Getting Unstuck From Your Plumbing Problem
Drain clogs are the worst! Not only do they threaten the safety of your pipes and slow the flow of water, they also smell. One of the most common questions our plumbers hear throughout the year is “How do you unclog a pipe in your house?” Today, we’re going to tackle this question, identify common sources of clogged pipes, and find a way to prevent future blockage!
What are Clogged Pipes?
Or more specifically, what causes clogged pipes? There are so many hazards that choke the flow of water and waste through your drain pipes. Some of them are natural elements; others are man-made. Below, you’ll find some of the most common sources of clogs.
Common Causes of Clogged Pipes
- Rust and/or Mineral Sediment
- Tree Roots
- Food Solids
- Congealed Fats and Grease
- Human Oils and Hair
- Hygienic Products
- Children’s Toys
- “Flushable” Products
The materials involved will affect the ideal cleaning option for your clogged pipes. Be sure to also take into account the thickness of the clog, which may disqualify some methods of cleaning.
What Do Plumbers Use to Unclog Pipes?
Most plumbers prefer a mechanical solution to clean out your plumbing. These include snaking and hydro jetting, two of the most widely relied on methods in the industry. Occasionally, you’ll find plumbers who like to use a chemical cleaner to aid the process, but many professionals caution against using these products (more on that later).
Snaking involves taking a metal chord equipped with barbs, hooks, or another attachment on the end. The chord is inserted into the drain line until it reaches the clog. Depending on the type of snake, the plumber attempts to either hook the mass and pull it out, or break up the mass with a forceful striking motion.
Many plumbers prefer to stick with hydro jetting nowadays, as the method tends to provide more long-term results. The process involves blasting the drain line with an extremely high-pressure stream of water. This not only clears out the most stubborn of clogs (roots included), it cleans out pipes clogged with grease. Thoroughly cleaned pipes mean blockage takes much, much longer to re-form.
Can Snaking a Drain Damage Pipes?
It’s not something a homeowner should do without taking the proper precautions. First, using the wrong size or type of drain snake will likely cause damage within the drain line, speeding up potential leak development. While snaking does provide good results for clogs in early development, plumbing professionals will also tell you that this method isn’t effective against tree roots, hardened rust sediment, or other hard objects.
Can Drano Ruin Pipes?
First off, it’s important to realize that Drano is just one of many brands of chemical cleaners available on the residential market. Many people use the brand name to refer to cleaners in general, not just Drano products. With that being said, many (if not the majority of) plumbers advise homeowners to stay away from chemical cleaners.
This is for many valid reasons. First, chemical cleaners sometimes contain aggressive components (such as hydrochloric acids) that can eat away at your pipes as it treats the clog. That’s especially true for mature clogs that allow little to no water flow through the pipe. Second, it can be difficult to predict how certain chemicals will react when exposed to other cleaning products. Supposing a cleaner fails to cut through a clog, and the homeowner pours another substance to try to open up a hole. The results could be insignificant, or they could be disastrous for the pipe.
Can Drano Make a Clog Worse?
It is possible for chemical cleaners to make a clogged pipe even more troublesome. How so? When the cleaner finally punches a hole inside the clog, the dislodged mass sometimes moves down the pipe just to re-form again in the following weeks. In some cases, cleaners may cause a relative soft clog to congeal, hardening in place for even stronger blockage.
Chemical cleaning products work best against blockage that hasn’t fully matured (clogged the pipe). Just as delaying HVAC or residential roofing service can make repairs harder, waiting too long to treat a clog often makes chemical cleaning impractical.
How to Prevent Clogged Pipes
The best defense against clogs is an aggressive offense! If you notice that your tub, sink, or toilet is starting to experience slower draining, it’s time to clean. For your sink and tub/shower drains, try this home style de-clogging recipe. Start by gently pouring boiling water down the affected drain. Next, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain. This begins the loosing process, plus it absorbs nasty odors created by the blockage.
Five minutes later, chase that baking soda with a 50/50 solution of hot water and white vinegar. These react with the baking soda and dislodge the sludge. Just make sure the drain is covered! End your cleaning with another pot of boiling water.
Need a Professional Plumber?
If you need help dealing with clogged pipes in Canton, GA or a nearby community, our team at 1st Plumber to Call would love to help! We’ve helped countless homeowners find lasting relief for their busted pipes, clogs, and other common plumbing headaches. Schedule your personal service at (404) 758-6237 today!