Your pipes are bound to get clogged at some point. While it often takes us by surprise, the truth is that there are generally warning signs that a clog is in the work. Here’s a quick guide to monitoring the state of your drains (and when it might be time to call in the professional to get them cleaned). Keep reading to learn more from Best Plumbing, your local Seattle plumbing resource!
One of the earliest signs of developing blockage is an unusual odor coming from the pipe below. The smell depends on what has made its way into your drain, so there is no specific description that we can give to identify it. However, it will likely be unpleasant. For example in the kitchen, it will probably be old food that has accumulated in the drain and lodged there. If you notice a persistent smell coming from your drain, it is definitely something to keep an eye on. If the odor sticks around, you might just have a budding clog!
Most people are not professionally trained to appreciate the subtle differences in plumbing noises, so an unusual sound in the drain may pass without notice. But this can be another early warning that a clogged pipe is in your near future. Forming blockages will obstruct the easy flow of water and change air pressure in the pipe. This can result in some weird noises, such as prolonged gurgling or a slow trickling sound as water slowly makes its way around the clog. If something sounds off with your drains, it’s a good idea to check it out.
This one is difficult not to notice. If your drain is officially clogged, then water will accumulate in the associated sink, bathtub, or toilet bowl. It will take an unusually long time for the water to drain — if it drains at all! The most important thing to do in this case is to take quick action. The longer you wait, the worse the clog can become and your pipes can end up completely blocked.
If a drain clog is not receptive to standard do it yourself methods, your best bet is to enlist professional plumbing service to quickly get your drains working again. Additionally, if you notice signs of a more serious clog, such as the toilet filling up when you run the sink, or the bathtub filling with wastewater, these signal that something is wrong with your sewer line. Call the pros right away if you notice any of these symptoms!
Our name is Best Plumbing for a reason. We have proudly served Seattle and the Puget Sound area for 50 years. Contact us today with plumbing questions or concerns. You can find more plumbing advice on our YouTube Channel. We are here to help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Photo credit: LV11, available under Creative Commons CCO.
If something starts to smell a bit off in your bathroom, it’s easy to get concerned and to be unsure how to solve the problem. The Best Plumbing experts are here to help! There are three main reasons why you could have a sewer smell in your bathroom or home:
It is possible that sewer could be backed up in your shower drain. To check that this is not the case, use a flashlight and shine it down into the drain of your shower. You can also run the water to make sure that everything is draining as it should be.
In the bottom of your shower there is a drain that has a small indented area to hold water. This is called a P Trap, and they are also installed in sinks and toilets. The P Trap holds water at all times, allowing water to continually pass through, while stopping sewer gasses from coming up and entering your bathroom. If you don’t use the shower or a floor drain often, the P Trap can dry out and allow methane gas from the sewer to enter your bathroom. Add water back into the P Trap in order to stop this unwanted airflow.
If pipes have become loosened or a cleanout cap has come undone in your bathroom or basement, this can create an area where sewer gas comes into your home. When this happens, the smell can be especially tricky to locate. Inspect all of your pipes and cleanouts to ensure that nothing has come loose.
For more sewer and plumbing tips, check out our blog and Youtube channel.
Meteorologists have declared a La Niña pattern has developed this winter, which is affecting weather conditions across the continent. While December was fairly mild, forecasters have warned that Seattle could be in for some colder weather in the coming months. Keep reading for tips on how to prevent three common plumbing issues you might face if things get chilly!
When temperatures drop, exposed pipes, such as in crawl spaces or basements, can lead to trouble. A common issue is that water partially freezes in the pipe, restricting flow. In severe cases the pipe can become frozen solid. This can result in cracks as water pressure builds, and if the pipe breaks, water will start flooding your space. An easy way to prevent this is to insulate exposed pipes with a foam pipe cover. If Seattle should experience an arctic blast, let cold water drip from the faucets of any expose pipes — including kitchen and bathroom sinks. The water circulation will help maintain water pressure and prevent freezing.
Cold weather often results in more kitchen activity as people cook their favorite hearty dishes in order toward off the chill. This also means there’s more opportunity for grease and food scrapes to be washed down your kitchen drain and form a clog. Prevention is a fairly straightforward — simply make sure you compost food scraps and properly dispose of grease in the garbage. If your drain does clog, avoid reaching for liquid drain cleaner. Instead, check out our article covering tried and true methods for getting things unclogged.
If your home uses a septic tank system, you’ll need to keep an eye out for prolonged periods of below freezing temperatures, especially with no snow. Under these conditions the ground can start freezing. While it’s unlikely that the tank itself will be threatened (at least in the Seattle area) depending on how deep the frost extends, parts of your septic system could still be at risk of freezing. In particular, check the point where the septic line leaves the house and make sure to cover it with a layer of insulation, such as hay, leaves, or mulch. Regular household activity will generally provide enough warm water circulation to prevent the line from freezing, but watch out if you go away for a long weekend or vacation.
If you experience any plumbing problems this winter, give the experts at Best Plumbing a call. We are available for emergency plumbing services 24/7 throughout the greater Seattle and Bellevue areas! You can also schedule an appointment for routine plumbing maintenance. Contact us today and learn why we’ve been trusted local plumbers for 50 years!
Photo Credit: 61015, available under Creative Commons CCO.