4 Tips for DIY Drain Cleaning

If you have a sensitive disposition, you may want to hire a professional to take care of the drain cleaning for you. But if you're not afraid to get your hands a little dirty, there are some drain cleaning jobs that even a DIY novice can carry out. Clearing blockages in your drains will make your plumbing work more efficiently and save you money.

1. Maintain Your Drains

Prevention is a great way to stop any blockages from forming so you need to maintain your drains. There are many drain cleaning products on the market that you can use regularly to keep your pipes clear and prevent blockages from forming. If you have a septic tank system, clogs and tank ruptures can be avoided by adding septic tank cleaner on a monthly basis. Consider fitting inexpensive drain traps to all the sinks and floor drains. These traps will prevent large pieces of matter or hair from getting into the drainage system.

2. Drain Cleaning Liquids

If you already have a blockage, one of the first approaches should be to try a drain cleaning liquid. There are many great products on the market, but you will have to do your research. Some liquids are environmentally friendly and some are not. There are a few liquids that can release harmful fumes and they should only be used in a well ventilated area. There are also biological cleaners available that use specialized bacteria to eat the sludge in you pipes. Care must be taken to follow the manufacturer’s instructions; generally however a liquid will be poured into the drain and left for a set period of time to do its work.

3. Drain Cleaning Crystals

If you don't want to use a liquid, or if you're in a hurry to get the blockage removed you may want to consider using a crystal based cleaner. These cleaners are usually poured into the drain and then a specified amount of water is added. These products are very powerful and work extremely quickly, but they do have a downside. These products are very caustic and it is best to not touch them with bare skin. The manufacturer’s guidelines must be followed carefully and great care should be exercised when handling these products.

4. Drain Snakes

An auger or “snake” as it's known, is a flexible pipe with a claw, or in the case of water pressure models a hose, on the tip that is used to break up drain blockages. The auger can come in manual, powered or hybrid models that can be used both ways. Manual augers are fine for most DIY users, they are inexpensive and a good addition to a home toolkit. The way to use the snake is to insert it into the drain that you need to unblock and feed it in until you hit the blockage. Then you need to crank the auger in a clockwise direction, screwing into the blockage and breaking it up. Snakes come in a variety of diameters for use in different sizes of pipe and if you need to unblock a toilet there is a specialized auger for that purpose.

These four methods are all easy to carry out, but if they fail to work there may be a more serious problem. At this point it's a good idea to call on the services of a reputable local plumber. If you have any plumbing issues that you need to have addressed, contact Scott English Plumbing. We provide drain cleaning services and we are ready to help you.