Few homes ever escape the occasional drain clog. Misuse, accidents, or just bad luck can all lead to drains that run slow or back up. If you're handy, you can often clear typical clogs with simple home remedies or mechanical methods, such as plunging or snaking. Unfortunately, not all clogs are quite so cooperative.
A clog might be the result of an ongoing problem, such as residue on the walls of a pipe, limescale build-up, or tree roots. Clearing these clogs without addressing the underlying issue might get your drain moving, only for the problem to return in a few weeks or months. If you've got a stubborn clog that keeps coming back, keep reading to discover three ways that ignoring it can lead to costlier repairs.
1. Caustic Cleaners Wreck Plumbing
Over the counter chemical drain work by dissolving organic material. This method can be useful for clearing a clog, but these chemicals are dangerous to the people using them and harmful for pipes. In general, you should treat chemical drain cleaners as a nuclear option. They can work once, in an emergency, but you might be facing severe collateral damage.
If you've got a clog that keeps returning, then it's likely that there's another issue at play. Repeatedly using chemical cleaners might be sufficient to allow you to use your sink, but you may also be destroying your pipes in the process. These cleaners can damage both PVC and metal drain pipes, so the long-term cost of using them is often much higher than calling in a professional drain cleaner.
2. Tricky Trees Flood Homes
You might be aware that tree roots can infiltrate sewer plumbing, but did you know that this isn't necessarily an all-or-nothing problem? As tree roots make their way into your pipes, they effectively create obstacles to block the flow of wastewater. These obstructions might not do much at first, but they can collect waste and debris over time, slowing and eventually stopping your drain lines.
Standard cleaning methods might work to clear the immediate blockage, but they won't deal with the roots themselves. Continuing to clear blockages as they come up will allow the roots to grow bigger, eventually leading to failed sewer lines and costly repairs. If the problem is bad enough, you may even have a flood of sewage backing up into your home.
3. Limescale Layers Block Drains
If you have hard water and metal pipes, then it's likely that you have at least some calcium layers building up on the inner walls of your drains. Over time, this limescale can reduce the efficiency of your drain pipes, make clogs worse, or lead to complete blockages. Ignoring limescale for too long can leave your pipes entirely blocked up, forcing you to replace the affected sections.
Although drain clogs may seem like minor annoyances, they can be the result of more severe problems. Professional drain cleaning can help you to avoid these problems before they break your budget.