When was the last time you hired a drain cleaning service for your Salem home? Although you should clean your plumbing system annually to prevent clogs and damage to your pipes, it’s not uncommon for many homeowners to procrastinate cleaning their drains.
Although plumbing is an integral part of every home and a basic need that would be very difficult to live without, it’s also easily taken for granted. As long as the water runs and toilets flush, what’s there to worry about?
Well, over time soap scum, food particles, and other debris accumulates in your drains. More often than not, particularly stubborn items like grease or hair can get trapped in your pipes and cause sinks to drain slowly, showers to clog, or toilets to cease flushing.
If it’s been more than a year, or you can’t remember the last time you hired a Salem plumbing and drain cleaning service, it’s likely time to do so. Unsure if you have a blocked pipe? Continue reading to discover common warning signs, as well as prevention tips and DIY solutions for small clogs.
About Your Drain System
Before we dive into signs of a clogged drain, it’s helpful to have a sense of how a plumbing system works. Your home’s plumbing is a network of pipes that work together to carry water in and out of your home. Some of these pipes give you access to clean water, and others remove waste water. Much like how the veins and arteries in your body are all connected, so are your pipes. If one pipe is clogged, it can cause problems in the entire system.
At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Salem, OR, our expert plumbers have unclogged and cleaned drains throughout the community. When you’re struggling with a backed-up sink or find yourself consistently standing in inches of water when you shower, we’ll be able to diagnose and fix the problem. Not only are we plumbing pros, but we’re also dedicated to creating a positive experience for our clients time and time again. Given our problem solving abilities, mechanical proficiency, and aptitude for customer service, we’re the ideal team for any drain cleaning service you need.
What Causes Clogged Drains?
Your drains are used consistently every day. Whenever you wash dishes, flush a toilet, or run water in the sink, you’re using a drain. And anything that isn’t water that goes down your sink has the potential to create a clog. Common materials that cause clogs in Salem, OR, homes include:
Foods that don’t break down easily like grease/oil, egg shells, coffee grounds, and fibrous foods like celery accumulate in your kitchen drain and will form a clog over time.
On their own, most soaps are not necessarily an issue. However, when combined with other materials like hair or food, soap can solidify in your drains. Some soap varieties are also made with animal fat or tallow. Like grease and oil, tallow solidifies when cool and can block your drain.
Hair is one of the leading culprits when it comes to blocking shower and tub drains. When you wash or brush your hair in the shower, it naturally sheds. These strands make their way into your drains and create tiny nests that can block the flow of water.
There are many household items that should not find their way into your plumbing system, yet routinely do. For instance, items like makeup wipes, diapers, and paper towels should not be flushed down the toilet. Your main drain line is not built to dispose of these items and it could back up.
Signs You Need Drain Cleaning Services
Although you might be able to jostle a clog free from time to time, DIY solutions tend to be short-term fixes. As soon as one pipe gets clogged, it’s likely that debris is building up in all your drains. The best way to get rid of all the clogged drains in your Salem home is to hire a professional drain cleaning service.
If you’re unsure whether you should hire a drain cleaning service, keep in mind the following signs of a blocked pipe. If you notice any of the following in your home, you need to have your drains cleaned.
1. Bad Odors
Do you smell rotting food or waste when you use your sinks? Even if your sink is working normally, bad smells are not a good sign. Although you might have a bit of rotting food stuck in the pipe, it could also indicate an issue with your main drain line—which would be quite serious. As soon as you smell icky odors coming out of your sinks, it’s time to hire a drain cleaning service.
2. Discolored Pipe
Although discolored pipes may not be the first thing you look for when suspecting a clogged drain, rust or a blue-green patina on your pipes could be a sign of a leak. The leak might be from a clog somewhere in the pipe, or even in your water supply line.
3. Slow or Blocked Drains
Most Salem homeowners recognize that slow or blocked drains indicate a clog. However, did you know that multiple slow moving drains in your home could be a sign that your sewer line is blocked? Your sewer line, also referred to as your main drain line, is responsible for moving waste water away from your home. Clogs in your main drain line are very serious as the pipe might burst and flood your yard or basement. Generally, tree roots are the cause of a clogged sewer line.
4. Reduced Water Pressure
Does your shower seem less satisfying than it used to? Or perhaps you’ve noticed it takes you longer to fill up your tea kettle? A clogged drain could be the cause of your poor water pressure. The clog would act like a dam, and stop water from flowing freely throughout your plumbing system. Although low water pressure may seem like a small annoyance, if left unattended the clogged pipe might burst.
5. Bubbling Water
Many Salem homeowners mistakenly believe that bubbles are a normal part of a home’s plumbing. This is not the case, and bubbles in your plumbing fixtures or toilet could actually indicate a clog in your main drain line. Bubbles are a result of air trapped in water. When your sewer line becomes clogged, it impacts the flow of all the other pipes in your home. Subsequently, if you notice bubbles you should call a professional drain cleaning service immediately.
6. Increased Energy Bill
Blaming your increased energy bill on your teenagers taking forever in the shower? While that would certainly contribute, if you’ve noticed a sudden spike it could actually be the fault of a clogged drain. When pipes get blocked by food, grease, or hair, the water is forced to find somewhere else to go. Often, this means bursting out of the pipe and into your wall. You may not have noticed any additional damage, but sudden jumps in your water bill could indicate a burst pipe somewhere in your home.
7. Bad Smelling Puddles
Puddles in your backyard when the weather is clear and warm are not a good sign—particularly if those puddles smell like waste. The water could be from a ruptured underground pipe. Not only will your yard become soggy, but the flood could be hazardous for your health. Pools of water that reek of sewage have likely seeped into your yard because of a backed-up sewage line.
How to Prevent Clogged Drains
The best way, by far, to prevent clogged drains is through annual, professional drain cleanings. A blocked pipe could cause a major leak or flood that would be devastating and a pain to clean up. Rather, take care of your plumbing system by hiring the team at Mr. Rooter of Salem. Our drain cleaning experts are trained to use the most cutting edge technology that keeps your pipes running smoothly year after year.
At Mr. Rooter, we don’t use corrosive or toxic drain cleaning chemicals that are bad for the environment and your health. Instead, we employ an effective combination of our HydroScrub® Jetting technology and an enzymatic solution to blast away years of build-up. HydroScrub® Jetting is a high-pressure hose that powerfully clears away debris in your plumbing. Our enzymatic treatment is derived from plant-based bacteria that consume proteins, fats, oils, and grease. Our drain cleaning treatment is a powerful way to keep your pipes clean—and, a great way to ditch other products that add harmful chemicals to your plumbing.
In between annual drain cleaning appointments, there are also a few measures you can take to avoid clogging your pipes:
Do not pour grease down the drain. Once hot oil or grease cools, it forms a solid. Oil is very viscous and does not mix with water, so it’s going to stay in your pipes instead of flushing through your plumbing. Layers of grease in your pipes will clog up.
Deal with slow drains right away. When you notice your sinks taking a while to empty, you have a budding clog on your hands. Either call our drain cleaning specialists to handle it for you, or employ one of the DIY solutions below for an interim fix.
Use screens and filters. Hair, food scraps, and bits of Kleenex can all make their way down your drains. But, a screen or filter will catch debris before it has a chance to accumulate in your plumbing.
Clean your P-trap regularly. Below your sinks there is a section of pipe shaped like a “P.” This is the P-trap. It’s designed to catch debris before it enters your main plumbing system, and helps prevent harmful gases from rising up from the sewer line into your home. You should clean your P-traps at least once a month for them to work properly.
Do not ignore clogged sinks, bubbles in your toilet, or bad smells from your drains. These are all clear signs that you have a clogged drain somewhere in your Salem home, and will require the drain cleaning experts at Mr. Rooter right away.
DIY Drain Cleaning Solutions
At Mr. Rooter of Salem, our professional plumbers are the leading experts when it comes to drain cleaning services and plumbing solutions. However, we understand that you may not always have time to call a plumber when you have a small clog in your kitchen or bathroom. Although the surest way to clear out debris in your plumbing is to hire professional services, there are a few tricks you can try yourself in a pinch:
The Wire Hanger Method
A straightened metal hanger with a bent hook at one end serves as a substitute for a plumber’s snake and performs almost the same job. Use the metal hanger to fish out any gunk from your drain that could be making a clog. After removing as much debris as possible manually, flush a liter of boiling water down the pipe to get rid of any remaining residue.
Use a Plunger
Most homeowners already know to use a plunger to clear-out blocked sinks and toilets. But did you know that many people use plungers incorrectly? It’s common for determined DIYers to forcefully plunge away, thinking that more power means better suction. This method is very messy. It’s better to build up to a vigorous plunge by first emptying out as much water as possible by hand and then gently easing the plunger into the sink/tub/toilet. Start with small pumps and work your way up to powerful motions. Keep in mind, it could take more than 10 plunges to remove the clog.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar have many other uses aside from making an impressive volcano as your child’s science fair project. The chemical reaction also works well for unclogging pipes. Pour equal parts vinegar and baking soda into the clogged drain and cover the drain. The force of the reaction may loosen debris in your pipes. Let the solution sit for one hour before flushing a liter of boiling water down the drain for good measure.
Book a Salem Drain Cleaning Service Today!
Have you tried to clear out your clogged drains with a plunger, but it was not successful? Or maybe you’ve noticed bubbles in your toilet, or a foul smell coming out of your sink? Our professional drain cleaning experts will be able to effectively diagnose the source of the clog and clear away debris efficiently and safely.
To book one of our Salem plumbers, we invite you to give us a call at 503-343-4685 or request an estimate online.