Some of our best customers are Do-It-Yourselfers (DIYers). Intelligent, independent and handy, DIYers challenge themselves to learn new things. Being useful is satisfying. And HGTV and the DIY Network make it look so easy! But, there are some jobs that – for safety’s sake – should be left to professionals. If you get stuck, frustrated or need to use your plumbing now – call us: it’s Western Reserve Plumbing to the rescue!
How to Clear Clogged Drains
Don’t wait if you find yourself with a slow drain; it will only get worse.
- Put on dishwashing gloves
- Remove drain cover and pull out whatever you can reach; it will be gross
If the clog is beyond reach, you’ll need to clean the drain pipe
- DO NOT USE CHEMICAL SOLUTIONS: they are dangerous to people, pipes and the environment
- They don’t work very well
- Even the ones that say they won’t damage pipes, WILL damage pipes
- Even WORSE: combining chemical solutions can result in NOXIOUS FUMES or an EXPLOSION
- FOR METAL PIPES
- Boil a pot of water and slowly pour down the drain; it will loosen a clog that is not severe
- FOR METAL OR PVC PIPES
- Try Bio-Clean, an enzyme-and-bacteria-based declogger available at plumbing supply stores, for around $10
CLEAR THE TRAP
Still clogged? If the drain is a sink, you’ll need to clear the U-shaped pipe underneath – the trap.
- Put a bucket or bowl beneath to catch any leaks
- Unscrew the plug or use a pipe wrench to loosen the two nuts on either side of the trap, depending on what kind of trap you have
- Clean out clogged matter and reassemble
TAKE THE PLUNGE(R)
If the clog is farther down the pipe, try a plunger or auger (plumber’s snake). The plunger loosens the clog so it can go down; the auger twists into the clog to break it up.
- Seal any overflow holes with duct tape or a rag
- Use the right kind of plunger: those with a flat base are for sinks and tubs; the ones with rounded bases are better for toilets
- Create a seal with the plunger and work it up and down quickly for 30 to 60 seconds, being careful not to lose the seal. The pressure should pull the clog loose and allow it to go down the pipe.
How to Avoid Clogged Drains
The best way to deal with clogs is to stop them from happening in the first place. They are corrosive and can cause pipes to rot. Save thousands of dollars in service calls and pipe replacements by following one simple rule:
only allow water, natural waste and toilet paper to go down your pipes
- TISSUES – they’re designed to stay together when they hit moisture, just like paper towels; toilet paper is designed to come apart in water
- SANITARY SUPPLIES LABELED FLUSHABLE – they’re designed to absorb water and expand: that’s exactly what they do in the pipe – absorb water, expand and clog
- COOKING OIL & GREASE – they harden midway through pipes; wipe out a pan with newspaper or pour into an empty yogurt container and throw it out with the garbage
- POTATO PEELS, CUT VEGETABLES, FOOD SCRAPS – small bits of food on the plate can go down the disposer – everything else needs to go in the trash
All drains should have covers, especially those in the shower, which should have “hair guards” found at the drugstore or hardware store for a couple of dollars.
When to Call for Help
When more than one drain is backed up or you smell sewer odors, it’s time to call in a professional. Or, if you don’t have the desire or the tools to clear kitchen or bathroom drains, we’re happy to help. The Western Reserve Plumbing Company – 330.212.7639
Source: The New York Times, “Unclog Away, Then Call the Experts”, Arianne Cohen, December 24, 2009. page D5