Your Atlanta area professional plumbers agree that the number one way tounclog drains is to avoid clogs in the first place. Regular maintenance, such as annual septic system inspections, help keep plumbing running smoothly.
Even in the best of circumstances, plumbing problems may still occur. Many home owners perceive a clogged drain as simple enough to try and fix on their own. Plumbers recommend taking several precautions to avoid making the problem worse.
The first step in opening up clogged drains is immediate action. Expert plumbers in the metro Atlanta area recommend employing gentle unclogging techniques while water is still draining. Do not wait until the pipe stops up completely before applying a solution. The most common clogging materials are food particles and grease, which can be cleared using mild home remedies.
Fulton County plumbers agree that running hot water through the pipes regularly can help melt solid materials in the pipes. If you still notice slow drainage, try a homemade drain cleaner. Some of these types of drain cleaning solutions are enzymatic, using bacteria or enzymes that feed on organic waste materials such as hair and food waste. These types of cleaners were originally used in wastewater and septic tanks, because they do not contain dangerous chemicals that may leak into soil and groundwater.
Here is one recipe for unclogging pipes:
- Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain
- Follow up with ½ cup vinegar.
- Allow the two ingredients to interact with foaming and fumes, so replace the drain cover loosely.
- Let the mixture set in the drain pipe for three hours
- Run water through the pipe.
To remove a clog you know is caused by grease, try a treatment of ½ cup of salt, plus ½ cup baking soda, followed by boiling water. Let the mixture sit in the pipe overnight before running more water down the drain. Plumbers explain that these types of drain cleaning solutions take longer to work than more powerful chemical solutions.
The next level of drain cleaning involves simple mechanical plumbing solutions. For example, you can cover any overflow opening in the basin or tub with a wet cloth, then use a plunger over the affected drain for maxiumum leverage against the clog. If you are working with a side-by-side sink, be sure to cover the drain opening of the opposite side to ensure more suction in the pipes.
You may also try drilling through a clog with a drain auger (also known as a plumber’s snake). Move the auger wire slowly as you twist to feed it into the pipe. Pull back and forth to loosen the solid material when you encounter the clog, and attempt to dislodge it as you withdraw the snake. Take care that you are not pushing against another drain or the end of a section of pipe, which may damage the system.
Unclog with Chemicals
If simple cures to not clear the clogged pipe, many do-it-yourselfers turn to the use of chemical drain cleaners, which come in liquid, gel or powder form. Their goal is to fundamentally alter the clogging material at the cellular level to generate heat and clear the blockage. Drain cleaning chemicals come in three basic types:
- Caustic: contains lye and caustic potash
- Oxidizing: contains things like bleach, peroxides and nitrates
- Acid: mostly only available commercially; contains sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid
Most of these chemical drain cleaners create heat to clear solid materials in the drain pipe, however many plumbing pipes are made of PVC, which can melt at high temperatures. Drain cleaners also can corrode the interior of older metal plumbing pipes. Several other downsides to the use of chemical drain cleaners can be noted:
- Highly toxic if swallowed.
- Burns eyes, skin and mucous membranes.
- Dissolves holes in fabric/clothing.
- Releases noxious fumes.
- Can cause explosions.
- Harms septic systems by killing beneficial bacterial.
- Mars finish on bathroom and kitchen fixtures.
If you do try using chemical drain cleaners, plumbers urge you to read all directions carefully, adhere to safety protocol, wear rubber gloves, never mix drain cleaners and never use with a plunger.
If your gentle home remedies prove ineffective, give Fulton Plumbing a call 24/7, anywhere in the Greater Atlanta area.