As with most clogged drains, the first stages are always the same. Draincom plumbers are sure that everyone has had the "slow to drain" scenario or "gurgling". For detection in a bathroom or kitchen this is always the case but when the issue lies in the basement this can be a different story. Looking at a basement floor drain can be quite humbling, as you notice a nice "black ring" encompassing the general area or "standing water" on the floor. You always ask yourself, is it gone? Should I still be worried? The answer is "YES".
This is a real "plumbing disaster" story with happy end from the one of Draincom plumbing specialists:
As with most back ups of this sort, you can bank on it being a recurring nightmare. I myself have walked into the quickest of drain calls and also the more extreme ones. Main drains are the bane of home ownership. Sometimes just snaking a drain is not enough to cure the problem, I myself like to get a drain camera down the line to see exactly what is happening. If you are asking yourself if such a device exists, I assure you it does. This is a tool that allows me as a professional plumber to see first person what is happening in the drain system. Now you now also may be asking yourself what I can see, and the simple answer is I see "debris , waste " and anything else that may have travelled your drainage system that may not necessarily belong there.
Families with several children are always asking " is there a toy? Keys or something else not supposed to be there?" Most of the time , the answer is "no" with certain exceptions.
I was called out to a drain call late one night, and this was the case. I talked with the homeowner, distraught at the moment, and found that there were 4 children aged from 6-11. My first thought was that they had flushed down a few rolls of toilet paper or failing that, paper towels. My first instinct was to snake the drain with my trusted drain snake, but something tickling the back of my head told me to be more thorough.I got dressed, jumped into my truck and drove to the site. I got my camera from my service truck and went to the stack clean out nearest to the blockage and opened it up. I was expecting a giant rush of water but surprisingly enough there was not a drop!
I of course was now intrigued by the premise and started pushing the camera down the drain. Nothing really at the first few feet, well nothing out of the ordinary but as I continued on I was horrified. It looked like a plug of toilet paper but as I used the camera to jab at the blockage, I saw a little blue foot. Well, now at this point I was really interested, I hit the record function on the camera and gently poked away at the blockage in front of me.
I got enough debris cleared away and to my surprise it was a hand , not a foot, it was a full sized Spider-Man toy. I wasn't sure how it had gotten down there, but I was more concerned as to how I was going to get it out. I showed the homeowner and of course it belonged to one of the kids.
Here there are two options, dig it up and replace it or attempt to snake it and clear it out. The homeowner wanted to try and snake it out first and then if that did not succeed, digging it up would be the only solution.
I prepared my snake and put it into the drain with what we call a "retriever" to get a big section of the blockage. Now a drain cable is the equivalent of a giant spring with a sharp end to skewer a blockage. Now, of course I hit the blockage as intended, and the snake put up a lot or resistance, then nothing. I pulled the cable back and to my excitement, the whole doll was attached to the end, virtually undamaged.
I put the drain camera down the drain one more time on record, and there was nothing to be seen. This was one perfect looking drain , save the doll hauled out a few moments before. The customer was relieved and i was victorious. Later the next day, I received a letter of commendation from the customer and a pat on the back from the boys!
Draincom plumbing advice:
From a perspective of keeping this sort of thing from happening, keep an eye on the kids playing in the washroom or flushing debris down the toilet. When you do notice that there is a problem, don't use chemicals acids or anything of the sort as it never works. I personally have been a plumber for over 20 years, I never use it EVER! Also, stop using the plumbing as if there is a blockage, it will continue to back up at the lowest point, your basement.