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Slow drains are one of the most common plumbing problems reported by Houston Heights homeowners. Whether it is a backup in the shower or a clogged kitchen sink, drain issues can dramatically impact your daily schedule and create major problems. The clog might be minor, but the effect can be massive. From lines to the shower to missing a morning cup of coffee, the inconvenience of a slow drain is an emergency in most households.
Clean drains that are in good repair allow wastewater to flow smoothly through your plumbing system. Drain cleaning becomes a major requirement when wastewater stops moving and starts trickling out or even backs up completely. Catching drain problems early is a great way to avoid costly plumbing issues. Here are some of the most common issues that may lead to the need for professional drain cleaning.
Signs of a Stopped Drain
You may need to call in the professionals at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston if you notice:
- Water filling the sink basin faster than it can drain
- Shower water lingering longer than normal
- Water pooling in the sink or tub when no one has taken a shower or turned on the faucet
These are all signs that there may be a problem inside your drains. Different areas of your home may be vulnerable to different types of clogs and need specialized drain cleaning equipment.
Clearing the Bathroom Drain
In the bathroom, you have three possible drain culprits: sewer lines, shower/tub or sink. If the toilet backs up, the problem might be in your sewer lines. Both the shower and tub are typically connected to the standard drain system. Depending on the placement of the clog, a problem in the tub or shower can also affect the bathroom sink. Some of the most common culprits for bathroom drainage issues include toilet paper, residue from soaps/lotions/conditioners or hair. Hair is a particular problem since it can become a matted mess glued together by soap scum and other shower particulates.
A little bit of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your bathroom drains running clean. Use a drain catch on the sink and shower drains to capture loose hair before it becomes a stopper further up the pipes. If you already have slow bathroom drains, a professional cleaning can help clear out any debris, even if the particulates are deep into the pipe system.
Slow bathroom drains are particularly problematic since slow draining also means more soap and residue left behind in the tub. A small problem adds up to more time spent cleaning the bathtub and more time waiting in between showers.
Preserving the Kitchen Sink
Another household drain that often runs into the trouble is the main sink in the kitchen. If this drain runs slow, it can mean major problems when running the dishwasher. Your dishwasher and sink share the same drain pipes, so a poorly placed clog can mean all the wastewater from the dishwasher backs up into the sink. In addition, it can leave tons of food wastes moldering at the bottom of your dishwasher, creating a health hazard.
Common causes of a kitchen sink clog include:
- Grease buildup
- Food debris
- Soap and detergent residue
Pouring cooking grease down the drain can cause a solid clog if the grease hardens at room temperature. Residue can slowly constrict water flow, making drains less efficient. Over time, a slow drain can turn into a blocked drain until you opt for professional drain cleaning.
Utility Sink Situations
Utility sinks often connect to the washing machine and may be located in out of the way areas, like the basement. If you don’t head downstairs often or watch the washing machine through a cycle every once in a while, a slow drain can develop before you notice. Detergents and mineral deposits can all narrow the drainage area, reducing flow and leaving more water in the sink with every cycle of the washing machine. Some homes may have trouble with backups during heavy rains from storm drain overflow. Below grade plumbing can be tricky to maintain and easy to ignore until the need for drain cleaning becomes clear with flooding or other standing water.
Clearing a Clog
While professional drain cleaning is often the best way to handle a clog, there are a few options you may want to try, particularly if a plumber can’t get to your house for several hours. Don’t reach for harsh, acidic chemicals to pour down your drains. While chemical solutions are available at every grocery store, these products can actually cause more pipe damage, turning a simple clog into an expensive repair.
Every type of clog needs a slightly different chemical formula and technicians at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain in Houston Heights can recommend the right option of your drain cleaning. Make sure your formula is acid-free and environmentally sound before dumping it down your drains. Some enzymatic cleaners or degreasers can work wonders on your pipes.
Another option you may be tempted to try is a pipe snake. These clog clearer work quickly and efficiently, but they also have risks. If you choose the wrong pipe snake, you can do more damage to already fragile plumbing. When performing a drain cleaning, plumbers use a variety of heads to break up different types of clogs. They also choose the right diameter for the pipe system and have machines long enough to ensure any clog is completely cleared.
If you need professional drain cleaning or notice a slow drain in your home, don’t wait for a complete blockage. Call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston today at 346-262-0129. Our technicians are available 24/7 to handle emergencies and maintenance issues.