Troubleshooting Plumbing Drain Problems

pulling hair from a drain
  • 1-30 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-500

Understanding the mechanics of a plumbing drain can make life much easier should a problem arise. By following a few simple steps, you will find yourself able to deal with most issues that can affect your drainage.

1. Odors

Where you have detected odors from your plumbing drain but there does not appear to be any other problem, it is likely to be caused by a buildup of debris clinging to the inner surface of the pipe and rotting. Use a solution of baking soda and vinegar for sinks and toilets. Use caustic soda if you have access to external drains. Adding a few drops of essential oil to the solution can improve the scent further. If a room is permeated with an odor which does not appear to be emanating from a specific place, check the joins between the bases of the appliances, such as your toilets, and the floor to ensure they are fitted properly.

2. Clogs

drain snake

If water becomes slow to drain away down a plughole or after the toilet is flushed, this is a sign of a build up which can ultimately lead to a clog. This will require the application of a chemical solution which should be left to work before the toilet is scrubbed to clear the blockage, especially if a plunger does not work.

If there is a full-blown clog that causes standing water in a sink or causes sewage to backup in toilets, always try a plunger to unblock the drain in the first instance. If this does not work, a drain auger must be used to dislodge any clog and clear the pipe to ensure that the plumbing drain works effectively. If you make use of a septic tank, ensure that it is kept in good working order and cleared regularly.

3. Leaks

When undergoing a refurbishment, make sure the size of the pipes fitted are sufficient to do the job and to prevent any leaks from the pipes being overloaded. Check for any damp patches that appear in locations adjacent to the pipes and investigate any instances of wet rot so that you can pinpoint the cause and rectify it.

4. Vermin

In the event that you make the unsettling discovery of any type of vermin appearing from beyond the toilet drain, you will require professional assistance. This problem arises where the plumbing drain pipe has suffered extensive damage that allows these creatures access to your toilet. If this situation arises, keep the toilet seat lid closed and contact a professional.

5. External Drain

drain in landscaping

Where a problem has arisen with an external plumbing drain, begin by examining the protective grate to check that it has not sustained any damage. This can create an access point for debris and vermin to enter the drainage system. If this has been the case, carefully lift and slide the grate out of place before clearing the drain with a long pole if you can see the cause of the blockage. Where you cannot detect the cause of the problem, you may need to make use of a high-pressure hose to displace the clog.