Unplugging Drains Without Using Chemicals


Most of us never think about the drains in our homes until something happens to plug them up, but we should be more conscious about their function because they’re hidden heroes.  Luckily for many homeowners you can experience a perfectly operating drain that works as it should by a free flow removal of water though the piping systems. However, for those of us who have experienced a clogged toilet, shower or plugged up wash basin, clogged drains are a major frustration.

The problem needs your immediate attention to prevent any further issues and most plug-ups can be resolved with a few simple tools and some basic knowledge of how drains work. The best part of this process is that you can accomplish successful results quickly and without the use of chemicals that can sometimes cause more damage than good.


Drain Configuration:

Inside your home, the drains connect with horizontal pipes and vertical sections that are called the “stack” that goes through the roof and acts like an air vent. The horizontal pipes run downward, taking wastewater out of your home. If you have poor drain performance, this can be caused by either the drain or the vent. Regardless whether water is flowing freely through the pipes, water must be replaced by air drawn into the system through the rooftop vent for proper performance. There are certain sections of each drain that are prone to blockage, so understanding their locations may help to avoid emergencies.


Clog Hotspots in Drains:

Curved sections of pipes, such as those under the sink, tubs, shower and internal passage within the toilet are the main hotspots for clogs. Sinks, especially, collect a lot of gunk in the trap that is about 6 inches below the drain opening.

To determine if the problem is localized, run water down the drain in other locations to see if the water runs freely. If it is limited to one spot, you know you’re on the right track to fixing the problem instead of wasting your time to solve the wrong problem. Once you’ve determined that the issue is specific to one area, you can now begin to tackle the blockage with some simple solutions without using chemicals.


Chemical Free Unclogging Solutions:

Before you go out and buy a drain cleaner that contains corrosive chemicals that dissolve that gooey gunk, there is a safer way using mechanical methods that’s easier on your sink’s finish, your health and environmentally more friendly.


Sink Plunger:

Instead of going the chemical route, you can accomplish the same end result without chemicals by investing in a sink plunger.  First you want to clean out any hard solids in the drain, which is no pleasant but effective.  If the problem still exists, a sink plunger with a smooth bottom surface, as opposed to the extended lip on toilet plungers, should do the trick. You want to leave 2-3 inches of water in the sink and with a few solid pushes up and down, you’ll see the water disappear and hear a satisfying whoosh sound occur.


Draining the Sink Trap:

If that fails for some reason, it’s time to go under the sink where the trap has probably accumulated the hard solid gunk.  Get a bucket and place it under the trap. Loosen the trap with a pair of slip-joint pliers or pipe wrench to undo the threads of the trap. What happens next is a gush of water and junk into the bucket, which has been stuck in there for some time. This will hopefully resolve the problem, but if not, there is one other option you can employ since the problem is further down the drain.


Using a Drain Snake:

A drain snake (drain auger) is a long, flexible metal device that bends and does what the name suggests, acts like a snake. You can push the snake further down the clogged drain and when you hit something hard, turn the crank and the snake chews its way through the obstruction. Snake costs vary, but you can purchase one for about $50 that extends approximately 12 feet.


Get a Professional

If you're in the Oakville or surrounding area and want the professionals to take care of your clogged drain the right way, then Contact A. McKenna Plumbing today.