5 Common Plumbing Issues

Plumbing Issues Michigan Plumbers

If you’re not a plumber, chances are your water lines, piping, and drainage systems are kind of a mystery to you. We get it: out of sight, out of mind. But when your water stops flowing right, we also know how alarming that can…

If you’re not a plumber, chances are your water lines, piping, and drainage systems are kind of a mystery to you. We get it: out of sight, out of mind. But when your water stops flowing right, we also know how alarming that can be.

To give you a little peace of mind–or at least an idea of what’s going on while you wait for an emergency plumber to arrive–here are five of the most common plumbing issues people experience:

  • Tree Roots
  • Non-Waste Clog
  • Full Septic Field
  • Frozen or Cracked Pipe
  • Hair in the Drain

To find out more about each and to learn a few preventative steps you can take, keep reading.

1.) Tree Roots Have Infested Your Lines

Plumbing Companies in MichiganBeneath your yard, tree roots dominate the land. It’s basically their turf, and we as people run lines through it. In a way though, the trees love this because water and sewer lines provide a bounty of nutrients to forestry.

On the other hand, those tree roots want more and more to the point that they’ll break into a metal pipe. At first, this isn’t a huge problem, but we all know what happens when you water a plant…it grows.

As the roots feed on the nutrients from the line, they’ll start to infest it and soon block waste or water from flowing through. If you’re having trouble flushing the toilet or notice overflows of water happening in your laundry room, chances are good that trees have something to do with it.

Removing tree roots from a waterline is a process. An emergency plumber will run a camera down your lines to first identify the issue. Then, they’ll do what they can to temporarily clear them and stop blockages from happening.

Ultimately, the entire line will have to be replaced though because trees are persistent and will only start to clog it again. This is especially true during the winter because your pipelines have warmer water, which creates moisture under the earth that roots thrive off of.

2.) Non-Waste Clogging

West Michigan Plumbing CompaniesYou’ve probably heard how you’re not supposed to put anything other than toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. If not, now you have.

People often think a small piece of plastic like a disposable contact container or the sealant from a mouthwash bottle won’t cause any harm to your pipes, but they will. Toilet paper and human waste all break down. Plastic and other things do not.

Even though the items may seem little, they can actually get caught in your drain lines, and after they get caught it’s only a matter of time before other things start to build up like a dam.

One of the most common things people throw down the toilet that they shouldn’t are cotton swabs.

They may seem narrow enough to slide right down the drain, but they become like building blocks down the line. As soon as one gets jammed at the wrong angle, dozens of other things will get caught too.

If you notice your toilet filling up even when you don’t flush any waste, then chances are there’s a clog deep in the lines. When you call your plumber to get this taken care of, make sure you disclose anything you may have accidentally thrown down the toilet, as this could help identify a solution.

3.) A Full Septic Field

Plumbing in West MichiganIf you have a septic field, chances are you’ll know it’s full from the foul smell, or yearly check-up reminder from your waste disposal company.

Generally, septic fields need cleaning every 1-3 years. It’s important to maintain your septic field because airborne diseases can spread if it fails and starts to overflow.

If you notice water draining slowly, don’t panic right away and immediately jump to the septic field. You should first try to cross things off the list like waste clogs and tree roots. But if it’s not those, you’ll want to get your septic field checked right away.

Other signs that you may have a malfunctioning septic system include:

  • Wastewater backing up into household drains
  • Grass in your field that is bright green or spongy even in dry weather
  • Pooling water or muddy soil around your septic system or in your basement

4.) A Frozen or Cracked Pipe

Plumbing Issues Michigan PlumbersIn some cases, one specific pipe may freeze or crack, causing major problems to your water or waste lines. Generally, a frozen pipe means no water flow or waste flow, while a cracked pipe means water or waste flow where you don’t want it.

While there are tips for unthawing your pipes, a cracked pipe is something you should immediately call the plumber for–especially if it’s a waste line.

Waste line breaks are the worst kind of breaks, and while we can help take care of it you’ll also want to call your insurance company.

Waste is a biohazard, and if an overflow or burst affects your home, the parts it contaminates may be eligible for a completely covered restoration.

5.) Hair in the Drain

Common Plumbing Issues MichiganIt may sound gross, but this could be the best-case scenario for you. If you notice your shower or sink drains filling up with water and draining slower, it may just be from a hair build-up.

You may not realize it, but even people with short hair lose a few strands while in the shower. Those strands, over time, collect in your drain and start to form a little web. If your family has members with long hair, this is all the more prevalent.

To clean your shower drain you’ll want to use a snake and plunger. Use a different plunger than the one you use for your toilets for sanitary purposes of course!

After snaking the drain and plunging it, the waste will either break free and flow on its own, or your drain will cough it all up. In the second instance, you’ll need to dispose all the waste into the trash. This same method can be used on your sink, just make sure to clean everything afterword with antibacterial cleaning products!

If you are unable to clear your drains, the clog may be more serious. In this case, give us a call so we can get your pipes draining properly again.

Want More Plumbing Tips?

At Parker-Arntz Plumbing & Heating Inc., we know how stressful water issues can be. Don’t hesitate to contact us online or by phone for your Belding, Greenville, and Livonia MI plumbing or heating projects.

For more information on other topics, check out our blog page where we have a few tips that could save you thousands of dollars.

This blog post has been updated.