Have a home repair question? Ask Anthony your questions in the comments below. Seriously, people, he gives really good, really thorough advice.
This week, Anthony answers a CafeMom's question about her drainage and plumbing problems and talks about ways to empower yourself by becoming a more knowledgeable homeowner.
Q: Happy Birthday, Anthony! And thanks for helping us!
Here's my question: All of a sudden, the drain for the tub/shower, the sink in the bathroom, and my double sink in the kitchen are running really slow. No issue with the toilet or the washer draining. We've snaked them, used Drain-O stuff, and plugged and plunged—all with no luck. I'd love to know your thoughts, even if it's only so I don't sound dumb when I speak with a plumber.
A: Thanks for writing in, jms124. Also, thanks for the birthday wish.
I am so glad you asked me this question. The reason may be selfish, but I love the fact that you “get it.“ My main purpose at this point in my life is to help people (especially women and single moms like my mother) empower themselves.
You’re interested in learning—perhaps not necessarily something difficult like fixing plumbing—but by learning even a little bit about the way things work, you'll be prepared and have some knowledge when and if the time comes to call a professional.
That is empowering yourself. Bravo! You just became an “Anthony Apprentice.” Now let’s get to work…
Love the fact that you tried a few different things (FYI, I would have tried those things too). Let’s look deeper into some possibilities.
Keep in mind that the clog does not necessarily live where the water is backing up.
In other words, just because the tub/shower drain is slow doesn’t mean that the clog is in that drain. Hence, snaking that drain and/or using Drain-O there may not fix the problem.
Now I'm flying blind here, but you said that there are “three” areas where drainage is running slow. And they are not all in the same room. The strongest possibility could be a clog or blockage in your “main drain.“
Some empowering info: Every drain in your home eventually connects into one main drain. Then that main drain exits your home (usually through the foundation) and finds the “City Sewage” line. That is, of course, unless you own your own “Septic System.“ Since you didn’t mention that you did, let’s assume you do not.
Now, after your main drain passes the footprint of your land, it is considered “City Property” and is a “City Problem.” This is good news because the City is responsible for these problems. The reason I’m bringing this up is because a very common problem in an underground drainage system is: Tree roots in the pipes. Whether or not the problem is on your property or City property is worth looking into because the City will come down and check for FREE. And, if the problem is on City property, they will fix it. If not, they will inform you exactly where the problem is for FREE.
Either way, you win. You either get your problem fixed or identified for free, which will save you a ton of money and headaches because you won’t have an expensive plumber tearing things up and spending hours trying to find the problem. You can then call in a pro, YOU tell them what and where the problem is, and they don’t waste time or your money. You’ve just empowered yourself.
Now keep in mind—this is only one possibility. It may not even be a clog or blockage in the main. But that’s where I would start.
If you have any more information on your home that might help identify other possibilities, please write back. We’ll find the problem. I guarantee it.
Keep up the good work. I’m proud of you.
Big thanks, Anthony. We love to be empowered around here!
+++ Ask Anthony your home repair questions in the comments below. He'll be back in two weeks with an answer for at least one lucky person!