DIY Drain Cleaning | Local Plumbers & Plumbing Services
A serious clog calls for serious professional plumbing help, but there are simple steps that can be safely taken for run-of-the-mill clogs. It is never worth risking damage to fixtures or pipes by using unfamiliar tools, especially power tools or harsh chemicals. The cost of a botched clog repair can dwarf the cost of a simple service call.Please visit this site
Unless most of your household members are bald, hair in the drain will always be an issue on occasion. Routine maintenance can prevent the need to ever call for more drastic measures. While those plumber-in-a-bottle chemicals can help break up routine clogs and claim to be safe on pipes, repeated use of them is not only expensive but can cause pipe damage with overuse.
The other problem with them is that they are very caustic, making them very dangerous to skin and eyes. If a harsh chemical soup is poured into the pipes and the clog still does not clear, you then have a plugged pipe full of hazardous poisons which will splash all over the place when you try another removal method.
There are household materials that can be safely used and, with a little patience, these will work very well on sluggish drains. Both vinegar and baking soda really do work and they are inexpensive, though they are not strong enough to go through a sink or tub full of standing water. Do consider adding a good strainer to catch hair in the tub or shower and remove hair as it fills up so that water keeps moving down the drain.
Hair stubble also collects with soap or shaving gels and foams, so you will need to either shave in a way to avoid letting the hair get in or plan to give it a nice vinegar and warm water soak as needed to keep things moving.
The Shower/Tub Drain or Sink
If possible, lift the drain trap out and remove any hair that is attached.
Tub/Shower: Measure the tub drain first; then find a strainer that fits snugly and stays in place, inside or outside. Run hot water into the drain, then add distilled vinegar or a solution of baking soda and let it stand for 30-60 minutes. Again run hot water. Then switch between rinsing with hot and cold water. If water goes down the drain and the only problem is hair, soap or mineral buildup, this will eventually work. It can take a few tries, but this may convince you to do it more often which will make it a lot easier the next time.
Note: Some claim that hair removal products intended for personal grooming will help break up hair, and it sounds logical, but this isn’t necessarily a good idea. The products are expensive, for one thing, and often contain creams and other materials for skin soothing that may only add to the problem.
Sink: The cleaning method is the same, but the only way to protect most sinks from hair is to use a strainer that fits over the drain plug. This rarely works well on shaving stubble, so do your best to avoid getting stubble in the drain or be very diligent with a vinegar treatment at the first sign of trouble… or even before.
In general, you can safely use a plunger or hand held snake and most hardware stores also carry a device you can fit on a hose that will use a burst of water to break a clog loose. However, it’s hard to know in advance what method will work and once you have poison chemicals in the drain, using mechanical means to free the clog can result in chemicals splashed on humans or other surfaces which may be quickly damaged by drain cleaners.
A good rule of thumb is that if the drain is draining at all, then the poison can be washed down, however slowly. Once you have flushed enough to be sure it’s gone, you can still try another method if the chemical didn’t work.
But, you must never mix chemicals in a drain as the results can be explosive or emit poisonous fumes. Vinegar and baking soda are safe, but should still not be mixed with other chemicals in a drain. Yes, a power auger can be rented, but unless someone is very handy and has experience using it, save yourself the grief and potentially very expensive damage and call a licensed plumber. The frugal side of your nature will suffer an irreversible blow if you have to replace the whole fixture and/or the pipe it is attached to because you scratched or chipped it with a power auger.
Toilet: Yes to plungers, yes to hand snakes (used carefully, they can still scratch), but no to chemicals and power augers unless you are experienced. A serious clog may require toilet removal to access. A cleanout installed on the exterior sewer pipe can make safe drain cleaning a breeze without interior damage and mess, so it’s a frugal investment if you have a lot of little ones and frequent major toilet plugs.
And as always, if you have problem that you can’t solve yourself, call us, the best plumbing company in Texas.