Aging infrastructure made from clay, asbestos, concrete pipe and steel pipe. The piping either starts rusting, loses structural integrity and collapses or starts to loose water tightness.
Metal and asbestos pipes eventually wear out as they approach 25-50 years old. Clay and concrete pipes start to leak and fail anywhere from 20-100 years after installation.
Toilet clogs: Toilet clogs are generally caused by using too much toilet tissue and feminine hygiene products. Sometimes children will flush vegetables, toys and other items that will not clear the trap of the toilet. Uncommonly we will find soda cans, air fresheners, toilet paper rollers, and cell phones. Older toilets can build up mineral deposits and lose flushing power.
Floor drain clogs: Floor drain are great for catching overflow from fixtures and catching mop bucket wash water. Depending on the use of the space the floor drains can collect sand, gravel, floating debris, grease, rodents. High pressure jetting or mechanical snakes can clean the drain out, sometime a shop vacuum can be used to suck the debris out of the p-trap.
Root intrusion: Roots seek out nutrient rich water coming off of sewer and drain pipes. Tree roots start as just small hair roots and can get as large as several inches in diameter. As roots get larger they can encase the pipe and cause the pipe to collapse and can also crush plastic pipes. Theoretically, roots will not bother a pipe if there is no leakage.
Improper installation: Many pipes are installed with directional fittings backwards, short sweep elbows instead of long sweeps elbows, and pipes installed with no slope. Eventually, the improperly installed plumbing collects debris, grease and sludge.
Illegal fittings: Illegal fittings such as "rolling donuts" over the pipe do not create a water seal. Homemade repairs made out of tar paper, stove pipe and plastic sheeting eventually cause a blockage.
Utility service line puncture: During installation of a new gas, water, cable or phone service line, sewer lines can be cut through or punctured. Damaged sewer eventually leak, clog or become full of tree roots. We encounter many sewer damaged by gas lines. The gas company generally will pay for the sewer repair.
In the past year, there has been at least two cases of houses exploding due to a gas line being punctured during a routine sewer cleaning. The gas lines were basically inside of the sewer line, the gas company never knew they damage the pipe when they had directionally drilled the new gas service line from the street to the gas meter.
Blockage due to heavy use of grease: Kitchen drain lines whether In restaurants or residential homes eventually develop grease clogs if the drain system is abused or heavily used. Grease clogs can be controlled using enzyme treatments, proper servicing of grease traps and regular drain maintenance.
Other common clogs on kitchen lines are due to vegetable waste, egg shells, and bones. Clogged drains are similar to a clog artery, they operate until they are nearly completely clogged.
Clothes washer stand pipe clogs: Clogs develop due to lint that come off the fabric when washing clothes. Lint sticks to the pipe and eventually blocks the pipe. We have pulled everything from rubber bushing, to caulking tubes, to kids socks out of the clothe washer standpipes.
Hub drain clogs: Hub drains that clog are most commonly clogged due to receiving condensate from air conditioning and refrigeration units. The fresh water created from the cooling process is free from chlorine, therefore the condensate grows algae which eventually clogs the line. Pouring a small amount of Clorox bleach down the condensate line will prevent algae growth and keep the hub drain free of algae.
Vent stacks clogs: Vent stacks can clog due to tree branches, leaves, shingles from roof repair project and animals falling down the pipe (such as roof rats and squirrels). These clogs are extremely rare but can be cleared up with some simple jetting or snaking.
Gutter drains and down spouts: similar to roof drain issues branches, leaves and rodents are common causes of blockages. Underground drains are susceptible to crushing due to tree roots. The standard 4 and 6 inch black corrugated pipe is not as strong as PVC pipe, but allows flexibility with contours and movement around landscaping.
The connections are not water tight on the black corrugated pipe. Frequently surface area drains connects to downspout lines and accumulate mud and sand. Sometimes it is possible to clean these drain lines using a hydro-jetter.
Boiler drain clogs: Boiler drains are valves installed at the bottom of water tanks to flush and service the tank. If not used on a regular basis, calcium, sediment, rubber valve parts and rust can block the drain. The most common way to fix a blocked or slow boiler drain is to replace the boiler drain. To prevent boiler drain clogs the best thing to do is to flush the boiler drain one time per year.
Septic tank inlet and outlet baffle clogs: Septic filter clogs. Inlets baffles on septic tanks divert water coming from the house into the septic tank and push the fresh sewage water into the bottom of the tank. At this point the sewage divides into different layers. Prior to entering the baffle the water slow down a crawl.
This results in grease build up on the inlet drain pipe and all around the baffle tee. Cleaning the inlet and tee can be done sometimes with a cable machine, sometimes with a hydro-jetter and sometimes with a narrow shovel. Case by case basis, but one of the techniques will get the drain flowing. Adding enzymes treatments such as Bio-Clean to the system and avoiding pouring grease down the kitchen drain will keep the drain flowing trouble free.
The outlet tee of the septic tank rarely clogs. The outlet tee of the septic tank see mostly clear water going out to the field. On newer tanks, an outlet filter will be in place to capture on floating debris that may be passing through the septic system. In the event where the tank has not been serviced properly or the field is not taking enough water.
The filter can clog. Unclog the filter consists of digging up the outlet side of the tank and removing either the septic tank pd or the access riser. Then washing the plastic filter and reinserting the filter in the outlet tee.