Plumbing is a trade where mistakes can lead to very costly repairs. A slight leak can cause serious mould issues, septic contamination, odour and sickness. A serious leak, not covered by insurance can be devastating. Always hire insured licensed professionals.
If you are on a septic system, most blockages occur on the inlet tee of the septic tank. Dig to the tank lid. There should be an opening above the inlet tee. Open this carefully as the released pressure could cause a geyser, or as it is known in the trade, a "sh_t storm". Locate the inlet tee, and push through a hockey stick. It will be quite apparent if you have cleared the blockage.
If waste is rising through your floor drains, or downstairs showers, turn off the water supply. If this does not stop the problem, call the city as your pipes are backing up through the city system.
If your main drain is blocked and you have a clean out at the city connection, open the connection and cleanout. If there is standing water there, call the city as their end of the pipe is blocked.
If you have a blocked drain, with some flow, do not use the laundry or bathtub. Use the toilet sparingly and you should get out of an overtime charge to clear the problem.
Drain cleaners are either extremely caustic or acidic. The awful chemicals in drain cleaners not only harm the environment, they can cause leaking pipes, and if they do not clean the blockage can seriously complicate a simple drain cleaning job. Consider the following alternatives:
- Elbow grease- try using a plunger on the blocked drain. Block overflow when plunging to put the force on the blockage.
- If your toilet is blocked plunge till clear, then use a flashlight and mirror to locate the blockage. Pull it out using a bent coat hanger. ☹
- For your kitchen sink, put ½ cup of baking soda, and ½ cup vinegar down the clogged drain. Then add boiling water. If the water is still backing up in the sink pour another cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 3 more cups of boiling water. This method can be repeated until the desired effect is reached. Household bleach will also often clear a blockage, however is harmful to brass drain parts.
- If you are taking apart plumbing under the kitchen sink, remember that when you put it back together, alignment and clean fittings count for more than tight plastic nuts. The trap nuts are prone to crack if tool force is used.
- If your hot water tank relief valve is leaking it is usually a sign that the house pressure reducing valve is leaking. You can tell if you have a sudden burst of pressure when you turn on the tap.