Unclogging drains can be an unpleasant experience, not only for you, but also for your pipes. In this article, we will take a look at 6 pipe-friendly tips for unclogging drains, including relying on a professional plumber to get the job done right and efficiently. If you're looking for someone to help with unclogging drains, call the experts at WaterSmart Systems & Plumbing - we'll make sure everything is running smoothly!
6 Pipe-Friendly Tips for Unclogging Drains
Drain cleaners rely on chemical solutions to dissolve any materials that may be clogging your pipes. While this can be an effective means of clearing your drain, the chemical reaction creates heat and produces gas, which can soften PVC pipes and corrode older metal fittings, caulking, and seals.
That's why we're proposing these alternative methods.
1. Wire hanger
Step 1: Remove the drain plug or cover. If you have a perforated piece over the shower drain hole, take it off with a screwdriver and clean it thoroughly. It tends to get full of hair and soap scum and could be contributing to your drainage problem.
Step 2: Look in your closet for a wire hanger. Using needle-nose pliers, straighten out the hanger but keep the hook, then bend the other end slightly to form a small handle or loop.
Step 3: Stick the hook end into the shower drain hole as far as it will go, rotating the hanger as you push it down. Make sure you keep your grip on the handle. Jiggle the hanger to lift, or fish out, any gunk. Pull the hanger out, and remove the gunk with a paper towel.
Step 4: Repeat Step 3 until the hanger comes out clean.
Step 5: Replace the drain plug or cover.
A wire hanger from your closet can be effective in unclogging drains.
2. Drain Snake
A drain snake is also known as an auger. According to Dummies.com, it's a coiled spiral that’s usually about 1/4-inch thick with a handle on one end that works the opposite way that a plunger does: "You push the snake into the clog and crank it to drive the snake farther into the obstruction. While parts of the clog break up and flush through the drain, the snake helps you gain access to the clog so that you can pull it out."
Here's a list of the seven best drain snakes to buy in 2019 from The Spruce.
Still unsure about unclogging drains this way? Check this video for assistance.
"One of the first and easiest things you can do is simply flush your drain with a tea kettle of boiling water. It's not guaranteed to unclog physical or grease blockages, but if you have a slow drain that you think is due to a light or small blockage, a good boiling water flush can clear it out with minimal effort. Wait until the sink or tub has finally drained, and then flush with water."
Word to the wise: the boiling water trick works best on metal pipes. If you have PVC pipes, water over 175 degrees can soften or melt the joints in your pipes. If you're not sure what's in your home, don't use boiling water – just use hot tap water.
One of the first and easiest things you can do is simply flush your drain with a kettle of boiling water.
4. Clean the Pipe
The ideal way to accomplish this goal is without toxic chemical cleaners. Greener Ideal offers the following method for unclogging drains:
Remove any visible debris from the drain opening
Pour ¾ cup dry baking soda down the drain
Pour ½ cup vinegar down the drain and cover immediately with a rag or plug
Leave it in there for 30 minutes, and prepare boiling water
Remove the plug and slowly pour the hot water down the drain
It’s that simple. If it doesn’t clear all the gunk out the first time, a second pass should work. As a bonus, you can keep your pipes clean and chemical free!
5. Dish Detergent
This method is similar to those mentioned immediately above, but with dish soap as the solution of choice. Here are the steps via Hunker:
Step 1: Pour a 1/2 cup of dish detergent into the drain. For tough clogs, use a full cup of detergent.
Step 2: Let the detergent sit in the drain for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Fill a pot half full with water and put it on the stove. Set the stove to high heat an bring the water to a boil.
Step 4: Remove the water from the heat and immediately pour it down the clogged drain. Pour slowly but steadily to avoid getting burned by splashing water.
Step 5: Run water down the drain to check how freely water flows through. Repeat the steps if a clog is still apparent.
Dish detergent can be an effective way to break up clogs.
6. Calling a Plumber
Plumbers have tools that make unclogging drains easier. For example, residential plumbing camera inspections allow them to accurately identify your plumbing problems without unnecessary mess or expense.
Using this technology, licensed plumbers can determine the cause and exact location of your problem and help you make a decision concerning your repair or replacement options.
WaterSmart's master plumbers have been unclogging drains for 25 years, and can now make use of residential plumbing cameras to get to the bottom of even the toughest blockages.
Need help unclogging drains? Trust WaterSmart!
WaterSmart can do any plumbing service from a faucet replacement to a complete renovation. No job is too big or too small.
You can trust the expert master plumbers at WaterSmart to fix your plumbing problem right the first time and at a reasonable rate.
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