While many drain clogs can be fixed by clearing out whatever gunk has accumulated right below the drain, many clogs are a little more complicated or tougher to fix. A persistent clog can be the result of a clog deeper in your system, a plumbing vent problem, or even a grease problem that has built up over time. Here's what to look out for and how a professional can help you get back on track.
Have Your Pipes Cleaned of Grease
Grease is a common plumbing problem that can be aggravating to get rid of. If you've put oils and greases down your drains, it doesn't all travel smoothly to the sewers; much of it can solidify inside your pipes even if you use hot water to rinse it down. Over time, this can build up and gradually narrow your pipes until everything seems to drain slowly no matter how many times you clean it.
Getting grease out of your pipes can be a challenge, especially because grease clogs won't just be right under the drain; grease travels a bit before solidifying, making it harder to reach. To fix this, a plumber will use specific chemicals or tools. You can also attempt this on your own using a homemade cleaning mix or a store-bought chemical. Many caustic cleaners will work, but these are harsher on your pipes and can cause them to corrode, so if these don't work, avoid using them repeatedly and contact a professional for drain cleaning services instead.
Check Your Plumbing Vents
An important part of your drain system that often gets overlooked is your plumbing vents. Each major series of drain pipes, like all the drains in your bathroom or in your kitchen, have at least one vent attached to them that leads to open air. These serve to regulate air pressure inside your drain pipes; without vents, your drain pipes would flow very slowly even if they were completely clear. This is where problems can occur.
A problem with one vent can cause draining problems with every drain connected to that vent. If your stubborn clog seems to affect your whole bathroom no matter how many times you clear them out, this may be your issue. These vents can get clogged with dirt, debris, or even birds' nests. What makes these clogs more difficult to fix is that many of them are accessible via your roof. If you've already tried a few other methods and are certain your drain pipes are clear of blockages, contact a professional to take a look at your plumbing vents.
Investigate Your Sewer Drain
A sewer line clog is a more serious type of clog, but one that's not always as easy to diagnose. Every drain pipe in your house connects to your sewer drain, which then empties into a sewer or septic system, so a clog somewhere in this pipe can cause problems for every drain in your home. You might have one of these clogs if you notice signs like bubbling toilet water when you shower or water backing up into the tub when you flush a toilet or drain an appliance like a washing machine. Because the clog is farther down in your pipes, any attempts to clean a clog out from your house drains will be ineffective.
If you know where your sewer line cleanout is, you can look down this pipe with a flashlight to see if you notice any standing water at the bottom. If you have water going down drains in your home, but don't see any water moving in the sewer pipe, then the clog is somewhere between the cleanout and your home. These clogs are hard to reach without the proper tools, so contact drain cleaning services to clear this clog for you. They may use an auger or water pressure to break up the blockage; once they do, every drain in your home should work fine again.