Clogged Drains

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Signs of a Clogged Drain

To get to the cause, you first have to realize and detect the problem. There are several signs that might indicate you have a clog, or that one may be developing:

1. When water or sewage backs up into a toilet, sink, or bathtub (anywhere inside or outside, especially in low spots, such as 1st floor toilets and showers).

2. When the drain makes a gurgling noise as other plumbing functions take place. Under normal circumstances, when the water flows unimpeded through the pipe, it shouldn’t make a lot of noise other than maybe a smooth flowing sound. However, when there’s a clog in the sewer or water pipe, water hits it and releases oxygen, causing bubbles that make noise and even release smelly gases.

3. When the shower, tub or sink drains slowly — for example, if your feet are submerged during the shower.

4. When there’s poor pressure in parts or all of the system, which could be noticeable in the sink or shower and probably produce a weak toilet flush.

5. If the utilities that use water react to each other, such as the toilet making noise when the washer stops or starts.

6. When there’s a foul odor present, it sometimes means there’s a wad of goop or something accumulating within the drain. As you can imagine, whatever is causing the blockage probably doesn’t have a pleasant smell.

7. When water backs up in drains as other utilities are used.

8. When you run water in the sink closest to the toilet for a few minutes and it produces bubbles in the toilet, this can indicate that the problem is in the sewer main and not the toilet itself.

9. If the system becomes overwhelmed easily — for example, when only one utility at a time can drain well.

10. When water gathers around the floor drain in a basement, or there’s saturated soil or pooling water in the yard.

The Valley’s Clogged Drain Experts

There are a variety of reasons you may need to call a plumber, and a clogged drain is among one of the biggest. There are some jobs that store-bought drain cleaners just can’t—and shouldn’t—handle as it can do more harm to your drain and sewer line than good. To effectively unclog a drain, you want to contact the top-notch team here at Allegiance Water Services. We can handle any drain cleaning task that comes our way, no matter how big or small. 

Remember, anything that fits down a drain will clog it, as any homeowner with a child under the age of 5 likely knows all too well. You’d be amazed at what some of our plumbers have found in residential bathrooms: anything from toys, books, stuffed animals, and even clothing. The bathroom isn’t the only place that is prone to clogs. Food is a major offender to kitchen sink drains. The good news is that we have the tools and expertise to clean out any clogged drain or sewer line.

 

Have a drain issue?

Contact us today for any of your clogged drain needs. We offer camera inspections, rooter service, and more.

Common Clogged Drain Causes

Sewer and water drainage systems in a house are configured a little bit like a tree and its branches. There’s a main line that’s usually biggest in diameter, and sublines run off it that are typically a bit smaller in size. While the toilet is probably the most common place where clogs originate, they can start, build and disrupt function in and from any location in the system.

A blockage can build and lodge itself anywhere, but analysis will help narrow down the possibilities. You’ll be able to see what’s happening and what exactly the problem affects. If some part of the water or sewer main is clogged, the issue likely affects the whole household or building. If something is stuck in one of the sublines, whatever is happening will more than likely be isolated to one area or section of your home.

Tree Roots

Tree roots are widely recognized as the number one cause of blockage and clogs in water and sewer mains. While it’s more common to find tree roots invading the pipes of older homes, the roots can find their way into systems of any age. Some experts say the first sign of tree root invasion into the sewer or water line is a gurgling sound.

As living things, the tree roots seek moisture and are more or less naturally drawn to the water in waste and sanitary sewer pipes, especially if one has a crack or springs some other kind of leak.

If you live in a wooded area, or where there are many trees nearby, it’s important to be on the lookout for any tree root invasion. Some people decide to have a video inspection done every few years, since the cost for the service is dramatically lower than addressing a neglected issue.

“Flushable” wipes

There are many relatively new bathroom products on the market today that are advertised as a better cleaning experience when compared to traditional toilet paper. These products’ labels indicate they are safe for sewers and septic systems, but, the truth is they don’t break down like they should and can stay in your drain pipe for an excessively long time. This has led to clogged pipes and jammed pumps in sewer systems across the country. Flushable wipes can be a detriment to the system. Some cities and other entities responsible for wastewater processing and management have begun to discourage people from using the supposedly flushable wipes.

The City of Phoenix released a press release in April of 2020 stating, “Despite what the packaging says Flushable Wipes are NOT Flushable! Disposing of wipes and other material in the toilet clogs the pumps and lift stations that transport water to the treatment plants.”

The truth about thick toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue, light cardboard and other paper products is that they’re not made to be flushed down the toilet. Home and commercial plumbing systems have the capacity to accept and process water, human waste and biodegradable toilet paper. That’s it.

Feminine hygiene

Feminine hygiene products and baby diapers pose a danger to plumbing pipes because they do not biodegrade and contain cotton and other fibers that have tremendous capacity to clog and attract other clogging agents. Neither are biodegradable, and both pose a threat to public and private systems alike. The sewer system contains microorganisms that break down the human waste, but they do not disintegrate anything but that — even when pad wrappers and tampon applicators may claim to be “flushable.”

Fat, oil and grease

Fat, oil and grease are enemies of plumbing and all its accessories. Another increasingly publicized movement is one to educate consumers about the benefits of keeping oily substances from going down the drain, where they can build up and cause clogs. Employees in a commercial establishment must have specialized training on what does and does not belong in the drain and public system, but people in many private homes could benefit from the same knowledge.

We like to think that most of us know better than to pour a pan of bacon grease down the drain or garbage disposal, but we may not think of some of the other things that contain fat, oil or grease. For examples: trimmings from a steak or other meat, butter, vegetable oil, chocolate, cream and more.

It’s easy to think that water just washes everything along, but fats are sticky, binding substances that are prone to causing buildups and eventually clogs. The trash can is a far better place to dispose of fat, oil or grease. Bacon grease and many other fats and oils can be left to cool and will solidify or congeal for easy cleanup. Another preferred practice is to pour the oil or grease into a disposable container and then toss it in the trash.

Hair

Hair can accumulate to the point where it creates slow flow or total blockage. We can’t help that hair comes out of our heads naturally, but we can try to protect the drain as much as possible with small screens and good practices, such as sweeping hair out of sinks and cleaning the hair brushes over the trash can.

When you see hair accumulate on the drain, or maybe hanging from it, use needle-nose pliers or work carefully with long tweezers to pull the hair out regularly, as opposed to letting it sit or wash down the drain. There are also a number of drain screens available that keep hair from going down the drain and make removal easier.

 

Have a drain issue?

Contact us today for any of your clogged drain needs. We offer camera inspections, rooter service, and more.

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