Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Drain clogs, drain blockages, sewer line clogs and stoppages occur in most homes, offices, factories and institutions.  The drain clog might appear in the kitchen sink, a bathtub, the toilet, a shower or a floor drain.  There are partial blockages of drains and full drain blockages which allow no water to pass through them. The questions and answers below can help you understand how drain blockages occur and whether to try to fix them yourself or call a professional by dialing 1-800-CLOG-MASTER.

Am I causing drain clogs?

Sometimes! In fact most clogs and drain blockages are caused by our personal habits.  It is things like putting the wrong things down the drain or not using a drain strainer which are intend to prevent things that cause blockages from getting into the drain.  Allowing oil and grease from cooking to go down the drain is a big problem.  Because even though it goes down the drain as a liquid when it is hot, it immediately cools on the drain pipe and starts a buildup that will trap other materials which will eventually cause the drain to stop draining. When items are flushed down a toilet which are not meant to be flushed, that is causing a potential clog situation, things such as sanitary towels, baby nappies, etc should never do down the drain.

What does it mean if all my sinks and tubs seem to drain slowly?

When that occurs, you have a blockage or a clog in a main drain line or your sewer line.  Trying to open the individual drains with a liquid or dry chemical drain fixer likely will not work.  You have to find the main sewer cleanout in your house to locate the blockage.  That is typically a job for someone like your local 1-800-CLOG-MASTER professional.

Why should I use 1-800-CLOG-MASTER?

Fair question! Your 1-800-CLOG-MASTER plumber actually is one of your local, independent plumbers.  They have decided to become the local representative for 1-800-CLOG-MASTER in your area because they are a qualified, licensed professional who is serious about providing fast, reliable and fairly priced services to you.  They want to build their business and be recognized as being the best choice for you!

What can I do before I call 1-800-CLOG-MASTER to dry to unblock a clogged drain?

If you have a dry or liquid drain cleaner which is biodegradable you could certainly try that first.  If the problem is in a toilet, you could try using a plunger to clear the blockage.  If the problem is a partial clog, you might get lucky by running very hot water down the drain.  Sometimes pouring a pot of boiling water (be careful) down a drain will do the trick.   Have you ever tried using baking soda and vinegar for a completely blocked drain?  Pour in the vinegar then some baking soda.  In 10 minutes try pouring boiling water into the drain.  If that fails, call us.  We are 1-800-CLOG-MASTER and we are here to help.

What type of things can I do to prevent drain clogs?

The plumbing system in your home consists primarily of water supply lines and water or removal or drains and sewers.  Almost any, if not every, mechanical system requires some period maintenance.  In order to prevent blocked drains and clogged sewers, it is important to keep this in mind and do period maintenance which should include inspections and drain and sewer line cleanings by a 1-800-CLOG-MASTER professional in your local care.

Practice common sense such as not putting grease into your sink, not washing down hair and other foreign matter down a drain.  Additionally you can delay blockages and clogs by running very hot water down your kitchen sink and other heavily used tubs and sinks for 10 to 15 minutes once a month or use environmentally safe drain cleaners periodically.

How can I determine if my sewer line is getting blockages? 

You are probably asking this question because you are noticing some slow drain activity which is a likely sign of a future major clog.  Your 1-800-CLOG-MASTER plumbing professional can quickly snake out your drain line to make sure it is clear.  If there is anything of concern, they can also do a video inspection with a camera attached to a snake-like device.  It will give them a complete picture of the sewer drain line between your house and your septic system or the main sewer line in your neighborhood.

How is it possible for roots to get into my sewer line?

Great question because you think of a sewer line as a closed pipe.  But older sewer pipes have joints that may no longer be reliable.  Over time the joining materials between sections can deteriorate and shifting soil can cause cracks.  Those openings are where the roots, seeking moisture, enter the lines.  You can witness the power of roots when they lift a sidewalk or crack a driveway.

Is it a good maintenance practice to have my main sewer line cleared out with a snake on a scheduled basis?

The answer to that question is “it depends”.  If your house is quite new then it is probably not necessary.   If your house is over 25 years old it might be a good idea to do it if you are in an area with a lot of trees.  You should also do it if you have experiences problems more than twice in the last three years.  In those situations, maintenance to prevent problems makes sense. If you have questions you can call your local 1-800-CLOG-MASTER plumber to get free advice and a free estimate if necessary.

Once I have had my main sewer line blockage cleared how long will it be good for?

It is not always easy to answer this question because it depends on many things.  But you should consider taking pre-emptive action in 1 ½ to 2 ½ years by scheduling another cleaning through your local 1-800-CLOG-MASTER.  It is inexpensive and more convenient that dealing with it when the next clog occurs!

Why do drains clog and get blocked?

Even the most careful family can’t keep the things that cause build up in a drain – food, grease, hair, cloth fiber, paper fiber, soap, cleaning residue and more from entering the drain and sewer system.  Given enough time, build ups will occur that will slow drains or completely block your drains.  Running hot water down a drain for several minutes and hardware store chemicals will slow done the process.  But unfortunately everyone encounters a blocked drain or blocked or broken sewer line at some point.

Will using liquid or a dry drain cleaner cause any problems?

One issue in this more environmentally aware world we are living in is that we are putting chemicals into the public sewer system and our own home. Another consideration is to avoid products which use sulfuric acid and those that show the skull/crossbones symbol on the package.  The best preventive maintenance is to run hot water down your main drains for 10 minutes once a month and use only those drain cleaners with are truly biodegradable or known to be environmentally safe.

Here is a list of garbage disposal Do’s and Don’ts you should observe:

Disposal Do’s: Disposal Don’ts:
DO – keep disposal clean.

DO – run your garbage disposal regularly to prevent rust and corrosion.

DO – grind food waste w/ a strong flow of cold water. Why cold water? It will cause any grease or oils that may get into the unit to solidify, so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.

DO – grind certain hard materials such as small chicken and fish bones, egg shells, small fruit pits, etc. A scouring action is created by these particles inside the grind chamber that cleans the garbage disposal’s walls.

DO – grind peelings from citrus fruits such as lemons or oranges to freshen up drain smells.

DO – cut large items into pieces.

DON’T – put anything down the drain which is not biodegradable.

DON’T – put glass, plastic, metal or even paper in your disposal.

DON’T – put cigars or cigarette butts into the disposal.

DON’T – pour grease or oil into the disposal.

DON’T – use hot water when running the disposal, it will liquefy grease and cause it to form on the drain pipes

DON’T – grind fibrous foods – corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes.

DON’T – put too many potato peels down the drain if possible.

DON’T – put pack the disposal, feed it a little waste at a time so it can grind everything completely and finely.

DON’T – grind large animal bones

DON’T – put coffee grounds in the disposal. They can accumulate in drains causing clogs because they tend to be sticky.

DON’T – use bleach or drain cleaners in disposals as they can corrode blades

Here is a list of general plumbing do’s and don’ts compliments of your local 1-800-CLOG-MASTER:

Plumbing Do’s: Plumbing Don’ts:
DO – Every month run hot water into your kitchen drain for about 10 minute and/or pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.

DO – When using your garbage disposal, run hot and cold water at full pressure.

DO – Remove the aerator on your kitchen faucet when pressure is slow and clean, unscrew by hand or use channel pliers.

DO – Fill up sink after using your disposal and drain.

DO – If you have a dishwasher, use after using your garbage disposal.

DO – At least twice a year clean out the inside of your toilet tank. When cleaning tank, turn off the water, flush toilet once, add small amount of cleaning detergent inside tank to water remaining, use a cloth or brush to clean.

DO – Clean out holes under toilet seat and rim of the bowl, you can use the small end of a pocket knife.

DO – Clean out 3/4″ hole in the bottom of toilet bowl.

DO – Replace rubber tank ball at this time if needed.

DO – Adjust water level in toilet tank, 1″ below top of 3/4″ overflow pipe. To adjust type with 1/4″ rod and metal or plastic float ball, put both hands on rod and bend end of rod towards float ball down, this lowers water level. To raise water level, bend rod up .

DO – When plunging your bathroom sink or bath tub use a cloth and plug up the overflow and hold tight. It’s a good idea to plunge your drains before they stop up.

DO – Remove the stoppers and clean down pipe where stopper connects.

DO – When finished plunging, fill wash bowl until it runs int overflow. If you have a small type spring brush, use to clean overflow.

DO – Spray disinfectant cleaner into overflow.

DO – If bath tub is slow draining and has the lever at overflow for stopper, remove bolts, and pull wire, lift lever out and clean hair from wire.

DO – Oil parts in toilet tank that are above the water level, handle and ballcock valve.

DON’T – Put coffee grounds in your sink drains.

DON’T – Use drain cleaners containing lye.

DON’T – Poke any wire or rod from your sink into drain.

DON’T – Have a shelf above your china sinks with heavy objects that could fall into sink. Will crack china sink or chip cast iron type.

DON’T – Use your toilet tank lid for a shelf.

DON’T – Have a knick-knack shelf above your toilet.

DON’T – Pour a bucket of dirty water into your toilet; may contain scrub rag.

DON’T – Pour hot water into toilet; temperature change will crack the bowl.

DON’T – Put any type cleaning device into your toilet tank. (DO – Just clean by hand.)

DON’T – Hang wire type odor tablet in toilet bowl.

DON’T – Put a brick in your toilet tank to save water (DO – Adjust water level.)

DON’T – Use the toilet bowl for a scrub tub.

DON’T – Leave diapers soaking in bowl.

DON’T – Throw disposable diapers in toilet, burn them.

DON’T – Keep your waste basket in kitchen and bathroom under the sink. Keeps bumping pipes and causing leaks.

DON’T – Throw sanitary napkins into toilet; burn them.

DON’T – When painting around the house, paint any of your copper water lines.

DON’T – Forget at least twice a year to put a garden hose on the boiler drain at the bottom of your hot water tank and run until the water clears up. Spray this valve with a little oil also. I use WD-40.

DON’T – Forget to check your flu pipe from your hot water tank to the chimney for leakage of fumes.

DON’T – Let your water valves rust shut. Put some oil on the stem and open and close them a few times. If it leaks at the stem use a crescent wrench and tighten bonnet nut at the handle. Spray a little oil on the whole valve. This keeps from rusting.