There are several methods that can be used in dealing with blocked drains. Some of these are simple enough and can be done by most of us. Other methods require the professional experience and knowledge of a skilled plumber.
Discovering a blocked drain is something we can all do without but unfortunately it is common to every household. Usually we discover one whilst we might be taking a shower and the water slowly pools at our feet, or whilst you are brushing your teeth. By far the worse and more embarrassing situation is if your toilet will flush properly. If you find yourself in any of these situations, you definitely have a blocked drain.
Blocked drains are caused when items that have not been designed to go down the pipes become stuck and things like hair, dust, and other particles get trapped around it. This blockage is further aggravated when common household products that normally leave deposits behind anyway such as soap, shampoo, and conditioners also build up in the affected area. This will cause your water flow through your sink or tub to will fill up quickly instead of draining out. If this happens to you, it is imperative to remove the blockage immediately.
The first thing to do if you have a blocked drain is to find the cause of blockage. This is done by unplugging the blocked sink or drain. This could be as simple as pulling the cause of the plug right out if you can reach it. You might have to remove a nut or bolt that holds the drain in place to reach the area. With the plug removed, you might be able to see the source of the clog. Ensure you are wearing a pair of gloves whilst doing this to ensure you do not get an infection should you have a cut on your hands.
Pull out the particles or objects that are within your reach. As a suggestion you might want to use a bent clothes hanger or wire if the block is too far for your fingers to reach.
In cases where the blockage can’t be pulled out, there are other tools that may help unclog your blocked drain. A plunger is one tool commonly used for this purpose. Be sure that the plunger’s rubber cup fully covers the drain. With the plunger secure in its place, and with lots of water surrounding it, pull it up and down repeatedly until the water runs smoothly and the drain is clear. If this is not the case within a few minutes your plunger will not do the trick and you need to seek a more aggressive method.
Chemical drain cleaners are also known to effectively unclog a blocked drain. These chemicals work by dissolving trapped hair or grease even at hard to reach areas. It is necessary, though, to observe utmost care in using chemical drain cleaners, as they are toxic and may cause burns or poisoning. Ensure that you always read and follow the safety warnings.
Other tools that could also remedy your blockage are the plumbing snake and the kinetic water ram but now you are venturing into the area that should be left to a professional plumber. These tools are best used by your trusted plumber, since they are considerably more complicated than the simple plunger or shop bought chemical cleaner.
All of the methods mentioned above each have their advantages and disadvantages. The plunger is easy to use but it won’t work if the blockage is only partial or if the source of the clog is further down the drain. Chemical cleaners dissolve hair and grease when poured on the drain but need to be allowed to sit for a while (longer is better). However, most of these chemicals are toxic and are possible hazards to you, your children and the environment. The plumbing snake and the kinetic water ram can both effectively clear blocked drains but are not advisable to be used by an inexperienced person. These two gadgets, if used the wrong way, could cause serious physical injury or further damage to your drain, leaving you in a worse situation than what you started with.
A skilled plumber can solve even the most complex drainage problem, while assuring that you won’t encounter the same predicament again in the near future.