Clogged pipes can cause everything from mold growth to flooding in your house. These damages often incur high repair costs and take time to fix, so you want to avoid clogging your pipes as much as possible. Also, since it takes time for pipes to get fully clogged, it’s best to detect if you have a clogging problem early by watching out for these 8 signs.
How do pipes get clogged?
Pipes get clogged whenever an excessive amount of debris like human waste, food and hair particles, etc., accumulate in a pipe, restricting or preventing water flow. It can take several days to a few weeks for enough debris to accumulate to restrict water flow.
For example, shower drains often get clogged by large amounts of human hair falling in the drain over one or two weeks. Individual hair particles are harmless, but they knot up together when in large numbers, resulting in a badly clogged drain pipe.
How much damage does a clogged pipe cause?
Depending on the amount and type of debris as well as the quality of the pipes, the damage could involve a mild inconvenience or require major repairs. If the damage is minor, say only a few knots of hair slightly restricting water flow, removing the debris alone will solve the problem.
Worst case scenario, a drained pipe could wreak havoc on your home’s entire plumbing alongside causing substantial damage to your walls. In these instances, you may need to have the pipes in your home changed entirely to repair the damage. Since the extent of damage can grow over time, you will want to have your clogged pipes fixed earliest.
The signs of clogged pipes
1. Rattling and gurgling sounds
Clogged pipes produce gurgling and rattling sounds, especially if they’re high-pressure pipes. Not all gurgling and rattling sounds are caused by clogged pipes, but clogging is the most common cause. Rattling and gurgling sounds indicate that an object or build-up is trapped in your pipes, and over time, the sound will become worse. In any case, if you hear any gurgling or rattling sounds from your pipes, you should have them checked. Pipes should not produce any sounds.
2. Bad smell
Pipes are often clogged by human waste accumulating at a single point, so there is often a bad smell associated with clogged pipes. If you notice bad odors coming from your sinks, toilets, showers, or bathtubs, it’s strong evidence that human waste and possibly other debris have caused a blockage in your pipes. A bad smell is one of the most telltale signs of a clogged pipe.
3. Water spills and backups
When pipes get clogged, due to a lack of room for water to flow, the water will either backup in different places like your toilet and sink or begin to seep out onto your lawn or porch. If you notice the water in your toilet bowl steadily rising over time or random amounts of water seeping into your lawn, it’s almost guaranteed to have been caused by water clogging.
4. Increasingly high water bills
When your pipes are clogged, they will start to crack or break, causing water to spill out. While some of the spilled water will be visible on your lawn and other surfaces, a lot more will seep into the ground. The spilled water will result in a noticeable increase in your water bill every month. If your water bill is increasing every month, despite no increase in water usage, take it as a sign your pipes are probably clogged.
5. Random wet spots
When the pipes inside your home get clogged, they’ll begin leaking to the surrounding walls and form small damp or wet spots. These spots are usually easy to notice because of the damage they cause to the surrounding wall. If you notice any of these wet spots, it’s evidence that your pipes are at least damaged.
6. Long draining periods
When pipes get clogged, it makes it difficult for the water to go down properly, so it takes more time for water to go down.When your pipes work properly, the water should go down your sink and showers very quickly, in less than a few seconds. If your water takes more than a few seconds to go down, it indicates there’s a plumbing-related problem, most likely clogging.
7. Buildup in your air conditioner
Pipe clogs can cause water to seep out near your air conditioner, encouraging algae and mold growth. The mold or algae will be visible, and you might even feel that the air around your air conditioner is slightly humid. Often you may notice wet spots near your air conditioner, too, further indicating a pipe in your wall has leaked in that area. An air conditioner should not have any mold or algae around it, nor should the air around it be humid.
8. Insect and rodent infestations
The water leaks caused by clogged pipes often draw insects and rats to it who feed off the contents of the pipe. If you notice an increase in the rat or insect population around your home, there’s a good chance a clogged pipe is helping feed them. Clogged pipes tend to cause rat populations to rise, especially since rats are often attracted by the debris in clogged pipes.
I’ve noticed one or more of these signs, now what?
If you notice even a single sign, you should ask your plumber to examine your pipes for clogs or other possible damage. Don’t make the mistake of thinking if your problem appears minor, then you can put it off for later. Clogged drains should be cleaned as early as possible to avoid further damages to your house and ensure clean plumbing for your home. If you don’t act fast, the problem will deteriorate, and your repair bill will only get bigger over time.
Hopefully, after having read these signs, you ‘ll be much better equipped to watch out for signs that your pipes have been clogged.