Common Causes of Clogged Drains & How to Fix Them

Plumbing Solutions of Idaho expert tips

Are you dealing with a plumbing problem and not sure if you have a clog or something else going on? Clogs have similar symptoms and causes, with red flags to watch out for.

Here’s what you should know about common clogs around your home, how they’re caused, and how to fix them. If you have questions or need to schedule drain cleaning in Boise or Meridian, call the team at Plumbing Solutions of Idaho! We’ll get rid of your problematic clogs right away before they get out of hand.

Signs You Have a Clogged Drain

Brush up on your plumbing knowledge by understanding the signs of a clog in your plumbing system.

1) You See Rust or Dirt in Your Water

woman using a plunger to get rid of a drain clog in kitchen sink

If you notice any rust or dirt in your water, it may indicate the presence of a clog that requires professional drain cleaning. It’s also possible that you have a buildup of sediment in your water heater. To tell the difference, run the cold tap by itself and then the hot tap by itself. If they both have rust, dirt, and sediment, it’s probably a clog. If only the hot tap has a problem, call us to take a look at your water heater to restore the quality of your water.

2) There are Air Bubble Bursts in Your Water Line 

Are you hearing or seeing bursts of air bubbles coming out of your water line? It’s very likely you have a clog that’s struggling to deal with a backup of air, debris, and water. It’s also possible you have a water pressure problem that needs investigation from a professional plumber.

3) There are Bad Smells Coming from Your Tap Water or Toilet Bowl 

Foul, sewer smells inside your home are never a good sign. If you smell anything foul, call us right away. There may be a clog or problem deep in your sewer line that requires immediate attention. Leaving it to chance could result in wastewater backing up into your home.

All of these signs can also indicate a serious clog or a bigger problem with your plumbing. You wouldn’t believe the things we find in people’s drains, and sometimes they have been there a lot longer than you would imagine. Tree roots can cause clogs, buildup can occur, and sewers can break or collapse.

Make sure that there isn’t something serious going on with your plumbing by contacting us right away. We’ll do whatever we can to offer some insight into the issue or schedule an appointment right away to resolve your clog.

What Causes Clogs?

There’s no single reason why your plumbing has a clog, and is often a combination of problems. But here are the most common culprits to avoid:

1) Grease and Oil

Grease may look like a thin liquid when you cook with it, but it quickly solidifies into a gooey substance and sticks to your pipes. Oil can also add to your greasy clog and catch food scraps, debris, hair, and anything else that goes down your sink and creates stubborn clogs. You may be able to loosen the clog with the help of boiling water and a one-to-one mixture of distilled vinegar and boiling water.

2) Hair

Bathroom drains are often clogged by hair and can lead to an unpleasant odor or musty smell. Gurgling noises, a sudden swarm of fruit flies, and sluggish water flow can also be signs of a stubborn hair clog. Try putting hot water with some baking soda and vinegar down your drains or gently pull out the clog yourself if it’s visible. If the clog isn’t too big, a plunger may also push it down and get rid of the problem.

3) Soap Scum

Soap scum quickly clogs drains and leads to pooling water, bad odors, and soap residue. Fortunately, soap scum can quickly break down with boiling hot water or a combination of a one-to-one solution of baking soda and vinegar.

4) Food Waste

Food waste quickly sticks to your pipes, even if you run everything through a garbage disposal first. Scrape off and throw out as much food waste as possible to avoid it going down the sink. If you already have a clog, try a one-to-one solution of baking soda and vinegar. A kitchen plunger, or a pot of boiling water followed by cold water, can also help. Make sure to run your garbage disposal after any DIY treatments.

5) Dirt and Grime

Mud, dirt, and grime piling up in your utility sink will quickly turn into a clog. Try two cups of boiling water and throw in a half cup of baking soda down the drain. You can also add boiling water to your DIY treatment and let it fizz and settle before rinsing clean.

6) Diapers or Wipes

Even diapers and wipes that claim to be flushable will clog your drains and toilets. Put on gloves and try to remove any wipes or diapers from the toilet with dish soap to lubricate the clog. A toilet plunger or auger could also help.

7) Tree Roots

When tree roots grow deep into your sewer, they can lead to clogs, a sudden drop in water pressure, banging sounds in your pipes, and high water bills. Call our experienced Idaho plumbers to resolve the issue and take a look at your sewer line. We offer trenchless sewer line repair to avoid the mess and get you back to your day as soon as possible. 

How to Fix Common Clogs Around Your Home

Now that you know you have a clog and why it ended up there, here are some tips to resolve it yourself. Or call the expert plumbers in Boise or our plumbers in Meridian at Plumbing Solutions of Idaho to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Clogged Sinks

Your sink has a trap under the counter that is usually shaped like a U, P, or S. The area helps stop big clogs from going down your pipes and problematic gases from coming up through the sink. This can be the area of the clog or deeper in the drain line where a buildup or larger item might have made it through the trap. 

You can remove the trap yourself with the right tools; but you should be prepared for a little water to come out. If you don’t have the right tools, it’s time to call the team at Plumbing Solutions of Idaho.

Kitchen Sink Clogs

We typically see dual kitchen sinks with one side dedicated to garbage disposal. These sink basins are connected under the counter and then flow through a trap. You also connect the dishwasher, which is typically located above the garbage disposal. There is a lot going on in your kitchen plumbing, and each part can affect the other. For example, a clogged garbage disposal can impact your dishwasher and sink. 

Garbage disposals often just need a reset or a manual adjustment. However, a working garbage disposal system is essential to avoid more serious issues with your plumbing.

Toilet Clogs

There’s nothing like the convenience of a flushing toilet. But what do you do when that toilet just won’t flush? The old standby, the plunger, is a great first step. If the clogged toilet still doesn’t free up or if the toilet is always getting clogged. This could be a sign of a more severe problem and a great reason to have a licensed plumber in Idaho take a look.

Main Sewer Line Clogs

Your main sewer line feeds into either your septic system or city sewage. While these are not the most common types of clogged drain lines, they do happen. Common reasons they happen are tree roots, a heavy vehicle driving over the landscape and large buildups of non-flushable items.

A video scope of the issue is the best way to identify the cause and develop a plumbing solution. You may need to repair the sewer line or replace it all together. While a snake or plumbing auger can clear blockages from within, repairing or replacing the pipes may involve hydro-excavation and other more advanced techniques.

Call Plumbing Solutions of Idaho for Drain Cleaning

Clogged drains are never a pleasant experience, but you don’t need to deal with them alone. Give the team at Plumbing Solutions of Idaho a call as soon as possible to avoid a bigger problem. We’ll get to work to remove the clog, update you to our progress, and get you back to your day quickly. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment!

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