Do you remember the last time you cleaned your home's drains? If you're like many homeowners, the answer might be "never." At best, most people tend to think of their drains as existing in one of two states: freely flowing or clogged beyond hope. The latter situation is usually the first time most people start thinking about their drains.
In reality, your home's drains don't live this binary existence. Numerous factors can influence how well wastewater exits your home, and you may not even realize that your drains are running poorly. Even worse, unaddressed issues can eventually lead to clogs and even sewer backups. If you're in the habit of ignoring your drains, watch for these three signs that you might need to schedule a cleaning.
1. Gurgling and Bubbling
You might have learned to live with them, but weird noises from your drains are never normal. Gurgling, bubbling, hissing, and other strange sounds all indicate the presence of gases escaping into your home. Typical residential plumbing setups include a vent stack that allows these gases to escape, preventing them from reaching your drains.
When you hear these sounds or see bubbling in your toilet bowl, it's a good indication that there's an obstruction in the normal flow of wastewater. The clog may be in the vent stack, or you may have a slow-running waste pipe. Partially clogged pipes can trap air, producing the telltale sounds that indicate it's time to call in a drain cleaner.
2. "Temporary" Blockages
Do your drains run slow sometimes? You might notice that water occasionally takes longer to go down a drain. You may also experience backups when you use multiple drains all at once. These problems may go away on their own, making them seem like temporary issues that aren't worth the time or trouble to fix.
In reality, these signs point to a deep clog, either in your home's main drain line or in a sewer pipe. The pipe may have sufficient flow for everyday usage but fail under heavy loads. Without proper cleaning, these blockages can collect additional material, worsening until the entire line becomes clogged.
3. Nasty Smells
Nasty smells can sometimes indicate sewer blockages, but they may also signify debris trapped elsewhere in the pipe. As food waste or other trash collects in your drains, it can rot and produce unpleasant odors. As with deep blockages, these trapped particles can collect more waste over time, eventually causing your drain to back up and fail. A cleaning will usually resolve the problem.
Fixing a clogged drain is often a more expensive proposition than cleaning it before a blockage occurs. Watching for early signs of trouble is an excellent way to recognize when it's time to schedule a preventative drain cleaning for your home.