What to do when you have a clogged pipe

Handyman on the scene

Clogged pipes are one of the most common problems in sewer lines, but do you know what to do when it happens?

When sewer pipes clog, it is a plumbing emergency because your wastewater has nowhere to go and could inevitably cause other plumbing fixtures to back up as well.

There are warning signs that will alert you to a problem – like a slow drain or a foul odor emanating from the drain. This means that something is impeding the flow in the line. When multiple drains are slow, it may be a sign of a bigger problem in the main line. Toilets are particularly prone to this problem, but other pipes could be involved. Toilets generally have the most direct path to the sewer with the biggest drain line in the house, so if you’re having a problem with the toilet, it’s likely affecting the entire household plumbing system.

If you suspect you have a clogged sewer pipe, it’s best to consult with a professional plumber rather than attempt to unclog the line yourself. It’s possible the problem could be more extensive than a simple fix and attempts at repairing the line yourself could cause more damage.

If you’re enrolled in external sewer line repair or in-home plumbing coverage with Service Line Warranties of Canada, this consultation would be a covered expense through the warranty program.


What’s that noise?

Plumbing supplies

That’s not a ghost – it’s your pipes. Plumbing can make a variety of sounds, from loud hammering to high-pitched squeals, for a variety of reasons, from loose pipes to water-logged air chambers or too much pressure in the lines.

Loud Plumbing

Banging or squeaky pipes typically mean they need a cushion or anchor to hold them steady. Loud, hammering pipes occur when you turn the water off too quickly forcing the pressure to come to a halt. Remember to turn it off slowly.

Noisy Toilet

If the toilet seems to be louder than normal, you might have restricted water flow or a defective part. Before examining your toilet though, remember to turn off the shutoff valve first to avoid a bigger mess. The biggest culprits causing noisy toilets are:

  • Float Arms
  • Tank Stopper
  • Cracked overflow tubes
  • Corroded flush valve seals
  • Water-filled float ball

Noisy plumbing is typically the sign of a problem that should be addressed. Whether a simple leak, loud pipes or a noisy toilet, having a plumber check out the problem can alleviate the situation before it becomes a bigger and more expensive headache.

Terms and Conditions Feature: Road and Sidewalk Coverage


For fresh water to be delivered to your home, it is processed by a treatment plant and travels through an underground network of pipes to reach your home. As a result, when these lines break, it’s possible that the sidewalk or road will need to be cut to repair the portion of pipe that is your responsibility. Sidewalk or road cutting can dramatically increase service line repair costs!

Work involving roadways and sidewalks not only requires a skilled laborer to make the repair, but also requires permits, traffic control, inspection to ensure the work was done properly and more. Man hours over the course of several days can add up, leaving the homeowner with a hefty repair bill for which he has not budgeted.

With Service Line Warranties of Canada, one of the most important benefits of the repair program is coverage for street and sidewalk cutting to ensure homeowners are not left with additional out-of-pocket expenses. You can find more information online about this coverage feature in your city-specific Terms and Conditions.

Protect Your Home from Water Damage

iStock_000006953014XSmall WP Plumbing

Did you know, water damage is more likely to occur in your home than fire damage? We protect our homes from catastrophes, but water damage could be just as dangerous.

Plumbing leaks are common anywhere there is running water, such as:

  • Toilets
  • Faucets/Sinks
  • Dishwashers
  • Ice makers
  • Water heaters
  • Tubs/showers
  • Washing machines
  • Internal pipes and hoses

Water damage isn’t only a problem financially; it can lead to serious health risks from chemicals, toxins and mold, such as rashes, asthma or other chronic health conditions. Additionally, recent studies have shown that children with prolonged exposure to water damaged rooms in their home are at a higher risk of developing eczema.

Whether from a slow leak or flooded basement, water damage can be devastating, but there are things that a homeowner can do to mitigate or minimize the extent of the damage.

  • Check for leaks or cracks in hoses that run to the washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator at least once a year and replace these hoses every five to seven years.
  • Be sure the caulking around tubs and showers is free of cracks.
  • Know where your water main is located and how to shut it off.
  • Install floor pans under appliances to prevent damage from slow, undetected leaks.
  • Use water leak alarms, which will alert you to a leak in basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and sump pumps.
  • Buy a water flow monitoring system, which attaches to your water main and, if flow that exceeds normal use is detected, will automatically shut off the flow of water into your home.