Clearing a clogged drain can be an easy DIY task—or something that requires the services of a professional plumber. It depends upon the nature of the clog itself as well as any ongoing plumbing issues that may have contributed to it. A few basic guidelines for calling in professional help include:

When the drain chronically runs slower and slower before finally clogging entirely. This is indicative of long-term sludge accumulation that doesn’t respond to do-it-yourself methods.

  • When more than one drain is blocked at the same time.
  • When you smell sewer gas or other especially pungent odors emitted from the drain.
  • When one particular drain clogs repeatedly.

If none of the above apply to your clogged drain, try these simple DIY methods before consulting a plumber:

  • Put several inches of water in the sink and block any overflow vents with a wet rag or washcloth. Using a common plunger, steadily plunge the drain for several minutes. Stop and check drain activity. If the clog persists, repeat plunging may be necessary.
  • Boil water in a saucepan or tea kettle. Remove standing water from the sink and pour the boiling water directly down the drain. If the clog clears, for good measure pour another kettle or pan full of boiling water to flush the pipe thoroughly. Clogs that respond to boiling water are often caused by pouring grease or other cooking fats down the drain.
  • Remove standing water from the drain. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain followed by a cup of vinegar, then plug the drain. After thirty minutes, heat a tea kettle or saucepan of water to boiling and pour the water into the drain. If the clog persists, pour another dose of baking soda followed by vinegar and allow it to work overnight. In the morning, add boiling water to the drain.
    As a preventive measure, commercially available drain products formulated with enzymes to consume grease and other organic waste materials may be added to drains periodically.

Struggling with a clogged drain that won’t clear? In northern New Jersey contact Pipe Works Services.

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