Drain Clearing Tips Everyone Should Know About
Taking a shower in a tub that doesn’t drain well or isn’t draining at all is unpleasant. Soap scum, hair, and debris clog up the pipes and seep into the water at your feet.
No one wants to stand in backed up drain soup. Sink drains can back up the same way, except they offer food debris instead of dead skin and hair.
Whatever version of a drain clog you’re experiencing, it’s time for a drain clearing. If the problem is new and small, you don’t have to call in the big guns yet. There are a few drain clearing methods you can try at home. Read on to learn what they are!
Why Do Drains Clog?
Drains clog for a variety of reasons. The debris that blocks them depends on their location, the habits of people using the drain, and how often it’s pre-emptively cleared out. Most of the time, people don’t do a drain clearing until they notice a problem. That’s mistake number one.
The debris that blocks them depends on their location, the habits of people using the drain, and how often it’s pre-emptively cleared out. Most of the time, people don’t do a drain clearing until they notice a problem. That’s mistake number one.
Drains should be cleared every few months to keep them in clean, working order.
How to Prevent Clogs
Most clogs requiring a drain clearing are preventable. To stop any gross blocks from forming, make sure there’s always a strainer over the drain. When the strainer has debris (hair or food), clear it and throw the debris in the trash — not down the drain.
If you have a sink with a disposal, always let the cold water run while you’re using it. The water helps distribute debris and makes sure it ends up as handle-able chunks. After the disposal is done running, let cold water flow for a minute. This final flush gets rid of any lingering debris and gives the food one last push down the drain.
Drain Clearing Tips
Chemical drain clearing products are intense chemicals and should be handled by a professional as a last resort. The chemicals that break down debris can harm your pipes, your family, and the surrounding environment. Make sure you only use them when necessary.
Read about safer options to try first below.
Remember in the third grade when making a baking soda and vinegar volcano was all the rage? That same science works to clear your pipes. The small particles in baking soda can get deep into the pipes and into clogs where other products can’t.
To clean your pipes with this method you’ll need
- white vinegar
- rubber gloves
- 1 cup of baking soda
- boiling water
Start out by removing the drain cover or plug, so there’s nothing the product needs to work around. Then, pick off whatever hair or debris from the top of the drain you can see. When the pipe looks clear, measure out a cup of baking soda. Pour the soda down the drain, going slowly to avoid the soda clumping.
Once the baking soda is in place, wash it down with 1 cup of pure, white vinegar. You should hear the fizzing cleaning effects immediately. Let the mixture sit in your pipes for 10-15 minutes.
Once it’s sat for a while, boil a pot or kettle of water. Carefully pour the boiling water down the drain, flushing out whatever the previous chemical reaction loosened up.
Some people prefer to add a cup of iodized salt to this mix, for its light abrasive properties. If you want to give the salty version a try, mix equal parts salt and baking soda and follow the exact steps as above.
Once the drain stops steaming, run hot water into it to help clear anything remaining. If you’re happy with the way the tub/shower is draining, replace the plug and you’re done!
Didn’t work? Learn a more intense solution below.
There’s a snake in my drain! Drain snakes are long pieces of plastic with barb hooks cut into them. They’re designed to clear hair-caused clogs and you can buy them at any superstore. Using a drain snake is simple, read just how much so below.
To use a drain snake, all you need is the snake, some old rags, and cleaning gloves. Before you start with the snake, take the grill or plug out. Grab whatever small debris you see at the opening and pull out as much as you can. Once the entrance to the pipe is clean, insert the snake all the way to its handle.
Push the snake down the drain firmly and in feeding motion. When the handle is flush with the opening, wiggle the snake around gently. With the snake all the way in the pipe, pull up on the handle slowly, using one hand on the floor/wall of the tub for stability.
Once the snake is fully out, remove the debris it gathered from the spikes. Using a rag or paper towel, pull the debris in opposite direction of the spikes. It should come right off. Dispose of the debris, and insert the snake again. You can repeat this process until you’re satisfied, but 2-3 times is enough to make a difference.
After the last snake pull, replace the tub plunger or cover and pour hot water down the drain. It will help loosen anything the snake moved but didn’t get a grip on. Turn on the water and check that your drain is working better than it was. Sometimes the difference will be extreme, while other times not.
If it’s less than impressive, you may have a clogged pipe system that needs professional cleaning.
Call in the Experts
If you aren’t having any luck with the above drain clearing tips, stop trying and call a plumber. Let them know the problem you’re having, what you did to fix it, and what is happening now. They’ll be able to assess the problem and suggest or perform solutions.
If you’re having trouble finding a reputable plumber in your area, look no further. Our website lets you easily submit a claim and our employees will match you with a plumber and their personalized quote. What are you waiting for? Get your drain clearing done today!
Plumbing Leaks can be a headache to get fixed and can also be very expensive. There are certain steps you can take to either prevent leaks or repair the leaks on your own. Here are seven tips that you need to know about plumbing leaks and how to prevent leak problems from occurring.
Wrap Your Pipes in Heat
When the pipe is outside of the building, and temperatures turn cold, the water won’t freeze as long as it is moving. But if the water isn’t being used there is a good chance the pipes will freeze. Therefore, wrap the pipes in insulation and keep the faucet lines open to prevent freezing. Frozen pipes can lead to more problems and damage other than a leak leaving you frustrated and spending, even more, money.
You don’t need to be a plumbing genius to know when something is wrong with the pipes in your home. Just do routine checks to see if there’s any drips or rust. Without routine checks, you could go weeks without knowing there is a problem until it is too late and suddenly there are puddles or even flooding leading to thousands of dollars in damage.
Watch Your Radiator
Most people don’t even think twice about paying attention to the pitch of the radiator. Make sure that it is always pitched back towards the steam that way the water can drain back into the boiler once it condenses, preventing any leaks.
Water Heaters Don’t Last Forever
Over time, the lining of your water heater will wear away and can lead to water leakage. If you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to catch it before there is any real damage since it normally starts with water leaking from the base. If this happens, call the manufacturer and give them the model number to see if it is still under warranty. Either under warranty or not, the manufacturer should be able to send you a new one.
Faucets Don’t Last Forever Either
Because faucets are mechanical, they are eventually going to leak. This happens because of corrosion, damage, or simply because it is old. It is possible to get it fixed, but most of the time it will be cheaper just to install a new one.
Trace the Leak to its Source
So you notice there is water everywhere, but none of the pipes within view are leaking. What now? Check behind the wall, most of the time it is those pipes behind the wall that connects to the pipelines that are leaking. You may be able to simply fix it by tightening it up with a wrench or your hand.
Replace Your Gasket Before You Blow It
Defective washers or a defective seat within the spout body tend to be the culprit of a leaky shower faucet. If you have isolation valves and can separate the water from that area, it should be a relatively easy fix. Just disassemble the spout once the water is isolated, install a new washer, and then test it out.
If any of the above tips are not resolving your leak problems, then it will be in your best interest to call a babylon plumber and have a professional fix the issue.
The toilet is probably one of most overlooked appliances in your home and doesn’t require much regular maintenance besides cleaning of course. Essentially, having a toilet is a luxury that we take for granted. Although you may have your toilet for years without major problems, from time to time, you may experience clogs, running water and leaks that need attention. Here five common toilet problems and tips on how to fix them:
Trickling water into the bowl
If your toilet keeps running on and off by itself or runs as if it was recently flushed, then you may have what plumbers call a “phantom flush.” This is caused by a slow leak from the tank to the bowl. Most likely the cause is due to a bad flapper that needs to be cleaned. Before cleaning, first, drain the tank and bowl. If cleaning does not fix the issue or you see that it is damaged, then you should probably have the flapper replaced.
Trickling water into the tank
If you hear a hissing sound, water may be trickling into the tank from its supply line. If you hear this hissing sound consistently, it may be caused by water entering through the inlet valve. To fix this issue, you will need first to check if the float may need adjusting. Second, ensure that the refill tube isn’t placed in the overflow tube too far. If you are still experiencing the hissing sound after you have checked all these items, then you may need to replace the ballcock assembly entirely.
Slow to empty bowl
When the bowl empties slowly, it’s usually the result of clogged holes that are located under the rim of the bowl. This is also known as a “weak flush.” To fix this issue, simply use a curved piece of wire, like a coat hanger, and gently push into each flush hole to clear out any caked on debris that may be causing the clog. Using a hand mirror will be helpful in seeing where the holes are located. You can use the wire also to clear out debris that could be obstructing the siphon jet at the bottom of the drain.
Clogging is one of the most common problems with toilets. A plunger usually will do the trick in clearing out a clog. Keep pumping the plunger until the drain clears. If you continually have an issue with a clogged toilet, it may be time to call a plumber.
Toilets have at least five seals. Each seal can have a leak and cause a messy problem. To fix this issue, first, identify which seal is leaking as it may simply just need to be tightened. If tightening the seal does not fix the leak, you may have to replace it entirely. The seal between the tank and the bowl is the largest, and a broken seal here can cause water to seep out with every flush. This can cause a huge leak. In order to replace this seal, you must first drain and remove the tank. By turning the tank upside down, you will have easier access to replace the seal. Smaller leaks can be caused at the mounting bolts and at the base of the ballcock. Simply tightening the bolts should be sufficient in stopping these leaks. The wax seal that is mounted under the toilet base is another way you can have a leak. If this seal is broken, water leaking underneath the toilet can cause damage to your floor. Do not caulk as it will only trap the water and make it worse. The toilet should be removed, and the wax seal replaced completely. If the leak is caused by a damaged flange, then you will need to call a professional plumber to fix the problem.