Getting to the Root of Chronic Drain Problems

Healthy drain pipes should not run slow or clog frequently. If you’ve lived with a chronic drain problem, then you may not notice a much more severe issue that’s hiding just under the surface. Even worse, routine use of home drain clearing remedies or over-the-counter chemical products can exacerbate the problem or damage your pipes.

Taking the responsible approach to homeownership often means choosing a solution that’s more costly upfront to avoid the higher expenses of chronic, long-term repairs. When you have a drain that always seems to clog, your best option is to get to the bottom of the issue. These three common clogging causes will point you in the right direction.

Person trying to unclog a sink with a plunger

1. Root Infiltration

Surprisingly, the root of a drain issue may be an actual tree root. Roots tend to seek out sources of moisture, and they can be strong enough to make their way through sewer or septic system plumbing. Roots grow toward pipes that have tiny cracks that allow small amounts of water to seep into the soil. Although these leaks might be too small to cause problems on their own, they can lead to root damage.

Once roots enter a pipe, they will quickly begin to grow out of control. Initial symptoms may include slow-running drains or occasional clogs. These clogs usually develop as waste accumulates around the roots. Typical drain-cleaning solutions may temporarily solve the problem by breaking the blockage free, but they will do nothing to remedy the underlying cause.

If your plumber believes you have a root problem, then they will usually begin by using a drain line inspection camera or similar device to confirm their suspicions. Professional plumbers will then choose an appropriate removal method based on the severity of the problem. In extreme cases, they may need to dig out the root and replace the affected section of plumbing.

2. Grease Clogs

Grease clogs typically develop because of improper drain usage. Many grease clogs form from years of pouring old cooking oils, grease, and other waste down the drain. As with most other types of chronic drain problems, they usually begin with seemingly minor issues. If you find that a pipe consistently runs slowly or frequently backs up, then you may have a grease problem.

These clogs can become ongoing problems as grease accumulates on the inner walls of your drain pipes. More fat, food waste, and other debris can then stick to the existing deposits, creating a severe blockage. You may be able to temporarily clear the worst part of the obstruction with caustic drain cleaners, but the problem will soon return if any of the grease deposits remains behind.

Over-the-counter chemical drain cleaners may be an expedient solution for clogs of this type, but using them repeatedly can damage your pipes. A professional can inspect your drain pipe to determine if grease clogs have caused your problem and then more thoroughly clean them to remove the deposits. Once they are clean, you can prevent future clogs with more careful drain usage.

3. Improper Pipe Slope

Poor plumbing installation can lead to disastrous problems in the future. Your home’s drain pipes must be sloped when running horizontally to prevent waste and debris accumulation. Improperly sloped pipes will clog more often, requiring frequent visits from plumbers and drain cleaners. If the problem is bad enough, the pipe may even cause wastewater to back up into your home.

No easy or cheap solution is available for dealing with a pipe suffering from a back pitch issue, but dealing with the problem sooner rather than later will still save you money. The one-time cost of repairing the slope of your drain line will prevent countless future clogs and may save you from costly interior damage if the line backs up.

Whatever the underlying cause, you shouldn’t live with chronic drain problems. Valley Plumbing can help you to discover and resolve the core issue, saving you time, money, and frustration over the lifetime of your home. Get in touch with us today if you’re ready to get to the root of your drain problems.