There are times when doing DIY repairs make smart money sense and other times when they can complicate a problem and lead to a more costly professional repair. A clogged or slow drain can be one of those problems that you try to tackle before calling in a pro. It certainly makes sense to try and clear it yourself but only if you use caution and don’t make the situation worse.
Top 5 DIY Plumbing Mistakes
#1 Overusing chemicals
Your first thought when your drain clogs may be to run to the local Fred Meyer and pick up a bottle of Drano to conquer your clog. But you should know that chemical drain cleaners won’t work on solid clogs like hair or obstructions and can make some clogs worse. Harsh chemicals can eat away at your plumbing components causing a much bigger and more costly repair than a simple clog remover. Also, remember that chemicals like this are caustic and can burn your skin or eyes and are harmful if inhaled. They are also a serious danger to children and pets. Use caution!
#2 Overdoing water pressure
You may think that applying water pressure to the clog will force it out. Maybe you’re thinking of pushing your garden house down your drain or – even worse – using your pressure washer. A small clog may be forced out by gentle water pressure, but any substantial clog will not budge. Worse yet, water pressure can build up in your pipes and cause a leak or a burst pipe. If the clog is substantial, all that water can rebound on you causing a geyser for you to clean up when it soaks your kitchen or bathroom. Leave these outdoor implements outside and don’t use anything more aggressive than a kitchen sprayer.
#3 Using professional tools yourself
If you’re a happy home handyman, you may decide to invest in some plumbing tools to use at home. Most big box home improvement stores have snakes and augers that you can buy without any professional certification required. But remember, these are professional tools and are meant to be used by experts. Having the tool does not also mean you have the know-how to use it. A snake or auger used improperly can force the clog deeper into your pipes, can compact the clog and make it harder to remove or can damage your pipes to the extent you’ll have to replace them.
#4 Using makeshift or improper tools
Even worse than using a professional tool you’re not certain how to handle is to try and force or make a tool that makes things worse. A metal coat hanger is one of the favorite improvised tools homeowners try to bend and shove down their pipes. You may think the curved end of a hanger is perfect to snag out the clog but, in fact, you can get this stuck and have two things to dig out. Or, you may damage PVC pipes by shoving metal into them. Also don’t shove wooden spoons down there or any other household objects. You don’t want to complicate your clog by adding to it with other objects.
#5 Disassembling your pipes
Just as using professional or improvised tools can complicate clog removal, so can taking apart your pipes yourself to try and get to the clog. Unless you know how your pipes work and have all the tools and materials on hand to both disassemble and reassemble, don’t try it. You may end up having to call in a plumber to not only clear your clog but also to fix the pipes you’ve needlessly disassembled. And if you break any of your pipes or fittings while you’re pulling them apart, you’ll need to pay for replacement parts. Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s best to leave your pipes to the pros.
If you’ve got a sewer clog, blockage or overflow, call Paul Honeyman and the experts at Budget Sewer for immediate assistance. We specialize in trenchless repair and advanced video diagnostics to save time, money and spare your lawn from needless disruption. Call us at (206) 381-1904 for sewer help anywhere in the greater Seattle area.