Diy Home Maintenance: Unclogging A Drain

A clogged drain is easy to clear. Here are some tips for trying to open a blocked drain before resorting to calling a plumber.

When a household drain becomes blocked, many people want to call a plumber instead of tackling this potentially messy job himself or herself. Yet, as we all know, the longer you let it sit, the worse the odor will become. Unblocking a drain can be managed sometimes with a minimum of tools and effort.

It's always a good idea to keep a plunger around the house. In fact, keep one for each room where you have a sink or toilet. Be sure to clean it after every use so it doesn't accumulate stains or odors. When the drain closes up due to congealed debris, you can try to work the plunger up and down to unstop it. Run enough water (by pan or faucet) to cover the top of the plunger in the drain area. If it is a double sink or if it has an overflow opening, these should be plugged with wet rags so you will get more suction. Move the plunger up and down just over the drain opening about ten times very fast. You might have to do this a few times before the drain will finally clear. If it remains partially blocked, pour very hot water, taking care not to get burned, into the drain. This often will unplug it. Or you can try a commercial brand of drain cleaner. If that does not help, you might want to take off the trap. If so, you will need to put a bucket under the trap to catch any water inside that is released when you remove it. If any of the parts are bad, make a trip to the hardware store to replace them to avoid future problems.

When it comes to the toilet and the bathtub, try using a plunger first. If that doesn't work, you will need to borrow or buy a plumber's snake. Ask directions about how to insert this tool into the drain opening if you have not done it before. If that proves fruitless, you may need to call a professional plumber because if the drain remains clogged, it could impede your main line, leading to quite a bit of additional work. Sometimes tree roots grow beneath the soil in your lawn and block the inside of your main line, oddly enough. In that case, someone will have to do a lot of digging.



There are three different types of drain cleaners: caustic, acid, and enzyme. The caustic variety has lye, which is powerful on grease and body oils. Acid effectively removes hair and soap, and it works a lot faster than caustic acid, as well as being safer. Enzymes eat organic materials. It is the safest of the three for you and on your pipes. But it is a lot slower than the other two. Always store these products in a locked cabinet away from other cleaners and products, and make sure the kids or pets cannot get to them.

Train family members not to put items in the sink or commode that won't go down easily. Food or gum, clothing, disposable diapers, and other small things can get stuck and create drain clogs, so teach children how to properly dispose of such items.

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