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Blocked drains are a common problem for homeowners. All sorts of household waste, including hair, food, plasters and other materials that should never enter a plughole can amass over time and eventually clog drains completely.
The natural reaction for many homeowners is to deal with blockages themselves. However, there are several mistakes commonly made by householders that can lead to serious and often expensive problems.
Here, we explore four of the most common risks of trying to unblock a drain yourself and how they can be avoided.
The last thing that any homeowner wants is a sewage backup. Not only does it smell horrendous, but it is also full of viruses and bacteria that can cause serious illnesses.
Tools like plumbing snakes are a popular choice when it comes to clearing household drains. However, in older homes with galvanised pipes, they can easily scrape the sides and create cracks that eventually cause the pipes to break.
For several homeowners, the immediate response to a blocked drain is to buy the most powerful drain cleaner available. Unfortunately, a lot of the chemical drain cleaners on the market are so powerful that they attack more than just the cause of a blockage. Some can erode the cement that holds your piping together, causing irreparable damage to your drain pipes and any other equipment that you’ve attempted to use.
In many cases, drain cleaner doesn’t fix the problem at all. Rather than totally eradicating the cause of a blockage, it just provides a temporary fix until the drain clogs up again. If you have pets or children, you should also consider the risk of having drain cleaner around the home as it can cause respiratory irritation, chemical burns and other serious health problems.
It’s not just drain cleaners that pose a threat to your health. There are many types of bacteria found in sewage and wet sinks that also carry serious health risks. For this reason, anyone trying to fix a drain themselves should always wear appropriate safety equipment. Goggles, PVC gloves and a face mask will protect you from bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella and campylobacter jejuni, which is one of the primary causes of foodborne disease in the UK.
Putrefying matter also produces methane, carbon monoxide and ammonia, which can be particularly dangerous in confined spaces.
Some eager homeowners purchase a domestic set of drain rods to tackle blockages themselves. More often than not, however, they’re not as robust as professional drain rods and regularly come undone, meaning a few rods get left down the drain. In extreme circumstances, a road may need digging up to retrieve them. It can also require a professional to first unblock the drain and then use a specialist tool, along with a CCTV drain camera, to get the rods out. This ultimately results in a more expensive invoice than if a professional had been called out straightaway.
If you’ve cleared a drain before, you may well be able to tackle the problem yourself. Given the risks involved, however, leaving it to the pros might still be the best option. We can get your plumbing system up and running again, make the repairs you need and prevent any future damage. If you experience a sewage backup, give us a call straight away, and we’ll be there to provide the emergency, expert assistance you need.