Clogged drain got you down? You’re not alone. Here are the most common plumbing repairs — and how serious they are!
What’s worse than a clogged drain? When it comes to home repairs in here North Carolina… okay, a lot of things. We can name many issues that are worse than a slow draining sink or tub. But it’s one of those minor irritants that can really frustrate you as a homeowner. Clogged drains can occur for a variety of reasons, and there are many options for DIY home repairs — as well as professional fixes. If you’re dealing with a clogged kitchen sink, clogged bathtub, or clogged toilet, keep reading. All homeowners should know how to prevent and fix residential drain and toilet clogs… and when to call a plumber. Let’s get the facts, so you can keep things flowing freely.
Why Do Drains Get Clogged?
Right now, the only thing on your mind may be a repeating loop of, “must unclog kitchen sink.” (For a quick answer, skip to the next section.) But it’s worth taking the time to understand why drains get clogged, so you can take preventative measures in your sink, tub, and toilet usage. As a wise man once said, “Teach a man to avoid drain clogs, and he’ll never have to snake a bathroom sink.” Or something like that.
All drains get clogged because of buildup or foreign objects stuck in the pipes. This buildup often occurs slowly, over time. Foreign objects may slow a drain, or else cause an outright stop in the flow. Often, a clog caused by a foreign object happens immediately and causes complete cessation of drainage.
Common culprits of kitchen sink clog are oil or cooking fats, food scraps, and coffee grounds. For the health of your pipes, never pour cooking grease down a sink. Instead, wait until it cools, and dispose of it in the trash. If you have an in-sink trash disposal, be sure to use that, rather than washing whole scraps down the drain. And finally, never dispose of coffee grounds or tea leaves in your kitchen sink! These are best composted or trashed.
A clogged bathtub is likely the result of your luxurious locks (yep: Hair clogs in bathtub drains are very common). You can avoid this by using a mesh trap over the drain, and emptying it after each shower. Sailing right past any, uh, toilet humor, let’s discuss the drama of the clogged toilet. Common causes of toilet clog are flushing products that aren’t biodegradable or drain-friendly, or attempting to flush too much toilet tissue at once. Parents of toddlers may also note an irregularly high instance of plastic toys as clog culprits.
Now that you’ve got the facts, here’s how to fix the issues.
At-Home Clog Repairs And Routine Maintenance
If your drains are emptying slowly, your first line of defense is a kettle full of boiling water. Carefully and slowly pour the hot water down the drain, and wait a few minutes before using the sink. Some homeowners do this chore regularly (once a week or so is adequate); to flush routine buildup. If the sink or tub is still clogged, you may try a unclogging product (such as Drano), regularly available at retail shops. Be sure that you’re using a pipe-safe product with noncorrosive materials, so you don’t degrade your home’s plumbing infrastructure. If using an unclogging liquid or gel, follow the product instructions and wait at least 15-30 minutes before using the sink; this will give the product time to blast through particles and buildup. Most products do recommend you follow up with a hot or boiling water flush.
If hot water and pipe-clearing products don’t work, or if your sink/tub is turning into a wading pool, try a drain snake. Drain snakes are made of flexible metal or plastic, and may contain small hooks or fibers to “catch” clogs. You can buy a drain snake at most home repair and hardware stores; you’ll want to ensure that the snake you get is right for the job (ample length, etc.) Here’s a handy guide for choosing the best drain snake.
To unclog a toilet, your first line of defense is the humble plunger. Toilet-specific drain snakes may also be helpful.
When To Call A Plumber
We get it: Clogged drains are not fun to deal with. If you don’t want to handle the “ick” factor, you can always call a plumbing professional straight away to do the dirty work. That’s what we’re here for! If the clog in question is in a high-traffic area or frequently used location, you’ll want to address it immediately. But if you’ve tried to DIY fixes to unclog drains and things are still stuck, you need the help of a plumber.
This is especially important if every drain in your home is moving slowly. This is a sign of major plumbing issues, and one that requires professional attention. You’ll also want to call a plumber ASAP if your drains start moving in the opposite direction — if you’re seeing water or (ahem) other matter come back up through your sinks, tubs, and toilets, get that plumber on the line. These are signs of structural issues with the main line, or even issues such as tree roots interfering with your underground pipes. As with all home repairs, a clogged drain is best addressed as soon as the issue arises. This will likely save you money and headache over the long term.
Do you need plumbing repairs in Fayetteville, North Carolina? Call Blanton’s today at (910) 249-4898 and schedule an estimate with our friendly technicians today.