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What to do When You Have a Blocked Drain

Wondering what to do when you have a blocked drain? Combining a little practice with some cheap tools can help you take less than one hour to sort out the most stubborn blocks in your drain. Follow the step by step instructions below to easily address your drain block while saving yourself from calling the plumbing service.

  1. Begin by acquiring the right tools.

  2. Plungers can be bought from any home center or hardware store. Deeper thrusts can be gotten from plungers with bigger rubber bells, though most can be used effectively for kitchen drains. Always check for a stout handle which allows for the application of increased force.

    A snake is also known as a hand auger with different designs at different prices depending on its turning mechanism, size or length. Other items like rubber gloves, a bright flashlight, and a bucket or plastic bin should be kept handy.

    Most blockages can be prevented by the proper handling of the drain line in your kitchen. Avoid overloading disposers with starchy foods like potatoes, rice, and pasta or meat and foods with high fiber content such as corn husks and celery. Practice the habit of running water into the drain while giving the disposer time to catch up after each push of food into it. Quit the dumping of coffee grounds or bacon grease through the drain which can get hardened when left to settle and cool.

  3. Use a plunger to open up the blockage.

  4. If you find that the disposer is not the location of the problem, plunge the drain. Owners of dishwashers should never forget to clamp the drain hose first. Follow up with ensuring the plunger is sealed to the drain by filling up the sink with around 3 to 4 inches of water. When doing this out with a double sink, seal the other drain opening with a tightly held wet rag or make use of a basket strainer.
    Plunge away by forcing water and not air through the drain as you the plunger’s head into the water. Pump vigorously and pop off the plunger from the drain opening on the last upstroke for more pressure. Plunge continuously for a few minutes until the water swirls through the drain.

  5. Get the P-trap cleaned.

  6. The popular cause of blockages in the drain’s P-trap and trap arm is the sticking of coffee grounds or grease. Disassemble the P-trap for cleaning when intensive plunging fails to remove the clog.

  7. Get the drain line snaked.

  8. Loosen the set screw at the end of the snake and pull out between 6 and 10 inches of cable. Make sure the set screw is firmly tightened before spinning down the snake through the drain line. Keep up the pushing and cranking especially if the cable meets an obstruction. You can then stop when the tip of the cable successfully bites through indicated by the dropping of the cable’s tension. Turn the crank anti clockwise at this point and pull the cable out. The snake would require cleaning when pulled out as it will be carrying much dirt.

If you don’t succeed with clearing the clog after following the above steps, call a plumber. You might be dealing with a blockage out of your reach down the drain line or an object stuck in the pipes.

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