Fixing my leaking shower

Some Cautions About Trying to Handle Clogged Drains on Your Own

by Andy Butler

Clogged drains at home can be very inconvenient and unsanitary, if they drag up sludge and sediment and even raw sewage. While you don't want to ignore clogged drains in the tub, sink, or toilet, you also don't want to make the situation worse by trying to address it on your own but with the wrong tools, chemicals, and techniques. Note a few of those common mistakes that homeowners make when trying to handle clogged drains on their own and why it's often better to simply call for emergency drain service.

1. Air pressure

A plumber might treat your home's pipes by using a type of air pressure machine that shoots air through the pipes, clearing away sediment, debris, and anything that might be clinging to them. You might then reason that this same type of air pressure can be used to get clogs moving again. However, a drain might be clogged because of loose connectors or other leaks which have allowed sediment, mud, or water to build up. Putting too much pressure on those areas of loose connections or leaks can mean actually breaking the pipes altogether. In turn, you might see a flood inside or outside of your home, and even more damage.

2. Taking apart the fixtures

Don't assume you can simply take apart plumbing fixtures and address clogs on your own; you may not know how to reassemble them and ensure they're connected properly and securely, leading to leaks. You might assume you can take the toilet off the connectors on the bathroom floor and address a serious clog, but there are usually adhesives and other materials that are needed to keep the toilet base sealed against floor tiles. Without properly using these materials when you put the toilet back in its place, this too can mean leaks and water damage to your home.

3. Snakes and other tools

Trying to run a plumbing snake through your pipes without the right expertise and training needed to use it properly, or trying to address a clog with a coat hanger, long screwdriver, and other such items can just damage your pipes. You might get the snake or other tool caught on connectors, or may be simply compacting the solid materials that are causing the clog. As with using chemicals, you are then causing damage to the pipes without clearing the clog. You might even get the coat hanger or screwdriver caught in the clog itself or lose it down the pipe, and this can mean even more damage to your home's plumbing.