How To Handle A Clogged Drain In An Older House

Posted on: 10 February 2015

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Houses that are even a couple of decades old can encounter drainage issues. But ones that are a century or older in age, like Victorian houses, commonly have drain problems that are delicate and require sensitive handling of the issue.

With changes to plumbing pipes over time, from steel and lead to copper and polybutelyne, then finally to PVC, it can be difficult to determine the course of action for your drainage issue. So if you live in a house with plumbing older than 40 years and are encountering issues with your drain, there are a few steps you need to take to get things flowing again.

Try Natural Solutions

Plumbing in any old house can be degraded by chemical solutions you'll find at the supermarket, causing further problems that can later be catastrophic. One natural solution that's helpful for almost any pipe (that isn't damaged) is using a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water to create a surfactant. Try a homemade cleaning solution with a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and vinegar in your clogged drain, cover and wait a few hours, then pour about a cup of boiling water into the drain. If drains are connected, make sure to cover both while the process is stewing.

Attempt Home Triage

Using a plunger over the clogged drain is another way to dislodge the plug using suction, but it requires that you cover all connected drains and overflows at the same time. Plunging can be attempted without the cleaning solution, but using the solution first will help to dissolve particulates and hair, as well as break the seal on the plug to your pipes.

If you've gone through the process of cleaning and plunging, using an auger can help you hook the plug and reel it in. A hand auger can reach clogs from 25 feet all the way to 100, so if you don't already have one, you may want to consider investing in one. Augers are effective at catching distant clogs, but if you can see the clog, trying to hook it with a wire coat hanger can save you a trip to the hardware store.

Call A Professional

Some clogs in older houses can't be remedied without a plumber, even with the most enthusiastic attempts. This is simply because old plumbing can be subjected to degradation or root penetration in exterior drainage pipes. Clay, lead, and steel pipes are susceptible to degradation and damage, as well as particulate accumulation over time, where PVC can be cleared with even harsh chemicals.

Calling a professional can help you determine the extent of your drainage problem, where the source may be remote from the problem site and require plumbing replacement. Replacement can cost thousands of dollars, but can save you from routine problems that will only get worse over time. Plumbing assessment is also advised if you believe you have lead pipes, as lead can leach into your water supply and be dangerous for potable purposes.

For more information, contact Arrow Plumbing & Drain Clean or a similar company.