Clogged Drains, we HATE IT!
It happens to all of us, and we HATE IT! I'm talking about clogs in the plumbing! It makes your toilet overflow, your shower not drain, and your kitchen – don't get me started! Unfortunately, clogs are a common plumbing problem, and you rely on your drains for everything from washing your hands and brushing your teeth to rinsing off food waste from your dishes. Ever had a dishwasher clog spill water all over your kitchen floor? I have, and it's a nightmare I don't wish to repeat! Even worse is if a guest is over when it happens – some of them never want to visit again! Don't WAIT for hours, hoping your drain will slowly lower the water level and somehow a miracle will unclog the real problem, and you won't ever have to worry again! But hey, if you want to try doing it yourself, then we have some pro tips for you – be sure to start with a good pair of disposable gloves – you're going to need them!
Shower & Bath Tub Drain
Most clogs in this drain are from hair; removing it is GROSS! First, figure out what kind of stopper you have. Some are the easy screw-off kind, and others require tools like a screwdriver. If you're having a problem figuring it out, or don't feel comfortable doing this yourself (I know I don't), then feel free to call our licensed plumbers, and we would be happy to answer your questions or do it for you.
Often there is a lot of debris around the stopper, so cleaning it is first. Second, if you have a plumber's snake, now is the time to use it. Feed the cable into the drain until you feel resistance or an actual blockage. Try a bent wire or wire hanger if you don't have a plumber's snake. Just create a bend in the wire to hook into the obstruction. Pull out the debris and go in again until no other debris comes out and you no longer feel a blockage.
A plunger can also help well in cleaning out a tough shower clog. Fill the shower with water until the plunger's rubber is under water. Just pull up and down, keeping the seal tight, and this should start moving enough to clear your drain. You'll still need to remove the debris, but at least the waterline won't be up to your eyeballs. Pro tip: don't use your toilet plunger on your shower – yuck!
The Baking Soda Method
This might sound like Grandpa's old country solution for removing drains, but sometimes it does help.
Take ½ cup banking soda and 1/3 cup vinegar and create a natural mixture to remove stuck hair and grime. Let the mixture sit in the drain for an hour, then flush it with hot water.
If you don't have vinegar, use ½ cup salt with ½ cup baking soda. Pour it down the drain and follow with boiling water 15 minutes later. This creates an aggressive homemade compound to clear tough build-up.
Sometimes chemicals and home remedies don't work, and that's when snaking the drain is the best option.
Under the bathroom sink, you'll find a spring clip to release the stopper from your drain. Once you've removed the stopper, use a plumber's snake or hooked wire hanger to remove any hair or debris from your drain. Sometimes this takes time, depending on how nasty the clog is.
Kitchen Sink & Garbage Disposal
I hate to tell you, but the kitchen sink is the easiest drain to get clogged in your home. It collects all the food particles and wastes that don't make it to the trash or garbage disposal. You're probably thinking of all the food and grease built up there already. Pro Tip: Never pour grease or fat down the sink! It hardens instantly and creates large hard-to-remove clogs.
Before any of this clogging happens, you can follow these simple tips to prevent clogs and maintain your garbage disposal:
Before you pour harmful chemicals down the drain trying to fix your clog, try the natural solution first. You'll need a bucket, a wrench (pliers will do), some rags or towels, and a cleaning brush. First, put the bucket below the P-trap so that any water in the pipe will be caught. Shut your water supply off to the house or the main shut-off valve. After you shut off the water, you'll have to crawl under the sink and unscrew the slip joint nuts on both sides of the trap. You might be able to twist these off by hand, but if not, use a wrench or pliers. Open the trap and clean out any blockage. Close the trap, put the slip nuts back on, and tighten them with the pliers, just not too tight!
If your problems continue, you might have a garbage disposal problem, and you'll want to call our handyman to repair your disposal.