A blocked drain around your house can be extremely annoying. Very often, the blockage has been a slow build up, going from a slowing down of the drainage, to a partial blockage that takes minutes to empty, to a completely blocked drain. As we are all aware, ignoring the build-up usually means bigger problems further down the road. But we have all been there, and here is some simple advice to help you when you find yourself in such a predicament.
More often than not, if the blocked drain is located in the bathroom, laundry or kitchen, it is more than likely a build up over time of hair and other gunk becoming trapped in the drain. The good news is this is usually a quick and easy fix!
Try removing the drain cover and removing the blockage by hand, if you can locate it. If the blockage is located further down the drain, using a piece of wire or a bent coat hanger with a curved tip usually fixes the problem. Slide the wire down right through the blockage, hook it into the build-up and pull it out. Often, the whole mess comes out in one heap, if not repeat the process until the drain is cleared and unblocked.
If the drain is located elsewhere in the home, it could be a similar build-up. It could mean that food and other items are lodged somewhere down the drain. If the wire/coat hanger trick does not do the job, it’s time to call in the plunger!
Plungers are a great way of releasing free any blockages, and can be effective for use on kitchen sinks, toilets, and other drains. Firstly, make sure there’s enough water covering the drain as you want to be forcing water not air through the drain. Also, if the blockage is on one side of a double sink or has an over flow, be sure to cover the other sink or outlet with a wet towel or cloth to prevent water flowing out and causing damage. Cover the drain with the plunger ensuring a tight seal, then pump up and down vigorously for 25-35 seconds. Generally, this is enough time to clear the blockage, if not you will need to repeat the process.
The third way to fix a blocked drain is to pour drain cleaner down the drain and leave it there for the specified time. These chemicals eat their way through most substances, and followed by a hot water flush will usually have your drain clear in a matter of hours. For those people after a more environmentally friendly solution, try pouring a cup of baking soda down the blocked drain followed by a cup of vinegar or vinegar/hot water mixture. These two chemicals have a reaction, which can be quite violent, so be sure to cover the drain, and flush once again with hot water afterwards.
Regular flushing of your drains will save you a lot of trouble in the future. Every month, make a habit of flushing your drains with boiling water, or use the baking soda/vinegar combo on a regular basis to maintain clear drains. Also, ensure you prevent as much hair and rubbish as possible from entering sinks and drains. Prevention is better and cheaper than a cure!