Cleaning drains can be a task that many homeowners regularly undertake to keep their plumbing system running smoothly. However, it can be challenging to know the right way to clean drains, and many people make mistakes that can cause more harm than good.
From using the wrong cleaning products to ignoring warning signs of a bigger problem, people make many common mistakes when cleaning their drains.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common mistakes people make and offer tips on how to avoid them.
By avoiding these mistakes and taking the proper steps to clean your drains, you can keep your plumbing system in good working order and prevent more severe problems from developing.
Table of Contents
- 1. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
- 2. Improper Use Of Plungers
- 3. Ignoring Slow Drains
- 4. Improper Use Of A Snake Or Auger
- 5. DIY Drain Cleaning
- Final Thought
1. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Over-Reliance on Chemical Cleaners
The overreliance on chemical drain cleaners can cause significant harm to both the plumbing system and the environment. These chemical cleaners contain harsh and toxic substances that can corrode pipes and fixtures, leading to expensive repairs.
Additionally, the continuous use of these cleaners can cause buildup and blockages in the lines, requiring even more chemicals. Moreover, these chemicals can harm the environment as they are often poured down the drain and make their way into the water supply.
Ignoring Safety Precautions When Using Chemicals
When using chemical drain cleaners, following the safety precautions listed on the label is crucial. Chemical cleaners contain toxic substances that can harm the skin, eyes, and respiratory system like hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid.
These substances can cause burns, rashes, and even blindness if they come into contact with the skin or eyes. It is recommended to wear gloves, protective eyewear, and a mask when handling these chemicals to minimize the risk of injury. Additionally, chemical cleaners should always be stored outside the reach of children and pets.
Inadequate Rinsing After Using Chemical Cleaners
Inadequate rinsing after using chemical cleaners can cause harm to the plumbing system and the environment. Chemical cleaners are designed to dissolve grease, hair, and other debris in the pipes, but they also leave a residue that can cause damage to the lines over time.
Following the instructions on the label, it is essential to rinse the pipes thoroughly after using chemical cleaners. Failure to do so can cause a buildup of chemicals that can cause corrosion and blockages in the pipes. Also, residual chemicals can harm the environment as they enter the water supply.
2. Improper Use Of Plungers
Using the Plunger in the Wrong Way
Using a plunger requires a specific technique to be effective. Common mistakes include:
- Please do not submerge the plunger fully in the water before using it.
- We need to use more force.
- Using too rapidly.
These improper techniques can result in little to no suction, making it difficult to remove the blockage. To use a plunger correctly, ensure to fill the sink or toilet bowl with enough water to cover the plunger cup, and then use a firm and steady motion to create suction.
Not Creating a Tight Seal Around the Drain With the Plunger
The effectiveness of a plunger depends on creating a tight seal around the drain. If the plunger cup does not entirely cover the drain opening, the suction will be weak, and the blockage will not be cleared.
To ensure a tight seal, wet the plunger cup before use and press it firmly against the drain. If the plunger is not sealing correctly, try adding more water to the sink or toilet bowl to improve the seal.
Excessive Use of Plungers Causing Damage to Pipes
While plungers can be a quick and effective solution for removing blockages, excessive use can damage pipes. Overusing a plunger can cause cracks or breaks in pipes, leading to leaks and other plumbing issues. To avoid damaging lines, limit the use of plungers to occasional use, and consider calling a professional plumber if you encounter a persistent blockage. In addition, be sure to use the plunger correctly and avoid excessive force, which can increase the risk of damage to pipes.
3. Ignoring Slow Drains
Failure to Address Slow Drains Promptly
Please address slow drains on time to avoid more significant problems down the road. Slow drains are often caused by a buildup of hair, soap, and other pipe materials, which can eventually cause a clog unless you hire a blocked drain plumber.
If addressed, the clog will continue to grow, leading to a complete blockage. This can cause water to back up and overflow, leading to water damage and potential health hazards from unsanitary water. In some cases, a complete blockage can also cause pipes to burst, which can be extremely expensive.
By addressing slow drains promptly, you can avoid these potential issues and keep your plumbing system functioning properly.
Assuming Slow Drains Are not a Problem
Assuming slow drains are not a problem can lead to costly and time-consuming repairs. While a slow drain may seem like a minor inconvenience, it is an early warning sign of a more significant issue.
Over time, the buildup of materials in pipes can cause a clog that can be difficult and expensive to remove. Meanwhile, slow drains can be a sign of a more significant problem, such as a damaged pipe that needs to be replaced.
By assuming that slow drains are not a problem, you risk ignoring the underlying issue and potentially causing further damage to your plumbing system.
Not Recognizing the Signs of a Clogged Drain
Not recognizing the signs of a clogged drain can lead to water damage and potential health hazards. Slow-draining water, water backups, and strange gurgling noises from pipes are all common signs of a clogged drain.
If these issues are not addressed promptly, the clog will continue to grow, eventually leading to a complete blockage. This can cause water overflow and backup, leading to water damage and unsanitary water.
Also, clogged drains can attract pests and cause unpleasant odors, which can negatively impact your home’s indoor air quality.
By recognizing the signs of a clogged drain and addressing the issue promptly, you can prevent these potential problems and keep your plumbing system functioning properly.
4. Improper Use Of A Snake Or Auger
Incorrect Size of the Snake or Auger for the Drain
The incorrect size of the snake or auger for the drain is a common mistake inexperienced plumbers make. Using a snake or auger that is too small for the drain can result in the tool getting stuck in the pipes, making the clog even worse.
On the other hand, using a snake or auger that is too large can cause damage to the lines, leading to leaks and even bursting. It is crucial to select the correct size of snake or auger based on the diameter of the drain and the type of material the pipes are made of.
Not Using the Snake or Auger Properly
Not using the snake or auger properly can result in ineffective removal of clogs and can also cause damage to the pipes.
It is essential to use the correct technique when using a snake or auger, such as turning the tool slowly and evenly, avoiding twisting or kinking the cable, and using enough force to get through the clog without causing damage to the pipes.
Failure to use the snake or auger properly can result in a more significant problem and the need for professional assistance to fix the issue.
Damaging Pipes with the Snake or Auger
Damaging pipes with the snake or auger is a severe issue that should be avoided at all costs. This can happen if the tool is used too aggressively, twisted or kinked, or needs to be the correct size for the drain. Damaged pipes can lead to leaks, bursts, and water damage.
To avoid damaging pipes, it is essential to use the correct size of snake or auger, to use the tool correctly, and to avoid applying too much force. If you need help with using a snake or auger, it is best to seek the assistance of a professional plumber.
5. DIY Drain Cleaning
Attempting to Clean Drains Without Proper Knowledge or Tools
Attempting to clean drains without proper knowledge or tools can be dangerous and potentially ineffective. It is essential to understand the types of clogs and blockages that can occur and the correct methods and tools for removing them.
For example, using chemical drain cleaners without adequate safety gear can be hazardous to your health, and attempting to remove a stubborn clog with the wrong tool can worsen the problem.
Not Correctly Identifying the Problem Before Attempting to Fix it
Correctly identifying the problem before attempting to fix it can result in the wrong solution being applied, causing further damage to the drain or plumbing system.
For example, if a clog is caused by a foreign object lodged in the gutter, simply using a chemical cleaner will not remove the thing and could potentially cause harm to the pipes. It is essential to properly diagnose the issue before attempting any DIY solutions.
Making the Problem Worse Through DIY Attempts
Making the problem worse through DIY attempts is a common problem regarding drain cleaning. Using the wrong tools or methods can cause further damage to the pipes, making the situation more difficult and expensive to repair.
For example, using a plunger on a clogged drain with a broken pipe will only push the blockage further into the lines, causing more damage and making it harder to remove. It is always best to consult a professional plumber if you need clarification on the best solution for a clogged drain.
Cleaning drains is a critical task that should be addressed. However, many people make common mistakes that can make the situation worse.
These mistakes include using too harsh chemicals, ignoring warning signs of clogs, and misusing a plunger.
To avoid these mistakes and effectively clean your drains, it’s essential to use natural and safe methods, pay attention to warning signs, and use a plunger correctly. Please don’t wait until a clog becomes a significant issue; address it promptly with the right tools and methods.