by Karen Bates
(last updated April 23, 2018)
Even if you don't often give them a thought, the pipes in your home are important to keep in good shape. If you don't take care what goes down the drain, you will more than likely end up with clogged pipes at one point or another. Debris and buildup in your pipes can lead to other plumbing problems, so you should keep them properly maintained.
So what can you do to take care of your pipes? Besides taking preventative measures to stop obstructions from forming, you may need to do a little cleaning. Cleaning pipes is a plumber's job in many cases, but sometimes you can take care of it at home using certain tools and methods. This can save you money, but remember that major clogs will probably require the work of a professional.
To clean out the pipes in your house, try one of the following ideas:
Clog solution. A commercial clog solution can break up the clog in your drain and get things moving again. Most of these products are simply poured into the problem pipe, then allowed to sit long enough to work. Finish by flushing out the drain with water. If the clog persists, try using the solution a second time. Keep in mind that most commercial clog solutions warn not to use them for toilet clogs.
Snake. A drain snake is a coiled, long, thin piece of metal that can be inserted into a drain to clear out a pipe, then pulled back out again. These tools work well for clogs that are deep down in the pipe. You can also find a smaller version of this called a mini snake, which is good for smaller drain situations.
Plunger. These aren't just for fixing a clogged toilet. You can use a plunger to help unclog pipes in sinks or bathtubs with standing water to dislodge a clog. Pump the plunger several times over the drain; the water pressure should push the clog and loosen it, allowing it to move and clear the pipe.
In many situations, a pipe can be cleaned using one of the above methods. Remember, however, that serious clogs should be left to the professionals to avoid damage.
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