A Guide to Understanding And Tackling A Main Drain Clog in Edmonton

Inspection of drain in residential home

Our home's plumbing system has two key purposes that contribute to our health, safety, and comfort. First, it supplies clean water for consumption, which is essential to our lifestyle; as the Canadian scientist David Suzuki would say, "Clean water is a human right." That and sanitation keep us from diseases and infection. Second, the main drain line eliminates wastewater. Simply put, a functioning plumbing system is responsible for controlling this healthy cycle in every household.

We will dive into potential warning signs indicating main drain clogs, which you mustn't ignore. Understanding the causes will give you a better idea of how to follow precautions. Taking immediate measures will ensure that your family won't ever be exposed to contaminated water and other chemical hazards.

Is your main drain clogged, and you're unsure about how to approach it? Our professional Edmonton plumbers are here to eliminate your main drain problems with efficiency and quality service.

What is a Main Drain? How Does it Eliminate Wastewater?

The standard main drain pipe is between four and six inches in diameter and is made of either ABS, PVC plastic, clay or cast iron. Also called the mainline and sewer line, it is probably one of the most critical exits in your home because that line goes from your home to the city's sewer system or your septic tank. Your toilet, shower, and sink have their own drain lines that connect with the main drain. It collects all your home's liquid waste in one place and sends it to the municipal sewer or another public drainage system.

Is My Main Drain Clogged? What are the Signs and Causes?

Warning signs of a main drain clog can be daunting because all we ever think about is contamination and costly plumbing repairs that could affect our lives, but it doesn't have to be this way. Recurring drain line clogs often indicate issues a professional plumber could investigate before problems escalate. From a gurgling sink to a clogged toilet, we can eliminate all these warning signs if we take immediate action.

  • Pipe Damage: This one might not be immediately visible unless you have backup problems showing in your drain lines. Main drain ruptures are possible due to shifting soil or construction. Or perhaps your pipe is old and corroded and suffered a collapse. Pipe joints or seals could be broken too.
  • Clogged Plumbing Fixtures: Toilet backup is most common and noticeable because it's closely connected to the main drain. If your other drain lines (shower, sink) are also backing up, gurgling, or smelling bad, it's likely a clogged main drain. An overflowing toilet or bathtub when running your washing machine is a more extreme scenario.
  • Sewer Cleanout is Draining: Sewer cleanout is an important line that connects to your main drain and is either located in the basement or outside your home. It's usually a short pipe with a cap on it. They give plumbers direct access to clearing blockages. We recommend unscrewing it to release some pressure unless the water is spilling out, which confirms a serious main drain clog. In that case, a sewer specialist should handle it so that you can avoid any potential injury.
  • Sewer Line Belly: This is when debris collects in a specific area and triggers a sag and a blockage. It could lead to standing water and eventually sediment buildup. Soil erosion, earthquakes, and poor installation are usually to blame.
  • Sewage around Floor Drain: When your main drain is clogged, the waste has nowhere to go and will force itself into secondary drains. Sewer gas carries harmful bacteria and chemicals, posing a health hazard to humans. Or worse, in the event of visible sewer sludge, it's safest to call a licensed plumbing professional.
  • Underground Drain System: Similar to the above, all properties should have an underground drainage system (usually in the basement) that removes excess water from your home. Its purpose is to prevent floods caused by heavy rainfall or plumbing emergencies.
  • Slow Drainage: Things like soap, hair, and grease accumulate in your pipes over time, preventing water from flowing naturally. Some DIY prevention methods to unclog drains include using a "zip it tool" that can be put inside the drain to catch hair and debris. However, if the problem persists, it means an underlying issue needs to be addressed.
  • Lawn Changes: Main drain problems like break or collapse would show on your lawn in the form of indentation or soggy patches.
  • Tree Root Penetration: If you have an older main drain, chances are it's made of clay or other porous material, and the pipe connections aren't as sturdy as today's PVC pipes. Since tree roots grow toward the water, they will eventually break into the pipe to access it.

Is your main drain clogged in Edmonton? The first troubleshooting step is to locate the backup spot and potentially shut off your water. Suppose you discover severely affected areas (i.e., water on the surface with signs of sewage). In that case, it will be a safety hazard, and you should turn to licensed professionals, such as our team of certified plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing. We will get down to the bottom of the problem and advise you about repair and replacement options, but most of all, safety precautions in the event of a plumbing disaster.

FAQ - Main Drain Clogged, Now What?

We have learned so far that our home's sewer line is sensitive and requires our help to maintain health. Although we understand the signs and causes better, we don't want to experience the real trouble; we want to prevent them from happening.

We have gathered some frequently asked questions from our customers that we would like to share, along with preventative measures that you can take to ensure a hassle-free sewer line system.

How do Edmonton Plumbers Inspect my Main Drain?

We use a high-end sewer video camera which we snake through the pipes for inspection. That way, we'll be able to locate any blockages instantly and give you an immediate diagnosis. Its clear visuals allow us to investigate the pipe's condition further and determine the exact repair or service needed.

Do I need Professional Plumbers to Handle Sewer Backup?

Unlike minor drain cleaning, where homeowners can safely perform DIY, you should pass sewer line backups to a certified plumber. They have specialized tools such as augers and jets to remove sewer line blockage.

How Much is it to Unclog Sewer Lines in Edmonton?

Depending on the exact reason why your sewer line is clogged, we recommend a thorough inspection first. As for the clog, it could involve a tree root growing into your pipe or sewage is coming out. Or you have a sewer line belly or even a broken sewer line. It's crucial to rule out the worst-case scenario before determining the exact job required to fix your sewer line issues.

How Does Main Drain Cleaning Work?

Our team of expert Edmonton plumbers uses a high-pressure hose called a hydro jet, which can effectively blast away debris and other persistent sources of clog. Depending on your pipe's age and condition, it may not be the best option, as hydro jets' powerful water pressure can cause damage to existing pipes if they're of poor material. Additionally, plumbing experts don't recommend that you try this process yourself, especially if you're not familiar with hydro jetting.

What Are My Main Drain Repair Options?

When the sewer video camera determines minimal damage to the pipe, we recommend "pipelining," which is the process of inserting an inflatable tube into the sewer line. We cover the tube with epoxy, and once it reaches the affected area, it inflates and carefully treats the affected area. You can learn more about what Edmonton homeowners need to know about pipe lining.

Are Main Drain Replacements Complicated?

If your existing mainline is severely damaged, including other parts of the pipe, a replacement will be your best bet. However, the complexity depends on your main drain's location, which could be under the lawn or under the concrete slab. While pipe replacement itself can be relatively cheap, labor and equipment could increase the cost if technicians had to perform excavation to access your sewer line. That could also affect your sidewalk, driveway, and other areas that might require a building permit. In less severe cases, the plumbing technicians dig up a large portion of your lawn to exchange the damaged pipe.

The more cost-effective and less invasive option is a trenchless sewer line replacement. First, the sewer line experts will perform a "pipe burst" for which they use an expander head to break the old pipe into small pieces before applying a new pipe. This process involves only small holes. The trenchless technology has served wonders to many homeowners who have beautiful landscaping and gardens. It's also the cleanest sewer solution option, enabling a cleaner repair environment. Plus, it lasts up to 50 years.

How Long Do Sewer Lines Last?

It depends on your pipe's age and material. PVC, cast iron, clay, and cement typically last up to 100 years, whereas Orangeburg pipes last around 50 years.

Does My Insurance Cover Main Drain Damage?

Many homeowners in Edmonton don't know that they're responsible for maintaining and fixing their sewer lateral, which connects to the Edmonton sanitary sewer. Therefore, it's worth checking with home warranty companies as they should offer coverage on sewer lines.

How Do I Prevent Main Drain Clogs?

Not everyone has experienced a clogged main drain and probably doesn't want to imagine the potential problems associated with it. But many homeowners take preventative measures seriously. Scheduling yearly sewer maintenance could end up saving you money and extending your sewer line’s life.

At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we proudly present prevention solutions to our residents in Edmonton using advanced tools and techniques. We can provide you with the ideal prevention solution using pipe inspection cameras and hydro jetting. Afterward, you won't need to fear plumbing emergencies. We have the best ways to clean drains in your Edmonton home.

Here are the DON'Ts to keep in mind:

  • Pour grease or hot oil down the drain
  • Flush debris and other foreign items down the toilet
  • Ignores signs like slow drainage and gurgling sinks

Adhering to the DOs will help prolong your systems:

  • Schedule your annual drain cleaning
  • Replace old pipes
  • Remove the tree responsible for root invasion
  • Install a backwater prevention valve
  • Use your sewage system responsibly

Need an Efficient Main Drain Plumbing Expert in Edmonton?

Whether you have a gurgling sink or sewage backup, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton provides quality service with effective results, using high-end technology for your plumbing solutions. We are available 24/7 for emergency needs, so you can rest assured that you won't ever have to wait in line for service. Give us a call to speak with our friendly customer service representatives about your needs or preventative plumbing solutions.