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Why Are My Drains So Slow?

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber!”. We’re back at it again this week to talk about roots.

Roots, roots, roots – they’ve been the bane of our existence so far this year! I’m not sure if it’s the cool, wet start to summer, but they seem much worse than normal!

Roots in the drain are one of the biggest headaches a homeowner can have. Not only is it a major pain to have slow or even stopped up drains, but it can be an expensive thing to fix.

Let’s go through the steps you’ll find yourself going through if you have a root issue:

The first thing you’re going to notice is slow, gurgling drains in the basement. As a general rule, if you hear drains gurgling, it is best to call a plumber to get them out to take a look for you. When drains are making noises like that, a sewer backup is inevitable. The gurgling you hear is the air that was in the pipes (now displaced by waste water) making it’s way back up through the drains and bubbling up at the top. If you ignore it, you’ll have to call the plumber anyways, and may wind up doing so with 6 inches of water in the basement!

So now that you’ve called the plumber, what’s next? Well, now starts the investigative phase. In most cases, the investigation and subsequent diagnosis is done by using specialized drain cameras to see the condition of the inside of the pipe. Using a camera like this is really the only way to come up with a proper solution to whatever the “root” issue is (see what I did there?). If you find yourself needing a camera inspection done, I urge you to watch what is happening on the camera – it can be very interesting to see for yourself! The camera will of course show any root intrusion, but also cracked/collapsing pipes, misalignment, pipes sloping in the wrong direction, etc.

Now that we’ve found out what the issue is, we can come up with potential solutions. I am going to be frank here – many times the PROPER solution to an issue with the main drain in your home is not going to be cheap. There is a huge range of costs depending on what the issue is, but pricing can range anywhere between $2500-$15,000. If it is a simple clog of something like toilet paper this price will of course be lower, but it really runs up once you start getting into pipe replacements. It’s definitely not something anyone wants to go through, but you have to at least give it to the drains under your 100-year-old house that they’ve survived this long!

We’re going to leave it at that for this week! If you feel like you’re at or nearing a blockage in your main drain, I beg you to PLEASE take care of it sooner rather than later. It is something you are going to have to deal with eventually and the worst thing in the world is someone putting off a pricey drain fix then find themselves with a flood. Now they have to deal with all the costs of a flooded basement and fix the drain anyway!

With all of that said, I hope none of you have to deal with this anytime soon! Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next time 😊.



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