Plumbing Learning Resources – Clogged drain
A clogged drain can be more than inconvenient – it can be downright harmful
Here's how to prevent clogs and what to do when it's time to call a plumber.Clogged drains can be one of the most common problems in your home – they can also be one of the most stressful. That's because they're not just a hassle and potentially expensive to fix, they could also be harmful to you and your family, particularly with the increased risk of backups into your home and potential issues with the use of chemical drain cleaners.
7 signs you have a clog that could require plumbing service
- Water backs up from a sink drain, draining slowly or pooling for minutes or hours
- Water pools around a shower drain or fills the bottom of your tub as you shower
- The water in your toilet bowl bubbles when you turn on the sink faucet – a sign of a blocked vent pipe
- Gurgling noises emanate from your drains when the dishwasher or washing machine is on
- You smell rotting food from your kitchen sink or food disposal unit
- Your toilet repeatedly clogs and overflows or the water in the bowl rises to a high level
- You notice leaks or wet flooring around your toilet.
Prevention: It's still the best strategyBefore you end up with a clogged drain that needs to be cleared, however, there are smart steps you can take to reduce or avoid the risk of clogs:
- Watch what you put down your drains or flush down the toilet – they're not a garbage disposal unit
- Because you and your family use the bathroom and kitchen daily, and even several times a day, hair, soap, toothpaste, grease and other liquids can accumulate quickly – lift up the stoppers in your sinks and shower drain, remove any hair and other debris, then rinse them off and put them back
- Use a hair catching brush or even a bent wire to carefully pull out hair or any other small items like toothpaste caps or cotton swabs that might have fallen down the drain
- Consider placing mesh screens over your sink and shower drains to catch hair and other items
- Brush your hair before you shower – this will keep most of the hair from going down the drain
- If you have pets, consider washing them outside – at least when the weather is warmer.
- Never put any items except waste water down your drain. Things that don't belong down your drain include: grease from cooking, coffee grounds, bones or egg shells, food, gum, medication, paper towels, baby wipes, feminine products, cotton swabs, cat litter, condoms, cosmetics, paint, car fluids or bleach
A word of caution about chemical drain cleaners
Clogged drains can be unsightly, smelly and annoying. So, it's understandable that many of us reach for what we perceive is the quickest and cheapest solution available – store-purchased chemical drain cleaners. However, while they can be fast and affordable, chemical solutions can ruin your plumbing and cause more harm than good in the long run, particularly to damaged PVC or corroded pipes. In addition, homeowners who aren't satisfied with one drain cleaner will sometimes go and try another chemical, which can set off a dangerous reaction and release toxic fumes. If you're not ready to call a plumber, you can try an enzyme cleaner, which, while less effective at unclogging drains, is safer on pipes.
Who are you going to call?A licensed Reliance Home Comfort™ plumbing expert can fix drain clogs – in your bathroom or kitchen – as well as a variety of leaks and flooding issues. At Reliance, we not only fix plumbing problems, we can help you avoid them. And because we know every minute counts in an emergency, we'll tackle your job with speed and efficiency. You’ll also receive one-year parts and labour warranty coverage.* Plus, consider a convenient Reliance Plumbing Protection Plan. It can save you plumbing service costs over time. Our Protection Plans**:
- Include parts and labour
- Have no deductible or hidden costs, and require no pre-inspection
- Feature a full 90-day guarantee of our service
- Include unlimited calls for service – we will be there when you need us