Five Drain Cleaning Mistakes | Winters® Home Services

December 17, 2020

Have you ever tired to take on a challenge that you really didn’t know how to properly approach? The experience probably left you frustrated, disappointed, and in no better of a position than you started with. While nobody is perfect the first time they try anything, there is a time and a place to learn new skills the right way. Dealing with an emergency in your own home’s plumbing probably isn’t it. In fact, we come across several common ways that homeowners inadvertently make their drain problems worse without realizing it. Here are five of those ways.

Ignoring the Problem Entirely

To start off with, we see a number of instances where homeowners have tried to ignore the problem entirely for as long as possible. When we ask how long a drain has been slow, they sometimes answer “several days” to “a few weeks” to even “a few months” before the issue gets so bad they can’t ignore it anymore. This is definitely a mistake you want to avoid, as waiting can often lead to worse problems that could have been otherwise avoided. For example, this could lead to damaged drain lines from excessive corrosion, reduced water flow in other drain lines due to a vacuum forming in your drains, and pressure resulting in leaks. If you see a drain moving slowly, make the right choice and have it taken care of right away.

Using the Wrong Tools for the Job

We see this one far too often: without the right tools to take care of a clog properly, homeowners will often attempt to solve the problem while making do with what they have at their disposal. While the effort is admirable, and we sympathize with the desire to not go out and spend a bunch of money on a tool you don’t necessarily want, this can lead to frustration. First of all, most homeowners don’t actually know what is causing their clog, and this means they don’t know if the tool they are using is the right one. Second, misusing a lot of tools often damages the inside of drain lines, resulting in weak points, leaks, and spilled sewage, making for a nasty cleanup job.

Shoving the Clog Further Down the Line

Many homeowners have tried to solve clog problems by simply poking a hole in the clog so the water and grime in the sink or shower can get down the drain. What they don’t realize is that that sudden feeling of the clog giving way isn’t necessarily that they have poked the hole. In fact, in many cases they have simply dislodged the clog entirely. That may seem like an even better result, but the problem is this usually only shoves the clog further down the line, where it will get stuck again later and create an even bigger hassle. The only way to properly remove a clog is to draw it out or to obliterate it entirely with a jetting service.

Corroding Lines with Harsh Chemicals

Chemical drain cleaners are a dime a dozen. Your local home improvement store probably has a dozen different brands and styles for sale on its shelves, and they all advertise that they can take care of your problem quickly and effectively. While they can do so quickly, they can also quickly ruin your plumbing. These highly-corrosive substances eat away at all sorts of materials without prejudice or discretion, meaning they’ll eat away your drain plumbing too. And, to top it off, they may not even eliminate your clog either. We can’t tell you how many times we have been called to fix what a drain cleaner couldn’t, and this isn’t fun. The corrosive chemicals are dangerous, and can cause injury to a technician who doesn’t know they might be present.

Making the Problem Worse

We’ve seen this happen a fair few times as well—a homeowner comes up with the idea that maybe a sudden, huge gush of water down the drain might “shock” the clog into giving way, thus resolving the problem. However, in doing so, they actually make the problem worse. Sometimes people try to shove something down the drain that they really shouldn’t to try and dismantle a clog. Sometimes they accidentally break their drain line trying to pull it apart to get at a clog. Sometimes, they break more important or valuable things like their garbage disposal or their sink itself. Either way, trying to tamper with things you aren’t experienced with generally isn’t a good idea.

Got a drain or sewer-related problem? Leave it to the experts at Winters® Home Services! Give us a call at 617-221-5899 and let our drain experts be the ones to solve it for you.