5 Steps to Unclog a Drain
Hey Columbia, South Carolina you up for the challenge?
As the water begins to pool in the bottom of the sink, you feel your heart drop. “Not again,” you cry. Instinctively, you reach for the phone to call your trusty friends at Kay Plumbing to make yet another trip to unclog a drain in your home or business.
But wait. There are a few steps you can take before you pick up that phone. You often can unclog a drain by yourself. And after you do it once, you’ll proudly be able to do it again and again.
- Remove the Strainer
The first step is to remove the strainer by twisting it off or unscrewing the piece holding it in place. Once it’s off, clean it thoroughly; hair often becomes twisted around the strainer, which can lead to clogged drains. Clean around the drain opening and replace the strainer. Run hot water to ensure it’s clear.
If you need to unscrew a pivot rod to remove the strainer or stopper, look under the sink. Wrap pliers in a towel so you don’t damage the finish. Turn the ring under the base of the sink to release the stopper.
- Plunge Onward
If that didn’t work, try your handy plunger. First, block any overflow holes and drains of adjacent sinks by stuffing them with rags. Run a couple inches of water in the clogged sink (if there isn’t already a small pool).
Rub a layer of petroleum jelly along the rim of the plunger to prepare it for a tighter grip. Place the plunger over the drain. Then push up and down for one to two minutes. Remove the plunger and run hot water in the sink to see if you’ve unclogged the drain. Repeat the plunge if necessary. Once unclogged, continue to flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining particles.
- Set the Trap
If you can’t unclog a drain by plunging, it’s time to remove and clean the trap. First, place a bucket underneath the sink to catch any water that might spill. Then check for a plug in the trap — it’s typically a hexagon or square situated in the base of the bend. Pull the plug and run a straightened coat hanger up the pipes to unclog the drain, and then replace the plug.
If you don’t find a plug, remove the trap by loosening the two couplings holding it in place. Use a towel around the pliers if you have chrome couplings. Rinse out the trap and run a coat hanger, sewer snake or long thin brush up the pipes. Replace the trap and run hot soapy water through the drain.
- Bring on the Chemicals ( Although not Recommended)
Strong drain cleaners can unclog a drain if nothing else can. They rely on sulfuric acid or lye for their concentrated power and will work on most drains given enough time, although Kay Plumbing doesn’t recommend them because they can damage your pipes and plumbing fixtures. Follow the directions on the cleaner and once the drain is open, run water for four or five minutes to clear out any chemical residue.
Natural tip: Try a natural drain cleaner. Start by pouring one cup of baking soda into the drain. Follow that with one-half cup of vinegar. Then cover the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes. If the drain doesn’t run clear after that, repeat the process. Run hot water through the pipes once they clear.
- Maintain with Bio-Clean
Did you know you can prevent a stopped up drain in the first place? Proper maintenance of your plumbing system can prevent problems witch clogged sinks and pipes. A product with a natural blend of bacteria and enzymes, Bio-Clean, applied monthly to your plumbing system will eliminate all organic build up such as hair or grease etc. and will prevent slow drains and stoppages. All Kay Plumbing plumbers carry Bio-Clean in their trucks so make sure you get one set at our next visit.
Call Kay Straight Away
Of course, when all else fails, contact the master plumbers at Kay Plumbing. We’ll be happy to walk you through steps that have you stumped, give you additional advice to unclog a drain yourself or set up a time as soon as possible to come out to your home or office and take care of your problem.