Clogged pipes? Before you call the plumber, read this!

Lots of products promise to clear your pipes without having to call a plumber. But even though they contain harsh chemicals, Consumer Reports tests have shown most aren’t that effective.

Now Consumer Reports has just tested a mechanical device that attaches to your faucet and uses pressurized water to clean your pipes. It’s called Drain FX. It claims it’s effective at clearing all kinds of clogs with “no tools, no chemicals, no mess and no need to call the plumber.” Besides the $20 version for sinks, Drain-FX has a Plus version for bathtubs and showers. It comes with a 15-foot hose extension and a special valve.

To test how well Drain FX works, Consumer Reports clogged pipes with things like fat, sand and human hair. Drain-FX worked pretty well. It cleared everything completely, except it only partially removed the clump of hair.

You do need to have a faucet that has to have a removable aerator, which most do. But if your drain has small openings, you may have to take it apart to get the tube down the drain.

As a comparison, Consumer Reports also tried a $3 traditional plunger. It worked too, but took longer and required more effort.

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