Got clogged drains? It can happen to anyone, even if you don’t do anything wrong. After all, much more than just water flows down your sink, shower and tub drains – it’s the grease, oil, hair, dead skin, soap, detergent and other gunk that build up on the inside of your pipes. Over time, this can cause a slow drain or a complete blockage.
The question is this: should you use a chemical drain cleaner or call a plumber to clear the clog? We’ll explore the pros and cons of these options, as well as a few other drain-cleaning methods you might try.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Unfortunately, the easiest option – pouring a few cups of chemical cleaner down the drain – is also the most harmful. Many of these products contain bleach, lye, acid or other harsh substances that generate heat and break away the gunk in your pipes. It may sound effective, but caustic chemicals can eat away at your pipes if used frequently. They also contaminate the municipal water supply.
If you go the route of drain cleaning products, opt for a natural biological version that uses bacteria to eat through gunk in your drains. The results aren’t as immediate, but when used as a preventative measure, bio drain cleaners can stop clogs before they start.
Other DIY Drain Cleaning Methods
If you’re not ready to call a plumber just yet, there are other chemical-free methods you can use to clear your backed up drains.
First, try pulling the blockage out. One option is to straighten a metal coat hanger with pliers and bend the tip into a small hook. Insert this into the drain and fish out debris lodged as far down as the trap, the U-shaped pipe located right below the sink.
If the blockage is out of reach of your coat hanger, try a plumber’s auger next. You can find this tool, also known as a plumbing snake, at a local hardware store.
Another option is to plunge the drain – but don’t grab the toilet plunger to unclog other drains. Hardware stores sell small plungers designed for use in sinks, showers and bathtubs.
Calling a Plumber
If your do-it-yourself methods aren’t enough to clear your clogged drain, it’s time to call in the professionals. Plumbers have a whole arsenal of tools at their disposal to help get your pipes back in shape.
Motorized plumbing snakes with extra-long cables can reach clogs located deep within the pipe. That’s a good start, but hydro-jetting is even more effective. This involves inserting a special plumber’s snake with a camera on the end into the drain. When a blockage is spotted, the plumber blasts it away with a high-pressure stream of water. The toughest blockages – even those caused by tree roots – don’t stand a chance against hydro-jetting!
Squeaky floors, popping ductwork and creaking framework – these are ordinary household sounds that result from the expansion and contraction of different building materials as they warm and cool throughout the day. If these are the type of noises you’re hearing, there’s nothing to get worked up about.
However, your plumbing can make certain sounds that indicate something’s wrong. Listen for these problematic plumbing noises and know when to call your plumber.
If you hear a loud slam or bang when you turn on a faucet, you have a water hammer issue. This is when a shockwave transmits through the water in your pipes. The problem occurs when a closed valve abruptly stops the flow of water. This can happen if air chambers in your pipe valves become clogged.
Water hammer is a problem that demands your attention because it can damage pipes and loosen their fittings. To correct the issue, call a plumber to come clear the clogged pipe valve chambers and replace any damaged parts.
The force of water rushing through your pipes causes them to shake, which is completely normal. However, if the shaking is loud enough to notice, the plumbing probably isn’t as secure as it should be. Loose mounting straps are the most likely culprit.
You can fix this problem yourself by tightening or replacing the straps that have deteriorated or pulled away from the pipes. If you don’t feel comfortable performing these repairs yourself, call a plumber for help.
When you turn on your faucet, you may hear a high-pitched squealing sound before the water comes rushing out. This most likely indicates a defective or loose part within the fixture itself.
You may be able to repair your faucet if the problem relates to a loose washer or worn-out stem. If simple repairs don’t work, consider replacing your screeching faucet. You can do this yourself or leave it to a qualified plumber.
A gurgling, bubbling sound is the result of a partial blockage that slows the water as it flows down the drain. Cleaning the drain should resolve the issue.
However, if all of the drains in your house gurgle, there’s probably an issue with the drain vents. The purpose of these plumbing components is to prevent air bubbles from entering the system. Replacing the drain vents is a job best left to a professional plumber.
Call Your Monroe Township Plumber
These are just a few of the common plumbing noises you might hear. If you notice more than just the ordinary squeaking, creaking and rubbing sounds of different building materials in your home, it’s reasonable for you to be concerned. If you think the plumbing is to blame, give Bob Hoegler Plumbing a call today at 732-521-0133. We serve residents in the Monroe Township, NJ area.