Before PVC pipes revolutionized plumbing in the late 1970s, cast iron, galvanized steel or clay sewer pipes were commonly used in Seattle homes. These materials have an average life expectancy of 30-50 years (though some can last longer under good conditions). If your house has been around since before the ‘70s, you may have sewer pipes reaching the end of their life. Here are some tips from Best Plumbing of Seattle on signs that your sewer system is starting to go!
Do some research to determine the age of your home and to see if you can find any history of sewer repairs. If you have an old house with a short or nonexistent sewer repair history, consider calling the professionals to get things checked out. Keep in mind that older homes might have a sewer system made from several different pipe materials, due to previous repairs or remodeling. Just because the sewer lines in the house are new, doesn’t mean that the entire sewer system has been updated.
Metallic sewer pipes are susceptible to corrosion due to exposure to acid from food and waste. If you can, visually check your pipes to look for signs of rust. This can indicate corrosion that has penetrated the pipe wall. Meanwhile, non-vitrified clay pipes, which were common in the early to mid-1900s, can be penetrated by plant roots. Slow drainage, unexplained clogs, or ground sinking where a sewer line runs outside can indicate corrosion, root infiltration, or cracks.
What should you do if you have older pipes that are showing their age? The best course of action is to contact a professional plumber immediately. Ignoring a failing sewer system can lead to major property damage. A professional plumber can do a full video inspection to identify the most problematic pipe sections and let you know what your options are.
Best Plumbing of Seattle is proud to serve residents in and around the Puget Sound. We are dedicated to keeping waterworks functional and safe. Don’t wait for a plumbing emergency — contact us today if you have any suspicions about your plumbing system. We’re here to help!
Photo credit: kirkandmimi, available under Creative Commons CCO.
Thanks to the prevalence of old pipes and vintage plumbing fixtures that come with the city’s numerous craftsmen-style houses, clogged toilets are a common problem in Seattle. Fortunately, it is a plumbing issue that sometimes people can solve on their own — if they know how. Please remember that it is always a good idea to call a professional, but if you’re willing and adventurous, Here are a couple of different ways you can unclog your toilet.
One way to fix a clogged toilet is to use a plunger. Insert the plunger so it fully covers the drain in the center of the toilet. Then push down gently, allowing the air in the plunger to be forced out. Once the plunger is compressed, pull back to create a suction and dislodge the clog. Most people try to “force” the clog through the toilet and what really happens is that the clog gets packed tighter. By trying to remove the stoppage the way it went in, you are more likely to be successful. This method may also be successful at retrieving objects that have gone down the drain accidentally.
Another way to break up a clogged toilet is to use a drain snake or auger. A toilet auger can be purchased at most hardware stores and may be a good investment if you own an older home. The auger is flexible enough to reach past the curves on the inside of the toilet, but not so powerful that it will break the toilet. As you crank the handle the spiral head should break up the clog and allow the toilet to flush. Continue this process until the water drains.
Unfortunately, in some cases, no matter what you try your toilet will not unclog. If you are dealing with a blockage and the above methods didn’t work, this indicates that you’re dealing with a more serious issue. This is when it’s time to call in the plumbing experts to diagnose the cause of the block and quickly get it fixed for you. Call us today to schedule your appointment and we’ll get all of your bathroom draining issues fixed!
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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.