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While San Antonio, TX is not as close to the coast as cities like Houston and Galveston, it still gets plenty of after-effects when a hurricane rolls in. Add raging storms to regular daily use and you have the potential for some serious plumbing problems. One of the best ways to stave off a big plumbing issue is with regular maintenance to your pipes. Drain cleaning and inspections can dramatically increase the lifespan of your plumbing. Good plumbing protects your valuables and the structural integrity of your San Antonio, TX home, making it worthwhile to spend the money on maintaining your pipes.
Best Time to Schedule Drain Cleaning
Instead of waiting for a major problem to occur, you might want to get on a regular maintenance schedule with your plumber. Most plumbers recommend annual inspections and drain cleaning every two years. If you have a particularly old plumbing system or there are other external factors (tree roots, bad storms, etc.) you might need to have your drains cleaned every year. High use drains like those in the basement and the sewer lines might benefit from annual drain cleaning.
Even with regularly scheduled drain cleaning, you might need the occasional maintenance service in between scheduled visits. Here are a few signs to look for that might mean you need emergency drain cleaning.
Water Runs Slowly Through the Drains
If the water leaving your tub or sink doesn’t form a funnel on its way down, that might indicate that your drains are running slowly. If water backs up in the basin, even when the faucet is running slowly, that likely means that you have either a clog or something restricting the flow of water through your drains. There are many things that might cause a drain to slow down.
Slow Drains in the Bathroom
For the bathroom sink, some of the most common culprits for slow drains include soap and hair. The residue from the soap you use can build up slowly, gradually narrowing your pipes. If you have anyone in your home that likes to shave over the sink, loose hair can also compact in the drain, building a plug inside the line. If the plug is near the surface of the drain, you might be able to break it up or move it with a plunger. If the clog is further down the drain, you might need a plumber to help with your drain cleaning and clear out the issue.
The bathtub and shower are vulnerable to many of the same problems as the bathroom sink, just compounded. In addition to hand soap, the tub and shower also have to handle conditioner, shaving creams, lotions and other bath additives that can congeal inside the drain or when the water cools off.
The toilet is another potential source of clogs. Wads of toilet paper, feminine protection items, and even toys can wind up flushed down the toilet drain. While some of these items may not present an immediate problem, all of them can form a blockage. For homes with septic systems, they can be an even bigger and more expensive problem.
Slow Drains in the Kitchen
Kitchen sinks are repositories for tons of food waste. From the dirt you wash off of fresh vegetables to the leftover grease in a pan used for cooking, there are lots of things that wash down the kitchen drain. While many people use degreasing detergents to clean their dishes, those degreasers can’t effectively scrub out your pipes. Grease is a particular problem in kitchen drains because it can glue together all types of food particles to create a single, massive clog. Grease can also coat your pipes, slowly narrowing the available area for water to flow through, creating slowdowns that may affect more than just your kitchen drain. Avoid pouring grease down your drains, always use your drain catch and minimize the food particles you pour into the drain. While this may not completely prevent clogs, it will minimize the risk.
Utility Sink Slowdowns
Utility sinks in the basement or that catch the overflow from your washer don’t get a lot of general use, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t vulnerable to clogs. Water coming from the washer may be full of sediment, dirt and detergents from the machine. Pocket-lint is another possible problem. For most utility sinks, the easiest solution to prevent clogs is by installing a fine mesh catch on the drain and cleaning the trap regularly.
You Start Smelling Sewage
If you notice an unpleasant odor in your home, it might be a sign that your drains need cleaning. Trapped food and water can lead to insect infestations and odors that never seem to go away. If pouring bleach down your drains doesn’t permanently clear the odor (and those pesky fruit flies), you might need more effective methods from a professional plumber, like drain cleaning using a pipe snake or auger.
If you have a septic system, a sewage odor is never a good thing. It might mean that your tank needs immediate maintenance. If you are connected to the San Antonio municipal sewer system, an odor could mean a backup in your pipes that could eventually mean grey water pouring up from your drains. As soon as you notice an odor from your pipes, call a plumber. You likely need emergency service and shouldn’t wait.
At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio, we offer emergency service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s no need to wait if you have a clog, notice a leak or are worried about the smell of sewers. Schedule a professional drain cleaning today and talk to our techs about setting up a regular maintenance schedule for the future.