Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Drain Clog Issues in Houston?
- 2 How Much Does Drain Cleaning Usually Cost in Houston?
- 3 Does the City of Houston Provide Any Assistance for Clogged Drains?
- 4 Do Certain Water Contaminants in Houston Cause Drain Clogs?
- 5 Who Is the Water Utility Company in Houston?
What Are the Most Common Drain Clog Issues in Houston?
Drain clogs can be quite a nuisance when they pop up unexpectedly, which is why so many people are quick to throw them on the back burner until they have more free time. However, the problem with waiting is that it can turn a quick drain cleaning into a much bigger problem if a pipe or two cracks or bursts from the pressure of your clog. This will cost you much more time and money in the long run.
To save yourself the added hassle and headache, you will not only want to make sure the problem is fixed as soon as possible but that you’re familiar with the drain clog issues common to Houston. The more you know, the better prepared you will be in resolving the issue.
Food Waste, Fats, Oils, Grease, and More
In all honesty, cooking is one of the biggest reasons so many homeowners experience drain clogs — and sometimes more than a time or two. Since we all know Houston, Texas, cooking is among the best in the U.S., it should come as no shock that things like food waste, fats, oil, grease, and more are a common issue for Houston plumbing.
The City of Houston addresses the issue with a simple guide: people should pour, cool, toss, or reuse any grease you come by to protect your pipes and if “you bake or cook with extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, palm oil, corn oil, coconut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, or use salad dressing – keep them from going down the drain.”
Personal Items and Other Foreign Objects
Food is hardly the only problem that backs up our drains. Personal items and other foreign objects sometimes do also. In most cases, this is due to kids and pets knocking things over accidentally or pushing items down areas they don’t belong (toilets, most popularly). However, many people aren’t aware of normal day-to-day items that likely make their way into the toilet by an adult.
In fact, some items that often make their way into our drains, that shouldn’t, include:
- Paper towels
- Wipes — even ‘flushable’
- Dental floss
- Hair plastics
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Q-tips or Cotton Balls
The best way to protect your drains is by staying informed on what is actually flushable and what isn’t. Most of the time, it’s safer to assume that unless it’s toilet paper, it’s likely not safe to flush.
Slow Draining and Foul Odors
Another common problem is when these soaps and greases line your pipes and don’t clog them, but attract bacteria and mold. These problems can often cause a foul odor to come out of your taps or even stay in your drinking water. This can also cause slow draining if the bacteria or mold builds up high enough to slow your water supply’s flow but not yet clog the whole drain.
Fortunately, there are some common drain cleaning agents and home remedies you can use to take care of the issue, but it is recommended that you work with a professional to ensure the bacteria and mold are completely gone. Both issues can be bad for your health, so you shouldn’t regularly drink water that has them in it.
How Much Does Drain Cleaning Usually Cost in Houston?
On average, Houston residents report spending about $300 for a drain cleaning service, with some reporting they spent as little as $100 and others reporting that they spent as much as $650. It’s important to note that this is just an estimation, as how much you will pay will be heavily determined by the following cost factors.
Where Your Clog Is
Believe it or not, where your clog is located makes a big difference in how much you will pay. For instance, a clog that needs to be cleared from a sink, tub, or bathroom drain often only costs you about $100-$200 for the service, but a laundry drain job is usually around $125 to $220 and a toilet clog can get as high as $300 in some cases.
This is without even considering other locations like main pipes that can get well of $250 to be cleared through a drain vent and about $160 for a drain cleanout.
Hourly rates are another factor that’s important for Houston residents to consider. They often differ from company to company, and for a good reason. A more experienced plumber will cost much more than one who is new to the field, but an experienced professional is what you will need for the more difficult drain clogs.
Keep in mind, however, that no matter their experience, your professional(s) should still be licensed. To verify that this is the case for your professional, you can do a license search on the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation online portal.
The Severity of Your Clog
The severity of your clog needs consideration, too, since something like a grease or oil cleaning would be significantly easier than a child’s toy or a personal item being jammed into your drains. In fact, a simple toilet clog averages about $100 to $150 but can get to be as much as $400 if it has to be pulled out and equipment needs to be used to obtain the item. Unfortunately, even the strongest chemicals can break down toys and similar items, so the retrieval process takes a lot more time and work.
Does the City of Houston Provide Any Assistance for Clogged Drains?
If you notice any drain clogging problems in your home, the City of Houston does not offer any assistance. In fact, they do not offer any plumbing assistance to private property owners but rather direct them to plumbing professionals to complete the job. However, if the problem is in the main lines outside your home, you may be eligible for assistance from the City.
According to the City of Houston site, you should call the City at 311 if “there is a backup or overflow at the residence and a City of Houston clean-out at or near the property line is holding water or overflowing, the stoppage may be in the public portion of the sanitary sewer service or in the City’s mainline.” However, you should note that if they find that the stoppage is not in the City’s main lines but rather your private service lateral, then the responsibility is given back to you to take care of repairs.
Do Certain Water Contaminants in Houston Cause Drain Clogs?
There are certain water contaminants that can cause drain clogs. Although many experts have been working towards eliminating these contaminants from our water supply, it is impossible to rid your water supply of all contaminants just yet. The EPA describes water contaminants as being in four categories — physical, chemical, biological, and radiological:
- Physical contaminants primarily impact the physical appearance or other physical properties of water.
- Chemical contaminants are elements or compounds.
- Biological contaminants are organisms in the water.
- Radiological contaminants are chemical elements with an unbalanced number of protons and neutrons, resulting in unstable atoms that can emit ionizing radiation.
With that being said, the Environmental Working Group has conducted tests on Houston’s water supply, and the Water Quality Report found that there were 46 total contaminants in the water, with 13 of them exceeding the EWG health guidelines.
Additionally, Houston’s water is considered to be ‘hard,’ meaning that it has a high amount of magnesium and calcium in it. This causes additional trouble for our drains and plumbing because magnesium and calcium are common contaminants known for causing build-up and clogs that often lead to drain cracks and bursts from the pressure.
Who Is the Water Utility Company in Houston?
There are several water utility options in Houston, TX, to choose from — EDP Water Utility Services, Parkway Utility District Water, Water District Management, Burks Water & Utility Co, and more.
The City of Houston services as many as 2.1 million residents (a significant portion of the estimated 2.31 million Houston population). The City prides itself on being “the first major city in the U.S. to use in-ground automated water meter reading (AMR) technology, [attracting] utility company managers from all over the country [to check out] our Automatic Meter Reading Program”.
The City gets its water supply from local lakes and rivers, with 86% coming from the Trinity River into Lake Livingston and from the San Jacinto River into Lake Conroe and Lake Houston. That water then goes to one of four water plants: East Water Purification Plant, Northeast Water Purification Plant, Southeast Water Purification Plant, and GroundWater Treatment Process Plant.
To learn more about what happens to your water supply when it leaves its natural habitat and goes into treatment plants, you can schedule a tour by calling 832-395-5463.