Plumbing Services

Drain Cleaning – How to Get Rid of Clogged Drains and Pipes

Drain Cleaning Delaware County keeps your drains and pipes working as they should, preventing clogs that can stop or slow water flow. Clogged drains create foul odors and can lead to serious plumbing problems.

If you’ve noticed a drain taking longer than usual to empty, try using home-based DIY cleaners before calling in a professional.

A plunger is a simple and effective tool that can unclog most drains. It’s best for sinks and tubs but can also be used on toilets (although it’s a good idea to have a separate toilet plunger for this purpose). A standard cup plunger works well on most drains, while a flange plunger is better for toilets. Using a plunger correctly can save money on plumber fees and chemical drain cleaners.

Having a full bucket of water next to the clogged drain is important before you start plunging. This will prevent a messy spillover. It also provides more suction for the plunger, so it’s more effective.

Start by placing the rubber bell of the plunger over the drain opening. Make sure it is securely in place and a seal is made. Then, push and pull quickly, forcing air in through the pipe. This creates pressure, moves any clog downward, and pulls up the water and whatever else is in the conduit.

Repeat this process as needed until the drain opens. It may take a few tries to get the right technique. It’s a good idea to wear eye protection and gloves during the process, as dirty, bacteria-infested water may be splashed on your face or body.

However, it’s important not to use a plunger on a major drain clog, such as one caused by grease or another solid substance that has formed in your pipes. A more serious clog may be caused by a blocked S- or P-trap, the winding sections in your sink and bathtub that keep odorous sewer gas from escaping through your home’s plumbing vents. Removing and cleaning the trap might be necessary. If the clog remains, you can try using a wire drain snake to remove it. However, a professional drain cleaning service might be required if the clog is especially deep. This is particularly true if the clog has formed inside your toilet’s pipes, which can be difficult to access. This is when a professional drain auger might be needed to break up or scoop out the clog.

Chemical cleaning agents are solutions of water and chemicals that penetrate dirt, breaking it down so it can be rinsed away. They may be slightly corrosive to certain surfaces, particularly metals. They are also often abrasive and come in powder, cream (or thick liquid), and sponge form. Some of the most common products in this category are powdered mineral and chemical abrasives, such as sodium carbonate, soda ash, or calcium carbonate. Other types of mild abrasives include talcum powder, silica, or borax. These products also typically contain surfactants that orient themselves at the surface of the dirt and facilitate their removal.

Most of these cleaners are alkaline, although some are acidic. Mild alkalis destroy bacteria and dissolve proteins and other organic contaminants. Examples of moderate alkalis are baking soda, salt, and household ammonia. Products in the strong alkaline group, such as lye or caustic soda, are extremely corrosive and can burn skin and irritate lungs when their fumes are inhaled. These products can also damage some plastics, rubbers, and wood. They can also be dangerous to store or keep near food items, and they should always be stored in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children.

Acidic cleaners break down inorganic mineral deposits like scale. They can dissolve organic substances like greases, proteins, and carbohydrate-containing materials. Some of the most commonly used acidic cleaners are toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, lime-away, and CLR. Other acids used in industrial cleaning products include hydrochloric and sulfuric acid. Some manufacturers now produce “green” acidic cleaners made of biodegradable ingredients. These products are generally safe for the environment, although if used improperly, they can cause corrosion and damage to equipment.

You may remember baking soda and vinegar for creating your science fair volcano. Still, this combination is also a powerful drain-cleaning solution that can help unclog a stinky or slow-draining drain. These household items are inexpensive and do not contain the potentially harmful chemical sodium hydroxide (aka lye) found in many store-bought drain cleaners.

Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar to clean a clogged drain using baking soda and vinegar. You should notice an immediate fizzing reaction as baking soda and vinegar react to neutralize each other. This chemical reaction will often dislodge hair clogs by breaking up and separating the clumps stuck in your drain. Wait a few minutes for the reaction to subside, then pour two cups of boiling water. This will flush the pipes and remove any remaining hair clog.

Baking soda and vinegar can also help to deodorize your drain and lift unsightly hard water stains. Mixing equal parts baking soda and vinegar creates a strong and effective natural abrasive that can scrub away unsightly residue without scratching your porcelain or steel fixtures. This mixture can be used as a pre-rinse for pots, pans, and dishes before you wash them.

The main issue with this method is that using too much baking soda will cause a negative reaction with the metal of your drain pipe and damage it over time. For this reason, you should only use this method occasionally or as a last resort when nothing else works.

Another concern is that the acid in vinegar can eat away at certain types of pipes over time, especially older copper and brass drain lines. If you are worried about this, contacting a professional for assistance is best.

One of the most popular DIY drain cleaning hacks is pouring salt down your clogged sink. It seems like a cheap and easy way to eliminate odors or break up grease deposits, but does it work? And is it safe for your pipes?

Licensed plumbers recommend using baking soda, salt, and vinegar as a more substantial homemade drain cleaner. First, mix a cup of baking soda and table salt, then pour the mixture down your drain. The abrasiveness of the salt will gently scrub the insides of your pipes while the vinegar and baking soda create a fizzy chemical reaction that lifts away grime. After leaving the drain to sit for at least 10 minutes, flush it with boiling water.

Another drain-cleaning solution is to use a cup of vinegar with half a cup of baking soda and hot water. This will break down greasy residues, remove odors, and eliminate pesky drain flies. It would be best to consider investing in an eco-friendly, bio-enzymatic drain cleaner to keep your pipes clog-free. These products release bacteria that eat organic debris, such as hair, soap scum, food, and grease.

However, pouring rock salt down your drains can corrode your pipes and damage the interior surface of your sewer lines. This can lead to leaks, blockages, and expensive repairs.

In addition, it’s important to know what should and shouldn’t go down your drains. For example, ethylene glycol from antifreeze harms your pipes and the environment and should never be poured down any drain. And while turpentine and mineral solvents like paint thinner can be used as a DIY drain unblocker, they can also eat away at your pipes.

Whether trying to kill pesky drain flies or requiring thorough drain cleaning, the most effective options are natural, inexpensive, and easy to use. By sticking to a regular maintenance schedule of one of the above homemade or commercial drain cleaners, you can keep your pipes healthy and clogged-free for years.