Comparing 4 Different Ways Of Fixing Blocked Drains
Having clogged drains can be extremely annoying. It means that you cannot use the sink or toilet that the pipe is attached to and it means that you have to spend time, energy, and money getting the clog undone. It is all very inconvenient, to say the least. In an earlier post, we talked about 7 different ways for unclogging a drain, but we did not go in-depth on each of the various methods. In this post, we are going to take an in-depth look at 4 of the various methods (chemical cleaners, homemade cleaners, drain snakes, and just calling a plumber) you can use to deal with clogged or blocked drains. We will explain the pros and cons of each approach.
Using chemical cleaning solution
Almost every hardware store out there sells chemical based drain cleaning solution. There are a huge number of brands to choose from and this is likely everyone’s first choice in the event that they find out that they have clogged drains.
The main benefit to this method is that it is an extremely easy and quick method for getting rid of clogs. You just go to the store and grab a bottle of your preferred brand of drain cleaner and dump it down the clogged drain. You let it sit for an hour or two while the chemicals dissolve the blockage, and then you rinse the drain with warm water.
This method is also very effective as well. The chemicals included in most commercial drain cleaners are extremely powerful and can deal with all but the toughest clogs. So, given that using chemical drain cleaners is the fastest, easiest, and most effective method, it should come as no great surprise that most people who are dealing with clogs choose this method first.
The biggest issue with chemical drain cleaners is that they can cause damage to your piping. The chemicals in most commercial drain cleaners are so powerful that they can start to actually eat away at the infrastructure of your pipes; this is especially true if you do not quickly wash away the drain cleaner.
Now, using chemical drain cleaner once or twice is not going to cause any issues for your pipes, but repeatedly using it for years can cause your pipes to start to corrode, which then leads to leaking. For this reason, and this reason alone, it might be a better idea to not use chemical based drain cleaning solution at all if you can avoid it.
Use homemade drain cleaning solution
There are a lot of homemade drain cleaning recipes out there that you can make use of. One of the more popular ones involves pouring 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of vinegar, and then letting it sit for a bit, before pouring water down to rinse away the mixture.
Depending on what recipe you use, these homemade drain cleaning solutions can be just as effective as commercial ones. For example, the baking soda, vinegar, and water mixture we described above is just as effective at clearing clogged drains as any commercial drain cleaner.
Also, because homemade cleaning solution lacks all of the chemicals found in commercial drain cleaners, there is no risk of your pipes being damaged when you use it.
Of course, the most obvious downside to this method is that you have to physically buy all the different ingredients and actually mix the drain cleaning solution yourself (the amount of effort this takes is going to depend on the recipe you use). This obviously requires a lot more effort than just grabbing a bottle of drain cleaning solution and dumping it down the drain.
Drain cleaning snakes
Drain cleaning snakes, also often referred to as plumbing snakes, are essentially long, maneuverable rods that you can use to physically dig out clogs. They can be easily found in most plumbing supply stores or hardware stores.
One of the best things about using a drain cleaning snake is that it is very good at getting out stubborn, big clogs. Some clogs are just too big to be dissolved with drain cleaner; so, for those types of clogs, a drain cleaning snake is best. You can really dig into the pipe and fish the clog out. Plus, this method is probably the cheapest method, since the drain cleaning snakes are extremely cheap and easy to get.
Finally, one of the best things about this method is that it lets you actually see what was causing the clog. With the other methods described so far, the clog gets dissolved, so you do not actually get to see what was causing the problems in the first place. But, when you physically dig the clog out, you can check on what was actually causing the clog; which may help you prevent future clogs.
The biggest issue with drain snakes is that since they tend not to be too long, they are only good for removing clogs that are relatively close to the drain surface. Another issue is that in order to get to some clogs, you may have to manually open up your pipes, which of course, not everyone has the tools and technical know-how to do so.
Hiring a plumber
If a blockage is really bad, many people may choose to just get a plumber to come take a look at the blockage.
Hiring a plumber is extremely easy, you just set up an appointment and let them do the rest. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that the plumber will be able to deal with any clog due to their wide array of tools and their training.
The two major issues with hiring a plumber are the fact that it will cost you money and that it is inconvenient. While the money issue may not bother a lot of people, the inconvenience will. Not everyone has the time to wait around all day for a plumber to show up and handle the clog.