preparing for plumbing emergencies
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preparing for plumbing emergencies

Do you have a plumbing repair kit in your home to make emergency repairs quickly? Having everything you need in one bucket or box can help you eliminate some of the stress that comes with plumbing emergencies. On this blog, you will find out what you should have in your kit and some basic tips about making these repairs to avoid further damage to your home. It is my hope that you will find more than enough information to keep your home dry, your drains draining, and a peace of mind and lack of stress to tackle these dreaded household occurrences.

preparing for plumbing emergencies

Four Things That Can Cause Damage When You Are Trying To Unclog Your Drains

Veronica Torres

Most people will experience a clogged or slow-moving drain at some point or another. Some of the more common culprits for these clogs are grease, hair, and simple soap buildup. You may even experience mineral buildup in your pipes if you have hard water and do not have a water softening system. You may be tempted to perform your own drain cleaning with simple solutions you already have around your home, but you may be setting yourself up to cause more damage.

Plain Hot Water

One of the quickest and easiest ways to clean your drains is to flush them with boiling hot water. While this may not work on a drain that is fully clogged, it can be a great way to clear one that is still at the slow draining stage. Boiling water can help to clear many types of organic matter.

Unfortunately, if you have PVC or ABS pipes, large amounts of boiling water can cause warping or cause joints to loosen and leak. The Uniform Plumbing Code rates these for water temperatures up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. You also do not want to use boiling water if you have porcelain sinks. Porcelain can easily crack when it is exposed to very rapid or extreme changes in temperatures.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Although they are on the market to provide you with an easy way to clear your clogged drains, many drain cleaners contain sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid. Both of these are very caustic and toxic chemicals that can easily damage many different types of pipes, as well as your bathroom fixtures. They can also cause damage to your clothing, carpets, or anything else that they are spilled on.

You should never use a chemical drain cleaner on a completely clogged drain, because if it is unable to quickly clear the drain, it will sit there and begin eating a hole in your pipe. This can not only lead to you having to pay a plumber to unclog your drain, but it can also lead to you having to have pipes replaced. 

Wire Hangers

You may be able to unbend a wire hanger and fish the debris out that is clogging your drain, but this method should only be used for hair or other clogs that you can see that are near the surface. When you attempt to reach clogs that may be deeper down your drain, you run the risk of dropping your hanger. You will find that you will not be able to fish it out, and you definitely don't want it to go any deeper into your pipe. Just think—when you call your plumber to come and unclog the drain, you'll have to admit that you need them to retrieve the hanger. 

Plumbing Snakes/Augers

If you have never used a plumbing snake or auger before, this is a tool that you may want to avoid. While some people report that they are simple enough to use, you still run the risk of damaging the inside of your plumbing pipes, as well as scratching the inside of your tub.

If you do choose to try one, make sure that you have the right one for the job because they come in several different sizes. Some that can be found on the market are as follows:

  • Top snakes
  • Toilet augers
  • Mini-rooters
  • Medium drain machines
  • Large drain machines

The best thing to do if you have a clog or a slowly draining sink or tub is to call a professional plumber who provides drain cleaning services to come in and fix the situation. Not only will they clear your drains, but they will also look for the underlying problem.