Your home’s plumbing system is like the arteries and veins in your body – you want to keep them as clear as possible so that they can do their job of moving fluids efficiently. Over time, however, the soaps, creams, oils, and everything else that we send down the drain can build up and cause clogs. When this happens in your home, call on the plumbing professionals at DS Plumbing for help.
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We Service the Entire Ottawa Area
If you live anywhere in the Ottawa area, we can help. We go as far west as Dunrobin, Kanata and Stittsville. In the south we service as far as Nepean, Barrhaven and Manotick. Out east, we go as far as Orleans and even Greely. View our service area map >
Most people will realize that when the water drains slowly (or not at all) that there’s a problem. The smell of sewer gas is also an important indication that there is a problem.
Usually the location of the slow drain indicates the approximate location of the clog – for example of the top floor drains are clogged, and the ground floor drains are fine, then the problem is somewhere in the plumbing in between. If the water backs up in a laundry tub, it can be a bit more complicated, because the problem could be between the tub and the floor drain or between the city sewer and your home.
Unfortunately we don’t always get a warning before the problem occurs. The exception is occasionally in the basement floor drain – sometimes you can see a stain or a water mark around it or near it that may indicate that there has been a small issue that can turn into a larger issue if left unattended.
Drain Cleaning at the Main Drain for Your Home
If the clog is in the plumbing that leaves your home and connects to the city sewers, your DS Plumbers technicians will need to go to what is called the “main cleanout” for your home. The main cleanout is where wastewater leaves your home. Usually (about 90% of the time) the main cleanout is located near the main shutoff valve for the incoming water supply for your home and the water meter.
Preventing Drain Clogs: DIY Tips for Homeowners
Most drain clogs are preventable and build slowly over time. Follow these guidelines and you’ll get the best possible use out of your home’s plumbing:
- Avoid putting any oils down the drain after cooking. This includes liquid oils like olive or corn oil, as well as the fats that are solid at room temperature like butter or bacon grease.
- Wipe dishes down over your compost or garbage bin before washing. This will prevent small scraps and food residue from going down the drain and possibly contributing to build up that can become a clog.
- Use a hair trap in your shower or bathtub. It’s not just for people with long hair – any hair can become trapped and provide a foothold for soap scum and other residue to start building up. Some people mistakenly think that hair traps cause slow drains because they reduce the opening for water to flow through, and do their job of catching hair. To maximize water flow with a hair trap, simply clean it out after every bath or shower, and keep in mind that hair traps will prevent a lot of headaches in the future.
- Don’t install a garburator. They encourage the disposal of food scraps in the drain, and can encourage clogs.
Minor problems can become larger problems if they are not caught in time. For example, multiple clog points can develop and create long clogs – we’ve seen drain clogs up to 4 feet long. That’s why we recommend doing what you can to prevent plumbing problems like clogs before they become serious.
Preventing Toilet Clogs
Toilet clogs are usually caused by flushing inappropriate items. These include:
- “Flushable” Wipes. Personal and baby wipes are flushable in a perfect world, but if your pipes are older, on a less than ideal gradient, or less than perfectly installed, they can cause problems. This is because they can take a long time to break down – we’ve found wipes that are months or even years old in pipes.
- Feminine hygiene products. These are our #1 cause of toilet clogs.
- Thick toilet paper. Toilet paper is usually designed to disintegrate on contact with water, but some “luxury” brands take longer to fall apart, or don’t fall apart all. Try to avoid these brands.
- Facial tissues. These are designed for runny noses, not flushing.
- Paper towels. These never belong in the toilet.
- Flushable cat litter. While we haven’t seen a lot of problems with flushable cat litter made from corn husks or sawdust, we don’t recommend it because it can increase the amount of debris going down the drain. Less is better!
Being careful with what gets flushed can save you a lot of stress.
Causes of Drain Clogs: Did You Know?
These factors can help make clogs more likely to happen.
- Older pipes are more prone to clogs. For a number of reasons older pipes are more likely to clog. The interior surface of the pipe can corrode and become less smooth.
- In rural areas drain clogs are more likely to happen. Naturally occurring minerals in hard water, usually calcium, can coat the inner walls of pipes, reducing their diameter and creating edges and pits that can trap debris. A water softening system can help prevent this.
We’re seeing drain clog issues more and more these days for a number of reasons:
- Less natural bacteria is going down the drain. That’s right – some bacteria are good for your plumbing because they feed on the organic residue in your pipes, thereby reducing it. These days, the use of antibacterial hand soaps and gels plus the reduction of natural bacteria in our food is allowing more residue to build up.
- We’re using more grooming products. We have a great variety of personal care products these days, from face creams to hair treatments. Unfortunately anything thicker than water can contribute to a clog, so try to use it as sparingly as possible, and don’t dispose of the excess down the drain.
There is a way to keep your drain ecology healthy! BioOne is a friendly bacterial treatment designed to digest any residue building up in your pipes over time. It won’t corrode pipes (even plastic ones) and is even kind to the environment. A capful or two per month will help prevent clogging. You can learn more about BioOne here.
For drain cleaning in Ottawa, Nepean, Kanata, Stittsville, Dunrobin, Orleans, Barrhaven, Manotick, and Greely, contact DS Plumbing by phone or book online.