Here’s How To Tell If You Have A Blocked Pipe
One of the most common plumbing problems homeowners and property managers have to deal with is a blocked pipe. If you have ever experienced a blockage before, you can tell how frustrating the experience is. But like every plumbing issue, a blocked pipe isn’t something that just develops overnight. In almost every case of complete or partial blockage, there is a very good chance that you have been noticing signs of potential blockage.
Sensitive homeowners know the importance of paying attention to details. While there is no specific recommended schedule for cleaning your pipes, doing so regularly is highly recommended. As far as plumbing in your home is concerned, the reasons why you should watch out for signs of damage and fix your blocked pipe are:
- It saves time: finding and fixing a fault in time will help save time. Your plumber will inevitably spend more time fixing an already damaged pipe. Cleaning your pipes and getting rid of build-ups before the blocked pipe occurs, will prevent hours of work in the future.
- It is cheaper: This is really straightforward. More time and stress spent on repairs means you will have to pay more for labor costs. Failing to clean the pipe in time might also damage your pipe. This might lead to extra costs in the long run.
- It is more convenient: cleaning your pipes regularly might not be the easiest task, however, it is a lot more convenient than having to deal with complete blockage.
Rather than wait for a fault to occur or go out of hand before fixing it, it is recommended that you watch out for tell-tale signs of pipe blockage. Be sure to invite a professional plumber immediately to get your plumbing fixed. However, knowing the signs to look out for makes all the difference, here are some obvious signs that you need to have your pipes cleaned.
Water Coming Up From Pipes Within and Outside the House
One of the most obvious signs of a dirty or blocked pipe is when you see water coming up through your sink. Sometimes when you flush the toilet, you might notice that the water comes up somewhere else usually in the bathtub, shower or on some rare occasions in the kitchen sink. When this happens, you need no soothsayer to tell you that there is a blocked pipe. Since the wastewater has nowhere else to go, it floods any open drain in your home. The water usually comes up first in the tub and shower pipes because they are the lowest piping fixtures in your home. When this happens you should invite a professional plumber to have a look at your plumbing.
But interior pipes aren’t the only ones that can show you that something is wrong with your drainage line. For homes with drainage lines on the exterior walls of the house, this could also be a place to look out for signs of blockage in the pipes. Usually, these cleanout lines which are installed along the drainage lines are there specifically to help you manage blockages. They help to discharge water out of the pipes in case of blockage and can also serve as access points for cleaning the pipes as well.
However, if you notice that water is being leaked out of your cleanout pipes it is an indication that:
- There is a blockage in your main line which needs to be cleaned out
- Your septic pipe is filled up. This will be applicable if you have one but since most homes don’t have a septic tank a blockage is the most likely cause.
If you notice any of these signs of blockage, you should invite a plumbing specialist. A good one will most likely probe the line with a camera to find out the exact cause of the obstruction. They might have to snake your drain to get the obstruction out. In some cases, cleaning the pipes might even require the plumbers to get on the roof and snake the line from your roof vent stack. Your pipe can also be cleaned from outside the house using the cleanout lines mentioned earlier. This is an easier and more practical approach compared to removing your WC directly to access the blocked drains.
Bubbling Up or Gurgling Noises
Do you hear a gurgling noise or notice a bubble as the water drains when you flush the toilet? This is another obvious sign of a possible partial obstruction in the drain fixtures. When there is an obstruction in your pipe, the water is forced to drain out through the very small space left in the pipe. This is what causes the noise and bubbles that you see when you flush. If this is not checked and your pipe is not cleaned out on time, you could be on your way to having your pipe blocked. Thus it is recommended that you invite a plumbing technician to have the drain checked and cleaned out before the problem grows out of hand.
Because seeing a bubble or hearing gurgling noises when you flush doesn’t feel like a serious problem, most people ignore it completely but this can lead to a serious problem in the near future. You will save yourself a lot of money and stress by getting a plumber to check out your pipes before you have a total stoppage.
Slow Draining Line
When your pipe drains slowly, then something is obviously wrong somewhere. Interestingly, while this is one of the most obvious signs of a blockage, quite a large number of people ignore this sign until it is too late. Debris and scales get built up in your drains gradually which is responsible for the slow drain. The fact that the water goes away eventually shouldn’t be an excuse. With time, you will notice that the slow draining will continue to get worse until the water stops draining out altogether. At this point, the line has gotten clogged completely and you will have to face a lot of stress to get it cleaned out.
A slow draining pipe can be a problem with any part of your home. It could arise in your kitchen sink, your bathroom or the bathtub. If there is anything that is sure about slow drains, it is the fact that with time a complete clog will develop. This is why you should get a plumber in there to get the line checked and cleaned as soon as possible.
Unpleasant Drain Odors
Everyone knows that anything that smells bad needs to be cleaned. This is very simple logic and it applies to your pipes too. When pipes get dirty or clogged, the buildup of waste can lead to the production of foul-smelling sewer gas. “But I use a drain trap,” you say. While traps actually prevent debris from getting into the pipes an also stops smelly air from getting up through the pipes, the continuous buildup of unpleasant materials might eventually fill the trap up. This will eventually cause bad odors to come out of your kitchen or shower.
However, smelly pipes can be caused by other factors asides dirt. Additional issues such as a broken pipe somewhere can also cause a bad smell too. Either way, it is important that you pay attention to smells in your home. A bad smell is never a sign of anything good and calling a plumber to get rid of it is only normal.
Also, another closely similar tell-tale sign is when you notice drain flies hovering near and around your sink area. These gnat-like insects are attracted to the unpleasant buildup of dirt and grease in your pipe and when you begin to notice them around, you should call a plumber in to get your pipe cleaned up and back in pristine condition.
When it comes to your plumbing, being proactive is of utmost importance. Regular checks and preventive maintenance can help you identify points that are potentially prone to damage. Discovering these faults in time will help save costs in the long run. You will also prevent the stress associated with full-blown damage. Thus it is important that you regularly check for these signs and invite a plumber to access the fault and fix the damage as early as possible.