HOW TO SAFELY CLEAR A CLOGGED DRAIN WITHOUT CALLING A PLUMBER

It’s a part of life – albeit a truly annoying one – to find that your sink or drain has become blocked and is backed up or overflowing.  Despite your best efforts, and even if you have a trap in place over the drain, it’s likely that hair, food matter and other organic material will eventually make its away down the drain, causing a twisted and impenetrable clog in the pipe.

Like many people, your first reaction will be to pour something down there in an effort to clear it. Typically the first products that come to mind are caustic, so with any luck it will dissolve it in seconds.  However, the problem with these types of harsh chemicals is that they can be dangerous for you and your pipes, anyone else in the household who may come in contact with the product and of course, the environment.  Luckily there are a number of safer options to try.  We always recommend calling in a professional plumber who is experienced with clearing blocked drains Perth. Qualified plumbers have the training, the equipment and the experience to unclog pipes and drains quickly.

You may however, consider some of the “old school” methods first, because lets face it, it’s sometimes worth a try.

Lets now have a look at some of your options.

The Coathanger Method

While plumbers recommend using plungers to try and force any soft clogs up and out of a pipe, if you don’t happen to have one handy, then you can always try using a wire coat hanger.  These can be easily unfolded into a relatively long length of wire, leaving the hook at one end.  Once you’ve taken off the drain cover, carefully maneuver the hanger down so you can touch the clog (a torch or phone might be handy at this point to be able to shed some light into the hole).  You should be able to lift at least some of the material up and out of the drain, unless it’s so entangled and dense that no amount of picking at it will help it unravel.

hot water

Pouring hot water down the drain might sound to good to be true to be a fix for clogs, but sometimes it can work, especially if the clog has been caused by fats or organic matter.  You’ll know fairly quickly if it’s going to work or not, by checking the level of the water in the pipe as you pour it in – if it gradually starts to go down faster, you’ll know that the water is helping.  Most PVC pipes can handle hot water, even boiling water, however if the clog just isn’t moving, it’s better to call in an emergency plumber rather than keep pouring water down the drain.

bi-carb of soda and vinegar solution

If you feel that the clog might benefit from some sort of chemical intervention, just not of the very dangerous kind, you can always turn to the solution that people have been using to clean their houses with for decades – bi-carb soda (sodium bicarbonate or baking soda) and ordinary white vinegar.   The reason this works is very simple:  the bi-carb of soda is a base, the vinegar is an acid, and when mixed together the reaction releases water and carbon dioxide.  This is what makes it bubbly and can help to shift stubborn hair and other material when trapped in a pipe.  You can either make up a solution with equal parts of bi-carb and vinegar, and then pour it in to the drain, or if you prefer you can sprinkle some of the bi-carb in first, then the vinegar.  Just make sure you don’t get the quantities too wrong as you’ll end up with an unexpected volcano of mess erupting all over your floor or sink.

contact a professional plumber

If the blockage really won’t budge, call in a professional plumber, and by professional, we don’t mean your cousin who happens to know a bit about pipes or your friendly next door neighbour.  Depending on the severity of the blockage, you may want to contact a plumber that provides an emergency call out service.  A fast response time for a blocked pipe can be the difference between having the problem resolved easily or having your pipes damaged or being at risk for a major overflow.  Just remember that if your pipes are draining slowly and you think it might just dislodge itself one day, it’s more likely that the clog will get worse over time, costing you more money to repair later on.

When you’re looking for an emergency plumber, remember to find someone who operates in the local area, so you’re guaranteed a fast response time.  It’s also good to check how long they’ve been in the industry so that you can be sure they’ll know how to diagnose and fix your problem on the spot.

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