How to Tell If You Have a Cracked Pipe in Kelowna BC
Posted in Damaged Pipes, Plumbing Repairs
Common Signs That You Have a Cracked Pipe in Kelowna
Is there something wrong with the plumbing system in your Kelowna home or commercial building? If you suspect a cracked pipe, you need professional help from a local plumbing company immediately. Whether it is your water lines or your sewer lines, a crack in your plumbing pipes can cause extensive damage in a very short amount of time.
You may think you know exactly what a cracked pipe looks like—water spraying everywhere and a flooded floor. But the symptoms of a water leak caused by a cracked pipe can actually be a lot less obvious and more difficult to spot. If you know the signs of a cracked pipe, you can catch it early on and call a Kelowna plumber for pipe leak repairs before it spirals into a huge headache that will require stressful and costly water damage mitigation.
The plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. have found and repaired numerous hidden leaks in both water and sewer lines in Kelowna and nearby areas such as West Kelowna and Peachland. We have the skill and experience to repair or replace your cracked pipe with efficient, long-lasting repairs so you can get back your peace of mind.
Cracked Pipe in Kelowna: Water Line Symptoms
A busted water pipe is a serious problem that can cost you a lot of money on your water bill, and even worse, it can contaminate your clean water supply. Everyone needs access to ample clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, so contaminated water supply pipes are more than just an inconvenience—it can cause a serious hazard that jeopardizes the health of you and your family. Here are some of the key signs that indicate you are dealing with a cracked pipe somewhere in your Kelowna water line.
High Charges on Your Water Bill
Does your bill seem a lot higher than it was last month or a few months ago, even though you are using around the same amount of water as before? This is a big red flag that indicates there may be a leak in your water line. Instead of throwing money down the drain, your pipes are letting it seep away into the soil—or worse, somewhere inside your house.
One way to confirm this is by checking your water meter. Turn off all plumbing-related appliances and fixtures right before you go to bed, and note the position of the indicator on your meter. In the morning, before flushing the toilet or using any other water, check the meter again. If the indicator is moving or has moved position overnight, there is a strong possibility of a cracked pipe.
Your water should, of course, be coming out of your pipes completely clear. It may look cloudy at first from the pressure of your faucet, but it should quickly settle. If it has a brown or yellowish tinge, or you can see particles of rust or dirt in it, something is not right. It could be a cracked pipe, or it could be corrosion on the inside of the line. Either way, it needs plumbing repairs or replacement pipe service from a plumber who deals with cracked pipes in Kelowna.
Fluctuating Water Pressure
When the water pressure coming out of your fixtures doesn’t seem as strong as it used to be, or the pressure fluctuates randomly, it isn’t necessarily the fault of Kelowna’s water supply. It may be an indication that there is a cracked pipe causing pressure changes, which is really rough on your pipe fittings and can cause a lot of undue wear and tear, not to mention leaks.
Puddles Under Sinks
If you find a big puddle of water under or near your sink, the obvious conclusion is that there is a leak coming from the visible pipes or the fixture itself. If you do see a visible leak on an exposed pipe, put a bucket underneath it and call a plumber. Stopping up the leak with some duct tape or even a towel wrapped around the pipe won’t last long, but it is better than nothing until your plumber arrives. However, if you have inspected the accessible pipes thoroughly and can’t figure out where the water is coming from, take a close look at the wall near the pipe cover plates. It is possible that water is seeping through the wall and making it seem like it is coming from the fixture.
Dripping or Running Water Sounds
Most people find the sound of a dripping faucet irritating—but it is nowhere near as bad as hearing the sound of dripping or running water coming from behind your walls. This does not always mean you have a cracked pipe, because there are some situations where dripping or running water may be audible while it is still contained inside an intact pipe. But if the sound just started recently, it should definitely be checked out by a professional plumber to rule out the possibility of a cracked pipe or some other issue.
Moisture Damage on Walls or Ceiling
Signs of moisture damage on your walls or ceiling, such as brown stains, softened drywall, bubbling drywall tape, or peeling, flaking paint indicate a severe problem that should be taken seriously. It is likely happening because of a cracked pipe, though it could also be rainwater seeping in from a damaged roof or siding. A cracked pipe inside your walls can cause gradual damage and encourage the growth of wood rot, which softens timber and causes structural instability. If you can see visible signs of moisture damage on a wall, there is probably mold and mildew lurking behind it as well.
Cracked Pipe in Kelowna: Sewer Line Symptoms
The signs of a broken sewer pipe are different from the symptoms of a busted pipe on the water line, and the resulting sewer line damage affects your property in different ways. If you get the news that you need sewer line repair or replacement, you may be dreading the thought of having a huge trench dug across your lawn to access the pipes, but don’t panic! 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. uses trenchless Kelowna sewer line repair and replacement techniques that, as the name suggests, eliminate the hassle and damage of digging a trench to fix cracked pipes in Kelowna.
A slow drain, whether it is a sink, shower, or bathtub drain, is obnoxious and frustrating, but it isn’t a sign of a cracked pipe—right? It’s true that water taking forever to drain out of fixtures is sometimes just a run-of-the-mill clog. But, it could indicate a cracked pipe in Kelowna too, especially in combination with other signs that there is trouble coming down the pipe. Even if it is just a clog, it is making your kitchen or bathroom experience a lot less pleasant and needs to be dealt with.
Frequent, Stubborn Clogs
You plunge until your arms ache, pour entire bottles of harsh chemical drain cleaners down the drain, and even try a little prayer—but that nasty clog just won’t budge. Or, you think you’ve got it plunged away, only to have the fixture clog right up again the next time you use it. This aggravating problem could be related to a cracked pipe in Kelowna, and no amount of plunging is going to fix it. Frequent or incredibly stubborn clogs are often caused by tree root intrusion, and they’re best eliminated with an appointment for professional Kelowna drain cleaning service.
If there is an unpleasant sewage stench wafting up out of your drains, or you smell sewage in your basement or yard, it’s not just gross, it is a big warning sign that you have a serious problem with your sewage lines. Bad smells are often one of the earliest symptoms of a problem, so it is a good idea to get it checked out as soon as possible before the issue (and the smell) gets worse.
If you see visible sewage backing up into low-lying fixtures or drains such as toilets, showers, bathtubs, and floor drains, or actually spilling out of fixtures onto the floor, well… it will come as no surprise to you that it isn’t a good thing. Sewer backups are disgusting and unsanitary, and pose a serious health hazard. Your local Kelowna plumber will know what to do to get your plumbing system back in safe working order.
It is fairly normal for concrete to suffer cracks over time from normal wear and tear, but if you notice new cracks in your concrete foundation or exterior basement wall, especially if they are concentrated along one wall or in one specific area, it could be a sign of a hidden leak. When a cracked pipe leaks underneath a concrete foundation slab, it erodes the soil that is supporting the concrete and the building begins to slowly sink, which causes stress cracks on the concrete. While it can be difficult to detect a leak that is buried under a concrete slab, the plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. have specialized leak detection tools such as infrared cameras and acoustic listening devices that help us pinpoint the location of any cracked pipe in Kelowna.
Puddles or Lush Spots on Lawn
If you stroll across your lawn only to discover a huge, soggy wet patch in the grass, or you notice that the grass on one area of your lawn is suddenly a lot more green and lush than the rest of the yard, you should be suspicious. Unusual puddles and sudden lush spots are both signs that there is a cracked pipe buried under the yard that is leaking sewage—or as your grass sees it, fertilizer. Aside from being unsanitary and probably not smelling too great, this can cause environmental destruction, sinkholes, and even structural stability issues with your foundation.
Rodent and Insect Infestations
Are rodents and insects invading your home? While they may not be getting in through a cracked pipe, it is certainly a possibility. Rats can squeeze into surprisingly tiny crevices and get into your house through a damaged sewer line, and insects can be attracted to a cracked pipe by the smell of sewage, which provides a breeding environment for them, along with easy access to your house. Once one pest finds a way in, dozens of their little friends will soon follow.
What Caused the Cracked Pipe in My Kelowna Plumbing System?
While we can’t say what caused your particular cracked pipe situation without investigating in person, it may be the result of one of these common causes:
- Tree Root Intrusion: Even if you don’t have any trees in your yard, far-reaching roots from your neighbour’s trees can wrap themselves around your buried sewer lines and constrict as they grow, eventually creating enough pressure to crack the pipe. Once the roots touch moisture inside the pipe, they begin to grow rapidly and partially or completely block the flow of sewage and wastewater.
- Frozen Pipes: When cold weather hits and your pipes aren’t adequately insulated, the water inside them freezes and expands, and the pipe bursts under the pressure of the expanding ice.
- Not Maintained Properly: Clogs can build up slowly over time inside your pipe, and if they aren’t removed with regular drain cleaning services, they can block the flow inside and expand to the points where they actually cause a cracked pipe.
- Old Age: While sewer lines are meant to last a long time, they don’t last forever. Over the decades, normal wear and tear takes its toll and the pipe can eventually crack.
Worried About a Possible Cracked Pipe in Kelowna?
Call Your Local Plumber at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd!
Have you noticed one or several of the above signs of a cracked pipe around your Kelowna property? Don’t let the problem fester and get worse, costing you time, stress, and money! Call the experienced plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. to get your plumbing system back in perfect working order quickly and efficiently.
Give us a call today at 250-801-0911 to schedule a service appointment. Need emergency service after hours or on the weekend? No problem! We are available 24/7 for Kelowna emergency plumbing service.
Step-By-Step Guide to Unclog Drain Blockages in Kelowna, BC
Posted in Clogged Drains
Need to Unclog Drain Blockages in Your Shower, Sink, or Bathtub? We Can Help!
Are you standing ankle-deep in dirty water by the time you finish your shower? Or waiting for what seems like forever for water to move through slow-flowing drains in your kitchen or bathroom sinks? Clogged drains affect everyone sooner or later—but that doesn’t make them any less of an aggravating, unsanitary nuisance. Luckily, your local plumbing company is always here to help!
If you’re trying to figure out how to unclog drain jams in your shower, sink, or bathtub, you’ve come to the right place! This expert advice from your local Kelowna plumbers will help you get the water flowing freely again so you can use your plumbing system without worry.
When you need help with a clogged drain or a full range of other frustrating plumbing problems, call on your friendly neighbourhood plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. Whether you’re in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, West Bank, or another nearby area, we’re ready to tackle your plumbing system and get the water flowing smoothly again, any time of the day or night!
What Are the Signs of a Clogged Drain in Kelowna?
You may think you know exactly what a drain clog looks like in your Kelowna home—the water doesn’t go down the drain—but the need to unclog drain blockage is not always that blatantly obvious.
Here are a few other symptoms that indicate you need to unclog drain fixtures:
- Water takes a long time to drain out of fixtures
- Toilet gurgles or bubbles when you use the sink
- Water is backing up into fixtures
- Puddles of water forming under or near fixtures
- Strange noises from drains, such as gurgling, sucking, or grinding
- Foul odours from drains that smell like sewage, sulphur, or rotting food
Why is My Drain Clogged?
We won’t know for sure what caused your clogged drain until we’re able to inspect it in person, but the most likely culprit in Kelowna is foreign objects or substances that weren’t supposed to be washed down the drain made their way into your pipes. Technically there’s only three things that should be going down your drain: waste, water, and toilet paper. Anything else is a clog waiting to happen.
Fat, oil, and grease are among the worst things that you could pour down your drain. They’re so bad, they have their own acronym in the plumbing industry: FOG. While FOG substances may be in liquid form when you pour them into the sink, they quickly solidify and coat the inside of your pipe with a thick, sticky layer that catches and holds anything that follows it down, creating a nasty mess that could totally block-off water flow.
The main villain in Kelowna’s bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtub drains is a build-up of hair and soap scum, while kitchen sink drains are commonly plagued by food particles that really shouldn’t have been washed down, along with all that fat, oil, and grease we just mentioned.
You shouldn’t really be letting any food go down your drain, although you might get away with some food scraps if you have an in-sink garbage disposal. Always avoid substances that will be ground into a sand-like texture, such as coffee grounds and eggshells, because even your garbage disposal can’t deal with stuff like that effectively. The need to unclog drain fixtures is already bad enough without adding a jammed garbage disposal to the problem.
Step-By-Step Guide to Unclog Drain Blockages in Kelowna
Ready to roll up your sleeves and get that drain unclogged? Here’s a five-step guide from the Kelowna plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. to walk you through the process.
Step 1: Prepare the Area (and Yourself)
The very first thing you should do is take some basic precautions that keep the mess to a minimum, because—we’re going to level with you here—there could be some splashing of nasty substances that occurs while you unclog drain jams.
Putting down some old newspapers or rags around the fixture you’re working on should make cleaning up a lot faster and easier. We also recommend changing into old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and putting on some rubber gloves that cover your forearms (trust us on this one).
Step 2: Try to Pull the Clog Out
Before you start plunging away, check to see if it’s possible to simply unclog drain jams by pulling out the debris with your hand. If an item has fallen down the drain or there’s a big clump of hair in there, it might be pretty close to the surface.
You’ll need to remove the drain cover if there is one. Then, with your rubber gloves on, reach into the drain opening and feel around for anything that may be blocking water flow, like a chunk of soap or a clump of hair. If you don’t find anything, it was worth a try. If you pull something out and the water begins to drain properly, congratulations, you’ve done it! That was easy.
Step 3: Use a Plunger
Now it’s time to try a classic method, used by many plumbers and homeowners to unclog drain jams: the plunger. But first, you need to make sure you’re using the correct plunger. Many people aren’t even aware that there are different plungers for different purposes. Using the wrong type might be totally futile.
For flat (or flattish) drains in sinks, bathtubs, and showers, you need a cup-shaped plunger. The kind that forms a seal around drain holes. Bell or ball-shaped plungers with a flange at the bottom and accordion plungers are both for toilets only.
If you’re plunging one side of a double sink or a fixture with an overflow drain, plug up the other side’s drain or the overflow with a rag. There may already be standing water in your clogged fixture as a result of the blockage, but if there’s not, you should also pour water into the fixture until it’s an inch or two deep.
Then, place your cup-shaped plunger head over the hole. Push down and pull up steadily to create a vacuum that pulls the clog up out of the pipe. Start slow to make sure it’s suctioned on, and then just plunge… and plunge… and plunge some more.
Don’t get frustrated if nothing happens at first. It could take quite a bit of elbow grease, but it’s often possible to unclog drains simply with consistent plunging. If you hear a squelching sound and the standing water begins to drain, that means your clog is gone! Success!
Step 4: Use a Drain Snake
No luck with the plunger? There’s one more thing you could try to unclog drain backups—it’s time to go fishing. Not the fun kind of fishing; this is the kind where you retrieve a big, nasty clump of mystery clog out of your pipe.
You may not have an actual plumbing snake (which is also called an auger) just lying around, but that’s okay. You can buy a simple, inexpensive plumbing auger at most Kelowna hardware stores, or you could just make your own out of a regular wire coat hanger by straightening it out and bending one end into a long, narrow hook.
Lower your plumbing snake into the drain until you feel resistance from the blockage, then push the hook through the clog until you don’t feel resistance anymore. Then, slowly pull the snake up and out. Hopefully, the blockage will be dangling from the hook and your pipe will be free and clear. To confirm that you won’t have to unclog drain backups again soon, run some hot water in the fixture to wash away any remnants and ensure your system is back in good working order.
Step 5: Call Your Kelowna Plumbers.
If you’ve tried everything we listed above and that difficult clog refuses to budge (or if you’ve tried none of the above and don’t intend to), it’s time to call your local Kelowna plumbers at 911 Plumbing Drainage Heating Ltd.
We have the equipment, experience, and know-how to unclog drain blockages of all types. Dealing with a Kelowna plumbing emergency after hours or on a holiday? No problem! We provide 24/7 emergency service, so you never have to struggle with a clogged drain or any other plumbing issue on your own.
Keep in mind that when you’re not able to unclog drain pipes—or you get one unclogged, and then the same thing happens again right away—the problem may be bigger than just a standard blockage. For example, it could be something like tree root intrusion.
Even trees that are relatively far away have far-reaching roots that can wrap themselves around buried pipes and constrict, squeezing the pipe until it cracks. Once the roots get inside and touch water, they begin to grow rapidly and partially or completely restrict the flow of water, and there’s no amount of plunging that is going to fix that issue.
911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. has advanced technology such as video camera inspection equipment that allows us to pinpoint the problem and come up with a repair solution that gets your plumbing system back in perfect working order.
How NOT to Unclog Drain Jams in Kelowna
If you’ve been searching for “unclog drain” online, you’ve probably come across a few homemade solutions that recommend pouring substances you already have in your kitchen down the drain, such as:
- Baking soda and a cup of vinegar
- Cup of dish detergent
- Pot of boiling water
- Harsh chemical drain cleaner
It’s true that baking soda and vinegar can create an explosive chemical reaction in a closed environment like a capped bottle, but your pipe is not closed. Those DIY drain cleaning mixtures normally just fizzle harmlessly for a minute while the gas escapes—and your drain will still be clogged afterward. The truth is, none of these substances are going to work as well as plunging and snaking. In all likelihood, they won’t have any effect at all. By using them, you’ll likely just waste your own time—and add more material to the clog.
Harsh chemical drain cleaners can be more effective when used to unclog drains than dish detergent or cola, but if you use them too frequently, they can seriously damage your pipes—which means they’ll need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Those chemicals can also seep into Kelowna’s groundwater and make their way into our rivers and lakes, which is obviously terrible for the local environment.
Carrying a pot of boiling water from your kitchen to your bathroom is just plain dangerous (not to mention largely ineffective). Don’t scald yourself trying to unclog a drain, just call 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. to take care of it for you!
How Do You Avoid Having to Unclog Drain Obstacles in the Future?
The best way to avoid any issues with your pipes such as nasty drain clogs is regular drain cleaning by a professional plumber. We have advanced tools such as hydro jetting that will leave your pipes sparkling clean and help to prevent clog-causing substances from building up so easily in the future. Proper maintenance will also extend the lifespan of your pipes, so you can prevent the need for a costly replacement, and it’ll remove the stress of having to deal with a drain clog.
That being said, there are a few steps anybody in Kelowna can take that will help prevent having to unclog drain jams.
- Say No to FOG: Never pour fat, oil, or grease down your drain! It should be disposed of in the trash in a closed container or Ziploc bag to prevent dripping.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Use a hair catcher in your shower and bathtub to prevent long strands of hair from washing down the drain and forming a big, knotted clump in your pipe.
- Take the Strain: Cover kitchen sink drains with a sink strainer so scraps of food and other debris can’t fall down the drain.
Trying to Unclog Drain Jams? Call Your Local Kelowna Plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd!
Whether you’re in Kelowna or a nearby area such as West Kelowna, Lake Country, or West Bank, you can rely on the Kelowna plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. for expert service that will get your plumbing system back in great condition quickly and efficiently.
Give us a call today at 250-801-0911—or contact us online—to schedule an appointment and find out why we’re Kelowna’s top choice for reliable plumbing services!