How to Unclog a Drain in Your Home
Clogged drains and sewer lines are common problems, especially in older homes and commercial buildings. When they happen, they can cause a mess with overflowing water, debris and sewage, and foul odors. Flushing the toilet can back water up into your bathtub or shower. The result is usually an emergency call to a plumber for help.
Are you wondering how to unclog a drain in your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room? Although clogged drains and sewer lines create messy problems, they can be unclogged safely and efficiently with the right equipment. From plumbing snakes, baking soda with vinegar, plungers, to hydro jetting, there are a variety of methods that can be applied to unclog a drain. Prior to selecting a method to fix your drain, view our recommendations to become familiar with how and when to use these tools.
Table of Contents
Ways to Fix a Clogged Drain
Use a Plumbing Snake
A drain snake is a tool that is engineered to be pushed down a pipe to eliminate drain clogs in areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, or basement. A drain or plumbing snake is a flexible metallic cable that features a corkscrew or spring at the end. The opposite side of a drain snake features a handle that is utilized to push the tubing into the clogged drain pipe.
Step 1: Insert the Plumbing Snake Into the Drain Line
The handle on most residential plumbing snakes is rotable and operated by hand. On the other hand, other models may include a crank instead of a traditional handle. To unclog a drain in your kitchen or bathroom, use your fingers to thread the corkscrew down the drain pipe.
To ensure the plumbing snake is able to dislodge the materials from your pipe, we recommend activating the cold water while you snake the pipe. To avoid damage while you’re unclogging your drain, do not force the corkscrew head down the drainage line. The process of inserting the plumbing snake down your pipe should be effortless and natural.
Step 2: Rotate the Handle on the Plumbing Snake
Once the plumbing snake is inserted in the drain line, spin the handle at a moderate pace. Avoid rotating the handle at a fast or slow pace to avoid complications. If it becomes hard to rotate the handle, this is a sign that your drain snake is physically touching the foreign object.
Once you feel pressure while threading the plumbing snake, move the corkscrew head back-and-forth to disassemble the object in your drain pipe. Continue rotating the handle on the drain snake until the pressure in the drain pipe decreases.
Step 3: Remove the Plumbing Snake From the Drain Pipe
Lastly, pull the plumbing snake out of the pipe and sanitize the corkscrew head. To confirm if this method has unclogged the drain, activate the cold water setting on your drain to confirm satisfactory drainage.
Benefits & Drawbacks of Drain Snakes
Plumbing snakes are an excellent way to unclog a drain because they are gentle on drains and pipes. If you’re home or office has an older plumbing system, a plumbing snake is best. Older pipes are often too weak to withstand the water pressure from a hydro jet.
On the other hand, Plumbing snakes have limited capability to remove clogs. With large clogs, they may not be able to push through the entire blockage to allow full water flow. Some of the clog may be removed, but the drain will likely require more unclogging.
Perform a Pressurized Hydro Jetting Project
Hydro jets are more sophisticated plumbing tools than snakes. They consist of a high-pressure hose with special nozzles. The hose connects to a machine that provides pressurized water through the nozzles. The force of the water work in conjunction with the special nozzles to unclog bathroom and kitchen sink drains. The water pressure is so strong, it can blast through clogs caused by hair, grease, oil, mineral buildup, paper, debris, and even tree roots and force them down the pipes. If you plan to use a hydro jet to unclog a drain, it’s best to check your pipes for damage first with a camera operated drain inspection by a professional plumber.
Advantages of Hydro Jetting
Hydro jets are effective on all types of clogs and blockages. The water pressure does all the work, so you don’t need to use chemicals or unclogging agents, which often aren’t very effective anyway. Hydro jets are environmentally friendly tools for homes and businesses.
Disadvantages of Hydro Jetting
Hydro jets are not a safe option for homeowners who want to clear their own drains. The water pressure can harm weak or fragile pipes, causing even more damage. It’s best to hire a professional plumber who can inspect your plumbing lines and ensure a safe job.
If you’re experiencing clogged drains and other plumbing problems, call the professionals at Fenwick Home Services. We can help you with all of your home and office plumbing needs.
Pour Hot Water Down the Drain
If you’re trying to unclog a bathroom or kitchen sink, there is an easy way to troubleshoot the issue prior to calling a certified plumber. An easy solution is to boil water on the stove and pour it directly into the drain. You may also use a microwave or kettle to heat the water. After the water is boiling, pour it slowly into your kitchen or bathroom drain in different phases. Give the water a couple of seconds to penetrate the clog prior to pouring additional hot water. This is a simple DIY method that can be used to unclog a drain in your home. If this method does not resolve your issue, contact a professional plumber near you.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
The most common causes of moderate to severe clogs in kitchen sinks are fat, coffee grounds, paper towels, grease, oil, and food scraps. Baking soda is able to dissolve organic food scraps and materials in your drain pipes. Additionally, baking soda shares similarities with common types of disinfectants that allow it to eliminate bad smells and bacteria.
Step 1: Boil a Pot of Water on the Stove
Unlike many types of harsh chemical drain cleaners that are able to cause damage to your pipes, baking soda is less likely to cause harm. To unclog a drain with baking soda, boil a pot of water on the stove or in the microwave. Next, we recommend pouring a small amount of dish detergent down the drain with the boiling water from the pan to eliminate excess grease in the pipe.
Step 2: Pour Baking Soda Into the Drain Line
Once you have poured hot water down the drain line, pour exactly 1 cup of baking soda into the drain. Next, find a bottle of distilled vinegar in your kitchen.
Step 3: Discharge Vinegar Into the Drain Pipe
Carefully discharge 1 cup of baking soda into the drain line. The alkaline properties of the baking soda will cause a reaction with the acidic vinegar. This combination will produce a fizzing reaction that will help disassemble the object in the drain.
Step 4: Boil Additional Water & Pour It Down the Drain
Lastly, you should boil additional water using your stove or microwave and pour it down the drain. If the water is able to be flushed down the drain without causing a backup, you have successfully unclogged the drain with vinegar and baking soda. To eliminate a severe clog, you may be required to repeat these steps a couple of times.
Use a Plunger to Remove Objects From Drain
If the other methods have not restored the flow of water in your pipes, we are going to teach you how to unclog a drain with a plunger. The first step is to navigate to your utility closet or bathroom to find your plunger. If you do not have this tool in your home, it can be easily purchased from your closest local hardware store. Prior to placing the plunger on top of the drain, fill your sink up with a small amount of water.
The moisture from the water will ensure a strong connection is formed between the plunger and the drain in your kitchen or bathroom. We recommend plunging the drain for a couple of minutes to confirm if you’re able to remove the foreign object from the drain line.
If you don’t have a wet or dry vacuum, baking soda, or vinegar in your home, a bent wire hanger from your closet can be utilized to unclog a drain. First, find a bendable metal coat hanger that isn’t being used in your closet. Next, use your fingers to bend the hanger into a straight form.
To ensure you’re able to grab the foreign object, use your hands to create a hook at the end of the hanger. This will allow you to easily grab objects such as cotton balls, paper towels, fats, hair, or eggshells out of the drain pipe. Once you’re finished pulling items out of the drain, activate the hot water setting on your sink to successfully flush remaining materials from your plumbing line.
Rely on a Vacuum
Are you wondering how to use a wet and dry vacuum to unclog a drain in your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen? Place the vacuum directly into the drain pipe and set it to a high setting to ensure it is able to dislodge foreign objects. Once the food scraps or excess hair have been vacuumed, slowly remove the vacuum from your plumbing line to prevent damage.
Remove the Trap Beneath the Sink
If the methods above didn’t work, we recommend removing the U-shaped plumbing line, also known as the trap, below your sink. In order to remove the trap from the waste line, use a wrench to remove the U-shaped pipe. Use a tooth brush, stick, or pencil to remove excess food and scraps from the trap. We also recommend analyzing the surrounding sewer line to confirm if there are any additional objects that may be preventing proper drainage. Remove all excess hair, food, grease, egg shells, and other objects from the sewer line. After all objects have been eliminated, wash the trap and assemble everything.
Reliable Plumbing Repair Services for Homes
Our team offers reliable drain cleaning services to homes in Jacksonville, Florida and other areas. If you are having trouble with a kitchen or bathroom drain, give us a call by phone at 904-217-5694 or schedule an appointment online to receive assistance. Fenwick Home Services also offers other types of plumbing services such as water line repair, water heater installation, and sump pump maintenance. We have been providing reliable plumbing services to Florida since 1969 and have the tools required to resolve your issue.
Reliable Drain Cleaning Services in Jacksonville, Florida
Call Us: 904-217-5694
Our team of plumbing specialists offers drain cleaning services for homes in Jacksonville, Florida. If you’re having issues with your kitchen sink, shower, or bathtub drain, schedule an appointment with our team.