Contrary to belief popularized by shelves full of chemical drain cleaners, home drainage problems aren’t always a simple do-it-yourself job. While minor clogs can be cleared easily using a plunger or snake, many drain issues will require the help of a professional plumber. Know the signs to look for when determining if you need a professional before your “small drain issue” becomes a giant drain problem.
One of the most immediately noticeable and problematic signs of a major drainage issue is a persistent, foul, sewage smell coming from one or more of your drains. This could be a sign of build up in the drains that is allowing the odor to seep into the home. In this case, the odor can usually be eliminated with a simple drain cleaning. Sometimes, a foul smell is a sign of a bigger issue like a broken sewer pipe which will need to be replaced to restore proper drainage. Once the pipe is replaced or repaired, the odor should disappear permanently.
Some of the drains in your house like bathtubs and shower drains are especially prone to stubborn, recurring clogs. This is because so much hair and debris ends up getting washed down them. While it’s best to prevent this with a drain strainer, once the damage is done it’s done. If you find yourself continuously pulling hair out of the drain or notice that your shower isn’t draining well no matter how often you clean the drain, chance are the clog isn’t being cleared completely. Unaddressed clogs can lead to other drain issues and broken pipes, so call a plumber to help if you notice a recurring clog and haven’t been successful in clearing it yourself.
Clogged drains in multiple areas of the home are a tell-tale sign of a main drain blockage. Main drain clogs cannot be reached with plungers or chemical drain cleaners, so don’t waste your time or money trying. Main drain blockages can cause serious damage if left alone, so don’t hesitate to call in professional help the second you notice clogs in multiple areas of your home.
While slow drains may just seem like a minor annoyance, they can rapidly escalate into a much more severe situation. Slow drains can indicate several different drainage issues including narrowed pipes from mineral buildup, a small but growing clog, or improper grading of the entire drainage system. Because slow drains can be caused by so many things, it’s important to call a professional plumber as soon as you notice the drain isn’t working properly. The plumber will be able to help diagnose the source of the problem and fix it before it deteriorates into an even bigger problem like damaged or broken pipes.
The worst sign of a drainage issue is the dreaded backup. Flooding in the basement, water near a floor drain, or water visibly backing up out of a fixture are indications of major clogs. When this occurs it’s only a matter of time before the drain stops working completely leaving you with contaminated sewage water all over your home that will require professional cleaning.
While drain cleaning seems like it should be a simple do-it-yourself takes, it’s often more complicated than what initially meets the eye. An improperly cleaned drain can lead to excessive damage in the long run, so it’s best to call in a professional as soon as you notice a problem.