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Drainage vs Plumbing: Do You Know the Difference?

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For many homeowners, knowing the difference between drainage and plumbing may not be in their book of knowledge. The good thing is – you don’t have to be plumbing experts because we are! However, it is good to know the difference as well as learn about common plumbing problems.

What’s the Easiest Way to Remember?


Plumbing = fresh water coming into your home and water running through your pipes.

Drain = water going out of your home, like when you flush the toilet or use the sink.

Now that we sorted that out, let’s get into the common plumbing problems for both plumbing and drain.

Common Plumbing Problems


Developing problems with your plumbing system is inevitable, especially if you live in an area that may impact your home’s pipes more than most. Most plumbing problems appear due to normal wear and tear and old age and others depend on how well maintained your plumbing system is.

Some of the most common plumbing problems include:

Dripping Faucets: Dripping faucets are irritating (the drip noise never stops), wasteful, and can cost you a good amount of money depending on how much it is dripping. If tightening the nozzle doesn’t work, it’s a good idea to call a plumber so it can be accurately diagnosed and fixed.

Leaky Pipes: Leaky pipes can cause more issues than one. If the leak is bad enough, it can cause water damage, mold, and even flooding. But, how did the pipes get to this point? There could be a number of reasons as to why your pipes are leaking. It may be because of clogged drains, incorrect pipe installation, corrosion, joint damage, cracked seals, cracked pipes, or excessive water pressure. Whatever the reasoning, it’s best to call a plumber.

Running Toilets: If you thought the dripping faucet is annoying, how about a running toilet? The constant sound can drive you and your bank account crazy. Some causes of running toilets include refill problems, broken or old flapper seals/flush valves, wrong sized chains, or corroded toilet handles.

Low Water Pressure: Low pressure can not only affect your relaxing shower time but the rest of your plumbing system as well. This is also a sign of much bigger problems. Water pressure problems are often caused by pipe corrosion, hidden leaks, drain or sewer clogs, or blocked sewer lines. If you experience lower pressure than normal, contact an emergency plumber ASAP.

Slow or Clogged Drains: We’re sure you’ve been victimized by a clog or two in your day. Normally, it’s caused by hair, soap, or other objects that build up in the drain overtime. It’s important to maintain your drains and pipes with routine maintenance to drain clogs. If more than one area in your home is clogged, you may be dealing with sewer line problems. If this is the case, it’s time to call in a professional.

Sump Pump Issues: If you’re experiencing sump pump failures, it could have to do with the unit or something external. Signs of this include more water than usual after heavy rain, clogged discharge pipes, bad installation, or age.

Water Heater Problems: One of the most important necessities in your home is hot water. If your hot water heater isn’t providing enough or any hot water, there’s something wrong. Issues like this are normally caused by corrosion, loose/broken connections, improper installation, or the wrong size was installed in your home.

Common Drainage Problems


Your home’s drainage system is designed to dispose of wastewater as quickly and efficiently as possible. It uses all of the pipes, drains, gutters, etc. that convey rainwater, sewage, bathroom waste, and more.

Some of the most common drainage problems include:

Blockages: If your drains draining slowly or not at all, and your toilets are not flushing properly, this could be a sign of a blockage. Things like coffee grounds, hair, tissues, cooking fat and oil, and other residues cause a clogged drain, ultimately causing more issues down the road if not fixed right away. Before dumping harsh chemicals down the drain to try to fix it, it’s a better idea to call a licensed plumber so they can diagnose the problems and provide a solution without causing more damage.

Damaged Pipes: Over time, it’s normal for pipes to break or crack. If this happens, it will cause drainage issues – as the contents from your home will not be able to make it through the plumbing system. This problem is harder to diagnose on your own – so it’s best to give us a call.

Tree Roots: Mother nature is something we can never predict. If you have trees on or around your properties, there’s a chance that the tree roots could grow and interrupt your plumbing system. Roots can puncture holes in the pipework and cause issues that go unseen.

What If I Have a Plumbing Emergency?


If you believe you have a plumbing emergency, contact Pilot Plumbing & Drain ASAP. We have been providing emergency plumbing services for years to residential customers, commercial customers, and businesses in the Vancouver, WA area.

Our emergency plumbing technicians are highly adept at managing and resolving an array of plumbing disasters. Some of the most frequent emergencies we’ve dealt with include flood risks and sewer backups.

Signs of an Emergency


There are many signs to an emergency when it comes to your plumbing – some obvious and some not. Here are the top 3 signs:

Sewer Backups: If you smell sewage and notice water isn’t running through your home, or you have a septic tank that shows water seeping from the ground, call us immediately.

No Running Water: If your home is completely without water, this could be a sign of a main water line issue or something wrong within your home. If your neighbors have water and you don’t, it’s time to get in touch with us.

Possible Burst Pipe: A burst pipe inside your home or garage is typically easy to spot. If something bursts under or around your home, it can take several hours for you to notice. Make sure you are monitoring water pressure and checking for standing water if something is off. A burst pipe is an emergency that must be dealt with immediately.



Every plumbing issue can feel like an emergency. However, not all are. Here are some common non-emergencies.

Slow Running Drains: Reduced or low pressure could be an emergency, but it may also be something that can wait for routine maintenance. Call your local plumber to ask what you can do to ensure it is not an emergency.

Inspections: If you think there’s a problem with your water heater, sump pump, or pipes, we’re happy you’re being proactive! Reach out to us and schedule a comprehensive inspection and maintenance of your home to avoid unforeseen emergencies.

Slow, Manageable Leaks: Our plumbers are available to help troubleshoot your plumbing questions. Our team can help you identify whether you have an emergency or if it can be scheduled and repaired.

Appliance Installations: If you’re like most homeowners, buying a new kitchen or bathroom appliance and getting it installed ASAP seems like an emergency, but it’s not. Trust our plumbing technicians to get your guaranteed installation done right the first time.

Pilot Plumbing & Drain is Here for All Your Plumbing Needs


When you have an emergency and need a trusted, reliable plumber – we’re here. Regardless of the severity of your plumbing needs, it’s always best to call a certified plumber if you think something is wrong. Most plumbing is run behind walls and underground, meaning it’s difficult to see how much damage is being done or has been done without the proper equipment.

We’re located in the heart of Vancouver, WA, and offer expert, certified services to our surrounding communities and neighbors, including Amboy, Battle Ground, Brush Prairie, Camas, Kalama, Kelso, La Center, Longview, Ridgefield, Washougal, Woodland, and Yacolt, WA, as well as Portland, OR. With over 15 years of experience, we’ve learned what matters most.

When plumbing disasters happen, you need prompt, reliable, and 100% guaranteed services. Our satisfaction guarantee is the best in the business. If you’re not satisfied and we can’t make it right, we’ll refund you the money, no questions asked. Contact us today for same-day plumbing services.

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