Sacramento is a city of old neighborhoods filled with historic homes, from the Pocket area to Oak Park, Midtown to East Sac. These classic homes have so much character—and such unique architecture. They’re all absolutely beautiful. Well, at least on the outside.
Inside walls and underneath floors, though, many of these houses have problems, specifically with the plumbing. As I’ve mentioned before, Sacramento’s historic homes’ pipes may be failing en masse. I can’t count the number of calls I get from Sacramento homeowners asking for drain cleaning plumbing advice—and it’s not just historic houses. Many newer homes built in the 60s, and even in the past decade, haven’t had the proper drain, pipe, and plumbing updates or maintenance over the years.
It’s important for homeowners in Sacramento to know when DIY plumbing is a bad idea, and when it’s time to call a plumber. Waiting too long can result in expensive problems like ruptured pipes, sewage backing up into your bathtub, or years of ineffective drains, all of which bring you extra frustration and costly service charges—and nobody wants that. Let me fill you in on what I’ve learned as a Sacramento drain cleaning expert.
The Dangers of DIY Drain Cleaning: Sacramento Homeowner Advice
The one thing in common everyone calling for advice on drain cleaning in Sacramento seems to share is that he or she has at least dabbled with a do-it-yourself repair solution or two. I don’t know what it is about drain problems that inspire people to take things into their own hands, but these makeshift solutions often make problems worse, sometimes even creating new problems where there were none.
Some common hazards of trying DIY drain cleaning solutions are:
- Dangerous chemicals: This is the biggest one. Using the wrong chemicals to try to clean your drains can cause them to burn through your pipes, resulting in damage and leaks that only a professional will be able to repair. And, if you don’t have experience with chemicals, working with them can be dangerous, especially in a small enclosed space where you’re likely to inhale the fumes.
- Hard physical labor: Plumbing, even something as seemingly simple as drain cleaning, is hard work. There are often pipes to be carried, walls or floors to be opened, and rusty pipe joints that need to be loosened. You may be in great shape, but even that won’t fully prepare you for some of the physicality of a DIY plumbing job, especially in an old Sacramento house where the walls are sturdier and pipes heavier—and suffering from more rust.
- The “unknown”: With most clogged drains, the obstruction is out of sight. Professional plumbers use video equipment to get a view of the inside of your pipes but, with DIY jobs, you’re just guessing. This can lead to purchasing costly tools and products that won’t actually help with your drain cleaning in the end.
Drain Cleaning in Sacramento Homes: Safe DIY Solutions
Hazards aside, I actually do recommend that you try a few safe DIY solutions before you call a plumber if you need a drain cleaning in your Sacramento home. These solutions are simple, even if they’re only effective for the most minor of clogs.
As I mentioned above, one of the things that can make drain cleaning so frustrating, is that the source of an obstruction is usually unseen and unknown, but trying these quick techniques will let you know whether or not you’re dealing with a serious problem, or just something like a little extra hair in the drain.
- Boiling water: This is the first thing I tell any caller who needs a drain cleaning, no matter how old their Sacramento house and pipes are: pour boiling water down the drain. If this doesn’t work, it may be a sign that you’ll eventually have to call in a pro.
- The drain snake: This small piece of equipment is inexpensively available at almost any hardware store. It’s low tech, basically a long metal rope with a spiral at the end. You just stick it deeply into the drain, then pull it out, being careful that sludge from the pipes doesn’t splatter.
- A plunger: A good old fashioned plunger, the type most households keep near their toilets, is also a viable option, even if a clog is in a shower or sink drain. However, as with the first two DIY solutions, if this doesn’t work right away, I’d suggest it’s time to call a professional plumber in.
Drain Cleaning in Your Sacramento Home: When to Call a Pro
When it comes to drain cleaning in your Sacramento home, whether it’s a historic house or a newer model that’s having trouble flushing an obstruction, there often comes a time when a homeowner realizes they are in over their head. If you’ve tried some—or all—of the suggestions above and you still can’t figure out whether your drains are effectively flowing, it’s time to call a plumbing professional.
The advantages of calling a pro are:
#1. Professional plumbers have camera equipment that lets them see what’s actually happening in your pipes.
#2. They can quickly determine whether you’re dealing with a clog, a broken pipe, or something like river sediment that’s restricting your hot water.
#3. A pro also has the know-how to ensure that you won’t hurt yourself, or your pipes, by pouring chemicals into them.
#4. And, of course, bringing in an experienced plumber is a lot less work than doing your own plumbing repairs.
Being a homeowner in Sacramento is a wonderful thing. In addition to those historic houses, we have great tree-lined streets, a location that lets us take weekend trips to both Tahoe and The Bay, and neighborhoods with real character.
You don’t want to spend big portions of your weekends researching DIY drain cleaning advice if you’re a Sacramento homeowner; there’s no shame in bringing in a pro to help you clear up a clog. In fact, considering all the hazards of DIY jobs, as well as the utter lack of a guarantee that you’ll be able to even identify the problem yourself, I’d say it’s the smart move. Living in a beautiful, historic home is quite a bit cozier when the drains actually, well, drain.
Don’t risk the dangers of DIY plumbing. Contact the experienced pros at Bell Brothers for all your Sacramento drain cleaning needs.
Image courtesy Unsplash user Jessica Furtney