Answering Your Questions About Blocked Drains in the Home

Drains that get blocked persistently should never be overlooked, as this can signal a serious problem with the home's plumbing, and the need for some major repairs. You also want to be careful about trying to manage this type of persistent problem on your own, as it's easy for homeowners to make simple and common mistakes in trying to clear clogs, and which can actually wind up damaging the home's plumbing pipes and connectors. Note a few commonly asked questions about blocked drains in the home, so you can address them properly and even stop these blockages from occurring. 

Will switching to liquid soap in the bathroom stop clogs?

Soap scum will cling to hair, skin cells, and other such debris in the bathtub drain, and then dry and harden against the pipe walls, causing clogs. Switching to a liquid soap and one with lots of lotions may seem like you could avoid this problem, but this isn't necessarily the case. Liquid soaps can still cling to hair and other debris, and may harden when in plumbing pipes, as these liquids then easily dry out.

Oils that are common in liquid soaps may also cling to pipe walls, since this oil doesn't mix with water and won't be easily washed away. A better solution to stop clogs in the bathtub is to add a trap over the drain, which will catch hair and other debris and keep it from going down the drain in the first place.

Can a homeowner maintain their own plumbing pipes?

A homeowner can certainly maintain plumbing pipes and prevent clogs by ensuring the home's water pressure is not too high and adding thick dish soap down the drain on occasion, to help wash away solid material. However, avoid using an auger or sound blaster, or other such plumbing tool, in order to clean pipes, as these tools require some skill and knowhow in order to be used properly. Have a plumber clean out the home's pipes every year or as often as needed instead, and this can keep them free of clogs.

Can septic cleaners be used on home plumbing pipes?

Septic tank cleaners are meant to break down the solid material that is in a septic tank, and this caustic chemical can damage porcelain fixtures and standard home plumbing pipes. Have a professional clean a septic tank and address the home's plumbing pipes separately, as needed, rather than assuming these cleansers are safe to use on standard pipes.