Drains & DIY: Tackling Common Drain Problems

A home or building drain system is a complicated thing. There are many spots where accumulations of things like hair, soap, grease, even small rodents have the potential to get stuck. It’s not just the drain in the kitchen sink or the toilet that you have to worry about. There’s the water line, the drain line, the trap inside the drain, and even vents; all spots where problems could happen in the drain system.

There are also a variety of problems that can occur within the drain system. Some of these may be easy for a homeowner to solve, but others are more serious and should be fixed by a professional plumber.  Let’s kick this off with a discussion of a few problems that someone might run into, in no particular order or ranking.

Common Drain System Problems: To DIY or Not?

The Clog That Just Keeps Coming Back: If you’ve lived on your own for a while, you may have run into this type of issue. You clear a blocked drain once, and it just keeps coming back. Maybe not in the next day or two, but every couple of weeks. Recurrent clogs might be caused by things that regularly make their way down the drain (like food scraps and grease), whether intentional or not. It may also be caused by what you use to clear clogs in the first place.  Sometimes, commercial drain cleaners leave a residue that builds up over time. That buildup leads to a clog, and you use the same cleaners to clear the clog. This type of issue is a sign that there’s an issue for a professional to handle.

Stinky Smells/Sewer Stench:  Depending on the drain it’s coming from, this sort of problem could have a couple of causes.  The most obvious is that there might be something stuck in the pipes or in the drain or the trap. This is another type of issue that many have probably encountered. You walk past the kitchen sink and get a whiff of a particularly pungent smell. It could be that there is something still in the drain from the last time the disposal was used. If you can’t solve the problem, it may be worth having a pro come in to examine your pipes.

Low Water Pressure: If your faucet is turned to full blast and you get just a trickle, that’s low water pressure. There are several things that might cause this issue, and if the easy fix doesn’t work, it’s probably time to call in a professional. A buildup of minerals and gunk from the water on the aerator of the faucet and the showerhead may be the culprit. If you clean the aerators (usually they just unscrew from the tip of the faucet) and still have low pressure, it’s time to call in a plumber because there’s a more serious issue.

Slow or Clogged Drains: This one is obvious, particularly when you pull the plug on the bathtub drain, pull the drain plug out of the kitchen sink, of see the toilet continue to fill during a flush or leave the bowl extremely slowly, there’s an issue. If this only happens occasionally, you can probably do the work to fix the problem on your own. But, if you’ve tried to remove a clog and it’s still slow, call a plumber.

Drain System Problems to Leave to a Professional

Much of the list above contained issues that an individual with the right tools could tackle. But, there are a few drain problems that you shouldn’t attempt to DIY. This may be because of the scope of the work, safety concerns, or because of how they can affect the structure of your home or business. These include the following:

Water heater installation: Although a water heater’s operation is fairly simple, installing one isn’t quite that simple. You have to be sure it’s correctly hooked up to water lines, electricity or gas. You need to be sure your home’s powers system is adequate, and depending on the type of heater, you may need to have extra clearance.

Toilet Replacement: Aside from toilets being heavy, there are issues like vapors from the sewer. They can actually kill if you are exposed to these for a long period of time. Plumbers know how to protect against the noxious vapors, and can keep you and your family safe as they are installing the new toilet.

Water Supply Line Fixes: To ensure that your water isn’t contaminated, you’ll want to make sure a plumber is involved in any and all repairs to water supply lines. They know what type of pipe is needed, and which solder to use to avoid contamination of backflow.

 

Papalia is here for all of your plumbing and drain cleaning needs! Remember – if you have a question, it’s best to consult a professional! Call us today!