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How to Tell If Your Drain Is Clogged

If you’re asking the question, there’s a pretty good chance that your drain is clogged! 

Read on to find out how to tell if your drain is clogged, what caused blockages and how you can prevent them, and what you can do about them once they happen.

Signs of a clogged drain

Some signs that you have a clogged drain are:

  • Water is slow to drain from your sink, bathtub, shower, or toilet, or worse, it still isn’t draining at all. Clogs in the drain can prevent water from draining or slow it down.
  • You are noticing a backup of water in your sink, bathtub, shower, or toilet.
  • There is a noticeable odor in your kitchen, bathroom, or around your outside drains, which is there a lot of the time. If there is a blockage, a lot of the time, stagnant water will begin to pool around it, which gives off an odor because of the bacteria that multiply within it.
  • Unexplained leaks from your faucets, around the bottom of sinks, or in your laundry room. If water can’t drain as it’s supposed to, it will come out in other ways.

If you notice any of these issues, it’s important that you either call a drain cleaning specialist or locate the blockage yourself and clear it. 

Clogged drains are not only inconvenient, but they also cause damage to your plumbing system, and they are the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to thrive.

 How to Tell If Your Drain Is Clogged

Why do drains get clogged?

The common reasons for blockages will depend on the location of the drain and how it is used. 

  • Shower drains are most commonly clogged up with hair, dirt, and soap. Over time, these things will build up within the drainage pipe, and eventually, the water won’t be able to get past them. To prevent these types of blockages, it’s a good idea to put a drain guard over the drain, so that hair dirt and soap is caught rather than rinsed down the drain. You can then move it into the trash rather than washing it down the drain.
  • Kitchen sinks are usually clogged with fat and food waste. You should never rinse fat down your kitchen sink, as it will sit in the pipes and eventually cause a blockage. Instead, you should put it in the trash or use it to make compost. Food waste going down your sink can be prevented with a drain guard and ensuring that plates are thoroughly scraped before rinsing them.
  • Toilets are often clogged by people using too much toilet paper or flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed, such as nappies and sanitary products. The best way to prevent a clogged toilet is to watch what you put down there.

What can you do?

If you need to unclog a sink or other drain, then a good first approach is to flush it through with boiling water. You can then try to remove the clog with a drain snake or plunger before flushing it through again.

It’s also possible to make a drain unclogger out of vinegar and baking soda; simply leave it to soak in the drain for fifteen minutes before flushing it through with boiling water.

If you can’t unclog it yourself, then you should call a plumber to help.

While you can troubleshoot a clogged drain using these techniques, there’s a chance of damaging the pipe. Using hard and pointed objects to clear the clog can damage the drain and the underlying structures, possibly causing a burst pipe and water damage due to leaks and flooding. So, calling a plumbing professional is the best solution if conventional methods don’t work.

You can hire an Oakville plumber or one in your area. Choose an experienced and licensed plumber to ensure the problem gets fixed the first time. You don’t want to deal with a recurring clogged drain issue, compromising your comfort and productivity in the home.  

Before you agree to any plumbing work, check the plumber’s credentials. Ensure the plumber comes from a legitimate plumbing company. The plumbing service must have insurance and a service warranty for your liability and damage protection during the plumbing work. 


Dealing with a clogged drain or any plumbing problem in your bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere in the home can be frustrating. So, you must know how to address this plumbing issue on your own, especially when it happens in the most unexpected and challenging times. But if you have little to no knowledge about plumbing repairs, hiring a plumber to check your plumbing system regularly is vital to avoid this problem.