You've been living in an apartment and are accustomed to calling the landlord to clear any clogged drains. Now you own your own home and keeping the drains flowing freely is your responsibility. Here is what you need to know about drain clogs and the best ways to get the water moving again.
Types of Drain Clogs
Not all drain clogs are the same. How you deal with a clog depends on the type you're facing.
Soft clogs - This clog doesn't compact in the drain and makes the drain run slowly. It is usually found in the bathroom tub and sink and is made up of hair and skin. The clog can sometimes be pulled out bit by bit or forced through with a plunger.
Hard clog - This is the typical kitchen drain clog and occurs when materials stick to the drain pipe and form a complete blockage. The clog can become hard and resistant to a plunger. These clogs must be broken up before they can be removed.
Managing Your Clogged Drains
Bathroom sink, tub and shower - Use a bell plunger on these clogs. This is the standard plunger design that looks like an inverted bowl. The edges of the plunger must seal around the drain opening for it to work effectively. Force the plunger down on the drain then upward quickly to force the clog through or pull the material up out of the drain.
Toilet - You need a flange plunger for this clog. This plunger has a soft rubber flap that rests down inside of the toilet drain to create a seal. Pump the plunger up and down several times to loosen the clog. If the toilet has been clogged for several days, have a plumber like those at Bryco Plumbing come to your home. The clog may have hardened and the plumber will need to use a snake to clear the clog.
Kitchen sinks - If you use a plunger on a kitchen drain soon after it clogs, you may be able to clear it up yourself. Once the drain becomes blocked completely, using a plunger may only compact the clog even more. You'll then need a drain cleaning service to break up the clog and get your drain flowing again.
Be Careful When Using Other Drain Cleaning Methods
Chemicals - These are usually caustic and can burn your skin and eyes should they get splashed on you. They must be used very carefully if the sink has standing water. If you try using a chemical drain cleaner, only do so for one use. If the clog doesn't budge, have a plumber clear the drain.
Plumber's snake - This coiled device is fed down into the drain to break up a hard clog. If used incorrectly, you could force the snake through the side of a pipe, causing an even more serious, and expensive, problem. Let a drain specialist use this tool for cleaning a drain in your home.