Do It Yourself: Clogged Sink Repair

Tips on tools and techniques for repairing clogs in sinks.

If you are brushing your teeth and looking into a pool of backlogged water lying in your sink it may be because you have a clogged line. To prevent clogged pipelines leading to your sink you should use a dissolving product to flush out and clean grease and accumulation. Since sinks often receives heavy traffic on a daily basis it is advisable to use a dissolving product once or twice a month. The frequent use of these products discourages future drain clogs and insures cleaner drains. Sometimes clogs are unpreventable, however. If the water will not drain out of the bowl in your sink here are the steps you should take before you get the tool kit out.

If you are unwilling to shell out money for a service fee, or simply do not feel like looking at the backside of your neighbor plumber, you can try to solve the problem yourself. In most cases all it takes is a pair or hands or a plunger, and a good attitude.

First you should be sure that the lint trap in the drain is free of chucks of soap, food particles, or hair. If superficial blockage does not seem to be the problem there may be another quick solution to your problem. With the water still running, place the palm of your hand over the open drain. Push your palm up and down, mimicking the motion of a plunger, and see if this suction action results in de-clogging. If this does not work you will have to use more heavy duty equipment, like, a plunger.

Since the drainpipe may be clogged past the trap near the pipe and wall the plunger may be necessary for a stronger suction force. Before you take to plunging you should jam a rag into the overflow opening in the bowl of the sink. Then remove the lint trap or sink strainer if there is one. Make sure there is at least two inches of water in the sink when you do this procedure. Take the plunger""make sure you sterilize it properly, and place it on the open drain. Hold the handle in both hands and press it down suddenly to create the suction force. Do this up and down action several times. This procedure may break the clog.

If using the plunger does not rid your sink of the clog, next try to clean out the drainpipe. Place an empty pail on the floor under the elbow beneath the sink. Unscrew the plug from beneath the elbow trap or, if there is no plug, remove the whole trap by loosening the two fittings on either side of the curving elbow. Use an adjustable wrench for this. Be careful because water and unsavory debris may come out in a rush when the plug is removed. If only a small amount of liquid trickles out when the trap is removed then you know the problem is located elsewhere. With a straightened wire coat hanger, poke around the elbow hole to dislodge any material that has accumulated. If this works, flush out the drain with hot water.

If none of the above solutions work and you still are determined to fix the clogged sink yourself you will want to purchase a plumber's snake. This long cable, roughly eight feet long, should be fed down the sink drain. It will be able to maneuver its way down the twists and turns to the blockage. The snake dislodges the obstruction in most cases. If the snake does not do the job and all else fails, refer to the yellow pages, and call the plumber.

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