Modern plumbing is an amazing thing, but not so amazing that clogs and back-ups aren't pretty routine occurrences. No matter how careful you are about the things that you consign to a fate in the sewers, sooner or later, you will inevitably be forced to deal with a clog or two. Thankfully, many clogs are fairly minor and don't require a call for help, but stubborn or particularly serious stoppages should not be treated as do-it-yourself jobs.
What's the Worst That Can Happen?
Clogs on their own are inconveniences, not disasters. So long as you avoid using the affected drain, the damage from even the worst clog is unlikely to cause you any additional headaches. Of course, no one wants to simply abandon a sink, bathtub, or other fixture, so sooner or later that clog will need to be dealt with. Continuing to use a drain that is running slowly can cause problems, however. The clog may continue to get worse until eventually the drain backs up entirely, potentially leading to costly water damage.
How Do You Identify Drain Problems Early?
The most important part of dealing with any clogged drain is simply realizing that a clog exists in the first part. By the time your sink backs up and becomes unusable, it's possible that your clog had been building for some time. Drain clogs are usually made up of a wide variety of gunky bits that slowly attach to the inner walls of your pipes. As the clog gets worse, it grabs up more and more gunk. This build-up causes the drain to run slowly and, eventually, stop up entirely.
If you notice that a drain is running slowly, don't ignore it. Slow drains almost always indicate problems somewhere in your drainage system. With luck, it's just one of these minor gunk build-ups. If you're feeling handy, this is the right time to try a few DIY solutions. It's best to avoid chemical drain cleaners as these are not only dangerous, they can potentially damage your pipes. Instead, try a few home remedies, such as baking soda and lemon juice. You can also attempt to plunge your drain or use a small, store-bought snake. If these fail, then it's time to call for back-up.
Why Do You Need a Professional to Clean a Drain?
But it's just a clogged drain, right? A stopped-up drain might seem like a minor problem, but if the basic clearing methods don't work, you're likely dealing with something more serious than you might expect. A professional plumber has a variety of techniques that they can use to locate and break up that clog. Depending on how serious the problem is, your plumber may even run a camera into your drain pipe to attempt to locate it.
Once your plumber has a good grasp on the problem, they're likely to bring in the heavy guns, including high-powered water jets and motorized augers. These professional methods will get your drain cleaned and flowing again with much less time and frustration than a long series of do-it-yourself alternatives.
For more information on drain cleaning, contact a plumber.