how to unclog your drain pipe

An unavoidable fact in life is you will get clogged drains at some point. Many clogs are minor, and with a plunger or even over drain cleaning solution, they can quickly be easily fixed. There are also some common household items that could possibly loosen the blockage. But you will have or call a professional plumber for more serious and stubborn clogs.

Unclogging Your Drain With a Plunger

In the kitchen and bathroom, minor clogs usually occur at the mouth of the sink and are created by an accumulation of debris like food or hair buildup. These clogs are unlikely to become more severe if treated correctly. But it could result in having to contact a licensed plumber if you left these on-the-surface clogs unattended, or even worse, having to undergo partial repiping. Let’s try to use elbow grease first, before heading down the harsh chemical drain cleaner road, or skipping it altogether.

Using a sanitary toilet plunger may do the trick, no matter whether it’s your kitchen sink, tub, toilet, or bathroom sink.

Make sure the plunger covers the opening of the drain completely and is secured on all sides. The purpose is to create a suction.

  • Start pushing the plunger up and down quickly several times with a quick motion.
  • The pressure inflow will work to free and loosen any trapped debris aggressively so that it can continue to flow down the drain.
  • To see if it is draining correctly, try turning on the tap.
  • Until the water is not pooling in the basin, or until the toilet flushes properly, you may want to repeat this process again.

Household Chemical Drain Cleaners

You will find chemical drain cleaners at most drugstores or at your local supermarket. For those hard-to-reach clogs that otherwise wouldn’t budge with the aid of a plunger, this is a great choice. You may want to consider flushing your drains and pipes with a chemical solution once or twice a year, depending on the kind of plumbing system you have, to stop the accumulation of gunk and debris.

Please keep in mind that chemical drain cleaners are unsafe and should be used sparingly. Oxidizing chemicals including lye, which is highly caustic and should not be inhaled or used in a closed-door environment, are composed of these toxic substances. When using chemical drain cleaners, make sure that you open a window or have adequate ventilation.

Another major issue you need to remember is that your toilet should NOT be unclogged by drain cleaners like Drano. These products’ chemical composition produces extreme heat that can break porcelain and even soften the piping of PVC, which may end up costing you serious bucks to fix. The easiest way to easily remedy small clogs in your toilet remains with plungers.

There are some popular household items that can help break up debris in your drains and help clear-up clogs if you are strongly opposed to using harsh chemicals of any kind. To read about drain cleaning FAQs click here, but in the meantime, here is a brief list:

  • Vinegar and Baking Soda
  • Baking Soda and Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Baking Soda
  • Sodium Borate and or Vinegar
  • Baking Soda, Salt, and Cream of Tartar

How to Know How Serious Your Clog Really is?

Without the aid of a drain professional, though most small clogs can be broken up and properly fleshed out. But if debris accumulates and continues to build up, you may be looking at a clogged sewer pipe. This is the main pipe in your plumbing system. The sewer line is exiting your property to the city pipe. If this gets obstructed, far bigger problems can arise. So what are some signs of alarm that your sewer line is clogged?

  • Sounds of gurgling coming from drains and pipes
  • Several drains are backed up and they do not drain
  • Wastewater in your kitchen sink or  shower and toilets overflows
  • You find debris in the pooling water, including vegetation or solid waste

Trying to unclog a blocked sewer line yourself could prove to be above the paygrade of most people. Meaning, unless you are familiar with complicated plumbing methods, it is not something that you can take on.

Here are some tips for finding the sewer clog and attempting to fix it yourself in the event that you are reasonably experienced and know a thing or two about sewer systems.

This will possibly include the use of a snake or auger tool, which can be found in most home improvement or hardware stores.

Usually, sewer lines are easy to locate. The sewer line should likely be in an accessible position and nearby your house, frequently visible by a Y-shaped access port. You will want to find the access cover once you’ve found the sewer line. Depending on the severity and size of the clog, you could be contending with pressure that has built up in the pipeline. When opening the access cover, make sure to stand clear, as nasty air and raw sewage could spout out.

To unclog the blockage, carefully feed the snake into the part of the pipe where you think the clog is occurring and direct it towards the blockage. To break up the clog, you may have to use a little muscle and shift the snake back and forth many times. If you experience resistance, accompanied by some giving, it is likely that the debris that blocked your sewer line was successfully broken up.

When to Know it’s Time to Call a Plumber?

It’s probably time to call a licensed plumber if you’ve tried to plunge, used chemicals, or tries being a plumber for the day, and water is either accumulating or not draining in your tub, toilet, and sinks.

Licensed plumbers will have access to heavy-duty equipment that can easily break up clogs and properly clean your drains, pipes, and sewer lines of any build-up so that you won’t run into this problem again.

You should take it upon yourself to perform proper maintenance on your plumbing system after a professional has unclogged your drains and washed out your sewage lines. That means removing debris from drain covers regularly and making sure that you don’t pour food particles down the drain in your kitchen. This offers you the best chance not to be hassled by recurring issues with your plumbing system.

Smiley Drain Cleaning & Plumbing has a team of emergency plumbers and drain specialists that can be there in an instant to handle the most severe clogs and plumbing problems. Call us today at (973) 764-5393 or schedule service online.