As a home or business owner, you’ll know it’s inconvenient to have a blocked drain on your property. Although it might seem like it’s a simple fix, there are loads of ways you can go horribly wrong when unblocking your drains, resulting in scarier problems down the line. Find out what they are and how to avoid them.
How to avoid nightmares when unblocking your drains
Look, we understand – if your drains are slow to move or don’t drain at all it’s frustrating and disruptive. And, potentially, pretty gross. This is especially a problem when you’re dealing with blocked commercial drains. So, it does seem like a good idea to try to solve the drainage problem yourself. But here are the top five alarming mistakes you might make when trying to unblock your drains yourself.
1. Not unblocking drains at the first sign of trouble
If you notice a bad smell coming from your drains, it’s time to act fast. The longer you wait to get them unblocked, the more damage they will do. If you ignore the problem and leave it, the blockage could get worse and cause structural damage to your pipes or even flooding in some cases.
2. Poking things into the drain to try to unblock it
This bad idea because it can cause the blockage to get worse and it can also damage other parts of your plumbing system. If you have concerns about what’s going on inside your drains, call someone who has professional experience rather than getting out the wire coathanger to attempt to unblock your drains. Which may just result in you blocking them with a wire coathanger.
3. Using a plunger with no idea what you’re doing
Little blockages can lead to burst pipes and waste backing up… and using a plunger incorrectly is one way to make things a whole lot worse. First, there are different types of plungers for different issues. The kind of plunger you probably have under your kitchen sink is just for that – unblocking the sink. Toilet plungers have an extra flange, and then there are accordion plungers that provide a bit of extra oomph.
Speaking of oomph, most people don’t push down firmly enough to create enough suction to actually do anything… But, maybe that’s good; using a plunger incorrectly is one way to fling all kinds of bacteria-ridden matter out of your drains and into your face/eye/worse. NEVER use a plunger if you’ve previously added chemicals to your drains to try to unblock them.
4. Trying to use a garden hose or pressure washer when unblocking your drains
We know we make unblocking your drains look easy, but trying to force water through your system yourself is another terrible idea. Your pressure washer doesn’t have anywhere close to the same PSI as our specialist drain unblocking jets, and introducing a load of water to an already blocked system can cause damage to your pipes, force matter further down into your drainage system or, worse… back into your house. When water has nowhere to go, it will come backwards and flood your property. It can often bring some offensive matter with it. That’s why it’s a terrible idea.
5. Mixing DANGEROUS drain unblocking chemicals
Unblocking your drains can be a simple DIY task, but if manual measures don’t work, we recommend bringing in professionals. Drain-unblocking chemicals might (sometimes) be successful, but the risk isn’t worth it. If they don’t work, then not only have you got a blockage, you’ve got a cocktail of potentially dangerous chemicals settling on top of it. It makes the job a whole lot harder and can be dangerous for YOU and for the professionals who step in.
We hope you don’t need it, but take a look at this NHS advice about chemical burns.