Unblocking a sink or bath is not the most glamorous of DIY jobs, but everyone should know how to do it. If you can solve the problem yourself, you can save having to call out a plumber, and often paying out a lot of money for what can often be just a five minute job. Using just one or two DIY tools many unblocking jobs can be done quite easily.
What are the main causes of blockages in sinks and baths?
Food particles are the number one cause of kitchen sink blockages, followed by grease.
Hair is the number one cause of bathroom sink blockages, followed by soap scum/residue.
Sinks normally have a “tubular” trap underneath, a curved pipe with connects to the foul water drain. This contains a level of water to prevent odor coming up the plughole. It becomes blocked with hair, grime and food scraps.
Here are some unblocking drain tips. Do it yourself and save expense on a plumber.
Try the Simple Solutions to Unblocking Drains First.
Pour boiling hot water and a generous squirt of bleach down the plughole. Run the faucet.
If this doesn`t work, use a plunger. Block up the sink overflow (the holes along the top of the basin) with wet kitchen towel, to prevent air escaping. Put some water in the sink or bath and place the plunger firmly down on the plughole, lifting it up and down in rapid succession. You`ll probably see hair and other stuff come up from the plughole. This might solve the problem, though not always.
If that doesn`t work try this traditional remedy: pour down a half a cup of bicarbonate of soda, followed by a pint of malt vinegar. The mixture will fizz: leave it to stand for an hour then run the faucet. If that doesn`t work?
Wire in some form can be guided down the drain hole and twisted around the hair, pulled out, and hopefully the blockage will clear.
Try this. Caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide) in a water solution. Be careful you don`t get any on your skin as it has a corrosive effect on skin, so treat it with respect. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but I know some people who swear by this method of unblocking drains, traps in sinks and baths.
If you still can`t unblock your drains, sink and bath traps:
K-67-4 Bacterial Drain and Trap Cleaner is an excellent dissolver of fats, hair, and other deposits, and is highy recommended. This is a very effective method to unblock your sink`s traps. I`ve recently used a proprietary product specifically designed for unblocking traps and it worked a treat. I poured it down the plughole, left it to work for an hour or so, poured very hot water down after it, and it cleared the blockage.
If all else fails, put the plug in, and place a bucket under the trap. Unscrew the trap, remove it and empty the contents. Use a wire to clear out the trap and the pipes. The cause of the blockage should be lurking. Replace the trap tightly, checking for leaks. Remove the plug and turn on the faucets. Water running free? Then pour disinfectant down the sink.
If in the past you`ve tried the simpler solutions and they`ve only worked for a short period of time then it may be better for you just to go to the last remedy listed here, that of unscrewing the trap and having a good clear out.
If you`ve tried this last solution and it still hasn`t worked it`s probably something more serious, in which case you should then think about calling out a plumber. The blockage could be further away from the trap, in the drain itself. The vast majority of problems can be fixed by you, so always try it yourself as a way of saving some hard earned cash.
The Reader’s Digest Do-It-Yourself Guide to Preventing Costly Home Repairs: Over 19,000 Easy Hints & Tips
(The plumbing section offers a mega-view of wastewater-treatment systems as well as a micro-exploration of unclogging a toilet. )
If you do need to hire a plumber we suggest the following.
Tips for Hiring a Plumber.
• Call someone you know: If you’ve used a plumber for a non-emergency job in the past, call them. Although you should still expect to pay the extra charge for an after-hours call, they will be more responsive if you have already developed a working relationship.
• Ask for proof: Even if you have water spewing from the pipe, ask for proof of insurance and license. If something goes wrong in the repair, you need to know that you will be protected. A good, licensed plumber will have this information handy.
• Get a referral: If there’s no time, ask a friend or neighbor if they have a plumber they use.
• If you have time: If you have time, call a few plumbers and get some estimates. Even if they can’t quote you a price over the phone, they may be able to describe how they would solve the problem you describe.
The PermaFLOW “Never-Clog Drain” is a useful device which replaces your existing drain. No need for chemical drain cleaners, plungers, or visits from plumbers. The PermaFLOW features a self-cleaning design and integrated wiper to keep the drain clear.