Clogged or blocked drains are one of the most common plumbing issues encountered in a home or business. When it comes to any plumbing issue, Tunnel Vision has always taken the stance that prevention is better than a full repair.
However, clogged drains can be one of those tricky things that can suddenly appear and if not dealt with quickly, can escalate into a costly and damaging property-wide issue.
Within this blog learn six easy ways that you can unclog a drain DIY style.
What Can Cause A Clogged Drain?
Drains can become clogged for a number of reasons, the most common being:
- Hardened grease waste
- Soap scum
- Foreign objects
- Tree roots and garden debris
What Kinds of Drains Can Become Clogged?
The term “drain” is quite broad - as such, it’s also important to know what types of drains there are so you can approach your specific situation correctly.
These drains have slight variations depending on whether you’re talking about a kitchen sink or a bathroom sink. They use smaller pipes that run under the sinks themselves before integrating with the rest of the plumbing system.
While sink drains in other areas of the world contain things such as a garbage disposal function, these are rare in Australian plumbing systems. Regardless, kitchen sinks are most often clogged by loose food scraps - while bathroom sinks can be clogged by things such as hair.
Toilets function by having a bowl connected to a drain. The bowl holds the water that gets sent - along with the toilet waste - to the drain when the toilet is flushed.
Large amounts of waste can cause toilet drains to clog up - but too much toilet paper being flushed at once is another common cause of this issue.
Shower drains appear slightly different from sink and toilet drains as they feature a grill or trap that collects all the runoff water from shower use and sends it down through the pipe system.
Shower drain clogs are often caused by loose hair running off heads when washing, which then gets caught in the grill on the floor of the shower.
What Problems Can Arise from a Clogged Drain?
As with any kind of blockage, clogged drains - if left untreated - can become major problems very quickly.
When a drain is clogged, it means that everything that goes through the drain won’t necessarily be able to pass through due to the blockage. When this happens, the drain will only become more and more clogged, which can lead to even more problems.
When drains clog and buildup occurs, the flow of the drain is slowed - sometimes significantly. On top of the buildup itself, the remaining water that does manage to run through the drain is slowed due to having to navigate the clogged piping.
How to Unclog a Drain
Clogged drains usually require the attention of a blocked drain specialist, but there are several simple home remedies you can try on clogged drains yourself. The following simple methods may be effective in unclogging your drain:
Fill your sink half full and make sure you are not wearing your best clothes. Before forcing down on the plunger, ensure that there is sufficient water in it (not just air) as you will use the water pressure to clear the clog.
Place the toilet plunger completely over the clogged sink drain hole and press down slowly but firmly. Repeat if you notice that the water has begun to drain slowly. If it drains away quickly you have successfully cleared the blockage.
2. Coat Hanger
Straighten out a wire coat hanger and bend one end over to create a small hook. Work this past the drain cover to remove any hair or gunk. Afterwards, run hot water to get everything moving freely again. This technique is most effective when the blockage is in the first 5cm – 10cm of the drain.
3. Drain Snake
If the clog is too deep to unclog with a coat hanger, a plumbing ‘snake’ or ‘auger’ is great at removing stubborn clogs and is particularly effective in dislodging hair and other debris. A drain snake is a flexible coil of wire that literally ‘snakes’ through the drain to locate and dislodge the cause of the clogging.
4. Hot Water
If the clogged drain was caused by a build-up of grease, then the simplest remedy is pouring hot water down the drain. Water from the tap is probably not hot enough (as the grease has built up despite the tap water), so it’s best to boil some water in a kettle or a large pot first and simply pour it slowly down the drain.
However, if you have PVC pipes this is not recommended as boiling water has the potential to cause pipe damage. You may have to pour hot water down your drain several times, letting the water cool in between before it helps dislodge the blockage.
Coke or Pepsi is often better for a drain than it is for the lining of your stomach due to its acidic content. For some clogs, it works just as well as commercial clog removers. Coke or Pepsi at room temperature can be poured slowly down the drain. Leave it for an hour or two before rinsing through with hot water.
6. Baking Soda & Vinegar
Sprinkle a small packet of baking soda down the drain, followed by a healthy dose of vinegar. This will fizz it in the drain as a form of homemade drain cleaner. It’s best to leave it overnight and then rinse with hot water in the morning. This can be effective in breaking down more stubborn, solid matter over time. Other similar approaches include baking soda and salt with hot water; and washing soda with hot water.
What to Do if You Can’t Unclog a Drain
If you still have a clogged drain and have tried everything you can to get rid of it yourself, it’s time to contact the professionals.
Tunnel Vision has access to top-of-the-range drain unclogging equipment such as drain jetters, drain CCTV cameras and pipe relining technology to diagnose and remove stubborn clogs. The results are immediate, and no harsh chemicals or digging is involved, saving you both time and money.
How Tunnel Vision Unclogs Drains
1. Finding the Blockage
The first step to unclogging a drain is to find the blockage. Although this might seem obvious (if it’s not working, there’s obviously a blockage!), actually identifying where and why the drain has clogged can save you both time and money in the long run.
With the use of our state-of-the-art drain cameras, we can identify what is causing the drain to clog, where it is located in the pipework, and if it’s caused any external damage.
2. Unblocking the Drain
Once we know what we’re dealing with, we can then work on getting it out. Using our advanced drain jetters, our team will blast water down the drain at a very high pressure and velocity to dislodge the blockage. Once the blockage is clear, we utilise our drain cameras again to check for any damage that could have been concealed by the blockage.
3. Relining the Drain
Depending on what caused the blockage, there could be further damage to the pipework. If damage has occurred, we can repair the pipe utilising Nuflow’s advanced pipe relining technology. We create a seamless liner within the inner walls of the pipe that essentially acts as a ‘pipe within a pipe’.
Nuflow’s pipe relining tech allows us to repair broken pipes quickly, at a cost-effective price and with minimal digging or disruption to homes, businesses or assets.
Call Tunnel Vision - The Clogged Drains Experts
Drain cleaning is a great way to get on top of any potential drainage issues that could turn serious later on. If you’ve got a clogged drain or any other plumbing emergency, and you live in the Perth area, give the plumbing experts at Tunnel Vision a call.