • Document over 8000 hours of experience and proficiency in varying areas of household plumbing
  • Pass the statewide licensing exam to attain the Journeyman Plumber’s License
  • Maintain ongoing continuing education courses and keep this information on file with the state

By achieving these qualifications, licensed Portland plumbers help maintain the integrity of the plumbing trade.  At 3 Mountains Plumbing in Portland, Oregon, our licensed journeymen plumbers don’t just meet all of the Oregon standards; we exceed them.  Our in-house training program continues to teach and challenge our plumbers to grow and learn every day.

The 3 Mountains Plumbing Difference

All 3 Mountains Plumbing plumbers are trained in an environment that encourages growth and supports a culture with a mission to “make plumbing delightful.”  These fully licensed Beaverton plumbers will arrive promptly, in uniform, prepared with all necessary tools and technology to help with even unexpected plumbing occurrences.

If you need a licensed plumber in Portland, Oregon, contact 3 Mountains Plumbing for the best in quality and professionalism. 

Drain Cleaning in Portland

Signs You Need a Portland Plumbing Expert

Drain cleaning may seem like an easy fix to make to your Portland home, but cleaning a drain may lead to more serious piping problems, so beware. Drain clogs are inevitable.  They are caused by the natural buildup of organic waste including grease, soap, and other sediment.

Here are some signs that your drain needs to be cleaned:

  • Slower than normal water drainage
  • Significant back up of used water
  • It’s been a long time since the last drain cleaning

Should You Call a Drain Cleaner or Plumber?

Naturally, this blog will fall on the side of calling a plumber, but with good reason.  Portland plumbers are licensed journeymen who can anticipate possible problems related to drain cleaning.

Drain cleaners are not licensed to fix other issues with your home’s water system. This means drain cleaners can’t help if a pipe is damaged during the cleaning process. Hiring a drain cleaner only opens your home to a host of other plumbing issues that may very well result in calling a Portland plumber anyway.

What additional problems might arise?

Drain snakes may sometimes be effective, but oftentimes snakes only serve to move the sediment to a lower location in your home’s piping system.  This makes the problem worse, particularly if your home has PVC or galvanized pipe.  If the snake is ineffective, only a plumber can make a piping repair or replacement.

3 Mountains Plumbing has over a decade of experience serving the greater Portland area. They frequently help customers with both drain cleaning and piping replacements when necessary, so call us today!

Ask a Portland Plumber: What’s Causing That Sewer Smell?

Plumbing System Not Working as it Should

Are you experiencing a sewer smell in your Portland area home? This could mean any number of things about your current plumbing system, but it is definitely a sign that something is not working as it should.

The first thing to be aware of is the possible threat of danger this causes to you and your family. While sewer smells are certainly unpleasant, they may also cause sickness and vomiting. The best course of action is to immediately contact an expert at 3 Mountains Plumbing so they can quickly help you find and fix the root of the problem before it gets worse.

So, what is causing the sewer smell?  The answer is: just about anything.

Your house is equipped with multiple water-based appliances: toilets, sinks, showers, etc., all of which have a trap to help keep used water on the move. A small amount of water must remain in these traps to help maintain the flow of organic matter.  Often, particularly in older Portland area homes, these traps break down or dry out.

The sewer smell could certainly be organic waste, but it could also be compounded food trapped in a disposal trap (as pictured).

Ways to Maintain or Repair Sewer Traps

  • Pour a liter of water into a trap once a month
  • Bring water to traps via a primer line
  • Tear up the floor for a completely invasive home project

Either way, this is most likely a messy job that is better accomplished with the expertise of a trained and professional journeyman plumber.

If you’re experiencing a sewer smell in your Portland area home, it’s best for your health and safety to immediately call the experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing.

Garbage Disposal Repair Portland

Portland Plumber: 4 Ways to Fix Your Garbage Disposal

It’s so easy to start shoving and pouring everything down your garbage disposal—that’s why it’s there, right?  Well, not exactly. We must learn to be nice to our garbage disposals!

Of course you don’t want to get a fork or other object caught up and mangled in there, but here’s a quick list of organic matter you may not have thought of that should steer clear of your kitchen sink drain:

  • Bacon Grease
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese

Not only will these products emit a nasty odor, but they can be very damaging to your sink’s piping.  Dairy products and greasy fats begin to coat your pipes, eventually building up a thick residue that may cause serious damage, particularly in older homes with galvanized drain lines.  The first sign of a problem is when the disposal grinder comes to a halt.  Usually, this can be fixed by simply hitting the reset button underneath the sink.  So, what can you do to help?

Here Are 4 Tips

  1. Avoid Putting Fat or Dairy Down the Drain
  2. Check the Reset Switch Under Your Sink
  3. Use Common Sense: Don’t Shove a Whole Turkey Down There
  4. Call 3 Mountains Plumbing for a New Garbage Disposal Installation (with a warranty)

A Garbage Disposal Warranty?

Stop dealing with the same problems again and again, and get a 3 Mountains Plumbing warranty.

3 Mountains Plumbing of Portland can of course fix your existing garbage disposal, but if it’s broken to begin with, it is most likely a low horse power disposal that will simply break again…and again.

3 Mountains Plumbing Offers:

  • 3 Quarter Horsepower Garbage Disposal with a 7 Year Warranty
  • 1 Horsepower Garbage Disposal with a 10 year Warranty
  • 1/2 Horsepower Garbage Disposal with a 3 year Warranty

Garbage Disposal disasters are not fun to deal with, to smell, or to fix, but dealing with the problem can be much easier by contacting  experienced plumbing experts serving the greater Portland area.

Get the job done right and feel secure with a seven- or ten-year warranty from 3 Mountains Plumbing.

3 Mountains Plumbing: Your Delightful Portland Plumbers

What Does it Mean to be a Delightful Plumber?

Portland’s 3 Mountains Plumbing says it’s their business to “make plumbing delightful.” Okay, that sounds nice, but what does it really mean? A feeling of delight is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when a plumbing emergency is at hand. But if a plumbing organization was reliable, experienced, and professional wouldn’t that be, well, delightful?

Let’s be honest

Plumbers get a bad rep. 3 Mountains Plumbing doesn’t pretend plumber stereotypes don’t exist, but their knowledgeable staff and fully licensed plumbers work hard to debunk them.

Company Culture and What it Means to You

In business for over a decade, the team at 3 Mountains Plumbing has thoughtfully constructed a culture of quality and professionalism. There exists a focus on the growth and health of employees along with a dedication to promoting exemplary customer service. Simply put, being “delightful” is part of the 3 Mountains Plumbing mission. This is evident from the moment you call and speak with Cheri or another friendly staff member who will swiftly facilitate your call and answer your questions.

The plumbers at 3 Mountains Plumbing are fully licensed and dressed for success. Plumbers are always equipped with all necessary tools and technology to assist in their services. So, from a customer perspective, delightful plumbing means: 

  • Friendly, Efficient, and Knowledgeable Staff
  • Journeyman Plumbers Wearing Uniforms, Booties, and Coveralls
  • Best in Class Tools and Technology

And if you’re a customer who appreciates quality company values, it also means:

3 Mountains Plumbing is an active volunteer for ReFit, assisting financially and physically challenged homeowners. 3 Mountains Plumbing also works to ensure that Portland’s environment stays safe and is protected.

Financially speaking, 3 Mountains Plumbing makes plumbing delightful by offering:

Many customers call a plumber when they have a sudden emergency–it only makes sense to call a plumber whose culture aligns with your beliefs and who you feel you can trust to call upon again. This is the promise of 3 Mountains Plumbing as they strive to make your plumbing experience a delightful one.

Portland Plumber: How to Winterize Your Home

2 Easy Ways to Winterize Your Plumbing Systems

Winters may not be particularly harsh in Portland and surrounding areas, but it is always important to be proactive by winterizing the plumbing systems in your home. It seems like common sense, but many people simply forget to take these small steps. There are a few simple things you can do to avoid common cold weather-related plumbing mishaps.

3 Mountains Plumbing suggests the following winterization tips:

1. Close and Insulate Crawl Space Vents

You may have noticed that your crawl space has small vents built into the foundation wall. The purpose of these vents is to help protect the pipes in your home by clearing out excess moisture. Closing these vents in addition to insulating exposed crawl space pipes during the colder months will help prevent precipitation from causing unnecessary damage.

2. Shut Off and Drain Hose Supply Lines

Doing any outdoor gardening in January? Of course not! Be sure to turn off your outside garden hose supply line, and remember to drain it. Don’t leave water in your pipes all winter. Weather conditions may cause leftover water in your pipes to expand and contract eventually wreaking havoc on your home’s plumbing system.

3 Mountains Plumbing says most emergency calls don’t happen during the freeze, but amidst the following thaw. Water switching to ice and back to water causes undue strain and duress on its surrounding pipe. These ongoing abrasions naturally lead to leaks and joint fractures.

Now that the holidays are almost over, it’s time to get focused and be proactive about winterizing your home plumbing systems.