9 Common Drain Pipe Problems
You probably overlook the drains in your home unless something goes wrong. If your drains back up make strange noises, or if you experience other common drain pipe problems, you need an experienced plumber to diagnose the issue. You need a repair plan that fixes the long-term problem without running up high bills for excavation or extensive repiping.
Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co. wants you to know more about the most common causes of drain problems and what to do about them. If you need a plumber in Elburn, IL, call us or request an appointment online.
1: Installation Problems
Many plumbing problems occur because the contractor who installed the pipe used the wrong materials, attached them incorrectly, or positioned them in a location that exposes them to damage.
One problem that can cause backups and clogs is plumbing that slopes upward. Water cannot flow uphill unless it is under pressure, so unless your pipes slope downward by about a quarter inch per foot, they will not drain well and clog frequently.
If your pipes have drainage issues and other problems stemming from installation, a plumber might be able to salvage the existing pipe and redo the installation.
2: Outdated Materials
In some cases, pipes that were up to code when the plumber first installed them could be dangerous or prone to failure. For example, cast iron, steel, and polybutylene pipes were popular decades ago but age badly, leading to common drain pipe problems.
Plumbing fixtures and pipes from the 1980s or before could contain lead, which can cause health problems, particularly in children,
Unfortunately, if your problem is aging, outdated pipes, all the piping in your home might no longer be safe, requiring an extensive repiping job.
3: Leaky Pipes
Sometimes a pipe develops a small crack or a leak at the junction with another pipe. Unfortunately, leaks are easy to miss until the symptoms of water damage become obvious. Watch for the following signs of a leak.
- Warped floorboards or other wooden surfaces
- Discolored drywall
- Musty odors
- Mold growth
- Dripping sounds
If you notice any indicators of common drain pipe problems, call an experienced plumber as soon as possible. Even if you cannot spot the source of a leak, the plumber can use techniques such as video camera inspection to track down leaks without exposing the exterior of your pipes.
4: Burst Pipes
If your pipes freeze in the winter, the water within them could cause the pipes to burst outward, leading to potentially catastrophic leaks. If you call a plumber for a burst pipe, they will shut off the water to the pipe, locate the burst section and replace it with new pipes.
Pipes can burst for other reasons, such as corrosion, high water pressure, or accidents where a contractor or DIY homeowner punctures a pipe while drilling or nailing something into a wall or floor.
In most cases, the plumber will shut off the water supply, remove the burst section of the pipe, and replace it with a new length of pipe.
Some pipe materials are prone to rust and other forms of damage. Corrosion could occur for many reasons, such as age or the use of chemical drain cleaners that eat away pipe materials. Hard water and acidic water contribute to pipe corrosion, and some pipe materials corrode more rapidly than others.
6: Obstructing Tree Roots
Tree roots are surprisingly strong and flexible. They can travel into pipes and push on the pipe surface, causing leaks, pipe damage, and drain backups.
Some drain cleaning methods can restore water flow by cleaning dirt and organic material from the roots. However, the underlying cause of the problem will remain unless a plumber can remove the roots.
Tree root infiltration can be difficult to remove without professional plumbing tools, up to and including excavation to remove the pipe and cut away the roots.
7: Slow Drains
If a drain has an incomplete clog that allows some water through, it will drain more slowly than usual and might back up if a lot of water flows into the drain over a short time.
Homeowners can try to snake or plunge the sink to dislodge the clog. If home remedies do not remove the clog, a professional plumber can use diagnostic equipment to determine why it is so resistant and find a way to remove it.
If a clog completely obstructs the flow of water, the water has nowhere to go but back up the pipe. Water pressure forces the water back up through the drain.
If the obstruction occurs after a junction of two or more pipes, the water could back up in more than one direction. For example, wastewater from the kitchen sink could flow through the bathroom sink, shower drain, or toilet.
Clogs and backups in the kitchen sink often occur because of cooking grease. To prevent them from recurring, pour cooking grease and fat from meats into a can or jar. Once they solidify, you can throw them out instead of pouring them down the drain.
9: Toilet Clogs
Toilet clogs are disconcerting because of the prospect of unsanitary wastewater pouring over the rim of the toilet onto the bathroom floor.
Plunging can dislodge clogs in toilet plumbing, but you will need a flange plunger instead of the type of plunger you would use for a sink. The flange plunger forms a seal with the lower part of the toilet, allowing the user to generate suction and dislodge the clog.
Clean and Maintain Your Drains with Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co.
The costs of neglecting common drain pipe problems are often far greater than the costs of proactive drain management. We are highly proficient in residential and commercial plumbing, including clogged drains and other common drain pipe problems.
At the first sign of drain trouble, call Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co at (847) 268-3553 to schedule an appointment. We can help you out with many common issues. Get to know the different types of bathroom drain plugs and explore other plumbing topics.