Hey friend! Have you ever dealt with a clogged drain or slow-flowing toilet? If so, you’ve experienced the hassles of a plumbing stoppage. Essentially, a stoppage is any blockage that prevents water and waste from flowing freely through your pipes. Stoppages disrupt drainage and can cause messy backups and flooding inside your home. Definitely not an ideal situation!
In this guide, we’ll explore common causes of stoppages, signs to watch out for, and both DIY and professional solutions. I’ll walk you through exactly what a plumbing stoppage is, the different types you may encounter, how to avoid them, and what to do when you’re dealing with a clogged pipe.
Grab a snack and let’s get to it! Here’s everything you need to know about plumbing stoppages:
What Causes Those Pesky Plumbing Stoppages?
A variety of culprits can create a clog in your plumbing:
Debris Buildup is a Leading Stoppage Cause
Over time, small debris accumulates inside your pipes. Things like facial tissues, coffee grounds, cooking grease, and dryer lint stick to the insides of your pipes, eventually forming a mass that blocks water flow. Yuck!
Intruding Tree Roots Are a Stubborn Foe
If you have large trees near your home, their roots can infiltrate and damage underground plumbing pipes in search of moisture. Roots grow rapidly and can fully clog pipes surprisingly fast.
Failing Root Barriers Let Roots Invade
Many homes have root barriers installed around their exterior plumbing to prevent root intrusions. But when these barriers fail due to age or damage, tree roots can gain access and wreak havoc on your pipes.
Sewer Backups Cause Nasty Stoppages
If the main sewer line that connects your home to the municipal sewer system becomes blocked, it can create a massive backups inside your pipes. Sewer backups pour out sewage and waste, resulting in awful odors, contamination, and flooding if not resolved quickly.
Not All Stoppages Are Created Equal
Now that you know what causes clogs, let’s go over the different types of stoppages you may encounter:
Partial vs Complete Blockages
A partial clog allows some water flow but slows drainage. Total blockages halt water flow entirely. Partial clogs can worsen into complete obstructions if not cleared out.
Mainline vs Branch Line Stoppages
Mainline stoppages occur in the home’s main sewer line. These are extremely problematic, affecting the entire plumbing system. Branch line clogs happen in secondary fixture pipes and impact just that appliance.
Drain Line vs Sewer Line Stoppages
Drain line clogs happen in pipes inside your home that lead from fixtures to the main interior plumbing lines. Sewer line obstructions occur outside in the pipes connecting your home to the municipal sewer.
Detecting Signs of Trouble in Your Pipes
How do you know if you’re dealing with an impending plumbing stoppage? Watch for these common warning signs:
Slow or Backed Up Drainage
If water drains sluggishly or starts pooling around your sinks and tubs, a partial clog is likely forming.
Strange Gurgling Noises
Odd gurgles, burbling or splashing sounds from your drains indicate air and water fighting to get through a blockage.
Water Around Floor Drains
Excess water collecting around floor drains signals an underground pipe obstruction.
Unpleasant Sewage Odors
Foul stenches wafting from drains or toilets means waste and sewage are backing up due to a stoppage.
Stoppages Can Really Make a Mess if Ignored!
Left unaddressed, stoppages can cause some serious havoc. Here are some of the most common consequences of untreated clogs:
Contaminated Plumbing Fixtures
Blockages that back up sewage into sinks, tubs and toilets expose you to bacteria, viruses and raw sewage throughout the home.
Ruined Plumbing Fixtures
The pressure created from a major backup can damage indoor plumbing fixtures as contaminated water overflows from every opening.
Flooding Damage from Sewer Backups
If sewage backs up through multiple drains and toilets, you’re looking at nasty and costly flooding inside your home. Sewer backups can bring inches of disgusting sludge!
Don’t Let Clogs Happen – Prevent Them!
As the old saying goes…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Here are pro tips to avoid stoppages in your plumbing:
Perform Regular Drain Cleanings
Routinely flush drains with hot water and use enzyme drain cleaners to keep pipes debris-free.
Limit Grease and Oil Down the Drain
These thick substances solidify and coat pipe interiors. Minimize pouring fats, oils and grease down your sinks and drains.
Use Drain Strainers in Sinks
Strainers catch food bits, hair and debris before they go down the pipes. Empty strainers regularly.
Avoid Flushing Trash Down Toilets
Toilets aren’t trash cans! Only human waste and toilet paper should go down.
Install Backflow Prevention Valves
These devices prevent sewage backups from entering your home through drain pipes. Worth the investment!
For Minor Clogs – Try These Handy DIY Solutions!
If you catch a clog early, you may be able to clear it yourself without calling a plumber. Here are go-to DIY methods:
Use a Plunger
Forceful plunging can dislodge minor drain obstructions. Cover overflow drain holes to ensure maximum suction.
Reach for a Flexible Drain Snake
For sinks, these bendable metal cables threaded down your pipe can grab and pull up clogs.
Consider Chemical Drain Cleaners
Liquid drain openers dissolve organic material like hair & grease. Use per product instructions.
Serious Stoppages Call For a Pro!
DIY methods aren’t equipped to handle substantial blockages. For major clogs, call a professional plumber to deploy these heavy-duty stoppage solutions:
Hydrojetting Blasts Away Debris
This powerful technique uses high-pressure water bursts to scour pipe interiors and wash away years of accumulated gunk.
Rooter Machines Grab Roots and Debris
These flexible augers with hooked tips ensnare roots and debris upon retrieval. Specialty augers feature drill bits to annihilate tree roots.
Excavation for Pipe Replacement
For severe pipe damage or recurring clogs, excavating and replacing sections of damaged sewer or drain lines is the permanent solution.
Don’t Bust Your Budget Dealing with Stoppages!
Costs to clear a clogged pipe vary greatly depending on factors like accessibility, scope of damage, and professional vs DIY approach:
Professional Stoppage Service Calls Average $250-$500
For significant stoppages requiring a plumber’s expertise, expect to pay an average of $250 to $500 per hour to clear the clog, depending on complexity.
Extensive Excavation and Repairs Start Around $2,000
If pipes need digging up and replacing, costs quickly escalate to $2,000+ for materials and excavator rental. Severe sewer line repairs can exceed $10,000.
DIY Methods Run You $20 to $60
Basic drain plungers and snakes cost between $20 to $60 if you tackle minor clogs yourself. Using chemical drain cleaners a few times per year will only set you back $10 to $20.
Now Go Forth and Banish Clogs, My Friend!
Everything you could possibly need to know about plumbing stoppages!
Armed with knowledge on causes, prevention, and removal, you can combat clogged drains and keep your pipes flowing freely. If you ever notice gurgling sounds from drains or backed up sewage, call on a professional right away before the problem worsens.
Stay far away from the flooding, odors, and hassles of plumbing stoppages my friend. I hope this guide served you well! Let me know if you have any other home plumbing questions.