What Can You Do to Fix a Clogged Drain in Your Bathtub, Shower, Utility Tub, or Sink?
One of the most common plumbing problems experienced by homeowners is the clogged drain. Whether it occurs in the kitchen sink or in one of your bathroom fixtures, this type of problem can disrupt your life in a major way until you get it fixed. If the kitchen or bathroom sink doesn’t drain, then you can’t continue using it as you normally would.
In some cases, a clog leads to slow drainage of the water, while in other instances, the clog prevents the water from draining at all. With either problem, the need to have the clog removed is an immediate one. Not only do clogged drains lead to the accumulation of standing water, but they can also create unpleasant odors.
While the obvious choice is to call in a qualified plumber to unclog the drain, most people prefer to attempt it on their own, at least initially. Here is a look at some of the strategies that you can use to clear your drain on your own before calling in the services of a trained and skillful plumber.
Hot Water Flushes Break Up Sticky Residue
If the clog recently appeared, it is possible that you might be able to flush it through simply by running the hot-water tap for several minutes. This strategy works best when the clog is due to a buildup of soap or grease.
Plunging the Drain Creates a Vacuum That Sucks the Clog Out
The idea behind the use of a plunger is to force water to push the clog clear of the drain and through the pipes. In order for this strategy to work, you need to have a secure grip on the plunger as you pump it up and down on top of the drain. You should be able to feel the plunger creating a vacuum-like pressure. If all goes well, the clog will break loose completely.
Natural Drain Cleaners Work to Loosen Hardened Debris
In some cases, a clogged drain can be cleared with a natural solution that involves the use of baking soda and white vinegar. Measure approximately one cup of baking soda and pour it into the drain. Follow that up with a single cup of white vinegar. You’ll need to let this sit for an hour or so to allow this mix to work on the clog. When you are ready, flush the drain with lots of hot water. If you have metal pipes, you can use boiling water from a tea kettle. Otherwise, run the tap for the hot water.
A Plumber’s Snake Uncorks the Clog
Although this tool is called a plumber’s snake, anyone can purchase one to use in clearing a clogged drain. You’ll find one at a hardware or home-improvement store. You run the snake through the drain and pipe in an attempt to dislodge the clog. You should exercise caution though so as not to damage pipe. If you hear the scraping sound of metal on metal, you might want to use a different strategy to clear the clog.
If you are going to use a chemical cleaner in an attempt to clear a clogged drain, you’ll need to protect your eyes and skin. The harshness of the chemicals can irritate your eyes and/or skin if they splash you. Always follow the directions on the cleaner and make sure that the product you select is safe for the type of pipes that you have.
If your drains clog regularly, you might want to incorporate monthly (or weekly) cleanings to assist you in keeping your drains flowing freely. You can probably use the natural-cleaning strategy to handle this task successfully.
Call in a Professional Plumber
If none of the above solutions works for your situation, your best bet is to call in a professional plumber who has the experience to do the job quickly and efficiently. While he might use some of the same strategies that are listed here, he has the knowledge needed to unclog a drain without damaging your plumbing system.