Drains are present throughout your building, and though you may not think about them when they’re working well, you’re sure to notice when they aren’t. From hair clumps to grease to sewer clogs, your drainage system faces a variety of threats. Failure to deal with these threats proactively can lead to pipe damage and interior flooding, so it’s essential that you watch for the signs of
drain and sewer problems and take decisive action when they occur. The more proactive you are, the easier it is to keep your drains clear throughout the year.
What are the warning signs of drain and sewer clogs?
Watching for warning signs will help you determine not only whether you have a clog, but what type of clog. Pay attention to:
- Water Speed– If water does not drain from one source as quickly as before, this is a sign of a clog in its early stages. Clogs are easiest to deal with at this stage, as some water can still flow through. They are much harder to eliminate once the clog has completely blocked the pipe.
- Water Line– The water line in your toilet should remain constant except after a flush. If it rises, that suggests a clog is forcing water back up through the drain.
- Multiple Issues– If a single drain is not working or is working more slowly, that indicates a local clog. If multiple drains stop working at the same time, that suggests a clogged sewer line.
- Gurgling– Clogged sewer lines will cause empty drains to make a bubbling or gurgling sound, especially when a different drain is in use. The problem is especially serious if dirty water and debris wash up through the drain when it is gurgling.
If you detect a localized clog, you should stop using that drain, but it’s safe to use the other drains before the problem is fixed. A clogged sewer line, however, means that no water can leave your house. When this occurs, you should turn off your water until you solve the problem, as any water you run will build up in your house and compound the problem.
How do I remove a clog?
The first step to cleaning your drain is to identify the cause of the clog. You can narrow down different possible causes based on the type of drain that is having a problem. Shower and bathtub drains for example, often accumulate hair and skin, while grease and food particles block kitchen drains and floor drains have to deal with dirt, lint, and debris.
After you have identified the source of the clog, you can attempt to remove it by:
- Plunging– Make sure you are using the right kind of plunger for the drain in question; toilets plungers, for example, are different than sink plungers. If there is water in the drain, keep the water level low enough that it will not overflow when you insert the plunger.
- Using A Snake– When a plunger isn’t enough, the next step is to use an auger or plumber’s snake to clean out the clog. This will shred thick clogs, roots, and other items that mere suction will not move.
- Pouring Hot Water– For early clogs that have not yet fully blocked the pipe, it is often enough to simply pour hot water down the drain. This will melt away grease, keeping the drain clean with minimal effort. You can also pour vinegar, baking soda, or enzyme-based substances, though you should check with a professional plumber to make sure that this won’t damage your pipes.
Besides clearing out clogs when they occur, it is also important to prevent them from forming in the first place. Place a strainer over your drains to block hair and debris, and clean these on a weekly basis. Avoid pouring grease in your kitchen drain, as this will cool and harden inside the pipes. Even if you have not detected a clog, pour hot water down your drains from time to time. These small efforts will reduce the number of clogs you have, saving you time and money. When a clog does occur, Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain is always ready to provide quick, affordable repairs.