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Clogged drains are never convenient and rarely easy to solve. Some clogs can be a slow-moving process that builds up over time, or may be an emergency situation when a toilet or sink is backing up onto the floor. Tom Sondergeld Plumbing in Louisville, KY provides drain maintenance, drain cleaning, and 24-hour emergency plumbing services to be there when you have an issue.
Signs of a Clogged Drain
The most obvious signs of a clogged drain are if your bathroom or kitchen is turning into a small lake. However, there are other signs that indicate you may have a problem and need to schedule a drain cleaning.
- Slow draining sink, bathtub or shower: This is usually one of the first signs, but is often left unnoticed.
- Water coming up after going down: If you see water bubbling to the surface, it is clearly an indication that something is preventing the water from continuing down the pipes and you may need a drain cleaning.
- Toilet bowl water bubbles when you run the sink: Look carefully at the toilet as you wash your hands, if you notice bubbles, it could indicate trapped air in the line.
- Gurgling sounds: Listen carefully when you run the dishwasher, start the sink, or flush the toilet. If you hear a gurgling sound, it usually indicates a problem. Gurgling is created by air trapped somewhere in the plumbing. Sometimes this is due to a buildup or clog, but may also be caused by damage to the sewer line itself. If this is the issue, it is far more serious and requires professional help as soon as possible. Left unattended, gurgling sounds could lead to a sewer backup.
- Unpleasant odor from kitchen sink, disposal, or toilet: A stinky smell is caused by something sitting in the line that is causing a foul odor. It’s usually rotten food, but could even be a small rodent.
- Toilet backs up instead of flushing down: These are often caused by too much toilet paper and can be solved with a plunger. If you can’t clear them on your own, you probably need the pipes and drains examined by a professional.
Most people don’t pay attention to their plumbing problems until there are obvious signs. However, life can be less messy if you don’t pay attention to the little things. Drains often get clogged because of accumulation in the lines. They can clog for a number of reasons:
- Food buildup in a kitchen sink drain
- Hair and soap buildup in a bathtub or shower drain
- Abundance of toilet paper or non-flushable items in a toilet drain
- Small toys, hair, dirt, or pet litter can clog a basement drain, like one that may be near your water heater.
Blocked drains can be more than just a nuisance. For Louisville, KY homeowners who pay attention and know what causes these issues, taking care of them quickly can reduce the potential of a major clog that leads to a major plumbing issue.
Drain Cleaning Methods
When you have a clogged drain, there are some DIY drain cleaning methods out there, but it is best to leave it to the professionals. You could potentially make the problem worse by further clogging the drain or damaging the pipes. There are several methods professional plumbers use when it comes to drain cleaning.
- Plunging: This is the most common DIY method, and it’s what everyone tries first (including plumbers). Using a plunger to force the blockage through the pipe.
- Water Jetting: This is similar to a pressure washing your pipes, but the water is sent down the drain in a jet stream. Different nozzles and attachments can be used to control the stream to cut through the clog. This is a very effective solution for drain cleaning and can sometimes eliminate the need for more drastic drain cleaning methods.
- Drain Snake: A drain snake or plumbing auger has a cylindrical or bell-shaped drum into which a 25-50 foot cable is coiled. Drain snakes come in different sizes depending on the size and type of drain. This method is quick and easy and can both clear lines and break up blockages without damaging the pipes.
- Mini-Rooter: This is basically an electric drain snake. It has a longer cord and a motor that helps it cut through tougher clogs. They can be used to clear the line in tubs, showers, bathroom sinks, washing machines, and kitchen sinks.
- Video Camera Pipe Inspection: To effectively clean out the pipes, plumbers need to know what they are up against. A video pipe inspection is a miniature camera and LED light on the end of a fiber-optic cable. This allows the plumber to receive a live feed of exactly what the problem is so he can use the best tools he has to solve it.
- Chemicals: This is usually a last resort because chemicals often do more harm than good. There are liquids, gels, and powders available, but because of their acidity, they can damage drains and pipes, causing bigger problems than a clogged drain.
Professional Drain and Water Line Repair
The water coming into your home, dishwasher, washing machine, tub, and toilets all come from a single line. Your water line runs underground and into your home. Because multiple appliances are connected to the same drain, many times a clog in one fixture creates a problem in another. Too often, people make the mistake of thinking one is clogged when it is really the other. However, more often it is the water line itself causing the problem.
If you turn on your faucet and your steady stream has turned into a weak trickle, or your water is muddy looking. You might need a water line repair or drain cleaning. Another sure sign of a water line problem is puddling in your yard. Calling a Louisville, KY plumber is the only way to correctly identify the location and source of the clog so you can get a quality water line repair.
With a regular drain cleaning, your system can last many years. But over time, normal wear and tear can cause damage to your drains.
If you live in an older home, cold, wet winters and hot, humid summers can take their toll. With age, older materials used during the original plumbing installation may fail.
Replacing drain pipes can cost in the range of $200 to as much as $15,000. The total cost depends on several factors:
- The severity of the damage: A broken pipe is one thing, but if it’s also caused fractures in other areas, flooding in your home or yard, or additional plumbing issues in appliances and fixtures, the damage can add up quickly. The degree of damage may require you to get your homeowners insurance agent involved.
- How much pipe needs to be replaced: Most materials are priced per foot, so the more pipe to replace indicates how expensive it may be.
- Location of damaged pipes: The plumber must first determine where the break is. If it’s under your home, beneath a concrete driveway, or under tree roots, excavation can be extensive and costly.
- Material of the pipe: Cast iron pipes are the most expensive pipes to replace at almost $20 per foot. PVC, on the other hand, is usually less than $5 per foot.
Replacing a drain line often comes with clean-up costs which may include carpeting, drywall, tree removal, replacement cement, or other home repair and cleaning services.
Emergency Drain Services
We respond to emergencies 24 hours a day in the Louisville, KY area to help protect the structure and contents of your home. Our plumbers are licensed, professional, and have the industry experience to handle any problem, any time.
If you have an emergency situation where water is flooding in, pooling up, or backing out, immediately shut off the water valves throughout your house including the main water shutoff valve for your home and contact our professional plumbers. Quick action in times of an emergency can mean the difference between mopping up a small mess and dealing with major water damage.
Preventive maintenance protects your home and keeps your entire plumbing system healthy and functioning as it should. Over time, hair, sand, rust, grease, and minerals from hard water can build up in your pipes and cause clogs or breakages. We provide a simple plumbing maintenance program to clean your pipes to prevent buildup. Our regular maintenance program is the best way to prevent expensive future repairs.
When to Call a Plumbing Professional
Clogs and drain repairs happen to every home. No one is exempt and it’s usually a matter of when, not if your drains need attention. Just because you cannot see the leak does not mean it’s not there, it only means it can cause significant damage while you search for the source.
If you are concerned about some of the warning signs you are seeing, give us a call and we can quickly resolve the issue to keep things flowing smoothly. Our plumbers are experts at resolving any type of clogged drain in your Louisville, KY home.
For a severe leak, overflow, sewage backup, or complete loss of water, call immediately before the situation causes structural damage. We have the knowledge, experience, and customer service to help you through any type of drain cleaning problem and get you back on dry ground.