Clogged Drains – Causes & How to resolve them

Clogged drains can be a nuisance to resolve.
No plumbing problem is fun to deal with. Whether you have a minor or major plumbing issue, both can be troublesome if you do not know how to resolve them. One of the most common types of plumbing problems are clogged drains. Clogged drains can occur in any drain in your house and sometimes it’s severity can affect the entire water works of your home. Highly clogged drains in particular can be more difficult to fix and they can take a significant amount to potentially clean out the pipe or to replace it with a new one if the damage is severe enough. Luckily, if you know the common causes of clogged drains, then you can prevent them from occurring completely. Here is a list of the most common plumbing problems, as well as how you can resolve your clogged drains by utilizing a variety of methods, depending on severity.

What are the most common signs of a clogged drain?

The most common signs of a clogged drain include:
  • Water + sewage back up
  • Slow draining after the use of water works
  • Certain appliances making strange noises when another is working 
  • Foul odours coming from your drains
  • Bubbling in your toilets whenever water is run in nearby sinks
If you notice any of these signs are taking place in your home, it is a strong indicator that you may have a clogged drain.

What are the common causes of clogged drains?

Clogged drains are among the most common types of clogs that occur in a household. When they do occur, it can be difficult to determine what has caused the clog, unless you can get a drain inspection. You can narrow down what has caused your clogged drains from the following list:

Tree Roots

  • Tree Roots are one of the most common types of causes of clogged drains. They are most commonly discovered in older homes, but just because you have a newer home does not mean that you cannot encounter tree roots. Tree roots are also even more common in forested areas, so if you live in this type of area then you should check for tree roots frequently. Tree roots naturally require water to grow and this is the reason why they are attracted to your sewer pipes, particularly if they are already damaged. One of the clear signs that your home has tree roots is if you can hear a gurgling sound coming from the pipes of your home.

Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG)

  • FOG is another common cause of clogged drains. Not only because FOG is commonly used in the kitchen, but many homeowners believe that it is fine to toss these substances down the drain. However, this is not the case as each of them can get stuck in your pipes and cause clogs which can completely disrupt your entire plumbing system. Homeowners can assume things that contain heavy amounts of FOG can clog your drain, but even more minor FOG substances such as butter and vegetable oil can result in a clog. The best way to deal with any type of FOG, regardless of how much it has, is to dispose of it into the trash. By avoiding the disposal of FOG down your drain, it will be far less likely to experience a clog.


  • Many people believe that since hair is a natural part of our bodies, that it will have little effect when it falls down a drain. However, if enough hair accumulates in a drain, it can be another troublesome substance that will disrupt the water flow throughout your home. Of course, you cannot stop hair from falling from your hair, but you can use a drain screen to prevent hair from making its way into your drain. If you also recongnize that there is alot of hair on your drain, then you can use tweezers or a safety pin to remove it from your drain. Doing this every once in a while will prevent your drain from experiecning a major clog.

Pipe alterations

  • Due to the changing weather conditions and other external factors, your pipes can directly be responsible for a clogged drain. Though this may seem strange as there is no substance that is directly causing a blockage, when your pipes undergo major weather changes such as freezing, then your drains can become clogged. This is common with pipes of older homes that may be made of weaker materials such as concrete or clay pipes. To avoid this completely, it is best to replace your older pipes with pipes made up of newer and stronger materials such as metal.

Insoluble food (e.g. eggshells)

  • While in your kitchen, there has probably been a time where you felt too lazy to throw the remains of food out in the trash, so you decided to toss it down the sink instead. This may seem harmless, but over time if you toss substances that do not break down easily, they can be difficult for your drain to run down, resulting in a clog. It is best to avoid tossing down all foods, particularly egg shells, meat bones, potato peels and other vegetables. Remember that even if you have a garbage disposal, it does not mean that you can freely toss down whatever you want!

How can I resolve my clogged drain?

Depending on the severity of your clogged drain, you can experiment with some DIY methods to relieve it. Here are some DIY steps that you can attempt on a minorly clogged drain:
  • Check if your drains contains any visible debris 
  • Try to pour hot water down your drains to see if it eases the clog
  • Using a drain cleaner product (avoid using too much as it could damage your pipes)
  • Use a sink plunger 
  • Pour vinegar and baking soda down your drain and let it sit for a couple of minutes
These methods are to be attempted at your own risk. Avoid using too many chemicals in your drains as it could damage your pipes. If you attempt each of these methods but have no success, you are best off calling a plumbing professional. Here are some of the measures that you can take with the help of a plumbing professional:
  • Camera Inspection: Camera inspections that are designed specifically for your pipes can help you in determining the likely cause of your clogged drain. It will also give the plumbing professional a better idea of what resolution method is best suited for the condition of your pipes.
  • Pipe Cleaning: Using a pipe cleaning method such as hydro jetting or a router machine can cut through thicker substances that are causing your drains to clog. Hydro jetting uses a high-pressure water beam to clear out your pipes of debris while the router machine can cut directly through substances and relieve a clog in your pipes.
  • Pipe Replacement: If your clogged drains are so severe that no other drain cleaning methods work, then it is best to replace your pipes completely. If only a part of your pipes are damaged then you can get a plumber to add an epoxy lining to your pipes, which can be installed directly into broken pipes and cause them to work normally again.
Remember these second set of clogged drains resolutions should only be conducted by a plumbing professional, so DO NOT attempt to do them by yourself or you may experience property damages. If you have any questions about the signs, causes and solutions of clogged drains, feel free to contact us, we will be ecstatic to answer your questions!
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Water Pipe

What’s a Water Hammer and How Do I Fix It?

A water hammer or hydraulic shock is the loud bang you hear when a faucet or water-using appliance is quickly shut off. The cause of the banging is by the shock wave that causes the pipes to move and strike against one another or another closeby structure such as wall studs or floor joists. But it isn’t just annoying?! It could potentially damage your plumbing system. Read on to find several methods of eliminating water hammer.

Tightening Pipes

Even a tiny shock wave can create loud banging if the pipes aren’t secured well. This usually won’t cause pipe damage, but the sound is still an annoyance to deal with. Tightening any loose pipe straps or hangers that secure the pipes to studs or joists will prevent water hammer from occurring. Here are some other ways to stop it: 

Foam Pipe: Foam pipe insulation wraps around pipes to absorb any shock and prevent banging.
Pipe Straps or Hangers: Additional installations of pipe straps or hangers where pipes cross studs or joists.

Resetting Air Chambers

In older homes, water supply systems may have air chambers located on every hot and cold water line or near each faucet or water inlet valve. These chambers are usually located behind walls along with the rest of the plumbing pipes. The purpose of the air in the chamber is to act as a shock absorber for high speed flowing water. Over time, this can fill up with water, eliminating the air that absorbs shock. By shutting off the water supply and draining the pipes, the chambers can be full of air again.

Installing Water Hammer Arrestors

Installing a water hammer arrestor on each water supply line is usually the best solution for the long-term elimination of water hammer. The water hammer arrestor is similar to an air chamber but it includes air or gas-filled chamber sealed by a diaphragm or piston. The diaphragm or piston moves to absorb the shock from the water. The water and air or gas are kept separate, meaning that water will never need to drain from the arrestor.

Installing a Water-Pressure Regulator

When the pressure of the water entering the building is too high, water hammer can occur. Normal water pressure runs between 40 – 80 psi (pounds per square inch). Anything past 80 psi is thought to be very high pressure and can damage appliances. Installing a water-pressure regulator where the main water supply enters the home will help to control the pressure, protecting all appliances and fixtures against high water pressure. After testing, if water pressure is higher than normal with a pressure gauge kit from a hardware store, adjust the regulator to a pressure below 50 psi or as needed.

If the source of your water hammer issue cannot be found. Consider calling your local plumbing professional to assess and fix the issue for you. If you have any further questions, contact us!

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toilet repair

Fixing Your Toilet DIY

Having problems fixing your toilet? Don’t worry, because here at Drain1, we have experience helping our clients in Toronto, Mississauga and even Brampton in helping with their broken or failing toilets. Here are some things to know when your toilet isn’t working and you want to fix it!

It’s Not Draining

One issue many of our clients face is that despite how many times they try to press the plunger on their toilet, nothing flushes. There are many ways to approach this problem, but more often than not, it is best to understand what is causing the problem. A clog in your plumbing is the culprit, and it can be caused by many things. It usually is toilet paper and hair that causes the clog, but it also has the possibility of being dirt, mineral build or even tree roots at the time. If you want to fix it, the first step you need to do is to turn off the water. Since it is clogged, the only thing that will happen is the overflowing of the toilet.


Fixing Toilet Diagram
Toilet tank diagram (610px)

Ways of Fixing Your Clogged Toilet

Afterwards, try unclogging the toilet using a plunger. They come in varied types of shapes, but as long as you make sure it covers the toilet hole, it is fine. The one thing you want to make sure is that the toilet is submerged in water completely. If it helps, pour water into the toilet if the cup of the plunger is not being covered. You need to be careful and forceful at the same time. If you are doing it properly, you will hear gurgling noises, and feel pressure buildup if you created a suction using the plunger.

If you see the clog come up, you can just flush it since there should be enough water in the toilet to drain it. Another possible result is all the water flushing down the drain. Run the water and see if the toilet fills up. When the water settles, flush again. If it starts overflowing, stop it immediately. Do remember that you can use a plumber’s auger or ‘snake’ to fish out the clog if it is close to the top.

Toilet Running Constantly?

A toilet running constantly means that you rack up a significant water bill at the end of it all. Sure, it may be a minor inconvenience for you, but it can be a serious problem that needs immediate attention. You should open up the top of the tank. Then try lifting up on the floating arm that controls water flow. If you lift it up, and water stops flowing. This is an indication that the water in the tank doesn’t rise high enough to stop the water drainage.

A cause can be that the floating arm is misaligned. To see if this is the case, flush and see if the arm gets stuck on the way up. If so, fix the misalignment so it won’t happen again. Another fix can be to unscrew the floating arm and check it over. Sometimes, water can become logged in it, and cause it to weigh down in the tank. However, if that does not help either. The possible problem may lie with the flapper that acts as a valve between the tank and the toilet. Check it to see if there’s any damage or tear in the flapper. If not, make sure it closes correctly. Nothing wrong with that either? Then it is best you replace the system entirely.

Weak Flush?

Is there trouble when you flush the toilet? A distinct lack of force preventing the toilet from flushing directly. This is an indication that your toilet lacks the ability to flush properly, hence the weak flush. The first method to check if there is enough water that flows into the tank and fills it up properly. Perhaps consider bending the floating arm if there is a lack of water in the tank. Another possible problem may be that the valve is closing too tightly before all the water can flush down into the toilet. If so, adjust the rod arm or chain depending on what the tank uses.

Fixing Toilet Tools

If that is not the problem. It may be the water ports in the toilet itself. It can be clogged up, thus preventing the complete flushing of your toilet. Use a brush to clear any gunk off the water ports. Plus, if you are unsure if it is the cause, you can stick a mirror to see the ports without sticking your head inside.

If you have any questions regarding about fixing your toilet. Please contact us!

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Sewer Shiny

Signs A Sewer Backup Is Coming

Waking up in the morning and hearing that the house has a sewer backup is probably one of the worst things to hear. Your toilets are overflowing, water is not draining down the sink, and your children are screaming around the house. No one should have to go through this. The best way to fix this issue is to have avoided it from the very beginning. Here at Drain1, we understand this pain more than anyone else. We have many customers call into our Drain 1 Toronto location asking for help about this problem. It’s known that the best way to prevent them is before they even happen. This article will take you through the signs that will help you spot the sewer back up before it occurs! 

Sign of Sewer Backup #1

The first and usual indicator that your house is about to have a sewer backup is if there is more than one drain having issues draining. Remember, it has to have been more than once. This is because a single drain getting clogged can happen occasionally. This can be easily fixed too. If the clogged drains are ones that you do not use frequently, then it is a much bigger warning sign. It is something that requires dire attention.

Sign of Sewer Backup #2

Everyone likes bubbles. Kids, adults, and even grandparents can find enjoyment in them. However, if you see them popping out of your toilet, or any other area which has a drain, it isn’t a good sign. The bubbles are coming from the air bubbles that are trapped when water trying to get past a clog. The best way to determine if this is a one-off event is to collect several gallons of water and flush it down the drain.

Sign of Sewer Backup #3

Say you flush your toilet, but you hear the water gurgling as it flows down a drain (eg. under your shower). Sure, it sounds creepy, however, it hints at a greater threat. It could be a clog existing in your plumbing system. When you flush water down the toilet, and there is a clog, it is seeking another way of getting past it. Hence the reason you hear water gurgling in other drains.

These 3 signs will be enough to spot a sewer backup happening in your house early on. However, if you have questions, or any comments on what we said, please contact us at our Drain 1 Toronto location!

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common plumbing issues in toronto

Common Plumbing Issues In Toronto

COMMON PLUMBING ISSUES IN TORONTO HOMEOWNERS SHOULD KNOW The plumbing system is a really complex one. With the huge amount of components that need a plumbing system in order to run smoothly, it is not such a big surprise that from times to times some of them are in need of replacement. In addition, in Toronto, we have another factor that plays a significant role in common plumbing issues. Most…

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winter plumbing tips for toronto

Tips for winter plumbing

Protect Your Plumbing System The winter seasons in Canada is hard to come across for anyone, not to mention plumbing systems in the harsh stormy winter. Without the right preparation you might face a couple of problems related to your plumbing system. Here we have several winter plumbing tips for Toronto home owners to prevent plumbing problems. Always have warm and circulated air in house Staying with a steady temperature…

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drain cleaning tips

5 Tips for Keeping Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks Clean & Clear

Bathroom drains routinely become slow from sticky substances like toothpaste, shaving cream and hair which all collect in the drain pipe. Kitchen sink drains have similar problems because oil and grease tend to solidify and build up over time.

Drain Cleaning Tips From the Pros

It is easy to treat and prevent these issues using items you already have at home. Learn how with these simple drain cleaning tips:

1. Do-It-Yourself

It is Bathroom sinks and tubs that usually become slow and blocked for different reasons than kitchen sinks, so you have to deal with them in different ways. For cleaning bathroom drains, ordinary table salt can be a very effective ingredient in your toolbox. Pour at least one tablespoon of salt into your bathroom drain followed by 1⁄4 cup of plain white vinegar, and let it sit for an hour. Then, run HOT water to clear out all of the loosened substances from the drain. For best results, do this a second time. So, to treat and prevent these issues using items you already have at home.

2. Maintain Your Sinks

To keep your drain clear after you clean it out, you need to pour a little bleach into the sing from time to time. Let it sit overnight or for at least an hour before you run water down the drain again

3. Ditch the Grease

 bleach into the sink to fight grease build-up in your kitchen sink. The drain can be remedied with liquid dish detergent and a large volume of boiling water. Put a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Squirt a generous amount of dish liquid (at least a tablespoon) directly into your drain and pour the boiling water into the drain, a little at a time. The rapidly boiling water will melt grease deposits while the detergent helps to dissolve grease and oil and allow the boiling water to flush it away. You may want to repeat this process two to three times if the grease build-up is substantial. Let it sit overnight or for at least an hour before you run water down the drain again.

4. Hotter Than Usual Water

It may seem obvious, but simply putting hot water down your kitchen and bathroom sink drains at least weekly can go a long way to keeping them clean and clear. For the kitchen sink, hot water will help to melt and flush away light grease deposits. Bathroom drains also benefit from very hot water, since you normally wouldn’t use such hot water for washing your hands or face.

5. Use Cold Water Wisely

Conversely, when running your garbage disposal, it also runs copious amounts of COLD water down the drain, not hot. Coldwater will keep oils and grease in a solid-state so they can break by the disposal, whereas hot water will melt and soften grease and encourage it to coat the inside of your drain. Only use hot water after you have already run the disposal to help remove any grease deposits that may have formed when you were washing pots and pans.

Contact Drain’s 1 team for more tips.

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