When Is A Clogged Drain Too Much To Handle?

Posted on: 23 January 2020

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Clogged drains are a fact of life for most people. As miraculous as modern plumbing can be, blockages still commonly find their way into many drain pipes. In some cases, these blockages cause immediate backups and may even result in water damage to your home. In other cases, a clog may only cause a drain to run slowly or occasionally stop up. With these minor inconveniences being such a normal part of modern life, it can sometimes be hard to know when to tackle the problem yourself and when to call in the heavy guns.

The Three Most Common Causes Of Clogs

When it comes to home drain clogs, there are three typical underlying causes:

  • Flushing inappropriate items down drains
  • Buildup from regular usage
  • Root infiltration in sewer lines

Of these three issues, only the first is truly under your control. Flushing grease, wet wipes, large amounts of food, or other inappropriate debris down toilets or sinks can quickly create clogs. Depending on the items causing the problem, clogs of this type can be particularly stubborn and difficult to deal with.

Additionally, regular usage can create blockages and buildups over time. Typical amounts of dirt, hair, soap, small particles of food waste, and so on can coat the interiors of pipes, slowing and eventually blocking water drainage. Many clogs appear as a result of regular use rather than any particular kind of misuse.

Finally, roots can sometimes infiltrate sewer lines. These roots block water flow and provide a surface for clogs to build upon. Over time, root infiltration can lead to significant clogs.

Recognize The Warning Signs

The first two types of clogs will often appear in traps near fixtures. These specially shaped pipes prevent debris from traveling further into your drain system and also form a plug to stop sewer gases from rising into your home. You will often be able to dislodge trap clogs with a plunger, hot water, or gentle homemade drain cleaning solutions. When possible, avoid store-bought drain cleaners as they often contain chemicals dangerous to your health and pipes.

Surprisingly, more severe clogs may initially have less severe symptoms. A clogged trap will stop water from draining entirely, but a buildup further down may only result in slow drainage. Pay special attention to gurgling sounds, unusual odors, and water draining slowly from multiple fixtures. If you notice drains running slowly on the lower level of your house, this is a sure sign that a clog is building up somewhere.

Take A Proactive Approach

Don't wait for a clogged drain to flood your kitchen and damage your home. Water damage can be costly and sometimes even impossible to repair fully. If you notice any issues with your drains, contact a professional drain service for an evaluation. A quick visit from a cleaning pro can get your drains running smoothly again and potentially prevent water damage from backed-up pipes.