Sometimes you have some warning that your drain is going to be clogged soon. Your sink will fill up even without the drain stopper in place, and it will take forever for all of the water to go back down. Other clogs sneak up on you. You flush the toilet and instead of going down, the water in the bowl unexpectedly goes up – and if you're unlucky, it doesn't stop until it hits the floor. No matter which kind of clog it is, drain clogs are inconvenient, and you want to try to fix them as quickly as possible. That urgency can lead you to try some DIY unclogging methods. Some DIY methods are fine – like using a plunger to create suction and loosen the clog. However, there are other drain unclogging methods that should be used by the professional only, or not at all. Take a look at some drain-clearing methods to avoid.
A drain auger, also known as a plumbing snake or pipe snake, is a perfectly good plumbing tool – for a plumber. However, that doesn't mean that you should use one yourself. Drain augers are available in any home improvement store, and that might give the impression that they're a tool that anyone can use, like a plunger. But that couldn't be further from the truth.
If you use the wrong pipe snake, or use it incorrectly, you can scrape the insides of your pipes, causing more damage than you had before. In the worst case scenario, you could actually crack or break your pipes with the drain auger. And even if you don't do any damage to your pipes, you could end up scratching the porcelain finish of your sink or toilet.
What's worse is that you could end up doing real damage to yourself. Many people don't realize that that the coiled augers are wound so tightly that they can have a powerful recoil that could end up hurting you if it hits you. It's safest for you and your fixtures to leave the use of augers to the professionals. And whatever you do, don't unbend a coat hanger to make a makeshift auger. These are rarely helpful, and it could get stuck in your drain.
The Garden Hose
Sometimes plumbers will use a method called hydro jetting to clear clogged lines. This involves using a jet of highly pressurized water to clear out clogged drains. It's generally a pretty effective method of clearing the pipes, and it has the bonus benefit of clearing out all of the debris in the pipes, not just what's currently blocking the drain. That means that you're less likely to get clogs going forward.
Some homeowners, however, attempt DIY hydro jetting by putting a garden hose down the drain and turning it on, in the hopes that the increased water pressure will clear out their clog. This is unlikely to be effective. For one thing, hydro jetting equipment used by plumbing experts employs water pressure of around 4000 psi to clear the clogs. An average garden hose can only withstand water pressure between 200 and 500 psi before bursting. You can see why a garden hose might not be an effective replacement for hydro jetting equipment.
Chances are, all that you'll accomplish is making a big mess when the hose overflows your clogged sink. But without a plumber to check out the integrity of your pipes before you start, there is a chance that the water from your hose – which does flow with greater pressure than the water from your sink or shower – could actually cause your pipes to burst.
If you can't clear the clog yourself using a plunger – or drain cleaner in a pinch, but use this sparingly, as it can also be hard on your pipes – do yourself a favor and call a professional plumber for help. It's safer for you and better for your pipes and your property. To find a plumbing company, you can go to websites like the one linked to in this sentence.