Clogged Drains In The Shower

April 23, 2015


Have you ever taken a shower with drains that are slow to flow and ended up standing in water up to your ankles? Have you ever tried to clear out the drain yourself and found a little wedge of bar soap and hair all matted up together? These are the two most common things you’ll find, if you’re a plumber, in people’s shower drains.

Unless you just built your home, someone else has likely lived in it. When you move in, you unfortunately will inherit some problems, and among them it’s common for drain clogs to form and take months to get so clogged the water won’t flow down at all.

Until then, the wastewater flows more slowly in your shower and you end up having to put up with standing in dirty water until your shower is finished. That murky dirty water is not pleasant, especially when you know you’re trying to get clean, not dirty!

Most of the time, the culprit in the shower is the hair that falls out when washing it. The longer the hair is, the more chances there are that it’s going to wind up matted in the drain.

You might think that because hair is light that it will easily flow down, but actually that lightness makes it float more and long hair will bend around and twist around, making it easy for it to latch onto other objects.

Little do people know too that hair strands are scaled on the outer layer and will catch onto objects. You can’t see the scales unless you look under a microscope, but the outer layer (or Cuticle) is laid out like fish scales.

If you take a hair strand and run it between your finger and thumb, from root to tip, it will feel smooth. But run it through your fingers the opposite way and you can just feel the scales catching onto your skin.

That’s how hair catches or latches itself onto objects like tiny pieces of soap you might let fall into the drain. In fact, those are the two most common things found in a shower drain, hair and pieces of bar soap.

Since you can’t avoid having your hair fall out while you wash your hair, you need to avoid putting anything else down that shower drain. Also, when you shower and your hair falls out, your shower drain should have a method in place of catching hair.

It should have a strainer in place to catch the hair. Just be sure to put any hair in the trash that catches in the strainer after you shower. This just takes a moment and helps you to avoid Tacoma clogged drains.

Avoidance is always the best way to go when it comes to dealing with drain clogs. It’s funny because a lot of circumstances in life will get worse if you try to avoid them, but in this case it’s exactly what you’ll want to do.

For those cases where you can’t avoid getting a shower drain clog because it’s already been going on for too long, just give us a call here at Rooter-Man and we’ll thoroughly clean and if you like sanitize your drains for you. There are plenty of methods we can take that will clean out all the drains in your home. Why not start fresh and avoid problems from previous occupants?

If you need help with your Tacoma Clogged Drains, please call 877-694-5176 or complete the online request form.

What Do Hair, Cooking Oil and Paper Towels Have In Common?

September 4, 2012

Drain Cleaning in TacomaDrain cleaning can be a good thing for your Seattle household plumbing, but it isn’t cheap to have it done professionally. While it may be something you want to schedule regularly with your Seattle plumber, it isn’t something you want to be up against in an emergency. Having said that, millions of homeowners have found themselves in just such a position at one time or another. 99% of the time, these clogs could have been avoided by following some simple rules about what should go down the pipes and what shouldn’t. Stick to those rules, and you shouldn’t experience any trouble. Here are some of the most common clogs.


More than anything else, hair is the primary culprit behind most household clogs, especially as it pertains to the bathroom pipes. It’s only natural, of course. Shaving, grooming, even shampooing can cause you to lose quite a lot of hair over a short period of time. If you have people with long hair in your family, the chances of facing a clog in the near future grow ever more likely. While having everyone in the family shave their heads is a drastic measure to take, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid needing professional drain cleaning. Install some special filters or strainers and catch the hair rather than letting it flow into the pipes.

Cooking Oil

Pour a bottle full of vegetable oil down the kitchen sink and you probably won’t run into any problems. Pour that same amount down the hole after you’ve cooked with it and it may be the last thing that goes down without a fight. When it comes to your Seattle kitchen sink, no substance creates as much need for drain cleaning as used cooking oil. Once it cools after cooking, it hardens into a white, sticky mess that clings to the side of your pipes. It doesn’t take many times of doing this before you’re facing a real problem with water flow. Instead of pouring it down the sink, pour it into a sealable bottle or can and throw it out with the trash.

Paper Products

Toilet paper is very light and practically disintegrates when put through the plumbing system. Paper towels, tampons, and feminine napkins are not the same and should never be flushed down the toilet. It is another of the most common reasons for a clog and it is why nearly all Seattle drain cleaning specialists advise finding something else to do with these paper products.


If you would like to speak to one of our Tacoma drain cleaning contractors, please call 877-694-5176, or complete our online service request form.

A Blog About Clogs in Seattle

May 29, 2012

Tacoma Clogged DrainsClogged drains are a common Seattle home plumbing issue, occurring when hair, waste, or food products-depending on the use of the drain-get stuck in the pipe, stopping water or waste from draining. You can deal with some clogs on your own, but for serious issues, you may need to call in a professional Seattle plumber.

One day, your shower, toilet, or kitchen sink is working just fine. The next, you take a shower, use the restroom, or wash the dishes and you’re left with dirty water that just won’t drain – or worse, is overflowing from the basin. What happened? Most likely, the drain is clogged with solid material-hair in the shower, waste and paper in the toilet, or food in the kitchen sink. Clogs start small but can get nasty fast, especially if you don’t deal with them in a timely fashion. There are a number of DIY fixes for minor drain clogs, but if you’ve exhausted your options or the problem is severe, you’ll need to call a professional Seattle plumber.

DIY Fixes

You can attack a clogged drain head-on using a standard plunger. Fill the basin with enough water to cover the plunger head, and then place the plunger over the affected drain so that it creates a seal. Pump the plunger up and down rapidly, forcing water in and out of the drain, and then pop it off to break the seal. Repeat, if necessary. This should loosen and flush away minor clogs. If plunging several times fails to loosen the blockage, purchase a chemical drain opener and use it as directed on the package. Be aware, however, that the caustic agents in chemical drain openers can actually harm some fixtures. If a plunger and a full container of drain opener don’t do the trick, it might be time to bring in an expert.

What the Pros Do

Professional Seattle plumbers have an array of tools in their arsenal to fight clogs. One of the most basic is the drain snake, also known as a drain auger. Plumbers spiral this long, flexible cable down into the pipe until it reaches the clog, displacing it. A more modern piece of plumbing technology is the hydro-jet, which is designed to blast through and eradicate pipe blockages. While a drain snake is generally effective on basic clogs, hydro-jetting can get rid of years of accumulated sludge inside your pipes.

Preventative Measures

Most Seattle plumbing systems will need occasional maintenance and professional drain cleaning, but you can take steps to decrease the frequency of clogged drains. In the kitchen, avoid pouring cooking grease down the drain, as it can accumulate and harden inside the pipe. If you have a garbage disposal, always flush it with water to keep food from sticking to the pipe. In the bathroom sink and shower, use drain stoppers or strainers to keep hair and other materials from going down the drain. Only flush items down the toilet that are labeled “flushable.” Anything else may clog the plumbing. And finally, always address minor clogs before they become complete blockages. When you notice your water draining more slowly than usual, especially if it gets a little worse each day, it’s time to take action.

If you would like to speak to one of our Tacoma drain cleaning contractors, please call 877-694-5176, or complete our online service request form.

Repeat After Me: Drain, Waste, Vent

February 29, 2012

Drainage Systems

Whether your Seattle home is on a sewer or septic system, the systems within your home are essentially the same. Drainage systems do not depend on pressure, as supply systems do. Instead, waste matter leaves your house because the drainage pipes all pitch, or angle, downward. Gravity pulls the waste along. The sewer line continues this downward flow to a sewage treatment facility or a septic tank.

While the system sounds simple, there’s more to it, including vents, traps, and clean outs. The vents sticking up from the roof of your Seattle home allow air to enter the drainpipes. If there were no air supply coming from the vents, wastewater would not flow out properly and the water in the traps would need to be siphoned away.

Traps are vital components of the drainage system. You can see a trap under every sink. It is the curved or S-shape section of pipe under a drain. Water flows from the basin with enough force to go through the trap and out through the drainpipe, but enough water stays in the trap afterward to form a seal that prevents sewer gas from backing up into your Seattle home. Every fixture must have a trap. Toilets are self-trapped and don’t require an additional trap at the drain. Bathtubs frequently have drum traps, not only to form a seal against sewer gas but also to collect hair and dirt in order to prevent clogged drains. Some kitchen sinks have grease traps to collect grease that might otherwise cause clogging. Because grease and hair are generally the causes of drain clogs, traps often have clean-out plugs that give you easier access to remove or break up any blockage.

Since a drainage system involves all of these components, it is usually referred to as the DWV: the drain-waste-vent system. If water is to flow out freely and waste is to exit properly, all components of the DWV must be present and in good working order. Examine the pipes in the basement or crawl space under your Seattle home to help you understand the system better.

Supply and Drainage Subsystems

The supply and drainage subsystems are two distinct operations, with no overlapping between them. There are bridges between the two, however, and the bridges are what make the plumbing system worth having. In plumbing jargon, any bridge between the supply and drainage systems is a fixture.

Toilets, sinks, and tubs are fixtures. In addition, an outside faucet is a fixture and so is a washing machine. All devices that draw freshwater and discharge wastewater are fixtures, and all are designed to keep the supply and drainage systems strictly segregated.

Some fixtures have individual supply shutoff valves so you don’t need to close the main shutoff to repair them. It’s a good idea to make sure everyone in the family knows the location of the main shutoff valve in your house as well as how to use it. You may want to tag the main shutoff valve so anyone can easily find it.

Before you embark on any plumbing repairs, always turn off the water supply to the fixture or the main shutoff. In addition, check with your Seattle plumbing code official before you add or change any pipe in your house. You will learn what is allowed and what is prohibited and whether or not a homeowner is allowed to do his or her own work.  Call on your Seattle plumber for any repairs that your plumbing code official does not green light.

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If you would like to speak to one of our Tacoma drain cleaning contractors, please call 877-694-5176, or complete our online service request form.

Chemical Drain Cleaners, Electrons And More.

January 25, 2012

Why do drains clog? The short answer is because of the way we use them. Obviously, even though it’s not supposed to happen, water isn’t the only thing going down most drains. In fact, knowing what has clogged your drain can be an important step in knowing how to clear the clog. At the kitchen sink, grease and small particles of food can make their way into the drain. In the bathroom, hair and soap scum are the biggest offenders. Over time, these substances can build up and begin to line the drain, and then one day, another piece of food or another clump of hair is all it takes to block the drain [source: Goodway].

Foreign objects, such as jewelry, bottle tops or toys, can also fall into a drain and clog it. If that’s the case, drain cleaners won’t help unblock the drain. You’ll need to remove the object or call  your Seattle plumber to do it for you.

Assuming your problem isn’t a foreign object, first try to locate the clog. Start by removing, checking and cleaning the stopper or strainer at the entrance to the drain. Some strainers are easily removed by hand, but others may require a screwdriver or pliers. Remove anything you can reach and then try pouring hot water down the drain.

The next step is to try using a plunger on the drain, and if that doesn’t work, try removing and cleaning the sink’s trap. After that, you may want to try a sewer snake, or auger. If none of these efforts works, it’s time to use a drain-cleaning product [source: Harrison].

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Be they liquid, gel or powder form, most of the drain cleaners you’ll find on store shelves use strong chemicals, and they come in liquid, gel and powder forms. All chemical reactions involve moving electrons, and drain cleaners work by either taking or giving electrons to the clogging substance, generating heat in the process. There are three main types of drain cleaners:

  • Caustic drain cleaners contain substances such as lye and caustic potash. They’re bases, so they give electrons to the clogging substance, and their hydroxide ions create the reaction that clears the clog. Their alkaline, or basic, chemicals release heat and turn grease into a soap-like substance that’s more easily dissolved. These drain cleaners are typically heavier than water, which enables them to reach the clog through standing water.
  • Oxidizing drain cleaners contain substances such as household bleach, peroxides and nitrates. These chemicals cause the organic material of the clog to lose electrons and become oxidized. The product is heavier than water, so it can move through standing water, and it releases heat and gas to help clear the blockage.
  • Acid drain cleaners aren’t commonly found in stores, and some are sold only to plumbers. These typically contain high concentrations of sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid, substances that increase hydronium ions in a solution and attract electrons from the clog. The hydronium ions react chemically with the material in the clog, and the reaction releases heat, which is necessary to melt congealed grease [source: Sheridan].

Because most of these products generate heat, they may soften the polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, pipes found in most Seattle homes today. However, such damage is rare if you use the drain cleaner as directed — damage is more likely to occur when drain cleaner is used on older, metal pipes.

Aside from their effect on the pipes in your Seattle home, there are other disadvantages to chemical drain cleaners. They’re extremely toxic if swallowed, and they can burn eyes, skin and mucous membranes and eat through clothing. They can release noxious fumes, and if used improperly, they can cause explosions. These products can also harm septic systems by killing beneficial bacteria, and they can mar bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

If you use chemical drain cleaners, read the directions carefully and heed all the warnings. Use the product in a well-ventilated area, wear rubber gloves, and keep children and pets away from the drain. Never mix different drain cleaners, and don’t use a plunger in conjunction with drain cleaners.

Most drain cleaners advise waiting 15 minutes or more after pouring the product into the drain before flushing it with hot water. If your drain is still clogged afterward, you may need to repeat the process. If a few tries yield no results, it may be time to give your Seattle plumber a call.

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If you are looking for a Tacoma plumbing contractor, please call 877-694-5176 or complete our online request form.

Noah Can’t Help You With This One

January 18, 2012

Noah Can't Help You With This OneThe laundry room, which can be located in such areas as the basement, the main floor of your Tacoma home, or even up in the attic, can be a place where a flood can occur. When a laundry room flood occurs, the damage can be extensive and expensive. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to prevent flooding of your laundry room.

To determine if you have a plumbing issue that could result in a laundry room flood, check to see if the floors and walls around the laundry room sink are damp. Check the joints in the pipe connections to see if they are loose. If they are, you can tighten them yourself. Also, check to see if there are tiny holes or cracks in a pipe. If there is a small hole that can cause a leak, you can wrap the pipe in rubber hose and attach clamps at the top, bottom, and at the source of the leak. There is also plumber’s epoxy you can purchase which is effective at sealing small holes and cracks causing leaks.

Clogs are another cause of a laundry room flood as they can cause the floor drain line or sink drain line to backup. Causes of a clog can include: hair, soap, and lint which can accumulate in the line and eventually cause it to clog. To determine if you have a clogged drain, you can turn off the water, remove the u-shaped pipe, and try to locate the clog. You will also have to examine each side of the straight ends of the pipe to see if there is a clog. Once you have located and removed the clog, put the pipes back in place, turn the water on, and run water through to see if the water flow has returned to normal.

Burst pipes are also a cause of flooding. Burst pipes are often due to old worn pipes or frozen pipes. It is important to have your Tacoma plumber restore old and damaged pipes. To prevent frozen pipes, you should wrap the pipes in insulation wrap. Other times, a flood can be caused by worn parts such as a worn hose connection. If you have old, cheap, or worn connections, you should get them replaced. If your water hose bursts, it will flood the room with hundreds of gallons of water. You should consider installing a shut off valve to prevent such a disaster. As well, installing a floor drain can stop flooding of the room. Hiring a Tacoma plumber to install a washer tray under your washing machine will help collect water if a leak develops.

When implementing measures to prevent flooding of the laundry room, it is a good idea to have a Tacoma plumber inspect the plumbing system, appliances that use water, and plumbing fixtures, to check for damage and old and worn components. An examination and repair of high risk parts and appliances will go a long way in preventing flooding of the laundry room. It will prevent a lot of damage and save you a lot of money. When it comes to laundry room flooding, prevention is the solution.

If you would like to speak to one of our Tacoma drain cleaning contractors, please call 877-694-5176, or complete our online service request form.

Can’t Flush This

December 21, 2011

Can't Flush ThisA clogged toilet can be a huge inconvenience, and can be expensive if the homeowner is unable to clear the clog and is forced to hire a Tacoma plumber. The problem is especially common with modern toilets. Older models use larger amounts of water per flush, and therefore use more “mass” to push waste through the plumbing. Newer models, however, are designed to use water more efficiently. They use only as much water as is required for an average flush, but don’t stand up to large items as well. Owners must therefore use extra caution with them in order to ensure that all waste loads are within the toilet’s flushing capability. Avoiding putting certain items in a toilet can prevent many clogs.

Toilet paper is designed to dissolve and break up in water, preventing it from creating either a bundled up mass or a “net” in the plumbing. However, it is common for many people to use other materials in its place. Paper towels are the most common, but users should never flush these down a toilet, since they are designed to do the opposite of toilet paper: maintain durability when wet. They tend to bunch up and form tough masses that are larger than the diameter of the pipe.

Even toilet paper will fail to flush properly if used in large amounts and flushed all at once. It can ball up so that only the outside of the “ball” will dissolve in the water. It is best to use only a few sheets at a time between flushes to prevent a clogged toilet bowl.

Children’s toys are another common cause of backed-up toilets. Ever-curious children are often fascinated by toilets, and will place objects into them just to watch them as they flush down. However, most toys are awkwardly shaped, inflexible, and bigger than the pipe. An Tacoma plumber may have to be called to extract them. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep the toilet seat down when not in use and keep the bathroom door closed. Children should be monitored to make sure that they don’t play in the bathroom. An added benefit of this is that children will not be unnecessarily exposed to unsanitary conditions.

Simple tools such as a plunger and a plumbing snake can be used to fix many clogs when they do occur. Drain cleaners may be useful for clearing most types of waste, but will be ineffective on foreign objects such as toys. Following these simple guidelines and learning the proper use of common clog-busting tools can save most Tacoma homeowners from expensive plumber bills.

If you would like to speak to one of our Tacoma drain cleaning contractors, please call 877-694-5176, or complete our online service request form.

How Often Should You Have Your Tacoma Drains Professionally Cleaned?

November 15, 2011

If you want to keep your drains clean and working, regular drain cleaning is a must. For sewer lines and basement drains and other bigger drains, your Tacoma professional plumber recommends regular inspections approximately once every two to three years depending on the proximity of typical clogging culprits like roots and the age of the system. It will greatly help you to ensure the longevity of your drains and drain pipes.

Drains can become clogged for many reasons most often due to an accumulation of things like grease, hair, scale and dirt.

The most common remedy used by Tacoma homeowners for attempting to unclog drains is the chemical drain cleaners. Most homeowners see it as the most convenient way to relieve clogged pipes. This method just requires that you pour a solution down the drain and leave it alone for a while. Please be advised this method poses many health risks for anyone who uses it. Chemical drain openers are very corrosive by nature and present the risk of damage to any part of the skin or the body that will come in contact with it. The fumes from these chemicals are very potent and can cause severe damage to the respiratory tract. This damage to the respiratory tract can be permanent and can happen easily without you realizing it.

An emergency drain cleaning situation is a nightmare for most Tacoma homeowners. Your main sewer line can also become clogged from debris the other household drains wash into it and also by tree roots that penetrate pipe joints from the surrounding soil. Of course, if there is a recurring issue with one of the smaller drains in the house, like a toilet or a garbage disposal, this could be a sign of a more troublesome blockage in the sewer line that needs immediate professional attention.

Like many other things today, drain cleaning technology has also become state-of-the-art and highly efficient. High pressure water jetting equipment sometimes is needed for your home, but more often for commercial businesses and municipalities and isn’t owned by many drain cleaning businesses. Because the equipment is so expensive and potentially dangerous to use, it’s important to find a professional Tacoma plumber that has a good reputation, professional workers, and fair prices.

If you would like to speak to one of our Tacoma drain cleaning contractors, please call 877-694-5176, or complete our online service request form.

Got a Drain Blockage Problem? What Tacoma Homeowners Should Do

October 4, 2011

Drain in a bathroom. drain plugWhat’s the situation?

Is it something you need to fix immediately or it can wait for few days? Will the small leakage affect other water supply systems or it’s alone need to be fixed? Trying to fix a major and interrelated plumbing or drain problem would not be a good idea. People sometimes try to fix the leakage all by themselves or call a good-neighbour for this to save the money they would need to pay the professional service provider. Decide the situation and the urgency. Trying to fix a major blockage or pipe fix all by yourself can cost you even more in the long run. If the problem is deep, it would require specialized equipments, high-tech machinery, skills and expertise to solve it. Trying to solve such a major issue would only make it more complex. Your professional Tacoma drain cleaning contractor can unblock clogged drains without even damaging the pipes and flooring of the home but your good-neighbour can create a bigger damage. It is often better to call a professional service if you’ve other tasks to finish. The costs are often affordable and the repair work is done pretty perfectly.

What’s the reason behind the blockage or damage?

Do you have any clue what could be the possible reason for the blockage or damage? Did it happen only because the whole system has been running for a very long and needs replacement, for casual issues or an unexpected issue like tree roots? Usually when the plumbing system, water supply and pipes work flawlessly people don’t give it a thought but when pipes block up and overflow, they take some quick decision to fix it. To prevent such a catastrophe monitor your Water supply stem and pipes and when the blockage or leakage happens try to find out the reason behind it to take the right steps.

Selecting the professional service provider:

Selecting the most appropriate professional for your cleaning and blockage problem needs some serious thought. A random selection can be a frustrating experience and more costly eventually. Go for the right one who can ensure that the quality job was done to make your building infrastructure was not affected. Emphasize the task at hand while selecting the service provider: is it because of a makeover of a kitchen, bathroom or even a renewal of a plumbing system or renovating an old house you have bought.


Tacoma Regular Plumbing Maintenance Is Essential

March 7, 2011

You can see that in every building there will be the plumbing related works, due to the old age of the pipe lines the chance of the repair works also increases as the times goes on. You may able to repair some of the problems by yourself but most of the fault needs repair works from the qualified plumbers. Plumbing rectification can be of different types, due to the normal maintenance, repair works or the renovation of the existing plumbing line as the part of the building rework. There are mainly two plumbing lines in the building; fresh water supply system and the waste water system. The fresh water system depends on the type of the building and the place of the building. The waste water pipes of the domestic building connect to the external main sewage line and the industrial and or commercial buildings may equip sewage treatment system. Plumbing rectification activities varies according to the type of the building and the complexity of the system in the building. Services from the qualified plumbers are the main factor that required for keeping the plumbing system in the normal operation.

Main water source for the domestic buildings usually from the municipal water supply system and the water is preserved in the top tanks and from these tanks water will flow to the different points in the pipe lines. The commercial buildings may comprise additional water pumping equipments for keeping the water pressure in the pipes. Plumbing rectification of the commercial buildings need special attention since the system involves more complex instruments and equipments. Plumbing rectification may be also due to renovation of the building, and the renovation can only be done based on the capacity of the existing plumbing in the building. In today’s world plumbing up gradation is the common trend that we can see. Installation of the new fixtures and sanitary wares are may be due to the replacement or for the beautification purpose. Whatever the work is a professional plumber can help you in the works.

While we are planning for the plumbing rectification works, the main question that comes to our mind will be the plumber who can be called for. Workmanship of the plumber has important role in determining the performance of the plumbing and the maintenance works. Several plumbing companies and the private plumbers are present in the market. Professional plumbers are employing plumbers with rich experience in both domestic and commercial building and they can help you better with all types of plumbing rectification works. In the case of private plumbers the licensing system by the governmental agencies is meant for identifying the qualified plumbers. Thus you can contact the private plumbers for the plumbing related works. Most of the plumbing companies can be contacted for the emergency plumbing works in your home. the companies are offering their services at a reasonable charge so that without any hesitation you can contact them and the modern equipments used by them is making the work time saving.

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