Clogged Pipe

How to avoid most pipe clogs

A clogged pipe can be caused by a variety of problems, and differs from a clogged drain. A clogged pipe is the pipe that supplies the water, but clogged drain pipes are the pipes in which waste water is drained away. While you can plunge and snake drain pipes, diagnosing and fixing a water pipe clog is a bit trickier.

Pipes clogged with things like rust and mineral deposits will often simply need to be replaced by a plumber or by someone who’s handy with DIY projects. Rust and mineral deposits from hard water are two very common reasons for clogs, especially for a clogged cold water pipe. To avoid most pipe clogs, install a water filter or water softener as close to the spot where the water comes off the main line as possible. That will filter out much of the minerals that tend to build up in pipes.

Another way to avoid these types of clogs is to use plastic piping instead of metal pipes. Plastic piping can’t corrode or rust and slow the flow of water because of that type of build-up.

Diagnosing a Clogged Water Pipe

When you turn the water on and the pressure is normal for just a moment before trickling off, that typically means that there’s a physical clog like rust or minerals instead of a problem with the overall water pressure. In this case, you need to see if that’s the only faucet with that problem or if there are others. If the slow flow is house-wide, then a main supply line is clogged. If it’s only in one faucet or part of them, then it’s easier to see which pipes most likely have the clog in them.

If the water comes out slowly of just one faucet, then unscrew the filter screen as it could be clogged with debris that can simply be tapped out.

Fixing a Clogged Pipe

You can replace metal pipes with plastic, and use larger diameter pipes to increase the pressure and flow. If it’s winter time and there’s no water flow at all, the clog is mostly like due to frozen pipes. It’s important to find where the pipes are frozen and wrap them with heat tape to thaw them out quickly. This will help avoid burst pipes and costly replacements.