drain cleaning

Ways to Clear Your Outdoor and Indoor Drains

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to your sinks, tubs, and outdoor drains, at least until there’s a problem. If you have slow drains or clogs, it can not only be a disruption – you could end up with pooled water, a burst pipe, or other major issues in your home.

So many things can clog up your drains, including hair, oil, fat, foreign objects, starch, and more. Fortunately, you don’t always need a plumber immediately. Some drains can be cleared at home with products you probably have lying around.

Common Home Plumbing Systems

Your home relies on three main plumbing systems to function: potable water, sanitary drainage, and storm drainage. The potable water system controls the clean water that comes into your home, which you use for cooking, drinking, and showering. The water that’s used is carried out of your home through the sinks or toilets into the sanitary drainage system. Storm drainage is your outdoor drainage system and handles weather-related drainage.

If you think you have a clog from oils or grease, boiling water can dissolve it and send it flowing down your drain quickly. Boil about a half a gallon of water and pour it slowly and carefully into your drain. Once it’s down, run the tap water on hot for a few minutes.

Try Dish Soap

Liquid dish soap is helpful for breaking up stuck-on grease or oil on your pots and pans. Often, it can do the same for your pipes. It only takes an ounce or two of liquid dish soap to dissolve oils in your pipes. Be careful not to use too much, as it can create a lot of suds that will only solidify and worsen the clog.

Use a Household Remedy

If you’re quick to reach for the chemical drain cleaner to handle a slow drain or clog, you could only make the situation much worse. These cleaners rely on harsh chemicals that can dissolve a clog, but they also take a toll on your pipes. Chemical drain cleaners also have chemicals that are dangerous for your skin and eyes.

Other products can do the same job without potential damage and hazards. The chemical reaction that occurs with baking soda and vinegar can dissolve buildup in your drains and clear them without damaging your pipes. Just mix one cup of vinegar and one cup of baking soda together, then pour it down the drain. Rinse it with boiling water to clear the pipes.

Try Drain Unclogging Tools

If you think you have a foreign object or hair ball in your pipes, a plastic drain clearing tool can be a solution to pull it out and get your pipes flowing again. These are widely available, inexpensive, and safe to use on your plumbing.

Insert the tool into the drain as deep as it will go, then pull it back out straight and slowly. If you’re not bringing anything up, try twisting the tool to catch the debris on the barb and pull it out.

Wire hangers are often recommended to clear pipes, but this isn’t a good idea. They’re not as gentle as a plastic drain tool, so you could be poking around blind and damage your pipes. It’s also possible that the hanger will get stuck, making your problem worse.

Take Apart the P Trap

If you have a serious clog that isn’t dissolving or coming up with your plastic drain cleaner, you may need to disassemble the pipe to get it out. The P trap, a curved part of the pipe that prevents sewer gas from flowing back up through your drain, is often a source of clogs.

Clearing the P trap is a simple job that most people can DIY, but you can call a professional plumber if you’re not comfortable. Most of the P traps on your drains are easy to locate in your home. Place a bucket underneath to catch water, then loosen the plastic nuts that hold the P trap together with tongue and groove pliers.

Once you have it detached, remove the elbow of the trap and clear the debris by pushing it into the bucket. When it’s cleared, reassemble the pipe and test it to see if the water drains as it should.

If you have a tough clog that you can’t fix with these simple methods, it’s time for a professional plumber. Contact us at Proskill Services to see how we can help!



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