If you’re like many individuals, you probably don’t think about it until there are obvious signs of problems. There’s nothing wrong with that, but life can be much simpler and less messy if you pay a bit of attention ahead of issues like that. Understanding the causes can help you to fix the problem more easily and more quickly. It helps to understand what causes drains to clog and back up, and how to avoid it in the first place if possible.
How does a drain work?
A drain system consists of a line that runs through the building and connects to the sewer system. The drain also connects to each sink, toilet or washing machine in a home of business.The sink connects with a trap and a pipeline that leads to the drain line and sewer system. It’s pretty simple. But, there are multiple places where clogs can cause problems (like in the pipes themselves, or in the traps connecting the sink or toilet to the plumbing system for example).
How do drains get clogged?
Most often, accumulations in the pipes and drains create clogs. This can be food from a kitchen sink, or hair and soap buildup from a bathtub or bathroom sink. When it comes to a toilet, an abundance of toilet paper of things not meant to be flushed can cause clogs in the drains.
If you’re concerned about a blockage, here are a few signs to look for:
A slowly draining sink or bathtub.
A slow drain can be the first sign of a problem. This often happens when they diameter of the pipe is constricted by a thickening layer of grime and soap, of because of a blockage somewhere in a pipeline.
A stinky smell.
An unpleasant smell can come before a slow drain, potentially, but is a sign of a problem. It could be caused by several things: rotten food in a kitchen sink or drain, even a small rodent in another area of the drain and sewer system connections.
Toilets that back up instead of flush.
These blockages are often caused by too much toilet paper going down, or more commonly, the wrong things being flushed down the toilet (like a small child’s toy or female sanitary products). This is serious because the item blocking the drain could damage the pipeline, or lead to damage to your bathroom as the water comes out of the bowl. If a plunger doesn’t help, you should probably call a professional to examine the pipes and drain system.
Drains that gurgle.
The gurgling noise means that air is trapped somewhere in the plumbing. This could be caused by buildups in the drain, like grease, food, and oil. Food deposits may not always be easy to remove with drain cleaner – sometimes a professional’s high-powered tools, like a hydro-jetter, can sometimes improve the interior of the pipe at the same time as they remove the clog causing the problem. Damage to the sewer line could be another reason for gurgling in a drain. This issue is far more serious than a clog, and usually requires a professional to safely fix the problem. Yet another reason for gurgling noises in a drain is a blockage in the vent pipe that attaches to the drain pipe and goes to the roof to let sewer gas escape the system. If these are not taken care of, you could find that sewer backs up into the drain system.
Water on your lawn, or plants growing near your sewer line.
This is a little different from the other signs, as those occur inside the home and these are obvious outside. If you have found a puddle in your lawn, you’ll want to have a professional come in to evaluate the drain and take action to remove the clog or damage from the sewer line. Foliage and trees growing near the sewer line can create big problems because the root systems can damage the sewer and water lines underground.
Blocked drains can be more than just a nuisance. For homeowners who pay attention and know what causes these issues, it’s possible to reduce the potential of a major drain clog that leads to a major plumbing issue. Whether you take action to clean the drains yourself or call a professional in, you can be sure that your plumbing systems will be clean and work well.