The holidays are upon us! With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner kitchens in Charlotte are abuzz with activity, and for us plumbers, that means just one thing; drain clogs.
Often, homeowners rely on a caustic (acidic) drain opener to get them
flowing again. These materials can be very hazardous to your health and
the health of your loved ones (just read the warning labels). They can
also take a toll on your pipes. When a caustic drain opener goes into a
pipe and hits organic material (squishy drain gunk) it begins a chemical
reaction that produces excess heat and pressure inside the pipe. Not
good for plastic piping! If you have an older home with steel or cast
iron drains, this acid can (and does) eat through the metal over time
until eventually the bottom of the pipe is gone. The acid of chemical
drain openers can also eat away at the finish of your sink connections
taking the chrome, brass or oil rubbed bronze finish off and leave the
metal with a flat looking, dull finish (not to mention without its
So what is a homeowner to do?
Well, if your clog is just below the surface of the drain opening such
as in the bathroom lavatory or tub drain you can try to clean it with a simple plastic device like this one .
These little devices are cheap, safe and if the clog is near the surface, effective.
Another good method is to keep your drains treated with a good enzymatic
drain cleaner. These won't open clogged drains, but rather if applied
regularly when the drain is open, will eat away at the sludge before it
builds up and develops a clog. Bio Clean is a good product and many
reputable plumbers carry and sell it.
If you do come across a clogged drain this holiday season it really is
best to let the pros handle it. A licensed plumber should have all the
tools necessary to open a clogged drain in your home without using any
materials which are caustic and dangerous to your family and your
piping. A rotary cable machine is the tool of choice for most plumbers
because it is safe, effective and, unlike chemical drain cleaners which
can only poke a small hole through the gunk it gets the pipe clean all
the way around the inner circumference of the pipe, so the drain stays
Jetting is also a good option that a licensed plumber can offer. This
tool uses pressured water to safely blast away the gunk on the inside of
a pipe; especially handy for greasy drains!
Also, a good plumber will inspect your piping in the crawl space or
basement and under the sink to see that they are plumbed with the
appropriate amount of downward pitch. A wide open pipe won’t drain well
if it is running uphill.
Often times as an older home settles the walls and foundation shift
causing the pipes to level off or even start running uphill.
Unfortunately, it is not unheard of to see homes built like this from
day one either. A shoddy plumbing subcontractor can (and often does)
bring a lot of trouble to a home even years after he finished plumbing
If you need us, Pathmaker Plumbing can help get your drains open this
holiday season. Whether you would like for us to come out and do a
preventative cleaning or you're already in full holiday swing, you can
trust us to get you flowing again.
Learn more about plumbing and plumbing tip at Pathmaker Plumbing in Charlotte, NC.