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Do-It-Yourself Solutions vs. Professional Help for Clogged Drains


Even minor plumbing problems can create major headaches for you and your family. In some cases, consulting a reputable Houston residential plumber can provide the fastest and easiest solution for slow or stopped drains. Determining whether a particular problem will respond to do-it-yourself remedies can help you save money and reduce stress when clogged drains and other minor plumbing annoyances occur.

Clogged Drains

The treatment needed for clogged drains varies depending on the type of material blocking the flow of water from sinks, tubs, showers, and other fixtures. Care should be used when attempting to unstop these drains yourself; older pipes can sometimes be somewhat fragile and can break under too much pressure. If in doubt, it is usually wise to consult a professional Houston plumber to minimize the need for further repairs and added expenses.

Hair Clogs

For hair clogs located close to the visible drain, disposable plastic snakes with small barbs can be used to hook hair and pull it out in one or more passes, allowing water to flow more easily out of these drains. Deep-seated hair clogs may respond well to commercially available drain cleaners, especially those with foaming action. These products can burn skin and may generate caustic fumes. Use caution when pouring them into drains and avoid direct contact with the drain cleaner throughout the process. If the clog has not cleared after two applications of commercial drain cleaner, it is generally advisable to call a professional Houston plumbing company to resolve the problem quickly.

Grease Clogs

Most grease clogs are located in kitchen sink areas and are the result of long-term accumulation of food waste and debris build up inside pipes and in traps. The snakes available from most hardware stores are relatively ineffective for grease blockages; however, chemical drain cleaners can sometimes produce good results for clogs close to the drain opening. These products can leave a residue on surfaces that can cause skin irritation or damage to surfaces if care is not taken to rinse drains and sinks carefully.

When to Seek Professional Plumbing Help

Frequent recurrences of the same blockage or clogs that do not respond well to home remedies should be looked at by a Houston plumber to determine the underlying cause of the issue and to resolve it more quickly. Slow drains can sometimes be caused by hard water mineral deposits on the inside of metal pipes or damage that cannot easily be identified by those outside the plumbing trade. By working with a professional plumbing company to fix these issues, you can preserve the value of your home and ensure greater convenience for you and your family.

Maintaining Your Drains

Adopting a few simple habits can reduce the number of clogs and blockages in your home’s plumbing system:

  • Never pour cooking oil or grease down drains; instead, dispose of it in the trash or drop it off at a local biodiesel recycling center.
  • Pouring equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar in that order into drains can help to maintain the free flow of water through these plumbing fixtures in a convenient and green-friendly way.
  • Installing a filter or plastic trap over the drains in sinks and tubs can help to catch hair and prevent blockages resulting from accumulations in pipes and traps.

Taking these simple steps to prevent drain blockages can reduce the need for emergency plumbing visits and can save you money over the life of your home.

Scheduling regular maintenance visits with a Houston residential plumber can help you maintain the value of your home. The right company can save you time and money by identifying and resolving plumbing problems before they become serious issues for your home and your budget.

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