Problems with clogged or slow-running drains occur at the most inconvenient times. When these problems arise, the first action of homeowners is often to grab the plunger or head to the local grocery store to buy a chemical drain cleaning product. Unfortunately, DIY actions meant to free clogged drains rarely turn out as hoped. If you are a homeowner who is tempted to DIY an annoying drain clog, here are some very valid reasons why you should call a plumbing professional, instead.
The problem with chemicals
Chemicals capable of dissolving grease and hair have to be caustic to succeed. In addition to exposing yourself or a family member to chemical burns when using these products, their use can result in future problems with the pipes.
If the plumbing is made of PVC, as in many modern homes, the chemical reaction of caustic drain cleaners can heat up the inside of the pipes, which can lead to surface warping and the formation of leaks. When the home's plumbing pipes are old and metallic, these products may encourage or worsen corrosion of the interior of the pipes.
The problem with plunging
If a clog has lodged within the pipe, which is capable of impairing drain function, plunging may appear to loosen the clog and allow liquids to drain. Unfortunately, this solution is temporary, at best, because it often just moves the clog a little farther down the pipe where it continues to collect debris and grease, causing an even larger clog to develop.
In addition to using a plunger, some homeowners may sometimes decide to use a wire coat hanger or other sharp objects to try and reach a stubborn clog and jam it through the pipe. This is also a bad idea because it can lead to scratches or damage to the interior of the pipe and make it more likely to snag and hold hair and debris, which will cause additional clogs in the future.
The problem with buckets
Another temporary DIY solution that should be avoided is removing the sink trap under the clogged bath or kitchen sink and placing a bucket under the pipe to capture water. This type of temporary fix is dangerous for two reasons. The first is that family members or guests may not remember to empty the bucket, leaving it to overflow and damage the cabinet or flooring.
The second reason to avoid using a bucket, even for a temporary solution, is that doing so will prevent water from reaching the clogged area. Soon, the clog will begin to dry and harden, becoming nearly impossible to remove without cutting the pipe.
If your home is currently experiencing a clogged drain or other plumbing problem, contacting a plumbing professional will ensure that the solution will be fast and convenient, unlike most DIY attempts. A plumbing service can provide additional information.