How to Clear A Clogged Drain
Here are the best ways I’ve found to take care of household drain clogs:
- Slow motion: SFGate Home Guides points out that a sink (in the kitchen or bathroom) or toilet that is slow to drain - or simply fills up and won't drain - is almost certainly clogged. As far as what the clog is, it could be something minor, like food in the garbage disposal, or major, in which case one of the two signs below will also surface.
- Gurgling sounds: Clogged household drains will sometimes lead to the sound of gurgling reverberating through the pipes, as water tries to move around normally within them and is prevented from doing so by the obstructing matter (food, waste, etc.)
- Dirty water: Water that rises from a backed-up drain and appears discolored - usually brown or black - is saturated with waste or sewage it wouldn't otherwise encounter. This is perhaps the biggest red flag of all, especially if it's rising up in an area like the tub or shower drain.
- Boiling/very hot water: Heat up some water in a saucepan or pot and pour it down the clogged drain in installments, so as not to risk destroying some but not all of the clog. According to the home improvement experts at BobVila.com, you should be certain your plumbing has metal pipes before trying this.
- Plunging or snaking: Using either a plunger, a plumber's snake or a DIY snake made with a straightened-out wire hanger can clear or break up the cause of the drain obstruction.
- Vinegar and baking soda: A mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar creates chemical reactions to break apart the materials causing mildly or moderately severe clogs. After pouring the ingredients down one after the other, wait 30 minutes to an hour before trying to use the drain again.
- Chemical solutions: Your nearby hardware store will have chemical products meant to dissolve drain clogs – i.e. Drano® - (usually separate substances for sink drains and toilets). If you choose this method, buy rubber gloves and goggles at the shop as well. Be sure to use both, and follow all product directions exactly.
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