Signs That Your Pipes are Clogged & Prevention Tips

It’s not always obvious when your pipes are clogged. Here are some telltale signs to watch for.

Stains Around Drains

You may notice residue or a stain near a floor drain pipe. With a clogged drain, the water level can rise above the floor and slowly drain away, leaving sediment from dirty water on the floor around the drain. You may also find this at other drains like showers or tubs. These problems typically don’t fix themselves so have a plumber clean your drains and inspect your pipes if you notice staining around a drain.

Gurgling Sounds

If you notice unusually loud gurgling noises coming from your drains as you drain water from your sink, shower, or tub, you probably have a clog. The gurgling sounds happen when there is a disruption in the way that water is flowing, caused by a blockage somewhere in your drain.

Unpleasant Odour

Notice something stinky coming from your drain? That usually happens when there is some kind of organic material, like food waste, blocking up the pipes. The organic material begins to break down and lets off a funky smell, which then makes its way up your pipes and out the drain, right into your kitchen or bathroom. Yuck!

Changes in Toilet Water Level

If you notice that your toilet water level is changing, this is a good indicator that your water pressure is fluctuating–another symptom of clogged pipes. If your toilet water is noticeably higher or lower than usual or is changing a lot, it’s time to call a plumber to check for clogs.

Debris in Your Water

If you notice gunk and debris coming out of your faucet with your water regularly, this is a surefire sign that you have a major clog. This is usually the symptom of a clog caused by poor drain care. To prevent this, be mindful of what you allow to go down your drains, avoiding oils and grease, fibrous food bits like vegetable peels, and paper products.

Tips To Prevent Clogs

Woman using a plunger on a kitchen sink.

Use Drain Strainers

Hair washing down the drain is a common cause of clogged-up bathtub and sink drains (especially if you have pets that you bathe in the sink or tub). When we shower, hair comes loose and washes down the drain, eventually building up and causing problematic clogs. A great and simple way to prevent this is to use drain strainers in your sinks, bathtubs, and showers to collect hair and prevent it from going down the drain.

Drain strainers are also great for kitchen sinks as a way to keep food bits from washing down the drain and clogging things up.

Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain

Pouring grease or cooking oil down the drain might seem like the most convenient way to dispose of it, but believe us, that convenience will not be worth it when you have a bad clog backing up your drain. Grease, fats, and oils solidify once they cool, so after you pour them down the drain and they reach a cooler temperature, they will harden inside your pipes and create blockages.

Only Flush Toilet Paper

You should only ever flush toilet paper and bodily waste down your toilet, and never wipes, menstrual products, paper towel, or anything else. These other products are not meant to break down easily in your pipes and easily cause blockages. You may see certain products like cleansing wipes or kitty litter advertised as “flushable,” but do not flush these either–they take a long time to break down and cause nasty clogs in the meantime.

Don’t Use Your Garburator as a Trashcan

Just as you shouldn’t use your toilet as a garbage can, the same goes for your garburator. Many people use their garburators as a convenient way to dispose of all sorts of large kitchen scraps like citrus peels and coffee grinds, but this is not actually what garburators are built for and larger objects can blunt the blades and block up the mechanism. Garburators are only meant to grind up and get rid of those small food bits that inevitably wash down the drain and should be used accordingly. Opt for composting larger food scraps instead.

Get Your Drains Professionally Cleaned

Do you suspect a clog in your pipes? If so, we’re here to help! At Butler Plumbing, Heating & Gasfitting, we use video inspection technology to see exactly where blockages are inside your pipes, then clean them out using snaking and/or hydro jetting. Get in touch with Butler Plumbing, Heating, & Gasfitting today. We’ll inspect and clean your pipes and have them running smoothly again in no time.

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