Every one of us will experience a clogged drain at some point in our life. It could be caused by flushing a lot of toilet paper, allowing hair down the shower drain, or putting grease down the garbage disposal, but knowing how to unclog a drain is critical so you can get your plumbing back in working order.
We spoke with a plumbing expert to determine the best methods for unclogging various drains, such as toilets and sinks, and he shared his clog do’s and don’ts. Here’s what he recommends.
Place the Drain Cleaner Down the Drain
When you detect a clogged drain, your first impulse may be to reach for the drain cleaner bottle under your sink—I’m sure most of us have a bottle of drain cleaner on hand, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, experts recommend that you first use a plunger or drain snake to unclog your drains.
Most drain cleaners operate by triggering a chemical reaction inside your drain pipe, which is frequently accomplished with hydrochloric acid. These reactions often generate heat, which might permanently destroy the pipe. This is especially true if the cleaner does not completely or immediately dissolve the clog, as the liquid chemicals will sit on top of the plug. The chemical reaction, on the other hand, is concentrated on a small part of the pipe. While using a drain cleaner now and then isn’t the end of the world, reaching for the plunger first can benefit your plumbing (and maybe your cash).
How to Clear a Clogged Toilet
At some point in your life, you will have to unclog a toilet. But don’t be concerned! Unclogging a toilet is straightforward when you have the correct equipment. First and foremost, avoid the desire to flush the toilet again if the bowl isn’t draining. You may feel that doing so will assist push the clog down the drain, but it frequently results in the toilet bowl overflowing and producing an even worse mess for you to clean up. Instead, use a toilet plunger with an extension flange at the end of the bell. This plunger type makes it much easier to create a perfect seal in the toilet bowl (and you can also use it on other drains by flipping the flange up into the bell).
To plunge your toilet, fill the bowl with water and position the plunger so the bell makes a seal over the drain. Use caution on your initial push—there may be air inside the bell, causing water to flow out of the bowl if you plunge too quickly. Yuck. Push the plunger many times after the air has been released and a good seal has been formed. This back and forth movement in the drain should help to remove a clog. You’ll hear a draining sounds after a minute or two of diving, indicating that your efforts were successful.
If you have a septic tank, you should avoid flushing any chemicals down the toilet drain. This can disrupt the natural breakdown of items in your septic tank and harm the environment if it is released into the drain field or backs up into your yard.
Unclogging a Sink Drain
If your kitchen or bathroom sink is clogged, you have a few flushing options. The first and most basic way is to boil water in your tea kettle and then dump it down the drain. Hot water is frequently enough to dissolve the soap scum or grease that is creating the problem.
Another method is to manufacture your own drain cleaning from pantry ingredients; mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda and pour it down the drain, causing froth to build and fizzle. Because the reaction must take place near the blockage, this method works best when there is no standing water in the sink.
No joy? Then get a plunger—mini plungers for sinks are available, but you can easily flip up the flange of your toilet plunger. Plungers are useful for unclogging sinks as well as toilets. Fill a few inches of water in the sink to produce suction, then plunge up and down steadily. After many plunges, the clog should begin to dissolve and the water should drain. If you keep getting clogs and can’t figure out what’s causing them, it’s time to call a professional plumber. Roman Plumbing offers drain cleaning in Port Richey, Florida.