Plumbing is an old profession. It originated with ancient societies such as the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Indians and Chinese. It was developed in their cities for the public paths and was required for the providing of potable water, drainage of waste and other services for large numbers of people who lived in these cities. Many people consider indoor plumbing a benchmark of our modern society and cannot imagine life without it. While most Americans do not live in a world so far removed from using outhouses (former President Bill Clinton had to use one as a child), most people cannot imagine that kind of life. Today, we even expect to be able to get a 24 hour plumbing service when we need it.
If you own a home or just live in one, from time to time you may experience clogs in our pipes or toilet. These are often just minor annoyances that can be dealt with yourself. There are times, however, when you need to call in a 24 hour plumbing service to help. Water leaks from pipes, sinks and toilets are also other issues that can be annoying and expensive over the long term. Every year, average household leaks can add up to more than 100,000 gallons of water wasted. This amounts to enough water to clean more than 270 normal loads of laundry. Minor and easily fixable leaks can cost a homeowner about 10% on their water bills. Some have estimated that between 20 and 35% of all toilets in America leak at least a little. If your leaky faucet drips at a rate of one drip a minute, you are losing more than 3,000 gallons of water a year.
For some clogged drains, it is worth it to invest in a sewer snake so that you can save yourself from calling a 24 hour plumbing service. You can use drain cleaners or other products first before you call in a professional drain cleaning service to handle your problems.
If you have cats, you may use cat litter. One popular kind of cat littler people like to use in their cat boxes is the clumping kind of litter. Basically, once it comes in contact with your cat’s urine, it balls up into a substance that bears a striking resemblance to concrete. As a responsible pet owner, you probably know not to flush this down your toilet or pour it down your drain because the clog that will result is nasty, ugly and scary.
If however, a well intentioned friend or relative does pour Fluffy’s box down your plumbing, there is something you can try before calling the 24 hour plumbing service in a panic. This method does not work for everyone but it also not toxic and will not damage your pipes or any of your plumbing.
What you will need:
- A bucket of warm water (not hot).
- Liquid dish soap with the lemon scent. (Not dishwasher soap but the soap you use for hand washing dishes).
- A plunger.
- Time and patience.
If your toilet is stopped with cat litter:
- Step One: Pour some of the dish soap into the toilet.
- Step Two: Follow the dish soap with warm water.
- Step Three: Let sit a few minutes.
- Step Four: Plunge for a few minutes. Do this vigorously.
- Step Five: Wait a few minutes.
- Step Six: Repeat steps one through five until the clog has been completely dissolved. This can take all day.
- You can do a similar thing if someone has poured the cat litter down one of your sinks, bathtub or shower.
The way this seems to work is that the dish soap breaks up the organic matter in the cat litter. The process time will depend on how much litter has been poured down the toilet or drain and how long it has been left there before you started to try anything to get the clog to break up. Do not use hot water in toilets because when that hits the cold water in the toilet, you can cause it to crack. Moderately warm water will work on this kind of clog. If you try for a day and have no luck, call your plumber.