Calgary Plumbing:The most common drain related problems

 Calgary Plumbing:The most common drain related problems

Kitchen and Laundry drains backing up

The signs:

  • The kitchen basin doesn’t drain
  • Overflowing of laundry pipe
  • Both of the above
  • The toilet is flushing fine

The reasons

The kitchen and laundry lines are often bound together.

The back up is probably because of grease from dishes and clothes that have gathered in the line. This causes debris of lint or food particles to accumulate.

Things you can try

Is your disposer functioning?

Look for a small clean-out outside the kitchen area. Also look in the garage.

Try to verify if only one fixture is affected or more.

If the kitchen basin is affected, clean beneath the basin. Do NOT utilize drain cleaning chemicals for this, they do not dissolve grease even if they reach them. It will cost you more if your plumber uses chemicals to clean the drain lines.

The solution

If the obstruction lies in the p-trap below the kitchen basin, it can be repaired by  simply detaching the waste lines underneath the basin and cleaning them up.

In other cases, the plumber has to access the drain lines and try to cable them clear. The plumber should also use a degreasing agent on the line and then cable it again to remove all the grease. Though this may cost a bit more, it will increase the length of time before your lines back up again and in due course, the extra expense won’t matter.

Sometimes, high-pressure jetting is required to get rid of the grease if the lines are intensely backed up. In this case, it is highly recommended that you have the pipes under your house visually inspected in case the plumber feels the problem is not ordinary. Grease is corrosive and can damage pipes. If this happens, there can be a bad leakage under your house.

Back ups in the showers, tubs or lavatory basins

The signs:

  • The sink or tub fills with water without the plug in while water is running (example: brushing your teeth)
  • A puddle forms in the shower and your ankle deep in water
  • Backing up of one of the plumbing fixtures or more without any toilet problems

The reasons

Sludge, hair or soap scum

The solution

If you’re bold, or willing to throw caution to the wind, you can use chemical drain cleansers here. The main problem here is the hair and chemical drain cleansers do a pretty good job of dissolving them. But using chemicals on your drains is generally not a good idea because they can corrode your drains easily.

Apart from this, it is an easy task to clear this drains. The plumber may opt for a degreasing agent in case there is a lot of sludge just to prolong a future back up.

Tubs use special piping and can be a little tricky. The piping known as waste/overflows may be brittle if they are old. Cabling through old waste/overflows may damage them and result in an underground leakage. So it is better to have the plumber take a look at the piping under your house.

Back ups in the sewer main

The signs:

  • Water will always find the bottommost point to seep out. This is why backup in the sewer main will show up by the toilet backing up into the tub or shower
  • Check the toilets if the shower or tub begin to back up. Only if you flush and it comes up through your floor drain, tub or shower is the toilet and indicator you have a situation with your drain.  But the general rule is that if the toilet is the cause for back up in another fixture, the root of the problem lies in the main sewer
  • If you have a three or four inch (in diameter) clean-out outside that is either has water or is overflowing, it is also a sign that there is a back up in your main sewer
  • If you do your laundry and your floor drain backs up

The reason

The main cause of the back ups in the sewer main are roots. Very little space, even a microscopic hole is enough for a root to grow into your main sewer. And there is no stopping the growth of a root. The strength of these roots are so great that they can split your sewer line to bits.

Flat spots that trigger debris to accumulate, also known as bellies can also be the reason.

Offsets, where parts of the line move under the ground and end up misaligned can also lead to back ups in the main sewer.

Another common cause is small breaks that may let the soil around the pipe enter it.

Things you can try

The practical thing to do is to look out for access points. If a three or four inch (in diameter) clean-out is located, a lot of time can be saved for both the plumber and you.

The solution

If you can’t find the clean-out, call a plumber.  If there is a back up in the sewer, it means there is something wrong with it and that you may face the problem again. Even though, there are other means of access, not having a clean-out can limit the solution.

Once your clean-out is installed or located, or you have found another access (may be by pulling the toilet), try to release the blockage using a sewer cable.

The line must be cleared out for your plumber to operate a camera survey on the line to establish its condition. The plumber may just cable the line and ask you to have it replaced. To ascertain if this is the case, you will need to survey the line.

On completion of the survey, you can decide the next step. If the condition is worse, it is a good idea to have the line replaced to save time and money in the future.

The point of running the survey is so you are aware of the real condition of your line and are better equipped to make a decision.

In case you are stuck with a drain related problem in the wee hours of the morning, handling it yourself may sound like a good idea. But calling an emergency plumbing service like this one in Calgary is the best idea – Available round the clock, they are happy to help you dissolve your problem instantly!


Clearview Plumbing and Heating is a Calgary Plumbing and Heating company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which is available round the clock to carry out any type of Calgary Plumbing or Heating job.

You can reach us any time at 403-220-0090.

If you need to schedule an appointment, you can click here or click on the button below.

Fixed Right or it's FREE

To see any of our other services, you can go to

Click here for our Calgary Furnace $99 tune up special – please note that this offer is subject to change any time.

Click here for a list of our different Plumbing and Heating specials – Please note that these specials are subject to change at any time.

Image: Flickr

Keywords:Calgary plumbing, drains, laundry drains, backing up, kitchen drains, toilet flushing, ideas to try, fixtures, drain cleaning chemicals

By | 2018-04-30T16:15:35+00:00 August 26th, 2011|ClearView Plumbing & Heating, Drains|