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Dealing With Constant Clogs? Proactive Ideas To Help You Find A Permanent Solution

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Dealing with sinks and tubs full of dirty water or a toilet that gurgles and threatens to overflow is no fun, especially if you are expecting a houseful of guests during the upcoming holiday season. Not only is dipping the dirty water out of the sink or plunging the toilet over and over aggravating, the process can also be downright unsanitary. Experiencing these types of problems usually means that your home's sewer pipes are damaged in some way or there is a persistent clog that prevents the waste water from draining properly. If the situation is allowed to continue, there is a good chance that sewage will eventually backup into the home and potentially cost thousands of dollars to replace pipes, flooring, and other damaged surfaces. To avoid this, you first have to find the problem and these ideas will help. 

Determining whether the clog is inside or outside the home

Most modern sewer pipes are installed with specially designed openings called cleanouts in several places along the line. Cleanouts are simply tees in the sewer pipe that extend slightly above the soil, with a some type of removable cap that allows the homeowner or a plumber to observe and access the interior of the sewer line in that area. If your home's sewer pipes have cleanouts they can be helpful in locating clogs or damage that may be causing your drains to function improperly. These steps will help you use the cleanouts to locate the area where the problem lies: 

  • find and open the exterior cleanout that is located closest to where the main sewer line exits your home
  • place several drops of food coloring in a drain inside the home and then have someone turn on the water tap while you are outside observing the interior of the sewer line through the opened cleanout
  • if the colored water does not reach your location or is only trickling by, even though the water is turned on full force at the sink, then the clog is likely located somewhere between the sink and the first cleanout 
  • if the colored water does reach your location,but does not continue draining properly or begins to back flow, then the clog is likely located somewhere between the first and second cleanout locations or further down the pipe

To visually examine the clogged or damaged area, consider renting an inexpensive sewer camera to make a more thorough assessment of the clog or damage and help you determine whether it is something you can repair yourself or whether you will need professional help.