Oh, no! The sink is clogged again! The dirty dishwater won’t drain, and an unpleasant smell is starting to develop. What should you do? Reach for a bottle of liquid drain cleaner? No! When a drain is clogged, there are some things you should try yourself before calling a plumber, but liquid drain cleaner is not one.
We’ll give you step-by-step instructions for what to do and not do for a clogged drain, with details on exactly which situations require a professional plumber in Phoenixville, PA.
Home Remedies for Your Clogged Drain
If one drain is stopped or draining slowly, it’s due to the specific substances that have gone down it. Shower drain clog? Hair and soap scum. Kitchen sink clog? Food waste and solidified grease. There are two things to try yourself to clear your drain:
- A Plunger: Not the one from your toilet! A small, new plunger will set you back ten bucks or less at any hardware store. With water standing around the drain, hold the plunger vertically and thrust forcefully several times.
- A Drain Snake: This might be just a thin strip of plastic with little thorn-like prongs along the length, perfect for grabbing hair in a shower drain, or a coil of metal with a hand crank to rotate it, breaking up or grabbing hold of a blockage.
Why Chemicals Are a Bad Choice
Liquid drain cleaner is extremely caustic, farther along the pH scale than bleach or oven cleaner. The harshness of this chemical concoction means that it will burn your skin anywhere it touches, and the fumes can irritate your eyes, nose, and lungs.
In addition, it can do damage to the inside of your plumbing. Most pipes in modern homes are made of copper, which is resistant to corrosion. But liquid drain cleaner is not the sort of substance copper can stand up against. The insides of your pipes can be roughened, making it easier for residue to build up and clogs to return.
Finally, there is something liquid drain cleaner cannot dissolve: plastic! So if part of the problem in your plumbing is a plastic picnic fork, cap from a tube of eyeliner, or a child’s toy, these chemicals will do absolutely nothing about it.
When to Call a Plumber
- After Trying Home Remedies: If the plunger and drain snake are unable to get your drain moving again, a professional can help with a motorized auger (like a super-powered version of your hand-cranked snake) or even a hydro jetting machine, which blasts away buildup and blockages with pressurized water.
- Problems Larger than a Single Clog: If multiple drains in your home are slow, or if a drain has gotten clogged multiple times in recent memory, there might be a bigger issue, such as a problem with the sewer line.
- Foul Odors: Many stinky sinks can be resolved with nothing but baking soda and vinegar left to foam in the drain for ten minutes. But a persistent sink stink or foul odors rising from multiple drains in the house can indicate a dangerous problem with your sewer vent allowing sewer gasses to escape into your home.
If any of these occur, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Contact Platinum Plumbing & Heating, Inc. today to schedule an appointment with our pros.