We’ve all been there; in the shower and the water is filling the tub instead of draining like it should. Or maybe you’ve just done a sink load of dishes and now it won’t drain. Or the worst, you flush the toilet at a friend’s house and it starts to back up. It’s going to overflow! Having a clog can stop water draining entirely or just slow it down to a trickle. These are some of the most annoying situations to find yourself in. What steps can you take before you have to call a plumber?
A plunger is usually the first thing to try. Plungers work by forcing air in and out of the pipe to dislodge the source of the clog. What kind of things cause clogs. Shower and bathtub drains mostly get clogged from hair getting trapped in the drain. Kitchen sinks get clogged from grease and food particles. And toilets, well, there’s toilet paper, fecal matter, feminine products and a whole host of other things that people flush down the toilet. A plunger can be a life saver on all these clogs.
When the plunger isn’t doing the job of clearing out a clog, there are chemical drain cleaners and clog removers that will do the job. These chemicals are heavier that water and will sink down the drain to work on the source of the clog. You’ll have to leave the chemicals sit for a bit of time and then the water should drain out. Chemical drain cleaners and clog removers are okay to use on most drains, however, if used frequently they could damage your pipes.
Perhaps your clog is more stubborn than plungers or chemicals. What’s next? Try looking into the drain with a flashlight. If the source of the clog is visible, get tweezers or any kind of wire with a hook on it and try to pull it out. If unsuccessful at this step, you can purchase a snake at your local hardware store to clear out your pipes.
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to clear out these clogs. Perhaps the clog is in the part of your pipes that is too far from the drain for these other methods to be effective. Now is the time to call in the professionals. Plumbers are the masters of the clogged drain and will have your drains flowing freely in a short time. Keep their number handy for any plumbing emergency.