What To Do About Clogged Drains

No matter how careful we are, from time to time we still get clogged drains and toilets. Although they can be messy to clear, there are simple ways to do it.  Here we are going to talk about how to unclog your drains, and also some preventative measures.

Sink Clogs

The number 1 source of a clogged bathroom sink is hair. Men shave over the sink, and we generally comb our hair over the sink.  Over time all this hair will clump together and your problem occurs. Here are a few simple fixes:

1)      Try using an environmentally safe chemical drain opener. Read the directions on the bottle and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. After using any chemical cleaner, run hot water for at least 10-15 minutes to flush out the drain pipes.

2)      Run about 2” of hot water in the sink. Stuff a cloth into the overflow hole. Take your plunger and try plunging up and down several times. You might have to do this several times.  Once cleared, run hot water down the drain.

3)      Remove the drain plug. Take a straightened wire hanger and place in the drain. This should help pull up most of the clog. Always remember to clean the drain plug, too.

4)      If the clog is more stubborn than you like, drastic measures will need to be taken. At this time you will need to open the trap. This is generally where most of the clogs end up. Place a bucket under the trap (the u-shaped pipe under the sink) to catch any standing water. With a pipe wrench, loosen the nuts at both ends of the trap. Remove the trap and clear out any debris that might be stuck in it. Generally, you will be able to stick your fingers in the pipe to pull out more of the clog. If this is not possible, then a cable auger, or commonly called the snake, will need to be used. Insert the snake into the pipe and crank until you feel resistance. Keep working the snake until you can feel you have pushed through. Your clog is cleared when you stop feeling resistance. Reassemble your trap, and run water to flush out any leftover debris.

Bathtub and Shower Clogs

Once again, these clogs are generally caused by hair. The first step is to remove the stopper and clean any soap scum and hair accumulated on it. If this does resolve the problem, you can use any of the same steps for a clogged sink.

Toilet Clogs

Clogged toilets are generally the easiest to fix.  Using your plunger, place it over the “drain” at the bottom of the bowl. Instead of plunging down, where you could push the clog further into the pipes, press down firmly, then gives a quick pull upward. This should help bring the clog back up into the toilet, where it can either be discarded or broken down a bit more, before being flushed away.  If plunging does not do the job, then you will need to use a closet auger.

Kitchen Sink Drains

The major cause of kitchen drains clogging up is food and grease. Always try to use the garbage disposal side of the sink for food. To unclog grease from your sink, pour a cup of saltwater and a cup of soda into the drain, followed by a pan of boiling water. The grease will usually dissolve quickly, and the drain will open up.

Prevention and Easy Tricks

  • The easiest way to prevent a clogged toilet is to limit the amount of toilet paper you put in it. If you have to flush twice, then do it. If you have young children, lock down the toilet seat so they cannot flush small toys down the drain.
  • Once a month, clean your drains with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Simply pour about ¼ to ½ of a box of baking soda into the drain, then add ½ cup of vinegar. Once the mixture starts to foam, wait about 5 minutes, then follow with boiling water. This not only helps to clean your drains, but it also helps deodorize them as well.
  • Using a simple screen over your tub and sink drains will help eliminate hair and other debris from going down the drain. Just remove and clean the screen regularly.
  • Pour the juice of an orange or lemon into your garbage disposal at least once a week. This will help remove unpleasant odors.

Common Plumbing And Heating Faults

Your plumbing system can suffer from a wide range of faults, but they fall into four main categories.

Taps and valves

Taps and valves control the flow of water into and through the home. They may drip, causing stains and overflows, or may jam open or closed, or be hard to operate. Taps might need maintenance or replacement, depending on the severity of the problem.

Supply pipes

Supply pipes distribute water to wherever it is needed. They may leak, due to perforations developing in the pipe or faulty seals at pipe connectors. They may also gradually become blocked by scale, caused by hard water. Both faults are easily remedied, although leaks demand swift damage limitation.

Storage tanks

Storage tanks hold cold and hot water. They may develop leaks or, in the case of the hot tank, may become inefficient due to a build-up of limescale. Replacement is the only long-term solution.

Waste pipes

Waste pipes convey used water from appliances, toilets and WCs to the household drains, via U-shaped traps designed to keep drain smells out of the house. They can become blocked, causing overflows, but most blockages can be cleared easily.

PLUMBING EMERGENCY ACTION

  • If a fault causes water to escape, aim to stop the flow as quickly as possible.
  • Make sure you know in advance where the system’s main on/off and flow controls are located.
  • Empty leaking water storage tanks and supply pipes by turning off the main stop tap and opening cold taps, or by attaching a garden hose to a drain valve and opening the valve with pliers or a spanner. Lead the hose outside the house.
  • Clear blocked waste pipes and traps by dismantling, plunging or rodding.

The boiler

The boiler heats the system (and may also provide domestic hot water and heat to central heated radiators). It contains a number of parts that will need regular maintenance and eventual replacement and this is a job for a professional. Annual servicing will keep the boiler in good order.

The radiators

The radiators transmit heat to individual rooms. They sometimes develop pinhole leaks due to corrosion and may trap air, gas or sludge (by-products of corrosion), all of which can cause uneven heating or banging noises when in use. The use of a corrosion inhibitor or leak sealer will help to prevent or cure these problems.

The pump

The pump circulates heated water around the system. It may become jammed or noisy in operation, or may simply fail altogether. Regular operation and cleaning help to prevent problems, but replacement is usually straightforward.

The heating system

A central heating system consists of five main components, each of which can malfunction or fail. expansion tank) tops up any water loss from the heating system through leaks or evaporation. The tank itself may also develop a leak and need replacing. The ball valve that refills it may jam through lack of use, causing an overflow or allowing air to be drawn into the radiators and pump. A ball valve can be repaired or replaced.

The controls

Controls operating the heating system include a programmer, thermostats and motorized valves. Faulty wiring may lead to malfunction, and mechanical failure may be remedied through servicing or replacement of the faulty control.

Plumbing Tips for Homeowners

There are many plumbing tips for homeowners that can help prevent problems. Keeping plumbing in good working order is important to all homeowners. Water is something that we use on a daily basis, and when problems arise, it can cause quite a bit of distress.

Plumbing in the Kitchen

With the kitchen being an area of the home that has lots of plumbing, it is important to regularly inspect certain things. Dishwasher and ice machine hoses should be inspected for any areas that might be damaged or bulging. Bulging is a sign that a clog exists. This should be taken care of before a rupture occurs. Those that have a food waste disposal should take care to not put improper items down the disposal. Doing so could cause the drain to become clogged.

Plumbing in the Bathroom

Bathrooms are another location that should be monitored. Toilets should be inspected for leaks. An easy way to do this is to add a small amount of food coloring directly into the bowl. Flush the toilet and watch to see if any colored water is escaping. If there is a leak, contact the Carlsbad Plumbers as soon as possible. Leaks can be costly and should be fixed promptly.

Water Heaters

Water heaters should be drained periodically. This will flush out the sediments that can cause failure. Though water heaters are built to last for many years, any model that is over fifteen years old should be replaced with a new model. Replacing the water heater before it fails is always wise. An easy way to tell how old your water heater is would be to check the serial number. The first four digits represent the month and year that it was built.

Warning Signs

Floors and walls can alert you to problems. Floor areas that have become soft are a serious warning sign that water is penetrating the wood. Walls that show discoloration are also a sign of a leak or failed pipe. While there is little that you can do to prevent these problems, catching them before they cause lots of damage is important.

Stay Alert

The most important tip of all is to simply be alert. Plumbing problems will not go away on their own and should be handled quickly in order to prevent serious damage to the home. Using these plumbing tips for homeowners may help to prevent problems. However, should problems occur, contact the professional Carlsbad Plumbers for help.