There are few things worse than taking a shower early in the morning, placing the shampoo in your hair, and having the shower lose pressure. You feel like you may never get the shampoo or conditioner out of your hair. And the delay is making you run late. So, what’s a homeowner to do when their pipes keep clogging?
First, you may need to know the signs of clogged pipes and what causes them to learn how to avoid and unclog them at all. In the following article, the professionals at Flow Pros will let you know answers to your clogging pipe questions and more.
Signs of Clogged Pipes
You would think the signs were obvious, but the issue is not always as clear. If you take that shower and the water goes to a trickle, you most likely have clogged pipes. However, the problem could be much deeper in the lines. Here are some of the apparent reasons as to why your pipes keep clogging.
- When the water pressure fluctuates, there is definitely a problem somewhere in the pipes. Even if the water flow changes, the lines should undergo inspection. While it may be a simple clog in the faucet, it could turn out to be deeper in the water main.
- If water seems to back up or gurgle when you flush the toilet. You may have clogged pipes.
- What if your toilet or shower bubbles up or overflows when you run things like the washing machine, that is another clue there is a backup in the line somewhere.
- Likewise, if the shower, sinks, and toilet don’t seem to want to drain, there is an issue. Somewhere you have a blockage that needs removal.
- Is there a strange rotten smell coming from your water sources or drains? That could be because of a blockage that will need help moving along the pipes.
When there is an issue like any of the above, you will need to contact your local plumbing professionals to come out and assess the situation. If you are located in the Pinellas or Hillsborough County areas, call Flow Pros to come out ASAP.
Substances That Keep Clogging Your Pipes
Clearly, the signs associated with a clog beg the question, “What is clogging my pipes?” In all our years of experience, our plumbers have seen just about everything. So, don’t worry if your 4year-old wanted to see if the turtle could swim to the ocean from the pipes. We have seen it all.
Here are some of the other everyday things that could be clogging your pipes.
- Flushable wipes are really not so flushable after all. In fact, they can wreck a system pretty quickly with repeated use. They do not break down the way toilet paper does, and they are only flushable in that they fit the pipes. If you get one stuck in there, it may grab others and form a total blockage.
- Feminine Products are another commonly-flushed item that is not good for the pipes. After all, they are made to absorb water and expand. They are not biodegradable and harbor dangerous bacteria when they remain in the lines.
- Diapers… yes, folks often attempt to flush diapers. Again, they are meant to absorb and expand. They are not biodegradable and will not fit down the pipes even if you can get one to flush.
- Grease and Oils should not go down the kitchen sink, even if you have a disposal. That is why bacon grease, butter, vegetable oil, chocolate, cream, and fats from meats should never go into the drain. They will only build up over time and cause a significant problem down the line.
- Hair is a big pipe clogger for many. And if you have long hair in the home, even worse. It will create a virtual rat’s nest of a clog and end up in a total blockage in the shower and sink drains.
- Cat litter is thought by some to be flushable. Not so. In fact, it forms a concrete-like substance when wet, and then a massive clog in your pipes will follow.
- Large objects occasionally go down the drain, and what are you to do? Rather than flushing repeatedly and hoping it goes down, call a plumber if a bar of soap, a toy, a lid, or other object makes its way into your drains.
- Natural obstructions can go unnoticed until too late. When there is a small break in the line, things like dirt, rocks, and leaves can enter the system.
If you think any of the above may have happened in your pipes, please call a local plumber to come to clear the clog right away.
Situations That Keep Clogging Your Pipes
Did you know there are situations beyond your control that may keep clogging your pipes? Well, there are. Here are a few of the things we have seen happen to older piped homes and even not so old.
- Insufficient slope is a big pipe clogger. You see, the system may have been put in with the proper slope. But due to time and ground erosion, the slope may become off. That is a clog caused by something you would never have found.
- Pipes that are too small are sometimes used by construction crews without sufficient experience. In those cases, the lines will continue to clog until they receive a replacement.
- Tree root intrusion is one of the most common and hidden reasons for clogged pipes. You see, when a tree is reaching for water and spreading with growth, those roots can break right through or dislodge a pipe. So, if you live in an area with plenty of trees, a tree root video can be useful to help prevent a total blockage of the pipes.
- Pipe Scale is composed of the minerals and deposits left behind in the pipes from the water itself. It is a natural occurrence. But if your lines are old or have not had a proper cleaning in a while, it could become a real issue.
- Pipe disintegration is unfortunate but unavoidable. Joints can become loose, and pipes can wear down over time. So, if the home you are in has older lines, you may want to have preventative maintenance performed to ensure those pipes remain unclogged and strong.
When purchasing an older home, it is a good idea to not only get the plumbing inspected but have the entire system flushed before moving in. It will save you the headache and money in the long run.
DIY for Clogged Pipes
If you are the handy DIY type, a few things will work if the clog is what we call a shallow clog. If they are deep within the system, it is still best to call a plumber. Here is what we mean.
- Hair can be removed with tweezers or a coat hanger if it is near the drain.
- A plunger may help with your toilet clogs if the clog is relatively shallow. If not, a “snake” or auger will need to be used.
- Baking soda and vinegar can push through a light clog of gunk buildup.
- Boiling water will melt grease and fats and force them down the line.
Just never use chemical clog clearing products. They contain dangerous chemicals and can even damage your pipes.
Preventing Clogged Pipes
A preventative maintenance plan regularly scheduled with your local plumber is the best way to prevent blockages in your home’s pipes. And in-between time, you can try the following things to keep water running smoothly throughout the house.
- Pour boiling water down drains weekly to unclog natural fats and oils.
- Use a screen on sinks that may regularly be clogged by hair.
- Scrape your food into the trash before rinsing plates in the sink.
- Don’t put anything down the toilet but human waste and toilet paper.
- Never intentionally pour grease down any drain.
And finally, if you begin to notice any change in your water flow, water pressure, or the composition of your freshwater supply, turn it off and call for help. In Pinellas County and the Greater Tampa Bay, Flow Pros will be right out to get hose pipes running as they should in no time.
If you see the signs of clogging pipes, contact your friendly Flow Pros Plumbers today.