How to unblock a drain
As all plumbing systems can develop clogs, there is no way of avoiding it. But most of the plugged toilets or stopped-up sinks don’t require a call to the plumber in order to fix them. You only need some tools and desire to do the job by yourself.
Below, we will show you a few proven techniques with which you could clear all kinds of nasty clogs in bathtubs, toilets, floor drains or kitchen sinks. Keep in mind that if you are not able to clear the clog the first two-three times, it is best to call an expert plumber or drain-cleaning service as you might damage the fixture or pipe permanently.
The tools you need to fight with any clog can be bought at almost every hardware store or home center and you can even rent them. The first thing you need to use when you see a clog is a plunger – cost is about $5 to $15. This tool can help clear any clog from most of the fixtures in your home ranging from tubs, toilets and sinks and you should always have one in hand. If the clog is in the deep end of the drain pipe, you might need to use an auger or a snake– this is a steel cable that is flexible and long and it is fitted with a hand crank. The available lengths of the cable auger go up to 100 ft. but deciding to buy a 25-ft. auger ($10 to $30) will help in most of the situations. Specifically created to fight toilet clogs is the closet auger – cost about $15 to $40. It is also fitter with a hand crank but the cable is secured with a rigid shaft rather than the spool in regular augers. It is properly designed to go through the curves of toilet traps as its end is bent at a specific angle. Electric power augers ($20 to $100 per day) is a tool to rent for bigger clogs or clogs that are not close to the fixture. It represents a big cable auger that is powered by an electric motor. It can break through any clog (even tree roots that are entangled). You should be aware on how to dispense and retrieve the cable safely before deciding to use it by yourself.
How to unblock a drain – Blocked sink
A plunger can help with small clogs in the sink. What you should do is fill the sink with water to one half and begin plunging. You should work it up and down a few times before you pull it off the drain fast. If your kitchen sink is a double-bowl, you should put a wet rag into one of the openings and plunge the other one. You should put the wet rag in the overflow hole if we are talking about bath sinks. The rag is basically delivering the pressure to the clog. Sometimes plungers don’t work, so it is time to use the cable auger under the blocked sink. You should use a pipe wrench to remove the sink trap though the bigger couplings on PVC plastic traps could be removed by hand. Then you should let the water pout into a bucket and make sure there is no clog in the trap. After that you should dispose of the horizontal trap arm that is protruding from the walls’ stubout. You should put the cable into the stubout and work it until you feel the pressure. Pull out about 18 inches of the cable and then work on tightening the lock screw. To push the cable down into the pipe you should turn the handle clockwise while pushing it forward. Then again repeat the process until you have cleared the blockage. If you feel that the cable has caught something or that it has bogged down, you should turn it counterclockwise and pull back. Clear the cable and then push forward. Once you have done that, pull out the cable and put back the trap arms and the trap. To check if the sink is draining properly, turn on the hot-water. Sometimes it doesn’t work from the first time as the broken debris can transform into a loose blockage. If this happens, just fill half of the sink with hot water and go back to the plunger. Finish up again with pouring hot water.
How to unblock a drain – Bathtub clogged
We don’t see a bathtub stop draining properly, suddenly, as the clogs usually form in a period of a few weeks, during which we notice that it is draining slower each day. You should start with the plunger as we have done with a clogged sink. To begin with, you should remove the screen from the drain and use a wire to remove any soap or hair. If your tub has a pop-up drain, you should pull the lever to the open position, take the stopper and remove it from the hole of the drain – then clean it of hair or soap. Most of the time, this will be enough to fix a bathtub clogged. But if it isn’t, you should put wet rags over the holes on the underside of the overflow plate and then begin plunging. If you are unsuccessful, turn to the cable auger. First you should remove the overflow place from the tubs’ end and you will see the stopper linkage coming out too. About 30 inches of cable down the overflow tube are enough. Push it further as you are rotating the hand crack. You will feel the blockage immediately but you should continue cranking until the cable has one through the P-trap located below the tub. Pull the cable out and pour several gallons of hat water over the drain. Finish up by replacing the overflow place and screen.
How to unblock a drain – Blocked Toilet
Most of the toilet clogs usually happen at the top of the up-curving, tight trap that is comprised in the fixture. A plunger can be useful in some cases, but most of the times you would need a closet auger. You should start by putting the end of the auger into the bowl with its tip turned up. You should hold onto the shaft steady while you are pushing down and cranking. You should continue pushing down and cranking until the entire cable is down – about 3 ft. Bring up the cable while you are pulling up and cranking at the same time. Then flush the toilet to clear the drainpipe and clear the blocked toilet. If the problem hasn’t been dealt with, you should repeat the process twice more – on the right and on the left side of the trap. This three-sided assault will surely clear out anything that is stuck on the sides of the trap.
How to unblock a drain – Floor drain
The floor drains that are located in your laundry rooms, garages or basement may carry wastewater from your washing machines, heaters, air conditioners or snow-covered card. With time passing, those drain will be stuck collecting large amounts of sand, bacteria, soap or laundry lint that will crystallise in the drainpipe. In situations like this, you will need the help of the electric power auger in order to break those clogs. You will need at least 50 ft. of cable. To start with you should remove the strainer that is covering the hole of the drain and find the clean-out plug located on the side of the drain basin. You should dispose of the plug using the help of a wrench. This way you will be able to avoid the trap and put the cable right into the pipe. It is a bit more difficult if there is no clean-put plug as you will need to put the cable through the trap first. Then, you should plug in the auger and place it near the drain. Your hands will be free to guide the cable as most of the power augers have a foot-pedal switch. You should put down the drainpipe several feet of the cable, setting it to a clockwise rotation and stepping on the switch to start the motor. You must push the cable down up until the moment you feel the blockage or hear that the motor has started bogging down. Then you should stop it, reverse the rotation and pull out few feet of the cable. Put it back to clockwise direction and push it down the pipe. You should repeat this process until you have cleared the clog. Once you have, you should pull out the cable and pour few buckets of hot water down the drainpipe. If you see that the water is moving slow, you should push down 2 ft. of the cable down the trap. When you are done, you should put some Teflon tape around the threads of the clean-out plug before putting it back on. This way it will be easier to remove it later. Caution: if you fail to replace the clean-out plug, this will bring dangerous sewer gases into your home.
If you have questions on how to unblock a drain, or you need to get your floor drain professionally fixed, contact us on 0412 738 874 or leave a message. We will take care of your blocked drain problems.