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What I learned from trying to deal with a clogged drain

Clogged drain? Here are five mistakes to avoid while drain cleaning. #draincleaning #cloggeddrain #DIY #plumbing

We have had our share of seepages and other annoying things that are part of living, especially in an apartment complex. And if there’s one thing that’s terrifying for a homeowner—or even someone in a rented home—it is a clogged drain, indoors or outdoors.

We enjoy our living space, but it’s simply a fact of life that dead skin, soap and a host of other items go down the drain; eventually, the residue builds up and prevents anything from moving. Ugh.

Then, of course, some things are dropped and need to be retrieved! Ever experienced that? Bleah!

Over the last month alone, we’ve dropped:

  • a bar of soap (did NOT go after it),
  • a spoon (ewwwwh, had to remove)
  • a bit of plastic (same as above)
  • curry leaves in the kitchen sink by mistake (thank you, guest!)

Wait, why am I even listing this? Use your imagination!

So, anyway, most of the time I am the Fixer upper. I manage to sort things out. Not funny, not easy, not exciting, but I do it, because—it has to be done. I’ve even written about it before.

But this time, I learned a few lessons—life lessons.

I also learned what NOT to do and have to share it. I know, I know. Yesterday it was about mattresses. But what to do? I am at home dealing with stuff and I am also learning that no matter how old we are, there’s always something new to learn.

Back to the drain cleaning: don’t make these five mistakes if you have a clogged drain!

Five Drain-cleaning Mistakes To Avoid With a Clogged Drain #home #plumbing #DIY

  1. Not Calling A Professional

Of course, it might seem simple to just whip the pipe off under the sink and see if you can unblock it. Unfortunately, what if the blockage isn’t there, or you don’t reconnect it properly? Worse, you might break a piece and have no drainage system. Can you imagine that scene? Yuck!

Instead, get hold of someone—professionals who know what they’re doing.

  1. Not Watching Your Waste

This will sound d’uh, but the best tip I can give you for drain cleaning is to avoid clogging the drain in the first place! You can do this by monitoring what goes down the drain and catching the items which are most likely to give you a problem. Invariably hair, vegetable peels, and large wads of toilet paper are the most obvious culprits. Add a filter—these are available in hardware stores and can be removed and cleaned easily.

  1. Using Caustic Chemicals

There are many different products on the market which can be emptied down your drain and promise to clear it. But what if they splash up when you’re using them or they don’t work and you need to poke the drain? Case in point is one such “packet” available in the supermarket which is effective with minor blocks, but the fumes? Dangerous.

Chances are that you’ll end up with some nasty chemicals in your face and a trip to the emergency room, not to mention the fumes you’ll be breathing in. Also, it is important to remember that you can’t use these chemicals if you have a septic tank. Mind-boggling, yes?

So yes, be informed before trying anything. I shudder to think that decades ago, the local odd-job-man would simply pour acid and hope for the best. Ugh!

  1. Poking The Drain

The first urge with a clogged drain is to poke at it with a stick or anything that resembles a stick. Sadly, this does not result in magically solving the issue. The mental image is, naturally, one of the stick just pushing through the offending item and all is well again. Reality is quite different and unpleasant and likely to lead to further problems.

The thing is, every drain has a series of bends that are not visible to us. Drains are built this way to prevent gases from entering the house. What happens when you poke a stick into the drain? Of course, it can’t bend around the corner. The more adventurous people will use force and end up wedging the stick or causing it to break off in the pipe—creating an even bigger issue. Worst thing? The stick will shift the block further down the pipe, creating the space for more to collect. Go ahead! Roll your eyes!

  1. Using The Wrong Plunger

You know what they say: the right tool for the right job! Did you know there are different types of plungers besides the basic one we keep at home for an emergency? Yes, there are. For example, the toilet plunger has a bell-shaped bottom while the sink plunger is flat. This is an important difference and using the wrong plunger will be useless. There’s also a knack in using plungers—they must be placed in such a way that they create an airtight seal and then, moved slowly up and down—not as fast as we imagine.

See? So much to a blocked drain—not to mention the mess of doing it ourselves.

Next time you have a blocked pipe or drain, think twice about handling it yourself.

Call the expert. And—do think about adding that filter. I did.

Any clogged drain stories to share?

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 1, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    good advice about not using harmful chemicals. Some people really go overkill on the chemicals when a drain can often be unclogged without them

  • Reply
    Merry Smith
    February 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I never use chemical in clogged drain, one of my friend’s husband is a professional plumber in our town. He taught me how to deal with a clogged drain and I also learn some basic plumbing from him.

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