Do It Yourself Plumbing Tips

Do It Yourself Plumbing: Unclogging Your Sink


Sometimes for minor sink drain clogs, you may be able to remedy the problem yourself. If you are dealing with a blocked sink, there are several ways that you can fix it. The first option is to try using a plunger. Place an old, wet rag in the over flow drain to prevent suction (or if you are working on a two-basin kitchen sink, place the rag in the second drain), then use the plunger over the main drain moving it up and down to try to clear the clog.

Another option is to use an off-the-shelf chemical drain cleaner. Follow the directions on the container, and allow the solution to sit in the pipes the allotted amount of time. After that time, flush hot water through it to push remaining debris through the pipes. Never use such chemicals in a toilet, shower, or tub, as the chemicals can come back up the pipe and in contact with your skin on an overflow if the clog didn’t clear.

Most often, the plumber’s snake is the tried and true method of clearing a sink drain. Look for the cleanout plug near the lowest curve in the drain pipe. In older plumbing fixtures that do not feature cleanout access, then you may need to use a wrench to unscrew the drain trap portion of the pipe. Place a bucket under the pipe to catch any water that may come out. Once you have taken off the drain trap or the plug you can use a plumbers snake to maneuver through the pipe and dislodge materials that may be causing the clog. After snaking, rinse the pipes with hot water and reassemble.

If neither of these steps do the trick, it’s time to call Rooter Nation!


Do It Yourself Plumbing: Unclogging Your Toilet


When your toilet is clogged, your first thought is always to grab the plunger. It is always a good first step, as long as your have a heavy-duty plunger with ample suction to cover the drain hole at the bottom of the bowl completely and an internal ring on the rubber suction cup to form a seal in the drain hole. Then, it’s all about technique. Push straight down and pause before pulling up. Do not allow the suction to break, and continue to plunge until the water begins to go down the drain. Please note that putting too much muscle into plunging can potentially damage the pipes from the force of the suction and water flow. So, be gentle and methodical, and after about 20 tries, it’s time for another method.

If plumbing fails, you can try a toilet drain snake. You simple insert the tube through the drain until it reaches the clog, and then turn the handle, which drills a spring-like device into the clog. Try this several times to dislodge the blockage.

Lastly, for organic type of clogs, you can attempt a more gentle approach, using dish detergent and very hot water. (But never pour hot water into a cold porcelain bowl, because it could crack.) Allow the water/detergent to sit in the bowl for 20 minutes, and then add a couple more quarters of boiling water. Many times, this simple remedy will work.

If you’ve attempted these methods without luck, it’s time to call Rooter Nation!


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