Clogs don’t happen very often, but when they do, calling a plumber is often people’s last instinct. We’ve seen people use — and misuse — chemical drain cleaners, snakes, plungers, coat hangers, and all sorts of kludged-together contraptions to clear clogs. Some of these have their place; each of them can also cause more problems than they solve. Here’s how to figure out whether it’s time to call Ace Plumbing for drain cleaning and clearing.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
We understand why people reach for Drano for their sinks, or other chemical concoctions for their toilets. It’s cheap, it’s simple, and it works (sometimes). However, it has some downsides you should be aware of. It’s not environmentally friendly. It’s not safe for your family, especially if you have a toddler whose hands and mouth go places you’d rather they wouldn’t, or a dog who treats the toilet like his personal water fountain.
What’s more, it damages pipes and fixtures, especially with repeated use. And since it tends to linger in pipes — especially if the culprit of a clog is still in there — you risk a severe chemical reaction if you use Comet, bleach, or other cleaners even days afterward.
We know what you’re thinking. “But plumbers use snakes all the time!” Yes, we do. And there are several different types. If you’re not using the right one for the job, you stand to damage your pipes. That leads to a repair that’s going to be much more expensive than it would’ve been if you’d just called us in the first place.
No home should be without a plunger, especially if your diet isn’t what it ought to be. Not something any of us like talking about, but A: we’re all adults here, and B: it’s a fact of life. However, whether you’re using it on your toilet or your kitchen sink (and please, for heaven’s sake, don’t use the same plunger for both), a plunger isn’t a cure-all. For one thing, cup plungers — designed for drains, often with a shorter handle — aren’t right for toilets, while flange plungers are designed for ye olde porcelain throne. Accordion plungers can technically do both jobs (but again, please don’t).
More to the point, severe clogs caused by buildups of grease, hair, or other things that shouldn’t have been dumped down the drain or toilet, won’t be solved by a plunger. For that, you’ll need a professional.
Speaking of things you’ve put down your sink or flushed down the toilet but shouldn’t have… Maybe you got lucky with every last one of them, or maybe you were quick enough with a plunger to avert disaster. That doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods.
Just like your toilet and your drains, your sewers can also clog. The same things that are causing those household clogs can also wreak havoc on sewer pipes, and the only way to know that they’re clogged is often when you have an awful smell in your house, or when something backs up through your toilet or shower drain. It’s a good idea to have your sewer pipes checked and cleaned every other year, since those clogs and pipe issues aren’t a DIY job.
Sometimes you’ll want to spend money to save money. The services of a professional — like the Fair Oaks area plumbers at Ace Plumbing — will prevent expensive repairs later. That’s money well-spent right now. Need help? Call us today!