Why Does My Drain Always Need Snaked?

Everyone has experienced a clogged drain at some point in time. These drains can usually be cleaned out with a plunger or a drain cleaner, but there are sometimes when it cannot. Most often, these are the cases where the clog is reoccuring. If that’s the case, you should call a professional plumber in Pittsburgh to go after the offending clog with a drain snake.

Snaking a clogged drain is usually an effective solution, but you still need to figure out why your drains keep clogging in order or you to stop the problem before it gets too big and expensive for you to handle. Here are some reasons why your drain is always needing snaked.

Sending the Wrong Things down the Drain

The most common reason why your drain is constantly clogged is because you’re putting the wrong things down them. Fortunately, it’s also the easiest problem to fix. Cooking grease is often the culprit and can clog kitchen sinks when it congeals and forms a plug.  Other common causes are rice, vegetable peels, and other food particles. Grease should be poured into a jar and be recycled or thrown out with the trash, and vegetable peels should be thrown out or composted. Uneaten food should go down the garbage disposal, not the drain.

If it’s your bathtub or shower drain that is constantly clogged, the culprit is most likely hair and dead skin. A plastic plumbing snake or drain cleaner is usually enough to take care of that problem.

Meanwhile, toilets are often clogged when people flush the wrong items. As a rule, the only things that should ever be flushed down your toilet are toilet paper and human waste. Anything else will cause problems and clog your line.

Going Too Long Without Snaking Your Drains

Of course, you can be extremely diligent about what goes down your drains and still experience the occasional clog. Soap scum, grease, and other materials can build up in pipes and drains over time, which is why you should contact a plumber every few years to take a look at your pipes and clear them out as needed. Think of this as preventive maintenance, something that could prevent a costly repair in the future.

Plumbing Snakes vs. Hydro Jetting

Most relatively simple clogs will respond well to a plumbing snake, but more stubborn clogs may require hydro jetting. Hydro jetting involves spraying a high-pressure stream of water down your drain to break apart clogs and wash away debris. Powerful hydro jetting can even get rid of tree roots that are clogging a sewer line. Snakes generally do well against clogs that are closer to the surface, while hydro jetting works best for clogs that are deeper in a pipeline. Your plumber will be able to determine whether your clogged drains call for a snake or a hydro jet.

In any case, it’s always better to call a local plumber as soon as you suspect that you have a problem that you cannot solve yourself. It’s much easier to clear out a small clog than have to replace your home’s plumbing system. The professional plumbers at Mister Sewer have years of experience in handling clogs.  Call today to work with our professionals!

How Does Trenchless Sewer Repair Work?

There was a time when sewage line replacement meant tearing apart your yard. Tearing you lawn apart may have saved your sewer line and plumbing, but it almost always means sacrificing your lawn and landscaping. Although a necessity, it is a long, complicated, and expensive process. Fortunately, that time has passed for many modern plumbing companies, thanks to trenchless sewer repair.

As its name implies, trenchless sewer repair or trenchless pipe repair allows workers to replace a sewer line without having to dig a large trench. There is still some digging involved, but the damage to your lawn is increasingly minimized. Landscaping can be costly, this is why more and more homeowners are deciding to move forward with trenchless sewer repair.

Trenchless Sewer Repair: Step by Step

Before any work can begin on your sewer line, the existing line must be examined by a specialty camera made to navigate sewer lines. This is a long and flexible camera that is snaked into the pipe via a drain in your home. The camera then gives the plumber an idea of the length of the sewer line and the extent of any damaged.

After the initial inspection is completed, the sewer pipe is then accessed from the shallowest point. This shallow point is typically in your basement or an area just outside of your home. The host pipe is then flushed out with a hydro-jetter, and any remaining debris is cleared out with a mechanical plumbing snake.

Once the sewer line is clear, the new pipe lining is inserted in to the sewer and left to cure. This new liner is called a “cured in place pipe,” or CIPP. It is made from a resin that hardens and essentially replaces your old, damaged sewer line. This is all completed with minimal digging because only part of the sewer line needs to be accessed for a trenchless pipe repair to be completed.

After the sewer line is given time to cure, an inspection is performed with a sewer camera to make sure that the repair was completed properly. If all is well, service can be returned to your home, and your new sewer line can be used right away. One of the biggest advantages of trenchless sewer repair is that it can often be completed in only one day.

As you can see, a sewage line replacement is no longer an arduous task that risks tearing apart your lawn or driveway. A trenchless pipe repair requires minimal digging for most situations and for some homes there may be no digging at all. The process is quick and relatively simple, and your new sewer line is tough enough to last for several years.

If you’ve been having issues with your sewer line and believe it needs to be replaced, contact Mister Sewer to find out if trenchless sewer repair is an option for you!

Is Water Hammer Hurting Your Pipes

One common plumbing problem many homeowners experience is water hammer. It can cause some serious problems if left unaddressed, so here is a little info about what water hammer is, what it does to your pipes, and how it can be fixed.

What Is Water Hammer

Water hammer is a condition in which water rushing through pipes at high velocity suddenly stops or shifts directions. The result is a shockwave that literally causes a banging or hammering sound in your water pipes.

What Causes Water Hammer

There can be several causes of water hammer in different situations, but generally, the condition is caused when water flows through your pipes at high speed, and when the water flow is shut off, that water suddenly stops and causes the shockwave.

Many home plumbing systems have short lengths of pipe called “risers,” which are capped at one end and installed vertically. These risers are filled with a cushion of air to act as shock absorbers to prevent water hammer.

Also, new homes are often designed with larger-diameter pipes to reduce water pressure and slow down the water velocity, thereby reducing water hammer.

While the risers are an effective fix, water hammer can still occur when these air-filled risers become blocked and fill up with water, debris, and mineral deposits. It’s similar to the way arteries in the body become clogged with cholesterol over the years.

If your house is showing signs of water hammer, you should address the issue immediately before the problem causes permanent damage.

How Does Water Hammer Damage Your Plumbing

Water hammer causes shockwaves that travel through your pipes and cause pressure in excess of 1,000 psi. That is a lot of force, and over time it can cause valves and water pipes to fail or burst, causing major damage inside the walls of your home. This should be avoided at all costs, as the cleanup and repair costs can be astronomical.

How Can You Fix Water Hammer

If you’re on a tight budget and want to try some low-cost options before searching for Pittsburgh plumbing services, there are some options you can try yourself to see if the problem can be fixed without professional assistance.

Water hammer arresters are small fixtures that can be installed near valves. They take the place of risers by accomplishing the same thing: they act as shock absorbers. You can also try installing low-flow water fixtures, such as water-saving WaterSense showerheads and faucets. These reduce the speed of water flowing through your pipes so that when the faucets are shut off and water flow stops, the pressure is low enough to reduce the chances of a shockwave being produced.

Another possibility is to install a pressure regulator on your mainline and set it to 40 psi. This limits the water flowing into your home at the source and will reduce water velocity throughout the entire system. You may need to call in a plumber on this one, but keep in mind that it won’t be appropriate for all homes, as reducing water pressure too much can result in a trickle of water flow in some fixtures when multiple water outlets are in use simultaneously (e.g. running an upstairs faucet while the clothes washing machine downstairs is also filling with water).

Hopefully one of these options will remedy the issue. But if these DIY plumbing repairs haven’t resolved your water hammer problem – or if these are simply beyond your ability to perform yourself – then it’s time to call in Mister Sewer.  The professional plumbers at Mister Sewer are ready to help with all of your plumbing needs.  Schedule your appointment today.