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Clogged drains are a very common problem; in fact, it’s one of the plumbing services we perform most.  A clog, simply put, occurs when a pipe is blocked and nothing can pass through the blockage.  This blockage can be one large item, several small items, or a buildup of materials over time.

The best way to avoid a clog is to prevent it: 

  • You can install hair traps or screens in each shower. 
  • Avoid putting anything down the kitchen drain that shouldn’t go down, including grease, eggs, coffee grounds, and any stringy or doughy food. 
  • Don’t put anything down the toilet except for toilet paper and normal waste; there is not any type of wipe that is safe to flush, including those that are marked “flushable”.
  • Use only natural, non-toxic drain cleaners.  Chemical drain cleaners are harmful to surfaces, pipes, and the people who try to use them.

Drain blockages come in all shapes and sizes.  They may be located in any drain, from your sinks to the shower to the toilets.  Even the drain for your washing machine may become clogged in some circumstances.
Small blockages may be opened by using a natural drain cleaner.  However, if the clog is recurring, you should call a plumber to ensure that there is not a bigger problem than just a small clog.

Somewhat larger clogs may be removed by use of a plunger.  While some adept homeowners may be able to use a plunger to remove a blockage, it can require more skill than you think.  It’s probably time to call an experienced, licensed plumber if you aren’t getting any results. 

More persistent clogs will require a professional plumber to open. These may require a drain auger to remove, and you probably want to have the pipes inspected with a special video camera to ensure that there is not a bigger problem lurking deep in your plumbing system.

Drain clogs can happen at any time.  Usually there is some warning when the water starts moving slower and slower as it goes down the drain.  As soon as you notice this happening, and especially if it’s not the first time, call us to clear the drain. It’s always better to take care of clogs sooner rather than later to avoid even bigger plumbing problems down the road.

January 21, 2014