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Clogged bathtub drain when to call a plumber and when to day

While a professional plumber can handle all types of bathtub drain clogs, not all drain clogs need to be tackled by a professional. When a bathtub drain starts backing up, it can seem like the only solution is to bring in an expert immediately, but there are DIY methods to remove a bathtub drain clog that almost any homeowner can use. Determining if it’s better to employ an at-home DIY method over making a call to a professional can be tricky, though, so keep these important factors in mind when figuring out your next move while facing down the rising water in the bathtub.

Speedy Spread or Slow and Steady

Tracking the speed and spread of the water backed-up by the drain clog is a good first indicator of how serious of a bathtub clog you’re facing. If the water is rising and spreading at a quick pace, and it seems like it has no intention of letting up, the best bet is to seek professional help as quickly as possible. The rapid spread of backed-up water is usually a sign that a more major issue has developed in the bathtub plumbing that needs to be addressed immediately before the water rises enough to cause serious property damage.

If the water from the bathtub is backing up gradually, and if the rising water level appears more contained, or doesn’t appear to be threatening the rest of the immediate area around the bathtub, then chances are that the issue can be resolved by a DIY fix. Generally, water backing up gradually over the course of a week or two is the result of a surface-level clog, usually consisting mostly of hair. This kind of bathtub clog can be easily dislodged using either some sort of wire hook (such as an old wire hanger, or a specific wire hook for plumbing found at a hardware store) or a plumbing auger (also known as a plumbing snake) to catch the majority of the mass clogging the drain, and pulling the mass free. If there are still minor draining issues after the mass is removed, pour a ½ cup of baking soda, followed by 1 full cup of vinegar down the drain. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain. This will hopefully flush the drain.

One Drain, Two Drain, Three Drain, Four

Though it may have first been caught in the bathtub, it’s important to figure out if the drain clog is isolated to that single drain, or if the issue is taking place throughout the household. Look for signs such as slow draining and standing water throughout the drains in the house. If multiple drains are being affected, this is another sign that a more major issue is taking place, potentially with a larger clog in the home’s sewer line. Unclogging a sewer line can be a much more involved process that takes requires specialized training and tools to fix, and is an issue best left to a plumbing professional.

Finding that the issue is contained to just the bathtub can make this another potential DIY drain clog fix. If there is a small amount of standing water in the bathtub, try employing a tool usually associated with the toilet — the plunger. The mechanics here are the same, putting the plunger over the drain itself, and plunging vigorously until the blockage is forced clear.

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, and Drainage Inc. services

Sometimes, even though it may seem like the issue was the perfect candidate for a DIY fix, the bathtub drain blockage is too intricate to be cleared by conventional methods. At a certain point, there is a cut-off where someone can only invest so much of their own time and resources into fixing an issue, and once that point is passed, the best solution is to let a professional unravel the mystery rather than continuing down the path yourself. At the end of the day, your time and resources are valuable, and committing so much to an issue that could be solved relatively easily and quickly by a professional is the smarter, faster solution. Don’t become too bogged down in solving the puzzle of your pipes — let an expert technician take the lead.

To boil down the question of when to call a plumber versus when to try to DIY into three easy points, it comes down to these: immediacy, voracity, and complexity. If the issue is moving quickly if it’s much larger than expected, and if it’s just outside the realm of a simple solution, it’s best to reach out to an experienced professional to handle the issue. If you’re looking for a team of experienced professionals to handle such an issue, consider reaching out to Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer and Drainage, Inc. Whether it’s to ask a quick question or to schedule a service inspection, the licensed, trained plumbers at Duane Blanton can offer up expert advice and service for all plumbing needs. Give them a call at (815) 781-2567, or reach out online via their online scheduling portal to get help in tackling all your home plumbing needs!


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