Three Drain Cleaning Mistakes That Could End In Disaster

When your drain is clogged or slow, it makes sense to try and clear it yourself before reaching out to a plumber. Plunging a drain or using natural drain cleaners like baking soda and vinegar are pretty safe and can be quite effective, too. But other methods that homeowner sometimes employ when trying to clean drains are not quite as safe and effective. Here's a look at three drain cleaning mistakes that you're best off avoiding.

Using a garden hose.

Some homeowners believe that if they spray water down their drains with a garden hose, this will help loosen clogs. Not only is this ineffective, but it can present some risks since water may build up behind the clog and shoot backwards out of the drain. The high pressure may also cause damage to PVC pipes, which are not designed to withstand such high pressure. Leave the garden hose outside where it belongs.

Snaking a drain yourself.

Pipe snakes are very effective at removing clogs—when used by a plumber. If you use a pipe snake without the right knowledge and training, however, you can end up damaging the interior of your pipes with the sharp end of the snake. Plus, there are some pipes that are the right size to be snaked, and others that are too large for snaking to be effective. You likely won't know which are which without some careful inspection of the pipes behind your walls, so it's best to call a plumber if you think your drain needs to be snaked.

Using chemical drain cleaners.

In spite of the fact that these are found in most every home improvement store, they're a bad choice in the long run. Chemical drain cleaners cause damage to pipes over time, so turning to them when you have a clog could mean leaks and expensive repairs in the future. They're also hazardous to your health. Accidentally getting the cleaner on your skin—or worse, in your eyes—could lead to an emergency room visit. A good alternative is to pour a cup each of baking soda and vinegar into as slow drain. The foaming action will help loosen clogs and is particularly effective for greasy clogs like those that tend to form in kitchen sinks.

If plunging and a baking soda-vinegar mixture don't free a clog, call your plumber. Using a pipe snake, a garden hose, or chemical drain cleaner is a mistake you'll pay for either now or later.

For more information, contact companies like RooterGuy® Plumbing.