While you may be able to fix a simple clogged toilet or a garbage disposal spitting up potato peels, when you have a drain that continues to clog, this can indicate a bigger problem within your plumbing system. If you have noticed a slow drain or two in your home, or you have clogs that never seem to go away, it may be time to call in a professional plumber who can assess your entire plumbing system. However, if the clog isn't too severe, there are ways to unclog a drain yourself.
When It's Time to Call a Professional
While a slow shower drain is probably due to a buildup of soap scum and hair, if you find that more than one drain in your home is draining slowly this can indicate bigger problems with your entire plumbing system. When more than one drain is going slowly, this can indicate a clog in your main sewer line. The main sewer line can be clogged with any number of materials, but a major reason the main sewer line gets clogged is when tree roots grow into the pipe. While a drain cleaner might work temporarily, tree roots need to be removed by a professional in order to have the drain cleared effectively.
Left untreated, a main sewer line that is partially clogged from tree roots will eventually become completely blocked. When this happens, you run the risk of water and sewage backing up into your home through any open drain.
Do It Yourself Options for Drain Cleaning
If the clog doesn't seem too bad, and if you don't have any drain cleaning chemicals to try on your clogged drain, you can try using baking soda and vinegar on the clog. Vinegar and baking soda react when combined, bubbling up and causing a mildly abrasive action. This type of drain cleaning works on partial clogs, but it is going to be ineffective against drains that are clogged from tree roots. A traditional plumbing snake and plunger can work too, but not if the clog is too deep down in the pipes. Clogs that are within the plumbing system and not just near the surface are difficult to treat, and this is when it is time to call in a professional plumber to handle the task for you.
If you have drains that are going to slowly or are completely clogged, call in a plumber to check out your plumbing system before you have bigger problems. It may be time for a proper sewer or drain cleaning.
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