Plumbing Tips from an Avid DIY-er

Why Do Your Drains Keep Getting Plugged?

Usually, when you have a blocked or slow drain, all you need to do is plunge it or use some drain cleaner, and water will flow freely again. If you feel like you keep having to unblock a drain again and again, something more sinister may be happening. Here's a look at the most common reasons for frequent drain blockages.

Something is still stuck after your initial unclogging attempt.

Even though you were able to loosen the clog and get things flowing again, there may still be some remnants of the blockage clinging to the drainpipe further down. For example, if there was a clump of hair in the drain, you may have loosened all of the grime clinging to the hair to the extent that water was able to flow again—but some hair is still there, so the blockage slowly builds up to the point of blocking the sink again.

So, how do you solve this type of problem? One option is to use a drain snake, which is a long metal device with a corkscrew on the end. Push the snake down the drainpipe, and turn it to the right to ensure it hooks into anything that's blocking the sink. Then, pull it out again. If there's a clump of gunk or an object caught on the end of the snake, you've solved your problem, your drain should stop getting re-blocked now.

Your sewage vents are blocked.

Your home's drain system has a vent—sometimes several—that allow air to escape. These vents are located on the roof. If they become blocked, then air won't have an easy way to escape the sewage system, which can cause a drain to flow slowly. It's similar to when you try to empty a can with only one hole in it. You need a second hole to allow the liquid to flow freely!

Plunging will solve the problem in the short-term by reducing the air buildup in the drainpipes. But after you use the drain a few times, it will become blocked again. If you're noticing foul odors coming from your drains and all of the drains in your home seem to be slowing down a bit, then blocked sewer lines are likely to blame for the issue.

Try climbing up onto the roof to see if there's snow or leaves blocking the sewer vent. If so, clear it away—your drain should flow freely. If you can't see a blockage from the outside, call your plumber. They can reach further into the vents to remove anything that may be causing your problem.

For more information, contact companies like Coastal Plumbing Inc.