When it comes to your home, your drains are arguably one of the most important aspects of your plumbing system. They carry away wastewater, protect your home from leaks and water damage, and help ensure that your daily life runs smoothly.
However, many homeowners unintentionally make mistakes when cleaning their drains, leading to serious plumbing issues that can be expensive to fix.
At Intelligent Design, we understand how vital proper drain maintenance is. In our years of experience, we’ve seen a variety of drain cleaning mishaps that have led to unnecessary problems and costs for homeowners.
To help you navigate the often-misunderstood world of drain cleaning, we’ve compiled a list of ten common drain-cleaning mistakes that you must avoid.
1. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Clogged drains are a common problem for homeowners, but using chemical drain cleaners is not the best way to tackle them. While these products can provide temporary relief from clogged drains, they often cause more damage in the long run.
A chemical drain cleaner contains strong acids and alkalines that can corrode pipes and create dangerous fumes. In addition, these products are often ineffective against partially clogged drains or those that have been clogged by grease.
Drain cleaning chemicals are toxic and should not be used in sinks, showers, or drains with plastic pipes. Instead of chemical drain cleaners, consider using enzymatic drain cleaners, baking soda, or a homemade DIY drain cleaner to clear up clogs.
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2. Incorrect Plunging
Plunging is an effective way of tackling clogged drains, but it’s important to do the job correctly. If not done properly, plunging can cause more harm than good.
Before you start plunging, make sure that there are no sharp edges surrounding the drain or any cracks in the sink/tub where water can splash around. Also, make sure that you’re using a good quality plunger (not the flimsy ones!) and that it has been lubricated with some soapy water beforehand.
Once you start plunging, use short strokes in quick bursts and focus on keeping the force of the suction centered over the drain opening. Don’t forget to keep the plunger pressed tightly against the drain opening, otherwise, it won’t be effective.
3. Ignoring Regular Maintenance
A clogged drain is often an indication of a much bigger problem. In many cases, clogged drains are the result of poor maintenance practices such as not regularly cleaning out hair, soap scum, and other debris from bathtubs and showers. Regularly clearing out these items can help prevent clogs before they start.
Additionally, it’s important to check on the condition of your plumbing pipes regularly. Over time, mineral deposits can build up in pipes and cause clogs. It’s best to inspect your pipes at least once a year or more often if you notice slow draining or other issues with your drains.
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4. Overlooking the Importance of Professional Help
At some point, every homeowner will need the help of a professional plumber or drain cleaner. Especially if the job is too large and complex for a DIY approach.
Professional technicians are not only equipped with specialized tools that can handle difficult clogs, but they also know what to look out for when assessing your plumbing system. Failing to call an expert can lead to costly repairs or replacements, as well as a whole host of other issues.
At Intelligent Design, we understand the importance of having your drains and plumbing regularly serviced and inspected. This practice can help prevent future clogs and save you money. We offer high-quality services to handle any drain cleaning job, no matter how big or small. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!
5. Poking Into the Drain
With a clogged sink, shower drain, or sewer clog, it may be tempting to poke around in the pipes in an attempt to break up the clog. However, this is a mistake that can have serious consequences. Poking into the drain with a wire or other sharp object can easily damage pipes, resulting in costly repairs and even water damage.
If you suspect that your drain is clogged but don’t want to risk poking into it, try using an auger or “snake” to break up the clog. Augers are specially designed tools that can safely clear a blockage without damaging pipes.
6. Forgetting to Clean the Pop-Up Stoppers in Sinks and Tubs
Pop-up stoppers are the small, flat discs that are found in most bathroom sinks and tubs. They keep water from flowing out of the sink or tub and can be an effective way to prevent clogs as well as conserve water. However, it’s important to regularly clean out these stoppers so that they don’t become clogged with hair, soap scum, and other debris.
If you notice that the pop-up stoppers aren’t working properly, chances are they need to be cleaned out. This can easily be done with a few simple tools such as a pair of pliers and an old toothbrush.
7. Using the Wrong Tools
It’s important to use the right tools when attempting to clear a clogged drain. Here are a few common tools that can be helpful in clearing out clogs:
- Plungers – These are the most commonly used tool for unclogging drains. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to use a good-quality plunger and lubricate it with some soapy water before using it.
- Drain Augers or Snakes – Drain augers, also known as “snakes” are specially designed tools that can help break up tough clogs. These tools are available in manual and electric versions.
- Chemical Cleaners – Chemical cleaners can often be used to help clear out minor clogs as well as prevent future ones. However, it’s important to read the instructions carefully and use them as directed.
8. Disregarding Pipe Material
Not all drains are made alike. Pipes come in a variety of materials, such as copper, plastic, PVC, and cast iron. Knowing the type of material that your pipes are made of can help you choose the right tools and cleaning methods to clear out clogs safely. For example, chemical cleaners can be damaging to copper pipes and should only be used on plastic or PVC.
9. Garden Hosing Sewer Lines
If you’re dealing with a clogged sewer line, it may be tempting to simply attach a garden hose and flush out the debris. However, this can be a big mistake as it can damage pipes and even cause them to burst.
If you’re dealing with a sewage clog, it’s best to call an experienced plumber who will be able to safely clear out the blockage in no time.
10. Not Knowing What You’re Doing
When it comes to drain cleaning, knowledge is power. It’s important to know what you’re dealing with before attempting any DIY plumbing repairs or maintenance. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s best to leave the job to a professional.
Avoid These Drain Cleaning Mistakes
When it comes to drain cleaning, it’s important to avoid common mistakes. From using the wrong tools to poking around in the pipe, these mistakes can cause serious damage and cost you money.
By following the tips above and calling an experienced plumber when necessary, you can ensure that your drains are running smoothly and free of clogs.
At Intelligent Design, we specialize in all aspects of drain cleaning and plumbing repairs. Our team of experienced technicians can help diagnose any issue and provide lasting solutions that will keep your drains flowing freely for years to come. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.