Having a clogged drain in the bathroom or kitchen can be a nightmare - two of the most frequented rooms in your house. The cost of repair can add up quickly if the problem is not addressed early, so even though a clog may not appear to be a big problem, if left unchecked it could equate to a large expense in the long term. By ignoring repair and maintenance on a clogged drain, you incur the risk of damages to your plumbing system and home such as burst pipes, flooding, corrosion, and possibly even sewage backup. In the best case scenario, you have slower water drainage - this is the time to act.
There are many chemical cleaning products on the market which may work well to remove a clog from your drain, but while these are easily accessible they are quite tolling on your plumbing system. Frequent use of these chemicals can wear down the pipes in your home, and could even create a larger clog or lead to leaks. The benefit of investing in a professional plumber is that you can be sure the problem is addressed properly, thoroughly, and without the risk of further damage. However, if you are somewhat handy there are a number of DIY remedies which could fix your problem without requiring you to spend money.
Though do-it-yourself remedies may work well for a clogged drain in some situations, in instances where the problem persists, it is best to call a professional plumbing service. While many clogs can be easily removed, bigger clogs are often problematic and could lead to significant damage to your home if prudence is not applied. It is not worth the risk of damaging your entire home plumbing system because of one drain.
DIY HOME REMEDIES
DIY remedies to unclog a drain are relatively simple, easy to perform and cost effective. Any of the following treatments can be completed without having to make a trip to the hardware store or Wal-Mart to get supplies. Most people already have the necessary supplies in their home.
USING A PLUNGER
Using a plunger is a great way to unclog your drain. Most people already have a plunger in their home, and if you don't have one already they are inexpensive to buy. This is the best method to dislodge a significant clog.
TYPES OF PLUNGERS
You may be surprised to learn that not all plungers are the same. The two types of plungers a DIY homeowner should have in the home are a cup plunger, and a flange plunger. A flange plunger is what you want to use on your toilet, because of the curved flap below the lip. A cup plunger is designed for use on drains which are set in a flat surface such as a sink, bathtub or shower.
PLUNGING YOUR DRAIN
When your shower, sink or bathtub drain is clogged, use a hand-held cup plunger. While a full-length plunger may work, it may also be awkward to use.
- First, remove any stoppers or metal strainers from your drain. You want to achieve a tight seal with the plunger, and you don't want anything thrashing around while you plunge.
- Cover the entire drain with the plunger, push down to achieve your seal.
- Once your seal is achieved, use fast and sharp movements, pulling up and pushing down on the plunger.
- After plunging for approximately 30 seconds, check to see if the clog is removed. If the water drains rapidly, it's working.
- Repeat the process if the drain is still clogged.
PLUNGING YOUR TOILET
When your toilet is clogged, use a full-length flange plunger. A hand-held plunger may also work, but you are more vulnerable to splashes and you may be bending your body in an uncomfortable way.
- Extend your flange. The flange is a flap inside of the cup. You want to pop it out so that it extends below the cup. This is key to achieving a good seal on your toilet drain.
- Cover the toilet drain entirely with the plunger, the flange you extended should fit nicely inside the drain area. Push down to achieve your seal.
- Once you have a tight seal, pull up and push down rapidly and with sharp movements.
- After plunging for approximately 30 seconds, remove your plunger and try to flush the toilet. If it flushes nicely, it's working.
- Repeat the process if the toilet is still clogged.
Boiling water is a good option to consider when you have a clog in your bathroom or kitchen drain. If the clog is made of organic matter, hot water should be able to dissolve it. While relatively easy and inexpensive, this method is not without risk, however.
BOILING WATER RISKS
- Pouring boiling water onto porcelain is a bad idea, it may cause cracks.
- If your home plumbing system has PVC pipes, the heat from boiling water could loosen the joints.
- Injury - can cause burns if splashed or spilled.
UNCLOGGING WITH BOILING WATER
When possible avoid pouring around the drain. Besides the water cooling before it enters the drain, if the surface around the drain is not made from metal, damage may occur. Using a funnel or kettle will give you better control of the water flow.
- In a large pot or kettle, boil the water.
- Pour the boiling water into the drain.
- If the water starts to rapidly drain, it is working.
BAKING SODA & VINEGAR
If you haven't tried hot water, try it first. It will help this method by warming the pipes.
- Pour a half of a cup or half of a box of baking soda down the drain. Let it sit for a minute, do not dilute with water.
- Pour a half of a cup of vinegar, then block the airflow to the drain with either a stopper or a rag.
- Wait for 20 minutes, you will hear some fizzling as the baking soda and vinegar react chemically. Boil some more water while you wait.
- After 20 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain. Try to avoid the areas around the drain.
- If the water drains nicely, it's working.
TIPS & TRICKS
There are a few easy and quick tricks to unclogging a drain. While these wont work in every case, they are worth trying. Especially for small clogs.
Mix roughly half a cup of dish soap with three or four cups of boiling water, and pour it down the drain. Dish soap is a degreasing agent, and is sometimes very effective at clearing a clogged toilet.
This is a great alternative to baking soda. Drop 4 or 5 antacid tablets into your drain, then pour a half cup of vinegar. Wait for 20 minutes, and follow up with hot water.
Sodium Borate / Borax
Combine 2 cups of boiling water with a half cup of Sodium Borate, and pour it into the drain. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Then pour more boiling water into the drain.
DIY DRAIN MAINTENANCE
By far the best way to avoid and remove clogs is to perform regular maintenance on your drains. A plumber is not needed to keep your pipes cleared. By following these tips, you can avoid most clogs
- Have a strainer on your drains to catch objects, food, and hair. If you don't have a strainer on your kitchen or bathroom drains, they are relatively cheap to buy.
- Pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by hot water, once every month. Doing this not only helps to keep the drain clean, but it also removes odor.
- Make a routine of running hot water into your drain after using it. This will prevent grime and particles from building up.
When you regularly perform maintenance on your drains, they aren't likely to clog. It is important however to make your schedule and stick to it. Do not procrastinate, when you do it becomes easier to blow it off the next time. If you aren't on top of your drain maintenance, problems will follow and you may incur the expense of hiring a plumber. By making a sticky note on your fridge or a calendar entry, it will be easier for you to keep your schedule. Your drains will function properly and smell great. There's nothing like a clean and fresh smelling bathroom!
PRO DRAIN CLEANING
When you have tried the home remedies and your drain is still clogged, it's probably time to call a professional drain cleaner. Drain Raider's experienced plumbing technicians are available 24 hours per day to address any drainage problems for residential and commercial customers. Our drain cleaning services expand far beyond the scope of this document, and we are always happy to solve your problems.
Our drain cleaning service experts are well equipped with high-powered water jets, cable drain cleaners, industrial strength chemical products and more. We will remove your clog - guaranteed.
CONTACT DRAIN RAIDER
Plumbing and drains are the focus of our business. When you have a persistent clog, call us toll-free at 888-595-7208. As they say - "Call Drain Raider to flush your plumbing problems away.".