Tips for Blocked Drains

March 30, 2022by Patrick Schaible0

Don’t ignore the early warning signs of a blocked drain. Blocked drains can be a source of property damage and health problems for both people and pets.

There are common signs to watch for, including a foul smell, slow draining or overflowing water, and gurgling sounds. The sink may even stop working, thanks entirely to clogged pipes. Therefore, you need to take care of a clog quickly. Besides leading to stubborn build-ups, it can contribute to burst pipes—problems requiring you to pay a significant cost to repair or replace.

Common causes of blocked drains include foreign objects, toiletries, and cat litter flushed down the toilet. Other factors include cooking oil and food scraps disposed of down the sink, soap scum and hair lodged in pipes, and mineral build-up such as calcium.

Depending on what has caused the blocked drain, simple home remedies can sometimes rectify the issue. For example, pouring boiling water down the sink helps tackle blocked drains caused by oil and food scraps, as these substances have a low melting point and the extreme heat helps break them down. In addition, a plunger is a simple yet effective tool that can potentially unblock a drain. Plungers work by forming a seal around the plug hole and then creating a vacuum effect to remove blockages.

Here’s a tip – When you’re trying to dislodge a clog caused by a small, hard object (like a bottle top), a plunger will merely push it deeper into the drain, making it even more challenging to remove. So instead, break out your wet-dry vacuum and suck the object out.

For more severe blockages, it’s often best to call in the experts rather than trying over-the-counter products, as these can cause more significant problems. For example, professional plumbers may use a drain snake to delve further into the pipes and remove blockages deep within the system. And unlike many of the snakes sold in the big-box, professional plumbers are sturdier, less prone to failure, and can extend to cover further distances.

The professional plumber can do more when a drain snake doesn’t fix the issue. For example, Schaible’s Master-Certified plumbers utilize closed-circuit television that can help identify where the blockage is and how extensive it is. Another dependable way for a professional plumber to clear a blocked drain is using a hydro jet, which shoots intense and sharp bursts of water to remove debris and other substances from pipes.

Inspect the Garbage Disposal
Always check the garbage disposal, as this appliance takes on many items that can easily clog it. Here are some simple steps:

  • Please turn on the garbage disposal to break up anything that may be blocking it.
  • If the disposal is inoperative, ensure it’s not overheated and activate the reset switch (located on the side or bottom of the unit.)
  • Attempt to turn it on once more to clear the clog.

If a stuck food item isn’t the cause of your clogged sink, it may suggest there’s something thick or viscose that needs dissolving. Therefore, we don’t recommend harsh drain chemicals. Instead, use gentle household cleaners or a natural baking soda mixture to avoid pipe damage.

  • Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Immediately afterward, pour one cup of vinegar and cover the drain tightly with a stopper.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes, allowing the mixture to work on the clog.
  • Remove the drain stopper and run hot water down the drain to rinse any loose clog debris.

If the clog persists, call a plumbing professional.

Schaible’s Plumbing, HVAC & Water Treatment is your local resource for everything related to your Plumbing, air conditioning, heating, and water treatment. The Schaible’s team services residential and commercial needs. Our wide range of services covers servicing, repairs, and installation of boilers, HVAC systems, backflow services, drain camera work, and water heaters throughout New Jersey and Northern Pennsylvania.

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