Plumbing

Slow Drains and Backups: Causes and Tips to Repair

 

Are you experiencing slow drains in the kitchen and bathrooms? Have you experienced back ups where toilets overflow and bath tubs and showers are filling up with waste? It’s likely you have a partially clogged drain or a complete stoppage in the waste piping.

Possible causes for slow draining bathroom sinks include the accumulation of hair and soap scum, that become matted and form bird’s-nest-like snarls that then attract soap bits and other items. One action to take before calling a plumber: Use a plumbing snake to clear out the minor clog that may be located in the short horizontal run from the trap to the wall then run hot water for several minutes to move the dislodged gunk through the pipes and out to the main sewer.

 

Backups may be more serious and will require the services of a licensed Plumbing Contractor. Possible causes for backups include the following:

 

– Old cast iron piping that is deteriorating from within. The interior of the pipes are rough, and hair, paper, or other objects can cling onto the walls creating dams and blockages.

 

– Intruding roots that are growing inside pipes that came from cracks in the piping.

– Septic tanks that are not functioning properly.

– Putting food into the kitchen sink garbage disposer that does not grind up properly. Grinding creates a thick paste that cannot be drained easily.

 

Licensed Plumbing contractors may charge from $150 to $250 for simple line-snaking, or as much as $400 if they need to use a cable machine with a blade. It is also recommended to inspect the old piping with video cameras. The cost can range from $350 to $650.

 

If it is determined by a licensed Plumber that the house cast iron waste drainage piping is in need of replacing or relining, the costs could be thousands of dollars. It is recommended to get several opinions from licensed Plumbers.

 

Slow drains and stoppages are inevitable, but experts say you can reduce their occurrence by following a few steps:

 

– Prevent hair from going down the drain. Use hair covers for shower drains.
– Allow hot water to run occasionally thru the pipes.
– Throw out food, grease, and oily salad dressing in the garbage instead of grinding into the waste disposer.
– Stop using disposable wipes, especially if there is a septic tank.

 

Hopefully, by following these suggestions, you can prevent stoppages and the unpleasant experience they cause.

 


 

Why Are My Water Pipes Rattling?

 

There could be a few different issues causing the rattling noise heard in the pipes behind the walls. This means there is more than one option to solve the problem:

1. The problem could be a loose pipe, which could be easily solved by securing the pipes to the framing. To locate the rattling pipe, listen for the movement of the pipes when faucets are turned on and off or flushing of toilets. Once located, cut into the drywall and secure the pipes to the wall framing.

2. Another issue could be that your water pressure is too high, which can cause pipes to vibrate. The water pressure should be around 40 to 60 pounds PSI (per square inch). Adding a pressure reducing valve to your incoming main line could correct this issue.

 

 

3. Finally, a common occurrence known as water hammer could be causing the pipe vibration and rattling. A water hammer is caused by fast closing valves, like toilet fill valves and faucets.

As the water flows through the pipes and the valve shuts off quickly, it causes the water to stop suddenly in the pipes, causing the hammer effect. To eliminate the hammer effect, several corrections can be made:

a. Add a water hammer arrestor to the offending pipes. However, this could involve cutting and soldering pipes and would likely require an experienced plumber.

b. One other possible solution to the water hammer could be to replace your toilet fill valves with slow shutting fill valves.

c. Lastly, air chambers connected to your pipes may need to be drained to allow them to refill with air. Air chambers help cushion against water hammer but they fill with water over time. Draining them can be done by shutting off the main water valve, opening up the faucets and flushing the toilets starting at the highest level of the home and working down to the lowest level until all the pipes have drained. Once the pipes are clear, close the drain and turn the water main back on. The chambers should now be properly filled with air and eliminate the pipe vibration and rattling.


Clearing Clogged Drains And Preventing Future Clogs

 

Don’t use chemicals to clear clogged drains . Use a plumber’s snake and follow these tips on preventing clogged drains .Hiring a plumber to snake your drains, which you should do every few years will cost you anywhere from $135 to $600.

 

Clogged drains are the most common home plumbing problem, but you probably don’t think much about the network of pipes inside your home’s walls until a drain stops working. Clogged drains are a hassle, but easily cleared. However, you can avoid the hassle by paying attention to what goes down your drain. A little care prolongs the life of plumbing pipes, prevents leaks, and avoids costly repairs. Avoid chemical drain-clearing. You can buy chemicals to clear clogged drains, but these products sometimes do more harm than good.

 

 

They can actually erode cast-iron drainpipes. And because they typically don’t remove the entire clog, the problem is likely to recur, causing you to use the chemicals repeatedly. The caustic action of chemicals may eventually wear away the insides of pipes, causing leaks. Better to hire a plumber to snake the drain (usually $85 to $325) and completely remove the chunk of hair or grease that’s plugging the line. Better still (and cheaper!), pick up a manually operated augur or snake of your own for about $15 at the hardware store. Or, rent an electric snake for about $30 for a half day, and try clearing the clogged drain yourself.

Prevent clogged drains

Clogged drains aren’t just nuisances . Backed-up water puts added pressure on
wastepipes, stressing them and shortening their lifespan. To avoid clogged drains:
Keep food scraps out of kitchen drains. Scrape food into the trash before doing dishes even if you have a disposal-and never put liquid grease down the drain; pour it into a sealable container to put in the garbage after it cools.
Keep hair out of bathroom drains . Install screens over drains in showers and tubs, and pull out what hair you can every few weeks to prevent buildups. Keep anything but sewage and TP out of toilets. Keep your sewer lines or septic tank clear.

 

If you have municipal sewers, hire a plumber to snake your main sewage cleanout every few years. This will cost $135 to $600, and will remove tree roots that inevitably work their way into these pipes-leading to messy sewage backups.
If you have a septic system, get the tank pumped out every three to five years for $75 to $350; it’ll be more for larger tanks.

 

Deal Killer Tip

The use of Galvanized piping for the water distribution was commonly used in homes built from the beginning of the 1900’s through the mid 1960’s. Copper was the material used to replace the galvanized pipes as the galvanized piping would corrode resulting in poor water flow. The corrosion would cause the inside of the pipe to narrow allowing less water to flow through. A drop in water flow when two or more fixtures are operated simultaneously is an indication of deteriorated galvanized piping. Replacement is necessary and costly.

 

Deal Killer Tip

The use of cast iron drainage piping was decreased beginning in the 1970’s and replaced with PVC piping. Like galvanized water distribution piping, the cast iron drainage piping would corrode resulting in stoppages in the drainage system. It is not necessary to replace the cast iron piping unless deterioration has caused numerous stopages. This can be an expensive repair when the piping is below a concrete slab.

 

Deal Killer Tip

Septic Systems (septic tanks) can be expensive to replace if not maintained properly. The drainage field is the component of the system that normally fails. The life expectancy averages 20 to 25 years. The tank requires cleaning every three to four years. A well maintained tank can prolong the life expectancy of the drainage field. The cost to replace a septic system can be thousands of dollars.

 

Deal Killer Tip

Are you experiencing slow drains in the kitchen and bathrooms? Have you experienced back ups where toilets overflow and bath tubs and showers are filling up with waste? It’s likely you have a partially clogged drain or a complete stoppage in the waste piping.

 

Possible causes for slow draining bathroom sinks include the accumulation of hair and soap scum, that become matted and form bird’s-nest-like snarls that then attract soap bits and other items. One action to take before calling a plumber: Use a plumbing snake to clear out the minor clog that may be located in the short horizontal run from the trap to the wall then run hot water for several minutes to move the dislodged gunk through the pipes and out to the main sewer.

 

Backups may be more serious and will require the services of a licensed Plumbing Contractor. Possible causes for backups include the following:

– Old cast iron piping that is deteriorating from within. The interior of the pipes are rough, and hair, paper, or other objects can cling onto the walls creating dams and blockages.
– Intruding roots that are growing inside pipes that came from cracks in the piping.
– Septic tanks that are not functioning properly.
– Putting food into the kitchen sink garbage disposer that does not grind up properly. Grinding creates a thick paste that cannot be drained easily.

 

Licensed Plumbing contractors may charge from $150 to $250 for simple line-snaking, or as much as $400 if they need to use a cable machine with a blade. It is also recommended to inspect the old piping with video cameras. The cost can range from $350 to $650.
If it is determined by a licensed Plumber that the house cast iron waste drainage piping is in need of replacing or relining, the costs could be thousands of dollars. It is recommended to get several opinions from licensed Plumbers.
Slow drains and stoppages are inevitable, but experts say you can reduce their occurrence by following a few steps:

 

– Prevent hair from going down the drain. Use hair covers for shower drains.
– Allow hot water to run occasionally thru the pipes.
– Throw out food, grease, and oily salad dressing in the garbage instead of grinding into the waste disposer.
– Stop using disposable wipes, especially if there is a septic tank.

 

Hopefully, by following these suggestions, you can prevent stoppages and the unpleasant experience they cause.

 

Deal Killer Tip

 

Plumbing problems

 

Plumbing defects ranked high among my home inspections. Included are the existence of old or incompatible piping materials resulting in inadequate water pressure and slow drainge, faulty fixtures and waste lines.