Drain Blockage 101
Having a clogged drain seems like a no brainer. You run the water, the drain is obviously stopped up, and then you proceed to pour a liquid mixture down the drain and presto, the drain magically becomes unclogged. Unfortunately, drain blockage can be a bit more complicated than that. The large variety of products available to unclog drains adds to the confusion. If drain blockage is a new topic for you, here are the basics.
There are many surprisingly common causes of a clogged drain, and there are also several useful ways to prevent them or solve them once you’re in the middle of a situation.
• Grease. When draining the grease off of meat, it goes down the drain. After so long, this grease hardens, which can cause the drain to become clogged. To prevent this, run hot water down the sink for a minute or so to wash down the grease. Make sure that it is hot water, cold water will cause the grease to harden quicker and may cause a clogged drain.
• Hair. Hair build up is a common cause of bathtub drain blockage. When an individual washes their hair, they often “shed” a certain amount as well. One or two strands will wash down the drain, but may get caught a bit further down. One or two strands of hair per shower can build up rather quickly, causing a problem. This is easily preventable by purchasing drain stoppers that serve as a strainer for the drain. Simply empty them after a shower, and save hundreds on a local plumber.
• Food. When doing the dishes, it is very common for people to simply wash down a few small pieces of food here and there. It seems so much easier than using a strainer for one tiny piece of food. Much like hair, those little tiny pieces of food can build up over time. Instead, avoid washing any food down the drain, regardless of how small it may be. We would never recommend that you look at fixing the drain blockage problem yourself, however if you do want to have a go we have put some information here for you.
If you already have a clogged drain, you’re well past the prevention stage. It may be time to call a plumber, but there are some easy ways to remove the blockage yourself that are worth a shot before spending the money on hiring a professional.
• Boiling water. Turn on the stove and boil some water. Boiling water may be all it takes to soften up a wad of grease or break loose some built up food. This method is the first one most people try because it’s free and takes almost no time.
• Bent coat hanger. The bent coat hanger trick is not always effective, but it can definitely work wonders when it is. Use a bent coat hanger as a makeshift eel and pull out hair and other blockages so you can use your sink again.
• Take apart the pipe. This one isn’t fun, but it’s effective and cost efficient. Place a bucket under the part of the pipe that is shaped like a U. If there is water stuck in that part, it will fall into the bucket. Then, loosen up the slip nuts to remove the U shaped piece of pipe. Run some water to see if it goes in the bucket. If it does, that is not where the blockage is. Next, run water through the U shaped piece of pipe. This is a common area for blockages, particularly food or hair build up. If water doesn’t flow freely, there’s your problem. Last, refer to the bent hanger trick if the drain blockage is further down.
While clogging a drain can often be prevented, sometimes these things simply happen. Try these wonderful DIY drain blockage removal tips to save some extra cash and get your sink working again. If all else fails, or you simply don’t have the time, it may be time to call a professional. Ask your professional handyman what you can do to prevent the same blockage from occurring in the future to make sure your drains stay clear.