Sewer pipes are one of the house’s most important parts. They manage the house’s wastes and ensure they are removed from the house. Naturally, sewer pipes are made from durable materials, but nothing lasts forever. They will get worn out and experience clogging when pressure builds up. 

The most challenging part is determining its condition due to its location. Fortunately, there are telltale physical signs around the house that you can see as signs of damage.

How to Know If Your Sewer Pipe Already Has Damage

Sign 1: Water Moves Slower Than Before

If you start to notice that the water drains slower from the sink or in the shower, you are probably experiencing a pipe problem. Most homeowners tend to ignore this problem because of how common it is. They may even think that the situation will eventually change on its own. However, small or not, it still is an issue to watch out for. 

Beware of this problem, especially when it starts to occur more frequently. As much as possible, report your case to a professional plumbing company immediately so they can check the condition of your pipes at home and perform the necessary repairs.

Sign 2: Seeing Mineral Deposits Around the House Drains

Aside from the slow drains, you may observe mineral deposits around water fixtures. When you see one, that could tell you something is wrong with your pipes. This is normally an issue in homes that have hard water sources.

Sign 3: Sounds Are Coming From the Toilet

Any weird thing happening to the toilet can be traced to the pipes. The weird sound usually starts from a leakage somewhere in the pipe. Because there is an air passage, air comes in and gets trapped. They create unusual sounds when they are abruptly released (perhaps due to the pressure of flushing the toilet). 

Sign 4: Changing Toilet Water Level

Another sign that you can observe from the toilet is its changing water level. Sometimes it is too high, other times the water is too low. Seeing this problem can only mean two things: your toilet is malfunctioning, or you have a problematic sewer pipe. Report and have it checked so you would know the real cause and address it soon.

Sign 5: Smelling Sewage Inside the House

If you notice a strong smell of sewage in the house, you might want to report your sewer line. First, if your pipes are working correctly, they should never release such a smell. Second, the released sewer gas usually contains hydrogen sulfide, which can cause sinus infections, headaches, bronchitis, and pneumonia. It would be harmful to both you and your pets.

Sign 6: Mold Growth in the House

Molds always occur due to moisture, and a broken pipe is one source of moisture in the house. When there is mold growth around the house, and you know too well that there are no fixtures or water damage, that could only mean a pipe problem that you cannot see. 


Like other parts of the house, sewer pipes need proper care and maintenance too. Unfortunately, because of their location, they are taken for granted most of the time. It would be best to add the sewer pipes to the things to double-check and manage around the house. When you experience any of these signs, call your trusted plumber right away for a thorough inspection.

If you need plumbers in Ukiah and other nearby areas, Benjamin Franklin is your punctual plumber working 24/7 to meet your needs. Whether you need plumbing repairs, installations, and even water heater installation, we can do that for you. Call us at 707-468-0106 to book a service, and if there is any delay, it is you whom we pay.

Plumbing problems are something most homeowners encounter at least once in their stay at their house. The problem could be anything from a leaky faucet to frozen pipes. But if there’s an issue you’d always want to avoid, that’s a broken sewer line. Despite sewer lines being practically out of sight most of the time, a broken one can cause a series of headaches like flooding and contaminated groundwater. 

Don’t ignore your sewer line and call a plumber in Lakeport when things are already out of hand. The following are signs that your sewer line is damaged, so you can have it repaired before it’s too late.

Sewage Backups and Blockages

A sewer backup or blockage can happen at any time, and it’s usually because there’s obstruction or damage to your sewer line. If you happen to notice sewage backups every time you flush the toilet, then it’s time to call a maintenance specialist to have it checked. All of your home’s drains rely on the sewer, and it could be the cause of the backup. Blockages in more than one drain are a good indication that your main sewer line has a blockage. This needs to be repaired immediately before your sewer pipes burst or get damaged in the process.

Sewer Gas Odor

Smelling sewer gas in or around your home is never a good thing. Apart from the bad smell, it could possibly be an indication that there’s a crack somewhere in your sewer system. A well-maintained and sanitary sewer should be airtight at all times except on the vent stacks on your roof. If you happen to smell something terrible coming from other parts of your sewer line, then it’s probably damaged already.

Mold Problem

As many homeowners know, molds tend to thrive in damp areas, which is why you should always check for these around your house. If you happen to notice puddles or marks on your walls where mold has settled, then finding the source should be your priority. Chances are, it may be a leak in your pipes, or worse, the sewer line behind your walls. Considering that, a cracked sewer pipe behind a wall can cause humidity levels to rise, making it the perfect environment for mold growth. It should then be followed by a nasty sewer smell. Call a plumber in Clearlake as soon as possible and have it repaired to stop the mold growth.

Slow Drain

Do you ever notice the water in your shower drains really slowly? If that happens, check all the other drains if the same thing happens. A slow drain may be a symptom that a blockage is forming that could eventually lead to a sewage backup. If you’ve already tried cleaning the drains and clearing them out, but the problem is still there, then a sewage backup might be behind it. This could be caused by tree root intrusion on your main sewer line or maybe channeling or a crack on the pipes. It’s best to have a professional assess the damage to know what to do next.


Many homeowners try to fix their plumbing problems on their own. While some issues are easy enough to DIY, a damaged sewer line is something that is best left to a professional. These signs that your sewer pipes are damaged should be taken seriously and reported to your local plumbing experts as soon as possible.

Clogged or leaky pipes? Cracked sewer lines? Whatever plumbing problems you have, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is here to solve them all. Our friendly local plumbers in Willits, Ukiah, Clearlake, Middletown, and Lakeport are all ready to serve you. Contact us to request emergency repairs.

Most people and realtors will tell you that the process of selling a home is a lot harder than you’d ever expect. The moment you decide to sell your house, brace yourself for a few stressful weeks or months. 

Watching TV shows likely taught you that selling a house simply entails putting it up for sale and waiting for a deal. However, actually immersing yourself in the real estate process will show you that the reality is the complete opposite. Regardless of the type of house you’re offloading, its location, or how much it’s expected to fetch, you’ll need to account for an overwhelming amount of factors. 

As you dive head-first into the process of putting your house on the market and getting a good offer for it, you’ll run into an assortment of tasks that must be taken care of beforehand. From valuations and property photography to last-minute refurbishments and title verifications, the list of things you’ll need to manage is nearly endless. One thing you may not expect to find on this long list is septic inspections. 

Everything You Need to Know About Septic Inspections

It may not necessarily be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about selling your home, but septic inspections are, without a doubt, one of the most critical processes. You can’t sell your home without verifying that its waste tank assembly is fit for use and completely safe for your potential buyer. 

Fortunately, this doesn’t necessarily need to be such a complicated process because we’ve got you covered with this guide on everything you need should know about it: 

Defining the Septic System

To best understand what septic inspections do and why they’re so critical for the process of selling your home, let’s first understand what it is. A septic system is a type of wastewater treatment and disposal system used (and required by regulators) in areas where public sewage systems are not available. Generally, areas that require these complex plumbing systems are either in rural areas or on the outskirts of suburban and urban areas.

Generally, there are many different types of septic systems that are built and installed depending on various factors, such as:

  • The part of the country you live in
  • The type of soil your home is on 
  • How close your house is to specific bodies of water
  • The slope of your property
  • How big your lot is 

Why Is a Septic Inspection Important?

Although there are several different inspections that you’ll need to take care of when selling your home, a septic inspection is something you shouldn’t take for granted. If you fail to inspect your home’s system before selling it, you could leave yourself privy to lawsuits when it fails and bears about expenses for the next family that follows. 

By having an expert like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing take care of things, you can have peace of mind over the fact that you can, in good faith, declare your home as problem-free upon selling it! 

How Much Do Septic Inspections Cost?

While final quotes may depend on various factors related to a home, the total cost of a septic inspection is greatly dependent on the size of a tank being checked and how extensive the process needs to be. General rates, however, dictate that basic checks range from $350 to $650—a meager cost for priceless assurance! 


Selling your home is a detail-intensive and overwhelming process that entails accounting for all sorts of different factors, one of which is a proper septic inspection. By investing in the necessary solutions and being diligent, you can have a smoother process of selling your property in no time! 

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing provides professional emergency plumbing services in California. If you’ve got a leaky faucet at home that won’t stop causing problems, get in touch with us today so that we can get everything sorted out!

Are you smelling some nasty stink coming out of your drains? If you do, you are not alone. Smelly drains are a common situation in most households. Sometimes it is due to bacteria build-up or a clog. Other times, it could be because of your dry p-trap or your garbage disposal. No matter the cause, this article will teach you different methods of getting rid of the unpleasant smell. 

Method 1: Using Soapy Boiling Water

Here is how you can remove the smell using just soap and water:

  • Get a pan and fill it with water.
  • Heat it up until it boils.
  • Mix it with soap.
  • Pour the boiling soapy water down the drain. Do this slowly.
  • Wait for a few minutes before you repeat the process. 
  • Finish it off by turning on your faucet and letting the cold water run down the drain. That would help remove the hardened residues in your drain.

Method 2: Using Salt and Lemon Peels

Salt and lemon are known ingredients for cleaning and removing odor, and you can use them to remove the smell from your drain.

  • Grab a handful of salt.
  • Throw them down the garbage disposal by your kitchen sink. Make sure to target the sides to remove any possible residue. 
  • Get some lemon peels and ground them.
  • Throw them to the garbage disposal too. 
  • You would immediately smell the scent of the lemon after.

Method 3: White Vinegar and Baking Soda

These two ingredients are also famous for creating cleaning wonders in the kitchen. Use it to remove the odor and clogs from your drain too.

  • Get hot water and pour it down the drain. 
  • Get two cups of vinegar and boil it. 
  • Get one to two cups of baking soda and pour it down the drain plug hole. 
  • Once the vinegar is boiling, pour it down the drain. 
  • Expect to see a reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda. You should hear it foaming up. 
  • Allow it to stay down the drain for one to two hours. 
  • Pour another hot water down the drain. 

There is no need to wait until your drain smells before you begin this step. You can do it regularly to avoid worsening the situation.  

Method 4: Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Here is another method to improve the smell using lemon:

  • Squeeze the juice out of the lemon. 
  • Add the baking soda.
  • Pour the mixture down the drain. You should hear a fizzy bubbling action between the two. 
  • Let it stay there for an hour.
  • Pour hot water down the drain to finish it off. 

Method 5: Using Salt and Baking Soda

Here is a mixture you can by using salt and baking soda:

  • Pour equal amounts of salt and baking soda into a container.
  • Pour it down the drain. 
  • Let it stay there for a few hours. 
  • Finish it by flushing down the mixture with water.


These are just some of the many solutions you can do at home. Try them and see which ones work for your drains best. Still, the best way to avoid a stinky drain is to pay attention to it. Keep it smelling fresh by regularly cleaning it and ensuring that it is free from dirt and grime. 

If the methods here are not working for you, you might need a cleaning service from professionals. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is your reliable plumber in Hopland, CA, as well as Lakeport, Ukiah, Clearlake, Willits, and Middletown. Whether it is a problem with your drains and sewers or water heaters and others, we got you covered! Contact us today!

Septic tanks are a significant part of plumbing systems, particularly to homes that are not connected to the sewers in Hidden Valley. Septic tanks are in charge of processing all the wastewater a household generates. When your septic system malfunctions, your sewage discharge has nowhere to go and returns to your home, untreated and unsafe.

Septic tank failure, however, is a dangerous issue to tackle. You will need to hire an expert plumber to fix the problem for you. To know when to call for help for septic tank failures in the first place, we have put together the four most common septic tank problems below:

1. A Lack of Maintenance

Your septic system works by directing all your wastewater into a septic tank. Heavy impurities separate from the water inside the tank and settle to the bottom as sludge. Oil and grease, which are light contaminants, float to the surface of the wastewater as scum. After the sludge and scum have separated, the septic tank pumps the water into the drain field. The scum and sludge remain contained within the tank, preventing contamination of the groundwater.

Some of the sludge and scum in the tank naturally decompose over time, but not all of it. You can remove built-up sludge and scum by pumping out your septic tank at least once every three years. If you don’t, the scum and sludge inside the tank will continue to build up, taking too much space or perhaps beginning to drain into the soil with the treated water.

2. Excessive Use of Water

Septic tanks have a limited capacity. They can only handle a specific amount of wastewater at any given time.

Your septic tank is built to handle a specified flow rate of water, depending on the size of your home. It should discharge wastewater at the same rate or quicker. However, it cannot do that if it has taken on a lot of water. When this happens, the tank fills up before it can be emptied. Because the sewage cannot enter the full tank, it must be disposed of elsewhere. This usually leads back to you, either through your pipes or onto your lawn.

If your septic tank cannot handle your water usage, it is most likely because it is not fit for your needs. It is also possible that outside drainage or runoff flooded the septic tank, which overloaded the system.

3. Damage or Leaks

Several factors can harm septic systems. If any of the four essential components of a septic system (the pipe connecting your home to the septic tank, the tank, the drain field, and the surrounding soil) are damaged, the system could be jeopardized. Varied types of damage have various effects on the septic system. Damage that appears small at first can often progress to something more serious over time.

Tree roots are one of the most common causes of septic system failure. Tree roots can dislocate or puncture pipelines and break into the tank itself as they grow. Even if roots do not cause direct harm to the pipe or tank, they might obstruct drain lines. 

Crushing components and compacting soil, paving, or driving on the drain field can also cause major damage to the septic system.

4. Improper Septic Tank Installation

Septic systems must be buried in a specific type of soil at a specified depth. If the drain field soil is overly wet, it will not be able to properly treat sewage before discharging it. Sewage will instead reach groundwater while it is still tainted.

Your drain field will not be able to absorb all of the sewage if there isn’t enough soil beneath the bottom of the drain field trench (vertical separation distance). Every other system component must be carefully installed. The drain line or distribution box may not work properly if it’s not level. 

In conclusion

These are just four of the most common reasons for septic tank failure. There are many more you must watch out for, which is why you need the help of an expert plumber. Just like any component in the home, your septic system needs assessment and maintenance to prevent serious problems from arising. 

If you’re concerned that your septic system wasn’t installed properly, hire a licensed plumber from Benjamin Franklin Plumbing! It is critical to be as proactive as possible to avoid septic tank failures. If your septic tank fails, however, you can trust our experts to fix them. Give us a call to hire our plumbing services in Hidden Valley, California!

Cleaning out your drain may seem like a simple idea at first. Well, it can be if you know what you’re doing. Working blindly without knowing how drains work or what it’s common issues are could just lead to more problems. Make sure you maintain your drains properly by considering these dos and don’ts about drain cleaning as advised by expert plumbers.

Do: Try Flushing with Hot Water

One of the most common causes of clogged drains is the buildup of grease and gunk on your pipes. Clogs can be formed with a variety of materials, like hair, food waste, solidified grease, and other objects. Over time, this blockage gets bigger and bigger until your water supply just can’t seem to flow right through it. When this happens, pouring boiling hot water down a clogged drain can help weak and break down the caked-on grease and gunk, releasing any clogs that may have formed.

Don’t: Use Store-Bought Drain Cleaner

One natural solution to clogs that most people do is to use store-bought drain cleaners. While they can be pretty effective at doing their job, they can also damage your pipes. Avoid using these drain cleaners on a regular basis as the chemical components of those cleaners are strong enough to break down your pipes. This could cause leaks and other costly problems on your drain pipes.

Do: Install a Drain Filter

Drain filters are great for preventing future clogs and headaches down the road. They don’t actually help remove any existing clogs, but they do make sure it doesn’t happen in the future. For kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and shower and tub drains can all benefit from having a filter of their own. Filters usually sit at the top of the drain and let water fall through its tiny holes while catching any stray hairs, food waste, and other objects.

Don’t: Snaking Your Drains Yourself

A drain snake is typically a tool used to fish out and break down any clog-induced blockages. These are usually made from flexible steel cables that can be fed through your drain to clear or pull out food, hair, and other debris. The downside to snaking your own drains is the risk of snapping your drain snake when it gets caught inside the pipe. When this happens, tiny slivers of steel in the pipe can cause significant damage to it or, worse, cause personal injury to your family.

Do: Have it Professionally Cleaned

Of course, no matter how hard you try to clean and maintain your drain, nothing beats having a professional take a look at your drains. A professional plumber from Clearlake, CA, will be able to use specialist tools that can easily and safely remove any debris that may be causing a blockage. Plumbing services are relatively inexpensive and can provide all the necessary services to help solve all your plumbing problems in a jiffy. Professional plumbers also use a sewer jet tool equipped with a high-pressure hose fixed with a jetting nozzle that can easily reach underground. This is used to funnel the water through and clear out your sewer lines.


A clogged or blocked drain can be a major inconvenience to anyone. They also have the potential to damage your plumbing system, which could lead to costly repairs. Make sure you follow these steps to prevent that from happening.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing has a team of plumbers in Clearlake, CA, capable of providing quality plumbing and excellent customer service to our clients. We make sure to do the job right and on time, all the time. If you’re looking for licensed, bonded, and insured plumbers in Clearlake, CA, feel free to call us. Contact us today for drain cleaning services!

For most people, the plumbing system isn’t exactly a priority whenever they plan on doing a renovation project. It’s almost always about a new set of cabinets, maybe a glass shower enclosure, or new flooring, but it’s never about upgrading the plumbing. Whenever you neglect your plumbing, pipes suffer from the elements and start to corrode. Over time, leaks begin to pop up out of nowhere. Before these problems turn into a disaster, you should look for these telltale signs that you need to call plumbing services for an upgrade.

Water Discoloration

Discolored water is a serious concern, especially if you’re living in a highly urbanized area. Seeing brown or dark water means that your pipes are probably starting to corrode, leaving rust as the water runs through them. If left untreated, mineral deposits will begin to build up and clog the pipes. Eventually, those pipes will start to leak and finally burst because of all the pressure! You better call a highly qualified plumbing technician as soon as you see signs of murky, discolored water.

Dripping Faucets and Showerheads

A dripping faucet doesn’t seem that alarming at first, but it can cause some headaches and can even drive up your water bill if you don’t know how to fix a leaky faucet. Usually, taps start to leak because the washer or gasket inside has become too worn out that it’s beyond repair.

If your showerhead is leaking, the showerhead’s connection with the pipe stem is probably just loose and can be easily fixed. However, if tightening doesn’t solve the issue, then rust or degradation must be keeping it from tightening enough. When this happens, it’s probably time to replace your showerhead.

Low Water Pressure

Having low water pressure could be caused by a lot of factors. One common reason is the municipal water supply probably reduced the pressure because of repairs. But beyond that, there might be a clogged or leaking pipe that’s causing the pressure to weaken. Be wary of leaking pipes because it can cause wood to rot and encourage mold growth. The easiest fix is to first try using a drain cleaner and see if there are any changes in the water pressure. Otherwise, it’s time to call the local plumbing company.

Mold or Mildew

Undetected leaks are almost a guarantee that mold and mildew will start to grow out of the affected area. Mold concentrations typically occur in bathrooms or even in a leaky faucet near your garden shed. Wherever the leak is, you’re sure to find mold starting to grow out of it! 

Mold can be a difficult thing to address and should be handled by a professional mold remediation specialist. As for the leaky pipes, if you’re still unable to locate the source of the leak, then you should probably call a plumber before the problem gets worse.


These signs are perfect indicators of a plumbing system that needs a serious upgrade or even a complete replacement. Whether they’re leaking faucets or discolored water, you should find time to have the problem fixed as soon as you can. Of course, the easiest way to fix any plumbing issue is to call an experienced professional.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is your friendly neighborhood plumbing company ready to serve our clients in Lake and Mendocino counties. We provide emergency drain cleaning, repairs, and plumbing installation services in a quick and efficient manner. Trust our team to be punctual and professional at all times. Contact us for emergency services!

Spring is almost here, and you’re probably getting ready to do some spring cleaning! Besides clearing clutter from your home, you also might want to do some spring cleaning on your pipes and sewers. 

Your sewer line is a crucial aspect of your home that is responsible for wastewater removal. If it becomes blocked, wastewater will revert back to your home—and that’s nasty!

Spring is an excellent time to clean sewer lines because most people spend their time indoors. In turn, there’s a higher usage of tubs, toilets, etc. Not yet convinced? Here are the reasons sewer spring cleaning is a good idea: 

Get Rid of Food Waste and Grease

Sewer lines don’t just take care of your toilets, but they deal with everything that’s being flushed out of your home, including dishwater. If you notice your kitchen sink draining slowly or not at all, then there’s a problem. 

Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners still drain oil from cooking and other stuff down the kitchen sink, which isn’t advisable. Your kitchen sinks should not be used to pour away any types of oil and food particles because they can block the sewer from flushing out everything. Spring cleaning your sewer lines can help address this problem. 

Resolve Nasty Odors

If you notice a funky smell coming from a drain or bad odors around the outside of your house, then it’s likely you have sewer issues. As spring draws to a close, rainwater and heat from the sun can make odors smell even more. Therefore, now is the best time to have a professional plumbing company inspect your sewer lines and plumbing system. 

Address Water Coming Up

An obvious sign it’s time to clean your sewer lines is when water starts to rise out of the drains instead of flowing down. This is when the sewer line backs up into the lowest drain in your house, which means if you could flush a toilet, your tub could start flooding with water. When you notice this happening, it’s time to call a plumber. 

Get Rid of Slow Drains

When there’s a blockage in your pipes, you could experience slow drains and even hear a gurgle. This happens when there’s a slow flow of water and air tries to escape the blockage, resulting in the gurgling sound. You could even see bubbles or debris push up out of the drain. If you notice this, then it’s time for sewer lines spring cleaning! 


If you’re about to do some spring cleaning in your home, do your sewer pipes as well. Now is the best time to do a thorough cleaning to ensure that your home is in its best condition. Even if you don’t notice any of these issues in your home, it’s an excellent idea to have a plumber inspect your plumbing system. That way, any issues will be caught early before they turn into a huge problem. Indeed, you don’t want to deal with sewer line problems because they could turn nasty! 

Spring cleaning your sewer lines can also help resolve any of the issues listed above. So, what are you waiting for? 

Call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for sewer cleaning services in California. We ensure your plumbing system is in good working condition by addressing plumbing problems and doing regular maintenance.

Drain clogging often happens when debris and foreign objects get stuck in drain pipes. It may also be a buildup of residue that makes a pipe impassable. Some homeowners do not always check their drains regularly; thus, the clogging worsens over time. This is when you need to get reliable drain cleaning services to solve the issue. If you wait too long, your pipes might burst, crack, leak, and result in immensely costly repairs.

Common Causes of Drain Clogging

Here are some of the typical causes of a clogged drain:

– Hair (it binds with sticky substances like )grease

– Food waste

– Soap (some traditional soaps contains fat and oil)

– Mineral buildup

– Dirt and mud

– Accumulation of toilet paper

– Small objects

– Tree roots that may cause leaks and cracks in the pipes

Some of these items can be removed using a drain cleaner available in your local hardware store. However, when a drain has been clogged for a long time, you should contact an expert who can provide the right solutions.

What to Do With Unclogged Drains?

One thing that homeowners dread is when the water in their drain does not go down. That means something might be wrong. When it comes to clogged drains, it is crucial to understand your best options.

When your drains at home are clogged, you can do the following :

1. You can use boiling water to dissolve fats and other organic matter in the sink. However, this is not applicable if you have PVC pipes.

2. Use the plunger method to remove the clog. Choose a cup-shaped plunger and check it regularly to avoid further accumulation.

3. Use baking soda and vinegar. A mixture of these two can be used as an effective way to remove clogs from the drain.

4. Have local plumbers enact regular drain maintenance to ensure that it will not result in other problems.

5. Dispose of or put left-over foods in a compost pit so that you can use them for other purposes.

There are other ways on how to unclog a drain at your home. However, it is still best to work with the experts.


As the adage goes: prevention is always better than cure. It is better to avoid clogging your drains than paying to fix them; it is also less expensive. It is vital to practice good habits to prevent clogged drains.

Scrape the dishes to remove food waste before washing them. Doing so will get rid of the food waste trapped in the drains. Make sure to remove hair and other debris. Practice proper garbage disposal in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house. You can also have regular maintenance of the drains by pouring hot water on them every week.

No matter how excellent your appliances are, there are still instances when your drains will clog. When you do not pay proper attention to your plumbing, this can result in bigger problems and large expenses. 

For excellent plumbing services, it is recommended to choose a company that is quick and reliable. You can rely on our competent team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Call us now at (707)-263-1629!

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