Drain cleaning is a normal part of home maintenance. Just like weeding your garden or cleaning out your gutters, it’s part of the package.
And because dirty drains are so much more common compared to a burst pipe, for example, for many homeowners, the first instinct is to fix it themselves.
While we discourage DIY plumbing, there are some drain blockages which may be minor enough to address on your own… provided you do it properly!
Don’t have the know-how nor the desire to clean blocked or dirty drains? Call Watermaster’s Melbourne plumbers for safe and efficient drain cleaning.
Here’s a quick run-through of some of the common home remedies you’ll see suggested, and whether or not they work!
1) Can you fixed blocked drains with boiling water?
For many of us, the first drain cleaning technique we’ll try is pouring boiling water down our blocked drain.
In cases where the blockage is caused by oil or grease, boiling water can be an effective solution to melt and disintegrate blockages.
However, boiling water is ineffective for blockages caused by solids like wet wipes, food debris and hair. In these cases, the weight of the water can even push your blockage further down the pipe.
Furthermore, depending on the type of piping you have, boiling water can lead to a much worse problem: leaking pipes!
PVC pipes use glue to connect lengths of pipe. Boiling water can weaken these connecting points, leading to failure. Older PVC pipes aren’t rated to handle boiling water, and can consequently suffer severe damage.
2) Using soft drinks to unclog drains
One of the more interesting suggestions that pops up from time-to-time is pouring Coke or Pepsi down the drain to loosen blockages.
Surprisingly, this can work in some instances! Soft drinks are acidic, and feature corrosive properties.
Compared to proper cleaning products, it’s much less damaging to your pipes. However, that also makes it much weaker and far less effective. As a result, this solution only works for minor clogs – we don’t recommend using it.
3) Baking soda + vinegar
Just think back to those papier-mâché volcanoes you made in high school – this is what powered them!
This combo isn’t just a favourite of science teachers around the globe – chances are, it’s the first remedy some people will suggest.
Thanks to its acidity, this combo is an effective at loosening blockages. However, it comes with a couple of conditions.
For starters, you’re meant to mix them at the drain, not beforehand. It’s the chemical reaction you’re using, and you don’t want to jump the gun by combining them too early.
More importantly, this combo doesn’t work on its own. Instead, it needs to combined with boiling water for maximum effectiveness.
4) Fixing blocked drains with a plunger
Used correctly, a plunger can be very effective at fixing blockages.
Plungers create a vacuum between the plunger itself and the blockage. When you push down on the plunger, the blockage may be lodged free by the pressure.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple – drain cleaning using a plunger requires a specific technique to ensure the blockage is removed.
Additionally, while many homes have plungers on-hand, not all have the right type of plunger.
Most homeowners buy plungers with the expectation that it’ll be used to unclog toilets, meaning yours might be a flange or funnel plunger. While great for unclogging toilets, they’re not too good at clearing drains.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Preventative plumbing is all about identifying potential issues and taking steps to stop them from happening in the first place. While “out of sight, out of mind” may be your approach when it comes to plumbing, prevention can save you a ton of money (and headaches) in the long-run.
A professional plumber helps you identify potential problems with your drainage system:
- For example, it could be the case that your water pressure is too low to effectively push things down your drain.
- Alternatively, inadequate plumbing can lead to recurring blockages. Perhaps your drain pipe is too narrow for your needs.
In these instances, your best course of action is to call a professional plumber to inspect your drains, diagnose any issues, and strategise the right solution.
These are just some of the problems with your drains that a thorough plumbing inspection can identify. And once we have an idea of what the problem is, your plumber can prescribe solutions that prevent blockages.
And don’t forget your part in this either! Keep track of what you’re sending down your drain – avid pouring oil and grease down your drain and consider a filter to catch potential clogs.
Call our Melbourne plumbers to rid yourself of blocked drains!
There’s nothing wrong with trying to unclog your own drains.
Unfortunately, in some instances, the blockage is too deep-seated to successfully remove yourself. In others, the techniques being used can seriously damage your plumbing, leading to poor results and potentially an even heftier repair bill.
Fortunately, there’s help available if none of these techniques work.
If you experience a blocked drain and need immediate help from a local plumber, call Watermaster today on 1300 156 650. Alternatively, fill in this form and we will get in touch.