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Signs You May Need to Have Your Drains Cleaned

When was the last time you checked the condition of your drains? For most people, arranging an inspection of their property’s drainage network is low on their list of priorities – which is a shame! 


Over time, it’s almost inevitable that detritus will build up in your drains, eventually leading to an unwanted blockage. Luckily, before a total obstruction of your drain occurs, there are usually several warning signs that all is not well. In this post, Tornado Plumbing & Drains looks at the issues that could indicate an obstruction is developing and have you searching for a plumber near you. We will also offer advice to prevent detritus from building up in your drains. 


Poor Drainage


If your bath or shower is slow to drain, it’s a probable sign that there is an obstruction somewhere in the drainage system. When you notice slow drainage, even if the water clears eventually, it’s important to take action. Blockages rarely clear on their own. Proactive management could save a considerable amount of inconvenience and expense further down the line. 


Unexplained Pools of Water


Even if the water disappears down the plug hole, it doesn’t mean it reaches the main drain. If there is a crack in a sewage pipe, perhaps due to a tree root penetrating a weakness in the pipe wall, water can be diverted out into the soil surrounding the pipe. This may lead to an unexplained puddle of water on your property. If the leak is under a lawn, you may notice a perennially green, verdant patch of grass.


Depending on the position of the blockage/leak and the location of the drainage pipe in relation to your home, it’s also possible for wastewater to saturate an area of your foundations or penetrate up through the floor. If you’re experiencing dampness in the basement, a partially blocked drain could be the cause. We recommend a cable-mounted CCTV inspection to assess the condition of your drainage network. This will also establish the location and nature of any blockages and determine if a leak accompanies them.


A Foul Smell With no Obvious Cause


Your drainage system carries grey water and foul water away from your home. If the waste matter can’t bypass the blockage, it can build up – the liquid matter will slowly drain away while solids accumulate. The result is a foul-smelling, decomposing mass of material. The smell will rise up the pipe and exit through the drain grating, creating a foul odor in the immediate vicinity. In some circumstances, small animals pass away in the sewage pipe and begin to decompose. They obstruct the flow of wastewater and can produce an unpleasant smell. If you can’t see anything nearby causing the smell, your drains could be the culprit!


Odd Noises from Your Drainage System


If emptying the bath or flushing the toilet is accompanied by growls, gurgles, or splashes, chances are that the wastewater is having an eventful journey to the main drain! Partial blockages or a dirty drainage pipe can cause temporary delays in emptying before the pressure of the water’s weight is enough to allow drainage to occur. The unsteady progress of the waste leads to strange sounds in the drainage pipe.


You may also notice that a sink drains in fits and starts, accompanied by a gurgle each time some wastewater manages to bypass build-up in the pipe – this is another indication that something is not quite right.

Frequent Blockages


Wear and tear and build-up of mineral deposits in hard water areas can cause drainage pipes to narrow and develop an uneven interior surface. These changes create an environment that slows water flow, prompting the deposition of detritus. This build-up can be particularly troublesome where flow already slows naturally, for example, on the outer edge of a pipe bend or where there is a limited gradient (or level pipe). 


If a build-up of detritus occurs at a vulnerable part of the pipe, causing a blockage, it’s likely the build-up will occur again unless the pipe undergoes remedial repairs. For households experiencing frequent blockages due to build-up, pipe cleaning (accompanied by remedial repairs if necessary) is usually the best solution.


How Can I Keep My Drains Clean?


Detailed below are our top tips for maintaining good drain hygiene and minimizing the risk of unwanted build-up in the drainage system.


  • Install sink and shower traps to catch food detritus and hair.
  • Make sure only the “3ps” are flushed down the toilet.
  • Install a grease trap or make sure grease isn’t poured down the sink.
  • Ensure the area between your property and the main drain is free of trees and large shrubs.
  • Don’t ever put paint, chemicals, or motor oil down the drain.
  • Avoid pouring solid matter down the drain, even if it’s mixed with water.

Despite good drain hygiene, my drains show signs of needing cleaning. What should I do?


As part of the plumbing services Etobicoke homeowners and businesses can expect from us, we offer a complete drain maintenance and repair service.


  • If you’re experiencing slow drainage, or drainage has stopped altogether, and you’re experiencing backflow, in most circumstances, your drains will need to be professionally cleaned by a plumber near you.
  • Your plumbing team can complete a cable-mounted CCTV inspection of your drainage system. This will determine not only the location of the blockage but also the overall condition of your pipe network.
  • If the CCTV film shows evidence of widespread deterioration to the interior of your pipes, a leak, or other evidence of structural problems, you may wish to consider remedial repairs. These might include pipe relining or pipe replacement.
  • In some cases, the condition of the pipe network may be good, and the obstruction is due to a large, solid item having entered the drainage network. For example, small children flushing toys down the toilet is a common cause of a temporarily blocked drain.


When considering a property purchase, we recommend commissioning a CCTV drain inspection before proceeding. CCTV will identify if the drainage pipes need cleaning or other work, enabling you to factor in those costs as part of your decision-making process.


Tornado Plumbing & Drains is a plumber in Toronto that offers comprehensive solutions to all your drainage network cleaning, inspection, repair, and maintenance needs. 


Contact the team today at (647) 784 8448.

Serhiy Marynchuk​

Serhiy Marynchuk​

Company owner and lead plumber at Tornado-Plumbing. Serhiy's extensive experience in plumbing as well as leadership skills are some of the reasons the company has been doing well for so many years.​

Serhiy Marynchuk

Company owner and lead plumber at Tornado-Plumbing. Serhiy's extensive experience in plumbing as well as leadership skills are some of the reasons the company has been doing well for so many years.


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