Mr. Rooter Advises Caution at Home When Unclogging Drains as Sluggish Economy Inspires More Do-It-Yourself Plumbers

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Seattle plumber recommends equal parts caution and preparation when attempting to unclog drains at home with a list of common problems Do-It-Yourselfer’s encounter while trying to save a buck taking on seemingly simple plumbing tasks.

Mr. Rooter, a Seattle plumber, understands that times are tough for many area residents, and when unclogging drains a common response is to do-it-yourself (DIY). Most minor clogs can be diagnosed and dealt with easily, as long as the person doing the unclogging pays close attention to these common issues that can make all the difference in a successful DIY experience. If you do not feel comfortable performing any of the following unclogging methods, be sure to call a plumbing professional.

  •     Leave the Plunger in the Corner

The first thing that most of us reach for, especially in the case of a clogged toilet, is the plunger. This simple device has been used for decades to remove clogs by producing an airtight seal and creating suction to remove debris. Interestingly enough, most plumbers don't count plungers as part of their tool kits, and for good reason. Not only do they create a dangerous mess by splashing toilet water around, they can also push the obstruction farther into the pipe. Plungers can also blow out the wax seal causing subsequent blockages to leak onto the bathroom floor resulting in costly sewage damage. Closet augers work much better.

  •     Chemicals Beware

When it comes to removing drain blockages, commercially available chemicals are the most effective and least time consuming method. They come in either acid or lye based forms and both can be extremely dangerous to the health of individuals and the environment. While popular lye based products are slower acting corrosives than acids, they should both be handled with care while wearing gloves and protective eyewear in case of splashing. Lye based clog removers can also create problems by solidifying the sludge found inside the walls of pipes, even though they remain the most effective substances for eradicating pesky clogs.

  •     Pay Attention to Slow Drains

There are other Eco-friendly liquids marketed for unclogging drains. They contain some form of natural enzymes or microorganism that can deal with organic obstructions in the pipe. Unfortunately, they are largely ineffective on tough clogs. They are intended for use on drains that begin to develop issues and are more of a preventative measure. Boiled water with sea salt can also be an effective pipe flush if done periodically, helping to avoid future messy cleanups caused by full-blown clogs.

  •     Snakes on a Drain

Sewer snakes come in different sizes for private and commercial use. They are very effective devices but must be used in conjunction with a plan for cleanup. Unlike plungers, snakes pull out the obstruction, leaving debris to deal with. Larger sewer snakes can also damage pipes if not used properly. Even at their best they still do little for the overall health of the pipe, dealing only with the obstruction, but doing it exceptionally well. Some professional commercial sewer snakes incorporate a high-pressure water nozzle, like the HydroScrub by Mr.Rooter, to thoroughly clean and restore pipes.

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Sue Donovan
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