9 Common Home Drainage Issues

9 Common Home Drainage Issues

Appraisal and Home Inspection
Plumbing
By Mateos Glen Hayes April 25, 2022

Nobody likes having plumbing problems. Even something as minor as a leak can become an expensive headache fast and cause lots of consternation for all involved. Alas, as with all systems, your plumbing is fallible and things will go wrong eventually. Fortunately, we live in an age where help is just a call or tap away, and where the answers you may seek for your home-related woes can be found online.

When it comes to your drains, there are a host of common problems that can occur, causing significant problems for sanitation until they are taken care of. Find out what kind of problem you might be experiencing, and whether you need to contact a plumber or a drainage contractor to help you out.

1. Frozen Pipes 

Most pipes outside can freeze easily without insulation, so keep an eye out when the weather gets cold!

Most pipes outside can freeze easily without insulation, so keep an eye out when the weather gets cold!

When it gets cold, things start clogging up. If you live in a particularly cold or snowy part of the world, that won’t be particularly surprising. However, cold weather can still really catch homeowners off guard because of how fast it can cause problems. It’s pretty difficult to detect freezing water in your pipes until it starts clogging things up, at which point you must avoid using your taps to prevent potential damage.

You can prevent this from happening by covering exposed pipe portions with insulative materials and pipe warmers. If the freeze catches you off guard though, your main solution will be to use a hot air dryer to warm up the pipe and get things flowing again. If the worst happens and your pipe bursts, it’s imperative that you contact a plumber as soon as possible so that your plumbing can be fixed and damage can be mitigated. 

2. Root Intrusions 

Root damage can completely block your drainage pipe.

Root damage can completely block your drainage pipe.

Mother nature loves to do her own thing, and that means she doesn’t much care for the stuff we put in her way. Tree roots are quite strong and, while they grow slowly, they can still wreak havoc by damaging sidewalks, causing bulges on roads, and even growing into a drainage pipe. If the sturdy roots of the tall oak in the backyard come up against an old drainage pipe, that pipe will probably crack under the pressure causing leaks that may not be immediately noticeable.

Over time, however, these leaks will grow, causing sinkholes and swampy patches in your garden and other drainage issues. In the worst-case scenario, this can cause poor drainage in your yard, resulting in flooding. Fixing this problem will mean calling in a pro to cut the roots back and potentially replace sections of the drainage pipe.  

3. Slow Drains 

If your drains clog often, you may need a plumber.

If your drains clog often, you may need a plumber.

We’ve all had drains that get stopped up with hair, food, or some other debris. These can be annoying and yucky to deal with but usually, the fix is fairly simple. A dash of draino here, a plunger or drain snake there, and you’re good to go. Sometimes though the problem can be deeper.

Sometimes, your main drain pipe might be the culprit, resulting in all your drains working slowly and seeming to clog all the time. Unfortunately, this is a sign that there is a significant issue that requires the skill and care that only a pro can provide. Leaving this issue unresolved can cause significant annoyance and issues, so it is best to get it looked at sooner rather than later. 

4. Flooding 

Water in odd places is a sure sign of trouble.

Water in odd places is a sure sign of trouble.

This one is a pretty clear indication of a drainage problem. Water turning up when it shouldn’t be can easily cause all kinds of damage, causing the paint to peel, staining, wood rot, and rusting. This one is what we call a plumbing emergency, meaning that it is crucial to call a plumber as soon as possible.

The longer you let water pool inside your home, the more expensive the potential damage will be. Water damage can even force you out of your home until the repairs are completed.  

5. Creepy Crawlies

Some rats are cute, but definitely not the ones that come out of the drain.

Some rats are cute, but definitely not the ones that come out of the drain.

None of us like pests, but they’re always around. See, pests like moist, humid places such as sewers. That means that it isn’t unusual for rats, roaches, and flies to hang out near your main drain pipe, feeding on waste.

Of course, they can also come up through the drain, resulting in unpleasant drainage problems. A big pest problem will require fumigators and other pest elimination specialists. But if you’re just getting the occasional unwanted visitor, you can keep them out with other solutions such as drain plugs. Also, cleaning up crumbs and clearing your trash regularly will reduce the likelihood of getting roach visitors. 

6. Cracked Drains 

Leaky drainage can potentially lead to swampy backyards.

Leaky drainage can potentially lead to swampy backyards.

Drains pipes age, and it isn’t unusual for the plumbing in older neighborhoods to be as much as a century old. Given that this is the case, cracks in piping are a common issue that shows up from time to time. When cracks happen, this leads to leaks that, in turn, can cause sinkholes, not to mention a sewer smell that is none too pleasant.

Septic tanks can also crack over time, resulting in similar problems. Either way, you’re gonna need some help to get things right again. If you smell sewage in your backyard and come across some perpetually muddy areas, get in touch with a pro as soon as possible to get things fixed up. 

7. Collapsing Drains 

Mold is another sign of water leakages.

Mold is another sign of water leakages.

In a similar vein, your drain pipe can also collapse under the pressure of decades of operation. This makes things get smelly and wet real fast, especially for your lawn. Unfortunately, it is hard to detect that your drainage pipes have collapsed since they are underground.

However, the solution here is as with any other major issue where your drainage pipe has broken. Namely, call a professional from the plumbing industry. They’ll be able to figure out what’s wrong much faster than you can, and time is money in situations such as this. 

8. Sewer Smells in Your Home 

Sewer smells are unpleasant and mean it’s time to call a plumber.

Sewer smells are unpleasant and mean it’s time to call a plumber.

The bathroom is one of the most important parts of any home. It is so useful that it is essential, and no home can be complete without it. For this reason, keeping your bathroom in good working order is crucial since life could come to a grinding halt without a working bathroom.

Alas, even the most diligent of us may still encounter some smelly problems in the bathroom from time to time. This is especially true if you live in one house for many years. The fact is that with time things can wear out, break, and outlive their lifespan and need to be replaced.

Fortunately, while some unwanted smells suddenly appearing in your bathroom can be unpleasant, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something has gone horribly wrong. In some cases, a simple fix is all that is needed to solve your stinky problem. The key is knowing when a DIY solution will do and when it’s a good call to get the pros involved.

9. Blocked Drains 

Fix a clogged drain with a drain snake.

Fix a clogged drain with a drain snake.

Fortunately, not all issues suggest a huge problem or need require a technician to intervene. In most cases, the thing wrong with your drain is that it’s clogged. Usually, that can be fixed simply by cleaning out the drain filters or using a plunger to dislodge a clog.

For the more heavy-duty blockages, you may need a more extreme solution. A drain snake can quite thoroughly remove all debris from a drain if it is used per the instructions. Otherwise, a drain cleaning solution can also help clear a major blockage.

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes