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What’s Clogging Your Drains?

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Your Ultimate Guide to Preventing and Dealing with Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are annoying. Just the thought of standing in the shower while the water slowly rises instead of draining is enough to make anyone cringe. First it covers your feet and swells upward toward the shins. At that point, you’re most likely thinking: “I should probably call a plumber.”

It’s easy to take modern plumbing for granted. When the pipes are leak free, toilets are flushing and drains flowing, most of us don’t give our plumbing systems a second thought.

During those carefree days, a lot is happening out of sight. Buildup is slowly establishing itself inside the pipes, strands of hair are being washed down the drain, conspiring to create a messy clog when you least expect it. Debris is gathering in your sewer line, setting the stage for a smelly backup that could strike at any time.

The truth is, plumbing problems don’t have to be inevitable. Let’s take a further look into how you can avoid clogged drains. We’ll follow up by looking at the best way to handle drain cleaning when you do have to deal with a clog.

Know the Prime Clogging Culprits

There are seemingly innocent products all over your house that pose a slow and steady threat to your drains. Every drain in your home has its own set of culprits.

Shower: Soap scum, hair, skin flakes and dirt slowly work their way down the shower drain. Over time, the buildup will cause a nasty drain clog. Before the drain becomes completely clogged, you’ll notice the drain slowing and water taking longer to drain.

Bathroom Sink: Hair gets into the bathroom sink too. Toothpaste and soap residue will also build up over time, backing up your drain.

Toilets: It’s no fun when any drain clogs, but toilets are the worst. This type of clog is typically the result of flushing the wrong stuff down the toilet. Feminine hygiene products, dental floss and pre-moistened wipes may not dissolve in water, contributing to a clog.

Kitchen Sink: We all love having a garbage disposal in prime working order. The problem is, it almost dares you to cram any type of kitchen waste down its throat. The main drain clogging culprits here are food particles and kitchen grease.

Ever wonder what causes your drains to clog? Take a look at this informative infographic to learn more about the common culprits. Then, get in touch with our professional drain cleaning techs.

Informative infographic about the common cluprits that's clogging your drain

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The Key to Keeping Your Drains Clear

Prevention is the most effective way to save yourself a headache and an emergency call to the plumber. Next, we’ll go into some of the most effective methods of preventing drain clogs.

Shower: Keep the drain stopper clean. The drain stopper in your shower will help keep your drains flowing. However, hair and soap scum will start making its way through if you don’t keep the stopper clean. You should also be using a hair strainer drain cover to trap hair.

Bathroom Sink: Just like the shower, your drain stopper is the first line of defense against clogs. After brushing your teeth, let the water run for a few extra seconds to ensure any toothpaste is dissolved and not sticking to the sides of the pipe.

Toilet: The most important thing to keep in mind here is knowing what is flushable and whet isn’t. When in doubt, always throw something away rather than risking a clog.

Kitchen Sink: Keep the grease out and be careful about what types of food waste you put down the drain. Greasy meats and anything with bones should be disposed of in the trash. Also make sure to run water when you run the garbage disposal and don’t power the disposal off too soon.

Take Extra Preventative Measures with Periodic Service

Clogs can still happen even if you are diligent about taking the proper precautions at home. That’s why you should schedule periodic maintenance with a professional plumbing contractor. At Pipetech, our professionals perform a plumbing tune-up.

The real benefit with a tune-up is that not only does it keep the drains flowing, but a thorough inspection will catch small problems before they become big ones. There are a few key services every contractor should provide as part of the tune-up.

  •       Drain Line Treatment
  •       Water Heater Flush
  •       Water Heater Inspection
  •       Water Pressure Test
  •       Water Hardness Test
  •       Leak Inspection

Too many people assume the only time to call a plumber is when a drain is blocked or a pipe is broken. Hiring a plumber to perform periodic maintenance will actually save you money and time over the long term.

Have a Clogged Drain?

Maybe you are reading this because you have a clogged drain right now and need to get it handled ASAP. Well, you came to the right page. Let’s get into the best way to go about having a clogged drain cleaned, along with a few things to avoid.

Know Your Limits When Trying to Fix the Issue Yourself

If you have a clogged drain, the first thing you would do is try the quick and easy fix first. 

Those liquid drain clearing solutions you find at the store will only offer a short-term fix at best. You can count on that clog coming back pretty quickly if you go the Liquid Plumber route.

The Dangers of DIY Snaking

Some homeowners will try to take things a step further before calling in a professional by attempting to snake the drain themselves. The snake, which is also referred to as an auger, is a coil that can reach deep into a drain to clear out the blockage. They are available to rent at local hardware stores.

Putting a plumbing snake in the inexperienced hands of a homeowner could easily end up doing more harm than good. First of all, there’s the risk of using the auger incorrectly and damaging the pipes. It’s also not uncommon for augers to break as the result of misuse. You could end up having to pay to replace the rented snake, and having to hire a plumber – making the job more expensive than it needed to be.

How Does a Professional Plumber Perform Drain Cleaning?

The first thing a professional plumber will do is get to the bottom of what exactly is causing your clog. In some cases, it may be necessary to run a specialized camera through your pipes to take a look at the problems and any potential complications that could arise. Once the issue is properly diagnosed, there are a number of solutions the plumber will consider.

Cable/Snake/Rooter Drain Cleaning: You’ve probably heard all three of those terms used and each one describes the same type of tool. Each uses a cable to get deep into pipes and clear them out. These tools come in various sizes and range in quality, from the limited capabilities of a store-bought model to industrial-grade rooter machines that can clear out a large sewer pipe.

Hydro-Jetting: This is a long-term drain cleaning solution that uses extremely high-pressure water jets to flush out your pipes. The process removes clogs along with debris and residue to leave your pipes clean.

What About Sewer Clogs?

A clogged sewer can cause problems throughout the home, and even lead to a nasty sewage backup if the issue isn’t addressed promptly. Sewer issues will typically have a few of the following warning signs.

  •       Slow flushing toilets
  •       Slow drains throughout the house
  •       Sewage smell seeping

Snaking or jetting is also an effective method of clearing out sewer lines.  However, in severe cases, the sewer line may need to be repaired or replaced of the cause of the clog is a tree or plant root growing through the main sewer pipe.

The most efficient way to have this done would be through trenchless sewer replacement. This method requires specialized equipment that allows plumbers to replace a sewer line without having to dig a big trench through your yard.

Conclusion

While preventative maintenance and proper foresight can help keep clogged drains at bay, you could still end up having to deal with a clog. There’s nothing wrong with trying to fix the issue yourself, but know when it’s time to admit defeat and call in a professional plumber to help.

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