DIY Plumbing, How to Fix a Clogged Drain
The world has changed, seemingly overnight, and now more than ever your plumbing is working overtime. Here at Solid Plumbing, we know the challenges homeowners are facing now in the face of a pandemic. If your plumbing is under stress with the whole family at home, chances are plumbing woes are on your list of worries. We all know the warning signs. The sink takes just a little longer to drain, or maybe water starts pooling around your feet in the shower. And then there are the odors. The strange, unpleasant odors. There you have it, all the signs that you will soon be facing a clogged drain. You try some liquid plumber, but it’s no good, so what can you do? You can, of course, call us any time, but if your clog is a simple one you may be able to help it along yourself.
Tips don’t get any easier than this. Put on the tea kettle (or any old pot really) and boil up as much water as it will hold. Once the water is boiled, carefully and slowly pour it down the drain in two to three stages. Allowing the boiling water to work for several seconds in between each pour. Depending on the type of clog you have, this may be the easiest way to unclog the drain. If there’s any water left, congratulate yourself with a cup of tea.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Start by pouring a pot of boiling hot water down the affected drain, then dump in about 1/2 c. baking soda, and let it sit for three minutes. Next, pour a mixture of 1 c. vinegar and 1. c very hot water down on top of the baking soda. Once it’s all in, cover with your drain plug to keep the reaction below the surface, and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Flush one more time with a pot of boiling water.
Baking Soda, Vinegar, Gravity, and Pressure
If the baking soda and vinegar alone aren’t cutting it in the bathtub drain, follow the steps above up until you plug the drain with its own cover. After 30 minutes, fill the bathtub with hot water, then, remove the stopper. The pressure of 40-60 gallons of water should be enough to dislodge the blockage that has been loosened by the baking soda and vinegar.
This trick is simple enough but surprisingly effective. Take a regular wire coat hanger, and straighten it out as much as possible. Then, bend the curved end to create a small hook. Push the hook past the drain cover and start fishing. You should be able to get all sorts of hair and nasty stuff out of the drain. Remember, you always want to be pulling gunk out, not pushing it further. Once you’ve removed all that you can, pour in some boiling water, and it should clear things up nicely.
This fairly low-tech piece of equipment works wonders, and can be purchased at your local hardware store, or rented at most equipment rental companies. It’s simple to use, and very effective. The Drain snake is basically a long flexible metal rope with a spiral at the end. You can get instructions for drain snake use here.
Clean the Trap
There are certain plumbing jobs that just aren’t for DIYing, but this one is easy enough. First, place an empty bucket underneath the U-shaped pipe (the trap) beneath your sink. Then, using a plumber’s wrench, loosen the slip nuts at both ends of the pipe. Once the trap is free, remove it and turn the U upside-down, emptying the contents into the bucket. You can also fish around inside it for debris and do the same with the pipes it was attached to. An old toothbrush is good for getting the tough gunk out. Rinse the trap with water and then put it all back together. In a lot of cases, that will do the trick.
If the current Durango and Bayfield stay at home orders have your plumbing doing double time, we’re here to help. At Solid Plumbing and heating, your safety and that of our staff is our top priority, and we are here to help you in this time of need. If the clog in your drain just won’t budge, or your sewer system is backing up contact us today and we’ll get things flowing freely once again.