How to Unclog a Drain

How to unclog a drain. Almost everybody has encountered a clogged drain at one time or another. The question you have is knowing the best way to unclog a drain. Here are some top tips on how to unclog a drain in your home.

On a busy morning with several people waiting to use a shower or tub, a slow running or clogged drain can be a real annoyance. All drains eventually clog, especially after the summer months when people have a habit of taking more showers and baths.

In bathroom sinks and tubs, a clog is usually made up of soap and hair. In a kitchen sink, clogs mostly consist of grease and food particles. Once a clog settles in it can grow rapidly to the point where it cuts off the flow of water in a drainpipe. That basically prevents you from using a sink or tub until the clog is removed.

What follows is advice on the different methods from removing clogs:

First tip on how to unclog a drain: The Plunger

Plunging action: Using a plunger is probably still one the most effective ways of opening up a stuck drain.

The key is to plug any overflow opening or additional drains such as second drain on a double bowl sink. This will prevent any loss of pressure from the plunger.

Neighboring drains can be capped or stopped, while overflow openings should be plugged with a wet rag. To plug openings on tubs, this may require removing the cover plate on the overflow opening. It’s also best to remove the pop-up drain cap in the drain so that it doesn’t obstruct the force of the plunger.

Also, remove any screens over the drain openings.

Fill the tub or sink with an inch or two or water and try plunging several times before pulling the plunger rapidly off the drain. Make sure the plunger is centered over the drain opening and covering the entire drain opening.

If the drain opens, flush the line with hot water for a few minutes.

Second tip on how to unclog a drain: Boiling water

A kitchen sink can also be opened with a plunger. For a stubborn clog, pour boiling water and a few teaspoons of ammonia down the drain, which will break up any grease. Then wait a minute or so before trying to plunge the drain open.

Once the drain opens, flush it out with hot water.

Do not use a plunger if you’ve poured chemical drain cleaners into the drain. That can cause injuries if the chemicals splash back.

As you consider your plumbing repair and unclogging the drain in your home, keep in mind that there are some must do repairs in your home if you are planning on selling.

Third Tip on how to unclog a drain: Augers and hand snakes

Augers or hand snakes are another way to remove a clog from a pipe. These flexible cables literally scrape a drainpipe clean by cutting and grinding their way through a clog.

In addition to the hand-cranked augers, there are also electric or power augers that can be rented from a hardware store, and devices that attach to an electric drill.

On kitchen and bathroom sinks, start by removing the U-shaped trap below the sink with a wrench. Have a bucket handy to catch any waste water.

You may get lucky and find the clog in the trap. Clogs are more likely to be found, however, further down the line in the horizontal drainpipe.

Insert the end of the auger into the open drain, and place the bucket under the open pipe.

Gently feed the cable into the pipe, giving the auger a clockwise turn each time you feel some resistance. Then pull the cable back a foot or two and proceed forward again. Repeat this until the entire cable is extended or until the cable refuses to continue to move forward.

The auger should move fairly easily in and out of the drain. If it doesn’t, it should be withdrawn and inserted again. Otherwise, you risk it becoming stuck in the pipe.

Remove the cable, replace the trap and see if the water drains out of the sink. If it doesn’t, try plunging the drain a few times to remove any clogs the auger might have freed but are temporarily stuck in the drain.

© by Jim Sulski.