How to Unclog a Drain With Standing Water Caused by Sacramento’s Record Rainfall

Spring is a beautiful season for those of us lucky enough to live in Sacramento. This past winter, we had a decent amount of rain (to put it mildly) so I, for one, am looking forward to all kinds of flowers and trees blooming in the months to come. After several years spent in a drought, many of us welcomed the excessive rain. There is a downside to all the new greenery, though: Flora tends to put allergens into our air. In fact, Sacramento is famous for its trees—and its allergies. A lot of us local folks end up walking around with clogged sinuses.

Now, I’m not an expert on seasonal allergies, but I’ve known my fair share of people in Sacramento who get them every year like clockwork. They tell me that, sometimes, you just can’t avoid it. I tell them, okay, now that, I understand. It’s kind of like a clogged drain. They happen to everyone from time to time, just like our allergy problems, and the important thing is figuring out the causes and fixes for how to unclog a drain with standing water, a common Sacramento plumbing problem these days.

While clogged drains happen in some houses more than others, especially ones with older, worn out fixtures, there are a set of universal avoidance and treatment tips that all homeowners should be aware of. Think of them like allergy medicine for your plumbing.

Common Clogged Drain Causes in Sacramento

how to unclog a drain after sacramento stormWhen a clog starts to occur, the first thing a responsible homeowner should do is work to find the obstruction. Now, I know it can be tempting to rush off to the hardware store and sink a bunch of money into chemicals. The truth, however, is that this kind of solution is unnecessary and unproductive—not to mention expensive. Sometimes, the wrong chemical can even do major damage to your pipes, melting them and making your problem worse than it was to start with.

…the wrong chemical can even do major damage to your pipes…

Clogs can be caused by a number of things. A clog in your bathroom is likely to be caused by hair or soap scum, while an obstruction in your kitchen is probably the result of food detritus (especially if your kitchen sink doesn’t have a garbage disposal). The location and the cause for the clog should dictate the way you go about solving it.

How to Unclog a Drain With Standing Water

There are specific steps you need to take now that you’ve done your best to get a rough idea of what’s causing your clog. Here are a couple ideas for a few of the most commonly clogged plumbing fixtures:

  1. Clean the u-bend traps where the clog is: U-bend traps, which are also known as waste pipes, are found beneath the plug hole of most kitchen and bathroom sinks. These pipes are filled with water at all times in order to prevent you from smelling any odors that might emanate from the drain. While I don’t sanction using chemicals in this situation, I do suggest trying to use a snake, which is a tool that looks like a long bristled wire, to push out any debris that might be down there. Afterward, you can flush it with warm water and dish soap. If this isn’t enough to unclog your drain, it’s time to call in a professional plumber.
  2. Use a plunger to clear a clogged bathtub or workroom drain: Now, I’d guess your home has a plunger next to or behind the toilet in your bathroom. Most homes do. What I’m less sure about is if you’ve ever considered using a plunger anywhere beside the toilet. For larger clogged drains with standing water, like those found in bathtubs or workrooms, the plunger is a viable option. Use it the same way you would a toilet, and see if that can clear your obstruction. You may see clogged drains in basements more frequently this season as well, after our rainy, record-setting winter here in Sacramento. Like the bathroom and kitchen sinks, if this method doesn’t prove effective, it may be time to call a sewer expert.

The reason I suggest calling a plumbing professional is that if these simple home remedies don’t work, chances are the clog is much deeper in your home’s plumbing, possibly even in the main sewer line. What happens when those main pipes get clogged is that water tries to get out, can’t find room to flow freely, and then backs up into your house again, creating pools of standing water.

… if these simple home remedies don’t work, chances are the clog is much deeper in your home’s plumbing, possibly even in the main sewer line…

The main sewer line is buried deep within your home’s plumbing, making it nearly impossible for you to reach yourself. A good professional plumber, though, will likely have video equipment to find the clog, as well as the skills and tools to get down into the system and clear it out.

These clogs happen a lot during rainy seasons, like the one that our Mediterranean climate recently brought down upon the Sacramento Valley. Storms wash debris, branches, and any number of things from our yards into our plumbing systems, or they overwork the municipal sewers forcing debris to flow back up into your house. Either way, it’s a serious plumbing problem.

Here’s one last key difference between a clogged drain pipe and a clogged up nose: Allergies tend to go away when the flowers bloom out over Sacramento’s hot and dry summer. That, however, won’t cure your plumbing clog. You’re simply going to have to hire a professional for that.

Don’t let a clogged drain cause as much pain as your Sacramento allergies. Call the plumbing professionals at Bell Brothers to get water flowing again now.

Image courtesy Unsplash user Mike Kotsch