Coming across a clogged drain in your home, even a small one, can put a damper on your day. How you deal with it can also affect how the rest of your day, or week, goes as planned. For relatively small clogs, a simple DIY option (which we’ll explore below) can suffice for the time being and get you moving on with your regular schedule for the day. But, if the easy fixes don’t work right away, getting a professional plumber to clear that drain is your best bet to avoid a lot more time spent trying to figure out the problem as well as costly mistakes and major messes. Furthermore, even if a quick fix gets you by in the meantime, you may want to get a professional plumber in your home sooner rather than later to take a look at what is going on further down the line in your pipes to avoid a major disaster in the near future.

As far as small clogs are concerned, as mentioned above, we’ll explore a couple of DIY options that can get you by in the meantime until you are able to call in a professional plumber at a time that is convenient for you. The method you choose depends on a number of things.  For most people, one of the primary considerations is cost.  When considering cost, we need to remember that nothing is more valuable, or irreplaceable, than our time.

One way is the hanger hook method.  Wire hangers make great clog-clearing devices.  They are long and thin enough to snake down a drain.  The natural hook at the end is great for catching and reeling in hairballs.  However, if you aren’t able to find a metal hanger, it is possible to make a similar hair fishing tool using a stick, a rubber band, and a paper clip.  The potential drawback to this method is that the clog may be further down than the hanger wire is long, which is only about 2 feet.  The best thing about this method is the cost for trying it—which is $0.00—or zero dollars.  The time factor is about 15 minutes.

Another method is pouring boiling water down the drain.  If the clog is caused by a combination of soap and chemicals from shampoo products there is a good chance that boiling water can dissolve enough of it to get your drain working again.  Of course, boiling water can’t dissolve hair or anything else that may be causing a clog, but again, it costs zero dollars to try.  The time factor for this one is also about fifteen minutes, but unlike the hanger hook method, you can do other things while you’re waiting for the water to boil.

A third method is one that is safer for pipes than caustic chemical drain cleaners, and less expensive, too.  A combination of vinegar and baking soda in equal parts can dissolve tougher clogs.  Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and vinegar contains acetic acid.  When combined, they create a bubbling carbon dioxide reaction that lowers the water’s Ph level and can dissolve some types of clogs.  This method requires pouring a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar, down the drain. It also requires some patience, since it isn’t as fast as stronger chemical drain cleaners.  After an hour or two, complete the process and check your success by pouring boiling water down the drain.  Again, this method isn’t likely to be effective against tough clogs, but but cost is only about $2.00 and thirty minutes.

A popular non-chemical method is using a plunger. Unlike costly, space-consuming plumbing tools, most people have one.  After creating a seal, pushing down the plunger stick inverts the plunger cap and forces the air that was in the cap into the pipe.  When the plunger stick is pulled back, it sucks air and water up with it to create a vacuum effect powerful enough to dislodge the clog. Ironically, especially in the case of a toilet clog, a potential drawback is that the plunger method will work too well, and that the entire bathroom will have to be disinfected as a result. The cost of a plunger is about $5.00.  The time required for plunging is from 5 to 15 minutes. The time for disinfecting the bathroom afterwards may vary according to both the size of the clog and the size of your bathroom.

Keep in mind, these methods are only to be used for small clogs. Anything larger or a recurring clogged drain will require a call to reputable, professional plumber, such as Benjamin Franklin of Lake & Mendocino Counties.  Their equipment, employees, and labor are insured, so that if any damage is caused, you won’t have to pay thousands more to repair it.  Additionally, you can be assured that a professional plumber will use equipment and techniques to ensure your water will not be contaminated from harmful chemicals. A good company will provide you with a comprehensive estimate that includes an explanation of exactly what work needs to be completed and why, as well as a warranty on their work.

We all want to save money whenever possible.  Many of us also enjoy learning new skills and the feeling of empowered accomplishment when we are able to successfully tackle a home repair on our own.  However, the health and well-being of our families and communities is something none of us can, or should, put a price tag on.

If you have a tough clog that cannot be cleared using these methods or it just keeps coming back, give Benjamin Franklin of Lake & Mendocino Counties a call today. We will find the problem and get it taken cared of in an effective, clean, and safe manner and help you avoid costly damage done to your pipes or the stress of putting potentially harmful chemicals into your water supply. Give us a call today at give us a call at (707)-263-1629 or toll free at (877) 236-1776 or you can also visit us online at Benjaminfranklinplumbingmendolake.com.