Your sink, toilet or bathtub is clogged. Is the problem at the trap, or the main line, or somewhere in between? The plumbers on our drain remediation team have the tools to quickly analyze your situation and get your drain open and flowing. Our plumbers can diagnose and solve your “drain pain” quickly and professionally.
Diagnosing an Impending Clogged Drain
The best way to handle drain clogs is to avoid them altogether through our annual plumbing inspections in which our plumbers diagnose issues with your pipes that will lead to clogs and solve them before clogs can form. If you join our Comfort Club, we’ll contact you once a year for your pre-paid annual plumbing inspection.
Learn more about our Comfort Club here.
Unfortunately, there are not many warning signs of impending clogs, but if you experience any of these signs you should call in our drain remediation team right away:
Your Drains are Slow
A slow drain is usually the first sign of an issue. As soon as you start to notice your sink, bath or shower draining slower than normal, call us.
Odors are Coming out of Your Drain
Sometimes you will notice an odor due to waste backing up before you actually can see the fluid build up.
Water “Rings” Near a Floor Drain
Sometimes fluid backs up from a floor drain and then goes back down slowly. You may only see the “ring” around the drain since the fluid has already subsided.
How to Open a Clogged Drain
You can treat slow drains with hot water or baking soda and vinegar and hopefully keep clogs at bay, just never use chemical drain openers, and never pour boiling water down PVC pipes. But once a drain becomes fully clogged, there are only two basic ways to open it: plungers (evacuators) and augers (snakes). Occasionally a homeowner can successfully open drains themselves using these tools, but it often takes a professional plumber to remove drain covers, stoppers, traps and clean outs in order to access the clog and remove it.
Plungers and Evacuators
In order for a plunger to work, a tight seal must be formed between the plunger and the sink, tub or toilet to build up enough suction to dislodge the clog from the walls of the pipe. In order to know if the plunger to working, there must be standing water; if the water level goes down you can tell that you are having success. Not all plungers are created equal; if your dollar-store plunger is failing you might try a more expensive version from a home supply store. Plumbers have access to high-suction evacuators that are even more effective than traditional plungers.
Augers and Snakes
There are many types of augers and drain snakes. For bathroom sink and tub clogs, a flexible plastic stick with prongs to grab debris can be effective. For bigger jobs like a clogged toilet, a drain snake can be used. These devices come with hand cranks or motors, and work by swirling a flexible metal cable around in your pipes until the clog breaks up.
The pipework beneath sinks, showers and bathtubs can be very intricate, and it is possible to damage the components using augers or snakes, especially in older homes. Even toilets can be damaged by the use of drain snakes. It is best to have a professional plumber snake your drains rather than risk expensive plumbing repairs.
What Happens During a Drain Remediation Visit
Depending upon where the clog exists, our experts will remove hardware to access the clog. Sometimes this means removing a drain cover, clean out cap, p-trap or sink stopper pop-up mechanism.
Depending on the severity and placement of the clog, the drain remediation expert will either use a high-suction evacuator or auger to dislodge the clog and open the drain. Hot water will then be used to flush the drain and make sure it is running smoothly. A camera will be utilized for major drain pipes to check the integrity of the system. Once the drain is opened and water is flowing freely again, the hardware will be replaced as it was.
How to Avoid a Clogged Drain
There are a variety of different drains around your house that need to be kept open so they work properly and conveniently. Some are easier to maintain than others. Always make conscious decisions about what you put down your drains!
Don’t Treat Your Kitchen Drain and Garbage Disposer Like a Garbage Can
Grease, soap and food waste can take their toll on kitchen drains, clogging them slowly (or quickly) over time. Garbage disposers do not prevent clogs, and they can become clogged or jammed themselves with improper usage. Never put grease down a drain. And even if you have a garbage disposer, use it only for tiny bits of food that cannot be gathered and thrown away in a waste can. Put a strainer on each of your kitchen drains to keep the majority of food waste out of your drains and garbage disposer. And always have cold water running when you turn on your garbage disposer; this keeps oils hard and moving through your pipes instead of coagulating in them.
Put Strainers on Shower and Tub Drains
Hair is biggest danger with shower and tub drains, so make sure there is a strainer on your tubs and shower drains. Regularly remove the hair that builds up on the strainer. Even if you have no hair or little hair, strainers will stop small items like soap pieces, shampoo caps or jewelry from slipping down the drain. There are many different types of strainers, so keep looking until you find one that works for your drain.
Only Flush #1, #2 and Toilet Paper
There are only two items that should be placed in a toilet: toilet paper and human waste. Clogged toilets are often the result of flushing facial tissue, cat litter, feminine products, baby wipes or other products that don’t disintegrate the way toilet paper does.
Protect Bathroom Sink Drains
Clogs in bathroom sinks can result from toothpaste, soap, hair, styling products and other grime. And bathroom sinks with drain stoppers do not accommodate strainers, so extra care must be taken to keep clogging substances out of these drains. Run water the entire time you are brushing your teeth. Consider spitting into a tissue instead of the sink, and use paper towels to wipe styling products and hair from your hands before you rinse them off. And if you get sick, run to the toilet, never to the sink.
Keep Debris Out of Floor Drains
Floor drains capture soap from cleaning products and laundry detergent that can build up scale over time. They are also susceptible to receiving any kind of dirt, debris or trash that kind finds its way to the floor, which can clog them up quickly. Never sweep anything into a floor drain other than water.
Get Your Sewer Drain Snaked Regularly
If water backs up in your floor drains or toilet after using large amounts of water, it probably means your sewer pipe is clogged. These are the pipes that run from your house to either the city sewer or to your septic tank.
Sewer drains are at risk of being clogged by the same items that clog your interior pipes. But an additional risk to sewer drains is plant roots that seek an easy way to water sources through your sewer pipe. Trees and bushes in your landscaping can clog sewer drains quickly, depending upon the growing season, so regular snaking of outside drains is recommended to keep roots from taking over. Also pay attention to where your sewer pipes are buried; driving over them or parking on them can cause them to collapse and require them to be replaced.
Get your septic tank inspected regularly. Opening up your sewer drain will do you no good if your septic tank is not operating properly. If you have a septic tank, make sure that the motor is running correctly, the laterals are in good shape and the drain pipe is open all the way to the drainage area on your property. Septic tanks on a routine inspection plan with a qualified septic tank specialist should run properly for years with no major issues.
Install a Water Softener
Hard water is a big contributor to clogged pipes. Minerals in the water from our public water sources build up in pipes over time and is difficult to get rid of this scale once it is deposited. There are many types of water softeners; the tanks that require bags of salt are just one of the many options. Some filters can be placed easily and affordably on your main water intake that will lengthen the life of your plumbing significantly.
Get an Annual Plumbing Inspection
We cannot stress enough how much an annual plumbing inspection can save you money. Preventing drain clogs is just one of those ways. Professional plumbers can assess the condition of your pipes, faucets, toilets, water heater, water softener, water filtration system, sump pump, exterior hydrants and even the hoses attached to your washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator, and implement preventative steps to save your home and your plumbing from expensive repairs.
Opening Drains vs. Cleaning Drains
There are two solutions to getting rid of clogs; opening drains and cleaning drains. Our drain remediation specialists are fully equipped to provide both drain opening and drain cleaning services.
Opening drains is a fast and affordable solution that most homeowners choose, but it may not be the best long term solution. Opening drains removes all the clogs from a drain, so water can pass freely through your plumbing.
When drain clogs are a more constant problem, we sometimes recommend a full drain cleaning. Cleaning drains involves removing all sediment from the walls of the pipes instead of just opening them. Though cleaning a drain is more time-consuming than opening a drain, it generally keeps your drains running smoothly for a longer period of time.
Call Us Any Time of the Day or Night
You are too busy for clogged drains, we get it – that’s why we are here 24/7 to respond, and have plumbers and drain remediation specialist in your neighborhood until midnight, even on weekends. And remember, we are the “Technicians You Can TRUST with your House Keys!®”, so you don’t even have to be at your home when we visit.
Call us anytime at 574.255.4600 in the Mishawaka area, 260.490.511 in the Fort Wayne area; 574.936.6975 in Plymouth and 269.983.0219 in Michigan. Or click and fill out our quick form here and we will give you a call.