How To Clear a Clogged Drain | Rinaldi's Air Conditioning & Heating

How To Clear a Clogged Drain

4 easy ways to clear a clogged drain
Read Time: 5.5 minutes
Aug 3, 2021

Clogged drains are a fairly common household plumbing problem. Luckily, this is an issue most people can solve without bringing in an expert. In fact, you can save big bucks by handling the problem on your own. All you need are the right tools and a bit of patience.

We’ve outlined the four main ways you can clear a clogged drain. Work your way through each of the suggested methods and if you still find yourself stuck with a clogged drain then it’s time to call in a plumber.

Tools Required To Unclog A Drain

To unclog your drain successfully, you’ll need to have the following tools on hand:

  • Plunger
  • Plumber’s snake
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Rubber gloves for the plunger
  • Plastic gloves for handling chemicals
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Safety glasses

4 Ways To Unclog A Sink

If water isn’t draining from your sink or it’s doing so at a glacial pace, then you’ll need to work to unclog the drain. Remember to always turn to a plumber if these techniques are not working after the first few attempts.

1. Clear the Mouth of the Drain

Always start by looking for clogs right at the top. A wad of hair or debris can stick in the mouth of the drain, causing it to clog. Simply take off the stoppers and clean the inside.

To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Bend down and look underneath the sink, and remove screws on the pivot rod.
  2. Release the stopper by pulling out the pivot rod.
  3. Take out the stopper and clean it.
  4. Reassemble the pieces.

2. Use a Plunger

Woman fixing clogged sink

If clearing the mouth of the drain doesn’t work, it’s time to move onto trying out a plunger on the clogged drain. You can use any bell-shaped plunger to get the job done. A plunger helps to force the debris down the drain. There’s no need to undo any pipes. Simply wear your rubber gloves, and follow these steps:

  1. Add enough water to the sink that one-third of the plunger is covered.
  2. Cover the drain hole with the bell-shaped plunger properly. Seal all the overflow holes using a cloth, sponge, or duct tape. Make sure you’re not missing out on drain holes in double sinks. Seal those too!
  3. Lightly make the first plunge. If you go too hard with the first try, the water will disperse all over the room. In the beginning, the bell is filled with air. Your first hard plunge will push the air back around the seal.
  4. Once the air is out, plunge vigorously 15 to 20 times to unclog the drain.

While plunging, make sure you keep adding water to keep the bell covered. Otherwise, air will seep in, and forcing air through the pipe doesn’t generate enough pressure to break up a clog. Moreover, never use chemicals before plunging as the chemicals are corrosive and can splash out.

3. Use a Plumber’s Snake

If the drain remains clogged even after using the plunger, reach for the plumber’s snake. A plumber’s snake is a lengthy, tightly wound wire that is highly flexible to easily bend and reach every corner of the drain pipe.

Follow these steps to unclog your drain properly:

  1. Take off the P-trap located under the sink.
  2. Uncoil the plumber’s snake and straighten it up.
  3. Propel the snake into the drain while twisting to make it reach tough corners.
  4. Turn the snake clockwise when you feel the obstruction.
  5. Now try taking it out slightly.
  6. Repeat the same process to search for other obstructions.

You won’t know whether you’re successful in unclogging the drain or not until you put everything back together. This will take you roughly 20 to 30 minutes to get the job done.

4. Add a Chemical Drain Cleaner

Some drains are hard to unclog using the above methods. For these stubborn clogs, you’ll need to try a different solution: using chemicals to clear the system. Chemical drain cleaners are readily available at hardware stores, supermarkets, and home centers. They are either liquid or in a powdered form.

However, don’t directly jump to this step. It’s better that you try all the previously mentioned techniques before using chemicals.

Warning: Chemicals are dangerous and can burn or irritate your skin. Therefore, be extra careful when using them, and don’t forget to wear plastic gloves.

How To Unclog a Bathtub

Plumber fixing clogged tub

Unclogging a bathtub using a plumber’s snake is a bit challenging as access to the P-trap isn’t easy.

These steps can help you unclog the bathtub successfully:

  1. Take the overflow plate and the stopper mechanism off the bathtub.
  2. Seal the overflow hole using a sponge or plastic.
  3. Now, start plunging the drain.

To unclog the bathtub using the plumber’s snake, follow these steps:

  1. Shove the snake into the overflow hole and remove the debris.
  2. If the first step doesn’t work, put back the stopper mechanism and the overflow plate and take off the P-trap through the access hole.
  3. Propel the snake into the drain from there and clear the obstructions.

Fixing Stubborn Clogged Drains

These techniques will help you unclog almost any drain. However, if you’re unable to unclog the drain in the first few attempts, consider hiring a plumber. If you exert too much pressure against the drain system, you might end up damaging the pipe permanently.

Contact Rinaldi’s for professional and quick drain-cleaning services.

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