So your tub is clogged and it’s drain cleaning time. Blockages are an inevitable part of home living, but what might at first seem like a small inconvenience can quickly transform itself into a costly nightmare. Everyone eventually has to face the dilemma of either rolling up one’s sleeves or calling in the drain cleaning professionals. But how do you know whether a blockage just needs a few quick tugs with the plunger, or when it’s time to get serious?
It’s Plunging Time!
So you’ve scoped out the problem and think you’ve got the tool for the job. The good news is, sometimes a little elbow grease really can do the trick. The bad news is this isn’t usually the case. Most of the time a successful drain cleaning fix relies on a blockage being of the softer variety. Harder substances or build ups of hair or debris are less likely to respond to conventional suction. Worse still, often times a clog may appear quite far down into your pipes, rendering your home variety plunger all but useless. Thus it’s time to move on.
The Chemical Solution
There are many corrosive solutions which offer to do the trick. You may even have a bottle of drain cleaner sitting under the sink right now which should be perfect for the job – and there are several which work exactly as advertised. The main thing is to let it travel far enough before running the water. This is to prevent dilution which can drastically affect their efficacy. Just like the plunger however, a deeper block or heavier clog may still prove immune to even the strongest drain cleaning liquids on offer. Furthermore, some of these solutions are capable of doing more harm than good, and pipe erosion can end up costing far more than the original blockage. Finally, these cleaners typically consist of a variety of dangerous chemicals which can be very harmful if inhaled or allowed contact with the skin. Still, if you’re determined to give it a go, just remember to always follow instructions and take every available precaution.
Bring in the Pros
Professional services bring expertise and experience. They can quickly assess the nature of the problem and possess a wide variety of tools for reaching a solution. Especially with hard blockages like fat and oil buildup or larger debris or objects, hydro jets, compressed air or electrical snaking really are the only ways forward. Furthermore, calling in a plumbing service may even be lighter on your budget. Suppose you’ve tried all the DIY tricks available: bought a state-of-the art plunger, a vast array of chemicals or even a home-variety mechanical line and STILL that stubborn clog refuses to budge. Any of these combinations can easily leave your wallet far emptier than a quick visit from a qualified plumber. In that case you might find yourself wishing you’d just picked up the phone to begin with.
So What Should I Do?
It all depends on the situation. If you have a plunger on hand and aren’t a stranger to good technique, there really may be no reason not to give it the DIY try before escalating things. On the other hand, if you’re afraid of damage (or losing your rental deposit), or just lack the time or equipment, it’s usually far safer and more convenient to bring in a reliable team of experts. Drain cleaning is a dirty job, so unless you’re feeling mighty determined or know your way around a pipe, why not sit back, relax, and leave it to the plumbing professionals?