Common Causes of Sewer Line Clogs

A clogged sewer line can be a messy and expensive affair. You will need emergency plumbing services to fix this blockage in your plumbing and allow water and fluids to flow away from your property without issue again.

You can see signs of a clogged sewer easily, such as a backup in your drains, malfunctioning in your plumbing, or changes in your lawn’s surface. But if you know the culprits behind these clogs, you can better prevent them from affecting your plumbing system. Read on to learn about three of the major causes behind main sewer line clogs.

clogged pipes in sewer line

Why Is My Sewer Line Clogged?

Grease, Fat, and Debris

Like a clog within a drain or any other pipe, a clog in a sewer line can occur due to a blockage. This may come in the form of debris accumulation, such as toilet paper or a foreign object that may have been flushed down a toilet. Or it could accrue gradually as build-up from soap scum or grease.

Many people may pour grease or oil from cooking down their sink drain and think that running water will clear it from their plumbing. But these fatty materials will easily stick in pipes where they will harden as they cool.

This can then build up until it creates a blockage that disrupts your sewage system. So take care not to empty these materials down your drain. These should be disposed of by alternative means to protect your sewage system. Consider using stoppers or strainers in your sink too to avoid foreign items going down the drain and creating a blockage.

Tree Roots

A major threat to your sewer line comes from tree roots, which may surprise many people. Even if you think trees are nowhere near your sewer line, the roots can extend further than you might guess.

Tree roots tend to seek moisture and grow toward your main sewer line where they can crack into the pipes and form a blockage. Pay attention to the location of your landscaping on your property in relation to your plumbing. And when planting new trees, avoid your sewer line as much as possible.

Damaged Pipes

Sometimes a clog in a sewer line comes from problems with the pipes in your plumbing system themselves. Over time, the structure of pipes may begin to deteriorate. This could cause leaks in the plumbing, but it may also allow dirt to enter the system where it can create clogs.

Additionally, old sewer lines might start to sag as the earth around the pipes shifts or sinks. Then wastewater will collect into pools rather than flow away from the property as intended. Eventually, this can make the pipes back up, resulting in these fluids heading back the way they came.

Your local plumber can diagnose the precise issue with your sewer line with imaging technology. Then depending on the cause, they can fix the problem. Call early to prevent serious property damage from this plumbing issue.

Why Do I Have Low Water Pressure?

Have you noticed less water coming from your faucets when you turn them on? This decrease in water from your plumbing system can mean you have low water pressure. This issue may mean you spend more time at the sink or bath getting the water that you need, which may frustrate you.

Sometimes, changes in water pressure occur due to issues with the water supplier. You can confer with your neighbors to see if they experience the same problems that you do to confirm this.

If this is not the case, there are several other reasons you might experience low water pressure on your property. Read on to learn about three of these causes and how to resolve them.

water from bathroom shower head

Common Reasons for Low Water Pressure

Valve Blockages

If you have ever had a clog in your drain before, you know that this type of blockage can disrupt the flow of water through your plumbing system. Your system contains valves that can open and shut to control the flow of water in and out of your building.

If the main shutoff valve or the water meter valve is not open all the way, this creates enough of a blockage to impact your water pressure. Check the levers that control these valves to make sure they are in the open position.

Failing Pressure Regulator

Not all properties feature a pressure regulator. But if you do have one, and it is no longer working, this could force your system to have a lower water pressure. This device monitors the pressure passing through your water supply line and ensures it remains at a safe level.

If it does not take this measurement properly, it may let through a low pressure. You can test the pressure yourself, but it might be a good idea to consult with a plumber about this concern. They can replace the regulator if needed.

Pipe Damage

Your pipes carry water to and from your property. So if these fixtures sustain damage, you might notice a drop in the water pressure in your building. Like valve blockages, you might see low water pressure when the pipes form clogs. You should talk to your plumber about this possibility and how to remove the clog in question.

Pipes can begin to corrode after several decades of use. You might not be able to see this type of damage as it could exist in the pipes’ interior. Your plumber can use video technology to inspect the pipes for signs of this damage.

A leak in your plumbing system means that the water starts to redirect through this damaged part of the pipe, taking away from the water meant to flow where intended. You might spot leaks if you see accumulated water on your property. But you should contact a plumber to properly fix this issue. Temporary patchwork will not last long and could lead to structural damage to your property.

Is Your Water Heater Broken?

You might not realize that you rely as heavily on the hot water in your building as much as cold water. To get hot water on your property, you need a functioning water heater. This appliance uses gas or electric energy to warm up water within a designated tank that will then distribute through your plumbing system where needed.

Between showers, washing dishes, and laundry, hot water plays a major role in your daily life. A broken water heater could cause a major disruption in your home or commercial building.

You can better avoid this plumbing emergency when you know more about how this appliance works. Read on to learn how you can tell your water heater is failing as well as what repairs you can expect.

water heater plumbing repair expectations

What Are the Signs of Water Heater Failure?

Many people likely take for granted the easy access to heated water. If the water no longer runs hot or it cannot get hot enough, these are two major signs that the water heater in your building is failing. Cooler temperatures in the water can make for uncomfortable showers and other household dilemmas.

But these are not the only indicators that your water heater could be having problems. If hot water has an odd smell, taste, or appearance, this could point to corrosion in the pipes or tank leaching into the water supply.

Bacteria within the water may also generate a foul odor. Contaminated water could pose a risk to your health or your belongings. So seek prompt attention from a plumber about this problem.

Your water heater also should not make sounds, so if it seems noisy when running, it could have collected sediments. Without proper flushing, this could damage the appliance.

A leak in the tank could also put dangerous pressure on the water heater. Avoid major structural damage by seeking urgent maintenance if you notice this problem with your water heater.

What Repairs Will My Water Heater Need?

You can and should flush your water heater on an annual basis. This ensures the pressure valve works properly and that dangerous build-up does not hurt your appliance.

Bad smells, tastes, or looks in the water from the heated tank will often mean you need to clean your appliance. You will likely also need to replace the anode rod of the tank to get rid of corrosion.

When water can get warm but not hot enough, you might have an issue with the dip tube of the heater. A plumber can usually replace this part fairly easily. No hot water might point to an electrical issue, where the wiring will not allow the heater to function properly. Your plumber can evaluate the issue, find the malfunction, and replace or reconnect any necessary parts.

You can get a quote for your unique scenario when you contact your local plumbing expert in Annapolis, MD. In the event of an emergency, call their 24-hour response line at 301.685.5017.

Take Quick Action for a Burst Pipe

The pipes in your plumbing system usually transport water where needed without issue. Sometimes they might clog or leak, but on the rare occasion, the pipe might burst. This occurs when the metal of the pipe breaks or dislodges, allowing water to flow freely into the building.

You will often see large puddles of water or notice water pressure issues if this plumbing emergency occurs. You should take prompt action to protect your building, avoid high utility costs, and get your plumbing back on track. Read on to learn four steps you should take urgently if a pipe bursts on your residential or commercial property.

emergency plumbing repair for burst pipe

What to Do If a Pipe Bursts

Shut Off the Water Main

If you suspect you have a burst pipe, you will first need to shut off the water supply on your property. Otherwise, water will continue to flow and flood your building. Your home likely has a clearly marked valve near the HVAC system that controls the water main.

Turn this valve off to stop water from continuing to pass through pipes that cannot hold the water. Then to make sure water is completely cleared from your system, turn on a faucet at a sink to allow water to drain from the pipes. This will clear the system of leftover water, making sure it flows safely into a drain rather than a puddle on your floor.

Call an Emergency Plumber

Once the water is turned off in your plumbing system, call your plumber as soon as you can. Let them know about the burst pipe as well as how much of a mess you have noticed. Guardian Plumbing in Annapolis, MD offers 24-hour rapid response services to make sure you can contact a plumbing expert at any time of day.

In emergency situations like a burst pipe, your plumber will be there as soon as they can. They can also provide instructions on how to keep your home safe in the meantime. They will repair the issue and provide you with a quote so that you know what to expect from their services.

Circulate Air on Your Property

After you contact your plumber, you should try to encourage air circulation in the area of the burst pipe. Open doors and windows to allow airflow to keep the pipes and your building as dry as possible. If you have fans, try using these too, but make sure to keep electronics away from water.

Pipes can often burst due to freezing. If this plumbing emergency occurs during cold weather, crank up your heating to warm up your pipes. This will prevent further breakage in your plumbing.

Clean Excess Water

Before the plumber arrives, you can use this time to clean up as much of the puddles and water accumulation in your building as you can. Use a mop and bucket or spare towels to get rid of standing water.

Water can quickly damage the structure of a building, so eliminate excess moisture as much as possible. This will lower your risk of developing mold on the property.

What Is a Water Softener?

Have you heard people refer to the softness or hardness of water? These terms refer to the number of minerals, like calcium or magnesium, in the water in your plumbing system. Depending on your location, the level of minerals in the water can vary. If you prefer softer water with fewer minerals, you can ask your plumber about installing a water softener.

This filtration system can reduce the concentration of minerals in your water so that it is softer. But can filtered water bring health and plumbing improvements? The answer depends on your existing water supply and advice from your plumber. Read on to learn more about how a water softening system can impact the plumbing in your home or commercial property.

clean water from sink faucet

Should I Soften My Water Supply?

Before you consider installing a water softener, ask your utility provider if your water is already treated with a softener. Filtering already softened water could put your pipes in danger of corrosion and other plumbing issues.

But softening hard water can help prevent naturally occurring minerals from building up within your plumbing system. This scale can lead to blockages within pipes and other fixtures that will need costly repairs to clear.

Reducing these minerals in your water will also help you keep your sinks, tubs, and glassware clean. The minerals can leave spots and deposits on these items, which will mean that you need to clean more to keep your home looking its best. This process will also improve the function of appliances like dishwashers and fridges, extending their lifespan.

Are There Risks with Softening Water?

Though water softeners have many advantages, this filtration system will not benefit every household or commercial establishment. The system can pose some risks to the existing plumbing, an individual’s health, and the environment.

Water softeners work by removing minerals from the water that passes through the filter. But it also exchanges these minerals, replacing them with sodium or potassium molecules. The chloride solution left behind after this process gets drained away from your property like waste in your plumbing.

This means that the chloride will potentially pollute the water in your community. Ask your plumber about the environmental impact of a personal water softener. Additional sodium in your water supply can also have adverse health effects. Individuals with underlying health issues might see harm from consuming excess salt.

As mentioned, the water softening process might lead to corrosion in your pipes. This could mean metal from the pipes may end up in your water, leading to health concerns.

Consult with your plumber to learn if this system will benefit your property. Different factors will play into whether the pros outweigh the drawbacks of a water softener. If you do get one, test your water on a regular basis to make sure it continues to work properly. Use it as directed by the manufacturer and by your local plumbing expert.

Signs of Leaks Without Standing Water

When you picture a leak in your plumbing system, you likely imagine water escaping pipes and accumulating in puddles in your home or commercial building. But sometimes a plumbing leak will not present so predictably.

Fortunately, there are many other indicators that could point to a leak in your pipes or other plumbing. Standing water where it does not belong is only one sign of a leak. Read on to learn about four other ways you can tell that you have a leak in your plumbing system.

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Do I Have a Plumbing Leak on My Property?

Damage to Walls or Ceilings

Spotting puddles or drips from a pipe provides a clear indicator of a leak. But this does not always occur so clearly if a leak exists. But you might see other visible signs that your plumbing has a leak.

Water can collect within the walls or ceiling of your building. Moisture can wreak havoc on the interior structure of your property. So you might see cracks beginning to form as the water eats away at these parts of the building.

A leak can also create stains on these areas. Discoloration may also occur if your building begins to grow mold. If any of these issues arise, do not hesitate to call a plumber.

Strange Smells

You can employ other senses besides sight to determine whether you have a leak in your plumbing. If water begins to collect on your property but outside of view, you might notice unexplainable odors.

Stagnant water will start to produce a musty smell if left alone for some time. This is abnormal even with heavy usage of plumbing systems that work properly. Mold and mildew can also give off a strange smell. Know that odors like these should be looked into by a professional.

Low Water Pressure

A leak in your pipes can impact the effectiveness of your entire plumbing system. If you realize that water from your faucets seems to flow more slowly or with less pressure, a leak could be disrupting the system.

If water is escaping through a leak, it may not flow with the force it should through the rest of your property. So a change in the water pressure could be a good sign that you should call a plumber for a leak detection check.

Increased Water Bills

You may use more water during certain times of the year, such as for landscaping in the summer months. This could lead to a rise in your water bill. But a larger jump in your bill with seemingly no reason could mean you have a leak in your plumbing system.

Water escaping through a leak in a pipe will make it look like you use more water on your property, increasing the charges on your utility bill. If you see an unexplainable spike in your bill, you should consult with a plumber to see if a hidden leak is causing this issue.

Commercial vs Residential Plumbing

You are likely familiar with the types of clogs, leaks, and other plumbing issues that may arise in your home. But if you own a business, you can begin to see that the plumbing system on your property also requires care and can run into problems.

These systems all have the same general equipment, but the differing purposes for each building can impact the type of plumbing services you may require. Knowing these differences can help you keep your place’s plumbing in great shape. Read on to see comparisons and contrasts between plumbing maintenance for commercial and residential systems.

business plumbing systems Annapolis Maryland

Routine Plumbing Inspections

Regular maintenance and inspections for plumbing systems are crucial in order to make sure they function at their best. Examinations from an expert can allow plumbers to spot issues before they evolve into emergencies. This saves you money in the long run as you can avoid costly repairs.

For residential systems, plumbers recommend a complete inspection every two years. Commercial systems will likely receive more usage and therefore will require more regular upkeep, including inspections.

Restaurants and other businesses may need four routine plumbing maintenance jobs each year. Talk to your local plumbing expert to learn how often you should schedule plumbing inspections for your building. They can provide special annual plans that businesses can subscribe to for optimal preventative care.

Understanding Water Usage

Humans use water in a variety of ways constantly, both at home and at work. In your home, you use water in the bathroom, the kitchen, the laundry room, and more. You drink it, wash with it, and clean dishes and clothes with it.

In a commercial setting, some of these water usages overlap. You, your employees, and your patrons may use the restroom or drink water in your building. But with more people occupying a commercial space than a residential one, the amount of water utilized will increase.

With more water accessed, the pipes and other plumbing will see more usage. This may mean a higher chance of wear and tear that could lead to plumbing issues. With this in mind, you can understand the importance of paying attention to the function of your plumbing on your commercial property.

Likelihood of Plumbing Emergencies

You might fix minor plumbing issues, like a small clog, on your own in your home. You can do the same in your commercial building as well. But you know that you need to call a plumber if you cannot repair a plumbing concern yourself, whether the issue occurs at home or at work.

Because commercial spaces can use more water, this plumbing system may be more likely to have a plumbing emergency. Burst pipes and other severe problems cannot be fixed on your own. And they will require prompt attention before you suffer major property damage. Ideally, you should choose a plumber with 24-7 services in case of an emergency like this.

4 Common Toilet Problems

If your toilet is not working properly, it can cause a major disruption in your home. But how serious are these malfunctions in your toilet? Do you need to call a plumber or can you fix this appliance on your own?

These tips from your plumber can help you diagnose the problem with your toilet and understand the significance it means for your plumbing system. Read on to learn about four issues that can impact a toilet and how you can resolve them.

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Clogged Toilet

Clogs can form if you have attempted to flush a larger amount of toilet paper or waste and it cannot pass properly through the piping in your toilet. It can also occur if you have tried to flush items down the toilet that do not belong there.

A blocked toilet will disrupt your home, but in many cases, you can unclog it by using a plunger. Major clogs might need a snake tool to move the blockage. If the clog remains after these efforts, you might need to remove the toilet to get better access to the blockage. If you have concerns, contact your plumber.

Reduced Water Level

If after you flush your toilet, you realize that the toilet bowl did not fill all the way with water, this could point to a few common issues with the toilet. You can lift the lid of the tank to observe the fill tube or valve for signs of damage.

In some instances, you just need to reconnect the fill tube to the appropriate overflow tube. If the tube or valve seems to require repair, you will likely need to replace these items to fix the toilet.

This problem may also happen if the toilet bowl has cracked, though you will likely also see water leaked onto the floor if this occurs. You will need to replace your toilet in that case.

Constant Refilling Toilet

If after your flush, the toilet refills and does not stop, you might be at a loss as to what is causing this problem. The issue could also run up your water bill, so you will want to find the cause promptly.

A toilet may do this for a few reasons. You can open the lid of the toilet tank and check the water level there. If it is too high, you can adjust the height of the float arm to reduce the level.

The problem may also develop due to a leak in the flapper of the toilet. In this case, water constantly travels from the tank to the toilet because the flapper is too damaged to seal the pathway properly. You will need to drain the tank of water before replacing the flapper.

Noisy Toilet Tank

A persistent hissing sound often accompanies the constant refilling of the toilet. But other sounds from your toilet tank could indicate different problems with the appliance.

A gurgling sound often points to air pressure within the drain line. This can stem from a clog, so you should employ a plunger to get rid of any blockages. A sound similar to a foghorn could mean you have a problem with the float in the tank. You may need to call a plumber to replace the float if this happens.

Why Plumbing Fixtures Can Fail

Water is crucial in your daily life, so you want a plumbing system that you can rely on both in your home and your place of business. If your drains and pipes seem slow, this could mean that your system is not functioning as it should.

To avoid a plumbing emergency, like a burst pipe or major leak, you should get damaged fixtures evaluated and amended as soon as you notice an issue. Prompt plumbing maintenance could prevent serious interruptions in your life as well as expensive repairs. Read on to learn four potential causes of failed plumbing systems that your local plumber can diagnose for you.

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Expired Plumbing Fixtures

Your plumbing system consists of various pipes and appliances, each of which allows water to flow where it needs to without issue. However, these fixtures cannot last forever, and you should pay attention to when these items are due to expire.

If you move into a new property, you should ask about the expiration date for pipes, water heaters, and other plumbing fixtures. Though traditional water heaters can last for 10 or more years, and water lines and pipes usually last for more than four decades, it will be beneficial to know how much longer these items will endure. This way you can replace items before they break.

Temperature Changes

Seasonal changes, especially temperature fluctuations, can majorly impact your plumbing system. When temperatures drop below freezing, lingering water in your pipes can freeze. The ice expands and can cause your pipes to burst, requiring costly and extensive repairs.

You can protect your pipes in the winter months by insulating them and fixing leaks before the cold sets in. Completing winterization for buildings not used during the winter can keep your plumbing system running smoothly once the weather thaws.

Poor Plumbing Hardware or Installation

If pipes and other plumbing items are not installed properly, then the fixtures could suffer damages that will mean your water does not flow well. It could leave lasting harm that will need a great deal of work from a plumber to amend.

These problems may occur if a plumber chooses low-quality hardware for your system too. Make sure you hire a plumber that you trust when installing new plumbing fixtures so that you can avoid this issue.

Lack of Routine Plumbing Maintenance

When your plumbing is functioning well, you likely do not worry often about potential problems that could occur. But you should still complete regular maintenance on your plumbing system to ensure that it keeps working as it should.

A plumber can check your faucets, water heater, and other fixtures for early signs of leaks or disfunction. They can intervene promptly if there are any issues, halting a plumbing emergency.

Your local plumber can use video technology to do a thorough inspection of your system. You should seek an evaluation of your plumbing every two years for the best results.

How to Prevent Clogs in Your Shower Drain

If you notice water pooling around your feet as you shower, it is likely because an obstruction has formed in the drain. Water accumulation in the shower due to a clogged drain can make your shower or tub dirty and leave your feet feeling gross as they linger in the water.

Cleaning products, plungers, or your local plumber can assist you in clearing clogs in your plumbing. However, you can prevent these clogs by altering some of your bathing and cleaning habits. Guardian Plumbing Services, a team of highly qualified plumbers serving customers in Annapolis, MD, lists three ways that you can lower the risk of forming clogs in a shower drain.

prevent plumbing emergencies Annapolis Maryland

Consider a Drain Screen

One of the major contributors to clogs in a shower drain is hair. Thin strands can easily slip down a drain and then clump together to block pipes and form a clog.

A mesh drain screen can cover your shower drain, catching hair that may otherwise enter your pipes and create a blockage. Hairs will instead accumulate on this screen, which you can then empty into your trash once or twice a month. This device is easy to install and can prevent inconvenient and costly clogs from affecting your plumbing system.

Avoid Oily Shower Products

You may be aware of the dangers of emptying oil and grease down your kitchen sink as you cook. This concept applies to your shower drain as well. Greasy shower products, like coconut oil or oil-based scrubs, can stick in your pipes and harden. As they accumulate, they will harden and create a clog in the shower drain.

You can pay attention to the ingredients in the products you use when you shower. If they seem to contain high amounts of oil, you might want to substitute them with ones that are less oil-based.

If you rely on greasy products outside of the shower, you might want to ensure they are absorbed in your skin properly before you bathe. Alternatively, you can wipe away any oily residue that lingers on your skin before you shower.

Flush Drains Regularly

Though you may utilize drain screens and other precautionary methods, materials may still begin to build up in your drain and form clogs. You can eliminate this build-up before it becomes a clog, however, by flushing your drain.

To do this, you can set your shower to a hot temperature and allow the water to run for a few minutes. The heat can melt substances clinging to the pipes. And the force of the water can rinse away the lingering residues. Contact your plumber for an inspection if you have concerns about frequent clogs in your shower drain.

Find Emergency Plumbing Services in Annapolis, MD

Guardian Plumbing can unclog drains and complete other emergency plumbing services for customers in Annapolis, MD. Our plumbers can also perform routine maintenance and inspections for residential and commercial clients. To get an estimate for your plumbing job at no cost to you, contact our office by phone at 301.685.5017. You can also reach a member of our staff online.