Drain Cleaning: When to DIY and When to Call a Professional

Drain Cleaning: When to Do It Yourself And When To Call a Professional

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Drain Cleaning for Clogged Drains and Blocked Drains

Any time you can take care of a small problem yourself instead of calling in a professional plumbing company, you can save money. For most people, saving money can be very attractive. But when do you try to fix the problem yourself (at your own risk) and when do you call a professional?

This article about doing drain cleaning yourself is meant to be a DIY (Do It Yourself) resource to go through some common basic drain blockages and how to clear them yourself. It is also meant to be a guide to those times when the clogged drain has gotten too difficult to clean at home and to know when it is time to call a professional for drain cleaning.

Plumbing can be serious business, but there are things that you can do to easily fix common mistakes. Other problems, however, you will need to call in a professional plumber, like Rubber Ducky Plumbing, to avoid making unwanted mistakes that could cost you more in the long run.

Just so you know, Rubber Ducky Plumbing services the greater Richmond, Virginia area for plumbing services like drain cleaning, including Chesterfield, Henrico, Mechanicsville, Midlothian, and Chester. Rubber Ducky Plumbing specializes in emergency plumbing, so call anytime!

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Clogged Bathtub Drain or Shower Drain

What to do for standing water or drain clogs in the bath or shower

There are two main things you can do yourself for slow or standing water in the bath or shower: (1) chemical drain cleaners and (2) hair clog removers.

Chemical Drain Cleaners for Bath and Shower Drains

Overall, if you can get a chemical drain cleaner from your local hardware store to work then that is likely the fastest and easiest way to clear the drain clog. You pour the chemical drain cleaner down the drain, wait the proscribed amount of time, flush the drain with hot water, and you should have a clear bathtub drain!

There are some potential issues to watch out for with a chemical drain cleaner though.

Hazardous – these cleaners can pose hazards to human skin and soft tissue if they are inadvertently touched – so read the directions very carefully, and use extreme caution using them.

Ineffective against big clogs – they don’t always work.

Increased Plumbing Charges – if you use a chemical drain cleaner and it DOESN’T work, it can be more complex for your plumber.

Only partial solution – even if the water starts draining well, sometimes these cleaners don’t fully clear the clog, so you may end up with a new clog within a few weeks or months.

Pipe corrosion – some of these cleaners are so good at dissolving matter that they can cause serious corrosion and damage to your pipes.

Hair Clog Removers or Home Snakes

This is a simple tool you can use to pull some hair clogs out from your bathtub or shower if that is the issue with drain cleaning. It is usually a flat piece of plastic with little barbs coming out of the sides.

You shove this carefully into the drain, work it around until it feels stuck, and then pull. And out comes all the gross drain matter! Keep on doing this until you are no longer getting any resistance down there.

The down side to this method is if you are squeamish, it can be disgusting – you end up with a thick wad of matted hair, mixed in with water, dirt, mildew, soap, shampoo, and any other chemicals that went down the drain.

If you are okay with getting your hands dirty, this can clear quite a bit of clogs. And then you can follow it up with a chemical drain cleaner to dissolve anything that is left.

Calling a Professional for Shower Drain Clogs

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, or just want to know that it is done right, you can call a professional plumber to take care of any shower or bathtub drain clogs.

Blocked or Clogged Toilet

What to do for an overflowing or non-flushing toilet

Be wary about flushing too many times, or you may have sewage water all over your floor! This is a mistake some of us have made before.

The best tool for a do it yourself fix for a clogged toilet is a simple plunger. If you have never used a plunger before, try to use it with some water in the toilet bowl, but be wary of pushing the flusher.

If you want to make sure you can get the water to stop coming into the bowl, you can gently remove the lid from the toilet tank, and if you need to, manually push the flapper down to stop the flow of water into the tank.

Position the plunger above where the hole is (you may not be able to see it). Forcefully – but gently – push down. You want to be gently and fluid with your motions to avoid getting any splash-back of sewage water.

Continue to forcefully but gently push all the way down on the plunger. Often, a rhythm of pushing motions will keep the water in the bowl but also push air into the toilet bend, which will usually push any clog the rest of the way through.

You can check if the clog is cleared by gently pulling the plunger away from the hole. If there is water in the toilet bowl at a higher level than usual, it should automatically flush. If there isn’t water in the bowl, you can either flush or pour water into the bowl to see if it flushes.

Calling a Professional for Toilet Bowl Clogs

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, or if you tried to plunge your toilet but that didn’t fix the problem, it is probably time to call a professional plumbing service. A professional plumbing service like Rubber Ducky Plumbing can diagnose and treat any problem, fixing your toilet bowl clog so you can have a free flowing toilet again.

Blocked Drain or Clogged Drain

What to do for a blocked drain or a clogged drain

If you have a blocked or a clogged drain, you can always try to clear the drain yourself with a chemical cleaner. Or you can call a professional drain cleaning company like Rubber Ducky Plumbing.

If you are able to get a chemical drain cleaner to clear your clogged drain, then you may be in luck. This is often the fastest and easiest way to clear a blocked drain, if and when it works.

It is fairly simple, you just follow the directions on the bottle. Usually you just pour the drain cleaner down the drain, wait however long the bottle says, and then flush the drain with hot water.

** THE FOLLOWING VIDEO IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF THIS PRODUCT, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK – BUT THIS DEMONSTRATION IS VISUAL AND AMAZING. **

Potential Issues with Chemical Drain Cleaners

You should be careful though, and watch out for these potential issues with a chemical drain cleaner:

Hazardous – most of these drain cleaning chemicals are designed to burn through human tissue. Therefore they do pose a safety hazard. Please read the directions carefully, and use extreme caution using them. Also use at your own risk.

Ineffective against big clogs – they don’t always work.

Increased Plumbing Charges – if you use a chemical drain cleaner and it DOESN’T work, it can be more complex for your plumber and in turn increase the price.

Only partial solution – sometimes a chemical drain cleaner will only improve the problem for a little while, with you finding your drain clogged again within a few weeks or months.

Pipe corrosion – some of these cleaners are so good at dissolving matter that they can cause serious corrosion and damage to your pipes.

Removing the P-Trap

If you are handy, and it is a sink drain, you can carefully remove the P-trap underneath the sink (this is the u-shaped pipe under the sink). This becomes less possible if you have a garbage disposal, or if you need special tools to remove it.

But for sinks where the p-trap was installed in a way to be easily removed by hand, you can detach it (with a bucket underneath to catch the water) and then clear the inside of the U shaped pipe. If you do find a clog in there, and you push it out, you likely just solved your problem. If you DON’T find a clog in there, your problem likely needs professional help.

Calling a Professional for Drain Cleaning

If you aren’t so good with your hands, or if you are nervous about getting dirty, or if you have tried some of these drain clearing methods and you still have a clog, you may need to call a professional plumbing service to help you treat your clogged drain or blocked drain.

A professional plumbing service like Rubber Ducky Plumbing can help you clear your drain, making your drain cleaning process quick and easy.

Did you know? Rubber Ducky Plumbing is a plumbing company offering drain cleaning services throughout the Richmond, Virginia area, including in Chesterfield, Henrico, Mechanicsville, Midlothian and Chester. If you aren’t sure if your blocked drain is something you want to deal with, and you live in the greater Richmond area, please call or book an appointment today.

BONUS DRAIN CLEANING TIP!

Did you know that you can quickly and easily deodorize a drain that is getting a little funky with normal household items?

Just pour some lemon juice down the drain, which, if there is no residue down there, can help clear out any smells which is an important olfactory part of drain cleaning.

If it is a sink with a garbage disposal, you can use lemon juice and run the disposal, or you can pour your coffee grinds down there and run the disposal. It is not recommended to always pour your coffee grinds down your sink, but on occasion it can help deodorize your drain.

 

 

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