At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air Blog: Archive for the ‘Drain and Sewer’ Category

Main Sewer Line Clogs: Other Causes and Warning Signs

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on main sewer line clogs, how they form and their severity. These kinds of clogs are particularly worrisome for home or building owners, affecting the main sewer line that connects to all their drains, and ensuring these don’t take place is a major role of both homeowners and plumbers – plus might take more than a simple drain cleaner or drain snake.

When you work with the pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, you receive high-quality plumbing services in several areas, from drain and sewer repair to piping needs, water heater assistance and much more. What are some of the other potential causes of main sewer line clogs to be aware of and help prevent, and what are some of the red flags that may indicate such a clog or blockage is taking place? Here’s a primer.

main sewer line clogs causes

Garbage Disposal

For some reason, some homeowners don’t seem to view their garbage disposal in the same way as other drains. Just because the disposal has an extra purpose, however, does not mean it doesn’t drain just like other areas in the home.

Unfortunately, this means many people also don’t use their garbage disposal properly. They assume simply anything can be thrown down it, including grease and oils, large food solids and more. The garbage disposal is not invincible, and over time these kinds of items placed inside it will not be ground up entirely and may contribute heavily to main sewer line clogs further down the drain.

Sewer Line Damage

In other cases, the cause of a clog or blockage inside the main sewer line is damage to the line itself. This may be caused in certain situations by simple wear-and-tear, especially for sewer lines over 20 years old, which may sag or droop.

However, the more common cause of this damage is the trees in your yard. Deep root systems are always in search of moisture, and will grow directly into main sewer lines that run below your yard. They can create major damage here, including the need to replace the sewer line entirely in some cases.

Signs to Watch For

Here are some signs that may indicate a main sewer line blockage, clog or related issue:

  • Gurgling or bubbling from multiple toilets in the home at once
  • Slow drainage in multiple drains
  • Foul odors from the drains
  • Unexplained wet patches in the yard despite dry weather
  • Wastewater backups in a certain plumbing fixture while a different fixture is being used

If you notice any of these issues, contact our plumbers right away for inspection and assistance. For more on avoiding main sewer line clogs, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Main Sewer Line Clogs: Severity and Causes

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

While most homeowners and even renters have dealt with a basic drain clog or backup of some kind in their lives, a rarer and more serious event is a main sewer line clog in a home. This is a more significant concern than a typical clog that you’d clear up with a plunger or basic drain cleaner, often impacting several pipe areas at once and commonly requiring expensive repairs.

The team with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air is here to help with numerous drain and sewer installation and repair needs, including concerns with the main sewer line. Luckily, these issues can be prevented with a thorough understanding of how the main sewer line works and what the common causes are of clogging and other sewer concerns. This two-part blog will go over everything you need to know, from the reasons why you have to take these issues seriously to the potential causes and signs that will tip you off.

main sewer line clogs causes

Severity of Sewer Line Issues

Why are sewer line issues more severe than typical drain clogs or related concerns? Well, because they typically involve numerous drains, not just one – in fact, they commonly include every drain in a given home’s plumbing system.

This is due to issues with the main line itself, which serves as a funneling point for all your smaller drains in the home. The main sewer line connects to your public utility lines, running through your yard underground to do so. So when it has issues, they will affect not only this line, which is a major plumbing feature of any property, but also the other drains in the home that connect to it. This is why understanding the causes of sewer line issues and how to avoid them is so important as a homeowner, which we’ll go over in our upcoming sections.

Toilet Issues

Perhaps the single top cause of main sewer line backups and clogs is improper use of toilets in the home. The primary culprit here: Flushing down items that are not meant to be flushed.

These items range from tissues and cotton balls to so-called “flushable” wipes – most of which are not actually flushable despite claiming as much. Simply put, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down a toilet – any other items may risk clogs, and should be disposed of in other ways to avoid main sewer line issues.

Tree Roots

As we noted above, main sewer lines typically run underground through a part of your property, most often the back yard. If you have trees that are near this area, or if you plant new ones too close, their root systems may reach out and impact the sewer line in search of water. Tree roots are incredibly powerful, and can actually grow into pipes and crack, corrode or otherwise damage them, expanding over time and blocking up the entire system. If planting new trees, you should take great care to understand main sewer line locations and avoid them.

For more on how to recognize the signs of a main sewer line clog, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Common Culprits in Post-Flushing Toilet Odors

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

As most are well aware, the bathroom can occasionally be a somewhat smelly area due to the natural waste we flush down the toilet. But for some home and business owners, odors related to the toilet are a bit different – one common plumbing issue is a sewer-like smell that becomes present after every flush of a given toilet, even when smelly bodily wastes aren’t involved at all.

When you call the pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re proud to assist you with any toilet-related issues, from handling odor issues to servicing modern low-flow toilets and much more. What are some of the culprits that might be behind this sort of odor leaking out from a given toilet after every flush? Here are a few potential explanations, plus what you might be able to do about them.

culprits post-flushing toilet odors

Irregular Use

One immediate question to ask yourself if you notice this smell after a given flush or two: How often is the toilet in question used? In cases where a certain toilet in the home or building is not used very often, water that sits in the bowl will often evaporate, leaving nothing but a dry bowl behind.

When this happens, poor odors from the drain pipe can make their way up and into your bathroom – there’s no water to act as a buffer zone. To solve this issue, note any toilets in the building that don’t get regular use, and make a point of flushing them every so often just to make sure there’s still water in the bowl and these smells don’t develop.

Wax Seal Breakage

Another form of issue that can cause odors to leak up from the piping below: When the wax ring that seals your toilet to the ground in the bathroom is broken. This seal is valuable for blocking both water and smells, but when it’s broken, air from inside the toilet and drain pipe can be pushed upward and released into the room every time you flush.

If this issue is allowed to persist, water damage may begin taking place on top of poor smells. If you notice the toilet seat rocking every time you sit down, this could be a sign that the seal is broken – and you should call our plumbers for an inspection and potential replacement.

Drain Pipe Blockages

Finally, another common cause of these smells is a blockage forming in the drain pipe. Not all drain pipe clogs lead to immediate flushing issues – some build up over time, with stinky clog items that stay stuck near the top of the pipe and lead to lasting odors. In these cases, quality drain cleaning services from our plumbers will get the job done quickly.

For more on the common culprits behind fouls odors coming from your toilet after each flush, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Drain Cleaning Alternatives Without a Plunger Handy

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Close up dirty sink or basin with foodwaste after wash dishware

When minor drain clog or blockage issues take place in any of your home drains, particularly the toilet, the first item most people tend to reach for is the plunger. There are a few different types of plungers out there, each of which will assist you with creating a pressure and air vacuum to clear out certain clogs.

When you contact the pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re happy to assist you with numerous drain cleaning needs and services, including basic plunger expertise. What about rare cases where you don’t have a plunger available? Whether this is due to it breaking or being lost, you being in an unfamiliar location or some other cause, it pays to know how to unclog a toilet even if there’s no plunger handy. Here are a few methods that might assist you here.

Basic Dish Soap

Dish soap is designed for a simple purpose: Helping break down grease and other waste before cleaning and bringing a fresh odor to various dishes and other items. And while it’s very good at this, these same breakdown themes may apply in other areas – such as breaking down similar blockages in toilet drains.

All you have to do is squeeze at least a full cup of dish soap into your toilet bowl, perhaps more if the clog is significant. Leave it to sit for 30 to 45 minutes, but before you go, check the current water level in the bowl. When you return, check this level again – is it lower than before? This is a sign that the dish soap is doing its job and breaking down the clog slowly but surely.

Hot (But Not Boiling) Water

Another basic format you can use, one that doesn’t even require wasting dish soap, is very hot water. It’s important you don’t allow this water to reach boiling point – at this temperature, it may crack the porcelain or cause other damage in your toilet bowl.

Rather, fill a bucket with hot water that has not yet reached boiling point. Then simply pour it down the drain, allowing it to melt away blockages and solve your issue.

Epsom Salt Reaction

If you have Epsom salt in your home and need a slightly quicker unclogging method for a toilet, you can use this product to create a reaction. Epsom salt will create a fizzing sensation, one that also helps break down clogs within the toilet. In most cases, you only need to allow about 15 minutes for the salt to do its work.

Toilet Brush

Finally, for true emergencies or situations outside your home where no other options are available, using the actual toilet brush to clear a clog can still work. Simply push the brush into the drain and exert a reasonable amount of pressure as you attempt to clear the clog. If possible, wear gloves or other protective garments for sanitation.

For more on clearing a toilet clog even if you don’t have a plunger, or to learn about any of our drain cleaning, plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Why Do Store-Bought Means of Drain Cleaning Rarely Work?

Monday, March 12th, 2018

drain-cleaning-servicesWhen clogs show up in people’s drains, it usually does so at the least opportune time: when you’re cleaning the dishes, for example, or preparing a meal. Most of the time, people look for quick solutions to such problems, typically by buying a cleanser or plumbing snake at the local supermarket or hardware store. Unfortunately, store-bought means of cleaning drains rarely work the way they should, which means that the problem doesn’t really get solved. A professional plumbing service is almost always the best choice to deal with a clog in your drains. Why do store- bought means of drain cleaning rarely work? In part because they can address your particular problem.

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Never Throw These Foods Down the Drain

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Almost every home in Draper, UT has a garbage disposal in the kitchen, which can do wonders for getting rid of used foodstuffs. But that can sometimes lead homeowners to become complacent, and pour things down the drain they shouldn’t. Garbage disposal are very versatile, but they can’t handle everything, and if you don’t pay attention, the foods you pour down the drain can end up causing serious problems. We’ve included a quick list below, along with the reasons why.

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What Kinds of Tools Are Used for Drain Cleaning?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Tough build-up and clogs can be hard to reach and hard to remove; this is why plumbers have a range of professional-grade tools at their disposal to clear substantial build-up and clogs. If you’ve tried some home remedies, such as baking soda and vinegar, or boiling water, but are still hearing the gurgling of a slow drain, it may be time to call for professional drain cleaning services in Salt Lake City.

What Can Cause Dirty Drains?

There are a few ways your drains can become slow or backed-up. One of the biggest culprits is FOG: fasts, grease and oil. Fats, oil and grease do not disappear from your piping, no matter how much hot water you run down the drain. In fact, hot water can make the situation worse as it melts these items, allowing them to go further into your plumbing system. The problem comes when they cool because they are materials that congeal and stick to your piping. Another culprit is food particles.

Even a small piece of food lodged in your drain can cause slow draining or clogging. Sometimes you can plunge these items, but many times they’ll stay lodged. Lastly, hair and soap scum can be a big problem, especially in bathroom plumbing. Soap scum hardens on the inside of piping and when you add hair to it, you can have a hard, solid mess on your hands. So what do professionals use to remove these items? Let’s take a look.

Professional Tools

  • Motorized drain snakes – drain snakes use cables that have varying widths and lengths to accommodate all kinds of piping. Motorization comes from either an attached drill or an actual small motor. It takes training to use motorized drain snakes as they can cause damage to your plumbing if mishandled.
  • Scour jetting/hydrojetting – scour jetting is akin to power washing your home: powerful water jets remove clinging debris in your pipes and flush it from your plumbing system without causing damage.
  • Video equipment – video pipe inspection allows the technician to see the problem in its entirety and choose a tool that will work best for the problem.

Professional tools should only be handled by professionals, so don’t run out and purchase a motorized drain snake for yourself. Instead, call the experts you can always count on for professional drain cleaning in Salt Lake City: At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air.

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3 Techniques Plumbers Use in Drain Cleaning

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Drain clogs are perhaps the most common, persistent, and annoying of all plumbing problems you can encounter. Sometimes you can clear out clogs with a sink plunger, but if this doesn’t work, you need to call in the professional plumbers to handle the job. (Never use chemical drain cleaners; they are too toxic and acidic.)

There’s a way you can cut down on the number of clogs and slow drains in your home: schedule a thorough drain cleaning in Salt Lake City, UT from the expert team at At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. A professional drain cleaning will clear out the debris and contamination in your drains and allow the water to flow freely through them. A yearly cleaning job will do wonders to cut down on the number of plumbing issues you experience.

Here Are 3 Professional Techniques Used For Drain Cleaning

  • Motorized drain snakes: Drain snakes, also called drain augers, are basic tools that you can purchase at many stores. However, these models aren’t very efficient at clearing out tough clogs to provide a thorough cleaning. For this, you need a plumber armed with a motorized drain snake that can drill down into heavy clogs and blockages and remove them or effectively break them apart.
  • Hydro-jetting: Hydro-jetters are the preferred tools of plumbers who want to provide a full cleansing to a drain. Hydro-jetters are devices that place scalding hot water under tremendous pressure and then blast it out through a nozzle on a hose that reaches down inside drainpipes. The scouring action clears away clogs but also eliminates build-up along the pipe interior. This does an effective job of wiping away grease, fat, and other food particles that can coat the inside of pipes. Hydro-jetting needs the work of trained plumbers because of the potential danger from the high pressure water.
  • Video pipe inspection equipment: Drain cleaning doesn’t have to be about guesswork. With miniaturized cameras mounted on long fiber optic cables, plumbers can receive visual feeds onto monitors to see exactly what a pipe’s interior looks like. These are invaluable tools for determining how and where to apply cleaning. Video pipe inspection equipment is also helpful for locating leaks and damage in your pipes.

You don’t have to live with persistent clogs and slow drains bogging down your daily routines. If you think you’ve experience one slow drain too many, it’s probably time for drain cleaning in Salt Lake City, UT. Call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today and talk to our experienced plumbers about delivering you quality drain cleaning through the best technology available. We also offer 24-hour emergency service for when bad clogs catch you unprepared.

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