Choosing Between DIY Drain Cleaning and Calling a Plumber

The world of plumbing is one that rides an interesting line between handy, do-it-yourself approaches and understanding when it’s time to call professional plumbers. There are certain simple, self-explanatory plumbing tasks that virtually all homeowners can handle on their own, but as you move up the scale, understanding when it’s time to relent and let the experts handle the job can make a big difference in both your comfort and the money you spend on your plumbing system.

At My Buddy the Plumber in Park City, we’re proud to assist numerous homeowners with properly riding this line. One of the top areas where this theme is present: Drain clogs and their resulting need for remediation. While virtually everyone can use a plunger or take some very simple steps toward preventing or clearing minor drain clogs, there comes a point where these simple techniques are no longer viable against larger, more significant clogs – and this is when the time is right to call our team for professional drain cleaning service. Here are some basic tips on a few related areas to this theme.

DIY drain cleaning plumber

Risks Associated With Chemical Drain Cleaners

One of the first things many of us reach for when experiencing a drain clog is a basic chemical cleaner. And while these often get the job done temporarily, we’re here to tell you that overuse of these products is both ultimately ineffective and, perhaps more worryingly, potentially dangerous to the long-term health of your pipes.

This is because these cleaners contain harsh chemicals, those meant to dissolve major clogs. Over time, these chemicals will also wear down your pipes and create other issues. If you must use such products, look for all-natural products that are labeled “enzymatic” – this means they use natural enzymes to break down materials. These cleaners, however, only work for minor clogs and standard drain maintenance.

Simple Drain Precautions and DIY Tools

A big part of maintaining clear drains involves not allowing prohibited materials from making their way into the space. Here are several item types that should not go in drains, but often do anyway:

  • Feminine products (often flushed down toilets)
  • “Flushable” wipes (don’t trust the labeling)
  • Grease or oil down the sink
  • Eggshells, bones or coffee grounds
  • Pasta, rice, potatoes and other high-starch items
  • Stringy or fibrous items
  • Tissues and paper towels
  • Hair, whether human or pet

If you still happen to experience a small clog, or even if a buildup over time is just slowing your system down, here are two methods for simply clearing this up:

  • Hot water: Pour a large amount of hot, not boiling, water down your drain, then follow it up with cool water to flush down melted clogs.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: Start with half a cup of baking soda poured down the drain, then follow it up with half a cup of vinegar before waiting overnight. In the morning, flush the drain with hot water.

Tougher Clogs

For tougher clogs that do not clear up using the above methods, you may have to consider a snake, auger or plunger. Plungers are best for small clogs, while snakes or augers are common plumber tools. If you don’t know how to use these tools safely and properly, you should leave these jobs to our plumbers – and the same goes for any serious clogs that are pushing you beyond a couple attempts.

For more on riding the line between DIY and professional service for drain clogs, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber in Park City today.