'Clogging' 3

  1. 2024.06.02 Clear Clogged Drains
  2. 2022.05.01 Is there a clog in my main sewer drain?
  3. 2020.12.02 What is Drano?

Clear Clogged Drains

Clogging 2024. 6. 2. 04:24

As the pool of water collects around the drain, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. You dread another costly visit from the plumber. However, clogged drains are usually easy enough to correct on your own. An average homeowner should be able to clear most clogs in two hours or less, depending on the severity of the clog. This article explains a number of simple ways to unclog drains and how to avoid clogged drains in the future.

Tools & Materials

  • Pliers
  • Pipe wrench
  • Plunger
  • Bucket
  • Plumber's auger
  • Screwdriver
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Pipe joint compound or Teflon tape

Locating the Clog

When faced with a clogged drain, the first thing you need to do is to figure out where the clog is. If only one sink, shower, bath, or toilet in the house is backing up, relax. Your task should be fairly simple since the clog is probably confined to the trap of that fixture. If more than one fixture is clogging up, the blockage will usually be in the main drain line. Unclogging the main drain is a little more difficult, but not impossible.


Cleaning Strainers and Stoppers

Many clogs collect around the strainer or stopper in the sink or bathtub. To unclog the drain, all you may need to do is remove the strainer and clean it. Here are a few tips:

  • If there is a strainer over the clogged drain, you should remove any screws holding the strainer in place and then pry the strainer up with the tip of a standard screwdriver. When the strainer is loose, remove and wash away anything that has collected around the strainer. Clean around the top of the drain.
  • Stoppers need to be cleaned on a regular basis since hair tends to twist around their base. First remove the sink stopper. Some stoppers are removed by turning them with your fingers. Others require that you unscrew a pivot rod that is connected to the opener. This rod should be located under the base of the sink. If you need to use pliers to remove the stopper, make sure to pad them so you won't chip the chrome finish. Once the stopper is removed, clean it and wipe out the base of the drain opening.

Using the Plunger

One of the most trusted tools for unclogging drains, the plunger, can usually clear the blockage if it's not too far into the main drain. Follow these tips to make plunging more effective:

  • Block the overflow holes, other drains in adjacent sinks, or any other openings by stuffing wet rags into the holes.
  • If water is not already present in the basin, run two to three inches of water over the drain hole. The water helps to force the obstruction out of the way and lets you know when you succeed in pushing the clog out.
  • Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger. The petroleum jelly helps to create a tighter seal, thereby producing greater suction.
  • Force the plunger handle down powerfully numerous times. After plunging for a minute or two, stop to test whether water will drain from the sink. Try plunging again if the drain is still sluggish. When clear, run hot water to flush away any remaining particles from the clog.

Cleaning the Trap

If a plunger won't clear the clog, you'll need to clean the trap under the sink as follows:


    1. Make sure you have a bucket in place to catch waste water.
    2. Check to see if there is a clean-out plug in the trap; it will be a square or hexagonal plug in the base of the bend. If so, remove the plug and push a straightened coat hanger or bottle brush around the bends of the trap to remove debris.


    1. If the trap does not have a clean-out plug, remove the trap by loosening two couplings that hold the trap in place. If you have chrome pipe fittings, you'll need to pad the water pump pliers to protect the finish. Penetrating oil may help to loosen a stubborn trap joint.


    1. Hold the trap over the bucket and insert a straightened coat hanger or bottle brush into the trap. Force the hanger or bottle brush around the curves and push out debris.


    1. Wash the trap with hot, soapy water.


  1. Before reconnecting, check the trap for wear or corrosion. The metal or plastic material may begin to thin and start to leak. If you notice wear, replace the trap. When you reassemble the trap after cleaning, you many need to reseal the threads. Use pipe joint compound or Teflon tape.



Using a Sewer Snake

If the trap is clear and the drain still clogs, the blockage is further into the sink's drain pipe or the main drain. To clear these drains, you'll need a plumber's auger or, as it is more commonly called, a sewer snake. Use as follows:


    1. With the trap removed, insert the snake into the sink drain line and push in until you meet the obstruction.


    1. When the tip of the snake is against the clog, try to hook the clog by twisting the snake's handle clockwise.


    1. When the debris is solidly hooked, twist and push the clog back and forth until you break up the clog. Flush the pipe with cold water.


  1. Once the clog is gone, reassemble the sink's trap. When you reassemble the trap after cleaning, you need to reseal the threads. Use pipe joint compound or Teflon tape. Run water for a few minutes to make sure the clog is completely flushed and the trap is not leaking where it has been reconnected.



Clearing With Chemical Drain Cleaners

If the methods above fail, the next logical step is to use a chemical drain cleaner. Fast-acting chemical drain cleaners usually contain a high concentration of lye or sulfuric acid to burn through all sorts of tough clogs quickly and thoroughly.

When using a chemical drain opener, make sure to read and follow all of the directions and warnings on the bottle. After following the directions on the bottle, remember to run plenty of water to flush the chemicals out of your pipes.


Unclogging the Main Drain

If more than one sink, bathtub or toilet is clogged, you'll need to clean out the main drain line or the sewer.


    1. To clean out the main drain line, find the clean-out plugs located on the large drain pipes. Look for these plugs on the vertical pipes in your basement or crawl space. In some houses these drains may be located in a garage or pantry closet, or there may be access to these plugs outdoors along the foundations of your house. Usually these pipes will be vertical, but occasionally a plug may be located on a horizontal pipe.
    1. When you find a steel or plastic cap for the pipes with a square fitting at the top, remove the fitting with a wrench. Be sure to have a waste bucket in place when opening up the drain.


    1. Use a plumber's snake to break up any clogs. Make sure to insert the auger in both directions of the pipe. You can also use a powerful stream of water from your garden hose to break up any debris.


  1. Replace the steel cap of the drain pipe.



Preventing Clogged Drains

Okay, you've finally gotten that drain unclogged. You'd prefer never to experience the mess and inconvenience of a clogged drain again. Keeping your drains clear is probably easier than you think. With a few simple precautions, you can prevent your drains from clogging.

Tips for the Kitchen Sink

  • Pour grease into cans and throw them in the garbage. If you empty grease into the sink, the grease collects along the sides of the pipe and then food particles stick to the pipes, eventually contributing to a clog. Also too much grease can eventually cause sewer blockages since the bacteria in sewage systems cannot readily break down grease.
  • When you are grinding up food in a disposal, run plenty of cold water to flush food particles down the pipe. Using too little water can contribute to the particles collecting along the sides of the pipe.
  • Don't empty coffee grounds in the sink.
  • Pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain once a week to melt away any fat or grease that may have collected.

Tips for the Bathroom

  • Clean the pop-up stoppers in sinks frequently. Hair often collects here and causes clogs.
  • Never flush heavy paper products down the drain. Excess paper can clog the toilet and/or the whole sewer system.

General Tips

  • Never dump chemicals like paint or paint thinner down the drain. Avoid pouring hot wax or other substances in the drains.
  • If you have your own home septic tank, have a professional inspect it every two to three years. Some regions require septic tank inspection on a regular basis. Check with your local health board about the rules in your community.
  • Every six months, keep your drains running clear by using a non-caustic drain cleaner.


Posted by PlumbingBC.ca

Is there a clog in my main sewer drain?

Is your toilet emitting strange burbling noises? Does water bubble out from your shower while running your washing machine. You can rest assured that your house is not haunted. These are amongst the signs that indicate you might have a choked main sewer drain line, which is a severe plumbing problem. The plumbing all over your house can be impacted by a clogged sewer drain line. In extreme scenarios, you may end up with raw human waste backing up out of your drains.

What leads to a choked sewer drain line?

In the majority of cases, especially in old houses, the smooth operating of your sewage system can be hampered by tree roots. Tree roots attracted to the moisture and warmth of a sewer line, creep in through loose joints or tiny cracks in the plumbing. These roots, feeding on the abundant nutrients over there, grow and block the sewer line. Eventually, other debris including toilet paper gets trapped by the roots, preventing water from flowing freely through the main sewer drain line.

Flushing sanitary products, like extra-thick toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, facial tissues, or even paper towels, can clog your sewer line too. However, these problems are limited, considering that sewer pipes are typically 6″ in diameter. In other words, clogging the drain requires a lot of loose material.

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Line

Check for these early cautionary signals of a clogged sewer line, so that you can fix the problem before it escalates into a costly emergency.

All of your drains are draining slowly, despite your best efforts to unclogged them. The chances are that the blockage is in your sewer line if you have unsuccessfully attempted all of the DIY unclogging pointers in this list sans any solution.

Several plumbing fixtures are clogged simultaneously. If your shower, tub, kitchen sink, and toilets are all backed up, chances are you have a blocked sewer line. Toilet outlets have the biggest drain line and the most direct route to the sewer. Your toilet will be first affected in case the clog is in your sewer line. In case your toilets are working fine, but the other fixtures in your home are still draining slowly or are backed up totally, your main sewer line probably does not have a block.

Does water back up into or comes up in the shower or tub when you flush the toilet? This happens when the sewer line is clogged, preventing water from flushing down the drain. On the contrary, it flows back up the pipes and surfaces at the lowest point… typically the shower drain.

Do your toilet gurgles and bubbles when you run water in the bathroom sink? This happens due to air trapped in the plumbing system. Run water for about a minute in the sink closest to the toilet. You may have a clogged sewer line if the toilet gurgles or if the water level rise in the toilet.

Does water backs up in the shower or tub or does the toilet overflow when your washing machine drains? You probably do not have a blocked sewer line in case your toilets are flushing correctly.

How to Unclog a Sewer Line

Thankfully, you can restore your plumbing system to pristine condition by taking prompt action.

Release the pressure:

Turn off the water supply from the main supply when you first observe symptoms of a clogged sewer line. Survey your roof, basement, or yard and see if you can locate your sewer cleanout line. This is typically a 3 or 4-inch diameter short white pipe, sealed with a screw-on cap. Remove the cap after identifying the cleanout line. This ought to release the pressure in the sewer line and force any backed up water into your home to drain.

Chemical drain cleaning:

You can use chemicals to remove the clog in your sewer line if they are caused by tree roots. Certain plumbers suggest killing tree roots by flushing copper sulfate down the toilet; however, this substance quickly flushes away, implying that you may have to repeat the process several times to clear the clog. Be aware that certain municipalities prohibit the use of copper sulfate. Also, it is not safe for septic systems. Try flushing down a root-killing foam that contains the dichlobenil (an herbicide) down your toilet in case copper sulfate is not a suitable option for unclogging your sewer line. Its foam adheres to the pipes and eliminates the tree roots in a couple of hours. However, it may still require a couple of months for dead roots to be eliminated from your sewage system.

Mechanical cleaning of drains.

Professional sewer cleaners possess tools for removing clogs from main sewer drain lines. One of the most popular tools is a flexible and specially designed cable known popularly as a drain snake or an auger. This tool is often used electricity to run. A few of them are truck mounted and are fed bit by bit into the sewer line until the plumber can reach the clog and break it apart. Plumbers may also employ a high-pressure water jet to blow away other debris and tree roots down the sewer line. While you “can do this job yourself by renting these tools, both of them can damage your pipes if misused.” according to the Arizona plumbers at grandcanyonac.com. Therefore, it is best to leave this cleaning job to a professional.

Camera Inspection.

You can request for a visual (camera) inspection to find out the cause of the blockage if the water jet or auger does not unclog the sewer line. The miniature camera can reveal breaks and cracks in the sewer pipe, as well as other issues in the line that may require the attention of your local sanitation department.

Posted by PlumbingBC.ca

What is Drano?

Clogging 2020. 12. 2. 00:49

What is Drano?

Drano is lye-based household drainage cleaner product sold in several forms, consisting in variations of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium hypochlorate (bleach), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt) and aluminum.

How it Works

When Drano is poured down a drain, several chemical reactions happen at the same time. Drano’s main ingredient is sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, a substance that decomposes most organic matter. Hair and grease included. The lye is mixed with small shards of aluminum, creating a strong reaction that generates heat at near-boiling temperatures. The high heat theoretically speeds up the decomposition process.

Tap water, too, reacts with the lye to produce more heat, softening deposits lining a dirty drain. Lye then reacts with the softened grease, creating soap that the hot water dissolves, and again with the aluminum to form hydrogen bubbles. The bubbles loosen the clog particles, creating space for the hot water to carry it all down the drain. In just one slosh you’ll get intense heat, soap making, bubble forming, dissolving proteins and fat breakdown. In other words, much more than your drain should have to handle.

Why Drano is Dangerous

1. Drano damages plumbing systems. Drano sits in a pipe until the clog dissolves, continually reacting and generating heat. Toilet bowls can crack. PVC pipes can soften and eventually break. Old, corroded pipes can be easily damaged, and Drano can quickly eat away at the glue holding pipes together.

2. Drano is unpredictable if combined with other products or equipment. When using plumbing tools, like a plunger or an auger, Drano can splash up and burn your skin, and get into your eyes and lungs. If even a small amount of Drano remains in the drain, and you use a chemical cleaning product soon after, the two products might react unfavourably to create toxic fumes. You never know what kind of chemical reaction you might get when introducing Drano to a plumbing system.

3. Drano can burn skin, irritate eyes, and hurt lungs. Drano is caustic, meaning it has the ability to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical action. When a Jiffy plumber gets called in to to fix a clogged drain, they typically ask the customer if they've tried Drano already. If so, the plumber comes back 24 hours later because Drano makes their working conditions unsafe.

Final Word? Forget Drano

Our plumbers would never use Drano in their own homes because they've witnessed the extensive damage it can cause. It’s dangerous for you, harsh on your plumbing system, and bad for the environment. Even if you think it's an effective quick fix, Drano is never a long-term solution.

Posted by PlumbingBC.ca