5 Common Signs of a Blocked Plumbing Drain

Did you ever play “I Spy” when you were a child? It’s a simple game where you find a nearby object, give someone else a clue to what the object is, and see if they could guess what you spied with your little eye. As homeowners, we play a similar but not nearly as enjoyable version of the game – trying to spot home issues before they turn into big problems.

When it comes to catching common plumbing issues such as clogged drain, you can actually use multiple senses – sight, sound, and smell. Here are five signs that you have a blocked drain.

1. A toilet, sink, or tub drain is flowing slowly (or has stopped completely)

This is about as clear of a sign that you can get that there’s a clog. If it’s just one fixture that’s affected, the most likely cause is a blockage in the trap, which is the U-shaped part of the pipe below the drain that holds water to prevent sewer gases from coming up. If you can remove or push the blockage past the trap, it should fix the slow drain.

2. Running water in the bathroom causes the toilet bowl to fill with more water

Since the drains of a bathroom are connected at some point, having one fixture or outlet affecting the water level of another usually means there’s a blockage early on in the drain line.

3. Multiple drains are slow at the same time

If most or all of the drains in your home are acting up at once, then it’s a clue that the blockage may be located in the sewer line, which is the underground pipe that carries wastewater out to the municipal sewer system. This type of blockage shouldn’t be ignored or you could end up having sewage backing up into your home.

4. Bad smells

If you notice a foul and unexplained odor in your home, it could be caused by a plumbing blockage that hasn’t become visible yet. The blockage could be organic materials that have rotted (common in kitchen sinks) or the beginning of a sewage backup from a blocked sewer line.

5. Strange sounds coming from pipes

Since the majority of the pipes are concealed, it’s good to keep your ears open for signs of a clog. This can be sounds such as dripping, bubbling, hissing, or banging.

What to do next

How you unclog a drain depends on where the blockage is located and its severity. For example, if you have a slow drain in just a toilet or tub, you can try plunging or retrieving the blockage with a bent wire. However, if the blockage seems to be deeper into the plumbing system or is affecting multiple outlets, then you should have a professional plumber take a look.

We also recommend that you do NOT use liquid or gel drain clears to try to unclog any drain. These products have harsh chemicals that can produce toxic fumes and can damage your pipes.

Drain cleaning service in New Haven and Fairfield Counties

If you have a stubborn clog that you can’t seem to locate or fix, call the professionals at Rick’s Plumbing. We’ve been serving Milford and surrounding areas since 1992. Call us today at (203) 874-6629.