Leaving a clogged drain or pipe unattended can lead to a pipe bursting. This is a costly and messy inconvenience and can cause a lot of damage to your plumbing and home. If noticed and dealt with early enough the problem can be fixed by you using store-bought materials or in some cases using cleaning agents you can make and mix right at home. Have no doubts that a clogged drain is an issue that requires immediate attention.
Unclogging a Slow-Moving Drain
If you notice that your drains are moving slowly and you can catch them while they are only moderately clogged then you can fix this problem yourself very easily. You can use an over the counter drain cleaner or clog dissolving agents to clear the clog and restore your pipes to normal. If you prefer not to use these chemicals, you can use a combination of first baking soda and then vinegar poured down your drain. This combination will foam up and fume quite a bit but after setting for a couple of hours your drains should be running smoothly.
Clearing the Clog Manually
Another method that may help to clear more stubborn clogs is to use a plunger in the tub or sink drain that is clogged. In order to get the proper suction for the plunger method to work you need to plug the overflow opening with a wet rag. If you have two side by side sink basins like in a kitchen or wash room you will need to use one drain for plunging and plug the other with a wet cloth. You will fill the clogged basin until the plunger head is submerged and then begin plunging. This can be messy due to water splash back so it is advisable to lay down some towels on the floor and the area around the sink. Once you pump the plunger about 10 or so times to build up pressure yank the plunger up off of the drain. There should be an audible "pop" and the water will drain out quickly if the drain has been cleared. Vaseline can be used on the rim of the plunger in order to create a better seal.
Using a Drain and Trap Auger
If a drain is completely clogged and the plunger method is not working you can try a drain and trap auger. For sinks just remove the pop-up strainer in the sink’s drain and insert the auger directly. You should be able to work the auger wire back and forth and keep turning the auger until you encounter and free the clog. If your drain is still clogged, you may have to remove the trap underneath the sink and send the auger in where the piping goes from the trap into the wall. For a bathtub you can try the auger down the normal drain. If auguring the drain in the bathtub does not work try removing the cover over the overflow opening and sending the auger in there.