Signs You Have a Clogged Drain and How to Prevent Them

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

A clogged drain is one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners will face. Usually, a clogged drain is a simple fix, however, sometimes it could mean there is a more serious problem afoot. Fortunately, there are some warning signs to look out for. Catching a clogged drain early on can help prevent a more serious plumbing problem and further damage. Here are signs you have a clogged drain and what you can do about them.

#1 Slow Draining


Slow draining is a telltale sign that you have a clogged drain. If sinks fill up with water faster than they drain, or when taking a shower, you notice the bottom filling up with water then you have an obstruction that is preventing proper drainage or you may have buildup of soap scum and debris that has built up over time. A clogged drain can be a huge nuisance, but fortunately it is usually a pretty quick and simple fix. It may take an episode of plunging to clear the blockage, and you may want to consider routine drain cleaning by a professional to keep the build up at bay.

#2 A Foul Smell

Stinky drains are an assault to your nose, however stinky drains can mean that you have a clog. A stink drain could be one of the first sings you have a clogged drain. This could be a result of rotting food that has become lodged in your pipe somewhere, or even a rodent that has crawled into your plumbing and gotten stuck. In both instances professional attention may be required to properly clean to clog. To prevent reoccurring clogs:

  • Always watch what goes down the drain: large food particles, bones, fibrous vegetables, trash, and grease should NEVER go down the drain
  • Always run your garbage disposal with running water
  • Install screens over drains to prevent unwanted food particles and other debris from going down the drain
  • Look for any entry ports where rodents and other vermin can gain access to your plumbing, and seal those areas off.

#3 Gurgling Drains

Gurgling drains are another common sign that there is a clogged drain. This is the result of air being trapped in the plumbing somewhere and could be caused by food and other debris building up inside the pipes. It could also mean the vent stack is clogged or on a more serious note an issue with the main sewer line. In all instances, the best solution is to hire a professional plumber. Professional drain cleaning tactics are far more effective and safer than liquid drain cleaners.

#4 Overflowing Toilets

toilet flapper

An overflowing toilet is the least desirable sign you have a clogged drain. It can make a huge mess and cause a lot of damage. This can happen because something that should not have been flushed got flushed, too much toilet paper was flushed, or there is a clog further down the line. In the event that a toilet starts to overflow, the best solution is to close the flapper to prevent the water from going into the bowl. Once the water stops flowing, then you can give plunging a go, just be sure to use a flange plunger to ensure a good seal and proper suction. It may take a couple of rounds of plunging to clear the clog. If a more serious clog or a reoccurring clog is the culprit, contact a professional plumber. Video pipe inspection can give you a better idea of what is going on, proper diagnostics can you develop a better strategy to fix the leak.

When in doubt, you should always contact a professional plumber. For more plumbing tips contact John Owens today!

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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464