When you flush something down the drain that blocks the pipe, then you have an immediate emergency. However, it's also common that a drain clog builds up over time and gives you warning signs before water starts backing up. When you notice the signs, you should call for a plumber rather than wait for an emergency. That ensures your drains flow freely when you have guests or when you're cooking a meal. Here are some signs of clogging drains and ways they can be cleared.
Signs Your Drains Are Headed For Trouble
One of the most important signs is often easy to overlook at first. When clogs build in your drains, water takes longer to drain out. As the water gets slower to empty, it should eventually grab your attention. The toilet may flush with less force, shower water may accumulate around your feet, the bathtub may be slow to empty, and the kitchen sink may hold water while it's draining. This problem tends to get worse as the clog gets worse, so having your drains cleaned out when you notice the problem will prevent a complete clog.
When the clog is in the sewer line, then you may also notice a foul odor in your house or outside. There might even be an overflow of sewer water in your yard. That's a sign of a clog in the pipe that's causing water to empty into your yard rather than go into the septic tank or city sewer main. Clogs in a sewer pipe are often health hazards, so you want the pipe cleaned out right away.
Methods For Cleaning A Drain
There are several ways to tackle a clogged drain depending on where the clog is located. If the clog is near the top of the drain or in the trap, you can take the trap apart and fish out the clog. This sometimes works in a kitchen or bathroom sink. You could also try pouring hot water down the drain to melt the clog, so it passes on through. This can help with grease clogs and clogs from soap scum. If you're handy with tools, you can try using a pipe snake. The ones you buy for use around the house are small and easy to operate, but they don't work well for big or deep clogs.
When you have a deep clog in a drain, a stubborn clog, or a clog in a sewer pipe that you can't bust loose by plunging or other means, then it's time to call in a plumber. A plumber can remove any type of clog whether it's from grease, hair, paper, or tree roots. There are two methods for professional drain cleaning. One is a commercial pipe snake that has the power to chew through tough tree roots.
The other is a hydro jet that uses a powerful stream of water to power wash the inside of the pipe and push clogs through. Your plumber will consider the condition of your pipes and the location of the clog when determining the right way to proceed. He or she might even use a pipe camera to look inside the pipe to determine the exact cause of the clog.
You don't want the toilet or kitchen sink to clog up in the middle of your dinner party, so take quick action when you notice your drains getting slow. If the problem is a simple grease clog, you might be able to clear it yourself with hot water and plunging, but if the clog is allowed to grow by catching more hair and food over time, then it may need a plumber's help to clear.