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Clogged Drains: At-Home and Professional Methods of Drain Cleaning

A clogged drain is any homeowner’s nightmare. Whether it’s a clog from food, hair, or just general usage, clogs are frustrating and annoying.

To fix this problem, it can be tempting to pour caustic chemicals down the drain. This, however, can cause major damage and create bigger problems.

This article will share some safe in-home methods for drain cleaning and explain what professional plumbers can do to keep your drains clear and functioning properly!

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Do I Have a Clogged Drain?

Clogged drains can happen for many reasons and manifest in different ways. There are several signs to look for to determine if you need a drain cleaning.

While pooling water that refuses to go down the pipe is obviously due to a clog somewhere in your plumbing system. Keep an eye out for more subtle signs of a clog such as:

  • Your drain is slower than normal. If water is pooling in your sink or tub before slowly going down the drain then you have a slow drain which indicates a blockage within the pipes.
  • Gurgling noises coming from your pipes. If you hear gurgling from your pipes, it means that the water is struggling to get through them due to a blockage.
  • A sewer smell coming from the drain. This could indicate a build-up of biological such as bacteria and fungus within the drain pipe or p trap.
  • Leaking from under your sink or near a bathtub or toilet. The pressure created from a clog sometimes causes leaks since the water has nowhere to drain.

It is important to stay vigilant of any signs of a clog to prevent pipe damage or flooding. If you suspect one in your home, you may be wondering how one developed in the first place.

Why Did My Drain Get Clogged?

Clogs are caused by many different things and can occur in any of your home’s pipes. Some causes may even surprise you!

Kitchen drain clogs

Grease and food particles can easily clog up your drains. Using a mesh catcher will prevent larger food debris such as egg shells from entering the drainage pipes. However, grease should never be disposed of in your sink. We suggest draining grease into a bowl or cup, allowing it to cool, and then depositing it into the trash.

Bathtub drain clogs

The most common cause is a build-up of hair in the tub drain. However, soaps and shampoos can also cause blockages. Most soap contains waxes and oils that will build up in your tub and shower drainage pipes.

Installing a mesh catcher can prevent hair and debris from entering the drain, also, avoiding products that contain grease and waxes will keep your bath time clog-free.

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Bathroom sink clog

Similar to bathtubs, a bathroom sink can easily clog due to hair and damaging products like thick waxes and oils that block the drain pipe.

Toilet clogs

There’s nothing more stressful than a toilet clog. For peace of mind and to prevent any backup or flooding issues, it’s important to only flush waste and toilet paper. Other products such as paper towels, feminine products, and wipes (yes, even the “flushable” kind) should not be flushed and instead deposited in a trash receptacle.

Sewer clogs

Your home’s sewer system connects to all your drainage piping and then sends the sewage out to the municipal sewer system. This vital part of your plumbing deals with a lot, so the grease from cooking, the hair and soap scum from the shower, and the paper products from the toilet can all cause clogs in your sewer. Additionally, your sewer pipes can also become clogged and damaged with roots from plants and trees.

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Luckily, our team at O’Bannon Plumbing & Sewer has experience with all types of clogs. Our expert plumbers have diagnosed and repaired thousands of clogged drains.

How Can I Clear a Clogged Drain at Home?

We understand how frustrating a clogged drain can be. It can be tempting to use a chemical drain cleaner full of dangerous chemicals or even a regular wire coat hanger to try to remove the clog. In our experience removing clogs, these types of solutions do more harm than good.

At O’Bannon Plumbing & Sewer, we are committed to helping our customers have a clean and effective drainage system. So, here are some tips from our expert plumbers on how you can clear a clog at home.

D.I.Y. Tips for Drain Cleaning

Boiling water

While it may seem simple, hot water should loosen any soap scum or stuck grease. Make sure you are using very hot water and not just warm water. Fill a pot with two quarts of water, boil it and then pour it down the drain. This method will be most effective if done in two or three stages, pouring more hot water after a few minutes each time.

Mixing baking soda and vinegar

Mix white vinegar with baking soda in a cup, the mixture should start fizzing and then slowly pour it down your drain. The fizzing carbon dioxide can unclog smaller blockages. After pouring the baking soda and vinegar into the drain opening, we recommend waiting a couple of minutes then use boiling water to flush any remaining particles.

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Soak the drain overnight with baking soda and salt

This mixture similarly produces carbon dioxide, letting it sit overnight in your bathroom or kitchen sink gives time for the reaction to work on the clogged drain. After you wait a few hours or overnight, pour boiling water into the sink drain.

Physical methods

While there are some at-home gentle chemical reactions that can work on a clog, some physical methods can help you release or remove clogs as well. A toilet plunger can be used both on a sink or a toilet, use the plunger to seal the drain opening then start plunging to add pressure and push the clog through the pipes.

Another physical method is to buy a drain snake. We recommend buying the tool instead of using something like a bent wire hanger because a wire hanger can damage the inside of your pipes. Once you have the drain snake, start fishing!

You will feel resistance when you locate the clog, then pull up and the material will dislodge and unclog your drain. We recommend finishing this method by pouring hot water into the drain opening to clear any remaining blockage.

As professional plumbers, we want you to have clean drains, but we also want to ensure your family’s health. We strongly recommend avoiding caustic drain cleaner.

While the bottle of a drain cleaner promises quick results, the strong chemicals can erode pipes and worse, react to organic material in the clog and cause dangerous fumes.

That’s why we recommend simple D.I.Y. fixes like boiling water or baking soda and vinegar. If you still have stubborn clogs, our licensed plumber is happy to provide a free estimate to unclog your drains! Give us a call; (773) 862-5112!

Professional methods to unclog a drain

When you call O’Bannon Plumbing & Sewer, we send a plumber with all the tools and knowledge to unclog any drain.

Anything from a pipe wrench to a power auger, our plumbers carry the best tools to get your drain up and running in no time.

Our professionals will assess the situation and decide what method to use for your plumbing problem.

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Power Rodding

Power rodding is a drain cleaning process where a cable is inserted down the drain and a motor is used to rotate the cable in an effort to clear the drain.

The drain cleaner may use a manual crank or an electric drill to turn it. This equipment can reach a long way into your pipes, so no matter how deep the clog is, our plumber can reach it.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro Jetting is when a drain cleaner inserts a cable into the drain and water pressure blasts the clog out. The cable can be inserted in drain openings, floor drains, or a cleanout if you have one installed. The pressure of the water creates a lot of force that pushes the blockage out.

Our goal is to get your drains free of debris in the most efficient and effective way. No matter what type of drain problem you’re having, our professional plumbers can clear it away without any hassle.

We provide a free estimate on-site, so you know what to expect. Call today to unclog a drain; (773) 862-5112!

When Should I Call a Professional Plumber Near Me?

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If you’ve tried all the D.I.Y. tips above, don’t fret! O’Bannon Plumbing & Sewer is happy to clean your drains for you. Standing water or backed-up sewage can be hazardous to your health, so don’t wait too long to call us to fix your plumbing problem.

We are unclogging experts and available to give you a free in-home estimate. Call our helpful staff today; (773) 862-5112!

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