Frequently Asked Questions
Having a clogged kitchen sink, main drain or shower drain can be a messy and embarrassing occurrence. There are a few things to know about a clogged drain line. Read below for information regarding smells, clogged shower drains and other faq’s. Feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions we do not have listed.
After a period of use, bathroom sinks will start to emit a strong foul rotten egg smell. This is caused by sulphite gases building up a result of bio matter build-up. Its not uncommon to feel sick or have a headache in some more serious cases. There are all kinds of ways to mask the problem with various things such as vinegar, baking soda, drain cleaners. However, the best way to help control the build up is to use more water when draining mouthwash, tooth paste, and other orally taken treatments we all use at the bathroom sink, never let the dental floss go down the drain, always rinse the sink after draining with soapy water. You can maintain the drain by adding a mixed solution of bleach and water. Best to do this before you have a problem with smells. NEVER mix bleach or other chemicals together. If you’re smelly problem has already taken hold. The best most effective way to rid the problem is to completely take the drain portion apart, and physically clean all the parts in a bleach solution. Unless you’re a handy kind of person, you should invest in calling your local plumber to come in and just replace the parts.
Hair Nets and Sink Drain Screens can be purchased at your local hardware store. The trick is to try and prevent hair from getting into the drain
opening. These types of drain hair traps will work well in most circumstances.
Many homes through-out Canada have the washing machine drain plumb into the floor drain. In most cases, having this type of plumbing arrangement will allow
soap suds to gather around the floor drain.
Newer home have the washing machine drain plumbed downstream of the floor drain. Having the floor drain plumbed in downstream of the floor drain will stop the suds problems.
In some cases, you ca install a device called a “Flood Check”. This will cut down on the amount of soap build-up. Installing a flood check depends on the age of the pipes among other design issues.
A clogged kitchen sink, at times can be unclogged by a willing home-owner. Before attempting to unclog your sink, it’s important to remember that in Canada, the
drainage system is vented to the outside through a maze of carefully designed pipes. Why? Because while the drain part of your sink maybe plugged, the vent part most
likely will not be. So, if you start forcing water into the drain from under the sink with blow bags, or excessively plunging it with your plunger from up-top, you may
end up sending water up the vent, and in some cases, that can cause damage from sewage escaping where it shouldn’t.
So what do you do? Be Careful! Remember its sewage your working with, and NEVER start working on a drain that you have poured a chemical into. If you have used any kind of chemical, abandon the project at once. Let the plugged sink sit untouched for at least 24 hours after the last chemical pour before you even consider removing the standing water. Wear gloves and eye protection. If you feel you can’t deal with the smell, and the dangers of the sewage mixed with chemical, call a professional, and make sure you tell them about the type of chemical, and how long it’s been sitting. So, you’ve made it this far, it’s just a plugged sink, let’s try the simple things first.
You will need:
2) Flat pan
3) Good heavy set of plastic gloves
4) A wrench or good set of pliers
7) Rags, lots of them
Remove the standing water as much as you can. Start by plugging one side of the sink with either a rag or the stopper in the other side preventing it from coming into the other sink. This is best done with a helper. Plunging the sink should work if its a clog that has just occurred due to something you put down the drain, like rice, or similar. If that doesn’t work, time to get down!.
Under the sink you will find a p-trap, most times this can be removed, or there is a plug at the bottom. You will need a pan, carefully loosen the plug and let all the sewer water drain out BEFORE completely removing it all the way. If you’re lucky, you might find the source of the plug at this point. If not, then the clog is further downstream.
If you decide to take augering step on, you will need:
1) All of the above plus
2) A drain auger electric power recommended.
3) A pipe wrench or fair size similar wrench.
4) More rags
Next step is to find the clean-out for the main part of your kitchen sink drain. Slowly open it, careful to catch all the sewage that is still in the pipes with a pan, wet-vac, or rags. Insert and auger the line as per the instructions on the equipment you choose to use. In most cases, 50 feet of snake should be enough to clear the clog.
Having to replace your main sewer line is a messy and fairly costly undertaking. Home owners that have had this done will all agree that it came as an
unexpected surprise. With the many options available for getting the work done, the choices can be daunting. We hope the following information will help you in
this unsettling time.
Excavation of the ground and replacement of the sewer-lines
Hiring a contractor to dig up and replace the sewer line is one option of many home owners are faced with. If the decision to dig and replace is the only option after the initial assessment, look for the following.
1) Make sure your chosen contractor has the experience, and equipment to properly carry out the required steps from beginning to end. Ask for references from past workmanship.
2) Have the agreement between you and the contractor written, and clearly understood as to who will do what. Sometimes money can be saved if the owners elect to take care of the clean-up of the areas after the work is done. Replacing sod, fence, concrete pads, flower gardens, walk-ways etc. are the biggest concerns. Problems will arise if the work carried out wasn’t completely understood.
3) Make sure you have all the utilities located above and below ground. Never start excavation of the ground without a written report on what and where the underground utilities are in relation with the sewer-line trench.
4) If your piping materials are outdated, be sure to change out all of the older materials with the new. In some rare extreme cases, you may not be able to do so, leaving old materials will just delay the need for complete replacement in the near future.
5) If your waterline that supply’s the building with water is made of outdated materials, or undersized, replacement is strongly recommended at the same time as in most cases, sewer and water share the trench.
6) If trees are in the way of the trench-line, make sure you have permission from the owner of the tree before cutting it down. In some cities, the trees are protected by-law from being cut down.
7) In some cities in Canada, a plumbing permit is required before the work is started, and an inspection by a city plumbing inspector is required before the ground is back-filled.
8) Take pictures of the progress
9) Make sure the backfill isn’t going to damage the new piping materials. A quality contractor will ensure the back-fill is approved for the backfilling of the sewer trench.
10) Understand that if you do not compact the new fill going into the trench, the ground will settle over the next year or more requiring more back-fill to be brought in.
To recap, assessment of the situation with a video inspection with a sewer camera, if the digging is the only option, find a contractor with the right knowledge and equipment. Pull the plumbing permits if required in your areas. Get in writing who is responsible for any fencing removal and replacement; cement pads, flower beds, walk-ways, clean-up and all other affected areas currently in place. Take pictures of the areas beforehand. Take pictures throughout. Call the utility location company and get the areas marked and in writing. Have plans for sewage use if any during the repairs. Good Luck!!
Trenchless Sewer-line Replacements -
The following video taken from YouTube shows a common trenchless way to repair your sewer pipes using a liner. Not all sewer lines can be repaired using this method, calling your contractor and having an assessment is the first step in deciding if your repairs are a candidate for this type of repair.
The following video taken from YouTube shows a common trenchless way to repair your sewer pipes using a pipe burst method. Not all sewer lines can be repaired using this method, calling your contractor and having an assessment is the first step in deciding if your repairs are a candidate for this type of repair.
Getting rid of the sewer smell after a sewer back up and flood -
If you have had a bad flood of sewage in your dwelling, the carpets, carpet underlay, drywall that has been damaged must be replaced or properly cleaned. Dangers from sewers causing adverse affects on human and animal health are real. You may be aware of moulds that can cause respiratory and other health problems. Odours and musky smells are the end result that can be taken care of with a commercial grade “Ozone” maker. You will not be able to occupy the dwelling while the ozone decontamination process is ongoing. For stubborn situations, you can purchase an Ozone maker and run it while the rooms are unoccupied.