5 Decisive Arguments Why Attempting to Clean the Drain All on Your Own Is Not the Best of Ideas

With so many do-it-yourself tutorials at our fingertips, it’s tempting to fix all of our home maintenance problems ourselves. Some things may be perfectly simple to take care of, true. But attempting to solve other problems, like cleaning your drains, may actually create more expensive headaches in the long run.


When your water starts swirling instead of draining, you have a problem. Sure, you could grab some chemical drain cleaner and dump it down your sink or tub, but do you really know what happens when you do? 


Chances are, you don’t realize that you’re likely causing bigger problems where you can’t see them. You may get rid of the clog, but at what expense?


Here are 5 reasons why you should not try to clean your drain on your own.


To Clean or Not to Clean Your Drain: Here are the Arguments for Your Decision


You work hard for your money. The last thing you want to do is give it away to someone who comes and fixes a problem you could have easily solved yourself. That’s completely understandable.


But when it comes to plumbing, what you don’t know can hurt you. Calling in the professionals when you aren’t quite sure what the problem might be is a smart idea that will cost you a little upfront but may end up saving you thousands later.


Something as simple as having them clean your drain can help your wallet, and these arguments will explain why:


1. Chemical drain cleaners can cause pipe damage. Although the kneejerk reaction for most people facing a sink or tub drain clog is to grab some chemical drain cleaner, it’s not the safest for your pipes. In fact, the majority of the chemical drain cleaners on the market will, over time, damage your plumbing.


The mixture of ingredients in these chemical cleaners turns them into an oxidizing material, which means that they will cause rust when combined with metal. If you are using them in older pipes, this caustic liquid will speed up the process of degradation.


Plastic pipes aren’t immune to the chemicals, either. The chemicals in these cleaners work in tandem with the plastic to create hot temperatures, warping the pipes or melting them altogether. 


The damage caused by these chemical drain cleaners in both metal and plastic pipes causes leaks, which, if not found quickly, can turn into thousands of dollars worth of damage. Instead of making more problems for yourself, go online to find reputable plumbers in your area, like maplewoodplumbing.com.


2. You probably aren’t fixing the long-term problem. In some clogged drain cases, you simply have a buildup of hair or toilet paper that caught up over time. But for most people, they are accidentally repeating the same damaging actions over and over. 


Without an expert to track down what’s causing the clog, you’re going to be trying to fix it yourself frequently.


Some of the main reasons kitchen sinks clog include remnants of food and grease going down the drain. Even if you “scrape” your plates into the trash or have a garbage disposal, you probably aren’t catching everything.


Toilets get backed up because of the wrong kind of toilet paper, believe it or not. Some of the “softer” brands take longer to disintegrate, causing buildup and clogs. “Flushable” wipes do the same thing and aren’t as flushable as the manufacturer would like you to believe. 


Of course, the main cause of backed-up toilets is because children like to see things spiral down and disappear, so keep your bathroom doors closed and childproofed if you have little ones around.


Shower drains are another commonly clogged area. These clogs often happen due to soap scum and hair buildup. Keeping a screen on your shower and sink drains prevent a lot of this potential damage.


Other things you should never put down the drain, even if you have a garbage disposal, include:


  • Grease (including fats and oils)

  • Bones

  • Coffee grounds

  • Eggshells

  • Pastas, potatoes, and rice (white carbs)

  • Food that is stringy or fibrous


3. You have better things to do with your time. Unclogging a persistent problem in your drains can take hours to do it right. There’s an old saying, “Time is money.” If you’re going to be giving up work and losing out on that income to fix your drains, it may make more sense to call in a plumber, anyway. 


But even more valuable than your job is your relationship with other people. Instead of turning downtime with your family or friends to unclog your sink, call in a professional to do it for you and go enjoy your life. 


4. You have the potential to cause more damage. It’s funny when you see it done in movies: Dad stubbornly refuses to call in a plumber for help, so he’s under the sink with a wrench fixing the problem himself. Suddenly, the pipes burst and water explodes everywhere. Mom picks up the phone and calls the plumber for emergency help.


Yes, it’s funny in the movies, but not in real life.


In reality, if you aren’t sure of what you are doing, this can happen to you. If it does, you’re not only paying significantly more for emergency services, but you are also going to have to pay for the damage to the rest of the house from the burst pipes.


Plumbing is never an area that amateurs should attempt to do themselves.


5. You could have a serious issue causing your clog. Professionals are trained to look for minor cues that you might not see that warn of a serious plumbing problem. By dumping chemicals down your sink and hiding the clog, you could literally be covering up warning signs of a major issue at work.


From grime buildup to major solidified clogs, plumbers know what to look for. You may even have pipes getting ready to burst. Leaks in pipes or built up clogs can cause pollutants to contaminate your plumbing system. These contaminants result in nasty odors in your yard and your home, but even worse, they put your system at risk for flooding.


Plumbing floods aren’t your typical water mess - they are full of toxic waste. They are disgusting and dangerous, and nothing to play with. Call a professional before it gets to this point.


Think Twice Before You DIY in Plumbing


These arguments support the idea that clogged drains should be checked by an expert, but they also show the importance of letting the professionals handle your plumbing needs. 


DIY techniques are great for many aspects of home maintenance, but when it comes to plumbing, you’re better off calling in the pros.