Having clogged or slow-moving drains in your Kingman, KS home can be incredibly frustrating. Until drain blockages are resolved, you’ll have to contend with stagnant, bacteria-ridden water and the odors it produces. You’ll also have sinks, shower pans, or tubs that are all but useless. For a quick, cheap, and easy fix, you may be tempted to pour a liberal dose of store-bought drain cleaner down the drain. However, in many cases, this is only a temporary fix that can cause harm to your plumbing system over time. And before you attempt to go to work with your drain snake or auger, keep reading to find out why DIY drain cleaning is a bad idea.
There Are Very Few Drain Blockages That Homeowners Can Safely Resolve
Sometimes blocked and slow-moving drains are simple, isolated issues. It could be only one drain is affected and only a single obstruction must be cleared. However, at other times, blocked drains are an indication of a looming, whole-house backup. Although your focus might be trained on the ankle-deep water that’s pooling in your shower pan, other drains throughout your home could be exhibiting alarming symptoms too. When major plumbing blockages create the conditions for whole-house backups, store-bought drain cleaners won’t get the job done.
There are very few drain blockages that homeowners can clear on their own. For instance, if your bathroom sink lacks a drain cap or drain cover, you might peer down into your drain and see a toothbrush or other small, hard-sided hygiene item that’s easy to reach. By bracing your nerves against the slick, slimy sidewalls that you’ll encounter when reaching down into the drain, you may be able to wiggle the offending item out in seconds.
However, using DIY methods to resolve minor issues like this one isn’t without risks. Countless people have attempted these extractions only to drop their tweezers, tongs, or needle-nose pliers into their drains. Even a simple toothbrush can leave the surrounding pipe cracked or otherwise damaged if it’s positioned at an impossible angle and jerked free with too much force.
There are many things that plumbing professionals consider before attempting basic drain extractions. For plumbers, drain clearing begins by first determining whether multiple drains are affected. After all, if your slow-moving or completely blocked drain is the start of a whole-house backup, removing a nearby obstruction will only delay the inevitable.
Plumbers additionally consider the age and integrity of the surrounding pipes, the potential impacts of individual drain-clearing methods and tools, and more. In some instances, they also send cameras down into plumbing systems, which helps them to see blockages.
You Run the Risk of Forcing an Obstruction Deeper Into Your Plumbing System
Having access to your own plumbing tools could make DIY drain cleaning easier. High-pressure plungers, drain snakes, and drain augers can be purchased cheaply at local home and hardware stores. Moreover, using these tools is straightforward.
However, you should consider the possibility that there could be a toothbrush that’s blocking your sink or bathtub drain that you cannot see. In this case, using a plunger, snake, or auger to clear your drain will only push this hard, plastic item deeper into your plumbing system. You might see a limited amount of water movement when the blockage initially budges, but as new debris collects around the toothbrush, the same drain issue will recur. It’s also important to note that forcefully clearing plumbing drains without considering the age or integrity of all affected plumbing materials can leave you with ruptured pipes and severely damaged plumbing connections.
Soft, Malleable Blockages Can Cause Problems Too
It doesn’t take a toothbrush, toy, or other hard, inflexible item to make DIY drain cleaning problematic. Your drain troubles might be the result of dirty pipes. Build-ups of minerals from hard water, coatings of slime, oil, and grease, and other natural, organic accumulations can also cause drains to move slowly. Forcefully plunging or snaking a blocked drain when the underlying cause is pipe debris will move these semi-soft materials slightly, but could cause them to accumulate in other areas. Instead of having a smaller pipe diameter to flow through, exiting wastewater and other materials could be trapped by a collapsed pile of thick sludge.
Store-Bought Drain Cleaners Frequently Cause More Problems Than They Solve
Volumes can be written about the many problems that store-bought drain cleaners can cause. Not only is there the risk of having drain cleaners fail and leave you with water that must be bailed out, but there are also countless health hazards. The cheapest and most frequently used drain cleaners are highly caustic. If these products encounter the skin, they can cause severe chemical burns. If drain cleaner or stagnant water that’s been contaminated with drain cleaner splashes into your eyes, you could sustain eye injuries that permanently impact your vision.
Many homeowners will use drain cleaners in bathrooms that lack windows and have underperforming exhaust fans. Drain cleaner fumes can irritate the airways, burn the throat, and agitate the nasal passages. The only way to use drain cleaners safely is by opening your windows and doors, donning a pair of gloves and safety goggles, and then pouring them down the drain slowly to avoid splash-back. In short, it’s safer not to use them at all. This is especially true when you also consider the damage that drain cleaners can cause to your pipes.
Drain cleaners are powerful enough to eat through thick accumulations of soap scum, hair, and organic waste. But, if your kids ignored your warnings and flushed several paper towels or a large clump of “flushable wipes” down your commode, drain cleaners may not be able to eat through these things. When a store-bought drain cleaner is unable to clear your blockage, it might simply lie in the pipe and cause pipe damage. They can stay trapped in the plumbing system and undermine the integrity of your pipes. A $12 bottle of drain cleaner could end up causing hundreds of dollars in plumbing repairs.
Professional Drain Cleaning Is Less Invasive and More Effective
When using DIY drain cleaning methods, you always run the risk of turning a small and inexpensive problem into a much larger issue that costs far more to fix. Professional drain cleaning methods are much less invasive and a lot more effective than the DIY strategies that are widely shared online. When you work with a professional plumber, you’ll have access to options like camera line inspections, hydro-jetting, drain steaming, and more. Best of all, you can rest assured that a plumber will accurately diagnose the underlying cause of your drain blockage and find the best method for both clearing your drains and keeping them moving as they should.
We’ve been helping residents of Kingman, Kansas keep their drains clean
for more than 17 years. We offer heating, cooling, plumbing
, and electrical services. We also provide indoor air quality solutions and preventative maintenance plans. If you have drain problems, we have the answers. Get in touch with Eck Services today to schedule an appointment.