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.


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Precautions You Can Take to Prevent Basement Flooding

Basement flooding is quite common throughout the country. With the seasons switching from winter to spring, snowmelt and increased rain can cause water to leak into your basement or back up through your plumbing. Any house can be at risk, and water flooding can result in costly repairs due to water damage or mold and mildew growth. Spring may try to bring water into your home, but fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent basement flooding from happening.

Common Causes of Flooding

Before any water damage happens in your home or property, you should know the most common causes. Awareness can help you avoid any unfortunate or potentially dangerous situations in the future. The most common causes of basement flooding are:

  • Increase in rain or snowmelt
  • Leaks in your pipes or plumbing
  • Damaged, cracked or broken pipes
  • Toilet clogs and system backups
  • Frozen pipes
  • Unsealed basement walls and floors
  • Sewage backup

There are several factors that can cause flooding in your home, so it’s important that you know the dangers and how to prevent them from happening. When it comes to basement flooding, prevention is key.

Flooding Prevention

Any sort of water present, large or small scale, can cause damage to your home. Water in your home or basement can lead to serious damage, ruined belongings, and even health hazards for you and your family. If any water is left standing, mold growth can happen very quickly. At the first sign of any water present, you should call a professional immediately.

Sump Pump

If your home is prone to basement flooding, you should seriously consider a sump pump installation. A sump pump removes groundwater accumulation underneath your home and pushes it away from your home. Typically installed in your basement or crawlspace, sump pumps are extremely effective in preventing water accumulation. Because they run on electricity, you may want to consider a battery backup, so you continue to be protected in the event of an outage.

Ejector Pump

If your basement is finished and has a bathroom, it’s likely that you already have an ejector pump. Plumbing systems use gravity to their advantage, and if your bathroom is lower than your sewer line, it may need a little extra help. An ejector pump helps to carry waste to the sewer line, so it if malfunctions, you could end up with sewage in your basement. Ejector pumps also run on electricity, so a backup is important.

Now that you know how you can prevent basement flooding in your home, what are you waiting for? Call 3 Mountains Plumbing today! 

Avoid Household Water Damage Portland

Tips to Avoid Household Water Damage

Rain is simply part of our Portland lifestyle and we really wouldn’t want it any other way. As Portland residents we are accustomed to the rainy seasons and have learned to successfully navigate our lives around them.

Just as you might buy a new pair of rain boots or rain coat, so too should you consider purchasing, or at least check up on, rain protection for your home.

1. Install a Sump Pump (or make sure the one you have is working)

A properly sized and installed sump pump is your home’s number one defense against excessive rain water.

If you do not have a sump pump in your basement or crawlspace, get one.

If you do have one, you’re a step ahead—just make sure it works!  The most common sump pump issue is a failing float switch, so look there first.  3 Mountains Plumbing is fully-stocked with sump pumps readily available for immediate installation.

2. Locate Your Home’s Water Main Shut Off

If a water main or major appliance breaks down, you need to know how to shut off your home’s main water supply to avoid further water damage and potential flooding.  These shut off switches are typically located in basements or crawlspaces.  We suggest finding yours and clearly marking it so that it can easily be found by anyone in the event of an emergency.

3. Proactive Plumbing Maintenance

We have learned that when it comes to successful household plumbing, it is always best to err on the side of caution.  The first and best way to prevent an appliance from failing is to conduct regular performance inspections.  Check for rust, debris, slow or small leaks, and water pressure fluctuations before they have an opportunity to develop into larger more costly problems.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, or if you would like to learn more about our preventative water damage solutions, contact the experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing today. We are on-call and ready to assist you 24-hours a day, seven days a week.   

Portland Plumbing Discount Coupon? Yes, Please!

Save on Your Service When You Choose 3 Mountains Plumbing!

Would you like a $35 discount off a plumbing repair?  Of course you would!

Well, you’re in luck because 3 Mountains Plumbing is presently offering a variety of coupons and discounts including $35 off plumbing repairs.

Of course our customers are welcome to put this money towards any plumbing repair they please, but we thought it would be helpful to suggest some smaller, more affordable household maintenance jobs that might prove most beneficial.  Here are a few:

  1. Sump Pump Maintenance: Sump pumps function to keep basements and crawlspaces free from excess water.  As the season changes, be on the lookout for faulty sump pump float switches that could lead to flooding.
  2. Garbage Disposal Maintenance: It may be time for an upgrade if your garbage disposal is slow to operate or if it is frequently clogging.  We provide a variety of horsepower options based on your specific household needs.
  3. Fixture Updates: If you’re not up for renovating your entire kitchen or bathroom, consider updating faucets and other fixtures.  Not only do these look great, but they work to conserve water and save you money.
  4. Toilet Replacements: Another great way to save money via water conservation is to replace your toilet.  We are fully-stocked with a variety of toilets, but recommend 1.28 gallon bowls for ultimate savings.

Any Other Discounts?

Yes!  We’re here to make plumbing a delightful experience for our customers, and with that comes a variety of discounts, coupons, and warranties—not to mention superior service from our certified journeymen plumbers.

  1. $250 off any Repipe work
  2. $150 off Tankless Water Heater installations
  3. $150 off new Water Service installations
  4. $75 off Gas Water Heater installations
  5. $50 off Electric Water Heater installations

Don’t delay in taking advantage of our vast coupon selection, and remember that we also provide a three year warrantee on all parts and services.

Call 3 Mountains Plumbing of Portland to learn about our coupons and discounts and how they can help you with household plumbing maintenance and more.

Sump Pump Repair Signs Portland

Inspect Your Basement to Catch Problems Early On

The air is crisp as autumn slowly falls upon Portland. While the rain tends to subside over the summer, as the seasons change, we like to remind our readers to check-in on their household sump pumps. We typically receive a resurgence of sump pump related calls each fall.

Do yourself a favor and inspect your basement or crawl space sump pump before a flood occurs.

Signs of Sump Pump Failure

Not sure how to tell if something wrong with your sump pump?  Here are a couple of quick tips:

1. How Old is Your Sump Pump?

We find it’s best to replace sump pumps every five to seven years.  With age comes sediment build-up, possible cracks, plus typical wear and tear.  If yours is an older pump, or if you’re not quite sure how old it is, we suggest erring on the side of caution—nothing is worth a flood

2. Check the Float Switch.

A faulty sump pump float switch is the most common problem leading to sump pump failure.  When water hits the float switch, the switch moves and tells the pump to start pumping.  Float switches are often damaged or simply worn out due to age or overuse from excessive rain.  And in Portland it’s no secret that we contend with excessive rain on an almost regular basis.

Our Professional Advice

The best advice we can give when it comes to sump pumps is to be proactive.  Take a look and make sure your sump pump is operating correctly so you don’t have to worry when the weather changes, or when it’s too late and your home is flooded.  Have your sump pump inspected by a professionally licensed plumber.

If a flooding emergency does occur, please know that our professional journeymen plumbers are on-call and available to help 24-hours a day, seven-days a week.  We take pride in our straightforward approach to emergency plumbing.

Our facility is fully stocked with a variety of sump pumps.  We are ready to maintain, repair, and replace as needed.

Call or stop by 3 Mountains Plumbing of Portland with any additional questions you may have regarding our sump pump or emergency flooding solutions.  

Portland Plumber: Sump Pumps vs. Sewage Ejection Pumps

What’s the Difference?

While somewhat similar, we find that many of our Portland-based customers confuse the differences between sump pumps and sewage ejection pumps.  We felt it was worth witing up an easy guide to help clarify the differences and similarities between the two, and to explain why you might need one or both in your home.


Both sump pumps and sewage ejection pumps are located in basements or crawlspaces.  Sump pumps function to move excessive water from your home in an effort to keep your basement or crawlspace free from flooding.

Sewer ejection pumps help move sewage away from your home.  To summarize, here’s a look at the similarites between the two:

Both sump pumps and sewage ejection pumps…

  • Work to move water and waste away from your home
  • Function to keep your home safe
  • May be installed with an alarm sound that alerts homeowners to problems
  • Are located in crawlspaces or basements


There are more differences between sump pumps and sewage ejector pumps than there are similarities.  Although commonly confused, the two each fulfill very different functions in your home.

Sump Pumps

As mentioned, the primary function of sump pumps is to keep your basement or crawl space dry.  Sump pumps, as their name suggests, safely pump water away from your home to reduce the risk of damage caused by flooding.

While basement or crawlspace flooding is something we always want to avoid, sump pumps are especially important during Portland’s rainy season in the springtime.  We always encourage our customers to be proactive in checking sump pump float switches to ensure everything is in proper.

Sewage Ejection Pumps

Sewage ejection pumps are necessary for homes with bathrooms and toilets installed below the water main line.  Sewage ejection pumps help push sewage away from homes in cases where gravity alone can’t do the job.

Plumbing jobs involving sewage ejection pumps may be more costly than others because of the mess and health risks naturally associated with sewage.  At 3 Mountains Plumbing we do everything in our power to ensure the safety of your home.

Please contact one of 3 Mountain Plumbing’s experienced technicians to learn more about the differences between sump pumps or sewage ejection pumps, and to determine if you may need either or both for your home.

Sump Pump Installation Portland

Portland Plumber: What is the Best Sump Pump for My Home?

We hear this question quite a bit, and while we are happy to recommend our favorite, the short truth is that if you live in Portland, get a sump pump and have it professionally installed right away.  We all know that the amount of rain showered upon us in this region is far too much to ignore.  It is paramount that we remain proactive in the prevention of flooded basements and crawlspaces.  Sump pumps are imperative for your health and safety in addition to the wellbeing of your home and family.

Fortunately, the licensed journeymen plumbers at 3 Mountains Plumbing are always prepared for prompt sump pump delivery, installation, or repair.

That being said, with over a decade of professional plumbing experience in the greater Portland area, the professionals at 3 Mountains Plumbing certainly have a few recommendations to make regarding sump pumps.  We’ve seen what works and know what products stand the test of time.

Our Sump Pump Recommendation

We recommend Zoeller, a trusted, family-owned brand since 1939.  Zoeller is the oldest independently owned pump manufacturer in the United States.

3 Mountains Plumbing is fully stocked with Zoeller sump pumps as well as pump/basin combinations.  We are so confident in these reliable sump pump systems that we provide a three-year warranty on all parts and services.  We find that Zoeller products are built to last and provide great overall value for your home’s plumbing systems.

What Could Go Wrong with My Sump Pump?

The most common sump pump problem we repeatedly see are faulty float switches.  The float switch functions to essentially control the entire sump pump, so if the float switch is damaged, the sump pump will not work and may cause basement or crawlspace flooding.

The 3 Mountains Plumbing Advantage

Experience aside, we have also received some terrific customer feedback.  This means a great deal to us as we continue to strive to provide nothing but excellence in customer service.  Some of the benefits and advantages of using 3 Mountains Plumbing for assistance with your sump pump installation or repair include:

Don’t hesitate to contact 3 Mountains Plumbing with additional sump pump questions.  Give us a call and keep your Portland home safe and free from flooding.

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 Do Sump Pumps Work?

Keep Your Basement From Flooding with a Sump Pump

The primary function of a sump pump is to keep your basement or crawlspace dry and prevent flooding.  In the event that water flows to the sump pump via drains or natural migration, a properly functioning sump pump moves that water safely away from the building or structure it supports.

Why This Matters for Portland Homeowners

Every home should be fitted with a sump pump. Sump pumps are the first line of defense against flooding which can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention create an unsanitary (and damp) environment in which to live.

Living in Portland, a region known for what sometimes feels like endless rain, it is of the utmost importance to take notice of and understand how sump pumps function.

While the licensed journeymen plumbers at 3 Mountains Plumbing are always happy to help with sump pump repairs or replacement, we of course recommend being prepared before an emergency occurs.  Part of this preparedness is knowing the different parts of a sump pump, how they should properly function, and interact.

The Parts of a Sump Pump

  • Sump Pit: A sump pit is a hole about two feet deep, often with a gravel base.  It is placed in the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace so that water will naturally flow towards it.
  • Sump Basin: The sump basin is the enclosed space where the water begins to collect before reaching the float switch.
  • Float Switch: As water fills the sump pump, the float switch should be automatically activated.  The float switch is the main operating center of the sump pump and is responsible for telling the sump pump what to do—remove excess water.  The most common problem we see with sump pumps are faulty float switches.
  • Check Valve: Once the float switch is activated, water begins moving through a one-way pipe to a location away from your home.  It is the check valve that keeps the water flowing in the right direction.  The check valve prevents the water from re-entering the sump pit.

In the event of a serious problem, 3 Mountains Plumbing is always available for same day service to help with emergency flooding needs.  We strive to make lasting relationships with our customers even before plumbing emergencies occur.  Please contact us with any questions regarding your Portland sump pump. 

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.