Clogged drains are one of the more frustrating aspects of being a home or business owner. If you do end up having a drain clog, here are some possible fixes you might try before you go ahead and call a plumber. Just remember you should never do anything that may actually damage your system. That will end up costing you much more than having a plumber come and fix your initial problem.
First, do not use one of those caustic liquid drain cleaning products if your drain is already clogged. It may be helpful to use a liquid chemical drain cleaner from time to time to keep the drain running freely, but once a clog is formed there is a good chance it will not actually clear the clog. When that happens you will be left with strong chemicals in the drain which will prevent you from trying some of the other simple techniques recommended here.
That is why it is good to use a less caustic combination of baking soda and vinegar instead of a harsh liquid drain cleaner. If there is standing water in the sink try to remove as much of it as possible. Then pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. When these two react together they will create a foaming action that will loosen many clogs.
If this doesn’t work you will have to resort to more aggressive measures. One simple method is to use a regular bathroom plunger to see if you can loosen the clog so it drains away.
When plunging make sure you have enough water in the sink to fully cover the plunger. Also be sure to cover or block the overflow opening in the sink or tub, because if you don’t, much of the plunging pressure will be lost through that opening.
Be aware when you do this that you are putting a significant amount of pressure on your drain pipes.
If your plumbing is old or was not done by a professional plumber you may actually damage your drains and cause even more serious problems. So proceed with care.
Finally if neither of these methods work you can try using a wire clothes hanger to break up the clog. Open up a hanger so you have a long straight wire and then bend the end to form a hook. Carefully run it down into the drain and turn it around a few times to try to catch the clog material.
If you do manage to catch it you can pull it out with the hook. Once you have pulled out enough material run some more water in to see if it is working any better. If it does seem to be improving you might try the plunging technique again.
If none of these methods do the job there are a few more things the do-it-yourselfer can do, but they start to become more complicated and more risky. For example you can rent or buy a plumbing auger – a more sophisticated version of the clothes hanger wire mentioned earlier.
You can also dismantle the trap under the sink and remove the gunk that’s caught there. Often this is where clogs form, and when the trap is taken apart it is easy to remove the clogged material.
But these measures require specialized tools or other equipment, and you run the risk of causing even more damage to your drainage systems. Rather than running that risk it is often better to call in a professional plumber who knows exactly how to fix the problem.
Plumbing problems can be a real headache but so can looking for a good plumber to fix them! There are so many plumbers in every city or town, you may be tempted to pick one at random and deal with whichever company was under your searching finger in the yellow pages. This isn’t usually the best way to find a reliable plumber you can work with on a regular basis.
It is always a good idea to do some online research. For example, if you have a clogged drain and you live in the Atlanta area you should search for “Atlanta plumbers” or “Atlanta drain repair”. This will bring up a list of Atlanta plumbers rather than plumbers from across the country.
Another helpful method for finding a trustworthy and competent plumber is to ask friends, family and neighbors who they might suggest. Most people has had plumbing issues and many will already have a regular plumber they call on in case of emergencies like yours. There is no substitute for advice from people who have already gone through what you are now facing.
A reputable plumbing service will often make suggestions when you initially contact them. In the case of a clogged drain, for example, they have seen hundreds or even thousands of cases just like yours and they know that most bathroom sink clogs are the result of by hair building up in the drain. Accumulated hair can create a plugged drain and it can be a fairly straightforward job to loosen up the clog and have a free flowing drain again.