Below we’ve provided a detailed overview of one of the three main elements of your plumbing: the mobile home drain system. Continue reading to learn what these pipes do, where to find them, as well as the common signs that could indicate drainage issues.
The purpose of drain pipes
Drain pipes are one of the three main elements of your mobile home’s plumbing system. They are responsible for safely removing waste and sewage. Your mobile home drain system also helps prevent dangerous gases and fumes from building up and potentially releasing themselves into the home. While their function is unique, drain pipes work together with other pieces of plumbing to successfully move waste out of the home.
How your mobile home drain system works
Your drain pipes remove sewage from your home with the help of traps, ventilation, and gravity. When we say “trap,” we are talking about that “P” shape the drain pipes make underneath the sink. This is also referred to as a “P-trap.” Drain pipes are shaped this way to create a barrier of water that halts any backflow in the direction of the home. The “P-trap” essentially prevents clogs and the release of dangerous gases in your home.
Drain pipes require proper air flow to accomplish its job. Your home’s ventilation pipes supply this. You can think of ventilation pipes as the lungs or heart of your plumbing system. Ventilation pipes work with drain pipes to create neutral air pressure. Gravity then carries the water and sewage through the drain pipes. Poor ventilation is the source of many issues which we will talk about later.
What your drain pipes are made of
It’s very important you know what your drain pipes are made of, and not just so you can easily locate them. Having a working knowledge of your drain pipe’s manufacturing is helpful as it will give you a better idea of how to fix issues and diagnose pain points in your plumbing if they arise. While drain pipes will differ depending on the mobile home, there’s a good chance they’re made from either of these two materials: PVC or copper.
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a plastic material often used in the replacement of metal pipes. It’s an incredibly popular material used in piping as it’s less susceptible to corrosion or rust and easier to fix. It’s also lightweight and can handle intense water pressure. In addition to drain systems, PVC can be used in a mobile home’s vent system. PVC commonly comes in a white or dark grey color.
While copper drains aren’t as popular as they used to be, they still exist in many mobile homes. Copper is more expensive than PVC and does a great job resisting corrosion and handling high temperatures. The downside to having copper drain pipes is that it might mean they’re a bit older, and could very well be overdue for a replacement. PVC is used in many newer mobile homes to replace copper, so it’s important you check on their condition and take precautions if needed.
Where your drain pipes are located
Plumbing in a mobile home differs from stick-built as the pipes run under the floors, not inside the walls. Having pipes under the home offers both benefits and drawbacks. One benefit of mobile home plumbing is that your pipes are easily accessible. This makes it easier for you to make replacements, adjustments or repairs on your pipes. The downside is that these pipes have to come up through your floors to attach to sinks, tubs, washer, toilets, etc. This means you’re going to see pipes underneath your sinks taking up additional space. You’ll know what you’re looking at is a drain pipe if it’s curved in the shape of a “P.”
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How you can troubleshoot drainage issues
Poor drainage is often easy to spot and can reveal itself in several common ways. One symptom you can identify by yourself is the sound of gurgling. This sound could indicate a blocked vent or drain pipe, which might be the result of a buildup of grease or dirt. In a worst-case scenario, gurgling could be the result of a collapsed or damaged pipe.
Problems with your mobile home drain system also reveal themselves through foul odors in the home, air bubbles in the toilet water, missing water from the toilet as well as soggy or damp ground underneath the home. One way to find the source of the issue is to test all the drains in your home. If your toilet drain is backlogged, but the bathtub next to it is working just fine, this means the issue is probably in the toilet. If all the drains in your bathroom don’t work while every other drain in the house does, the problem could be where the pipes connect underneath your bathroom. The problem will probably be sourced back to your home’s main pipeline if every drain in the home doesn’t work.
Fixing a drain pipe
The first method for fixing a drain pipe is to look for any obvious signs of clogging. This could be an excess of hair in your shower or large amounts of toilet paper in the toilet. If the clog is more severe, you may have to pour chemicals down the drain or physically unclog it with an auger.
Depending on the source of your drain line issue, you may have to replace a drain trap, remove debris from your vent line or even make repairs to your sewer line. We’ve provided links to DIY tutorials for each one below. Please note that some of these projects may require the help of a professional, so approach each one using your own discretion.
How to clear debris from your plumbing vents
Ways to manage a broken sewer line
Now you know
We hope this short overview gave you a better idea of what your drain lines do and how they interact with other elements of your plumbing system. Make sure to do even more research if you’re attempting to solve plumbing issues on your own, and don’t forget to consult with an expert if needed. While you’re at it, consider checking out our guide on how to prevent your pipes from freezing during the winter – you’ll be glad you did!