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Common Causes of Clogged Drains and Sewer Lines

Published April 26, 2022
Written by Eric Smith
Common Causes of Clogged Drains and Sewer Lines

Sewer Clogged?

There is nothing more unnerving than raw sewage on the floor of your home from a clogged sewer line. 

The average property owner likely knows that sewer lines help transport waste water from the home to the underground sewer mains. Other than that, most property owners give very little thought to their sewer drains.  

Oftentimes there are early warning indicators prior to a sewer line becoming stopped up. 

The most common early warning indicators are water backing up from the floor drain or any drain that makes a gurgling noise after water usage.  

When a toilet is flushed into a drain that is moderately plugged, it will gurgle and flush with very little power. Purposely a sewer line is not supposed to plug.  

Regrettably many homeowners experience this awful event and Austin Plumbing Heating & Air is here to help. We respond to hundreds of plugged or stopped up drain lines each year in Washington and Waukesha counties. 

Clogged sewers can be caused by many different reasons: 

  • Grease build-up
  • An object that enters the sewer that is not dissolvable
  • Too much toilet paper  
  • Tree roots growing in the sewer line 
  • Sagging or bellies in aging sewer lines

Clogged Kitchen Sink Drain 

Kitchen sink drains are one of the most used drains in most residences. Not only is your kitchen sink the most used drain in the residence, but it is also the most abused drain in the residence.  

It is almost impossible to keep small food particles from going down the drain and grease from cooking and dishes finds its way down the drain. Improper use of a garbage disposal also increases the chances of your kitchen sink being clogged up. Over a period of time, the shredding blades on your garbage disposal become dull causing the debris to be ground up in pieces that are too large to safely pass through the plumbing. 

We recommend that homeowners throw peelings from veggies in the garbage (or better yet compost pile) rather than grind them in the disposal. The best use for a garbage disposal is only to grind the smaller food particles up that get washed down the disposal side.   

A good habit to develop when using your kitchen sink is to run hot water for 15-30 seconds to wash down any debris that may be flowing down the drain.  

The type of material that the drain is made of also can dictate the amount of drain problems you have in your home. Older homes that have galvanized pipe or cast iron pipe will have more kitchen sink drain problems than homes that have PVC or copper.  

Austin Plumbing Heating & Air has several types of drain cleaning machines to efficiently clean your drain.  

Clogged Bathtub

Have you ever had ankle-deep water while standing in your shower? 

Many homeowners put up with slow draining bathtubs for months and often years. Some property owners procrastinate the “little drain problems” until it becomes a much bigger issue.  

Eventually, when it’s least convenient, the shower drain will become completely plugged causing an urgent situation. Emergency drain stoppages are very annoying for homeowners, not to mention expensive. 

When a drain becomes slow or gurgling, be sure to call and schedule a service call with Austin Plumbing Heating & Air. 

Sewer Cameras

Sewer cameras are a great way to properly diagnose a reccuring drain problem. Austin Plumbing Heating & Air has a sewer camera in every service truck. It is standard practice on every main sewer we clean to inspect it with our camera.  

We can properly advise our customers why their sewer is clogged, the likelihood of it happening again, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. Most main sewer lines that have frequent problems have one or more of these problems: 

  • Tree root intrusions
  • A sag or belly in the line
  • A break or crack in the pipe
  • Severe grease or sludge build-up

Water Jetting

High-pressure water jetting is also a very effective way to clean sewers that have a history of drain stoppages. With up to 3,000 pounds of pressure per square inch and up to 18 gallons of water per minute, we can peel off grease and sludge that has built up on the sidewall of the pipe. 

Austin Plumbing Heating & Air wants to inform each client of every possible way to prevent sewer backups and get educated on all of the options and procedures to eliminate future problems.

About The Author: Eric Smith
Eric Smith is a 3rd generation State of Wisconsin Master Plumber, Water Well Pump Installer, Plumbing Contractor, Water Well Contractor, HVAC Contractor and Water Treatment Expert and the owner of Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air.