When you run water or flush the toilet, it goes down the drain and is carried far away. For you, it’s probably out of sight, out of mind, much like the drain itself. Unfortunately, neglecting your drains could lead to major plumbing problems at some point. Rather than ignoring your drains until there’s a problem, you should make drain inspections a regular part of your home care routine.
Benefits of Drain Inspections
Over time, there are a few different problems that can develop inside your drain pipes.
Clogs are one of the most common drain problems. A clog can develop when foreign objects go down your pipes. Even items that may seem safe for disposal, such as bathroom wipes and feminine hygiene products, can lead to a clog.
Sometimes, drain clogs can also develop gradually over time. Buildup from soap and other substances that flow down the drain coats the inside of the pipes until the pipes are partly or fully clogged. In the kitchen, cooking grease, food scraps, and coffee grounds are all major offenders. In other parts of the home, mineral deposits and soap scum could be to blame.
Clogs can slow down your drains, becoming a nuisance especially if your daily routine is disrupted as a result. Even worse, clogs can completely block the pipe so that nothing goes down. In worst-case scenarios, you could be facing a backup from a clogged drain or overflowing toilet.
A drain inspection can detect developing clogs before they become a problem. That way, you can have your plumber clean out the drain. Then nothing will impede the wastewater from getting where it needs to go: out of your home.
Pipes are also susceptible to breakage. Sometimes, they crack simply because they are old. Some older piping materials, such as tar paper, don’t hold up well over time. Shifts in the soil can also be hard on pipes. Corrosion and clogs can deteriorate drain lines as can repeated use of highly caustic drain-clearing chemicals. Frozen pipes, which are typically caused by inadequate insulation, can also lead to cracking or breaking pipes.
Outside forces can also affect your drains. Nearby trees can send their roots toward the nutrient-rich water flowing from your house, leading to damaged pipes, cracks, and clogs. Rodents and other pests can be responsible for some kinds of drain pipe damage and clogs.
Damage typically starts small, which means it can be easy to miss. At these early stages, damage also tends to be easy to manage. Once the crack spreads, repairing it is likely to be a bigger ordeal, and you could end up with a major sewage backup on your hands. A thorough inspection could spare you that trouble.
Process of Drain Inspection
A professional drain inspection usually involves a tool called a snake. The plumber reaches this instrument into the drain to check for blockages. The snake can also be useful in clearing any clogs that are found.
For a more thorough drain inspection, the plumber can use a snake that includes a waterproof camera. With this device, the plumber can identify not only clogs but also cracks and other types of damage. Getting a complete drain inspection like this will not only let you know about specific problems, but it can also inform you about the overall condition of your drain and sewer system.
During an inspection, the plumber will note any spots where there are problems and make a plan for addressing them. That could involve a full replacement of the drain line or a smaller project in which only the damaged section is replaced.
Annual Drain Inspections
As a general rule, we recommend scheduling a professional drain inspection once a year.
Your annual drain inspection could be just one component of a full plumbing inspection. In addition to examining the drains, your plumber may also check for leaks. This could include a close look at fixtures like the water heater and the toilet. Since your plumbing is all connected, a small problem in one area could end up leading to a disaster throughout the house. Annual plumbing inspections can catch those small issues before they spiral out of control.
Additional Times for Drain Inspections
Annual inspections are a general rule of thumb, but you may need to pair them with some additional visits from a plumber.
New Home Purchases
Before finalizing your purchase of a new home, a plumber should inspect the drain system. This can be especially important when buying a house that’s at least a few decades old.
A basic home inspection might include a quick look at the drains, but it won’t be as thorough an evaluation as you will receive from a dedicated plumbing inspection. Learning as much as possible about your plumbing could save you from a major headache down the road. If the inspection turns up a drain problem, you may be able to negotiate for the current owners to cover the repairs. If not, you will at least know to fix the issue right away instead of waiting until the problem makes itself obvious.
While an annual drain inspection can be useful for keeping drains in good working order, sometimes problems crop up between visits. If your drains start running more slowly than normal, you will want to call for service right away. You may have a new blockage building in your drain pipe. It might be something that’s been slowly developing over the last few months, or it could be the result of a foreign object that was mistakenly sent down the pipes. Either way, the sooner you get the problem fixed, the better. Drain issues only worsen over time, so you won’t want to wait until your regular inspection month.
Unpleasant Drain Smells
Slow drains aren’t the only sign that a problem is brewing within your pipes. Foul odors can also be a clear tip-off. As with slow drains, this problem merits an immediate call. For one thing, the smells are a sign that your drains may soon start running slowly or not at all. Besides, there’s no reason to live with stinky drains any longer than necessary. By making a prompt call for a drain inspection, you can quickly eliminate the distressing odor.
Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air is one of the fastest-growing companies in Idaho because of our commitment to providing incredible service for our customers. We offer comprehensive plumbing services, including drain inspections, in the Jerome and Twin Falls areas. Additionally, we are experts in electrical, heating, and air conditioning work. Not only do we offer these comfort services for local homeowners, but we also do light commercial work. Our company made the Inc. 5000 List in 2020, and our success has only continued since then. We look forward to helping with your plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling needs.
Make a call to Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air for Jerome drain inspections or other home services today.