The First Step in Plumbing Maintenance: Clearing Drain Clogs
Every time you use your sink or tub, you risk a drain clog. Unfortunately, there are a variety of things that can cause a clog, so the best thing you can do is follow good plumbing maintenance steps to ensure that you can help to prevent clogs as much as possible.
If you do experience a drain clog, the following steps might help clear the clog:
- Plunger—Take a plunger to the affected drain(s). This action can be effective at breaking up whatever is causing the clog.
- Invest in a drain “snake” or construct your own with a bent wire hanger—This simple tool may allow you to get to the source of the problem and fish it out. You should be able to purchase an affordable snake at your local hardware store, or some stores make them available for rent.
- Home remedies—Many homeowners find that home remedies are effective in clearing small drain clogs. Pour ½ cup of baking soda, then ½ cup of white vinegar into the slow drain. The two components will react, causing a fizzing action, so cover the drain and wait a few minutes to allow the mixture to work on the clog. Pour very hot water into the drain to wash away the baking soda and vinegar, along with the clog.
- Retail clog remover product—Use a retail clog remover product only as a last resort. These products may contain sulfuric or hydrochloric acids, or caustic ingredients such as lye, sodium hydroxide or caustic soda, and may be in liquid or granular form. The chemical nature of these products may generate heat that could soften PVC, damage older pipes, corrode steel or aluminum, or crack porcelain. Unexpected results such as splashback and toxic vapors are harmful to anyone in the area. Chemical drain openers may remain in your piping system, causing injury or property damage when the pipe is opened for cleaning.
Chemical drain openers do not always clear the blockage and the pipe may need to be retreated. Under no circumstances should a different chemical drain opener be introduced into a previously treated line as the combination of acids or caustic ingredients may cause a serious chemical reaction.
Chemical drain openers are corrosive and dangerous, and should be used with caution. Protective gear, including gloves and safety goggles, should be worn when using chemical drain openers, and care should be taken to avoid inhaling the fumes. If the drain opener fails to clear the line and a professional plumber is called in, explain steps already taken and mention products added so that proper steps may be taken to ensure the plumber’s safety and reduce the risk of property damage.
- Call a plumber—There’s nothing quite like having the peace of mind that the job is being done professionally by a technician who has the skills, experience and equipment necessary to take care of the problem once and for all. Your technician can also provide plumbing maintenance steps you can take to reduce the chance of drain clogs from forming in the future.
Your Richmond plumber can help with any clog in a drain or sewer line, as well as all of your plumbing service needs.