Get to know these common types of drain issues
A home without water is hardly a home at all. We use water throughout the home for a variety of purposes. You use water in your sink to clean your dishes and prepare dinner. You use water in your shower to bathe and get clean. The water that runs through your washing machine washes your clothes.
A clog brings that entire system to a halt. When you have a clogged shower, toilet or kitchen sink, it can be a frustrating experience.
Your home’s drain issues don’t have to be, well, draining. If you need help, call in the plumbing professionals at Wagner. For nearly a century, we’ve been helping Albuquerque homeowners with their drain issues, from clearing kitchen sink clogs to plunging toilets. We’re here to help you, too.
Of all the drains in your home, your kitchen sink probably clogs the most often. It’s why many homes have an in-sink garbage disposal, which shreds leftover food waste into small enough bits to be washed down the drain. Yet, even with a disposal unit, clogs can still happen. Here’s what you need to know about clearing kitchen sink clogs:
A single clog, or something more serious?
In this article, we talk about drains in different rooms as though they’re separate systems, but they’re really not. After all, the drains in your home all connect to a single sewer line, which runs from your home to the street and its municipal sewer. A clog that occurs in an individual drain is just a clog. A clog that occurs in the sewer line is something much more serious.
If you’ve noticed that you have multiple clogs happening simultaneously—in your kitchen, shower, and toilets—you most likely have a sewer line clog. You need to turn off the water and immediately call in a plumber. When your sewer line clogs, it means that water has nowhere to go but back up.
If you continue to let water flow down your drains, it’ll eventually start to come up through them. Suffice it to say that this is not something you want happening.
Your shower or tub drain faces very different challenges than your kitchen sink drain. As you might expect, the problem here isn’t clogs caused by food waste, but clogs caused by hair. There’s no equivalent to a garbage disposal for your shower drain, either—whatever goes down the drain has the chance to get stuck and start forming a clog.
You’ll likely notice that, little-by-little, your shower or tub drains a little slower than usual as the clog starts to form. You’ll want to take action before this gets too serious. There are multiple ways to clear out a shower drain clog. Let’s discuss each of them and outline why some are more effective than others:
Using a snake tool
A snake tool is essentially a long piece of plastic or metal with at least one hook at the end. You can make your own basic snake tool at home by unwinding a metal coat hanger, or you can buy one at your local hardware store. Either way, the basic concept is the same. You’ll need to remove the drain cover and then feed the snake tool down into the drain. Then, when you feel the clog, use the hook portion to try and fish out the trapped hair.
This method is often messy and takes some time, but it’s inarguably one of the best ways to clear out a clog. First, you’re removing the actual obstruction, which is what is blocking water from going down the drain in the first place. Second, you’re doing so completely, which means that the clog won’t just reform in a week or so.
Put baking soda and vinegar to work
As any fifth grader who has attended a science fair can tell you, baking soda and vinegar can do some amazing things together. That doesn’t just apply to paper mache volcanoes, either. The chemical reaction created by combining baking soda and vinegar is perfect for clearing clogs. It’s strong enough to loosen things up and help break up the clog, but not harsh enough to damage your pipes like store-bought chemical drain cleaners can.
By itself, baking soda and vinegar probably won’t completely clear out the clog. For added punch, hit the clog with this chemical mix before using your snake tool. It’ll make it easier to lift out the clogged mass of hair.
Watch: How to unclog any drain
The team from This Old House walks through ways to clear any clog from any drain in your home.
Using a plunger
This is primarily what the plunger was made for: clearing toilet clogs. Its track record speaks for itself: it’s rare to encounter a clog that a plunger can’t eventually clear, although it might take both time and proverbial elbow grease. Plungers work because they increase pressure inside of your pipes and the pressure against the clog. This pressure-induced movement of the water back-and-forth eventually causes the clog to clear.
To effectively plunge a toilet, position the plunger over the toilet drain and then make quick, firm pushes and pulls. You’ll want the plunger to create a suction effect. With any luck, your clog will soon clear and you can successfully flush the toilet without any further issues.
For more serious clogs, call a plumber
If you’ve tried clearing your toilet clog with your plunger and nothing seems to work, you’ll need to call in a plumber. Your clog might be caused by something more serious, or something that has become physically stuck inside of the drain. If you have young children, it’s possible that one of them has flushed a toy or something that has now formed an obstruction in the pipe. A plumbing professional can help remove this blockage and restore your bathroom to working order.
Here in Albuquerque, contact the plumbing professionals here at Wagner. As your friendly, local plumbing team, Wagner is in the business of helping homeowners out. That includes clearing tough clogs. We have the equipment and know-how to tackle any problem and any project. Whether you have a toilet clog that won’t clear or a kitchen sink that just keeps clogging, call us and let our team help you.