What is the Best Way to Clear a Clogged Drain?
Homeowners can agree that indoor plumbing is one of the best modern inventions of all time. Having water, let alone hot water, on demand, is something we’ve all come to expect in our daily lives. However, all plumbing systems may eventually develop clogs and plumbing problems, there’s no candy-coating that. We’ll give you tips on clearing stubborn clogs in kitchen sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and floor drains. Whether you’re battling a backup with baking soda and boiling water, using drain cleaners to stop the clogging or grabbing a plunger to try and clear the blockage, a clogged drain is never fun.
These time-tested techniques can dislodge almost any clog and buildup. If the clog won’t clear after you’ve made a few attempts, you’ll have to admit unclogging defeat and turn the job over to a licensed professional plumber and drain cleaning specialist. Beware that if you exert too much force, it can cause permanent damage to the pipe or plumbing fixture. Snaking a line, or auger, is one of the best ways to clear a clog, whether in a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower drain or tub drain.
Here are some specialized plumbing tools that should be in every DIY household. They’re available at your local hardware store or home center and they’re relatively affordable.
- When trouble arises, the first tool you should reach for is your plunger. They aren’t just for the toilet, they work with most fixtures, including bathroom sink drains, kitchen drains, clogged sinks, and of course, toilets.
- For clogs located further down the drain pipe, turn to a cable auger, or a plumber’s snake. This is a long, flexible steel cable that is wound around a spool with a hand crank. They can be as long as 100 feet, but the 25-foot model is enough for most household drain clogs and sink clogs. Be careful when running this through the p-trap, not wanting to bust through the pipe, or pull it apart at the slip nuts. Be sure to remove the kitchen sink or bathroom sink stopper, ,strainer or drain cover, so you will have a clear path to the drain clog.
- For the worst clogs that are far away from the fixture, you can rent an electric power auger. The machine is a large cable auger that is powered by an electric motor. It’s very efficient at cutting through clogs, including tangled tree roots.
If you decide to rent an electric power auger, make sure that the agent instructs you on safely dispensing and retrieving the cable. If you have ANY doubt of your ability, it is always safer to hire a professional plumber to run an electric auger and perform the snaking of the line.
Homeowners have also used chemical drain cleaners to clear the buildup and blockages of their clogged drains. Relying on chemical reactions, products like Drano, or using baking soda and a cup of white vinegar, can help clear the gunk, grime, toothpaste, soap scum and other build up that causes the sink to slow drain, or have standing water. When you use chemical drain cleaners, it’s important to use rubber gloves, and have pliers or a wire coat hanger handy to remove any of the gunk and buildup you can pull out of the drain.
Cleaning your garbage disposal will have its own set of unique challenges for the DIY homeowner.
Need Professional Help Clearing a Drain?
If all attempts to clear the clogged drain fail, or if you aren’t comfortable using a cable auger or an electric power auger, contact a Kansas City plumber from A-1 Sewer & Septic Services Inc.
We have been cleaning and unclogging drains since 1968, and we’re confident that we can get down to the cause of the problem so your drains can get up and running as fast as possible.