Q: What causes drain lines to back up?

A: Food particles, grease, paper, and other organic materials attach to the walls of drain pipes and the buildup begins to snag other materials which pass through the pipe. The accumulation builds up and reduces the amount of waste water that can pass through. Enough buildup can block the pipe completely, not allowing any waste water to pass through causing the water to back up to the sinks, floor drains, or toilets.

Q: I don't have any problems right now.

A: By the time you wished you had, it's too late. By the time the common clog causes stoppage, heroic measures are necessary. Wouldn't it be nice to prevent this messy, smelly, and costly embarrassment? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to avoid the periodic panics, let alone the hassle and frazzle? Aren't you tired of hearing, "The sink's backed up again!" always at the time of peak use when everyone is most impatient? Call American Drain to prevent problems as well as solve problems!


A: TOILET stoppage - Often a recurring stoppage in a toilet is caused by an improperly adjusted fill valve in the tank. In the past, toilets had 3 gallons or more with which to flush the solid waste through the curves and bends in the toilet and down the drain. New toilets are required to use no more than 1.6 gallons of water. This means that the water used must be used in the most efficient manner, otherwise it is hard to get the solids to make the turns that it has to make to go down the drain. Recently, many toilet manufacturers have significantly improved their designs, making it much easier to flush the solid waste down the drain. The most common improvement made was making the flush valve and flapper in the tank much larger than previous models. This enables it to still use the required 1.6 gallons or less; however, it allows much faster evacuation of the water in the tank into the bowl. This gives the solid waste a quick ride down the drain pipe.
A word about things you flush down the toilet
It has become increasingly common for things other than toilet paper to be flushed down the drain. A good test to see if you can safely flush an item is to hold it under a stream of running water from the faucet. If the item begins to dissolve then it is most likely ok to flush. If it does not begin to dissolve, DO NOT FLUSH IT!
That means that those so called "flushable" baby wipe type products are not good to flush. You may get away with flushing these items for a short time, but because they do not dissolve they will often get hung on one of many irregular surfaces in the pipes further down the drain. They have a tendency to hang around for a long time, waiting to be joined by more of the same. When they build up over time, you can end up with severe problems - including stoppages and possibly even flooding.

Q: How do roots get into my sewer pipes?

A: Many of the older pipes are installed with joints that have gaskets or are filled with lead. These joints shift over time and hairline openings are formed around the gaskets or lead. If you've seen a crack in the sidewalk you know that it doesn't take much of an opening for something to grow. So it is with roots.

Q: Should I have my main sewer line snaked periodically even if it's not backing up?

A: That's really a personal choice but let me mention some criteria. If you've had periodic back-ups (say once every other year) that have become a pattern then I'd say preventive maintenance is a good decision. If you have just moved into a newly purchased home it would be a good idea to have your lines cleaned. If your house is 30 years old or more and the main line has never been cleaned then having it snaked to prevent any back-ups is also wise. But, if you are not having any problems and have not been having any problems then to start having your line cleaned once per year is certainly okay but it may not be necessary. However, if it gives you peace of mind, by all means have it done. American Drain performs preventive maintenance drain cleaning for all drains. Just call us today.

Q: How long does it take for roots to grow back after you've had your line snaked?

A: That question sounds simple but there are actually several variables to consider such as: What time of year it is (roots grow slower in winter), how thick the infiltration is, and how well were the roots cleaned out. I'll give the best answer I can. If you have roots growing into one of your pipes that causes a back-up and a technician snakes your line and is able to remove all the roots from the interior of the line I would expect it to take about 1-1/2 to 2 years for those roots to cause a back-up again. You can extend this time period by using root killer treatment, available from American Drain

Q: If I don't let anything go down my drain except normal stuff why does it still clog?

A: Eventually all lines do clog. Even the most careful person washes plates, bowls, silverware, etc. that have food particles or oily residue on them. You may even be very careful to catch the hair in your bathroom sink by using a strainer. Even the most careful person cannot keep soap, shaving cream, lotions, etc. from going down the drain. Whether it's your laundry drain, kitchen drain, bathtub, lavatory, or main line, particles, oils, and other matter accumulates on the inside walls of your drain pipes. If enough build-up occurs your drain will get clogged. Preventive maintenance build-up removers are available from American Drain,but they are slow acting. If your drain is slow or clogged have it cleaned first, then start using the product. amrican Drain can come out quickly if you have a clogged drain. Call us today.

Q: Is it okay to use "Liquid Plumber" or a similar product to try and unclog my stopped up drain?

A: I do not recommend using any product that lists sulfuric acid as an active ingredient, or that has the picture of a skull and crossbones anywhere on the product. Most of these products disintegrate hair but do nothing for soaps, oils, and similar matter. The problem with using these types of products is that they can cause severe harm to you or your plumbing if used improperly, which is often the case. One example is a customer who poured a sulfuric acid based product in their kitchen sink because it was clogged. The product did not do anything for the clog but instead took the shiny nickel finish completely off the sink and turned it a dull gray. The entire kitchen sink had to be replaced. These products can also eat through some of the metal parts in your drainage system such as the chrome p-trap under your bathroom sink. The only products I recommend using are biodegradable and environmentally safe build-up removers. The drawback is that these products are only effective when used as preventive maintenance. If you have a clogged drain please call American Drain to properly solve the problem and relieve the stoppage. We are experts in this area.

Drains and sewer clogs.