A clogged sink is a common household problem that can quickly become inconvenient. Unfortunately, it happens to everyone and never comes at a convenient time. So, knowing how to unclog a sink properly is important, and preventing it from happening again is even more critical. Here are five easy steps to get your sink draining again.
1. Remove Any Debris From the Sink
Before you start unclogging your sink, you need to remove anything that might be blocking the drain. Depending on the type of sink, there might be food debris, hair, soap scum, or any other type of waste that accumulates in the drain over time. To do this, you’ll need a pair of gloves and a plastic scraper.
First, put on gloves to protect your hands. Then, use the plastic scraper to remove any debris from the sink. Be gentle around the edges of the sink to avoid scratching it. Once you’ve removed as much debris as possible, turn on the faucet and let the hot water run for a few minutes. This will help loosen any remaining debris and make it easier to flush down the drain later.
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2. Use a Plunger to Loosen the Clog
If the above step doesn’t solve the problem, the next step is using a plunger to loosen the clog. A plunger creates pressure that can push the debris down the drain. You’ll need a flat surface for a sink plunger to create a strong seal around the drain opening. Cover the adjacent drain with a towel to create suction if you’re working with a double sink.
To use the plunger, plug the sink overflow using a sponge or a wet cloth so that the air doesn’t escape from there. Next, fill the sink with a few inches of water to create suction. Place the plunger over the drain opening and ensure it’s in contact with the surface. Then, push down on the plunger with a quick and firm motion. Repeat this several times until you feel the suction break.
If you’re using a plunger for the first time, ensure you’re using the right type. A toilet plunger, for example, has a different design than a sink plunger and won’t be effective. This is because a toilet plunger needs to seal the curved surface of the toilet bowl for it to create suction.
3. Use a Drain Snake to Remove the Clog
If the above two steps don’t work, it’s time to bring out a drain snake. A drain snake, also known as a plumbing snake, is a long and flexible tool that can reach deep into the drain to remove clogs too stubborn for plungers. You can find a drain snake at any hardware store or rent one from a home improvement store if you plan on using it sparingly. Here’s how to use the drain snake.
First, unscrew the drain stopper or remove the sink’s P-trap, and then insert the snake into the drain opening. Feed it into the drain slowly and keep pushing it until you feel resistance. When you feel resistance, rotate the handle of the snake, and continue feeding it into the drain. This will help the snake to twist and turn so that it can reach the clog. When the snake reaches the obstruction, pull it out of the drain slowly, and discard any debris it brings.
4. Clean the P-trap
If the clog is still not cleared after using the above three methods, there’s a chance that it’s in the P-trap. The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe underneath the sink that holds some water and acts as a seal against sewer gases. Over time, debris can accumulate in the P-trap and cause a clog. Here’s how to clean the P-trap.
First, you’ll want to put on some rubber gloves and grab a bucket to catch any water that may spill out during the process. Then, use a pair of pliers to loosen the slip nuts on either end of the P-trap and carefully remove it from the sink. With the trap out of the way, you can use a small wire brush or pipe cleaner to dislodge any debris that may be clogging the trap.
Finally, rinse the trap thoroughly with warm water and reattach it to the sink. After that, reattach the P-trap and tighten the nuts back into place. Turn the water back on and check if the sink is draining properly. This method is quick and easy, but you may want to call a skilled plumber who can ensure the P-trap is connected correctly.
5. Call a Professional
A professional can assist with a variety of plumbing woes, one of which includes unclogging your sink in an instant. Not only will they have the necessary tools and expertise to diagnose the issue, but they’ll also be equipped with industrial-strength products to clear the drain. Plumbers can also perform in-depth drain repair and cleaning procedures to ensure the clog doesn’t return anytime soon.
Additionally, if the source of the obstruction is larger, the plumber can perform a sewer service to investigate potential tree root infiltration or other serious problems.
Once your sink is unclogged, you can do a few things to prevent further problems.
1. Proper Disposal of Grease, Fats, and Oils
Never pour grease, fats, or oils down the sink drain. These substances will cool and solidify in the pipes, causing blockages. Instead, pour them into a separate container to cool, and then throw them away in the trash.
2. Install a Hair Strainer
Hair is a common cause of drain clogs in the bathroom sink or shower. A hair strainer or filter can be easily installed over the drain to catch the hair and prevent it from going down the drain. Regular cleaning of the filter is needed to avoid further clogging.
3. Keep Drains Clear
One of the best ways to prevent clogs is to clear the drains. Regular cleaning can help avoid blockages caused by buildup and debris in the pipes. You can use baking soda and vinegar, a natural, eco-friendly way to clear the drain from soap scum, hairs, and other stubborn debris stuck in the pipes.
Unclogging a sink may seem to be a daunting task. Whether you’re dealing with food debris, hair, soap scum, or any other type of blockage, solutions are available to help you out. Remember to use caution when using plungers and drain snakes, as these tools can easily damage your pipes if mishandled. If you don’t feel equipped to clear your clogged drain, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber for help.
At Twin Peaks Plumbing, Heating & Gas, we perform pipe repairs and rooter services for water heaters, sump pumps, and boilers. Contact us today if you want a reliable plumbing service in Nanaimo, BC. Our team can also assist with heating and cooling repair and installation.