What You See
The most obvious sign of a blocked drain is if your drain is draining slowly. Surprisingly, it can be easily missed due to the lack of awareness. You should be taking note on how your drain is flushing water down. Is it slowing down over time? Is it draining at all? Noticing the time it takes for your drain to diminish the water is something that you should be doing regularly. Especially when it comes to toilets, does the water level rise after flushing? That means a problem is definitely apparent.
What You Smell
Bad smells are a dead giveaway of a blockage. Out of all signs, the smell of something rotting is the most obvious indicator of a problem. Sometimes, simply running hot water, or pouring a jug of boiled water down the drain can have to flush out wastewater and minimize the smell.
An off smell may arise well before any other clear symptoms visible to the naked eye. Be cautious for any unusual odors which cannot be identified and act fast. It is possible that a plumbing error has caused the foul smell, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your drain.
What You Hear
Gurgling noises coming from your drains, plug holes, toilet flushes and pipes should be inspected quickly. Any noises that simply just do not seem right should be attended to, there is likely to be a bigger underlying problem. It is often, that a mixture of dirt and greases builds up in the drains and plumbing, causing the unusual noises. As a result, the air bubbles cannot travel through the pipes and get expelled at the nearest vent, therefore the gurgling noises are then made audible.
Any of the above issues being presented is a concern on their own. When two, even three, are presenting themselves, it’s time for immediate action. In extreme cases where no direct action is taken, a blocked drain can harm our health and our property.
Blockages left too long can cause an increase of sickness in the household as the bacteria becomes airborne. It can then escalate to contaminating the water, resulting in consuming dirty water and skin irritations. While this occurs mainly in severe clogs, it doesn't take much for an untreated blocked drain to turn nasty. If in doubt, call a professional to get the problem fixed sooner rather than later.
Clogs block the pipes, and the water in your pipes needs to go somewhere. Where else is the water to go if it cannot run through slowly? Often times this will cause a leak in your pipes or even a burst pipe. Damage to your pipes could be the least of your problems, as a long term case could end in flooding, causing damage to your walls and floors. It is important to clean your pipes as soon as you notice to avoid mold and mildew building up.