Tips to Unclog Your Drains

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Indianapolis homeowners want to know the best way to unclog drains. Even if we wish they could fix themselves, the technology just isn’t there yet. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to effectively unclog a drain. Most solutions only require household items you already own, or items you can easily obtain.

Mr. Plumber knows how inconvenient clogged drains are to homeowners. All across Indianapolis, our trained plumbers visit homes in need of a drain clearing. However, with these tips, you can fix clogged drains on your own. We even discuss the symptoms and causes to help you properly identify the issue at hand.

If your attempts to unclog drains are unsuccessful, give Mr. Plumber a call for quick, reliable drain cleaning services!

Clogged Drain Symptoms: Know When to Unclog Drains

Certain symptoms show you that your drain is clogged. Some of these are more common than others depending on the cause of the problem, but all of them point to a clog somewhere in the pipe. Here’s what to look out for if you suspect a clog.

  • Noises that come from your pipes are never a good sign. If you hear gurgles from time to time, you likely have a clog. Air pockets are naturally present in pipes, so whenever you turn on the faucet, that water moves the air. If there’s a clog, that air is forced through the clog or around it, which causes those gurgling noises.
  • Changes in water pressure. Water pressure changes occur when drains clog. Blockages in the system cause the water to pitter through the pipe rather than stream through at full pressure and speed. This is because clogs keep water from circulating through the pipe system. So if you experience low water pressure, you likely have a clog.
  • Unclog drains to ensure that backups don’t ruin your day. If you ever flush a toilet only to see the water creep back up the bowl, then you probably have a clog. A clog keeps water that normally travels down the bowl from draining, so it just stays there while the toilet fills with more water. Of course, that leads to floods in the worst place possible.
  • Unpleasant odor. Clogs are usually accompanied by an odor. All kinds of materials can cause smells, but dirt, grease, hair, and food are some of the biggest culprits. Over time, these items buildup, and some may even rot, which creates those nasty smells.
  • Long drain time. Here’s an obvious symptom of a clogged drain. When your sink, tub, or toilet takes a long time to drain, you likely have a blockage on your hands. Nothing’s worse than leaving your sink for a while, then coming back to find that it still hasn’t drained all the water.
  • Smells attract insects of all kinds. Because of this, bugs tend to circulate around drains with clogs. Bugs like fruit flies, drain flies and regular flies are all attracted to the smell of a clogged drain, so if there are bugs hovering around, you might have a block.

Common Causes: Unclog Drains Effectively

Now that you know the symptoms, what are the causes of clogged drains? In order to unclog drains effectively, you need to know the causes. There are certain materials that cause harsher clogs than others, but they all can be removed with the tips provided later in the blog.

  • Food waste. Some food items block drains. When you dump excess food down the drain, it can cause clogs—especially hard to break items. Things like steak bones or eggshells damage your garbage disposal, while pasta or coffee grounds swell in water and cause complete clogs.
  • Cooking oil in the sink and conditioner in the shower are both greasy materials that coat drains cause clogs. Greasy items stick together, so over time they cause blocks in the drain. Further still, oil and grease sticks to the pipes themselves, which also causes problems for water flow.
  • Small objects. Children sometimes find it funny to put things down the toilet that shouldn’t be there. Toys, small books, or who knows what finds its way into your drain. Then, you’re stuck with a clogged drain with no clue what’s even down there. Not a fun time!
  • Toilet paper. Toilet paper in excess can lead to clogs. Though it seems strange, paper products really shouldn’t go down the toilet. Toilet paper does disintegrate more than other kinds of paper products, but in excess it still proves problematic because it swells when it becomes too saturated. Avoid flushing paper towels if you can for this very reason.
  • Wet wipes. Not many people know that you should not flush wet wipes of any kind. That includes makeup wipes, baby wipes, or anything similar. Unlike with regular toilet paper, these products do not disintegrate at all. Because of that, they cause clogs more frequently. Be sure to throw these items into the trash after use.
  • Cotton swabs. Cotton swabs are another no-no for flushing down the toilet. They also expand when placed in water. Throw them into the trash can to avoid any problems with the cotton swelling. It can lead to some particularly stubborn clogs.
  • Hair clogs all kinds of drains, but they most commonly clog the shower drain. Even if you think hair slips right down with water, it tends to tangle as it collects in the drain. If you have long hair, brush it with a hairbrush while you shower to eliminate stray hairs in the drain.
  • Dirt elusively clogs drains. Even if you don’t come into contact with dirt on a regular basis, it always floats through the air in miniscule amounts. Because of that, it collects anywhere it can, which includes your drain. Over time, dirt buildup causes clogs.
  • Mineral buildup. Water itself causes clogs over time because of mineral buildup. All water contains minerals, so there is no possible way to avoid this one without a filter on all of your faucets. However, these blockages normally aren’t terribly large. They do impact the water pressure, though.
  • Soap builds up in drains more than you think. Soap cleans surfaces and your skin, but the bubbles that go down your drain eventually dry out. When they do that, they create layers of dried soap that causes clogs. Over time, these layers become thick enough to clog the drain completely.

How to Unclog Drains

When you are finally ready to unclog drains around your home, these are the best ways to do it. Most only need household items you likely already own. The most you need to do is head over to the hardware store to pick up a tool or two. Clogged drains don’t stand a chance against these easy solutions.

  • Plungers unclog drains of all types. Even if you sink has a clog, you can use a plunger. If there are two drains, you must plug the drain without the clog with a wet cloth. Otherwise, all that gross stuff will fly out the other side, creating a huge mess as you unclog drains. Then, fill the sink with a little water and plunge for about 20 seconds. When you lift the plunger, let the water into the drain without any air pockets. This pushes the clog out of the way.
  • Snake or auger. You’ve probably used this method before. A snake, or auger, consists of a long piece of metal or plastic that fits down a pipe. Some have hooks on the side to better remove the clog. These are easy to find at a hardware store, or simply bend a wire hanger into a long tool. Either one removes a clog with ease.
  • Boiling water. For clogs you think can melt, use boiling hot water to rinse the pipe. Put a pot or kettle of water on the stove and let it boil. Once it gets really hot, pour it down the drain. This dislodges some softer clogs and melts grease and dirt that clung to the pipe.
  • Vinegar and baking soda. If the boiling water on its own doesn’t work, try vinegar and baking soda to unclog drains. These two materials create a chemical reaction when mixed. This reaction makes bubbles that travel through a clog. Make sure to cover the second drain with a wet cloth like with the plunger. Afterwards, rinse the vinegar and baking soda out of the pipe with boiling water.
  • Drain maintenance. When you take care of your drains, you experience fewer clogs. Be cautious of items you put in your sinks, toilets, and showers. You can’t stop all clogs, but there are many that are preventable. Also, keep away from chemical cleaners because they cause pipe breaks that lead to leaks and bursts.
  • Call a professional. Finally, if these solutions didn’t work for you, it’s time to call a plumber for some professional help. Some clogs are too big or two far down in the pipeline for homeowners to deal with themselves. Luckily, experienced plumbers know how to handle clogs of all kinds. They unclog drains on a daily basis.

Contact Us: We Unclog Drains

Homeowners in Indianapolis, Indiana want solutions to their drain problems. With this information, you have everything you need to unclog drains in your home. Whether it’s a sink, toilet, or shower, clogs are no match for these solutions. Even if you a clog comes out of nowhere, you are ready for it.

Mr. Plumber’s trained plumbers are here to help when at-home fixes just don’t cut it. We know how to unclog drains reliably and quickly. For more information about our services, call us today. Schedule a maintenance check and get a free estimate on your service.

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