Homeowners are often clueless when it comes to clearing clogged drains, and many times a homeowner will call out a plumber and spend a ton of money to get things working properly again. But it is often prudent to try to repair a clogged or slow drain yourself. Doing so will keep you from waiting on the plumber to show up, and from paying out money that you could be pocketing instead! Let’s look at how you can do-it-yourself and save big.
Clogs in the Trap
Drains are more apt to become clogged in particular locations, and one of the most common places that become clogged is the trap. The trap is the curved area of pipe that you see beneath the sink, shower, or tub. Internal water passages within the toilet and the main drain that leads away from home are also common culprits for clogs. Clogs found in toilets and traps can usually be repaired without the need to call out a plumber. Begin with the simplest technique and then work up to more complicated solutions if the simple ones do not work. In fact, most partially clogged drains can be repaired out by pouring a large pan of boiling water down the drain.
Chemical Drain Cleaner
If that does not work, you will need to determine if you want to use a chemical or mechanical approach to repair the drain. Always remember if using drain cleaning chemicals that you must be extra cautious to avoid getting splashed. You also want to be sure not to mix chemicals of different types together. Many homeowners will try a different chemical if one doesn’t work, which can cause an interaction with the chemicals and lead them to release toxic fumes into the air. Follow label directions and avoid breathing in the chemical fumes from the cleaner. Most chemical cleaners work by “eating away” whatever causing the clog, such as hair. A particularly caustic yet effective chemical drain cleaner is called Liquid Fire; this cleaner will clear out nearly any obstruction in a clogged drain.
Using a Plunger
You can also use the mechanical approach of clearing the drain with a plunger. A suction cup-type plunger is often your best line of defense in defeating a clog. In a sink, simply remove the strainer basket, fill the sink with a couple of inches of hot water, put the suction over the drain, and pump it up and down for a couple of minutes. In a toilet, simply place the plunger in the toilet, allowing the suction cup to cover the hole in the bottom and then plunge up and down until the drain clears.
Using an Auger
An auger can be used for clogs that are lying deeper in the drain or pipe. An auger is sometimes referred to as a plumber’s snake. You can purchase an auger at any big-box retailer or home store. Insert the auger into the drain and then turn the auger’s handle slowly while pushing very gently, allowing the auger to move down through your plumbing system. This action will often remove the obstruction, sending it on down the line to be expelled into the sewage.
Removing the trap is also an option to clear out a stubborn clog, or to open the clean out plug and washer (if your drain is equipped with one). Before doing this, be certain to place a bucket beneath the plumbing to catch any water that drains out when the plug or trap is removed. After removing, try using an object like a screwdriver to remove the obstruction. If this proves unsuccessful, work with the drain using an auger. After the clog is cleared out, replace the plug or the trap, and then run very hot water through the drain to remove any of the residual clogs that remains in the drain.
Prevention is actually the best way to fix a drain. Utilizing the proper precautions to prevent a clogged shower drain from happening is the best way to keep the pipes clear. Spend the additional cash to buy a high quality drain trap. Make sure to get rid of any hair or soap scum left inside the shower after each use. Do not leave the shower with out cleaning the floor of all things. In order to maintain a shower free from blockages, these are the steps you will have to follow.
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