If you’re reading this, you were probably cleaning up after supper or getting ready for bed. Suddenly you found that your bathroom or kitchen sink won’t drain. Instead, the dirty water is just pooling at the bottom of the sink.
What should you do? Well, the first step is to try to find the cause of the sink clog. That will help you figure out how to fix it. So let’s explore the mystery of your clogged drain.
Reasons For A Clogged Drain
Cooking Oil & Grease
When it’s your kitchen sink that won’t drain, chances are cooking oil or grease is blocking it. These two substances, together with their evil triplet — fat — clog kitchen drains so often that plumbers nickname them FOG, which stands for “Fat Oil Grease.”
Never pour used FOG down your sink. Butter, bacon fat, and other fats turn liquid when you cook with them. However, they will congeal back to solids after they cool down, and if that congealed mess gets stuck in your plumbing… voila! A kitchen sink that won’t drain.
You just cooked and enjoyed a great meal. But now you’re a little tired, so tired that you’re not paying close attention as you clean the plates. Whoops! You accidentally scraped a pile of leftover food debris into the drain. You can guess what’s going to happen next — your dishwashing water will sit there glumly, blocking the sink.
Dirt & Debris
This problem can happen with either a kitchen or a bathroom drain. Cleanup after repotting houseplants or spending a day at the beach, for example, could leave behind an overload of dirt and debris. But, once again, you’ll be left with a sink that stubbornly refuses to drain.
Bathroom sinks tend to get clogged up with loose hairs that were accidentally rinsed down the drain. The longer they are, the more havoc they can wreak, and when clumps of hair build up over time, you’ve got a recipe for blocked drain disaster.
Soap & Chemicals
You might be surprised to hear that even soap, cleaning fluids, and chemicals are also potential drain blockers. If you think it doesn’t make sense that cleaners can cause such a problem, think about it for a minute. GTA tap water is fairly hard and will leave mineral deposits in your sink and pipes. When those deposits mingle with soap and chemicals, the resulting scum is thick enough to stop sinks from draining.
How To Unclog Your Drains
By now, you should have some idea as to what’s causing your drain clog. Next, it’s time to try a few possible solutions. First, however, avoid utilizing commercial drain cleaners. They contain a potent chemical cocktail that‘s bad for the environment, as well as your plumbing pipes.
Inspect Your Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals are vulnerable to blockage by stringy or pasty foods. (Corn husks and cooked rice, we’re looking at you!) Always, always, always unplug your disposal before attempting to inspect it or use any of the DIY solutions described here. With the power supply safely disconnected, you may be able to find and pull out the source of the problem.
Plunging is a time-tested method of unclogging a drain. It works on toilets, and it just might help your sink. Spending a few dollars on a dedicated sink plunger will pay off in terms of both hygiene and practicality (you want a smaller plunger than the hefty “plumber’s helper” you use on your toilet).
Sometimes simply pouring boiling water down the drain will fix what ails it. Instead, use about a gallon of freshly boiled water, and be careful not to splash yourself in the process.
CAUTION: Boiling water may cause porcelain sinks to crack and PEX plumbing pipes to soften.
Baking Soda Recipe
This is just an upgraded version of the previous tip. Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Plug the drain and leave to fizz for about 10 minutes. Unplug and chase with a gallon of boiling water, using the same precautions as in the step listed above.
Call A Trusted Plumber
Once you’ve tried some or all of the above without success, turn to the pros. First, call a trusted professional plumber to visit your home and fix the problem.
For residents of the Greater Toronto Area, choose Dr HVAC as your nearby source for drain clearing and other plumbing repairs. Contact us today for a friendly expert plumbing service.