Plumber’s Tip: 8 Steps to Unclog a Drain
If the water is draining unusually slowly from a sink, shower or tub in your home, don’t ignore it. Addressing the issue right away can prevent bigger plumbing problems – and avoid the nasty mess of a completely clogged drain and potential water damage.
First, determine if the problem is isolated to one drain or is more widespread. If other sinks or tubs are draining slowly as well, there may be a problem with your main sewer drainage line and you should call a plumber right away. If the problem is only in one location, it is likely just buildup in that specific pipe and you can often remedy the situation with a few simple steps.
- Remove the drain stopper to see if you can determine what is blocking the drain.
- If the clog is visible, use your hand, pliers, or a wire coat hanger to remove the blockage.
- If you cannot reach the clog, run hot water down the drain for a few minutes. This can dissolve the debris that is blocking the pipe. If hot water does not do the trick, try pouring boiling water down the sink – but only if you are certain that your pipes are metal and not plastic PVC which can be damaged by boiling water.
- If the sink or tub is still not draining well, you will need to use a plunger to clear the clog. A standard cup style plunger are dark red in color and have a flat, somewhat wide rim and come in various sizes. These small ones are best for sinks and the large plungers work best in showers and bath tubs. Ball and flange plungers are specifically for use in toilets and will not be as effective in a sink, shower or tub.
- Seal the overflow outlet by covering it with a washcloth or piece of waterproof tape.
- Fill the tub or sink with water – just enough to cover the top of the plunger.
- Center the plunger over the drain and pump it several times to create a vacuum. The suction will often loosen the clog and allow it to flow freely down the drain. Some clogs, especially hair, will be sucked out of the drain.
- If a plunger does not clear the clog, try using a plumbers snake (available at most hardware stores) to work through the clog and either dislodge it or pull it out.
Still no luck? Call a professional to take care of the problem for you. In addition to fixing the clogged drain, they can determine if anything more serious is going on that will give you bigger problems later.
"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- 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."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.