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Is Drain Cleaning a DIY Project?


Clogged drains happen all the time. Whether it's food in the kitchen pipes, hair in the bathtub drain, or a toilet that no longer properly flushes, backed-up drains are one of the most common plumbing problems in the house. In some cases, minor clogs are an easy DIY project; other times, quick fixes don't do the trick.

If you have a clogged drain you can try one or more of the solutions below. If they don't work, a professional plumber will help you clear your drain quickly and effectively.

The Problem With Drain Cleaners

When faced with a clogged drain, most people instinctively grab the nearest bottle of commercial drain cleaner. Unfortunately, the chemicals in most drain cleaners aren't a good long-term solution. The solvents they contain can pose serious health threats and can potentially damage your plumbing system. If you do decide to try a chemical formula, be sure to wear gloves and a face mask to keep your skin and lungs safe from harmful emissions. 

DIY Solutions Worth Trying

There are two simple, inexpensive solutions you can try yourself.

  1. Pour a large pot of hot, but not boiling, water down the clogged drain then follow up with some cooler water to flush out any clog you might have melted away.
  2. Use a vinegar-based solution to break up the clog. First, remove as much water from the clog area as possible. Then pour one cup of baking soda down the drain followed by one cup of salt and then one cup of vinegar. Wait 10 minutes then flush with very hot water. You should notice some bubbling during the process.

This is also a great solution for keep keeping your drains cleaned as part of a regular household maintenance program.

DIY Solutions for Tough Clogs

Is your clog a tougher one? A drain snake and/or cup plunger may do the trick.

  • A plunger is placed directly over the drain with the rubber lip flush with the surrounding surface. There should be enough water in the sink, toilet, or tub, to cover the plunger's lip. Push firmly down and then pull up on the plungers handle several times but do not pull the plunger completely away from the drain. The suction effect should dislodge the clog. After about a dozen repetitions, quickly pull the plunger up in one smooth motion. Water flowing down the drain indicates the clog has been cleared.
  • A plumber's snake, also known as an auger, is a slender, flexible tool that goes deep into the drain to break up and dislodge clogs. Snaking your own drain is a little more complicated than plunging or using solutions, but a handy DIYer can be successful if the clog is minor.

What to Do for Serious Clogs

Of course the best solution is to prevent a clogged drain in the first place. Try to avoid placing grease, fats, or oils down the kitchen sink (not everything can go in a garbage disposal); regularly clean the shower drain of hair; and don't throw so-called flushable wipes down the toilet.

Before undertaking any DIY project, especially one involving a complex system like your home's plumbing, consider the potential risks and results. And always have the number of a reliable, experienced plumbing company on hand for those times easy DIY solutions are anything but!

If you need help clearing a drain in your Jacksonville, FL home, give David Gray Plumbing a call at (904) 605-8190 or contact us online today.