COMMON DRAIN ISSUES

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Just Don’t!

If you are having drain issues, do not use any chemicals to try and alleviate them. Let me be clear, DO NOT USE CHEMICAL CLEANERS ON YOUR DRAIN SYSTEM. They cause damage to metal drain lines, they can etch smooth surfaces on porcelain and enameled fixtures, and they are dangerous to the plumber you inevitably call out once you realize they simply don’t work. Any clog that these chemicals will clear can more safely be remedied with a tool of some sort. Try a plunger, a zip strip, coat hanger, or snake before you throw an acid based product and your money down the drain.

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Cheap, easy, and safe!

Even when these products work they usually create a dependance on future treatments. These products will destroy just about anything except plastic, including healthy bacteria the drain system needs to ensure clean and properly flowing drain lines. When you have some hair clogging up the small vanity sink drain opening these products will dissolve the hair, but you can just as easily pull it out with a $3 drain tool like the one pictured.

Older homes utilizing old galvanized and/or cast iron drain lines usually suffer from plaque buildup. Much the same way plaque clogs arteries and causes heart attacks or grows on your teeth resulting in tooth decay, drain plaque clogs the inside of smaller metal drain lines. The larger 3″ and 4″ drain lines tend to be fine and can last around 100 years assuming liquid drain cleaners haven’t been used on them. Even when everything else is installed and they are being used optimally these drains will require periodic cleaning or permanent replacement. Unfortunately there is no simple fix for old metal drains.

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Drain Plaque shrinks the pipe diameter.

If your home was built in the past 30 years there is a good chance you have plastic drain pipes. You should not have recurring drain problems when your home has plastic drain lines. These systems should drain very well unless something has gotten lodged in the piping, they were poorly designed, installed without the proper pitch to ensure good flow, or you are dumping grease or other problematic waste items down them. When an object has gotten lodged in a part of the drain system it needs to be physically removed using the proper sewer machine. A cable rod will retrieve the item or simply force it through the drain system and restore proper flow. Chemicals are not likely to fully dissolve a large object and if it is made of plastic, like the bottle the product comes in, it won’t do anything. This may be a do-it-yourself job, but operating a cable machine is dangerous and if the cable is too short it won’t help anyway. Let’s not forget the obvious fact that working on a drain is just gross. Even we don’t like working on drains and we know what we are doing. By the time you factor in the cost of renting an appropriate machine, the time involved, and the odds of injury or failure you typically come out ahead to hire drain cleaning out to a pro.

A gas or water line was drilled right through this sewer line allowing roots to intrude and damaging the pipe.

A gas or water line was drilled right through this sewer line allowing roots to intrude and damaging the pipe.

When you have more than one drain acting up, you may have a clog or damage to your main sewer line. If you have a septic tank and it hasn’t been pumped in the past 5 years it may actually be full and need to be cleaned out. When your septic or main sewer line need attention it is almost always best to leave it to a pro. Main sewer lines could be made of clay, cast iron, concrete, or even fiber conduit piping which was essentially pipe made out of tar paper. These older types of piping had joints that tree roots can easily penetrate. This is why many plumbing companies feature names with the word “root” in them as most of their business came from “rooting” old drain lines with a sewer machine. Most homes use solid core PVC which is better at resisting tree root intrusion, but is easier to damage than some of the older materials. The most common issue with main sewer lines is damage caused from trees. Roots can lift and move the pipe even when they aren’t able to get inside it. Pipes can crack or collapse, allowing the roots access or may fill in with dirt.

We have the equipment to clear clogged lines and recently invested in video and location equipment to diagnose and inspect any major problems you may be experiencing. This new equipment allows us to show you the issue and quote the repair without us having to dig up your yard first. We’ve also built a small portable jetting machine to help clear the plaque from smaller cast iron lines to try and improve flow when a standard snake simply can’t get the job done. If you are having drain troubles we have the solutions.

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