Blocked drains are at best a mild annoyance, and at worst a persistent nuisance that require immediate attention. Either way, blocked drains are amongst the most common reasons for call-outs to plumbers here in Melbourne.
For homeowners and business owners, they also happen to be one of the easiest plumbing problems to diagnose. Stuff not going down the drain? Yep, probably a blocked drain. Not exactly rocket surgery. So, how do you deal with blocked drains? Below are a few tips that may help you out:
If your sink is backed up and the dirty dishes are piling up, one of the first remedies is simple table salt (or some Coca-Cola). Pour a little salt or soda down the drain and it can clear the obstruction in the P-trap or in the pipes to promote a normal flow once again.
If the blockage is more serious and salt or soda won’t do the trick, the next step is to get out some tools and to take apart the drain to manually remove whatever is blocking the flow (provided that it’s within reach, of course).
If you don’t have DIY tools at home, it’s always a good idea to pick some up for just such an occurrence. An adjustable wrench and plumbing tape aren’t too expensive and are useful for many other applications, too.
For simple blockages near the drain, a wire coat hanger can be used to dislodge the blockage. If this isn’t good enough, you could also pour some vinegar and baking soda down the drain to scour and eat away at fats or grease that may be causing the blockage.
You may have noticed by now that we haven’t recommended drain cleaning products. They’re marketed to homeowners for exactly the purpose of dislodging blocked drains, so why not just use them all of the time? The problem is that these products contain many harsh chemicals, so yes, quite often they’ll get the job done, but you’re dealing with potentially harmful chemicals (always follow instructions if you do choose to use a drain cleaning chemical). Furthermore, these products are so powerful that they may eat away at the integrity of your plumbing system, especially if used frequently. Your best bet is to avoid using these products altogether.
Use a Plunger
Especially useful for toilets, but also useful for other drains, plungers can suck out any blockages that may be a little deeper down and out of reach of a coat hanger. When shopping for plungers, don’t hesitate to spend a little more for a flanged plunger. These plungers look like ‘normal’ plungers but have an internal flange which greatly improves their efficacy on toilets and other drains.
Call in a Plumber
When dealing with tough blockages, sometimes the only remaining option (once you’ve tried all of the above) is to call in the big guns. A qualified, reputable plumber can inspect the drain and quickly isolate the problem and have it dealt with professionally, without causing any further damage to your home plumbing system.
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified plumber near you in Melbourne to get the job done right the first time.
Give us a ring today at Endeavour Plumbing and we will gladly assist you with blocked drains and much, much more.