Avoid These 5 Drain Cleaning Mistakes
One of the most common—and distressing—plumbing problems that most homeowners experience is a blocked drain. Whether your kitchen sink won’t drain or your toilet keeps backing up, when your drains get clogged, it has an immediate impact on your life.
When it comes to drain cleaning, here are five common mistakes homeowners make.
5. Ignoring the Warning Signs of a Blocked Drain
Most drain clogs are entirely preventable. The first—and simplest—step is to keep potential blockages from going down the drain in the first place. For instance, in the shower, you should always use some kind of drain cover to keep excess hair from washing down the drain.
Prevention helps in the kitchen, too. You should avoid pouring fats or oils down your sink, as these substances tend to congeal and adhere to the sides of your pipes. This can eventually block your pipes altogether. And no matter what your mother says, you shouldn’t put food waste in the disposal—even eggshells. Doing so can lead to expensive garbage disposal repair.
Finally, when it comes to your toilet, be careful what you flush. As people use disposable wipes instead of toilet paper, clogs are becoming more common. Avoid flushing even those wipes that are labeled “flushable” since they still don’t break down in the same way toilet paper does.
4. Sticking Objects Down the Drain
When a drain gets clogged, sometimes your first instinct is to shove something down the drain to dislodge the blockage. Often, a homeowner will unbend a wire coat hanger and try to fish it down the drain, an effort that usually does more harm than good.
In most cases, the clog will be further down the plumbing then you can reach with an object like a coat hanger. Even if you do manage to get the clog, you’re just as likely to make the problem worse as you are to solve it, either compacting the clog into a denser mass or pushing it further out of reach. Instead, you should rely on a professional plumber to unclog your drain, as they have specialized tools that can handle these issues properly.
3. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Most chemical drain cleaning solutions are made of too harsh compounds designed to dissolve things like hair and other non-soluble materials. As you might imagine, this can be detrimental to your plumbing if you’re not careful. Used in the wrong amounts or incorrectly, those same chemicals can erode your pipes.
As an alternative, you can try a homemade drain cleaning solution made from hot water, vinegar, and baking soda. If the clog remains, however, your best bet is to call in a plumber.
2. Problems with the Plunger
When most people think of a plunger, they picture the classic rubber cup with a flat bottom stuck on a wooden stick. While this plunger is well suited to a sink, it’s much less effective in a toilet. Instead, toilet plungers have a flange extending from the bottom in a bell shape, which is designed to fit into the toilet drain.
Perhaps more problematic than using the wrong plunger is using an improper plunging technique. A plunger works by creating suction against a clog in an attempt to dislodge it enough for it to be washed along the drain. But most people either plunge too fast to develop effective suction or release the suction too quickly by removing the plunger to “check” on the clog.
Using a plunger can work at times, but it can also make the problem worse—and they’re messy. Make sure you’re using your plunger correctly, and don’t hesitate to call in a plumber if it doesn’t work.
1. Trying to Fix It Yourself
The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to your drains is refusing to call in help. When your drain gets blocked, it can cause serious problems, especially if water starts to spill out of your sink or shower or if pipes start to leak from increased pressure. While some DIY steps can occasionally solve the problem, you can also cause a great deal of damage, leading to even more expense down the road.
You should also have your drains inspected at least once a year. Schedule a time for a plumber to come and look at your pipes to make sure everything is in order. This is also a good time to take care of routine issues, such as garbage disposal repair. Professional plumbers are trained to look at your plumbing to assess issues you might not see, and they’ll have the equipment and knowledge to fix your problems quickly and efficiently.
Find Your “Plumber Near Me”
Stith Plumbing and HVAC is proud to serve the Northwest Arkansas area. We can help you with all of your plumbing needs, from clearing a blocked drain to garbage disposal repair. Instead of Googling “drain cleaning near me,” contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our top-quality plumbing technicians.