A clogged drain line is a frustrating and inconvenient plumbing problem. If you currently have a clog, you probably have a lot of questions. Is it a quick and easy fix? Or is there a major issue with the sewer system? If you have noticed that your drain line(s) are slowing down, you may have a clogged sewer line. Now is the time to call Legacy Plumbing for drain cleaning and repair services. We don’t just clear the stoppage, we also answer all of your questions, too.
Even though many minor stoppages are able to be corrected by clearing the lines with sewer cleaning equipment, the problem is not always that easy to solve. Tree roots, bellies in the line, old cast iron or clay tile pipes, ground shifting, and improper installations are the typical suspects when it comes to sewer line damage.
In order to find out the cause of the problem, sending an in-line video camera to explore the plumbing may be needed to find out exactly what and where the problem is. Our plumbers are experienced in diagnosing sewer problems and finding solutions tailored to your home’s specific needs.
When you are faced with a sewer problem, call the company with experience to get your job done right. Call right now to speak with us, or keep reading to find out more about some different sewer issues.
Tree Roots. Ground Movement.
Contrary to popular opinion, tree roots rarely cause a sewer line to break unless the tree is very large and situated very close to the plumbing line. Most of the time, the pipe breaks first due to ground movement and deterioration, and the roots grow into the pipe because they are attracted to the water that leaks out of the pipe.
Many places in North Texas are plagued with unstable soil. People who live here are well aware of the foundation issues which affect much of the area. If the force of ground movement can raise or lower a massive concrete slab, think about what it can do to plastic or iron pipe.
Cast iron pipe is very brittle by nature, but at every joint there is some flexibility. While movement of the soil does cause many issues with cast iron, many times it is simply the years of rust and deterioration which cause the bottom to fall out (quite literally). The flexibility of the joints also makes it easy for the pipe to settle if it hasn’t been installed on properly compacted soil. If this settling doesn’t crack the pipes, then it often creates “bellies” or sagging places where all of the water doesn’t drain smoothly out of the pipe. These promote clogs and accelerate the deterioration even further.
PVC pipe doesn’t suffer from many of the issues that cast iron pipe does. It doesn’t rust or deteriorate, and the pipe itself does have quite a bit of flexibility. However, the joints or fittings that connect sections of PVC pipe are not as strong as cast iron. When installed properly on stable soil, this is not a problem. However, when the soil isn’t compacted properly during installation or when the ground in that area is relatively unstable, it frequently results in cracked PVC fittings.
Once the PVC or Cast Iron pipe is cracked, it may be quite some time before you ever know there is a problem. But if there is a tree or large bush within reach, it is only a matter of time before the moist soil around the crack lures the roots into the pipe and clogs it up. These roots can often be cut out by a sewer machine (sewer snake) with the proper root cutter head, but they will always grow back as long as the crack remains or the plant is alive.
We will not only be able to diagnose this properly to see exactly what is going on, we can handle any repairs that need to be made as well so that this doesn’t happen again.
One Slow Sink? Or the Whole Bathroom?
All of the sewer pipes are connected together under your home and flow out as a single pipe to the city sewer or private septic tank in typical residential construction. Knowing this can give you some clues about how big the clog is and how far away it is from the backed up fixture. Here is an example.
Suppose you have a slow draining bathroom lavatory sink. It does drain out all the way, but when you turn on the water faucet it backs up again within a few seconds. If the clog was on the larger pipe under the slab which served the whole bathroom, then water would back up into all of the fixtures in that bathroom and not just the lavatory. In fact, you would see it come up in the lower fixtures first like the shower or bathtub and not the sink where you were running the water.
Because you only ran the faucet for a few seconds and put a few cups of water down the drain when it started to back up, it is very likely the clog is not that far away. In this case, it is probably in the popup assembly, p-trap, or trap arm of that particular fixture. This can be dealt with by taking apart the drain pipes and cleaning them out manually or using a small sewer auger (snake) to clear the blockage.
This example shows how understanding the way in which the entire sewer system is connected under your home can tell you a great deal about the particular blockage. With the right equipment and know-how, most clogs are not too difficult to clear as long as the pipe isn’t damaged. If your clog does provide a bit more challenge or mystery, we carry all of the diagnostic inspection and locating equipment to answer the questions and solve the problem.
Broken and offset sewer line causing reoccurring stoppages and drainage issues
Sewer line after repairing the break and offset