While fixing a clogged drain can run the gambit from ultra-easy to major undertaking, the fact remains no one really wants to have to deal with one—or pay a professional plumber to. That leaves many of us second-guessing if there is indeed a clog. So, how can you identify a clogged drain?
Toilet Gurgles and Takes a Long Time to Drain
When you hear a gurgling sound when flushing the toilet, it is often the result of air that is struggling to flow freely through the line. All plumbing systems depend on air to provide the necessary pressure for liquids to flow freely.
Gurgling happens when air tries to move through the liquid to reach a pressure equilibrium. This sound typically indicates that there is a blockage in either the freshwater or waste material lines.
That blockage is frequently in the sewer line, which is the pipe that runs from your house to the street sewer system. Blockages in this line are usually caused by intruding tree roots or the build-up of nutrients.
If the gurgling only occurs in one toilet or if the water drains slowly, the blockage is likely in the toilet’s outlet before the sewer line. You can usually remove these blockages with a plunger. However, if the clog is located in the toilet and resistant to plunging, you may need professional help.
Another reason why your toilets may be gurgling is if there is a blockage in the vent stacks above your roof that equalize the pressure in drainpipes. If the blockage is out of reach, it has to be removed with specialized equipment or a jet stream of water.
Water Backing Up into the Shower After You Flush
If you flush the toilet and notice water backing up in your shower, it is usually an indication that you have a blocked sewer line. When an obstruction stops wastewater from exiting the pipes in your home, it will back up and start pushing up through your shower drain, since this is the lowest opening in your plumbing system.
How quickly the water drains out of your shower depends on the density of the blockage, which tends to worsen over time. As less wastewater leaves your home, you may even start noticing water backing up through other drains in the house.
If the blockage is in your main sewer line, plunging your toilet or shower drain will not work. In many cases, the blockage is caused by tree roots that are looking for water, and you will need the help of a professional to locate and remove the blockage.
If the Sink Makes a Noise When Running
Another way to identify a blockage is if the drain makes a gurgling noise when the sink is running. Other causes of this noise are a blocked vent pipe, a collapsed or damaged sewer line, or the build-up of dirt in the plumbing.
Because of these obstructions, air bubbles can’t move through pipes and get expelled at the nearest air vent, which causes the rumbling sound.
To determine if you have a drain clog, run the water in the sink that is closest to the toilet. If the clog is in the main sewer line, the toilet will make a gurgling sound, and you may see the water level in the toilet bowl rise.
You should also look at how long the water takes to drain in other places around your home. For example, if the water takes longer to drain from your bathtub and bathroom sink, it may indicate a blockage.
Washing Machine Makes the Toilet Overflow
Washing machines expel a lot of water at a high force. If there is a blockage in your drain, the water will go through any outlet that is connected to the line, including your toilet drain. For the water to back up through your toilet, the clog has to be located past the connection point of the washer waste line and the toilet wastewater line.
A blockage in the venting stacks is also a potential cause of washing machine overflow. When the water flows from your washing machine, it creates a vacuum in its wake. Vents are usually appropriately positioned to fill this vacuum with air as the water passes.
If the drains of a toilet and a washing machine are on the same horizontal pipe, a blockage or incorrectly positioned vents can make it easier for the air to flow through the toilet’s waste line than through the vent. Consequently, the water is pushed through the toilet’s P-trap.
Sewage Smell Coming from the Floor Drain
If there is a blockage in your home’s sewer line, it prevents wastewater from leaving your property. While some of the sewage may seep through the blockage, most of the unsanitary content will accumulate before the blockage and start backing up.
Over time, the pipe may become so full of sewage that it will start forcing its way out, which will eventually result in an unpleasant smell that comes from your floor drain. The sewage and blockage will prevent other wastewater from your showers, baths, and the kitchen sink to drain, and you may end up with sewage backing up into your shower and other places.
If you don’t address the problem immediately, the sewage will pollute the area, which can be a health hazard. The smell can also be unbearable and make you unpopular with your neighbors.
What Should You Do If Your Drain is Clogged?
If you notice that you have a clogged drain, immediate action is crucial to prevent water from backing up into your toilet, shower, or bath. If you don’t have the obstruction removed as soon as possible, you may also have to deal with sewage accumulation on your property, which is unhealthy.
What you should do if you have a clogged drain depends on the location of the obstruction. For example, if the clog is located in your toilet, you may be able to remove it yourself with a plunger. Before removing the obstruction with a plunger, block the outlets in your bath and shower to form a vacuum.
If the clog is in your main sewer line or one of the vent stacks, you need a professional plumber to locate and remove the obstruction. MT Drains & Plumbing in Toronto uses the latest technology and equipment for all your clogged drain solutions.
To receive a free, no-obligation quote to clear your drain, contact MT Drains & Plumbing today.