Why DIY Methods of Drain Cleaning are Bad for Your Pipes

Blocked drains can be more than an annoyance. If left untreated, clogs can cause damage to your pipes, water-dependent appliances, and create an unhealthy environment if waste can’t accurately leave your home. While DIY drain cleaning methods seem to be an easy fix, the store-bought products and unusual methods of clearing your lines can wreak havoc on your pipes.

Dangers of DIY Drain Cleaners

The most common drain cleaning method used in homes across Pottstown, PA and beyond, is a liquid, chemical-based solution. There are three main challenges with these store-bought cleaners.

1. The chemicals can increase pipe corrosion. When the chemical-laden drain cleaner is poured into your pipe, it’s potentially blocked by the clog you’re trying to remove. The dangerous chemicals in the cleaner will sit inside your pipe, slowly eating away at the material. While no plumbing system is designed to last forever, regular use of chemical-filled drain cleaner will speed up the corrosion process and call for pipe repair or replacement much sooner than normal.

2. Liquid doesn’t remove the clog. If you pour drain cleaner down your pipes on a regular basis, it’s safe to assume the solution isn’t working. At best, the liquid can only push the clog further into your plumbing system. The liquid cleaner doesn’t have the power needed to remove the blockage completely.

3. Chemical drain cleaners can contaminate the water supply. If your pipes have small holes or cracks, the dangerous chemicals can seep into the surrounding soil, potentially contaminating the local water supply.

Best Drain Cleaner

The most effective, eco-friendly way to clean your drains is by calling a reliable professional plumber. The Pipeshark team offers two viable drain cleaning solutions: plumbing auger and hydro jetting services. Both methods completely clear the blockage without damaging your pipes or the environment.Snaking the clog is best used when the blockage is near the pipe access point, while hydro jetting can be used to clear large, more severe clogs that have settled further along in your system.

Both drain cleaning methods can be performed in a matter of hours with no disruption to your lawn or flooring. Skip the DIY drain cleaning methods and call a professional plumber who offers affordable, reliable services that will extend the life of your plumbing system.

What You Need to Know About Sewer Repair in West Chester

Have you ever run into unexpected sewer problems that need repairing? If you’re a homeowner in the West Chester area, then chances are one day you will. Sewer pipes can cause many problems in your home, and not just when one breaks.

Normally when we think of plumbing problems, we imagine backed up toilets and tubs. But your sewage pipes can develop pinhole leaks, allowing for a slow drip that eventually becomes a huge problem. Small leaks can cause massive damage over time, causing issues you’d never thought you had to worry about.

The worse part? These problems remain underground, so it’s possible you pay for underground leaking water, and not notice for years.

That is why here are some thing you need to know about sewer repairs. We will talk about costs, ways to prevent surprises, and solutions to sewage problems.

Plumbing and Homeowner’s Insurance

For example, you use your toilet every day. If it suddenly backs up, you and many homeowners probably think you can simply call your homeowner’s insurance company, which covers sudden damages like this to your house.

But wait.

According to Bankrate, many standard insurance policies won’t cover sewage damage. You can either add that to your policy for an additional fee or be completely surprised when it’s too late.

The average cost of a sewer line repair can be anywhere from $3,500 to $20,000 out of pocket! As it turns out, sewage pipe leaks are considered basic maintenance for a house and doesn’t qualify under standard homeowner policies.

By the time you discover a leak, it may have already damaged your property. If the sewage pipe runs under your driveway, how will you access it to replace it? The answer with standard plumbing repairs is to rip up the concrete to access the pipe. You then have to repour your entire driveway if you plan on having one.

The bill is getting bigger by the minute.

The same goes for pipes located under your lawn where you might also have beloved and expensive plants. After a costly and timely procedure, you could be left with a hefty bill. Imagine having to spend days or weeks with your septic turned off. Your neighbors will quickly tire of you running over to use their bathroom. Or you can rent a temporary bathroom, but remember to add that to the bill too.  

Inconvenienced, broke, and unhappy – I’ll bet at this point you’re wishing there was another answer.

Luckily there is!

Your Solution for Sewer Repair in West Chester

If you suspect a septic leak is happening in your home, there is an affordable solution that doesn’t require heavy machinery or damage to your property. Signs that you might have a leak include backups into your toilet or bath, strong odor that may originate inside or anywhere outside where the sewage pipe runs, lush patches in grass, presence of mold, waste pooling in the yard, foundation cracks or crumbling, or a new rodent or insect problem.

If you are experiencing any sewer pipe problems, consider the less intrusive option of trenchless plumbing. What this means is it’s not necessary to dig up your property to reach the leak in the pipes. Pipeshark plumbers utilize advanced technology using epoxy pipe lining to give you brand new pipes based on your old ones. It’s more affordable, less destructive, and can be done quickly!

If you are experiencing any type of leak or sewer repair problem, click here to find out more about affordable services in West Chester available to you!

Pipe and Sewer Drain Replacement How To

Pipes and sewers drains are some of the most important parts of any building. It is through these pipes and sewer drains that wastewater get sent out from the building so that you and everyone else don’t get sick because of contamination or pollution.

Pipes normally last 30 to 50 years, depending on what materials have been used in the plumbing. Therefore, it is important that you know a few basic concepts about your pipes, so you are better prepared to take care of them.

Here’s a list of different types of pipes and how long they typically last under normal circumstances:

Galvanized Steel Pipes

These types of pipes can last you a lifetime or about 80-100 years.


The copper types, on the other hand, can last 70-80 years. Not so bad, too, as long as you pay careful attention as to when something goes wrong due to some unexpected circumstances like tree roots getting into the sewer lines and breaking the pipes.


This can also last a minimum of 80 years and maximum of 100 years just like galvanized steel but may differ in pricing.

Repairing and Replacing Pipes and Sewer Lines

Now that you have an idea of how long pipes last before replacement, it is also time to tell you a little bit about how we repair or replace your damaged or old pipe and sewer drain.

At The Pipeshark, we have three options that we offer to our customers in terms of pipe repair and replacement. These are pipe bursting, pipe lining, and pipe boring.

Although each of these methods have limitations, they are far better than the traditional method, which requires a lot of damage, often leaving your lawn or pathway in a mess. Let us take a look at these three options.

What is pipe bursting?

Our pipe bursting method of replacement does not require the digging of trenches in order to get the old pipe out and put the new pipe in. We use the trenchless technology method where we can replace the pipe underground by simply having an insertion pit on one end and a receiving pit on the other end.

We then use a tool that allows us to break the old pipe underground and replace it with a new pipe through the insertion and receiving ends.

What is pipe lining?

From the word itself, pipe lining means creating new lining within the old pipe underground using epoxy forming a hardened shell inside afterwards. The epoxy is the final touch in pipe lining. Before that, we first need to make sure the pipe is clean since it’s going to serve as the host of the lining.

What is pipe boring?

We only use this when we need to make new pipes. So the process is to drill a hole wide enough to let the new pipe in. It does not require digging a whole trench to find the sewer drain or create trenches.

At The Pipeshark, we are proud to say that we are the only plumbing company within Philadelphia that has all three technologies. We are well-trained and well-experienced at using these machines that even some of the plumbing companies rely on our expertise to help their customers.


Underground Piping Is Less of A Mess With Trenchless Sewer Repair – SeeHow

Underground piping is prone to inteference especially if it is done under drive ways,busy streets, side walks,porches, basements and more. Too much pressure on pipes can lead to breakage, thereby messing up everything. Sewage will spill and even overflow to the surface. Repairing such pipes is very costly and time consuming.You will be required to hire experts who will dig down the ground and fix the problem. Digging demolishes the area thereby altering the shape of the landscape. It interferes with roads and brings a lot of inconviniences. On top of that, you will incur unnecessary costs of repairing damaged structures. The question is; what should you do to avoid the mess? Simple. Trenchless sewer repair is the best option. Read more

Sewer Backup Warning System – The Pipeshark

A cool idea for a sewer backup warning

We were called in to line a section of a broken sewer pipe running down a hallway of a Catholic school. The maintenance personnel of the school are great people who clearly care about their complex. The place is beautiful and even the mechanical rooms are spotlessly clean. While doing our pipe lining work there, we learned that the school had recurring sewer backups. The school nurse’s office powder room was the lowest point of all the fixtures in that area and would spill over with a cascade of “YECH!”. The nurse’s office was right off the lobby and so that brown mess would flow out over the toilet bowl and spill out into and across the lobby floor creating a disgusting mess in the last place you’d want to have it. What made it even worse was the nurse’s office was just upstream of where the sewer lines from the gym, the rectory, the convent, the old church, and the maintenance office all joined together into a common line which then travelled a few hundred feet to the sewer main. So any drain blockage downstream of this connection would quickly flood the lobby and keep flooding it until the whole school and all the other buildings were notified to stop using water. Even if that was accomplished as quickly as five minutes, it still meant a huge flood of disgust would bubble out of toilet, pour out of the nurse’s office create a brown slick out to the main doors. Now as part of our pipe lining work we needed to excavate an access hole to the sewer piping in a utility closet close to the lobby. In thinking about their overflow problem, we decided to give them a gift. When we were done our pipe lining installation and as we reconnected the drain piping in the mechanical room we also installed a tee into the sewer line. From that tee we ran a 1-1/2” PVC pipe about three feet up an adjacent wall and put a rubber cap on the top. We then slit the cap and inserted wire probes down into the 1- 1/2” piping to about floor level and caulked everything air tight. This 1-1/2 pipe was going to serve as a simple water column. We wanted it tall enough so during a sewer backup, no water would overflow from it and there would be room for the trapped air inside of it to compress, thus allowing the backing up sewer water to rise up into it and above floor level. Onto the cap at the top of the water column we mounted an inexpensive water alarm we picked up at a nearby Lowe’s and attached the alarm to the wire probes. This then we hoped would sound a warning when the sewer was starting to back up and give them the time they needed to tell others to stop using water in the rest of the complex. Hopefully that would be accomplished BEFORE the water level rose high enough to spill sewage out of the nurse’s office toilet. We took a lot of pride in the idea; especially its simplicity and low cost. Here’s what it looked like:



It worked! But the first time it sounded, the administrative staff thought it was a building alarm and so wasted time looking about before maintenance arrived, realized what was happening and took preventive measures to avoid a sewage overflow. We were very excited to hear it worked. As mentioned previously, this complex is beautifully maintained. Whatever they do, they do right. Everything is well thought out and executed. So Terry, the head of maintenance, turned to their long-time electrician, Paul, and asked him to give the issue some thought and come up with a solution to the confusion over the alarm. He did. It’s beautiful and now it’s clear to everyone what the alarm is all about. He removed our little alarm and installed a panel with labeled lights to make it clear what’s going on. Here’s what it looks like now:




It all worked so well that when we needed to dig right outside the building to do some pipe bursting of an old leaking terra cotta sewer line, we took it a step further. The sewer at this point is six feet deeper than in the utility closet. So coming off of the bottom of a clean-out we installed at that termination of the new main, we ran a second vertical pipe up to the surface to use for another alarm. Paul installed an alarm in that exterior water column and tied it into the building panel inside. Now if there is a blockage developing in the common main, they get an alarm when the water is still eight feet below the rim of the toilet bowl rim in the nurse’s office. In fact by monitoring both alarms they can estimate how much water flow the line can handle while waiting for the drain cleaners to arrive to correct the problem. By reducing discretionary water usage in the complex, they can probably meet their critical water needs and so not interfere with their school day. Thus they now have a management plan requiring minimal inconvenience for an event that used to be an “all hands on deck” emergency, requiring Terry’s staff to drop normal duties and run to address the cleanup. Here’s what the alarm panel looks like with labeling that now makes it clear what the problem is.


Sewer_Backup_Warning2 Sewer_Backup_Warning4


As I said at the start, they run a first class operation. It was so cool for us that they actually followed up on all this and got it done. It’s so energizing to work with and for people who truly care. I hope those who follow them will appreciate the concern and effort they brought to their jobs. But even if they don’t, I know that people like Terry and Paul will still do a great job, because that’s how they’re wired. It’s what they do.