Chances are, sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with a slow-running or completely blocked drain somewhere in your Seattle home. When the time comes, many homeowners turn to the internet for solutions — however, sources are rife with drain cleaning myths and following the wrong advice could lead to a much bigger problem. The experts at Best Plumbing are here to help! Keep reading to discover some of the most common drain cleaning myths and how seemingly simple solutions could backfire.
It’s true that partial drain clogs can often be solved with a plunger or drain-snake. However, for people who don’t know their way around plumbing tools, attempting a DIY solution could be a serious mistake. Not only are home remedies often ineffective, but they can also cause even more damage. Overdoing it with an auger or trying a natural “drain cleaning” formula found online can worsen the clog or even harm your pipes — leading to expensive repairs down the line. If you’ve got a drain clog that needs to be dealt with and you know what you’re doing, play it safe and call a professional. Good plumbers are always happy to teach you the proper way to use a plunger!
Chemical drain cleaners may seem like an attractive solution – they’re simple, cheap, affordable, and easy to use. While drain cleaners may work on minor clogs, they can also disguise serious issues with your plumbing. For example, your pipes might be clogging because there’s a crack in the line that’s allowing dirt and roots to infiltrate your pipe. Moreover, the corrosive chemicals used by these products don’t always play nice with older pipe materials often found in Seattle homes. Finally, chemical drain cleaners can also be extremely dangerous for homes with children and small pets.
So your drain isn’t clogged, it’s just taking longer than it used to. No big deal, right? A lot of homeowners choose to ignore slow-flowing drains as a minor inconvenience rather than dealing with them immediately. However, even if you are dealing with a minor blockage, it will only get worse with time. It’s best to tackle this problem before it gets bigger. Plumbing requires maintenance, and dealing with a slow-flowing drain is an important step in keeping things running smoothly.
Find your local Seattle plumbing expert with Best Plumbing! We’ve been serving the Puget Sound area for 50 years. From minor concerns to emergency plumbing servings, we’re here to help 24/7. Give us a call, visit our website for more information, or check out our other blogs and YouTube channel for helpful plumbing tips!
Photo credit: evitaochel, available under Creative Commons CCO.
Before PVC pipes revolutionized plumbing in the late 1970s, cast iron, galvanized steel or clay sewer pipes were commonly used in Seattle homes. These materials have an average life expectancy of 30-50 years (though some can last longer under good conditions). If your house has been around since before the ‘70s, you may have sewer pipes reaching the end of their life. Here are some tips from Best Plumbing of Seattle on signs that your sewer system is starting to go!
Do some research to determine the age of your home and to see if you can find any history of sewer repairs. If you have an old house with a short or nonexistent sewer repair history, consider calling the professionals to get things checked out. Keep in mind that older homes might have a sewer system made from several different pipe materials, due to previous repairs or remodeling. Just because the sewer lines in the house are new, doesn’t mean that the entire sewer system has been updated.
Metallic sewer pipes are susceptible to corrosion due to exposure to acid from food and waste. If you can, visually check your pipes to look for signs of rust. This can indicate corrosion that has penetrated the pipe wall. Meanwhile, non-vitrified clay pipes, which were common in the early to mid-1900s, can be penetrated by plant roots. Slow drainage, unexplained clogs, or ground sinking where a sewer line runs outside can indicate corrosion, root infiltration, or cracks.
What should you do if you have older pipes that are showing their age? The best course of action is to contact a professional plumber immediately. Ignoring a failing sewer system can lead to major property damage. A professional plumber can do a full video inspection to identify the most problematic pipe sections and let you know what your options are.
Best Plumbing of Seattle is proud to serve residents in and around the Puget Sound. We are dedicated to keeping waterworks functional and safe. Don’t wait for a plumbing emergency — contact us today if you have any suspicions about your plumbing system. We’re here to help!
Photo credit: kirkandmimi, available under Creative Commons CCO.
Thanks to the prevalence of old pipes and vintage plumbing fixtures that come with the city’s numerous craftsmen-style houses, clogged toilets are a common problem in Seattle. Fortunately, it is a plumbing issue that sometimes people can solve on their own — if they know how. Please remember that it is always a good idea to call a professional, but if you’re willing and adventurous, Here are a couple of different ways you can unclog your toilet.
One way to fix a clogged toilet is to use a plunger. Insert the plunger so it fully covers the drain in the center of the toilet. Then push down gently, allowing the air in the plunger to be forced out. Once the plunger is compressed, pull back to create a suction and dislodge the clog. Most people try to “force” the clog through the toilet and what really happens is that the clog gets packed tighter. By trying to remove the stoppage the way it went in, you are more likely to be successful. This method may also be successful at retrieving objects that have gone down the drain accidentally.
Another way to break up a clogged toilet is to use a drain snake or auger. A toilet auger can be purchased at most hardware stores and may be a good investment if you own an older home. The auger is flexible enough to reach past the curves on the inside of the toilet, but not so powerful that it will break the toilet. As you crank the handle the spiral head should break up the clog and allow the toilet to flush. Continue this process until the water drains.
Unfortunately, in some cases, no matter what you try your toilet will not unclog. If you are dealing with a blockage and the above methods didn’t work, this indicates that you’re dealing with a more serious issue. This is when it’s time to call in the plumbing experts to diagnose the cause of the block and quickly get it fixed for you. Call us today to schedule your appointment and we’ll get all of your bathroom draining issues fixed!
Find useful plumbing videos on our YouTube channel!