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Do’s and Don’ts of Do-It-Yourself Drain Cleaning
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Do’s and Don’ts of Do-It-Yourself Drain Cleaning

We’ve all been there – your bathroom sink has been running slow for almost a month and you’ve been meaning to either pick up some liquid drain cleaner or call a plumber to take care of it…but it still drains (eventually) so this “to-do” has made its way down your list. Then, before you know it, it’s not draining at all and you’re in a quite a pickle. Does this sound familiar? Now it’s decision time…try to tackle this yourself, or call a plumber. If you’re the type of person to take on your own projects, like clearing a drain, we’ve got some tips for you. If you’re not a “do-it-yourselfer,” give us a call.

Liquid Drain Cleaners

Liquid drain cleaners such as Draino or Liquid-Plumr are to be used when a drain is slow, not when it’s completely stopped up. If that drain is already stopped up adding the liquid drain cleaner will not help your case, but add to that build-up. It’s also good to keep in mind that liquid drain cleaning products are not created to remove the waste that may be clogging your toilet, nor is it recommended to use drain cleaner in your dishwasher as the chemicals of the liquid may damage the rubber used for draining the dishwasher.
Have a slow kitchen drain and don’t have time to pick up a liquid cleaner? A quick and effective way to get it going again is to run the hot water and it will melt away the grease that is most likely slowing down that drain.

Rented Augers (aka Snakes)

If you’re really handy and want to try renting an auger and cabling out that drain yourself, please use with caution. You can get injured by the cable if it’s not used properly. First, know where to start. Cleanouts are called cleanouts for a reason. Snaking a drain from a cleanout is effective and easier than any other access point in your home. If you don’t know where all of your cleanouts are, ask your plumber the next time he comes to your home. When you’re ready to feed the cable through the line, you want to get the snake as close to the clog as possible before you start. When clearing a kitchen drain it’s a good idea to make sure you have at least 40 to 50 feet of cable to work with, a tub drain requires only 10 to 15 feet.

The most important thing to remember is to keep the length of cable in the air at a minimum. You’ll have cable in the machine and cable in the drain, and the amount of exposed cable shouldn’t exceed 18 inches, preferably kept at a foot. Having too much cable exposed can cause injury to even the most experienced plumber. We like you and we don’t want to see you get hurt.

Leaving it to the Professionals

Whether you have a slow drain or a drain that’s completely stopped up, calling a professional plumber will be the most effective way to solve the problem. If you’re not a do-it-yourself kind of guy/gal and the clog is passed of the point of being slow and has come to a full stop, calling a plumber will save you time and aggravation. A trained professional will have all the equipment and experience needed to clear that drain and can even determine what the cause of the drain problem is by doing a sewer camera inspection.

If you’re not sure if the project can be something you can take care of on your own or not, give us a call at 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469). We’re always happy to chat and give you our recommendations.


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We had other companies come out for estimates on what was considered a major job with jackhammers and replacing cast iron pipes under the house… having been stung before, we wanted another estimate just to make sure we were making an informed decision. The prior estimates went up to $21,000!
Bill Howe sent us an amazing veteran plumber, Dashawn and his co- worker Anthony. Dashawn did a thorough check of the problem, explained what he thought was needed … he did a final check and we were able to see for ourselves what was the problem. He recommended a complete cleaning to de-scale the pipes, and not the major work we dreaded. Thanks to his solid analysis and patience in making sure we saw what he saw, the issue was resolved completely, and saved us thousands of unnecessary work. None of the other estimates included the cleaning; only the major repairs. Thanks to Dashawn’s knowledge, professionalism and honesty, we’re Bill Howe customers.

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Great company to work with.
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