If only one fixture is backing up, the clog is likely on the pipe for that fixture.
If two or more fixtures are backing up, the clog is below the point where those fixtures’ drains tie together.
Water will always back up first into the lowest fixture above the clog. In other words, if a whole bathroom pipe is clogged, water will come out of the shower drain or tub drain rather than the higher toilet and lavatory. If your main drain is clogged, water will come out of the lowest fixture on the lowest floor of your home first.
Any water you run into the drainage system above the clog will come out of that lowest fixture. In other words, if you have a clog, water is backing up into your home, and you don’t know where the clog is, the first step is to stop running any water down the drains.
The plumbing code is very specific about cleanouts. So much space is devoted to them in the code because it’s so important to have access points to clear clogs in the drainage system, but many homes don’t live up to what the code requires. The most important cleanout to have is a two way cleanout on the sewer line where it leaves your house. This provides both a way to clean out the main drain, and a place for sewage to flow out of, if necessary, before it backs up into your home. We recommend that every homeowner has a cleanout installed on their building sewer outside of their home, if there isn’t one already, and that every homeowner knows where that cleanout is.
Nothing should be flushed down a toilet besides human waste and toilet paper. In other words, no flushable wipes, no paper towels, and no sanitary products. In kitchen sinks, grease, coffee grounds, and eggshells are some of the most common culprits of clogs. If you aren’t sure if something should go down a drain, it probably shouldn’t.
Repeated clogs are often a sign that something is wrong with the plumbing system itself. This might be older piping that has corroded and constricted with time; piping that is too small in diameter; root intrusions through gaps in the pipe; or sewer piping settling and shifting with time. To address this, any time we clear a main drain on a house, we camera the line. This allows us to verify what is causing the problem, and provide solutions.
Many of the drain calls we go to are drains that have clogged before and been snaked by other plumbers. Many companies will snake a drain, collect a payment, and walk away as soon as it seems like the water is draining. Often the problems are still there, just waiting to clog again. We used more advanced technologies that allow us to see the inside of the drain as we’re clearing it, allowing us to confirm that the clog has been fully resolved and that there are no further issues with the pipe. If the pipe does have issues, we can provide a number of different solutions to repair or replace the line, using both standard and trenchless methods.
Kitchen sink lines are frequent clog locations, due to the potential for food waste, grease, and soap scum to build up in the line. We can clear those lines and diagnose any issues with the line that are causing it to clog. Many older homes have smaller diameter kitchen drain lines constructed of galvanized steel pipe. This type of pipe slowly fills with rust, leading to frequent clogs. We can provide estimates to replace those lines so the clog won’t return.
Laundry drain lines are also frequent clog locations, due to large amounts of detergent building up in the line and long runs of pipe to reach the building main drain. We typically like to use a jetter to thoroughly clean the line of any built up soft clogs. And just like kitchen sinks, many older laundries were run with small-diameter galvanized pipe that should be replaced and upgraded.
Toilet clogs can be caused by poor quality or aging toilets that no longer flush like they used to. Improper materials being put down the drain can also cause the issue. We can get those toilets flushing again, and provide options for a better toilet with a strong, reliable flush.
Clogged tub or shower drain? No problem. We can snake the line and get that drain flowing again, as well as diagnosing any issues with the piping that could be causing the problem.
If multiple fixtures are all having issues draining, the house is likely experiencing a clogged main drain. It is important to not run any more water down the drains until the problem is resolved, as that water will come back out of the lowest fixture and cause flooding. We have a number of different specialized pieces of equipment to solve that clog and diagnose any underlying issues.
Don’t put off today what can become a bigger, more expensive issue for you down the road. Have our experts at Precision Sewer and Drains take a look and see if how we can help.