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Understanding Severe Drain Clogs

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 5:55am

Drain clogs are one of the most common home plumbing issues your Vancouver plumber is called to address. While minor clogs can be a small disruption and can be easily resolved, major clogs represent a long-term problem for your plumbing and a major inconvenience. Understanding how minor clogs turn into major ones and how to eliminate or prevent them is an important step toward maintaining healthy home plumbing and minimizing the impact of plumbing problems on your busy daily schedule.

How Severe Clogs Form

Minor clogs are issues that cause persistently slow drainage; even if a minor clog blocks drainage from a fixture completely, it can be removed by plunging or running a cable down the line. Severe clogs often form through the same mechanisms as minor clogs, but are much more difficult to treat. While many homeowners can handle a minor clog on their own, a major build-up requires plumbing expertise and specialized tools to address. In many cases, severe clogs are the result of untreated minor issues. As a clog begins to build, it restricts the flow of water through your pipes. When that clog is not completely removed or allowed to continue accumulating, more material accumulates until the pipe is completely blocked by a clog that is difficult to break up. Many major clogs are the result of debris that is flushed down the drain, such as food remnants—particularly grease and fat—or organic debris that includes hair, soap scum, dirt, and skin cells. Major clogs can also form more slowly over many years, as minerals in hard water are deposited on the walls of your pipes, narrowing the space through which water flows and catching debris more easily. Severe sewer line clogs are often due to tree roots, which break into sewer drains while seeking water and grow into a dense mass inside the pipe, requiring not only clog removal, but pipe repair as well.

How to Handle Severe Clogs

The best way to handle severe clogs is to call your professional plumber in Vancouver right away. If you cannot eliminate a clog via plunging or you suspect you have a sewer line breakage or clog, your Vancouver plumber can bring both the expertise and equipment required to handle the situation. Trying to eliminate a severe clog on your own could damage your plumbing, which may lead to leaks, water damage, and further disruption of your normal plumbing function. The repeated use of caustic plumbing chemicals can lead to corrosion or warping of pipes, while also posing a health or safety risk if chemicals splash onto skin or in your face. Additionally, a severe backup that allows sewage to overflow into your home should always be handled by a plumber, as untreated wastewater carries several potential health threats. Especially if you are experiencing a sewer line clog due to tree roots, it’s important not only to eliminate the roots, but also to repair the pipe to restore the proper flow of wastewater away from your home without further damage to your property. If you experience severe clogs frequently, it’s a sign that your plumbing needs more attention or maintenance than it has received in the past. Issues such as hard water can be treated via water softening systems to reduce pipe buildup, while hydro-jetting or re-piping can address older pipes that are prone to clogging and other issues. If you have recently expanded the number of occupants in your home, talking to your Vancouver plumber about solutions to increased water usage and wastewater generation is a good way to eliminate many of the underlying causes of severe clogs.

Have you ever had a problem with a severe plumbing clog?

  • Thankfully, I’ve never had a major backup, and now I know how to keep it that way!
  • We’ve had one or two very bad clogs, but our plumber took care of them easily.
  • We’ve experienced frequent major clogs, it’s time to talk to our plumber about a long-term solution.

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