How often have you really thought about your home’s drainage system? Probably not that often—if you’ve never had a pipe blockage.
Your home’s drainage system—technically known as a Drain-Waste-Vent or DWV system—is one of those things that you don’t really think about until you’re having trouble. When things are running smoothly, it’s easy to take for granted how complex and important your home’s DWV system is.
Yet, when trouble strikes the disruption to your home’s natural state can be a real pain. To help you know what to do in the event of a blockage, we put together this blog. Read on to learn more about DIY fixes for small blockages, how to prevent clogged drains and when to call the team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa for professional drainage cleaning services.
Understanding Your Drain System
Essentially, your home’s plumbing system is a network of pipes that work together to carry water in and out of your home. Certain pipes give you access to water so that when you turn on your shower, dishwasher or washing machine you don’t have to worry about not having running water. Other pipes remove waste water away from your home. Since all these pipes are connected, should you clog one you could create a major problem for the entire system.
Our expert team at Mr. Rooter Ottawa are well-versed in the intricacies of residential plumbing systems. Our plumbers’ professional insights are one reason why Mr. Rooter is the ideal company to help with any professional drainage cleaning services your home may require.
How Do Drains Get Clogged?
Daily life causes all kinds of things to go down your pipes—and anything that isn’t water has the potential to create a blockage over time. For instance, common materials that create clogged pipes include:
- Food: Substances that do not break down easily, such as fibrous food, egg shells, grease and oil, tend to build up over time and cause a clog in your drain.
- Hair: Washing your hair in the sink or shower and combing or cutting your hair over a sink eventually builds up in your drains.
- Soap: On its own, soap is not inherently a problem. But, when combined with other substances—such as hair—it can solidify in your drains. Additionally, some kinds of soap include tallow, which is made out of animal fat. Animal fats can also clog drains because it solidifies when cool.
- Household Items: Materials like makeup wipes, disposable diapers and paper towels should never be flushed down the toilet. These items are not meant to be disposed of through your sewer system and could cause it to back up.
DIY Solutions for Clogged Drains
While the skilful plumbers at Mr. Rooter Ottawa are always prepared to provide your family outstanding professional drainage cleaning services, you may be able to fix small clogs on your own. There are a few different methods to unclog a blocked pipe:
1. The Wire Hanger Method
This method of unblocking clogged pipes is especially useful for your shower or bathtub. Simply straighten a wire hanger and bend one end to create a hook. Use the hook to pull-up materials such as hair that may be causing the clog. After you have removed as much of the material as you can, run hot water down the pipe to flush away any remaining substances.
2. Try a Plunger
Plungers tend to be most homeowners’ go-to solutions for blocked sinks and toilets. But, did you know many people actually use plungers incorrectly?
The initial plunge should not be too strong—as this may cause waste water to splatter in your bathroom or kitchen. First you have to remove most of the backed-up water from your sink or toilet by gently using the plunger. Then you may attack the blockage more forcefully. It may take over a dozen plunges to remove the clog.
3. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
Just like how mixing baking soda and vinegar was perfect for your child’s science fair project, this chemical reaction also works for fixing clogged pipes. Mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda creates a fizzing reaction that helps breakdown gunk blocking your pipes. Let this solution sit for one hour before flushing it away with boiling water.
If you’ve tried these DIY solutions for clogged pipes and they did not work, be sure to contact the team at Mr. Rooter Ottawa. We will efficiently execute our professional drainage cleaning services.
Signs You Need Professional Drain Cleaning Services
While some blocked pipes may be cleared with a DIY solution, sometimes these fixes are only temporary. There are many signs that a blocked pipe will need a professional drain cleaning service, including:
1. Discoloured Pipes
If you notice any discolouration around your pipes, such as rusting or a blue-green patina, this could be a sign that you have a leak—especially if this discolouration is where a pipe is joined to another pipe. The leak may be caused by a dripping sink or drain line, or even a slow leak in your supply line.
Blocked supply lines causing a leak are very serious. Supply lines are pressurized, so if a leak happens the water could spray out of the line with considerable force. If you suspect you may have a blocked supply line, call Mr. Rooter Ottawa today and inquire about our drainage cleaning services.
2. Bad Odours
Sometimes, a drain may seem like it is working normally but a bad smell seems to be coming out of it. This could be due to rotting food within the drain, or it could indicate a bigger problem. A professional drainage cleaning service provided by Mr. Rooter Ottawa will ensure the bad smell is quickly dealt with—while also providing a thorough check to ensure you do not have a more serious plumbing issue.
3. Reduced Water Pressure
Is your shower pressure not quite what it used to be? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that it takes longer than usual to fill up a pot of water? A clogged drain could be the cause. The blockage could be causing water to concentrate in part of the pipe, rather than moving through to the faucet. While low water pressure may just seem like an inconvenience, if left alone a blockage in your pipe could cause it to burst.
4. Slow Drain
A slowly draining sink or tub may be the most obvious sign that you have a clogged pipe. Sometimes this blockage is easily removed—like if you have a bit of food trapped near the drain. Other times, the problem could be located further down the pipe.
In a worst-case-scenario, slow drains could suggest a serious plumbing concern like tree roots in your sewer line. If you have a drain that just doesn’t seem to be clearing, don’t hesitate to call a professional drainage cleaning service like Mr. Rooter Ottawa.
5. Skyrocketing Water Bill
When a pipe gets blocked, the water running through it will always try to find an escape—whether through cracks caulking or old pipes or by eventually causing a pipe to burst. You may not always notice a leak right away, but you will notice the consequent increase in your water bill.
If you have a very expensive water bill and you haven’t changed your water using habits, it’s a good indication you have a leak somewhere in your home. This leak could be caused by a blocked pipe.
6. Bubbling Water
Bubbles in your water fixtures or toilet may be a sign that you have a clog in your main sewer line. The bubbles are a result of air trapped in the water. Your main sewer line is a large pipe that carries out waste from every other pipe in your home. When it gets clogged, it affects every fixture in your home. A clogged main line needs to be addressed immediately.
7. Foul Smelling Puddles in Your Yard
There are instances where buildup causing a pipe to burst happens outside your home. If you see—or smell—puddles in your yard or garden this could be a sign that an underground pipe has ruptured. Not only will this cause the soil above the pipe to flood, but it could also be a potential health hazard. If this happens to you, call the professionals at Mr. Rooter Ottawa immediately to repair your sewer line.
How to Prevent Clogged Drains
The best way to reduce the risk of a clogged drain that may cause a major leak or plumbing concern in your home is through preventative maintenance. Our team at Mr. Rooter Ottawa offers routine drainage cleaning services so that you never have to worry about clogged pipes impacting your home’s integrity.
Rather than using corrosive and toxic drain cleaning chemicals to get rid of buildup in your plumbing, our skilful team uses a combination of HydroScrub® Jetting and environmentally friendly enzymes.
HydroScrub® Jetting is a high-pressure hose that powerfully clears away years of buildup in your home’s pipes. Our enzymatic treatment uses plant-derived bacteria to consume hair proteins, fats, oils and grease. This treatment breaks down common causes of blocked pipes—keeping your pipes clean in the long-term—without adding harmful chemicals to your home’s plumbing.
Additionally, there are other measures you can take to prevent buildup in your pipes:
- Never pour grease down the drain. Grease solidifies once it cools, causing it to build up in your pipes and cause a blockage.
- Use screens and filters in your kitchen and bathroom drains to catch hair and debris. Catching everyday materials before they enter your plumbing system is an excellent way to prevent clogged pipes.
- Take-action immediately when you notice a slow drain. Water that won’t go down the drain is a clear sign you have a clogged pipe that needs to be dealt with immediately.
- Clean showerheads and faucet aerators regularly to remove mineral buildup. Mineral buildup can block water from exiting your faucets and showerheads. This could cause a buildup of water that ultimately damages your pipes and fixtures.
- Clean out the P-trap in your kitchen sink once a month. Your P-trap is the section of pipe below your sink that is shaped like a “P.” While the P-trap is designed to catch debris before it enters your main plumbing system, it only works efficiently if it’s regularly cleaned. Otherwise you may end up with a slow drain problem in your kitchen sink.
- Never ignore running toilets, low water pressure, small leaks or dripping faucets. Each of these issues is a clear sign that you have a plumbing problem and require professional drainage cleaning services.
Do You Have a Plumbing Emergency?
Should you have a drain that is threatening to overflow with water or you discover a major leak, immediately locate and turn off the main shutoff valve in your home. This valve may be located in your water meter box, near your water heater or in your garage.
If you are not comfortable turning off your main shutoff valve by yourself, contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa and we will help you out right away.
Fix Clogged Pipes Today
Are you worried you may have a blocked pipe in your main line or perhaps you have a stubborn sink that won’t drain correctly? If you require professional drainage cleaning services, call Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa at 613-746-000 today and one of our expert plumbers will be able to assist you.