What Should You Do When Your Drain Clogs?
Clogs in a drainpipe can be caused by a number of factors. These include hair, grease, food and anything else that might find its way into the drain outlet. In older homes, sometimes the pipes become rusty or split, causing the water to back up.
To avoid these types of clogs, I take a number of precautions. I stand back from the sink when I brush my hair and am careful regarding which personal care products, if any, I wash down the drain. For my washing machine drain, I have purchased a low priced drain cover that catches debris from the outgoing wash water. When I use grease in cooking I make sure it goes into the garbage, not the sink. Depending on whether you have a sink disposal system, you need to be cautious of which types of food material you allow do go down the drain. Even with a disposal it is best to put food in the trash and not wash it down the drain.
Trying to Fix It Yourself
I have often used a plunger or a chemical drain cleaner when I have had a drainage problem. Sometimes these simple methods have worked and other times they have not. There are arguments for and against using a chemical drain cleaner to undo a clog. They are much cheaper than calling a plumber, they can quickly dislodge a certain type of clog and no special skills are required. However, arguments against using a chemical drain cleaner include possible harm to the skin or eyes, damage to older pipes, and the simple fact that they often just don’t get the job done.
When to Call the Pros
On occasion, I have had to use the water system shut-off valve to stop the inflow of water and call a plumber. When the plunger or the chemical drain cleaner fails to work it’s time to call a professional to remove the clog. The plumbers I have had were very courteous, worked quickly and were obviously highly trained and experienced in the field. They have been thorough and have used things like a video cameras (to determine the type of clog), sewer snakes, water jetting and other techniques to clear the drain. To my relief, so far they have not found a broken pipe that requires be replaced.
On occasion, you will have some results with a plunger or chemical cleaner but, as a rule, this is a temporary fix and you will soon see the water backing up again. Not only is this frustrating but it can be expensive as well. A professional plumber that is available 24/7 is important for emergencies. They can be on the job in a matter of minutes to take care of the problem. Good plumbers are licensed, bonded and insured and have the expertise to dislodge the clog and have your water flowing smoothly again.