How to Unclog Your Drains

Every homeowner knows the frustration of their plumbing not draining properly. Drain clogs vary in severity from a slightly slow-moving drain to one that refuses to drain at all. Fortunately there are some steps every homeowner can try to unclog a drain before calling in the professionals.

The first attempt at unclogging a drain can be tried by starting with a store-bought drain clearer. Unfortunately store-bought cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can be detrimental to pipes if used often enough. So if your clog isn’t budging, you may have to take additional measures to remedy the issue.

Step 1: Remove the Strainer and Use a Plunger

Start by removing the strainer that is part of the drain plug on most drains. Reach into the drain and remove any solids you can get your hands on. If this doesn’t remove the obstruction, move on to a sink plunger. A sink plunger is similar to a toilet plunger although it has a smooth bottom surface. It is best to use with 2 or 3 inches of water in the sink to allow a seal to form around the plunger, then push and pull the handle gently up and down. If you are successful, the drain will quickly clear and no further action is necessary. If a plunger doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to move on to step two.

Step 2: Clean out the Trap

If the above methods are not working, then the problem is most likely within the trap itself (the trap is the U-shaped pipe). Be sure to take the trap off with a bucket underneath to catch any liquid overflow, or you’ll end up with a mess on your hands. After taking the trap off, clean it thoroughly and remove any obstructions. Cleaning out the trap and surrounding drain is often an immediate fix to the problem (as well as allowing you to regain lost jewelry). After replacing the cleaned-out trap the drain will usually drain properly again. If the drain is severely clogged you might have to use a snake to clean out any blockages to get the drain to work as it should again.

Step 3: Drain Snake or Drain Auger

If you’re still left with a clog that hasn’t responded to your efforts, the last step you can do yourself is to employ a drain snake or drain auger. This long, flexible metal device will bend around corners as it is pushed into the drain. When you come to the blockage, the drain snake will then push its way through as you crank the handle. A basic drain non-electric snake costs around $50.00 and is usually about 12 to 25 feet in length, giving you ample an opportunity to go clog hunting.

Taking matters into your own hands is often a resourceful and effective first step. But if these actions don’t leave you clog-free, it’s time to call in the professionals.

Step 4: Call the Professionals

Your professional plumber should have all the equipment needed and resources to professionally and effectively solve your drain problem,  A professional has several sizes of mechanical power snakes or cables to clear through the tough clogs of grease, roots, or improper materials that may have found their way into your drain sewer system.

Hydro Jetter

A hydro jetter uses high pressure water to blast through grease, cut away roots, loosen dirt and scour the inside of the drainline.

Inspection Camera

Drainline cameras come in various sizes to look inside a drainline and see what is causing a problem.  Identifying the exact location and cause can give you helpful information to make the right diagnosis and put into action recommendations and corrections needed.

Tree roots, foreign objects, misaligned pipes and fittings, negative fall and drainline clasp can all be seen with the help of a camera inspection.

As they say, electricity and plumbing are two areas where you shouldn’t scrimp on expense, as they are crucial for the proper safety and function of your home.  If it’s time for you to call the professionals, call Ideal (619) 583-7963.


Author: nkeithly

This entry was posted in Plumbing. Bookmark the permalink.