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July 11, 2011
If you’re a homeowner, chances are good you’re going to be faced with plumbing problems at some point. Unfortunately, clogged drains are something you cannot ignore. Clearing simple clogs doesn’t have to be difficult, but like many home repairs, if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, it’s easy to make the problem far worse.
Here are just some of the most common mistakes homeowners will make:
Excessive Use of Drain Cleaners
Popular drain cleaners can work great when they are used correctly. For loose clogs close to the drain, a commercial drain cleaner should work well enough the first time. If the first use doesn’t clear the drain, don’t pour more down hoping the second, third or fourth time will do the trick. Too much drain cleaner can cause your pipes to corrode and in the case of mixing various products, sometimes even cause chemical reactions that produce heat or toxic gases that can be dangerous to you and the environment.
Relying on Home Remedies
Vinegar and baking soda, bleach and hot water have all been suggested as great ways to clear a clogged drain using products from around the house. Unless you’re using hot water to help flush a clogged toilet, it’s best to stay away from these methods. Hot water in particular can cause more damage, especially when poured down a clogged kitchen sink. If the drain is already slow or clogged with grease, the hot water can cause the grease to melt and move further down the drain, creating an even larger blockage. If your intent when using home remedies is to use an environmentally friendly option, consider using a natural enzyme product such as bio-clean as an alternative.
Not Using a Plunger Properly
Plungers are an effective way to clear a drain or unclog a toilet when used correctly. The key is to make sure a tight seal is formed around the drain and plunge slowly and methodically. Plunging too quickly or with too much force can prevent a tight seal from forming, making your efforts relatively ineffective. It’s also important to note that different types of plungers are designed for clearing different types of drains. Plungers with a funnel cup at the bottom are best for clearing toilet clogs, while flat cupped plungers work well for bathtubs and sinks.
When your toilet is backed up into your home or you suspect a sewer clog, don’t automatically assume your yard will need to be torn up to locate and repair the clog or damage. Qualified professional plumbers have unobtrusive means for inspecting and clearing clogged lines.
Skipping Regular Plumbing Inspections
Your plumbing system isn’t any different from other systems in your home. Regular maintenance and inspections are important to help you catch problems before they happen. Finding a leak before it’s a flood can mean big savings and less headache for you in the long run.