You go to wash dishes and when you’re all done you pull the plug but the wash water just sits there.
No, a dinner plate isn't blocking the drain. You've got a clogged sink drain and you’re going to need to get it fixed.
Though it can seem like a minor homeowner inconvenience, this isn't an issue to sweep under the rug. It takes only minutes for spilled sink water to seep into your floorboards and the levels below.
Think we're exaggerating? Consider the recent case of Hollywood actor Frankie Muniz. While Muniz was away at a family event, his cat turned on a sink faucet and water poured out for days. The aftermath? Four of the five stories in his brownstone were destroyed, along with all the walls, furniture, and artwork.
While that may have been a freak accident, this reality remains: Keeping your sink in top working condition is an essential part of homeownership. While you should take steps to unclog sink waste every chance you get, there might be times when the issue is beyond DIY repair.
Wondering when to call a plumber? Today, we're discussing a few major signs to look out for. Put down that wrench and let's dig in.
What Causes a Clogged Sink?
The sinks in your home all have their own individual purpose. They also have specific reasons for being clogged. Let's take a look at the major culprits in all areas of your property.
In the Kitchen
As you might suspect, a clogged kitchen sink is primarily caused by built-up food waste.
You know that macaroni and cheese you just rinsed off the dish without straining first? What about those chunks of meat and fibrous vegetables you allowed to slide down the drain? It may not happen overnight, but after a few weeks or months of misusing your sink in that capacity, food will begin to accumulate inside the plumbing system.
Most kitchen sinks have a P-trap that helps prevent large pieces of food from entering the plumbing system throughout your house. At the same time, this trap also prevents sewer gas from entering your home.
Over time, the pieces of food caught by this trap begin to clot together to form a clog. This is one reason why it's never wise to pour grease down your drain. The sticky substance acts as a glue that holds pieces of food together and to your piping system.
Even small amounts of grease can clog a kitchen sink drain over time. They collect in the pipes and will form a large sludge in the bottom of the pipe. The sink will slowly start draining poorer and poorer until one day you won’t be able to ignore it any more.
Just remember, chemical drain cleaners can help to eat a clog, but they also like to eat pipes as well. Talk to one of our plumbers today about safe, environmentally friendly alternatives that won’t eat your pipes!
In the Bathroom
It makes sense that hair would accumulate in bathroom drains. After all, this is where we wash, style, and trim our hair.
Considering we lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair per day, most of these tend to gather in and around our bathroom sink.
Hair clogs are also the reason why your shower sometimes turns into a miniature bath as water collects at your feet during a shower.
Like most pipes, those in the bathroom aren't immune to particles and sludge. Every time any substance other than water enters them, it has the potential to become trapped. Hair is particularly vulnerable to being caught by and stuck to this grime, which prohibits it from rinsing down the drain successfully.
Throughout the House
From wedding rings to dentures, you'd be surprised at the number of bizarre and unexpected things that plumbers have extracted from clogged sink drains.
While we're all clumsy sometimes, this risk is exacerbated if you have small children in the home. To them, everything is a vessel, so it makes complete sense to throw their toy cars in the commode or marbles into the laundry room sink. It’s all part of learning how the world works.
Not only do the objects themselves prevent water from flowing freely within your pipes, but entangled hair and food particles play a big role in blockage.
An Ounce of Prevention Goes a Long Way
Of course, it's always best to prevent these clogged sinks before they occur. As the homeowner, you can do your part by installing mesh sink strainers with smaller holes than traditional models.
These trap even small particles and prevent them from going down your drain. Be sure to empty them regularly to keep them in top working condition and eliminate any pesky odors.
In the kitchen, be sure to pour grease into a designated can rather than into the sink. You can also scrape it directly into the garbage can. In the event that grease does get into your pipes, resist the urge to run hot water to encourage it along.
Rather, run cold water. This can help to move the hardened oil or fat and help the substance move more freely, preventing a clog. To further prevent food waste from causing a problem, consider installing a garbage disposal at your kitchen sink to break down food particles. But remember, if you do install one always run lots of water when using it and only use it for small bits of waste, not bulk amounts of disposal. .
A Word on Chemical Drain Cleaners
At the first sign of a sink clog, you may be tempted to run out to the local hardware store, grab a bottle of chemical drain cleaner, and get to work. This is an unwise move for a few reasons.
First, the chemicals used in these commercial cleaners are harsh and can be toxic and corrosive. Not only are they bad for humans to come into contact with, but they're equally rough on your piping system. Over time, they can eat away at the pipes, ruining the entire system from the inside out.
While these cleaners might seem like a logical quick fix, but consider the long-term damage that routine use could do to your drain, pipes and even your entire sewer or your septic system if you are out of town.
It's not worth it to take matters into your own hands. You may save the cost of a house call today, but you'll shell out much more to replace unnecessarily ruined pipes. A well equipped professional has the tools to get your drain flowing again.
Even if you do decide to give a chemical drain cleaner a shot, keep in mind that if the sink is completely clogged pouring the chemical into the sink won’t get the chemical down to the clog which may be 15-30 feet away. It will however start reacting with the metal in your sink while it sits in there.
Here are a few signs you need to call a plumber today.
When You Need a Plumber to Unclog Sink Waste
If you have any question at all about whether or not to call a plumber, go ahead and do so. Even if the clog looks minor and repairable, a plumber will have the tools, skill set, and knowledge to tackle the problem quickly and identify the root cause so you can prevent future issues.
To that end, here are a few signs it's time to leave the toolbox alone and pick up the phone instead.
1. There's a Small But Growing Problem
Even the biggest, most destructive messes begin somewhere. In the case of a clogged sink, you might not notice any change at first. Then, one day you can tell that the water is taking a little longer to drain. Over the next few days, you notice it's draining more and more slowly. Then, it seems to just accumulate in your sink basin without any downward movement at all.
Unless you're prepared to call for help, this can wreak major havoc in your home. Not having a kitchen sink can throw a serious wrench into the way your home operates day to day. And while a water damage-related mess can be contained for a short while, it quickly grows in scale and damage. A seemingly small problem can devastate entire portions of your house.
To avoid having to file a claim to your insurance company to replace damaged items, contact a plumber at the first sign of any problem. This should keep the costs of the repair to a minimum when compared to letting things get out of control.
2. Other Drains are Affected
The piping system in your home is comprised of units that all have their individual functions but work together as a cohesive unit. If you unclog sink waste and notice that the buildup is slowing the flow of water in other areas of your home, it's beyond a DIY fix.
This is a signal that the clog isn't isolated to a localized, tiny portion of your home. Rather, it's in a major drain and its complications are rendering the rest of your plumbing unusable.
If the rest of your drains work fine with the exception of the one troublesome one, the issue is likely not as widespread. It's also more manageable.
3. Ignored or Isolated Clogs
Are you dealing with a single clogged drain in your upstairs guest bathroom that no one has used since the kids went off to college? If so, you might have just made it a family rule that the sink is off limits. It not the best solution and you are leaving alot to chance and hopping that everyone complies.
While this can sound like a way to save money in the short-term, it's usually not a viable long-term option. Instead, you should take strides to make sure every sink is clear and free of clogs and other debris. The damages that could be caused are not worth the risk.
We get it. Homeowners are busy and can't always get to every task. Sometimes, we forget to clean a room or even make it functional before guests arrive. If you're in a time crunch, expecting visitors or have an event to planned, calling a plumber is your best bet. With the right trusted plumber, you will receive the expert services you need, your guests get a functional sink, and everyone wins.
4. It's in a High-Traffic Area
You know that one sink that everyone in your family defaults? Maybe it's in your kitchen, or in the main washroom near the living room. Regardless of where it is, this sink is the heart of the home. It’s also the most visible sink meaning you can't wait for a DIY repair to take hold, and you can't get by with creating a makeshift plumbing snake and trying your hand. You need this area to be as functional and effective as possible!
5. You've Botched DIY Efforts
Thanks to the rise of the digital age, it seems as though anyone with a keyboard and wireless connection can hop online and offer his or her opinion on something or the "best" way to perform a task.
If you're in the middle of a plumbing emergency, your first instinct might be to look online for the solution. From an extended wire coat hanger to baking soda, you'll find a slew of possibilities to try.
The only catch? You're in a time crunch and can't guarantee those methods will work. Moreover, when we rely on DIY experts to show us what to do rather than learn it ourselves, odds are high that the finished product won't turn out at all as we'd imagined.
As mentioned before, in case commercial drain-cleaning products were used, you're looking at more serious consequences. As the caustic substance eats away at the clog, it also destroys the inner portion of the pipe itself. That's why it's always wisest to reach for the phone before picking up that bottle.
Let Us Unclog Sink Waste For You
Are you tired of waiting five minutes for your kitchen sink to drain? Do you long for the days when your shower was a normal shower and not a wading pool?
If so, you have a compromised drain and there's never been a better time to unclog sink waste. Find a local one you trust and keep the team's contact information on speed dial.
If you live in the Edmonton area, we'd love to be that resource for you.
Our team of licensed and insured plumbers is locally owned and operated. Whether your needs are commercial or residential, we'll work with you to get the property's plumbing in order so you can rest assured your property is safeguarded against water damage.
From boiler services to water line replacement and repairs, we do it all, and we're standing by to offer our support. Contact us today and let's tackle this plumbing challenge together.