How much damage can a blocked drain cause in your business or home?
Well, that depends. The longer it goes unattended, the more serious it can become.
Over time, a simple slow drain could escalate to an out-of-order customer bathroom, sewerage back up.. or worse – a burst pipe!
In fact, it’s better to prevent these problems rather than waiting for them to happen. That’s why I’ve developed this short guide to understanding the common warning signs of a blocked drain.
Read the list, watch for the signs, and avoid plumbing catastrophes in your business and home.
- Water draining slowly or backing up
The most obvious warning sign of a blocked drain is when you see the water not draining correctly. A blockage inside the drain constricts and, eventually, completely restricts the flow of water.
From the outside, this appears as the water draining more and more slowly until it ultimately won’t drain at all. Typically, this is caused by the slow buildup of hair, soap, and other deposits on the walls of the drainpipe.
Although, it could also be caused all at once by dumping something down the drain that shouldn’t be there. For example, throwing coffee grounds down the sink drain can instantly cause a clog.
Such clogs need to be dealt with quickly. Otherwise, too much pressure can build up and damage the pipe. An advanced sign of this is water backing up (coming back up from the drain).
- Beware of multiple blocked drains
If this only happens in one drain, it means only that appliance is clogged. If it happens in multiple drains, call a plumber immediately.
This could indicate a clogged sewer line.
And you definitely don’t want sewage backing up into your business or home. Nor do you want to pay thousands of dollars to fix it.
- A foul smell is coming from the drain
Even before you notice the visual signs of a blocked drain, you may notice the smell. Blockages that form from nasty buildup in the pipes tend to smell quite bad.
Often, these blockages are comprised of organic material that continuously rots inside your drain pipe. This, plus the moisture in the pipe, encourages the growth of mold and bacteria. Naturally, this makes the blockage grow larger and larger until it plugs up the pipe.
Fortunately, though, a bad odour in your drainpipe is an early sign of blockage. Thus, if you notice it, you can have a plumber clear out the buildup before the drain becomes clogged.
- Gurgling noises in pipes
Blockages trap water at a certain point in the pipe. But the unblocked section of pipe after the blockage drains until it is empty. This means the blockage traps water over pockets of air.
As the water slowly drains through the blockage, the air is released and bubbles up to the surface. This is just like the bubbling of water you see in the large bottle of a water dispenser when you fill your cup. And when it happens in a blocked drainpipe, it makes that same gurgling noise.
However, there are other, more serious problems that can cause gurgling, too. It could indicate a damaged sewer line or a blocked vent pipe. The vent pipe lets out sewer gas so it doesn’t build up and burst the sewer line.
Thus, if you hear your plumbing gurgling, call a plumber straight away.