There is nothing worse than a blocked drain. Read below to find out why you need professional help

We all know that there are some things that really shouldn’t be flushed down a toilet or disposed of down a drain. Some of these things are an obvious no-no, and some of them might not seem to be so bad, since we’ve all probably flushed a wet-wipe or two.

There are also the stories of truly bizarre things that have made their way to the sewer via the toilet; like the pet alligator that was flushed away when it grew too big. Children of the 90’s might still believe that flushing reptiles down the toilet will turn them into mutated crime fighting superheroes, but most of us now know that all that will happen, is you’ll have a dead turtle blocking the drain.

Sometimes when a toilet or sink is draining slowly or not at all, it’s easy enough to fix ourselves with a chemical drain cleaner or with a plunger and a heavy arm workout. But what about those instances when we can’t unblock a drain ourselves? When do we need to call in the professionals?

DO IT YOURSELF

A chemical drain cleaner is perfectly sufficient when your drain has become clogged with organic matter, such as hair or food waste. As with many things in life, prevention is better than cure, and it’s better to stop these problems before they start, so you might want to install a drain guard to catch these items before they make their way into your pipes.

A drain guard can be bought at hardware stores and supermarkets, and installation is as easy as sliding the device into the drainage hole. If you’re using a chemical cleaner, remember to use it sparingly, and to check what kind of pipes you actually have, since some cleaners will corrode plastic pipes. If your toilet isn’t draining properly, you can also pour boiling water into the toilet bowl, as the heat will often remove small blockages and return everything to normal.

TIME TO CALL A PROFESSIONAL

If you’ve cleaned your pipes with a chemical cleaner and the clog seems to return within a matter of days, it’s a sign that the problem is worse than you may have suspected. You should also call a professional plumber if you notice persistent bad smells around drains, which might indicate that a sewage backup is imminent, and can lead to dirty toilet and drain water making its way back into your sinks.

It can be tempting to try to fix all plumbing issues by yourself, and with smaller issues, it’s often not a problem. It’s important to remember, however, that do-it-yourself repair often only scratches the surface of the problem, and you might end up unscrewing large sections of your pipes and then being unable to put them back together again.

Like all sections of your home, drains should be well maintained and cared for, since they’ll give you a major headache when they stop working.