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Handyman Services - Install Faucet

Handyman Services

You wash your face after your morning shave, and as you let out the water you notice it's draining slowly. Is this the beginning of a blockage in the basin's trap, or is there a more serious problem with your main sewer line? It's best not to wait to find out. Taking immediate action to resolve a potential blockage can save you money when hiring a plumber later on.

Clearing a basin or tub drain may cost as little as the price of a plunger and 10 minutes of mild exertion, but calling in a professional plumber to snake your main line and clear a severe blockage will cost between $129 and $286 . Understanding when to fall back on the skills of a pro, when to undertake the work yourself, and what steps to take to prevent future blockages makes it easier to manage your finances while also keeping your home plumbing operational.

When to Hire a Pro
It's not always necessary to hire a professional to resolve a blocked drain. Before you start phoning plumbers to get quotes, try to determine the cause and location of the blockage. If water fails to drain in the kitchen, food debris is the most common cause, while in the bathroom it's most likely hair and soap scum. These are relatively minor blockages and are often easily resolved with a plunger. However, if the blockage is affecting multiple plumbing fixtures then there is probably a blockage in your main sewage line. A blocked main line is a serious issue that may result in flooding if you continue to use water in your home, so immediately stop using your water supply and contact an emergency drain cleaning service.

Assuming you have an isolated blockage in one room in your home, you have the option of trying a few DIY options before bringing in the pros. You should only attempt these steps if you are confident in your abilities and know enough about your plumbing system to work on it without causing additional problems:

Using a plunger: Plungers create a seal around the blocked drain and use suction to free the blockage.
Using a chemical drain cleaner: A more severe blockage may require the use of a chemical drain cleaner to dissolve the debris and sludge inside the pipes. Such products often create noxious fumes while in use and can cause chemical burns if they come into contact with your skin. Acid-based cleaners may corrode the pipes, or even remove the finish on your drain if used without care. When using any chemical cleaner, always wear protective glasses and gloves, and follow all of the manufacturer's instructions on the label. If in doubt, call a professional instead.
Removing the trap: If you can easily access the pipes under the basin, you can remove the U-shaped trap to gain access to the blockage. When you do this, ensure you have a bucket under the basin to catch any water. Some traps are easy to remove by hand, while others require a wrench or some slip-joint pliers.
Snaking the drain: Small household snakes are relatively inexpensive and simple to use. For blockages in the main line, you need a much longer industrial snake.

How to Prevent Future Clogs
It's better to prevent blockages in the first place rather than deal with them once they become an issue. A common option for keeping drains working optimally is to regularly flush them with a store-bought chemical drain cleaner. However, over time the harsh chemicals may corrode pipes and the finishes on your fixtures. Where possible, use a non-corrosive bacteriological drain cleaner to eliminate germs and clear sludge without damaging your pipes.

A more cost-effective solution for cleaning drains involves flushing the pipes with hot water, baking soda, and vinegar. Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain, and then pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda. After a few minutes, pour in a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of very hot water. Leave the solution for up to 10 minutes, and then flush through with more hot water. Once you have cleaned your drains, try to keep them free from debris. Avoid scraping too much food into your garbage disposal, and regularly remove clumps of loose hair from your shower and tub drains. Where possible, invest in metal mesh screens that fit inside drains to prevent hair and food from entering the pipes.

A blocked drain could be a mild inconvenience or a disaster that leaves your home water-logged, so take action at the first sign of a clog. Clean your pipes regularly with baking soda and vinegar, and invest in a plunger.

If you do need the services of a plumber, shop around for the best rates. It may be difficult to get an accurate price without knowing the nature of the blockage. Aim to get at least three quotes to choose from, but remember that you get what you pay for. It's worth considering paying slightly more to hire a licensed, insured plumber with satisfied customers and excellent reviews. Before agreeing on a price, make sure you understand what the quote covers. Nobody likes an unexpected bill for additional services and parts that weren't included in the original assessment.