Clogged and slow drains have a knack for happening at the most inconvenient of times. Their occurrence can even keep us from completing normal routines such as showering or washing dishes. While some homeowners reach for an over the counter drain cleaner, many of those cleaning agents may do more harm than good, especially when it comes to aging or corroded pipes. Instead, enlist the help of a plumber who can find the source of a clogged and slow drain while preserving the integrity of the pipes.
Visible Signs of a Potentially Clogged and Slow Drains
It may be obvious that a shower drain is clogged if while taking a shower the water suddenly pools at your feet and the water level starts to creep up toward your ankle. Other clogged and slow drains may not be as apparent, but there are some signs, such as:
- Bubbles forming in the toilet when running water in the bathroom sink
- Water draining, but very slowly
- Unpleasant smells emanating from the bathroom or kitchen drains
- Water leaking from the bottom of a sink or tub
Watching for these more subtle signs of clogged and slow drains can keep a problem from getting quickly out of hand. If you notice one of the above signs, it is a good idea to call a plumber as soon as possible.
What Causes Clogged and Slow Drains?
There are a number of different reasons that a drain can be slow or clogged, and none of them are particularly pretty. Some of the most common reasons for clogged or slow drains in sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets include:
- Buildup of minerals. This typically happens over time and can come from the water itself.
- Mass collection of hair. It is estimated that most people lose somewhere between fifty and one hundred hairs a day, and it is possible that some or most of those take up residence in the bathroom shower drain.
- Collection of inappropriate food waste. Putting food such as eggshells or potato peels that can potentially break a garbage disposal or pipes can account for a kitchen clog.
- Dirt accumulation. If covered in mud from head to toe after a rainy soccer game, that dirt you wash off in the shower has to go somewhere, and it just may clog the drain.
- Presence of tree roots or plant life within a cracked pipe. Pipes that are cracked underground and away from the visible eye may end up having a tree root or plant life growing inside, and this can slow draining water significantly.
- Buildup of soap scum. Using copious amounts of thick shampoos or soap over several months or years may contribute to this buildup.
- Oil and fat buildup. Putting oil and fatty substances down the kitchen sink can result in a thoroughly clogged drain and pipe.
- Overuse of toilet paper. Using too much toilet paper may be enough to slow the toilet drain and keep it from working efficiently.
- Flushing foreign objects down the toilet. Foreign objects can mean anything from baby wipes to diapers to feminine products.
- Use of overly thick toilet paper. Thick toilet paper, even when used sparingly, has a greater bulk that can be enough to clog or slow a toilet drain.
How Clogged and Slow Drains Can Slow You Down
It may be tempting to put off having a plumber check out a draining problem in hopes that it will go away on its own, but clogged and slow drains can affect our daily routines more than we realize:
- It is hard to run the shower day after day when the water does not drain.
- Cooking in the kitchen is difficult when you cannot drain pasta or wash your hands in the sink due to a clogged and slow drain.
- No one wants to take a bath in a tub that still has water leftover in it from yesterday.
- While a drain that is slow or clogged can be an irritating inconvenience, it can cause much bigger problems if left unattended.
While the inconvenience is frustrating in itself, any time water is left stagnant for longer periods of time it may even be an issue for people living in the home as clogged and slow drains may also be a source of:
- Breeding of bacteria
- Skin irritation
- Unpleasant smells
- Water contamination from stagnant water