How To Clean A Clogged Drain
The drains in your home get clogged for different reasons, depending on their intended uses, so the methods for unclogging them may differ slightly. You can try some of the following ideas before calling a licensed plumbing contractor.
Cleaning the drains in your home
Each sink is your home may drain too slowly or become completely blocked for different reasons. Your bathroom sink may become blocked by hair, soap, toothpaste, or cosmetic applicators, while your kitchen sink is usually blocked by food scraps and congealed fats. Luckily, sinks are designed with traps that are located below the sink drain. Sink traps are shaped like the letter "J", and are made for preventing possible sources of blockages from proceeding farther into your pipes.
Sink traps are connected on one side by a large nut that can be turned counter-clockwise to loosen the trap on one side. The upper part of the "J" that connects to your sink drain simply slides off the drain pipe when the nut is removed from the other side, Clean out the trap either over a toilet or outside to remove the mixture of water and debris that may be inside. When it is cleaned out, simply slip in onto the sink drain and re-position and reconnect the nut to the other side.
If this doesn't solve the problem, then the blockage may be deeper inside the pipes. You may try a traditional plunger, holding it securely against the drain so a vacuum is created that loosens blockages with a pulling motion. Newer pump type plungers operate as a bicycle pump, with a plunger handle that is pushed repeatedly to build enough pressure to push the blockage through the pipes. Do not use drain cleaners before plunging if water is trapped in the sink. These cleaners use caustic materials that can cause skin or eye damage if they are splashed from plunging.
If plunging is unsuccessful ,you may wish to invest in a drain "snake". This is a metal cable with a solid end piece that is specifically designed to "snake" through pipes and dislodge blockages. If you decide to try a drain snake, remove the "J" trap and insert the snake into the pipe leading away from the sink. Twist the snake as you feed it into the pipe, applying pressure slowly until you feel resistance. Twist the cable until you no longer feel resistance, and then retract the cable.
It will be very dirty, so remove all rugs before pulling the cable out of the pipe. Reattach the "J" trap and if your sink still drains a little slowly, use drain cleaner to remove the rest of the sludge buildup inside your pipe.
- Tubs and toilets
Tubs and toilets don't have traps, but you can use the other methods suggested for cleaning sink drains. You may want to look closely at tub drains for trapped hairs. They may be holding a massive ball of hair and soap just under the drain, which can be pulled and removed slowly with scissors.
Drain cleaning is pretty disgusting and smelly at times, and some blockages may be too severe for amateurs, so you may want to consult a drain cleaning service (like Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc.) from the start, and leave it to the experts.