Why You Should Never Clean Your Pipes with Home Remedies

Most property owners assume that clogs are small plumbing issues that can be addressed with a drain cleaning product, a snake or some hot water and vinegar. Even with the best intent, opting for a DIY pipe cleaning solution can cause more problems than solve them.

Here are some reasons why it’s best to leave the clogs to the experts:

Improper Use of Tools Can Damage A Good Pipe

Whenever you use a makeshift hanger to try and loosen the hard clog in your kitchen sink, your toilet or bathroom drain, there’s a chance that you poke a new hole in the weakened sections and cause a leak or a break. The debris that’s causing your sewer to back up can be located deep underground, buried under your home foundation, slabs or flooring and will be impossible to reach with household items.

Drain Solutions Can Cause Advanced Corrosion

Drain liquids may work to a degree, but some of the more stubborn debris and years of calcified matter will get left behind. Sooner or later, the clog from the same spot comes back and you’ll have another plumbing issue in your hands.

Chemicals Can Be Harmful for Your Health

Pouring down drain cleaning products on a kitchen sink that has a garbage disposal is dangerous. The operating mechanism of the disposal can spray the corrosive liquid back and cause burns to your skin, hair or eyes. We wouldn’t recommend using vinegar or bleach as the ingredients and fumes can be toxic and harmful for your pipes and your health.

Higher Risk of Clogs and Emergencies

Pouring down bleach can cause a reaction with other substances and compounds in the drain pipes, further plugging up your plumbing. Home remedies add more items to come in contact with your pipe materials and calcified deposits, which increases the chance of sewer line failures and plumbing emergencies. Eventually, you’ll have to call in a professional to have your pipes properly cleaned or repaired.

Instead of reaching for do-it-yourself pipe cleaner, call your local team at The Pipe Shark. Our latest equipment and skill can eliminate the source of the clog problem quickly and with minimal disruption. Hydro jetting and HD camera ensures a proper flow and you get the best solution in the long term.

Thawing Your Frozen Pipes in Philadelphia

Philadelphia winters can place a lot of pressure on your plumbing system. Even if you are normally careful to prepare your pipes for the freezing temperatures, accidents can still happen. Sometimes we get a cold snap early in the year before you’ve had a chance to prepare, or maybe you forgot to include part of your plumbing system in your preparations. If you find a frozen pipe, your next steps are critical to avoiding property damage.

Finding the Source of the Problem

After a particularly cold night, you may try to use one of your fixtures only to realize nothing comes out. If little to no water comes out of your faucet or there are strange smells coming from your drain, you might have a frozen pipe. Identifying the source of the problem can alleviate property damage and avoid a plumbing emergency.

Check exposed pipes for frost or a slight bulge. Common places to check are the attic, basement, garage, or inside your cabinets. These places are often the coldest parts of your home and more susceptible to the cold weather.

How to Safely Thaw Your Sewer and Drain Pipes

There is no reason to take drastic measures to thaw your pipes. Heating them up too quickly can damage your pipes and cause steam that adds more pressure to your system, and using an open flame can start a fire. Try to gently warm up the area without causing a dramatic change in temperature. For example, open your cabinets to allow the heat from your home to access your pipes.

Once you have assessed the situation, give us a call to service your pipes. Freezing water expands, so we will check your pipes for cracks or other damage. If repairs are necessary, our knowledgeable staff will recommend the perfect solution. We offer quick and easy pipe repair to give you peace of mind.

Always Call a Professional for Your Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are a reality of our climate in Philadelphia, but we are here to help. We will identify areas of damage, make the necessary repairs, and even help you put together a preventive maintenance plan to prevent future problems. Be sure to give our team at The Pipeshark a call next time you experience a frozen pipe problems.

The 5 Best Ways to Keep Your Philadelphia Property Pipes Healthy

Underground pipes present many different difficulties when a problem arises. One of the best ways to prevent the unexpected from happening is to be proactive in keeping your properties pipes healthy. In the Philadelphia area, you can turn to us at The Pipe Shark for assistance with this. Because of our expertise in managing sewer system problems, we have compiled a list of the 5 ways to keep your pipes healthy and working their best to help reduce the chances of major problems forming.

1 – Be Careful What You Send Down The Drains

There is a lot to be said about not flushing certain products down the toilet. The same can be said about showers and sinks. The kitchen sink is a prime location where all kinds of organic material can end up going down the drain. Paper products other than those intended for flushing should not be disposed of through your toilet and hair can really mess up a drain from the shower. One easy way to combat this is to have filter plugs on the sink and shower drains.

2 – Flush Your Drains Regularly

Because some drains in your home will flow slower than others, it is a good idea to give your drains a bit of a self-cleaning every so often. What this entails is filling a sink full of hot water and letting it flow down through the system. The high volume of hot water will move some of the material that has collected inside your drain pipes allowing for better operation of the entire system.

3 – Don’t Overtreat With Commercial Drain Cleaners

Commercial drain cleaners are extremely corrosive and acidic, often creating more damage to your pipes. While using them periodically is acceptable, they shouldn’t be relied on to treat slow drains or clogs, as the solutions will be temporary at best and extremely harmful at worst. Due to the risks, however, we recommend flushing your system with hot water, and naturally, if the situation is more serious, call us at The Pipe Shark for added assistance.

4 – Schedule Annual Sewer Camera Inspections

Speaking of calling us in for help, you can learn a lot about the condition of your underground sewer system with our sewer camera inspection service. We dig a hole down to the pipe connections in your yard and insert a tiny camera that feeds a closed-circuit video to one of our technicians on site. It is from this video we can see if there is anything wrong with your piping.

5 – Schedule a Hydro Jetting Cleaning Session

Probably the best way to keep your Philadelphia home or business pipes working their best is with our regular hydro jetting services. We provide this cleaning service, and it basically involves a highly pressurized blast of hot water that is sent down your drain line. It is powerful enough to remove anything forming along the inside of your sewer pipe and can cut through tree root clumps as well.

The Pipe Shark provides all forms of trenchless technologies to repair or replace sewer pipes in Philadelphia, and if you need our assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

The Specialist

Recently, I had a guy ask me about a trenchless solution to his broken sewer line in at his family’s cabin in the Pennsylvania Appalachians.  The drain line going from his septic tank to his drainage field was Orangeburg and had collapsed in a number of places.  I told him that we couldn’t use pipe lining to fix it because the only thing pipe lining will do on a collapsed sewer line is make it smoother on the inside – but it will still be a collapsed drain line.  I told him we would need to video his sewer pipe to confirm exactly how collapsed it was but that he did still have a trenchless or “no-dig” choice – pipe bursting or even horizontal directional drilling combined with pipe bursting.  If a sewer line video inspection showed there was enough room in the collapsed sewer line for a 3/4” steel cable, we could pipe burst the old Orangeburg drain piping and he’d have a new HDPE sewer line installed which would last for a very long time (estimates range from 50 to 100+ years).  If the Orangeburg sewer was totally collapsed, we could probably run a directional drill through it and then pull a cable back through the broken or collapsed pipe. Once the cable was through, our pipe bursting equipment would be strong enough to get through the old drain line.

Knowing there were indeed options to repair his broken sewer using trenchless or “no-dig” technologies was a relief to him.  But he said he was still disappointed about his outhouse.  “What outhouse?” I asked.  He said when the other plumber found the broken sewer line and said he would have to dig it all up at a lot of money, he had an idea to build an outhouse like the old cabin had originally.  He thought that would give his family and friends more of an old time feeling of getting away from it all.  He said he made a nice one too, but people were reluctant to use it.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t because it was so primitive that people didn’t like it.  It was more about being so much on display when they went to use it they didn’t like.  “Going to the outhouse became a spectator sport,” he said.  I asked him how he decided where to put it.  He said he put it where he thought it would look the nicest and was the most convenient – right across from the cabin door, just on the other side of the parking area, under a beautiful big old oak tree.

“I told him that he should have consulted “The Specialist” before he built.  “Specialist?” he said.  “There’s really an outhouse specialist?”  “Not A specialist,” I explained, “but “THE Specialist.”  “The Specialist” is a story published in 1929, which recounts conversations with an old carpenter who has specialized in building outhouses in the central Illinois countryside of Sangamon County.  In the story the carpenter recounts going to meet a farmer to see about building him a new privy.  The old carpenter tells it this way:

“Elmer comes out and we get to takin’ about a good location.  He was all fer putting her right alongside a jagged path runnin’ by a big Northern Spy.” (That’s a type of apple tree – my note.)

“I wouldn’t do it, Elmer’” I sez; “and I’ll tell you why.  In the first place, her bein’ near a tree is bad.  There ain’t no sound in nature so disconcertin’ as the sound of apples droppin’ on th’ roof.  Then another thing, there’s a crooked path runnin’ by that tree and the soil there ain’t adapted to absorbin’ moisture.  Durin’ the rainy season she’s likely to be slippery.  Take your grandpappy – goin’ out ther’ is about the ony’ recreation he gets.  He’ll go out some rainy night with his nighties flappin’ around his legs, and like as not when you come out in the mornin’ you’ll find him prone in the mud, or maybe skidded off one of them curves and wound up in the corn crib.  No, sir,” I sez, “put her in a straight line with the house and if it’s all the same to you have her go past the wood-pile.  I’ll tell you why.

“Take a woman, for instance – out she goes.  On the way back she’ll gather five sticks of wood, and the average woman will make four or five trips a day.  There’s twenty sticks in the wood box without any trouble.  On the other hand, take a timid woman, if she sees any men folks around, she’s too bashful to go direct out so she’ll go to the wood-pile , pick up the wood, go back to the house and watch her chance.  The average timid woman – especially a new hired girl – I’ve knowed to make as many as ten trips to the wood-pile before she goes in, regardless.  On a good day you’ll have your wood box filled by noon, and right there is a savin’ of time.”  …

“Now,” I sez, how do you want that door to swing?  Openin’ in or out”  He sid he didn’t know.  So I sez it should open in.  This is the way it works out: Place yourself in there.  The door openin’ in, say about forty-five degrees.  This gives you air and lets the sun beat in.  Now, if you hear anybody comin’, you can give it a quick shove with your foot and there you are.  But if she swings out, where are you?  You can’t get up off that seat, reach way around and grab ‘er without getting’ caught, now can you?  He could see I was right.”

“So I build his door like all my doors, swingin’ in, and, of course, facing east, to get the full benefit of the th’ sun.  And I tell you, gentlemen, there ain’t nothing more restful than to get out there in the mornin’, comfortably seated, with th’ door about three-fourths open.  The old sun, beatin’ in on you, sort of relaxes a body – makes you feel m-i-g-h-t-y, m-i-g-h-t-y, r-e-s-t-f-u-l.”  ….

Funny, of course, but also insightful into a world really not that long past.  Also a reminder that there’s tricks to every trade, and experience does have value.  As I used to be told as an apprentice, “Doing it right is faster than doing it twice.”