Common Causes of Emergency Plumbing Services

5 Most Common Causes of Emergency Plumbing Services

Far too many homeowners view their sink drains in the same light that they would a park garbage can or a city drainage ditch – “once it’s gone it’s none of our worries anymore”. That’s actually the exact opposite approach that a person can take because drains should be treated with the utmost respect and caution, no matter how insignificant it might be.

What’s In Those Drains Causing All The Pains Of Emergency Plumbing Services?

Far too many homeowners view their sink drains in the same light that they would a park garbage can or a city drainage ditch – “once it’s gone it’s none of our worries anymore”. That’s the exact opposite approach that a person can take because drains should be treated with the utmost respect and caution, no matter how insignificant it might be.

From the start of the first ‘shower haircut’ or ‘kitchen sink cat spa’ problems can start developing within the drain and pipes of the home. All sorts of gunk can collect within the pipes, but hair along with grease are the biggest culprits. Eventually, these backups prevent water from properly exiting, which in turn creates a backup, which in turn creates a stench that is almost unforgettable.

A lot of time and labour go into unclogging these drains, especially when the blockage happens way down in the pipeline. Here are 5 of the main causes for emergency plumbing services required for clogged drains:

Grease

There’s an important movement set forth by emergency plumbing services all through Canada called “cease the grease”. By now, most homeowners should know the dangers and risk associated with discarding grease and cooking oils down the drain, and it’s not just waxing poetic. Grease in the pipes is a legitimate main cause of clogging of pipes that result in water backup and slow drains. Plus the worse the grease problem gets, the more strenuous it becomes to try and remove it from the plumbing system.

When you dump grease into the drain, it hardens and sticks to the walls of the pipes. Trying to flush hot water down right afterward only creates a reaction that makes the grease harden faster. Even if it doesn’t result in any problems in your home, the grease eventually hardens in the city’s sewer system and could cause overflows that bring along serious health problems. What’s so frustrating about grease clogs is that they are easily preventable by simply dumping the oil in a container and throwing it in the trash.

When grease does cause a water backup in your home, it eventually may require emergency plumbing services. Most of the time, a snake tool can help budge the grease or break it up so that it dissolves with chemicals but in extreme situations, you may have to call a specialized plumber to replace the pipes. Common denominator – don’t dump grease into the drain.

Hair

There’s nothing worse than unclogging a drain that looks like the Wolfman was a houseguest. Sticking your hand into the drain and pulling out a thick chunk of wet hair, toothpaste, spit, and other debris doesn’t rank high on the Saturday to-do lists. Unfortunately, when the hair pile is left to plug the waterway it leads to a slow drain, collects even more gunk to the pile and eventually leads to a backed up plumbing system.

What do Thomas Crapper, Ozzy Osbourne, Joe Cocker, John Gotti and Michael Caine have in common?

It’s not hard to see how hair gets into the pipes. Women with long hair or men who are balding put a great strain on shower and bathroom sink drains. There’s not a whole lot of ways to prevent hair from entering the drain outside of going with the Mr. Clean look.  However, there are a number of ways to remove the hair pile.

•    Remove the Drain Cover or Tub Stopper – hair is easy to remove as long as you have better access to the clog. Removing the drain cover and tub stopper lets you clean out hair lodged on the surface.

•    Use a Coat Hanger or Drain Claw – When hair becomes lodged farther down into the pipes, a bent coat hanger used as a hook is an inexpensive way to grab onto the blockage and pull it out. For a more efficient unclog, the Drain Claw features 100 interlocking hooks to grab and remove all the stragglers.

•    Baking Soda and Vinegar Concoction – The reaction of vinegar and baking soda helps to dissolve gunk built up in the drains. Dump one cup of each in the drain, wait fifteen minutes to let it settle, and then flush with hot water to remove the slow drain or backup.

Food

There is a Fearsome Foursome of food that can simply wreak havoc on your drain.  So that you don’t have to call you local plumber, avoid flushing the following foods down your drain, even in garbage disposals:

•    Potatoes – Many people make the mistake of peeling their potatoes and grinding up the skins in the garbage disposal. The truth is the starch in the potatoes creates a glue-like paste that wraps around moving parts and cling to pipe walls.

•    Egg Shells – It’s important to walk on egg shells when cracking eggs near the sink. The tiny pieces stick in with any gunk that is already in the pipes and creates a blockage that won’t dissolve with regular enzyme cleaners.

•    Rice & Pasta – Much like potato skins, rice contains starch that reacts and sticks to plumbing walls. The long stringy noodles of pasta can wrap around moving parts, but perhaps worst of all, these type of carbohydrates expand in water meaning they’re getting larger with each run of the faucet.

•    Coffee Grounds – Some people put coffee grounds into the garbage disposal on purpose to supposedly clean the pipes and eliminate odor. The truth is the grounds won’t cause any damage to the disposal but could cause clogs when they interact with grease and other ‘non-dump’ items down in the pipes.

It’s important to be vigilant and use common sense when using a garbage disposal in order to prevent the need for emergency plumbing services.

Paper

Heavy paper is another big no-no when it comes to the drain. Not sure why anybody would put construction or notebook paper into their pipe systems, but it is one of the common reasons why homeowners call for emergency plumbing services.

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About Lief Simons

Lief Simons is the President of Plumbers Edmonton, which specializes in plumbing, heating and cooling design, installation, repair and servicing. For same day 24/7 service, call 587-408-3450.