Main Drain Clogged in Vancouver, BC: Signs, Causes and Solutions

Residential and commercial property owners in Vancouver are lucky to have a low water hardness level, which is an advantage that often goes unnoticed. Besides not needing water softener as much, the water coming through our supply lines and the waste we flush down our drain lines are less likely to build stubborn calcium deposits on the pipe walls—at least not as fast as in other parts of the country. Still, there are many other reasons that lead to major problems with your main drain. Clogged sinks or clogged toilets are the typical warning signs that indicate an underlying issue one has yet to investigate.

The essential purpose of your sewer is to safely and effectively remove wastewater from your home. For that to happen, you need to ensure that your connected drain lines are healthy and free from damage and obstruction. If household clogs continue to return, along with other telltale signs like gurgling sinks or sewer gas smells, you will know it’s related to your main drain. Clogged plumbing fixtures will need more than regular plunging and snaking. This is where your Vancouver plumber from Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Vancouver BC comes in with expert tools and experience in running a detailed plumbing diagnosis and inspection.

Is your Vancouver main drain clogged, and you are unsure about how to tackle it? Don’t worry, this job is best left to certified experts who use plumbing cameras, listening devices and other tools to thoroughly examine the problem; otherwise, you won’t know if the backup is related to damage. Our team of plumbing pros is dedicated to providing you with quality workmanship and customer service that exceeds your expectations. Count on us to provide you with quick results and repair solutions.

What Is A Main Drain?

Clogged plumbing fixtures are a nuisance; we have all experienced it in one form or another. Your toilet, sink and shower drain lines are all connected to the main drain, which is typically buried underground outside your property—at least five feet below street level. Other common names include “main line” or “sewer line.” The standard main line pipe is between four and six inches in diameter and is made of either ABS, PVC, clay or cast iron. Vancouver’s typical sanitary sewers are made of PVC, which is considered to be the most flexible, durable and cost-effective option. Your main line is probably the most critical pipe in your home because it connects to the city's sewer system or your septic tank.

To locate your main line, you should look for your cleanout, which is the pipe that gives you or your Vancouver plumber direct access. It’s either located outside your property or in your home’s lower level, like your basement or crawl space. Look for a cap made of either steel or green, white or black plastic. Another type of connector is a sump—a circular or square concrete chamber that collects the stormwater from your gutters before diverting it to the city sewer. It’s important to note that domestic (and industrial) main lines and catch basins have different functions, yet they are often all combined, serving one network of pipes.

Material Types:

If your home is new, your sewer is likely made of PVC material, whereas older homes could still have cast-iron for a plumbing system.

  • PVC: Plastic sewers have been the best and most cost-effective option to efficiently remove sewage from residential homes. They are light, flexible and corrosion-resistant.
  • Cast-iron: When you first install them, they are strong, and durable, with the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and high pressure. The only downside is that they are porous and when they deteriorate, it’s recommended to replace them entirely rather than using trenchless methods to repair them. You may still find cast-iron piping in older homes.
  • Stainless steel: This type is resistant to high pressure and works best when a sewage pipe is built under a river.

Is Your Vancouver Main Drain Clogged? Here Are The Signs:

It can be worrying to hear about the problems that could mean you have a clogged main drain when you start worrying about the possibility of major damage as a result. Fortunately, our experts are here to help you avoid those costly complications.

Before you fear the worst, acquaint yourself with these common warning signs and measure their seriousness. This way, you will know how soon to get your local plumber involved:

Plumbing Fixtures Keep Backing Up

Clogged drains are the most common culprit for a sewer backup, but there are several ways for you to test if it’s merely drain line issues. For instance, does the backup occur solely in your kitchen sink but everywhere else in the house the water is draining just fine? Here’s when we recommend inspecting your p-trap, garburator and kitchen pipes for clogs. If it’s a busy kitchen where other appliances (i.e., dishwasher) share the same drainage pipe, a sink blockage is not uncommon.

Recurring clogged toilets indicate a more serious problem that might concern your main drain. Clogged Vancouver toilets that require frequent use of handheld drain snakes indicate an issue deeper down the line unless you need help to inspect your toilet’s p-trap for a potential clog, your Vancouver plumber is happy to help. From there, we will give you a more thorough plumbing diagnosis and inspection.

In a more severe case, your toilet might overflow when your washing machine is flushing water after a cycle. This depends on how your plumbing system is set up, as it varies from home to home.

Standing Water Around Basement Floor Drain

As the closest connector to your sewer, this is highly indicative of a main drain clog. Vancouver homeowners need to be careful if they smell sewer gas because it contains harmful bacteria. In this situation, your wastewater has nowhere to go and will force itself into your secondary lines if you continue to use your plumbing system like usual. We recommend shutting off your supply line and calling your Vancouver plumber for emergency service.

Note: Please note that if you have a backwater valve installed, this issue shouldn’t happen, even if you do have a main drain clog. Vancouver backwater valves are designed to prevent sewage backup from flooding homes. Mention this to your plumbing technician when they arrive, so they can double-check for you during their diagnosis.

Cleanout is Leaking

Having mentioned the cleanout pipe before, we recommend that you locate it now to save yourself the search in the future. They are typically located in the front yard of your property if not in your basement. If it appears to be leaking or draining, you can unscrew the cap or lift the lid to release some pressure. If you are not comfortable with it, leave it to your Vancouver plumber to examine the main drain clog.

Wet Spots on the Lawn

Do you see standing water on your lawn, and it hasn’t even rained? Puddles of fetid water are a strong indicator of a Vancouver main drain clog—or worse—a damaged main line that’s leaking. Your Vancouver plumber will bring the necessary tools to identify the root cause of the problem and exactly locate the damaged area.

Vancouver Main Drain Clogged—What Are The Causes?

You know your home the best and that includes knowing your plumbing system that adheres to your daily routine. If water pressure changes or stubborn clogs keep coming back, we will notice it and question it immediately, so that we can quickly eliminate these issues. Unfortunately, not all causes are preventative except for one.

Flushing Non-Flushable Items

If it’s not human waste and toilet paper, you do not flush it. Yet there are people who treat their toilets like garbage. The major non-flushable items include:

  • Paper towels
  • Facial tissues (i.e., Kleenex)
  • Baby wipes
  • Hair
  • Dental floss
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Cooking oil, bacon fat, etc.
  • Q-tips

Tree Root Infiltration

If where you live is surrounded by trees, you probably tend to look around us and marvel at nature rather than think about what these trees could do to your gutters or main line. Vancouver plumbers recommend installing root barriers if you have non-porous pipes and want to ensure they are safe from tree roots. Feel free to ask us about other available options.

Foundation Cracks

If you have a new home, you will experience home settling over the years. Soil shifting is a typical standard for coastal cities, during which regular foundation inspection is recommended. If you notice foundational cracks on your drywall or siding, a specialist should inspect their severity and how likely they are to cause structural damage. In the worst case, they lead to slab leaks and a main drain clog. Vancouver property owners whose sewer line runs under the slab need to pay special attention to their home’s foundation.

Vancouver Main Drain Clogged—Plumbing Diagnosis Methods

In order to find the cause of the clog, it’s important to check the main line’s overall health. Your Vancouver plumber will be equipped with these tools:

Plumbing Video Camera Inspection

The sewer camera is inserted through the cleanout into the main line where it will be able to detect clogs and inspect the pipe. Once we have detected the clog and confirmed that there is no visible damage to the main line, we will move on to leak detection.

Infrared Device

Infrared cameras can detect temperatures through walls and soil and create a clear heat map of the temperature zones around your pipes. This way, your Vancouver plumber can see where there might be water seeping into surfaces.

Acoustic Listening Equipment

This is a safe, non-invasive leak detection method that uses a ground microphone to differentiate leak sounds from flow sounds, whether behind walls, underground or underneath concrete slabs.

Sewer Cleaning for Vancouver Main Drain Clogs

Clogged main lines are a pain, but once we have determined that your pipe is in good health and all it needs is a deep clean, we will go ahead with the following cleaning solution for clean sewer lines:

HydroScrub® Jetting:

HydroScrub® jetting (also known as hydro jetting) is an advanced method for clearing out clogs and debris from household pipes, especially sewer line blockages. It’s superior to its snaking counterparts because it delivers faster and more effective results. It consists of a high-pressure hose that connects to a water pressurizer and tank. You can fit different types of spray nozzles on the tip of the hose, depending on the purpose of the cleaning. The enzymatic drain care solution that we use is environmentally friendly and safe for your pipe. The average psi used to clear pipes starts at 1500 but could reach up to 3500, which is why you need a certified Vancouver plumber for sewer cleaning if you want clean drains.

Preventative Solutions: Is Your Main Drain Clogged?

Vancouver homeowners know that plumbing repairs and maintenance are our specialties. But did you know that we also provide preventative solutions to protect your main drain? Clogged Vancouver plumbing fixtures might be a walk in the park compared to sewer problems.

Vancouver Drain Cleaning

One beneficial thing about our drain cleaning service is that it includes an inspection. It’s required that we do it to ensure your pipes are in good health and can withstand our hydro jet’s pressure.

Install A Backwater Valve

A backwater valve is a small plumbing solution installed in your main line to prevent basement flooding and sewer backups. It has a backflow mechanism that adheres to the law of gravity and activates when it detects water flowing in reverse to stop your drains from overflowing. A protected basement drain means fewer surprises down the road from a backed-up sewer line.

Is Your Main Drain Clogged in Vancouver? Get Help From the Pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing!

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Vancouver BC is here to help. If you’ve seen the signs that your property is suffering from a clogged main drain, our expert plumbers are ready to fix it safely and efficiently with guaranteed workmanship and exceptional customer service.

We proudly serve many communities in and around Vancouver and can fix even the worst bad drain. There’s a reason we have so many customer reviews for our amazing service.

Give us a call at 604-433-5555 to schedule a convenient appointment or speak with our team about how we can help with your clogged main drain in Vancouver, BC.

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