Unclogging a blocked drain isn’t something that you come across every day, but it’s among the most popular plumbing problems that every property owner in Australia and the whole world fears. The early signs of blocked drainage include slow draining, foul smell, gurgling sounds, and overflowing. If not handled immediately, these minor issues will one day lead to a complete blockage.
The good news, however, is that with the right tools and skills, you can handle these warning signs yourself. But, in case your skills don’t come to your aid, you should opt for a professional plumbing company like Manariti Plumbing. They’ll professionally sort out your plumbing problems, including high-pressure cleaning and unclogging blocked drains, among others.
Main Causes Of A Blocked Drain
Even though many homeowners use their drains correctly, sometimes it’s challenging not to avoid mishaps. The daily use of these plumbing systems will inadvertently lead to blocked drains. The most prevalent causes include:
- Toiletries – Yes, toiletries such as sanitary items, baby wipes, and nappies are essential. However, you should NOT flush them down the toilet!
- Cooking Oil And Food Particles – Typically, cooking oil is viscous, and it will attract food particles to form a blockage. Therefore, refrain from draining cooking oil into the kitchen sink.
- Bar Soap And Hair – Solid bar soap residue can leave deposits within pipelines before they dissolve. Similarly, when you wash your hair in the shower/bath, soap suds may drip into the piping system. Both hair and soap can accumulate and cause a major blockage. You should install a mesh wire to guard drainage holes.
- Mineral Build-Up – Minerals such as calcium can accumulate in your pipes and cause constriction. It may not necessarily lead to blockage on its own, but it could easily trap other elements to form significant blockages.
- Other Common Household Elements – Occasional elements contribute to an eventual blockage, including tree roots, foreign objects, natural debris, and pet litter.
Ways To Unclog A Blocked Drain
There are various DIY tips for removing the menace of blocked drains and preventing them from reoccurring in the future. Here are seven useful tips:
- Boiling Water
Pouring boiling water down the drain is probably the easiest way to clear its clog. However, never use this method if your pipeline is PVC because the heat could potentially loosen their joints. Additionally, don’t use hot water on a porcelain sink as it can cause cracks.
Using a large kettle or boiling pot, heat enough water and pour it down the drain directly. Repeat the pouring in two to three stages, spacing a few seconds between each pour.
2. Baking Soda And Vinegar
This easy do-it-yourself (DIY) method involves pouring steaming hot water down your drain, followed by pouring half a cup of baking soda. Allow the baking soda to sit for some minutes before adding a cup of vinegar, then immediately seal the drain with a rag or metal stopper.
The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda is effervescent and should assist in removing grime, hair, or gunk in the pipe. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately five to 10 minutes before flushing the drain again with hot water.
3. The Bent Wire Hanger
This simple yet effective DIY method involves taking an ordinary wire cloth hanger and straightening it up. Then, slightly bend it on one end to create a hook. Insert that end into the drainage, then start pushing and pulling. You should be able to fish out all nasty solid particles out of the drain using this tool.
Remember, your aim is to pull the blockage out and not push it further into the drainage. After clearing up as much as you can, flush the piping with hot water.
4. Handheld Or Full-Length Plunger
A cup-shaped plunger is one ideal way of clearing a bathroom or kitchen sink.
First, make sure to cover any pipe that discharges overflowing water, and remove any stopper or plug covering your sink. Then, pour water into the drain until it’s half full, and cover the drainage with the plunger for a firm seal. Use up-and-down plunges to loosen and remove the clog. While at it, check periodically to see if the water is flowing smoothly again.
5. Hand-Operated Drain Snake
The handheld drain snake is somewhat low-tech equipment that you purchase from the store, usually USD$10 at most. Basically, it’s a long spiral metal that can “snake” into the drain to shake and remove blockage particles. The steel design enhances them to bend inside most pipes easily.
Unfortunately, the snake design’s range is limited and will work effectively only if the blockage is close to the drain’s opening.
6. Caustic Chemical
Caustic soda can potentially dissolve grease, food, hair, and other famous blockages. Additionally, it can also dissolve other foreign materials and even tree roots. It’s made of sodium hydroxide and can result in severe chemical burns if not handled cautiously. Therefore, while purchasing it from the store, remember also to get full protective gear.
Add ¾ gallon of cold water into a bucket and mix with three cups of caustic cleaner. Stir well with a dry wooden spoon. Then, pour it into the clogged pipe, leave for 30 minutes, and then flush it with boiling water. If necessary, repeat the process.
7. Clean The P-Trap
In case you have a sink with a blocked drain, the problem could be lurking within the U-shaped piece underneath called the P-trap. Fortunately, it’s easy-peasy to clean by hand. First, place an empty container or mop bucket underneath the trap pipe to collect waste or water that may spill. Then, remove the P-trap by unscrewing the two connecting nuts at both ends. Turn it inversely, and empty the collected contents into the bucket.
Make sure it’s clean and free of any debris before putting it back in place. In most scenarios, this approach should work perfectly.
The tips discussed above are fast and straightforward DIY strategies that could help you work your way out of the most common problematic clogs. However, if these ways don’t work for you, you’ll have to contract a trusted plumbing company to handle the blockage. Nevertheless, the simple daily maintenance of your plumbing system will prevent any extreme cases in the future. Thus, make sure to check for minor clogging from time to time.