Bath bombs and hair...oh my! What's clogging your drain?

A clogged drain often seems to happen out of nowhere. Water is draining fine then, suddenly, there’s a back-up that needs immediate attention with a plunger, a drain clearing device, or a plumber. But clogged drains don’t just happen. The problem grows over time and often starts with simple everyday activities that seem harmless. Check out six things you may not know could lead to a clogged drain:

Bath bombs

This popular item is a must-have for many who enjoy a relaxing bath but bath bombs, if used too frequently, can cause big problems for your drains. One of the reasons is that oils can build up in your pipes. The more you use bath bombs, the more those oils can harden in your drain. This news might sound alarming for those who love bath bombs, but don’t panic and toss them away. Just use them in moderation and consider using a drain strainer to catch those particles like glitter and salt that don’t dissolve easily once they go down the drain. 

Cooking oil and grease

Never pour cooking oil or grease down the kitchen sink. These items solidify and seals off the pipe. It collects other debris causing a major problem that a plunger cannot fix. The best way to dispose of cooking oil and grease is by tossing both in the trash after cooling. 


Hair is one of the biggest reasons for a clogged drain. We comb our hair at the sink, wash our hair in the shower, and, if you are the owner of a dog or dog that sheds, watch out! It’s hard to catch all the stray hair so it ends up down the drain. A hair catcher or drain hair stopper is worth an investment to minimize the amount of hair going down your drain. 

Hard water

You cannot avoid hard water in Indianapolis. Left untreated, hard water not only causes frequent stains on dishes and damage to faucet fixtures, it can also be a problem for your drains. The problem is the buildup of minerals like magnesium and calcium. A water softener is the best solution for hard water, especially in Indianapolis. 

Soap Scum

That chalky white residue in your shower and bathtub is soap scum. Not only is it on the surface but in your drain. Mix soap scum with stray hair and other debris and water will be slow draining out of your shower or bathtub. Purchasing a mesh guard can help reduce the amount of soap scum that gets in your drain. Also, clearing your drain once a month using hot water or baking soda can help loosen the soap scum sticking to your pipes. 

Toilet paper and disposable wipes

These items are among the most common reasons for a clogged drain. Toilet paper and disposable wipes cause soft blockages which means they don’t dissolve quickly when flushed down the drain, so they bind together and block the flow of water. Because these items are labeled “flushable,” it’s assumed they are toilet friendly, but they can be a big problem. Avoid flushing disposable wipes down the toilet. Toss them in the trash instead. As for toilet paper, be mindful how much you place in the toilet before flushing. Excessive amounts flushed at one time can cause a clog if done frequently. If you have children in the home, discuss the proper use of toilet paper to reduce frequency of large amounts being flushed at one time. Also, be sure you are purchasing septic safe toilet paper.

Call L.D. Smith Plumbing to address any clogged drain issue. We offer free camera inspections to find the location of the clog and provide solutions to treat it. Request an appointment here.

Important information to prepare your plumbing for severe winter weather in Indianapolis

Homeowners are bracing for severe winter weather in Indianapolis this week. As you collect extra food and water and check the furnace, it's also important to take steps to protect the plumbing in your home. Here are important steps protect plumbing in your home as temperatures drop this week:

Remove the hose from the outside faucet. If you live in an older home, outside faucets may not be frost proof. It is important to insulate these faucets. Visit your local hardware store to find the right tools to insulate these outside faucets.

Many older homes still have piping installed on outside walls. It's important to open cabinets to allow heat to get to these outside pipes.

Also, drain lines in older homes were sometimes installed in unconditioned areas, so if there is a leaking toilet or faucet, the water can sometimes build up and freeze, so make sure to get that leaking toilet or faucet fixed before the big freeze.

If you're going out of town, we always recommend turning off your main shutoff.  If you don't have one that is accessible, it is highly recommended to get one installed in an accessible area.

Always remember to let the water run slowly, or at least a drip, out of the faucets when very cold.

Consumer Reports also has great information about protecting your pipes for severe winter weather. Read the article here.

If you have additional questions about plumbing in your home or need a repair, please contact the experts at L.D. Smith Plumbing. 

Drain cleaning or unclogging…What’s the difference?

It’s finally happened in YOUR home. Multiple plumbing fixtures are clogging. There’s a sewer-like smell in your home that won’t go away. What are the primary culprits causing clogs in your drain? Tree roots, hair, normal sludge buildup, feminine products and toilet paper. Do you need a drain cleaning or unclogging?

It all depends if you want a quick fix or permanent solution.

Drain Clearing/Unclogging

Drain clearing, also known as drain unclogging, is an easy fix to this problem. You either take on this task as a do-it-yourself project or call a plumber to just get the water down. Plumbers who offer this service usually “poke a hole” in the blockage instead of cleaning it. The problem doesn’t go away, but it gets the job done temporarily, so other options such as drain cleaning, drain repair, or jetting can be discussed.

Drain Cleaning

When you opt for a drain cleaning, the plumber completely removes the source of the blockage. As long as there isn’t a broken pipe, offset or a structural problem with the line, this should be an easy job as well, but costs more than a drain clearing/unclogging.

Which is Best?

Making the choice between a drain cleaning or drain clearing/unclogging is often based on your immediate needs. Often customers opt for a temporary solution when clogged drains do not affect their daily routine. If there are smells and frequent toilet or sink back-ups the need for a drain cleaning is more immediate.

While a short-term solution might be less costly, it’s important to know the blockages remain in your pipes and will cause larger problems over time. The longer you have the problem, the higher the risk for an even greater expense. There’s also a high risk of the clog causing problems at the most inconvenient time.

If you have questions about drain cleaning, our expert plumbers at L.D. Smith Plumbing are happy to assist. Contact us to schedule an appointment. 

L.D. Smith Plumbing services featured in Plumber Magazine

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L.D. Smith Plumbing owner Lance Smith and his team are the featured story in this month's Plumber Magazine, a national publication for the industry. In the article, Lance details the company's quick expansion from offering plumbing services in his home garage seven years ago to the company's 11,000-square-foot building near downtown Indianapolis. The article also details the variety of plumbing services offered by the company, including sewer repair and excavations.

“It’s a very competitive market here,” Smith says. “We offer a personal touch that many of our competitors don’t.”

Read the entire article here.


What's that sewer smell in the basement? Lance explains.

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It's not uncommon to walk in your basement and inhale a sewer smell. Homeowners often panic and call us thinking there's a need for a sewer line replacement or repair.  Lance Smith, the owner of L.D. Smith Plumbing, solves this mystery. The problem could be in your P-Trap, which prevents gases from entering the home. If faucets and toilets in the basement have not been used for a long period of time, the P-Trap becomes dry, causing a sewer smell. Check out Lance's video to learn how to solve this common problem and reduce the sewer smell.

If you believe the sewer smell is part of a larger problem in your home, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment with one of our plumbers. Learn more about our services here.


On the job: Sewer cleanout in Indianapolis

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These are photos from a recent outside sewer cleanout in Indianapolis. We often receive customer calls reporting water backed up in basements or toilets, bathtubs not draining properly. That could signal a sewer blockage. When our plumbers examine this issue, we might recommend a sewer cleanout as the best option.

For this customer, we recommended the installation of an outside sewer cleanout because there was a partial blockage in the line and it wasn't feasible for a cleanout inside the home. Our plumbing experts have a combined experience of more than 55 years with sewer and drain line cleaning. We have nearly every type of drain machine on the market for residential and light commercial applications.

Contact L.D. Smith Plumbing if you have questions about sewer cleanouts or need to schedule an appointment.


Clogged toilet? Lance explains how to find the problem

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A clogged toilet is very common. Lance Smith, the owner of L.D. Smith Plumbing, explains how he and his team of Indianapolis plumbers search for the problem, which could range from too many flushable wipes flushed down the toilet to kids toys. Yes, toys! If clogged toilets are a frequent challenge in your home, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed plumbers.


Yes, we still find lead water pipes during plumbing repairs in Indianapolis

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During our plumbing repairs in Indianapolis, we still find lead water pipes, particularly in older homes. Lance Smith, owner of L.D. Smith Plumbing, shares where to look to see if your home still has lead pipes. Lead pipes often affect the water supply in your home. Contact us if you have questions or need lead pipes removed from your home.


Wondering why you need a water softener in Indianapolis? Check this out!

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Hard water is common in the Indianapolis area. It not only affects the performance of dishwashers and washing machines in your home, but causes buildup in water heaters. Check out this video from Lance Smith, owner of L.D. Smith Plumbing, as he shows sediment buildup in a water heater. In need of a water softener in Indianapolis? Contact us today to schedule an appointment or ask questions about your water softener.




Gas lines & Sewer line replacements in Indianapolis among the most popular summer plumbing projects

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The official start of summer is weeks away, but our plumbing experts are already busy meeting customer demand for popular seasonal projects. Here are our most requested plumbing appointments during the summer. Do any of these sound familiar in your home?
  1. Extra outside faucets - This one is very popular for customers with gardens and landscaping projects who desire to have a faucet near their work area to avoid dragging a hose across the yard. Check out our deal on outside faucets here.
  2. Drain cleaning and sewer line replacement - Tree roots get thirsty so they prey on the old underground drain lines when the weather warms up. Drain cleaning and sewer line replacement in Indianapolis is very common this time of year as customers call us about foul smells or clogged drains.
  3. Remodel projects - Summer is the best time for major home projects and, often, remodeling work includes plumbing. 
  4. Gas lines - Summer means cookouts. We receive frequent calls during the season to install additional gas lines. 
  5. Irrigation systems - Customers call us to connect irrigation systems to city water. 
Is a plumbing project on your to-list this summer? Contact us to schedule an appointment for an estimate.