The tips presented here by our guest poster today are very helpful and ones that we have already, just this week, used in our own home. When you have kids, it seems like clogs are a never ending adventure! We hope these tips help you too!
Nothing can be more frustrating than clogged pipes in your home. Whether it’s your toilet, sink or shower that’s backed up, you may find that you’re not having any success using the same plumbing materials or methods that previously worked in another part of your house. Before you call in a professional for an expensive repair, make sure you’re using the correct plumbing supplies and techniques for the type of clog you’re dealing with.
Types of Plungers
A plunger should be your go-to tool for most clogs. There are several different types to tackle various kinds of back-ups.
- Standard plunger
Standard plungers have a straight handle with a rubber cup on the end. They are designed to work on flat surfaces such as a sink or tub.
- Toilet plungerToilet plungers are similar to standard ones except for the fact that they have a rubber flap that folds out from the inside of the cup. Toilet plungers don’t have to be exclusive to the bathroom. They are the best all-around choice for most blockages.
- Accordion plunger
Accordion plungers are powerful and intended specifically for toilet repair. The suction cup is made from plastic instead of rubber, so there isn’t the flexibility needed to deal with pipes other than toilets.
- Ball plunger
Ball plungers have a compression chamber that is spherically shaped. This allows for effective plunging action in water.
- Taze plungerTaze plungers are typically only used by professionals for clearing large pipes. They have a disc sized to fit a specific pipe with a steel rod that pushes the disc into the pipe. These plungers aren’t designed for household use.
When a plunger isn’t enough, an auger, also called a sewer snake, is your best friend. They can be found at home improvement stores for between 10 and 20 dollars. To use an auger, utilize the hand crank to feed the cable into the drain. Sometimes you’ll need to change the direction of the cranking motion to get the cable to go in all the way. Once you’ve gotten the cable in as far as it will go, pull it out and run water or flush the toilet to make sure the clog has cleared.
Some clogs are too severe for an auger or plunger to be effective. One DIY method is to use a heavy-duty rubber bladder, known as a blow bag. Insert the empty bladder into the pipe and turn on the water, causing the bladder to inflate and wedge into the drain. The bladder will then release pressurized water to clear the blockage. Blow bags work well for clearing greasy or gooey clogs.
If you’re up against one of those clogs that seems to be unbreakable, a drain opener that uses CO2 cartridges is great for blasting through even the most stubborn of blockages. This is also an environmentally friendly option, since you aren’t using any chemicals. One good option is the Kleer Drain 100. It can be picked up for about 25 dollars and is a nice green choice because it uses food grade C02.
Three Types of Drain Cleaners
If manual methods are not doing the trick, you’ll need to get a chemical drain cleaner. There are several different types and most can be found for less than 10 bucks.
- Caustic drain cleaners
Caustic drain cleaners contain substances such as lye and are ideal for dealing with a clog involving standing water since they are heavier than the water itself. These are a good choice for a blocked up bath or toilet.
- Oxidizing drain cleanersOxidizing drain cleaners contain nitrates and bleach that oxidize organic materials by causing them to lose electrons. They are best for dealing with a kitchen sink that is blocked by pieces of food.
- Acidic drain cleanersYou won’t find acidic drain cleaners in stores. These powerful cleaners can only be purchased by licensed plumbers and can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly.
Remember, chemical drain cleaners can emit toxic fumes so always make sure to ventilate the area properly and wear rubber gloves while using them.
Do you know of any other tools or methods for fixing clogs on a budget?
Chris Long is a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago suburbs. Chris also writes on plumbing and plumbing supplies for the Home Depot website, including DIY advice on bathroom sinks, bathtubs and vanities.
Photo Credit: Bambooki.com