Upgrading Your Pipes

5 Reasons To Call A Plumber Instead Of Using A Blow Bag To Clear A Clogged Drain

A blow bag might sound like a gag gift or a musical instrument, but it's actually a flexible rubber bladder that can blast clogs out of drain pipes. However, this small device isn't quite as easy to use as the packaging might make it sound. Reconsider the use of a blow bag and hire a plumber instead to avoid these five common problems.

Damage to the Pipes

You're just trying to get your toilet or sink to drain again, but now you're stuck with thousands of dollars worth of repairs to the buried sewer line. This could definitely happen to you if you use a blow bag on pipes that can't handle the pressure of an expanding bladder. Modern PVC pipes that are in good repair can withstand the pressure, but any other materials or older pipes are definitely at risk for cracking. 

The bag itself doesn't create that much pressure, but keep in mind that drain pipes aren't designed to handle pressure like incoming water lines. Even brand new pipes can rupture if there's an existing weakness in the material. Definitely keep blow bags away from any plumbing more than 20 years old or you're asking for trouble.

Moving Sewage

A lot of unusual configurations are found in the plumbing lines taking sewage out of the average residential building. Depending on Y-connectors in your sewage configuration and the layout of the main lines connecting to the municipal supply, you could end up with sewage splashing into the house from another drain. If the sewage doesn't end up in your house, it could erupt in a neighbor's basement or backyard instead. You don't want to spend hours cleaning up dangerous waste when a plumber can quickly and inexpensively locate and eliminate the clog for you.

Unexpected Water Flow

The arrangement of vents and connectors can also redirect clean water inside the sewage system if you're not close enough to the clog. If you're using a blow bag on the toilet and water shoots out of your kitchen sink, the clog is somewhere other than where you assumed. Tracking down a hard-to-find clog can take hours of messy attempts as you drag a water hose around the house, and you could end up spending a lot of extra money on repairs for water damage without ever making a dent in the sewage blockage.

Stuck Equipment

Aside from damage caused directly or indirectly by the blow bag, you could also end up with a worse clog if the rubber bladder gets stuck and refuses to come out. You have to carefully spin the bag when it gets stuck, but that spinning action also unscrews the bladder from your water hose. A stuck bladder can deflate and flush further down the drain to contribute to the blockage causing your frustrations in the first place. The rubber can also burst and litter the sewer line with bits that are hard to retrieve.

Lack of Results

Of course, everything could go smoothly with the blow bag and still fail to produce the results you want. There's no guarantee that the pressure and blasting action of the device will knock clear the clog, or that your slow drains are even caused by a blockage in the first place. You'll spend a lot less time letting a professional determine what's wrong and how to handle it instead of trying to use the DIY approach.

Blow bags work well when handled correctly, but these tools are best left to the plumbers. Avoid doing more damage to your home and plumbing by leaving the clog removal steps to professionals with the right equipment and the knowledge to use it. Check out sites like knightsplumbinganddrain.com for more information.