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Why Do I Have a Clogged Toilet?

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Identifying the Causes of a Clogged Toilet

If you have a clogged toilet, it can be frustrating. Especially when you find out that most clogs are because of something someone in your home flushed down the commode. In this article, we’ll cover the most common causes of bathroom clogs.

Why do my toilets keep clogging?

There are a few reasons why your toilet may be clogged. The first is that you have been flushing the wrong things down it. Another reason is that you have not been cleaning your toilet properly.

Most homeowners know about a sink’s P-trap, but do you know that your toilet has a trap, too? Instead of a P shape, the toilet’s trap is an S shape and sits between the toilet bowl and the drain line. Just like a sink’s P-trap, the purpose of the toilet’s trap is to catch objects and prevent them from moving to the drain line to cause a clog.

Due to its purpose, this is a common area of the fixture where items get stuck. Excess waste and toilet paper or non-flushable items can become lodged in the toilet trap after they are flushed.

A Plunger is the First Option for Unclogging a Toilet

The proper tool for plunging a toilet is a toilet plunger, also called a flange plunger. This has a cup that’s taller than the cup on a sink plunger, and it has a sleeve-like extension, the flange, on the bottom of the cup. 

The steps to unclog a toilet with a plunger are easy to follow.

Seven Household Items that Cause a Clogged Toilet

Grease

Grease is a big problem in kitchens but an even bigger issue in plumbing in your home. During the holidays, instead of pouring grease down the kitchen drain, many take grease or thick oily liquids, fat, etc, and flush it down their toilet. Grease is hard to clean up, and it can clog your toilet but the real concern is when grease reaches your pipes, accumulates, and becomes a major issue.

Grease inside clogged pipe

Dental Floss

In addition to clogging your pipes, flushing dental floss can actually cause environmental damage. When the floss is flushed it turns into a net, catching and holding onto other debris. Those with septic systems beware of dental floss wrapping around parts of your septic system and burning out the motor.

Flushable Wipes

While flushable wipes are marketed as an eco-friendly, easy way to clean yourself after going to the bathroom, they’re actually a major culprit in clogged toilets. These wipes are typically made of wet paper that doesn’t break down easily—so when you flush one down your toilet, it can end up getting stuck somewhere along the way.

The toilet itself is the most likely culprit for this problem: if your water level isn’t high enough when you flush, there won’t be any suction and your feces will just sit on top of the water until it starts smelling really bad (at which point you’ll probably need another product). The other possible cause is the flushing mechanism itself; if it’s not working properly or has been damaged by use, then all bets are off in terms of how well things will go.

flushable wipes cause clogged toilet

Hair

Just like dental floss, hair is similar because it can cause a harmful net. When flushed down a drain, hair gets caught in your pipes. Additionally, hair never dissolves so it creates more risk of clogging your system.

Cotton Balls and Q-Tips

Cotton balls, cotton pads, and Q-Tips are definitely not safe to flush — they don’t break down the way toilet paper does, and all they really do is clump together in your pipes and cause problems down the line.

On top of that, they’re not biodegradable. Just like plastic bags and styrofoam, they’re made from materials that aren’t designed to decompose.

Cat Litter

Another item that’s notorious for causing a clogged toilet is cat litter. Cat litter is made of clay and is not a good thing to be flushed down the toilet. The only way to dispose of cat feces is to put it in your trash.

Paper Towel Clogged Toilet

Paper towels are pretty much the same as toilet paper, right? NOPE! Paper towels are not designed to break down the way toilet paper does. If you need to use paper towels or tissues in place of toilet paper, dispose of them in a waste basket.

Need Help with a Clogged Toilet, call a Local Plumber or Drain Cleaner

If you have a clogged toilet, there are a few things you should know. For jobs done correctly, contact a local plumber or drain cleaning service to ensure that your toilet clog is repaired. An experienced service professional is able to recognize and provide repair solutions that fix the issue at the source. Dean’s Home Services offers a number of toilet repair and drain cleaning services in Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN, and the surrounding Twin Cities area.

And don’t put any chemicals in the toilet either. Over-the-counter chemicals sold as “toilet uncloggers” contain dangerous ingredients that are bad for your plumbing system. Don’t risk it—call us instead!

What are the bubbles in my sink?

Are you hearing a strange gurgling sound coming from your sink? Bubbles in your sink and strange sounds can be a sign of trouble in your plumbing and a sign you may need a professional plumber to come to your home.

Bubbles in the kitchen sink

Why are there bubbles in my sink?

Here’s why you might see bubbles or hear gurgling in your sink — and what you can do to fix this common plumbing problem.

When You See Bubbles in the SInk

If you see air bubbles in the drain or hear gurgling noises coming from your drain, it means that air is trapped inside. While air is a natural part of your plumbing, it becomes a problem when pressure builds and affects the seal in your sink’s P-trap (forming bubbles). If there is pressure in your drain, when water flows down the drain, a vacuum will pull air through the P-trap, causing gurgling noises and bubbles.

Fixing the Bubbles in Your Sink

p-trap under sink
  1. The P-Trap is not installed correctly. If the vent is not installed at the correct distance from the P-trap, you could get this gurgling sound developing.
  2. Your drain is clogged. When the main vents are blocked, flushing a toilet or draining a tub can cause your sink to gurgle. It can be hard to diagnose where the blockage is in your home. If you can’t find the clog, a professional plumbing technician will be able to diagnose the problem and find your clogged drain.

If you run into any problems with your home plumbing, don’t hesitate to give our professional technicians a call or you can also contact us here.

Can you smell the bird cooking and the cranberry sauce simmering? In just a few weeks, we’ll all be indulging in turkey, spending time with loved ones and giving thanks. But while we realize that Thanksgiving dinner is definitely a time to rejoice, we also know that sometimes the holidays can get a bit hectic — especially when it comes to your home’s plumbing and heating. Lucky for you, we’ve surveyed our professional technicians and drafted up a quick list of must-know tips to help ensure your Thanksgiving celebration goes off without a hitch.

Stress-Free Thanksgiving Tips:

  • Start prepping early on. Start to prep for your Thanksgiving dinner a few days early. Preparing a few dishes ahead of time will help ease stress Thursday morning — on both you and your kitchen sink.
  • Be selective with your leftovers. Many Thanksgiving essentials can damage your garbage disposal. Be sure to throw scraps of turkey bones, grease, potato peels and squash in the trash, not your sink.
  • Stock up your guest bathroom. Make sure your guest bathroom is fully loaded with toilet paper for the extra guests you’re anticipating. It would also behoove you to make sure garbage cans are fresh and ready to go. With an empty garbage can, guests won’t be tempted to flush things they shouldn’t!
  • Turn down the thermostat. With all of the extra guests and the heat from your kitchen cooking, your home will be running a little bit warmer, naturally. Turn down your thermostat to keep your home comfortable. You’ll put less strain on your HVAC system — and you’ll save money!

If you experience any problems with your home plumbing or heating systems this Thanksgiving, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our professional technicians are here to help keep things running efficiently. 

plumber minneaplis | dean's professional plumbing, heating, air & drainsDuring this time of year, everyone is traveling to visit friends and family. Do you have any loved ones coming to visit your home? Take a few extra minutes to make sure that your guest bathroom is prepped for holiday travelers!

Guest Bathroom Tips:

  • Add a Bathroom Garbage Can – Make sure that your guest bathroom is stocked with an empty garbage can! This will keep holiday travelers from flushing items that they shouldn’t.
  • Stock Up On ToiletriesHoliday travel can be hectic. Add extra toothbrushes, toothpaste and razors to your guest bathroom. They’ll appreciate having any items they might have forgotten in the holiday rush.
  • Add a Drain Screen to Your ShowerCheck to make sure that your guest bathroom has as drain screen in place. You don’t want to end up with the frustration of a slow draining shower.
  • Light Some Festive Candles – Add festive luxury to your guest bathroom by adding a holiday candle or potpourri. This is a great way to keep your bathroom smelling fresh — and to get in the holiday spirit.

If you run into any plumbing problems this holiday season, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our professional plumbing technicians are here to help keep things running smoothly. Learn more about the plumbing services that we offer to Twin Cities residents on our website.

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plumber plymouth mn | Dean's Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain‘Tis the season to start getting your holiday gift list organized. However, we know that there is always that one person on your list that is tough to buy for. If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for Dad – or for anyone who is a new or current homeowner – why not add another essential home gizmo or gadget to their toolbox? These are two tools every homeowner in the Twin Cities should own.

  • Basin Wrench –

A basin wrench is one tool that every DIYer should have in their toolbox. It’s inexpensive to purchase and it’s perfect for hard to reach places that other tools can’t reach. They can be used to tighten and remove a brand new kitchen faucet fixture (another holiday gift idea that the whole family can enjoy).

  • Hand Auger –

An auger or plumbing snake can help clear obstructions in your home tub, shower, sink toilet and drain lines. This is a great way to clear your drains without using harmful drain cleaners that can damage your plumbing pipes. You’ll want this on hand next time you have a slow draining kitchen sink.

Of course, if the DIY method doesn’t work for you – our professional technicians are here to help you with all of your home plumbing, heating, cooling and drain cleaning needs. Visit our website to learn more about the services we offer at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain.

Contact the expert technicians at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain:

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plumber minnetonka mn | dean's professional plumbing, heating, air & drainsThe holidays are the busiest travel season of the year. Over the next few weeks, family and friends will be traveling to visit loved ones near and far. If you are planning an extended weekend getaway, you’ll want to make sure that your home is safe and secure while you are away. This checklist will help ensure that your home is prepped for your holiday getaway.

Holiday Getaway Checklist:

  • Adjust Your Thermostat – Turning your thermostat down a few degrees will help you save on your home heating bill. Just remember that it’s important to not turn off your heat completely. Cold temperatures can cause your plumbing pipes to freeze, expand and burst. We recommend lowering, but not completely turning off your thermostat.
  • Hold the MailIf you are going to be away for an extended period of time, have the post office hold your mail. This will help keep things organized and prevent others from realizing that you’re not home.
  • Turn Off Your Main Water ValveIn the unfortunate event there is a plumbing problem while you are away, turning off your main water valve will prevent flooding damage.
  • Clean Out the FridgeThrow away any food that might expire while you’re away. You don’t want to come home to a smelly fridge!

If you run into any problems with your home heating, plumbing or drains, don’t hesitate to give us a call! Our professional technicians are here to help things run smoothly year round. You can also visit our website to learn more about the services we offer at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain.

Contact the expert technicians at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain:

Follow us on social media for more plumbing tips and tricks!

plumber minnetonka mn | dean's professional plumbing, heating, air & DrainIs your home ready for the cold winter nights to come? With a little annual maintenance, your home will be ready to endure the new season. This winter maintenance checklist will ensure the basics are covered!

Winter Maintenance Checklist:

  • Clean Your Gutters – Clogged gutters can cause water to build, freeze and expand on cold nights. After the leaves around your home have fallen, clean out your gutters to prevent damage and flooding during the winter.
  • Schedule Furnace Service – It’s time to schedule your annual furnace maintenance! This will ensure that your heating system is running smoothly and efficiently (and that you’re not wasting money on your energy bills).
  • Seal Your Windows & Doors – Make sure that all the cracks and gaps around your windows and doors are sealed for the winter. This will ensure that you don’t end up with a high heating bill.
  • Drain and Turn Off Your Sprinklers – You will want to drain your irrigation system for the winter. Leaving water in plumbing pipes can cause leaks and burst pipes!
  • Store Garden Hoses – Now that the temperatures have dropped, you’ll want to disconnect your outdoor garden hoses. Leaving the hose attached over the winter months can cause the plumbing to your garden hose to freeze, expand and crack the pipes. Shut off any water supply valves leading to your outdoor faucets to prevent leaks next spring.

If you run into any problems with your home heating, plumbing or drains, don’t hesitate to give us a call! Our professional technicians are here to help things run smoothly year round. You can also visit our website to learn more about the services we offer at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain.

Contact the expert technicians at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain:

Follow us on social media for more plumbing tips and tricks!

plumbing minnetonka mn | Dean's Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & DrainHalloween weekend is here! As everyone gets ready for Halloween costume parties and trick-or-treating there is one surprising festivity you’ll want to watch out for — pumpkin carving!

Many homeowners don’t realize that although pumpkin pulp may seem soft and squishy, it can actual cause serious damage to your home plumbing. When the pulp and seeds dry, they stick to the insides of your plumbing pipes and cause a drainage problem. You might notice slow draining kitchen sink or even problems with your home’s garbage disposal.

Instead of putting pulp down you drain, you should:

  1. Dispose of it in the garbage! Lay down some newspaper for easy cleanup and keep a garbage can nearby when carving. This will help keep pulp and seeds out of your drains.
  2. Roast your leftover seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a delicious fall treat. Instead of throwing them down your drains or in the garbage, roast them in the oven with some salt and olive oil instead!

If you do run into any plumbing nightmare this weekend, don’t hesitate to give our office a call. Our professionals are here to help you keep your plumbing running smoothly all weekend long. You can also visit our website to learn more about the services we offer at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain.

Contact the expert technicians at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain:

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LIKE us on Facebook | FOLLOW us on Twitter | ADD us to your Google+ Circles | SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel

drain cleaning minneapolis | dean's professional plumbing, heating, air & drainSlow draining sinks are a common home plumbing problem.  However, before you head out to the store to purchase liquid drain cleaner – think twice! Here are a few reasons why you should avoid liquid drain cleaner and give a professional plumbing technician a call instead.

Why Avoid Liquid Drain Cleaners?

  • They Can Damage Your Plumbing.  The harsh chemicals that are used in liquid drain cleaners can eat away at the insides of your plumbing pipes. This can limit the lifespan of your pipes and cause more damage than is worth.
  • They’re Toxic. Liquid drain cleaners are made of lots of toxic chemicals that are dangerous to inhale and are bad for the environment.
  • They Don’t Always Work.  Store bought liquid drain cleaners are not a guarantee. It’s possible that even after spending money on a drain cleaner, you’ll have to give the plumber a call anyway.

If you find yourself with a slow draining kitchen or bathroom sink, give our office a call. Our drain cleaning professionals can help you clear your clogged drains and get your plumbing running smoothly.  We offer 24/7 service with skilled plumbers!  Visit our website to learn more about the services we offer at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain.

Contact the expert technicians at Dean’s Professional Plumbing, Heating, Air & Drain:

Follow us on social media for more plumbing tips and tricks!

LIKE us on Facebook | FOLLOW us on Twitter | ADD us to your Google+ Circles | SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel

plumber brooklyn park mn | dean's professional plumbing, heating, air & drainOn average, water heaters last about 10-15 years.  Are you due for a replacement? If your water heater is near the end of its life, it might be time to consider upgrading to a tankless heater. Here are a few pros and cons to consider before making your final decision.

Pros:

  • You’ll Save Space – As the name suggests, tankless water heaters don’t have a big storage tank that holds hot water. Instead, it heats the water as you use it. This means that you’ll save space in your basement.
  • Unlimited Hot Water – Do you find that your current water heater isn’t large enough to meet your family’s needs? Tankless water heaters provide your home with unlimited hot water. You’ll never have to worry about taking a cold shower!
  • Longer Life Expectancy – Tankless water heaters last more than 20 years. That is nearly double the life expectancy of a traditional water heater.

Cons:

  • Higher Cost – While you will save on energy bills and won’t have to replace your water heater as frequently, tankless water heaters do have a higher upfront cost.
  • Hot Water Isn’t InstantSince you are not storing hot water in your home, it does take some time for your shower or sink faucet to heat up. However, once it’s heated, you’ll have unlimited hot water.

Are you having trouble with your water heater? The last thing you want on a cold Minnesota day is to be stuck without a hot shower. With over 35 years of experience working in the Minneapolis, MN area, you know that you can trust our professionals to help you with all of your water heater repair and replacement needs. Call us today to learn more about the services we offer at Dean’s Professional Plumbing!

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