Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Drain Clog Issues in Pittsburgh?
- 2 How Much Does Drain Cleaning Usually Cost in Pittsburgh?
- 3 Does the City of Pittsburgh Provide Any Assistance for Clogged Drains?
- 4 Do Certain Water Contaminants in Pittsburgh Cause Drain Clogs?
- 5 Who Is the Water Utility Company in Pittsburgh?
What Are the Most Common Drain Clog Issues in Pittsburgh?
More than 70% of houses in Pittsburgh were built in the 1960s. Many homeowners are dealing with slow drains and constant clogging. Even if you are careful with your water use and what you flush, you can still experience problems when you have an older plumbing system. If you need drain cleaning in Pittsburgh, it is probably due to one of these common drain clog issues.
If you need drain cleaning in Pittsburgh, it may be due to biofilm. This problem is exactly what it sounds like. Biofilm is a collection of several different bacteria species that are washed off of you or anything you have rinsed. If it’s a bathtub or shower drain, the biofilm is from you, your family, and maybe your dogs’ bacteria. If it’s the kitchen sink, the bacteria might be from raw meats. Some of the germs that have been found lurking in the goo that is biofilm are:
- E. coli
- Legionnaires Disease
Biofilm can get thick enough to clog drains. People have been known to get sick from their drains when unwashed items from the sink are used. Babies and young children are also at a higher risk if they put bath toys in their mouths. One way to avoid this problem and get rid of the goo is with a professional drain cleaning in Pittsburgh.
As we mentioned earlier, homes and their plumbing are getting older. When we are called out to do a drain cleaning in Pittsburgh, we are prepared to deal with corroded pipes. What causes pipe corrosion? There are several chemicals and minerals in Pittsburgh’s water that can cause plumbing problems over time. The water hardness alone is at 136 parts per million or ppm, which is considered hard to very hard. This is mostly made up of minerals like calcium, magnesium, lead, and iron.
Over time, these minerals attach to the inner walls of your plumbing. In some areas, the pipe will become narrowed from buildup. In other areas, the pipe will become corroded and fragile. This unevening of the lines causes water pressure problems and clogs. In most cases, regular drain cleaning can prevent this by removing any new buildup. However, in some cases, the damage is already too great, and some of the lines may need to be replaced.
The number one reason for clogs and drain cleaning in Pittsburgh is due to foreign objects falling down the drains or being flushed down the toilet. Clogs can ruin anyone’s day. One way to prevent them is to watch what goes down the drain. These are some items that should never go through your plumbing.
- Flushable wipes: Most experts agree, these wipes are not flushable and cause clogs.
- Dental floss: Can get snagged on hard mineral deposits in the pipes, causing more debris to catch and build up.
- Feminine hygiene products: These don’t break down. They just create big plumbing clogs.
- Condoms: Like feminine products, condoms don’t break down. They will eventually get snagged on something and create a blockage, overflowing the toilet.
- Diapers: If your toddler takes their diaper off and puts it in the toilet, you will need to fish it out. Diapers will cause clogs.
- Cotton swabs: If you drop a cotton swab down the sink drain, it will need to come out. Try using a drain cover if this is a regular occurrence.
- Cigarette butts: Some people empty their ashtrays into their toilets. Cigarette butts are not flushable. All those pieces of fiber will clog.
- Coffee grounds: Throw your coffee ground in the trash. They should not go down the kitchen sink, even with a garbage disposal.
- Cat litter: Sometimes, your cat’s litter box is near the toilet. It may be tempting to flush each scoop, but the clay in the litter is plumbing kryptonite.
- Paper towels: Toilet paper is made for toilets; paper towels are not. Throw your paper towels in the trash to avoid clogs.
- Oil and grease: You should not pour grease and oil down the drain. Most will cool and harden at room temperature, causing fat clogs.
If your clog is caused by foreign debris, we have several options to fix the problem. Usually, we want to try snaking the drain first to remove the item. You can help avoid some of these issues by using child safety locks on toilets and drain covers in showers and sinks.
Hair and Soap
An average, healthy head of hair will lose 50-100 strands a day. Many of these fall out while you are washing your hair. This is normal, but unless you use a drain catcher or cover in the shower, those hairs are working their way through the pipes. At some point, they will gather into a clog. They often get coated with soap residue to form matted nets.
These can cause blockages in the lines. If your pipes are clogged with a giant hairball, you will need drain cleaning. Usually, these clogs will be near the drain, and a simple snaking will pull it all out. Other times the blockage will be further through the pipes, and hydro jetting will be more effective.
The average age of homes in Pittsburgh is 78 years old. Back when many of these houses were built, water and sewer main drain pipes were made from clay. Over time, your property and the vegetation on it have changed. The tree in the front yard is now fully mature and providing plenty of shade. Unfortunately, the roots of the tree have also grown. Tree roots can easily penetrate clay water and sewer lines. If you have roots growing in your pipes, you will need a drain cleaning. In many cases, if the drain is otherwise in good shape, hydro jetting may do the trick.
How Much Does Drain Cleaning Usually Cost in Pittsburgh?
If you need drain cleaning in Pittsburgh, you probably want to know how much it will cost. Unfortunately, no two drain problems and properties are the same, making it hard to nail down an exact price. If you need an accurate quote, we can help. For now, let’s go over some of the average costs we see and some of the factors that can influence the price.
A drain cleaning in Pittsburgh that is relatively simple will cost, on average, between $105 and $465. By simple, we mean that the clog is near the surface of the drain. This might be a buildup of hair and soap or a toilet that can be quickly snaked.
Sometimes, the clog is deeper into the pipes, and that will take more work to clear, which means you will likely pay more money. If snaking is required for drain cleaning in Pittsburgh, you will likely pay around $135 to $350. If you need hydro jetting, it will cost a little more, about $215 to $825. The difference between the two will depend on how badly clogged the pipe is.
For example, if you have decades of built-up hard water and biofilm, snaking may not be enough. Sure, sending it through the pipe will open a pathway for water to drain, but it doesn’t clear out the entire pipe. Hydro jetting, on the other hand, uses water to powerwash the inside of the line. This breaks down and flushes out all the build-up. In some cases, it can even take care of overgrown tree roots.
So, what happens if the problem can’t be fixed with traditional drain cleaning? In some cases, the pipe either can’t be cleared or doing so would be a waste of time and money. This will be the case if the clay sewage pipe shows signs of collapse or the clogged pipes are made of lead. Lead pipes need to be replaced. Scraping the inside of them will only result in more lead in your drinking water. Clay drainage pipes that are collapsed can’t be cleared.
If you’re one of the unfortunate homeowners that need your main water or sewage lines repaired or replaced, it will cost you, on average, between $1,025 and $4,900, but can go much higher. This is why regular drain cleaning in Pittsburgh is so important to help reduce major problems like this.
Does the City of Pittsburgh Provide Any Assistance for Clogged Drains?
If you’re trying to figure out if the clogged line belongs to you or the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, a good rule of thumb to follow is that you are responsible for the problem between the road and your home. Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority are responsible for the problem beyond the road.
Pittsburgh is working on replacing all the city’s main drains that are made of lead. If yours is also made of lead, you can contact them. In some cases, they can change the section of private pipe simultaneously as they replace the city’s side. If your line becomes clogged and your neighborhood is not on the city’s schedule for line repairs, you will be entirely responsible for your clogged line.
Do Certain Water Contaminants in Pittsburgh Cause Drain Clogs?
If you need drain cleaning in Pittsburgh, it may be due to water contaminants and excess minerals. The city’s water is not just high in minerals, but also some heavy metals. Many of the old pipes throughout the city are made of galvanized steel and lead.
Lead pipes and lead solder were commonly used for a long time. This was before we learned about how dangerous lead can be for the brain. As hard water minerals build up in the pipe, it becomes corroded. This causes the lead to leach into the water at a higher rate. The city of Pittsburgh recommends homeowners get their water tested for lead.
After public health officials learned about the dangers of lead, plumbers started using galvanized steel. These had an internal coating of zinc. Over time, this coating wears off as hard water runs through it. This eventually causes rust and more water quality concerns.
Who Is the Water Utility Company in Pittsburgh?
Getting regular drain cleaning in Pittsburgh can help keep your pipes running longer. If you are tired of standing in water while taking a shower or running for the plunger, we can help. However, if you think that your drainage and plumbing problems are further down the line and not on your property, you will need to contact Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. They are the water utility for the city, and they will be able to address the problem.