How to Unclog a Drain
It’s bound to happen to Annapolis homeowners sooner or later—a clogged drain. Although clogged drains are often a nuisance, they can many times be managed at home with inexpensive solutions.
Our team at Mid-Atlantic Water Services wants to share some affordable, effective ways to unclog a home drain as well as tips on preventing the problem in the future.
Typical Causes of Drain Clogs
Most Maryland homes have multiple drains throughout the interior of the house, plumbing that connects them to a main line and a larger, outdoor line that feeds into a city sewage system or septic tank. Clogs can unfortunately happen just about anywhere throughout this complex system.
The most common clogs occur just under the kitchen or bathroom sink. This is why you will find an elbow joint designed to catch foreign material before it makes its way further down the pipeline.
Kitchen clogs will typically be made of small particles of food, grease, and dirt. Bathroom sink clogs usually consist of hair and soap residue. You may have the same type of clog in your shower drains as well.
Toilet clogs can be caused by large amounts of toilet paper being flushed down at one time. Occasionally, nonflushable products such as facial tissue, toilet paper, feminine or baby products, or even foreign objects like toys can clog the toilet drain.
Larger clogs around bigger appliances such as a washing machine or dishwasher are more rare but also more difficult to clear. Items such as rocks, coins, safety pins, and fiber buildup can clog your washing machine drain.
If your dishwasher seems to be clogged, check the filter basket, which is designed to keep food scraps from getting into your pipes. If cleaning out the basket doesn’t help, you can check the hose that connects the dishwasher to your kitchen sink drain for blockage.
At some point, if you notice all your sinks, toilets, and appliances are not functioning properly, you probably have a clog in your home’s main line that sits between your home and the main sewer line. This can be caused by tree roots, outdoor dirt, or yard waste accumulation as well as foreign materials from inside your home.
Before you run to the store for a harsh, commercial drain cleaner, try some of these gentler methods of unclogging a drain. The chemical drain cleaners may be ineffective, can damage your pipes in the long run, and are not always healthy for your family or the environment.
Pull out any visible clogs from the sink itself first. Then, you can pour boiling water down the drain with some salt. This can be effective for grease clogs. For some additional power, let a fizzy mix of vinegar and baking soda sit in the drain for a few minutes before adding the boiling water.
For toilet clogs, use a quality plunger and be sure you have a good seal to maximize the suction. You could also try a drain snake or an auger, but be sure you use a properly sized tool for the specific job.
For washing machine clogs, you can try an enzyme-based drain cleaner to eat through the clog.
If you are mechanically inclined, try to empty the drain trap under sinks.
When these remedies don’t work, you need a professional plumber to handle the issue. Call our Mid-Atlantic Water Services plumbers to come out and help.
After you unclog your drain, or before you ever get a clog in the first place, here are some tips to prevent this annoying problem.
Be sure you have drain catchers or strainers in all your drains. These inexpensive and easy-to-clean gadgets can prevent food, hair, and other debris from escaping down your drains in the beginning.
Run some hot water through your drains daily, and every once in a while, flush drains with baking soda and vinegar.
If you have a garbage disposal, be sure you only use it for small pieces of nonfibrous, nongreasy foods. Follow your instruction manual, or check out general guidelines from an informational website.
If you can’t unclog your drain yourself, call Mid-Atlantic Water Services in Annapolis, MD. Our professional plumbers would be happy to come out and take care of the problem quickly and efficiently. Call (443) 808-0420 or contact us online today.