Troubleshooting Plumbing Blockages in Older Houses
Your older style home may have plenty of charm and character, but unfortunately, the pipes and plumbing system may be struggling to perform adequately. Slow running drains and blockages can be a frustrating and common occurrence for owners of older homes. Fortunately, there are ways to troubleshoot your drains and prevent future blockages before you need to call a plumber.
Tools You Need
A drum auger and cordless drill are all you need to tackle your stubborn drains.
The drum auger is an essential tool, as a plunger and hand snake may prove to be inadequate for your situation. They are readily available from your local hardware store and for a small outlay they will save you hundreds of dollars.
The auger is a plumbing snake wrapped inside a plastic drum and is powered by a cordless drill attached at the base. You operate a trigger to slowly spin the cable hose with a steel head down the pipe.
The power of the auger over the hand snake makes it much easier to use, and it works much better at getting around bends.
How to Operate the Auger
To get that strange satisfaction and sense of achievement when pulling out a mass of gunk from your bathtub drain or kitchen sink, take these easy steps:
Prepare by spreading some old towels or newspapers around the drain and pulling on some protective gloves, and have an empty plastic bucket ready for depositing the gunk from the blockage.
Carefully push the end of the auger into the drain opening and push on the trigger.
Continue feeding the cable hose until you feel some resistance. This means you have either reached the blockage or a bend in the pipe.
Stop the motor and put it into reverse to back out a few meters of cable.
Switch back into forward mode to rotate the cable further down the pipe.
Repeat this back and forward action until the blockage is cleared away.
Remove the cable and pour several buckets of hot water down the drain.
Tip: Before you replace the clean-out plug, warp some teflon tape around the threads. This makes it easier to unscrew in the future.
Tips to Avoid Future Blockages
The biggest enemy of your kitchen sink is the grease and cooking oil that accumulates on the walls of the pipes. Be super vigilant to keep these away from the sink. As you would expect, hair is the major adversary in the bathroom.
Use these guidelines to ensure you have free flowing sinks:
Make a practice of disposing any large quantities of kitchen oils and grease by allowing them to solidify and then scraping them into a plastic bag to put into the rubbish collection.
Dispose of small quantities of oil safely by thoroughly diluting it in hot water with plenty of detergent, and then pouring it down the sink.
Take care when draining rice not to allow any grains to escape into the sink. The grains will swell, then accumulate and stick to the pipes.
In the bathroom, the simple process of installing a hair strainer in your bathroom shower will help prevent blockages formed by loose hair.
Fortunately, you don't need a lot of expensive or complicated tools to perform drain clearing, and just about anyone is capable of success. However, it is quite understandable that the task may not suit everyone.
It can become unpleasant work. Reaching into difficult places with restricted access, facing disagreeable looking and smelling gunk is not for the faint hearted. Besides, not everyone aspires to be a DIY enthusiast.
That's why it's reassuring that we can call on the professionals if needed. After all, an expert will get the job done much faster. A local professional will be familiar with the older style houses in the area. They have all the right tools, parts and experience to take care of your special plumbing issues. So if you feel you cannot accomplish these steps or run into any problems, contact a local plumbing company, such as Grace Plumbing, Gas & Hot Water.