Americans buy more than $266 million worth of DIY drain cleaners annually.
Local Dallas homeowners may feel that using such products is cheaper and more convenient than paying for professional Dallas drain cleaning services. What most don't realize is that not only are these products often a waste of money, they can make matters worse.
Besides being rough on the environment, chemicals in the cleaners can cause damage to pipes. This can increase the frequency of leaks and clogs and lead to costly repairs or replacement.
On the other end of the spectrum, some homeowners ignore drain problems hoping they will go away on their own. That wishful thinking leads to insurance claims of more than $2.5 billion in water and related mold damage every year.
Don't get caught in either of these expensive, headache-inducing traps! Check out the list of common plumbing problems in Dallas below and our must-have tips on preventing plumbing emergencies.
Bad smells issuing from a drain are more than unpleasant. They can be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
Smells that indicate something may be wrong with your drains include:
- "Rotten egg" stench
- Sewage smells
- Moldy odors
Nasty odors are most likely to occur in kitchen sink plumbing. They result from bits of food or grease clinging to the inside of pipes and drains and piling up. Generally resistant to standard cleaning methods, they can linger, causing progressively worse problems for homeowners.
Commercial drain cleaners often remove only part of such buildup, leading to recurring problems.
When more than one drain on the same line or in the same home starts to give off the same ugly smell, the problem is typically more serious. Larger sewer or plumbing system issues may be at fault. Corrective action is needed immediately.
- Avoid pouring grease, oils, and other food products down the drain.
- Clean your sink regularly to prevent buildup in and around the drain. Run plenty of hot water while cleaning to break down and flush greasy buildup.
- To prevent a plumbing emergency, contact a reliable plumbing professional as soon as you notice foul smells coming from any drains in your home.
Slow or Noisy Drains
Drains can back up for numerous reasons.
- Buildup in the pipes
- Clogs or sediment in the trap
- Pipe breakage or degradation
- Infiltration of dirt, rocks, roots, and other foreign material into pipes
Homeowners may first notice backups when sinks or tubs are slow to drain. Or they may notice that their drains have become noisy, gurgling and making other strange sounds as water runs through them. Typically, this is a sign of a hidden clog interfering with proper drainage.
Slow or loud drains can initially feel like a minor, albeit embarrassing, inconvenience. However, left unattended, they can lead to:
- Increased damage to pipes and fixtures
- Water damage
- Growth of dangerous bacterias and mold
Addressing backed up drains in a timely manner is essential.
- Pay attention to the products that you use. Consider switching or discontinuing the use of particularly oily or sticky products that consistently lead to problems.
- Wipe down sinks and tubs regularly and rinse well with hot water to prevent buildup. Waiting until significant buildup occurs to clean can make clogs more likely.
- Don't put off calling professionals when your drains back up. Dealing with clogs early reduces the likelihood of incurring expensive damage.
Recurring Clogged Drains
When faced with clogged drains, homeowners may try DIY tricks or reach for their favorite commercial drain cleaner. Sometimes, they even achieve temporary relief from the problem.
Long-term, however, most will see those same drains continue to repeatedly back up. This happens because commercial products like Drano simply are not equipped to address the true problems causing the clog.
It's easy to imagine that spending 5 or 10 minutes at a time dealing with backed-up drains oneself is somehow less expensive or less of a hassle than calling a professional. In reality, that's rarely the case.
Qualified professionals can quickly and efficiently attack the true source of drain problems, eliminating them and freeing you to spend your valuable time and money on more rewarding things. Attempting to clear drains yourself without the proper training and equipment can also lead to larger problems than you initially faced.
- Don't rely on debunked DIY methods or constant use of toxic commercial chemical-based cleaners to deal with clogged drains.
- If you have finicky pipes, consider scheduling annual preventative maintenance cleanings to prevent problems throughout the year.
- Call for professional plumbing help sooner rather than later when you find the same drains regularly re-clogging.
A slow draining toilet can be an annoyance to family and an embarrassment when you have guests. But nothing compares to the nightmare that sets in when a toilet goes from slow-to-drain to outright backed-up and starts leaking or running over into a bathroom.
At that point, both headaches and expenses pile up fast. There's clean up to do, emergency calls to make, and, if you don't have another bathroom, huge inconvenience.
A wide variety of factors can lead to slow draining or backed-up toilets.
- Incorrectly sized or installed pipes
- Clogs in the pipes
- Damage to piping
- Inappropriate toilet paper
- Problems with the larger sewage system
While homeowners can certainly expect to deal with a one-off clog here and there on their own, anything more should be referred to professionals for everyone's health and safety.
- Select a toilet paper appropriate to your system. Thinner, more easily dissolved papers are less likely to cause clogs than "luxury" toilet tissues. Use the minimum amount of any tissue required.
- Teach any children in the household what is and is not suitable to flush. This can reduce the number of problematic items likely to cause backups from entering the drain.
- Schedule an appointment for professional service sooner rather than later if you notice problems.
5. Leaky Pipes
Leaking pipes waste over one trillion gallons of water across the United States every year. Leaks in an individual home can waste up to 90 gallons per day.
Not only is that this expensive, but it is also terrible for the environment. It can quickly lead to significant damage to a home, as well. This is especially the case if the leak occurs in a basement, crawlspace, between walls, or in another area where it can go unnoticed for an extended period of time.
The longer leaks are allowed to continue, the more costly and extensive repairs are likely to be.
Left unattended, leaking or faulty pipes are also far more likely than intact pipes to suffer additional damage, such as cracking or bursting. This can cause massive destruction to:
- Other fixtures
- Walls and flooring
- Furniture and other belongings
- Have all new fixtures installed correctly by qualified professionals.
- Check for leaks regularly, or have a qualified professional assess your pipes for you.
- Replace or repair leaking joints, pipes, or faucets as soon as possible.
- Whenever possible, replace galvanized and polybutylene pipes with newer, more reliable alternatives.
Water Heater Issues
Manufacturers advertise water heaters as having lifespans between 8 and 20 years. Many homeowners put little thought into their water heaters' age until it dies and leaves them scrambling.
Seventy-five percent of water heaters last less than 12 years, and homeowners may or may not receive any warning indicators before they give out.
Homeowners who do experience warning signs may notice:
- A pilot light that goes out or is the wrong color
- Unusual noises
- Insufficient or no hot water generation
- Rust on or around the tank
- Cloudy or odorous water
- Check your water heater seasonally for signs of leaking, rust, or other faults.
- Preemptively replace your water heater if it is aging or in poor repair.
- Keep up with recommended preventative maintenance.
- Have your water heater inspected by a professional if you begin experiencing problems or know that it is aging.
- Have new water heaters installed by professionals to prevent future problems.
Make Annual Preventative Maintenance Work for You
There is a common misconception among homeowners that it is only necessary or appropriate to call a plumber if:
- New equipment is being installed
- A catastrophe or disaster has occurred
- One is physically unable to tackle a task oneself
These myths are unfounded and do many homeowners a great disservice. Ideally, homeowners should maintain their plumbing fixtures and piping just as responsibly as they do other aspects of their homes.
Fireplaces, furnaces, and other home infrastructure receive regular preventative cleanings and maintenance seasonally or annually. Plumbing fixtures need the same attention and care.
In addition to preventing common plumbing problems, preventative maintenance offers other benefits.
At $7 or more per jug, commercial drain cleaners may not feel terribly expensive. But when purchased constantly over the course of months or even years, they can deplete a household budget quickly while potentially worsening the problem rather than fixing it.
Hiring a professional to clean home drains costs more upfront. Done properly, however, it eliminates the ongoing cost of purchasing drain cleaner and prevents enormously expensive accidents and emergencies. It also saves homeowners huge amounts of time and stress, which is invaluable.
When an emergency plumbing situation hits, everything else gets put on hold. Schedules and budgets are rearranged. Everything from work to child care to vacation gets interrupted until the mess is cleaned up.
Homeowners can schedule routine maintenance at their convenience and avoid the cost and interruption of emergencies.
Liability and Insurance
Professionals can help homeowners identify larger problems with their homes' plumbing early and efficiently. This can be a life-saver in homes with plumbing that is not up to code, deteriorating, or otherwise in need of something more than a quick clean-out to remain safe and stable.
Having trained and insured professionals work on one's plumbing also ensures that should an emergency occur, homeowners have all their ducks in a row. This can enable them to avoid conflicts with home insurance providers over possible liability due to faulty or insufficient maintenance.
What to Expect During a Dallas Drain Cleaning Service Call
Dallas drain cleaning services provide clients with prompt, professional, and efficient service. For homeowners who have never used such services, here's what to expect.
Plumbing professionals should have easy-to-use websites that provide multiple avenues through which they can be contacted at any hour. Company representatives should ask intelligent questions to ensure they understand the nature of the services desired.
Companies should accommodate client schedules and preferences when setting appointment times. All service personnel should be:
- Polite and professional
Prep for the Appointment
Homeowners should take a moment to ensure there is a clear path from the entrance to the home to area(s) to be inspected or worked on. Plumbing professionals must have enough room to get themselves and their equipment inside safely.
Remove any clutter or decorative items that might be in the way. Aggressive pets should be secured in another part of the house.
Plan Enough Time
While appointments do not necessarily need to take a long time, planning additional time prevents homeowners from feeling rushed or stressed if problems or delays arise.
Scheduling plenty of time also creates an opportunity to discuss additional services or plans should the professional find serious damage requiring more serious remediation.
Schedule a Drain Cleaning Today
Our Dallas drain cleaning service here at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Dallas can save you substantial amounts of time, stress, and money.
Contact our drain service professionals or call (214) 838-8232 for a thorough estimate and schedule a drain cleaning for your home today.