Drain clogs are a nuisance that no homeowner wants to deal with. Once they occur, it’s common for people to make the mistake of using a chemical drain cleaner even if it can potentially make the problem worse. Here’s why you should think twice before using a chemical cleaner, along with some better options.
One of the biggest concerns about using a chemical drain cleaner is the damage that it’s causing by sitting in the pipe. The extremely acidic chemicals in drain cleaners are meant to eat right through the obstruction. The problem is, these chemicals are also eating through the pipe and causing damage prior to being flushed out. It doesn’t end there—there’s a detrimental environmental impact as well. After the drain cleaner leaves the pipe, it’s either being sent to your municipal water treatment facility or right into your drain field.
We’re also extremely concerned for the safety of our plumbers. They need to be made aware of any dangerous chemical cleaners that might have been put into the drain. Our plumbers will have to be properly protected from the chemicals before doing any work on the plumbing system.
Instead of using chemical drain cleaners, here are a few safer alternatives:
- Plungers: You can use a plunger on sink or toilet drains to try and open them up. They create a vacuum seal that breaks up and/or removes the blockage.
- Wet/dry vac: More powerful than a plunger, these can be used to get the material to come back up from the area. Make sure to follow all safety and usage instructions.
- P-trap removal: For kitchen or bathroom sink drains, you can try to remove the P-trap (located under the sink). It’s likely the source of clogs in many cases. Be sure to place a bucket under the area because there will be some water that comes out during the removal process. Adjustable pliers make the job much easier. They are a handy way to push/pull the obstructing material.
- Drain snakes: There are two different kinds of drain snakes: power snakes and manual snakes. The manual snake is a much safer option. Regardless of which kind you use, these tools need to be used very carefully. Again, always read all instructions and safety indications before using a drain snake.
You can determine the severity of the clog is by how isolated the problem is. If a single drain is obstructed while everything else in the home is working properly, that’s usually a good indication that flow to the street, septic tank, or drain field is unobstructed. When you have a problem that affects all the drains in the home, that’s usually a good indicator that there are either roots or some other material clogging the pipe that delivers all the waste out of the house.
Of course, you can always give Boulden Brothers a call to come over and address your clog no matter how large or small the issue is. The first thing we’re going to do is restore flow to the problem area. From there, we can start to diagnose the underlying cause. If the whole house isn’t draining properly, we’ll restore flow to the main sewer line as opposed to the individual area. Once we get the water out of the pipe, we’ll run a camera down so we can see what’s causing the obstruction.
We’ve seen some pretty interesting causes of clogs over the years, including stuffed animals, toys, shoes, and pieces of clothing. When we believe that there’s something that’s been flushed down the system, we’re never quite sure what’s going to come out.
In older homes, it’s often roots or the pipe itself that has collapsed. Pipes used to be made out of a clay material many decades ago. Unfortunately, the clay would gradually deteriorate over time causing the line to collapse. There were also many cases where metal piping was used, but they also tended to deteriorate inside of the ground. We’re now using PVC piping for everything thanks to its durability and reliability.
Remember, we’re always glad to make a visit to your home if you have a clog that’s giving you trouble. Just contact us online or give us a call today.