To a homeowner, few things are as frustrating as a drain that’s clogged. Water backing up in your toilet, tub, sink, or floor drain is not just inconvenient, it’s unsightly and unsanitary, and can be damaging if the water overflows.

Drain clogs: Things to try before you call a plumber

Drain clogs require immediate attention. Left to sit for a day or two, that wastewater that was ugly will start smelling as well. However, before you pick up the phone to call a plumber, here are a few things you can try yourself to get the water flowing again.

  1. Plunge it. Using a plunger (about $5 at your local hardware store) creates a suction that often will dislodge a small clog and allow it to be swept away down the drain. This is the first line of defense for sinks, toilets, and tubs.
  2. Remove the trap on the sink. If plunging doesn’t take care of a clog in the sink, grab a bucket and a wrench and disconnect the trap (the curved piece of pipe) under the sink. Often, debris gets lodged in this curve. Clean out the pipe and reconnect it. If you have difficulty disconnecting the sink pipes, call a professional for help.
  3. Snake it. The third method of drain cleaning is to use a plumber’s snake. A 25-foot snake costs about $15 to $20. This works well for stubborn clogs in tubs that don’t respond to plunging. To use the snake, remove the tub’s overflow plate, a thread about 2 1/2 feet of the snake down the hole, and turn the hand crank. Keep cranking until there is little resistance. Remove the snake and drain one to two gallons of hot water through the tub.

Keep in mind that if these drain-cleaning fixes fail to clear your clog, it’s time to call a professional, licensed plumber. Putting too much pressure on your plumbing fixtures can cause permanent damage.

If you need help with drain cleaning in your Northern New Jersey home, please contact us at Pipe Works Services We’ve been helping homeowners like you with their plumbing, heating, and cooling needs since 1988. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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