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How do you clear a blocked drain?

A blocked drain is a common household problem that can cause inconvenience and even damage to your plumbing system. The drain can become blocked for various reasons, including hair, food scraps, grease, and soap residue. Ignoring a blocked drain can lead to more severe plumbing issues, such as burst pipes or sewage backups, which can be costly to repair.

That's why cleaning a blocked drain as soon as you notice it or calling a plumber in Sydney is important. Not only does it prevent further damage to your plumbing, but it also ensures that your home remains a clean and healthy living environment. In the following sections, we will discuss the causes of blocked drains, the tools and materials needed for cleaning, and the steps to clean a blocked drain effectively.

 

Blocked drains are a common household problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are some of the most common causes of blocked drains:

Understanding the Common Causes of Blocked Drains

1. Hair:

Hair is one of the leading causes of blocked drains, especially in bathrooms. When hair falls into the drain, it can get tangled up with soap residue and other debris, leading to a clog.

2. Grease:

Cooking grease and oil are another common cause of blocked drains. Grease can solidify inside the drain and accumulate over time, causing a blockage.

3. Food scraps:

In the kitchen, food scraps, such as vegetable peels and coffee grounds, can accumulate in the drain and cause a blockage.

4. Soap residue:

Soap residue can also contribute to a blocked drain. Over time, soap scum can build up on the walls of the drain pipes, reducing the flow of water.

These causes may seem small, but they can accumulate over time, leading to significant blockages. It's essential to clean your drain regularly to prevent these issues from happening. In the next section, we will discuss the tools and materials needed for cleaning a blocked drain.

 

15 proven ways to clear your blocked pipes

Blocked drains can be a frustrating and inconvenient household issue. However, there is no need to worry as there are numerous ways to clear them without the help of a professional plumber. To help you out, here are 15 effective methods to clear blocked drains:

 

1. Plunge It:

One of the simplest and most effective ways to clear a blocked drain is to use a plunger. To use a plunger, fill the sink or bathtub with enough water to cover the plunger, then place the plunger over the drain and push and pull the plunger up and down rapidly. This creates suction that can dislodge the blockage and allow water to flow freely.

Make sure to use a plunger with a flange or bellows that creates a tight seal around the drain. If you are plunging a sink, be sure to plug the overflow hole with a wet rag or drain stopper to prevent air from escaping.

If plunging does not work, try using a plumbing snake or drain auger to dislodge the blockage. If the blockage persists, it may be time to call a professional drain blockage plumber.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar:

Baking soda and vinegar can be an effective and natural way to clear minor blockages in drains. To use this method, start by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then pour hot water down the drain to flush out the blockage.

3. Use a Drain Snake:

A drain snake or auger is a long, flexible tool that can be used to break up and remove blockages in drains. To use a drain snake, insert the snake into the drain and turn the handle to extend the snake into the pipe. Use a twisting motion to work the snake through the blockage, then retract the snake and flush the drain with hot water.

4. Boiling Water:

Boiling water can be an effective and easy way to clear minor blockages in drains. Simply boil a pot of water and pour it down the drain in stages, allowing the hot water to work its way through the blockage. Be careful not to use boiling water on porcelain sinks or tubs as it can cause damage.

5. Use a Wet and Dry Vacuum:

A wet and dry vacuum can be used to remove blockages in drains by creating suction to pull the blockage out of the drain. To use this method, set the vacuum to "wet" mode and cover the vent with a cloth or towel to create a seal around the drain. Turn on the vacuum and let it run for a few minutes to remove the blockage.

6. Salt and Baking Soda:

Salt and baking soda can be used to clear minor blockages in drains. Here's how to do it:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of salt in a bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture down the drain.
  3. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for best results.
  4. Pour boiling water down the drain to flush out the blockage.

The salt and baking soda mixture can help dissolve the blockage and prevent future clogs.

7. Dish Soap and Hot Water

Dish soap and hot water can be used to clear a blocked drain that is caused by grease or oil buildup. Here's how to do it:

  1. Boil a pot of water.
  2. Squirt a generous amount of dish soap down the drain.
  3. Pour the boiling water down the drain slowly, allowing it to work its way through the blockage.
  4. If the blockage persists, repeat the process or try another method.

Dish soap can help break up the grease or oil buildup, while the hot water flushes it away.

8. Plumbing Snake:

A plumbing snake or auger is a flexible tool that can be used to clear more stubborn blockages in drains. Here's how to use a plumbing snake:

  1. Insert the snake into the drain.
  2. Turn the handle to extend the snake into the pipe.
  3. Use a twisting motion to work the snake through the blockage.
  4. Retract the snake and flush the drain with hot water.

A plumbing snake can break up and remove the blockage, allowing water to flow freely again. If you're not comfortable using a plumbing snake, it's best to call a professional plumber.

9. Enzymatic Cleaners:

Enzymatic cleaners are a natural and effective way to break down organic matter in drains, such as hair, food particles, and soap scum. Here's how to use enzymatic cleaners to clear a blocked drain:

  1. Purchase an enzymatic cleaner that is designed for drain use.
  2. Follow the instructions on the label to mix and apply the cleaner.
  3. Let the cleaner sit in the drain for the recommended amount of time.
  4. Flush the drain with hot water to remove the broken-down organic matter.

Enzymatic cleaners are safe to use and can help prevent future blockages.

10. Hydro Jetting:

Hydro jetting is a method of clearing blocked drains that uses a high-pressure stream of water to remove even the toughest blockages. Here's how hydro jetting works:

  1. A professional plumber will insert a specialised hose into the drain.
  2. The hose will deliver a high-pressure stream of water to the blockage.
  3. The force of the water will break up and remove the blockage, allowing water to flow freely again.

Hydro jetting is effective for removing blockages caused by grease, tree roots, and other tough materials.

11. Soda and Alka Seltzer:

You can use a combination of soda and Alka Seltzer to clear a blocked drain. Here's how to do it:

  1. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  2. Follow with a cup of Alka Seltzer.
  3. Pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain.
  4. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flush the drain with hot water.

The combination of soda and Alka Seltzer can help break down blockages and eliminate unpleasant odours.

12. Wire Coat Hanger:

If you don't have a plumbing snake on hand, a wire coat hanger can be a useful tool for clearing a blocked drain. Here's how to use it:

  1. Unwind the wire hanger and straighten it out as much as possible.
  2. Create a hook at one end of the hanger.
  3. Insert the hooked end of the hanger into the drain and start to fish around for the blockage.
  4. Once you feel resistance, use the hook to try and dislodge the blockage.
  5. Once the blockage is dislodged, flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

13. Caustic Soda:

Caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide, can be a powerful way to clear a blocked drain. Here's how to use it safely:

  1. Always wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling caustic soda.
  2. Add caustic soda to water, following the instructions on the package.
  3. Mix the solution thoroughly and pour it slowly down the drain.
  4. Let the solution sit in the drain for the recommended amount of time.
  5. Flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

Caustic soda should only be used as a last resort and with caution, as it can be harmful to both people and plumbing if not used properly.

14. Clean the U-bend:

If your sink is still draining slowly even after trying other methods, it's possible that the blockage is located in the U-bend. Here's how to clean the U-bend in your sink:

  1. Place a bucket or bowl underneath the U-bend to catch any water or debris.
  2. Use a wrench to loosen the nuts on either end of the U-bend.
  3. Remove the U-bend and clean out any debris.
  4. Reattach the U-bend and tighten the nuts.
  5. Run hot water down the drain to ensure it is flowing freely.

15. Call a Professional Plumber:

If you've tried multiple methods to clear a blocked drain and it's still not working, it's best to call a professional plumber. A plumber has the expertise and specialized tools needed to clear even the toughest blockages. Some benefits of calling a professional plumber include:

  1. They can quickly diagnose and solve the problem.
  2. They can prevent damage to your pipes and plumbing system.
  3. They can provide advice on how to prevent future blockages.

Remember, preventative maintenance is always better than waiting for a problem to occur. Regularly cleaning your drains and being mindful of what you put down them can help prevent blockages from happening in the first place.

 

Is there a way to prevent drains from getting blocked?

By taking preventative measures, such as using drain screens and avoiding pouring grease down the drain, you can also help prevent blockages from occurring in the first place. Don't let a blocked drain disrupt your day-to-day life – take action to clear and prevent them today by reading the below methods.

 

Prevention is better than The cure: how to avoid Blocking a drain

Blocked drains can be a major headache to deal with, but they can be avoided with a few simple preventative measures. Here are some tips to prevent blocked drains from occurring in the first place:

1. Use Drain Screens:

One of the most effective ways to prevent blocked drains is to use drain screens. These small mesh screens can be placed over your drains to catch hair, food particles, and other debris before they enter your pipes. Be sure to clean the drain screens regularly to prevent buildup.

2. Avoid Pouring Grease Down the Drain:

Pouring grease down your drain can cause major blockages over time. Instead, pour grease into a disposable container and throw it in the trash once it solidifies.

3. Dispose of Food Waste Properly:

Food waste, especially starchy or fibrous foods, can cause blockages in your drains. Dispose of food waste properly by putting it in the trash or composting it.

4. Use a Plunger Regularly:

Using a plunger on a regular basis can help prevent minor blockages from becoming major problems. Plunge your sinks and toilets once a week to keep your pipes flowing smoothly.

5. Install a Garbage Disposal:

A garbage disposal can help prevent food waste from entering your pipes. Be sure to use it properly and run plenty of water while using it.

6. Avoid Flushing Non-Biodegradable Items:

Flushing non-biodegradable items such as wipes, sanitary products, and cotton balls can cause major blockages in your pipes. Dispose of these items properly in the trash.

By following these simple tips, you can prevent blocked drains from occurring in the first place and save yourself the hassle and expense of dealing with major plumbing problems. Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to blocked drains.

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