Over the years, most drains will clog once or twice. If you find your bathtub drain just keeps clogging, than you might need to do more than just buy another bottle of drain cleaner. There are several reasons why a bathtub drain won't stay clear, and here are a few.
Cast Iron Pipes Are Nearing the End of Their Life
If your home was built before 1970, it is very likely that your plumbing is made of cast iron. The only reason that your home may have more modern plumbing is if it has had a major renovation since then. Regardless of how well these pipes have been cared for over the years, they are going to be seriously breaking down.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong as these pipes near the end of their life. The most noticeable is leaks, either due to joints coming apart or the pipes straight up cracking. What isn't so noticeable is the inner surface of the pipe loosing its smooth surface. That makes it the perfect place for gunk to collect and cause clogs. In addition, this corrosion can start to narrow the interior diameter of the pipe, slowing the water flow and allowing even more crud buildup.
An Inexperienced DIY Enthusiast Skipped the Drain Trap
If you look under your sink, you should see a U-shaped bend in the pipe. The point of this bend is actually to collect gunk that could clog your pipe. While this seems counterproductive, by collecting this particulate in an easy to access spot, clogs are more easily solved than they otherwise would be. Your bathtub drain should have this same bend in it. If you are having problems with clogs, it is entirely possible that a previous owner skipped this crucial step.
Since the trap in these situations is usually below floor level, it is tough to tell if the trap is really there or not. The best way is to use a snake camera to see exactly how the lines run. If you don't have one of these (and you probably don't), then there is another choice. You can get a pretty good idea of whether or not there is a trap in the drain using a wire coat hanger or pipe snake. If the drain has a trap, there will be quite a bit of resistance for the snake as it rounds the bend. While not proof, you can compare that to how difficult it is to get a snake through a drain you know has a trap to get a pretty good idea of whether your tub has one or not.
The Pipe Is Just Too Small
You don't want your drain pipes to be any larger than they need to be, but if they are too small, the water won't be able flow as quickly as it needs to. With the water running slowly, particulate will have more time to drop out of the stream and settle on the bottom and sides of the pipe. Over time, this will build up into clogs. While these clogs are just like the ones you would normally see, they will happen more often because the buildup is allowed to happen faster. This is most likely a problem if you've had a larger bathtub or multi-head shower installed without an upgrade in the drain lines.
A drain that just won't drain is a serious problem. If you just can't find the issue, it is time to get a professional involved. While these problems can cause a drain to clog easily, it could also be something deeper in your system, and that will be difficult for anyone but a pro to deal with. If you continue to have problems, it may be best to call in professional plumbing services.Share
28 January 2016
Hi everyone, my name is Linda Strickerts. I am going to talk about plumbing pipes problems, repairs and upgrades on this site. Although the pipes hide beneath the floors and behind the walls, they are an integral part of the home. Without plumbing pipes, we would still be heading out to the outhouse to do our business. Washing clothes, dishes and ourselves would also not be possible without carrying buckets of water in and out of the home. I hope to explore the different ways plumbing pipes changed our lives for the better. I will talk about keeping the pipes in great shape as well. Thanks.