Common Plumbing Problems FAQ
Plumbing system maintenance and repairs can be a most complex task for homeowners and commercial property owners. This Drain Doctor FAQ will shed light on the most asked questions you may have regarding the health of your drain and sewer line. Read on and find out our answers to the most pressing concerns below.
How do I know if my underground drains need to be cleaned?
Drain problems are usually punctuated with the following telltale signs:
- Water runs slow and constantly backs up.
- Bubbling and gurgling noises coming from the toilet, the drains and pipes.
- Sewer-like smell emanating from the toilet or drain.
- Issues with multiple drains in your property.
If your outside gutter is clean and yet overflow even with light rain or water use, then it's a sign that the pipes are clogged. Check your ceiling and walls for wet spots. If there's eroded dirt, noticeable leaks and a wet basement, then it's best to have a professional confirm the clog and have the problem fixed as soon as possible. Prompt hydro jetting cleaning can stop the clogs and the backups before it gets any worse.
Wow do tree roots get into my drain pipes and how do they affect them?
There are many ways on how roots from nearby trees can get inside your sewer lines. It depends on the material and if there are any weak spots, cracks or joints in the system. Plants and roots, when left unchecked can have devastating effects on your sewer system. If you've ever seen trees break apart cement flooring, then it's somewhat the same as with your pipes. For one, the roots can choke the inner diameter and cause flow to slow down or completely stop. Burst and cracked pipes happen when there's an overgrowth of roots inside the sewer line.
How do I deal with tree roots in my drain line?
The moment you notice your drains working slowly, losing pressure or clogs, it's of the utmost importance to call a professional technician for help. Home-based products such as Root-X and copper sulfate only work if there's water flow; once the roots stop the passage of water these solutions are no longer recommended.
Tree roots can be taken care of from the inside, but the problem is that they can come back to the same spot and you'll experience the same drain issue over again. You can resolve tree root concerns by having your pipes replaced with stronger or jointless material and have them regularly cleaned using the hydro jetting procedure.
What do I do if multiple drains in my house are slow?
In a household that makes use of several drains at any point in time or a commercial property, it could be difficult to determine where the clog is coming from. A clog in a kitchen area can manifest itself in the shower or the floor drain; likewise, your bathtub, toilet or shower can exhibit signs of stoppage but the root of the matter can come from elsewhere.
If you're experiencing drain issues on several locations then it could be a serious problem in your main septic or sewer system. The main line is responsible for carrying out waste from your home to the nearest municipal treatment plant. All the pipes that lead away from fixtures such as toilets, showers and sinks are considered as part of the main line.
What is a sewer line cleanout and where are they usually located?
Your city is primarily responsible for the operation and maintenance of municipal sewer lines. Property owners are in charge of the pipes that lead to their house.
When our technicians are called to do cleaning services, we usually enter via the sewer line cleanout, which are marked with square-knobbed screw caps on 4-inch pipes. These cleanouts can be found right outside, near the bathroom or on the side of your house.
If you need help locating the sewer line cleanout you can contact a technician.
What to I do if I attempted to solve drain clogs on my own?
Removing drain blockages in your kitchen sink, shower or toilet can range from simple to the most complex. The reason behind it is that you won't be able to see what's going on inside without specialized equipment. DIY solutions, such as pouring in commercial drain cleaners, can help clear out small clogs but they can do more damage than good in the long run. Drain snakes and augers can poke holes through blockages enough to allow restored flow, but when used improperly can damage weakened structures. Moreover, the same issue can happen as soon as a large debris gets to the same spot. A professional Drain Doctor technician can help get rid of the clogs and buildup of debris once and for all using trenchless cleaning techniques.
Do I have to hire a professional plumber for sewer and drain repairs?
The short answer is yes! Serious sewer issues should not be tackled by inexperienced homeowners. The problem can be exacerbated and turn into an emergency that will cost you more money than choosing to call a technician the first time around. We'd recommend having problems such as multiple drain issues, constant clogs and backups inspected by a reputable expert as DIY methods such as baking soda and hot water won't cut it.
You could end up paying more instead of saving money. If you're unsure on what steps to take to free your drain of clogs, then it's best to call a professional. You can hurt yourself or cause more damage when using drain cleaning tools such as drain solutions, snakes and chemicals improperly. A capable technician can inspect and find the source of the problem, then recommend the best trenchless solution to get you back on life's track as soon as possible.
How quickly can I expect drain cleaning service for a clog?
Drain companies often promise a 1-hour service for clogs and sewer line issues, but ultimately fail to meet this expectation. The truth is, timeliness in service and drain cleaning will depend on several factors, including the company's in-house infrastructure, the service area and their company and crew size. Response time is extended if the service area is in a far-off location, or if they only have a couple of technicians on hand.
Even due to these factors, a reputable drain cleaning company should be able to provide good response within the hour. For delays and unexpected changes, the technician should be able to call or send advance notice in order for the customer not to wait. The industry standard response time should be anywhere between 1 to 2 hours, including travel time and preparations. New York customers should always check and see if a particular plumbing company provides cleaning services in their area.
What should I expect to pay for sewer and water main cleaning?
The total costs of sewer system or water main cleaning will depend on several factors, including the extent of the problem once discovered. Keep in mind that some companies will try to hold off in giving the exact price, which often results in a sticker-shock bill.
A reputable water main and sewer cleaning company should be able to provide a quote before starting work. Any changes must be informed immediately as the work is being completed, and it should be mutually approved by both parties. In the end, the quoted price and the final bill should be more or less the same, barring unexpected and unforeseen circumstances. You can expect a small rise if conditions change or if there's a need to bring in additional equipment.
What can I do to prevent clogged drain lines?
If you're a firm believer of the maxim "Prevention is better than the cure", then here's what you can do. Schedule regular sewer camera inspections by calling Drain Doctor New York, and by doing the following:
Shower and Bathtub Drains: Install a strainer to help catch common clog materials such as pieces of soap, shampoo residue and hair. Less debris inside the pipes mean you won't have an accumulation that can quickly turn into a day's worth of disruption.
Kitchen Sinks: Don't send meat fat and cooking oil down the drain. Have a separate trash bin for the liquid waste instead. You can place a catcher or a strainer to collect food pieces and refuse, then once it's filled you just have to put it over the trash bin and give it a gentle tap.
Washing Machine Drain: Install a lint catcher to prevent buildup and eventual clogs.
Here's a list of items you have to watch out for:
- Cotton balls
- Paper towels
- Solid food
- Automotive oil
- Grease or cooking oil
- Flushable wipes
- Feminine products
I didn’t send these things down the drain, but my drains are still clogged. . .
The answer is that the buildup was mostly done through an accumulation of matter over time. Soap scum, oils, hair, residue and tiny particles can form inside your sewer lines, forming enough to cause clogs and flow stoppage. Regular cleaning can prevent this from happening, but if it's already happened then call Drain Doctor to help get rid of the clog in the best way possible.
I dropped and lost something down the drain. What do I do?
Whatever the next action is, do not turn on the tap! Fight off the urge to use running water in an effort to retrieve the item. Water makes the insides of the pipes slick and carries it further down your plumbing. Take a few deep breaths and see if the item is still visible. If not, call a Drain Doctor professional.
All sorts of valuable items, including wedding rings, necklaces, precious jewels, keys, earrings, children's toys and the like fall in drains each year. Having a professional plumber retrieve it greatly improves your odds of success. Drain Doctor technicians will arrive on time and do everything we can to get your precious item back. You won't need to expend time or effort to get it back and risk damaging the pipes in the process.
What sewer and drain cleaning methods do you use?
At Drain Doctor, we take advantage of the latest equipment and technology to deliver exceptional service to our New York customers. Our technicians are fully trained to use all kinds of tools and equipment and know when to use them. We normally conduct a thorough sewer inspection using a CCTV camera affixed to a flexible fiber optic line to see what's happening underground. Once we determine the cause, an accurate diagnosis comes next. We use a variety of drain cleaning and clog removal techniques in order to restore your plumbing back to working order. Some of our drain cleaning methods include water jetting and professional snaking.
What is Hydro Jetting?
Hydro jetting is a trenchless technology that promises a clean sewer line with restored flow and functionality. The advantage of going with hydro jetting services is that it doesn't harm your pipes or the environment as it uses only pressurized water to do the job.
Jets of water scour the inner walls of your pipe, sending the dislodged debris and calcified matter out to the nearest municipal system. Years of scale, mineral buildup, tree roots and even bacteria will be washed away, leaving the original diameter restored. Clogs, blockages and backups are immediately resolved and you won't likely run into the same problem again.
How often should your home's pipes be cleaned?
Our professional recommendation for scheduled inspection is on a semi-annual basis. For drain cleaning services, we'd recommend the service be done once every 18 to 22 months. To prevent clogs, drainage problems and possible backups and emergencies, call Drain Doctor and ask for our hydro jetting service.
When should I repair or replace a drain or sewer line?
When you're constantly experiencing headaches in the form of clogs, stoppages and standing water in the bathroom, the best solution will be to call an expert and have the problem pipe repaired or replaced. Today, it's possible to have your pipes fixed using trenchless technology. It's a no-dig solution that resolves plumbing issues immediately while safeguarding your sewer system from future concerns.
Got any questions that haven't been asked in our FAQ? Feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to answer. At Drain Doctor, customers are our number 1 priority. We will resolve your concern with top quality workmanship and attention to detail. Call us today!
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We look forward to hearing from you and discovering what we can do to help you with your plumbing needs. Please either give us a call at 914.506.5347 or fill out the contact form below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.