An hour after you take a bath the tub still hasn't drained. It's tempting to grab a plunger or bottle of chemicals and clear the clog yourself. In spite of what the commercials lead you to believe, not all stopped up drains react the same to your efforts. You can easily end up with a big mess, broken pipes, or personal injuries. Learn about the risks of tackling a clogged drain yourself and why you might want to have a local plumbing repair service come out and do it for you.
The Anatomy of a Clog
Clogged drains are often the result of a slow build up of materials until the water will no longer flow, although there are exceptions. Your kitchen and bathroom drains can become clogged for different reasons and each presents a different challenge. The bathroom sink and tub drains may collect hair over time until a soft clog develops.
Attempting to Unclog the Drain and Why It Can Be Risky
The various tools that a homeowner has to try to clear a drain are made for convenience and will not be as effective as what your plumber can bring to bear on the problem. Each of these tools has some potential risk, depending on how it's used and the type of clog.
Plungers - You may have one under the sink or next to the toilet. That way it's easy to grab and start plunging away on a frustrating clogged drain. The first thing that happens when using the plunger is that you push the clog down further in the drain. If it's a soft clog, like hair, it may come up when you pull up on the plunger. If it's a solid clog, it may just get pushed deeper into your drain as you plunge. The plunger also creates pressure in the pipes and could cause a connection to come apart or a pipe to break.
Chemical Drain Cleaners - The manufacturers are serious when they list all of the warnings on the side of their product, but some people just grab the bottle and start pouring. Using too much of the chemical, or pouring it through hot water, could cause a sudden reaction that splashes water back into your face. Under no circumstances should you use the plunger after you have poured chemicals down the drain. You could be seriously burned by the drain cleaner splashing on your face and arms.
Drain "Snakes" - A variety of metal and plastic wires, tubes and coils are available to unclog your drain. Unless you know what a clog feels like as you feed the device down into your drain, you risk pushing it through a pipe or connection. Or you may manage to push the snake through a hard clog only to have it get caught so now you have a clog and a snake stuck in your drain.
While you may be safe and successful clearing your drain of a partial clog, some things should be left to an experienced plumber. They have the tools and know-how to clear the drain safely without causing any more damage.To learn more about plumbing repairs, contact Dave Blair Plumbing.