Can’t Fix a Clogged Sink? Try a Main Drain Clearing!

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It is inevitable at some point, you’ll find you can’t fix a clogged sink. Whether its food buildup in your kitchen sink or hair stuck in your bathroom sink drain, and you can’t fix the clogged drain — then it’s probably time for a main drain clearing.

In this blog, we’ll review some DIY tips for homeowners who can’t fix a clogged sink. We’ll also cover when it’s time to turn to a pro and reveal why you shouldn’t use those chemical drain cleaners. Finally, we’ll cover drain clearing, drain cleaning and no dig sewer repair.

When You Can’t Fix a Clogged Sink Try This

You may be able to fix drain clogs yourself if the problem is confined to specific fixtures, such as a sink drain or a toilet. If your bathroom sink is clogged, it’s not likely to affect your dishwasher or washing machine.

Plunge it. This is often the quickest fix. It takes patience, sometimes, a little practice to get the hang of it. Most big box stores with home items sell mini-plungers, which are often easier for sinks than the standard toilet version. Pro tip: if you have a double sink, cover the drain on the opposite side. Sometimes, the pressure of the plunger shoots water or debris (yuck) up the other drain.

Snake it. This simple plastic tool inserts into the drain, with plastic “teeth” it grabs hair and other material possibly causing the clog. Removal of the clog should fix a clogged sink. These “snakes” are also available at hardware and big box stores.

Boiling Water. First, if you have standing water in the sink, remove as much of it as possible with a bucket or other container. Second, pour a stock pot or coffee pot of boiling water directly into the drain.

Repeat and remove standing water as necessary. Not working? Remove standing water and pour salt in the drain. Let it sit then clear with another pot of hot water to clear.

Clean the P-Trap. In the cabinet below the sink you’ll find what’s called a P-trap in the curve of the sink’s drainpipe. Put a bucket underneath it and unfasten the P-trap from the drainpipe. Clean it and return it. If the clog is past the P-trap you can try the snake at this point.

Don’t Do This When You Can’t Fix a Clogged Sink

You might be tempted to try products that are supposed to quickly unclog your drains. The problem is many of them break down whatever is clogging your drain as well as the pipes. This could cause harmful chemicals to leach into your water or cause your pipes to erode and crack.

When You Need a Pro to Fix a Clogged Sink

When all drains are affected, or when you see warning signs, such as water going down one drain and backing up in another, it generally means the main drain is clogged and you need a professional.

When it is a simple clog, plumbers use an industrial snaking tool to target the specific pipe,  break up the clog and let water flow freely through the plumbing. If your main sewer line is clogged, your whole home feels the effects.

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What’s the Main Drain?

The main drain is where all your households’ drains meet below the house and carry the wastewater to the municipal sewer lines or to a septic system. Think of your plumbing like a giant tree. The main drain is the trunk of the tree.

Ok Great. What’s a Main Drain Clearing?

A main drain clearing uses professional tools to poke through existing clogs and push any debris further down the pipe and away. Before your plumber starts clearing the main drain he or she puts a camera down in the pipes to gather information about the location and cause of the problem. Plumbers find all kinds of things including knots of the not flushable “flushable wipes” or toys. He or she also sees if the pipe is compromised by tree roots, crumbling due to age, erosion or material or something else.

When you can’t fix a clogged sink, it’s probably a sludge buildup caused by soap scum and oils clinging to the pipes. If that is the case, routine DIY snaking of the drain puts a few holes in it and the clog quickly returns. So, if you have ongoing problems because you can’t fix a clogged sink or drain, a professional main drain clearing is the way to go.

What’s the Difference Between Drain Clearing and Drain Cleaning?

Main drain cleaning uses a jetting process and shoots pressurized water into the drain system to fully clean out the pipes. It literally “cleans” the pipes instead of just opening and clearing them.

How to Prevent Clogs in Your Sink

The best way to prevent smelly drains and accompanying clogs is to avoid the accumulation of sludge in the first place by practicing good “drain hygiene.” Here are some helpful tips:

  • Watch what goes into the drain. Avoid washing large food scraps down the drain—even if you have a garbage disposal. Store grease in a container and throw it out with the trash. Don’t pour it into the sink. The same goes for coffee grounds.
  • Install drain hair strainers in bathtubs and showers and clear hair out of them weekly.
  • For regular DIY preventive maintenance, once a month pour about a cup of baking soda into each drain. Follow it with two cups of boiling water. After a few minutes, add another cup of baking soda, then a cup of white vinegar. Wait another few minutes, then flush the drain clear with more boiling water.

Smelly drains are likely to clog and create frustration when you can’t fix a clogged sink. The unpleasant odor wafting up indicates the drain pipe harbors sludge. It’s a gooey concoction of decaying organic material washed down the sink or bathtub, combined with soap residue.

Sludge accumulation gradually narrows the diameter of drain pipes. This slows the flow of wastewater and generates odors. In addition, as flow through the pipe decreases, clogs become more likely.

Get Ahead of the Curve with the Apollo Home Care Plan

Did you know membership in the Apollo Care Plan includes an annual plumbing evaluation? In addition to the seasonal HVAC tune ups, the Apollo Care Plan includes an annual evaluation of both your plumbing and electrical systems.

This helps you stay in front of any issues and prevent major home emergencies when possible. It’s also a great time to ask questions when you have licensed plumbers and electricians onsite. Membership perks include priority scheduling, discounts and a dedicated VIP phone number.

Apollo Home Handles It When You Can’t Fix a Clogged Sink

In conclusion, if you need help to fix a clogged sink, toilet, basement drain or you’re worried the system is slowly starting to backup, call Apollo Home today. We offer a full range of main drain clearing and unclogging services as well as sewer line and excavation and no-dig sewer repair.

Don’t wait for the worst to happen! It doesn’t take much water to create thousands of dollars of water damage. Learn how we can help solve your slow drainage problems before the problem spirals out of control. Our team of licensed plumbers travels throughout the Cincinnati and northern Kentucky area to serve you.

You’ll find our professional plumbing staff in areas such as Blue Ash, Bridgetown, Crescent Springs, Covington, Crestview Hills, Dry Run, Delhi, Edgewood and Erlanger. You’ll also see our Apollo trucks on streets in Forestville, Fort Mitchell, Francisville, Hyde Park, Independence and more.

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- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
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