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Help! My Drain is Backing Up!

Help! My Drain is Backing Up!

The majority of the calls we get are related to backed-up toilets and drains. It’s actually one of the first images people picture when they hear of the word plumbing. So why is there such a strong association between plumbing and stoppages? Well, that’s because it’s so common in our field. However, what most people don’t know is that a stoppage (backed-up toilet or drain) is only a symptom of a bigger problem. Rarely is a stoppage as simple as something getting clogged in your pipes. Clogged drains, frequent stoppages, and backed-up toilets are common symptoms of poor pipe conditions or something else going wrong.

Calcified pipes (pictured) are very common images that we see when we camera lines. If a homeowner tells us that they have frequent stoppages, we can typically assume that there is a larger problem at hand. There are common factors that causes stoppages over and over again. In Arizona, there are two that are extremely common. The first is hard water. Hard water deposits minerals in your pipes as the water flows through. Over time, this creates the image that you see pictured. This process narrows the opening of your pipes. When this happens, even a single sheet of toilet paper will get caught and cause your drains to back up; causing a mess.

Another common problem that we run into are roots. Because Arizona is so dry, trees, bushes, plants, and even weeds, dig to find water. A common source of water for them is often your home’s plumbing system. Your sewage water, which is actually rich in nutrients for plants, only causes them to want to do more to penetrate into your pipes and have access to the water. If they find a weakness in the pipe, they will often force themselves into those pipes and draw out water and whatever else they need. We’ve seen pipes before that had numerous root access points all along the sewer pipe. Having roots in your drains causes a obstructions for things to get clogged.

As you can see, stoppages are only a symptom of a larger problem happening.

We’ve had customers tell us that they use some sort of drain unclogging/drain cleaning chemical to try to get rid of the problem. There are many reasons why we advise against it.

  1. ENVIRONMENT: The agents in drain unclogging and cleaning chemicals are very dangerous to the environment. Once it enters our environment, it basically poisons anything around it. If enough of this stuff gets into our water systems, it can potentially cause irreversible effects to our water system. There are countries overseas that are currently struggling with water pollution due to contaminates that people have put into the water systems. Google “polluted water” and you will see image after image of water that is polluted by chemicals and trash; doing unrecognizable harm to the environment they’re in.
  2. HEALTH: The agents in drain unclogging and cleaning chemicals are very dangerous to our health and to pets. Most of them will have labels that will say, “DANGER: MAY BURN EYES AND SKIN ON CONTACT. HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED. Avoid contact with body and clothing. TOXIC GAS MAY FORM IF MIXED WITH OTHER CHEMICALS.” That’s only the beginning. Their Safety Data Sheets will often show that they’re extremely flammable, that in the event there is direct contact, you should seek medical aid, and that the product may cause corrosive damage. The labels warn you that inhaling, ingesting, or even touching the chemical is dangerous.
  3. Plumbing: Seeing what it can do in the event it contacts your skin, imagine what it does to your pipes. Yes, it takes care of the immediate problem; helping dissolve the mass that’s causing your drains to back up. However, as it does that, it’s also destroying your home’s plumbing. Over time, this corrosion causes your plumbing to become weak and causes further damage to your home. From your kitchen sink to your sewer lines, the water travels quite a distance and hits a lot of different areas. Sometimes, the chemically tainted water will pool and collect in certain angle stops, unable to move, causing even more damage.

If you have frequent stoppages, the solution we recommend is to camera your lines. For this month only, this service, which is valued at $250, is completely free. We want to help you figure out what’s causing the stoppages and come up with a permanent solution to fix it. While we’re there, we will also do an entirely FREE plumbing inspection to check everything and make sure it’s all working properly. In addition, you will receive $50 off of your stoppage service call. Don’t wait. Call us today!

William (JT) Patterson and team were extremely professional, punctual (which is more important than ever in today’s society) and knowledgeable. They identified the problem quickly, talked me through the solution that would prevent future repairs, and went to work immediately after we agreed. Once finished, they even offered a complementary home inspection from a plumbing/leak perspective and offered some great future options without being pushy salesmen. Overall I’m extremely pleased with the work and customer service and would definitely recommend for plumbing repairs.

Cummings Plumbing

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