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WeatherMakers Heating, Cooling & Plumbing Blog

How To Clear Slow and Clogged Drains

DIY and Professional Plumber Solutions

You know the signs–you find yourself standing in an inch of water during your morning shower. Or you bend down to rinse your toothbrush and get a sniff of musty leaf from the sink? Yes, it sounds like you have a clogged drain. Better to deal with it the moment you notice it, and the earlier you deal with it, the more options you have.

DIY Clogged Drain Solutions

It’s best to determine what the clog is made of before choosing your solution. Also consider drain location and how you use the drain. Here’s a quick guide.

Kitchen clogs could be made of food particles, a stray sponge, peels, etc.
These clogs are almost always cleared with a drain snake that you can buy or rent from a home hardware store. Push it gently through the pipes until you meet the clog and then carefully turn it so the head can clear the clog. Flush thoroughly afterward.

It’s not recommended to snake through a waste disposal unit. Best to access the drain clean-out or via a second basin if you have one. If you suspect the waste disposal unit holds the clog, cut the power to it and see if you can fish out any materials using pliers or tongs. Never use your hands for this. You can also try turning the blades manually using an Allen key underneath the unit. If the clog is soft debris, sometimes a plunger works quicker than anything else. Do not use commercial drain cleaners as they can deteriorate some plastics.

Shower, bathtub and bathroom sink clogs are often made from a mix of hair, soap scum, hair product residue and toothpaste. Non chemical fixes include a mix of baking soda and white vinegar. Admittedly, it doesn’t work great for thick clogs, but regular use will keep buildup at bay.
Chemical solutions include drain cleaners. There are many on the market. Read and follow the directions exactly. These chemicals can be dangerous to humans, pipes and pets if used incorrectly.

Toilet clogs are often, well, excrement, toilet paper, or the accidental flushing of sanitary pads or other toiletries. If you have toddlers or dogs, don’t discount toys, watches or knick-knacks. You might be surprised at what you find in a toilet. A plunger will help with most “soft” clogs, and if that doesn’t work, the plumber’s snake we mentioned for kitchen sink clogs can clear blockages further down. Just be very gentle snaking through ceramic toilets as they’re more fragile than you might think.

Laundry drain clogs are almost always made of lint and hair. These clogs are easily pulled out of washing machine drain hoses, laundry sink drains and drain lines that are accessible. They often collect at joints and curves, so check there first.

When to Call a Plumber

If your DIY remedies don’t work or the fix doesn’t last, you could have more going on. There could be another clog further down past where your snake can reach, or perhaps there’s an issue in your plumbing stack, venting, house drain or sewer line. These are harder to diagnose, and if you find you just can’t clear a drain or section of pipe, call in a plumber who can better diagnose the whole house to better see the issue.

As well, if you maintain an eco-friendly home and have a stubborn clog, plumbers have a number of long-lasting, chemical-free solutions at the ready. Don’t hesitate to call WeatherMakers for a home-friendly, green plumbing solution.

If you are experiencing a clogged drain, contact WeatherMakers today for expert advice and answers to all of your plumbing questions.

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