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Three Causes of Outdoor Drain Clogs

When you think of a drain clog, there’s a good chance you think of a bathroom drain, like a sink, shower, or tub. Some might think of their kitchen, and how much of a pain it can be trying to deal with a clog located behind a garbage disposal. What many people forget is that there are other drains on your property which can clog and potentially have even more devastating consequences. Yes, we’re talking about your outdoor drains.

Landscape drains play an important role in keeping your home safe and your foundation solid. As water naturally and gradually flows down to the low points of your property, a drain located at these low points carries it away and out to the sewer where it is safely removed. Clogged or improper outdoor drainage can lead to soil flooding, which can cause foundation buckling, shifting, or sinking, and that could mean devastating damage to your home.

Thus, it’s important to know why your outdoor drains can clog, and what you can do to keep them open and flowing smoothly. Here are four of the leading causes of clogs in your outdoor drain lines and what you can do to prevent them.

Debris Accumulation

Your drains don’t just carry away water—they can also carry away dirt, soil, bugs, grass clippings, leaves, sticks, and plenty of other debris that may wash into them during rainstorms, and over time enough of this debris catching hold and sticking can build up into a clog that makes the drain slow, or stops it completely. This is the same principle as your bathroom or kitchen drain—too much debris builds up, and eventually causes the drain to stop. The good news is that repairing it is also fairly simple, much like your indoor drains—an auger or long snake can usually get rid of the problem and get your drain moving smoothly once again.

Tree Roots

Outdoor drain lines and sewer lines face the unique challenge of being particularly vulnerable to tree root intrusion. As trees grow, their roots constantly expand and look for new and larger sources of water. Roots generally start at microscopic size levels, small enough to fit into even the smallest of joints in your plumbing system. It doesn’t take much for a root to find its way into your drain line, and when it does, it may find a source of water or moisture. As it does, the root then grows and expands to gather more of it, and before you know it your entire drain line has filled up and clogged with a giant segment of tree root.

Unfortunately, this is a tricky problem to prevent, especially if you construct your outdoor drain out of plastic plumbing materials like so many people do because of their low cost and ease of use. Taking the time to carefully glue these lines together can help prevent it, but there’s no guarantee. The best thing you can do is simply try to keep all large plants and trees well away from your outdoor drain lines so that the roots simply never reach them.

Collapsed Lines

Plumbing lines that are buried underground face a unique problem—they’re constantly going to be trampled and walked over. As the ground above them compacts, they’ll absorb more of the impact, and over time they could weaken with age. Metal drain lines like cast iron and galvanized steel will also weaken due to corrosion and rusting, and that means they could eventually collapse. A collapsed drain line is one where the pipe itself has fallen apart, thus preventing water from draining appropriately. This is arguably the worst cause of a drain clog, as it could cause flooding from your drain as well as in a different area of your yard due to the excess of water spilling out from the collapsed line.

The best way to figure out why your drain is clogged is to call one of our Charlotte plumbing experts and let us examine your line with a video plumbing inspection! Schedule yours by calling Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte at (704) 842-9508 today!

William IlievAbout the Author: William Iliev, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte

William has been a trusted plumber and owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte since 2003. With over 15 years to back him, William has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in water heater services, tree root plumbing repairs, and more.

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