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How to Know if Your Drain Is Due for a Cleaning

person fixing a drain pipe

May 26, 2023

Plumbing issues can be a frustrating experience that leaves you dreading every time you need to run water or flush the toilet. If you suspect a problem with your plumbing, you’ve probably already noticed some warning signs. You might be hearing strange noises, facing unpleasant odors or feeling changes in your water pressure. However, getting to the bottom of the issue and solving it can be a much more challenging task.

Plumbing problems occur for various reasons, and pinpointing the exact cause can be challenging if you don’t have plumbing experience. Before you reach for the cleaning products, look at these warning signs and consider contacting a professional for drain cleaning services.

How to Know if Your Drain Is Due for a Cleaning

How Often Should You Clean Your Drains

Drain problems can cause significant damage to your plumbing system and affect other elements of your home or business. An annual cleaning can help you prevent disasters and save you money in the long term. Whether you occasionally have minor drain issues or need consistent care to keep your plumbing in optimal condition, regular cleaning can help you stay on top of things.

Preventive maintenance can help you keep clogs from building and allow you to rest assured that you’re taking care of your space. The benefits of regularly cleaning your drains include the following:

  • Saving money: One of the most significant benefits of regular drain cleaning is saving money over the long term. Investing small amounts toward your system can prevent disasters requiring emergency plumbing services. Additionally, water system problems can quickly damage other building structures and functional elements, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in damages.
  • Reducing odors: From bathrooms to kitchens, you want a pleasant smell, no matter your location. Regular maintenance can prevent mold and debris from building in your pipes and bringing foul odors that affect your daily functions.
  • Boosting efficiency: You can help your system last longer and increase its efficiency with regular maintenance. This will allow the water to flow freely and ensure your components remain in the best condition possible to help them last for years.
  • Preventing clogs: Clogs happen over time, and frequent cleaning can ensure they don’t become a problem in the first place. An annual cleaning can remove anything that has started to build and ensure your water can run freely.

Without properly cleaning your drains, you could experience severe clogs that impact your system. Unmaintained drains can lead to pipe damage or a decrease in system efficiency. In some cases, you may expose yourself and others to health risks from using or consuming poor-quality water or being exposed to sewage, mold and bacteria.

How to Know if Your Drain Is Due for a Cleaning

Signs It’s Time for a Drain Cleaning

Various warning signs can indicate that you have a drain issue. From unpleasant scents to muddy water backup, your drain system can clue you in on some internal problems you must address. Here are some of the most common signs that it’s time for a drain cleaning.

Your Sinks Drain Slowly

If you’re noticing your sink fill up when you wash your hands or brush your teeth, there’s a good chance that you need to clean your drains. When this happens, soap often forms around the stopper, leaving a discolored and unsightly film that can be challenging to clean.

If only one sink is slower, the problem is likely close to the surface. At this point, you may be able to clear the drain easily. However, if you note a recurring issue with multiple sinks simultaneously, the problem is likely in the sewer line. These pain spots can be difficult to reach and cause significant damage to your system, so it’s best to contact a professional.

There’s a Sewer Smell

When you walk through your front door, you want the fresh, clean air to welcome you. If you notice a sewage smell when you enter your home, you might need a drain cleaning. When this occurs, you want to discover the source of the problem as soon as possible.

You might find the smell emitting from a sink you haven’t used for a while. Try running a little bit of water. If a dried P-trap is the culprit behind the smell, this quick fix may be all you need to remove it. However, expect to call a professional if the scent lingers. You may have a disconnected pipe, which could cause significant damage to your system without efficient problem-solving.

You Experience Frequent Clogs

Every plumbing system experiences clogs sometimes. An occasional clog is no big deal, but frequent occurrences can be a sign of a much larger problem. Something lodged in the drain line may be causing clogs to recur. Various items could be causing the problem, from children’s toys to intrusive tree roots to a paper towel wad. Regardless of the object, contact a professional to help you get to the bottom of the issue.

There Are Pests in the Pipes

You might have a drain issue if you find small rodents or insects in your sink. Hold off on calling the exterminator until you know which problem you’re facing. Small animals occasionally use drain pipes as an escape or passageway through broken pipes or toilets. An experienced plumber can tell you if you have openings in your pipes and can repair them for you.

Water Bill Prices Are Rising

Your water bills will naturally fluctuate every month. However, a drastic increase from one month to the next indicates something is wrong. You may have a leak, which can cause as much damage as a clog and other plumbing issues.

It can be challenging to find leaks, but the longer you wait, the worse the situation can get. Ignoring a leak can lead to wasted money, time and effort. Leaks can hide behind walls or even underground, and the best way to solve these hidden issues is to request a professional service. When you bring in a plumber to find and repair leaks, consider getting a drain cleaning at the same time to create a free-flowing plumbing system.

You Hear Gurgling Noises

Your sink should not make gurgling noises when you turn the water off. You can test whether this is occurring by running the water, shutting it off and placing your ear close to the drain. Additionally, you can look for air bubbles in your toilet after turning on the facet. These issues typically worsen until you solve the problem, which likely indicates a clogged sewer. Scheduling a maintenance cleaning can ensure your pipes drain quickly and aren’t leaking.

You Have a Fruit Fly Problem

Many people feel like fruit flies suddenly show up overnight. Despite your best efforts to keep a clean kitchen, such as cleaning all the surfaces and putting all your food away, these flies can keep coming back. This is because they’re attracted to the food in your drainage pipes. When food builds in your pipes, fruit flies notice and rush to the source. A professional can clear the food stuck in your drain and clear all traces of whatever is drawing those annoying pests. The existing fruit flies will leave shortly after to find another food source, although additional cleaning can aid this process.

Toilets Are Overflowing

Overflowing toilet problems can be easy to identify if a child has shoved their favorite toy inside. However, frequent clogging without explanation could be a drainage line issue. Everything from toilet paper and waste to small toys and other objects can cause clogs. If you’re facing overflows often, your drains likely have a clog preventing the toilet from properly emptying.

You Need to Use a Lot of Liquid Drain Cleaner

One bottle of drain cleaner should be enough to solve minor drain problems. You have a more significant issue if you’ve used more than one bottle, and your sinks are still draining slowly. Avoid using more liquid cleaner, as overusing these products could damage your pipes. Request a professional service to handle those tough clogs to save time and money.

You Notice Water Backup

If you’ve ever watched your bathtub or sink start to fill with muddy water, you understand the unpleasantness of water backup. Sometimes water backup will occur in the sink when the dishwasher is running, which could indicate food in the pipes. Running the garbage disposal may help clear the drain and prevent backup.

Call a professional service if running the disposal doesn’t solve the problem, you don’t have a disposal, or you notice water backup in the bathtub. Exposure to toxic sewage can be hazardous for anyone in the area and lead to a damaging mess that will be costly in the future.

Standing Water Pools in the Shower or Laundry Room

Water that won’t drain is standing water. You could experience standing water in your sink, shower or appliances. If you’ve ever found yourself taking a shower with water around your ankles, you know what it’s like to have standing water. Whether there is a clump of hair, paper wads or some other gunk buildup, a clog is preventing water from flowing through. Cleaning your pipes and drains is the only way to eliminate this issue.

You Smell Musty Drains

Although sewage can bring unpleasant odors, it’s not the only source of bad smells. You could have drain issues if you smell moldy or musty scents from your bathtub or sink. Mold needs a food source and moisture to grow.

Bacteria and stagnant water provide rich environments for mold and mildew, and the consistent environment allows them to continue growing and spreading. If your drain has an influx of hair, grease, scum, food and similar organic materials, your drains could be a breeding ground for mildew and mold. Hiring a professional to handle the issue can help clear these problems and eliminate the foul odor you’re experiencing.

How to Know if Your Drain Is Due for a Cleaning

Maintaining a Drain After a Cleaning

Although professional drain cleaning will help your system remain functional and efficient, preventive maintenance can extend your plumbing system’s life span and help you save on costs later. Here are some steps you can take to maintain your drains and prevent future disasters:

  • Monitor what you put down the drain: Your sink, toilet and shower drains can experience clogs and buildup. Be mindful of the items you and others in the building put in them. Only allow essential things like toilet paper to enter the drains. Avoid stringy foods in your garbage disposal and ensure other items, like plastic wrappers and paper towels, don’t fall into the sink drain.
  • Invest in a drain screen or grate: These screens prevent large items from falling into the drain. You can place them in sinks and showers where larger objects may fall into the area. For example, if an earring falls off during a shower, the grate will catch it. Additionally, a grate over the sink drain can prevent food from filling the drains.
  • Check your drain stoppers often: Make a routine of checking your drain stoppers to free soap, hair and other buildup materials that may have accumulated. Regular checks will help prevent large clogs from building in the first place.
  • Avoid over-the-counter cleaners: Some generic cleaners have chemicals that can damage your plumbing. Reduce your use of these items, and ask a professional for advice on the best products to use.
  • Pour water into the bathroom drains: Hot water can help clear buildups. Once a week, turn on scalding water in the shower, and pour boiling water down the toilet. Be sure to wear protection to avoid burning yourself, and refrain from over-pouring in the toilet to prevent an overflow.
  • Run water when you use the garbage disposal: Anytime you use the disposal, run cold water to help any food bits make their way down the drains rather than getting stuck near the surface. Avoid chemical cleaners in your kitchen sink to prevent hazards.
How to Know if Your Drain Is Due for a Cleaning

Request Professional Drain Cleaning From Enduric Plumbing

Enduric Plumbing is your premiere plumbing company in North Carolina. Whether you’re moving into a new home, keeping your business in tip-top shape or looking for preventive maintenance for the home you’ve loved for years, we’ve got you covered.

We’re a full-service commercial and residential plumbing company. We’re proud to serve communities in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, High Point and the surrounding areas. Our many years of experience have helped property management companies, homeowners, business owners and contractors keep their systems in the best shape possible.

We know how quickly drain problems can impact your daily activities. Our knowledge and experience make us the perfect solution for minor inconveniences and significant issues. We can do everything from sewer line repair to storm drain cleaning to water line replacement.