Calgary Plumbing:The Most Common Drain Related Problems
Drains are remarkably complex things considering the fact that all they really do is whisk water away! This level of complexity means that there are a number of ways in which the whole thing can go wrong and you end up with very dirty water in the sink or… well…. Toilet water is a nice way to put the situation! So what are some of the most common drain related problems, why could it have happened and what can you try?
Kitchen and Laundry Drains Backing Up
That horrible gurgling and then nothing draining properly…. Kitchen and laundry drains commonly back up and have difficulties draining.
The kitchen basin doesn’t drain
Overflowing of laundry pipe
All of the above
The toilet is flushing fine (thank God)
The kitchen and laundry lines are often bound together.
The back up is probably because of grease from dishes and clothes that have gathered in the line. This causes debris of lint or food particles to accumulate.
Things you can try
Is your disposer functioning? Check before doing anything else
Look for a small clean-out outside the kitchen area. Also look in the garage. Clean out any gunk.
Try to verify if only one fixture is affected or if there are several affected.
If the kitchen basin is affected, clean beneath the basin. Do NOT utilize drain cleaning chemicals for this; they do not dissolve grease even if they reach a big wad of it. It will actually cost you more than if your plumber uses chemicals to clean the drain lines.
If the obstruction lies in the p-trap below the kitchen basin, it can be repaired simply by detaching the waste lines underneath the basin and cleaning them.
In other cases, the plumber has to access the drain lines and try to cable them clear. The plumber should also use a degreasing agent on the line and then cable it again to remove all the grease. Though this may cost a bit more, it will increase the longevity of your lines, so the extra expense is eclipsed.
Sometimes, high-pressure jetting is required to get rid of grease and junk if the lines are intensely backed up. In this case, it is highly recommended that you have the pipes under your house visually inspected in case the plumber feels the problem is not ordinary. Grease is corrosive and can damage pipes. If this happens, there can cause a bad leakage under your house which can lead to greater damage.
Back-ups in the Showers, Tubs or Lavatory Basins
You try to have a shower or a bath and you can’t drain the tub properly! What now?
Backing up of one of the plumbing fixtures or more without any toilet problems.
Sludge, hair or soap scum clogging the drains
If you’re bold, you can use chemical drain cleansers here. The main problem here is hair and chemical drain cleansers do a pretty good job of dissolving them. But using chemicals on your drains is generally not a good idea because they can corrode your drains easily, so don’t do it too often.
Apart from this, it is an easy task to clear this drains. The plumber may opt for a degreasing agent in case there is a lot of sludge, just to prolong a future back up.
Tubs use special piping and can be a little tricky. The piping known as waste/overflows may be brittle if they are old. Cabling through old waste/overflows may damage them and result in an underground leak. So it is better to have the plumber take a look at the piping under your house.
Back-ups in the Sewer Main
OH NO! This is not the kind of back-up you want because your toilet won’t drain and… well, to say the least, yuck. And really, nothing will drain right anymore.
Water will always find the bottommost point to seep out. This is why backup in the sewer main will show up by the toilet backing up into the tub or shower.
Check the toilets if the shower or tub begin to back up. In case they are bubbling or backing up into the shower or tub, the problem is in the main sewer. This is true if they are both located on the ground floor.
But the general rule is that if the toilet is the cause for back up in another fixture, the root of the problem lies in the main sewer.
A three or four inch in diameter clean-out somewhere outside with water in it or is overflowing is a sign that there is a back-up in your main sewer.
Hopefully your toilet doesn’t flood, but if it does, you probably have a clog.
The main cause of the back ups in the sewer main are roots. Even a microscopic hole is enough space for a root to grow into your main sewer. And there is no stopping the growth of a root. The strength of these roots is so great that they can split your sewer line to bits.
Flat spots that trigger debris to accumulate. (These are also known as ‘bellies’ as an interesting aside).
Offsets are parts of the line which move under the ground and end up misaligned. This can also lead to back ups in the main sewer.
Another common cause is small breaks that may let the soil around the pipe enter.
Things you can try
The practical thing to do is to look out for access points. If a three or four inch (in diameter) clean-out is located, a lot of time can be saved for both the plumber and you since you can do some work through the access points and unclog the drains.
If you can’t find the clean-out, you should install one. If there is a back up in the sewer, it means there is something wrong with it and that you may face the problem again. Even though, there are other means of access, not having a clean-out can limit the solution.
Once your clean-out is installed or located, or you have found another access (such as pulling the toilet), try to release the blockage using a sewer cable. Make sure the plumber uses the biggest blade on the cable so the job is thoroughly done.
If the right sized blade doesn’t do the job, it is probably because the roots are very strong or there is an offset. The plumber can opt for a smaller blade, but the line must be cleared out.
Now get your plumber to operate a camera survey on the line to establish its condition. The plumber may just cable the line and ask you to have it replaced. To ascertain if this is the case, you will need to survey the line.
On completion of the survey, you can decide the next step.
If the roots are small, there is some time and just a repair should suffice.
If the condition is worse, it is a good idea to have the line replaced.
Don’t forget to get rid of the roots!
The point of running the survey is so you are aware of the real condition of your line and are better equipped to make a decision.
If you are stuck with a drain related problem in the wee hours of the morning, handling it yourself may sound like a good idea. But calling an emergency plumbing service like this one in Calgary is the best idea: Available round the clock, they are happy to help you dissolve your problem instantly!
Clearview Plumbing and Heating is a Calgary Plumbing and Heating company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which is available round the clock to carry out any type of Calgary Plumbing or Heating job.
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Keywords: Calgary Plumbing, Drain problems, Calgary Drain, Common Drain Problems