With the holidays coming up, your head will soon be filled with visions of proverbial sugar plums. However, your drains may be filled with something else entirely.
The holiday season puts a lot of extra stress on our plumbing. In fact, some plumbers see 50% increases in emergency calls around the holidays, something that can be caused by the extra demands we place on our pipes during the season. There are more guests, more cooking, and in general higher usage of your drainage system.
And after the holiday season is done, there are only a few short months before the snow melts and our drains are tested once again. During the spring thaw, a clog-free main sewer line can mean the difference between a dry basement and a costly flood.
With the holidays coming up and the thaw right around the corner, now is the perfect time to have your drains checked. A preemptive cleaning can prevent problems during what is a very taxing season for pipes.
Avoid Holiday Embarrassment
Picture the following scenario. You’ve invited your family and your closest friends over for a holiday party. You’re preparing food in the kitchen when a guest discretely takes you aside and informs you that a “situation” is unfolding in the bathroom.
There’s a clog, but it’s not just any clog. The drain is clogged deep in your plumbing system. It’s not something that a plunger will fix, try as you might.
With horror, you realize that the clog has affected both toilets, and they’re both out of commission. It definitely puts a damper on the festivities, to say the least.
This is the kind of scenario that a thorough drain cleaning can help to avoid.
Common Causes of Clogged Drains
The situation above is all too common. Clogged drains are a fact of life for most households, but the problem can often be more noticeable during the holiday season, when our plumbing sees increased use. In fact, a holiday party during which many people are using the plumbing simultaneously may often cause a partially clogged drain to become a more serious problem.
One of the most common causes of clogged drains is excess grease and fat. During the holidays, turkey fat and butter sometimes goes down the drain. This can cause clogs, especially if your drains are already partly clogged with hair or other objects. Grease can cling to these potential clogs and make them worse.
With toilets, foreign objects are usually the main causes of clogs. A small child may decide to test that new toy by seeing if it flushes. Someone may try flushing other non-flushables like paper towels, baby wipes or feminine hygiene supplies. (“Weird, those always go down at my house…”)
For showers, visiting guests means more hair and personal care products going down the drain. One long-haired niece might become the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Another common cause of drain blockage is tree roots. Roots can grow into the main sewer line of your home, eventually blocking it and potentially causing flooding issues in your home. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ensure that no large trees are planted near your main drain. There’s a lot more to talk about in this topic, so we’ll leave that for another post.
The Perils of Liquid Drain Cleaners
It may be tempting to try to solve the clog by using a standard liquid drain cleaner, which can be found at most hardware stores. However, these drain cleaners often cause more problems than they fix.
Liquid drain cleaners can actually damage your pipes, especially those made from PVC or copper. Additionally, their ingredients harm the environment and are toxic. Instead, get your drains checked and cleaned by a professional.
You can also help maintain your drains using BioSmart, a natural treatment that reduces buildup when used regularly.
Preparing for the Spring Thaw
Another reason to get your drains checked is the upcoming spring thaw. As we all know, in Calgary the spring thaw can become a true natural disaster if the rivers flood, but here we’re just talking about getting rid of the regular amount of water off your property.
Having your main sewer line and sump system checked now means you won’t have to worry about it all winter. You’ll be ready.
And it also means you’ll have time to repair issues that may come up in relation to the drain inspection. For example, your plumber may notice that your backwater valve is faulty. A backwater valve is the valve that sits on your main sewer line and prevents sewage from washing back into the home, in the case of a flooded city sewer.
You may also want to check the grading of the ground near the foundation as soon as possible. Ideally, the incline of the ground close to your home should direct water flow away from your foundation. Granted, that’s not something that can be fixed with the ground frozen but if there’s an issue it can go on the to-do list next summer.
These are all elements that you can assess while you get your drain checked. The idea is to make sure that your home is completely prepared to handle whatever the spring thaw throws its way.
Don’t Wait to Check Your Drains
Many people don’t realize that serious drain clogs can be prevented long before they become a problem. By getting your drains checked regularly, you are preventing more serious issues like backups and flooding, and you are avoiding the embarrassment and inconvenience caused by a faulty plumbing system during a holiday party.
At Knight, we offer drain checking and cleaning services that will help ensure that your drains make it through these trying times.