5 Essential Tips to Unclog a Blocked Drain

May 09, 2020 10:47 AM

Drainage blockage is a nuisance that every homeowner experiences at some point or the other. Drainage issues are difficult to deal with, cause great inconvenience and make homeowners extremely uncomfortable due to their malodor and backflows.

Besides making you uneasy, a blocked drain is also a breeding ground for bacteria and can have endless negative impacts for you and your family’s health. If not addressed properly, blocked and broken drains also cause water damage to your home’s structure.

What Causes A Blocked Drain?

Drainage systems are subject to blockage, cracks, leaks and bursting as they age. Grease, mineral deposits from water, random debris and solids accumulate inside your drain and obstruct the normal flow of water.
Tree root penetrating drain and sewer pipes through cracks and loose joints also cause cracks, blockages, and overflows. Another major cause of drain blockage is stormwater entering and overloading the drains and sewer lines.

Signs That Your Drainage Is Blocked

Drainage issues arise when water that normally goes down the toilet, sink and drains starts flowing back or leaking from the drains.
Common signs of a blocked drainage include;
  • Overflowing toilet bowl.
  • Water draining slowly when flushed.
  • Raised water level in the bowl.
  • Water coming up in the bathtub drain or shower when you run your washing machine or flush the toilet.
  • Gurgling sounds coming from your drains.
  • Sinkholes and water pooling in your yard.
  • Dampness or water pooling on your floor or walls.
  • Unpleasant odor emanating from your drain.

How To Fix A Blocked Drain

There are many blocked drain repairs you can try at home to get rid of grease and small objects accumulated in the drain

1. The Toilet Plunger

Often, a toilet plunger is all it takes to easily clear a blocked toilet drain. While wearing rubber gloves, place the head of your plunger over your toilet’s drain hole and push the handle up and down.
This forces water and air into the pipe and creates suction to clear the blockage.

2. Chemical Drain cleaners

A drain cleaner can be a quick solution to your blocked toilet drain. Wearing gloves, pour the specified amount into the toilet bowl and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Make sure that your bathroom is well ventilated so that you do not inhale the chemicals and burn your mucous membranes. Never use chemicals together with a plunger as it can cause the chemicals to splash on your eyes and skin.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar

This combination is ideal for homeowners with minimal blockage and would prefer a non-chemical approach. Pour 1 cup of baking soda, followed by 2 cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl which will create a fizzing reaction.
Let the mixture stay on for a couple of minutes and flash to see if the blockage has cleared. Baking soda and vinegar dissolve grease and mineral deposits that have accumulated to cause clogging.
If that doesn’t work, another alternative is to use a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar. Mix at least a gallon of hot water, 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar. Pour mixture into the toilet bowl and let it stay overnight.

4. Plumbing Snake

If the above remedies don’t work, you can attempt to snake out the clog using a simple plumbing snake.
A plumbing snake is a simple coil of wire that can flexibly move through the curves of your toilet drain. Regular plumbing snakes can damage or scratch your toilet’s porcelain material so it’s best to get a snake with a rubber coating.
Place the plumbing snake’s head into the toilet bowl, and push it down as you turn the handle clockwise. Once you feel resistance, keep turning the snake’s handle until you properly hook the obstacle and pull it back.
Pour hot water to push any leftover clog along.

5. P-trap cleaning – For Sink Drains

The P-trap sits at the curve of your sink’s drain pipe and is usually located in the cabinet under the sink. Place a bucket under the trap and unscrew the slip joints. Clean the P-Trap and position it back.
If the blockage is beyond the P-trap, use a plumbing snake to clear it out.

Final Thoughts

If none of these suggestions work, in severe cases, the blocked drain might be broken and you will need to seek professional pipe relining services. Pipe relining is a process where pipes are sealed with minimal disturbance to your property. 
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