How Can You Unclog Drains in Your Home?

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Homeowners across Cincinnati, Ohio need to unclog drains from time to time. No matter how unenjoyable the task, it must be done. However, there are some tips and tricks to help rid any drain of unwanted clogs. Fortunately, Thomas & Galbraith are here to give you those plumbing secrets.

Our talented plumbers gathered as many facts about clogged drains as possible. From the symptoms to the cures, we have everything homeowners in Cincinnati need. Plus, we let you know some of the most common causes of clogs. Whether your sink, toilet, or shower needs unclogged, we have the answers necessary to quickly rid the pipe of its blockage.

If you have trouble as you attempt to unclog drains throughout your home, call in the pros for help – Thomas & Galbraith offers drain cleaning services that unclog drains fast to restore function throughout your home’s plumbing fixtures.

Signs of a Clog: When You Need to Unclog Drains

A clogged drain shows signs of its ailment in a few different ways. Some are easy to notice, but others require close attention to really pinpoint the source. Here are some of the most common symptoms of a clogged drain.

  • Changes in water pressure. Water pressure changes when a drain experiences a clog. The flow likely loses strength. When you unclog drains, the water pressure returns to normal. This is because the blockages allow a smaller amount of water to pass through the pipes, which in turn impacts the water pressure.
  • Long drain time. Drains take a longer time to empty when they have clogs. When the drain experiences a clog, the water cannot properly flow down the pipe, so it sits on top of the clog instead. Of course, this makes it harder for the water to drain like normal.
  • This most often occurs in toilets, though showers and sinks are also potential victims. Backups occur when a clot keeps water from draining, which means that even if new water tries to fill the bowl, the old water stays there. This then leads to overflows, which are unpleasant to say the least.
  • Noise emits from the drain or pipe when it has a clog. this is because pockets of air get trapped and have no way to exit except through the clog itself. It makes a gurgling sound when the air passes through. Likewise, water that can partially flow through the pipe also causes this noise to happen.
  • Unpleasant odor. Lastly, an unpleasant smell comes through the drain when a clog forms. Water collects in the clog, which leads to a mildew smell. Additionally, in kitchen sinks, old food rots and creates an odor. However, pretty much any kind of clog produces a smell because air cannot travel freely through the pipe.

Unclog Drains After Learning These Common Causes

Like with any household problem, clogged drains have a few common causes that are easy to avoid if you are diligent enough. The best way to unclog drains is to know what caused the clog, so these tips are immensely helpful. Take a look at these causes and compare them to your own clogged drain.

  • Though hair mostly clogs shower drains, it can be found in any drain. Over time, hair accumulates in drains to cause clogs. In the shower, this hair naturally falls from your head down the drain, then collects soap and conditioner, which makes it extra hard to remove. Make sure to keep an eye on how much hair you shed during your showers.
  • Small objects. Children have an affinity for putting small objects in the toilet. Strange? Yes, but it happens more than anyone would like to admit. Toys and other small objects find their way into the pipes one way or another, and they all cause clogs.
  • When you think of oil, you probably think of oil that you cook with. Well, you’re right! Grease collects in drains over time and that causes stubborn clogs. The oil sticks to the sides of the pipe and to itself. Eventually the buildup of grease causes large clogs that prevent water from draining.
  • Food waste. You probably don’t think twice about dumping leftovers down the drain, but food waste actually poses a problem for drains. Even with a garbage disposal, food gets stuck in pipes and causes clogs. Some food, like steak bones and eggshells, can’t even be broken by a garbage disposal. They are just let down the drain to sit there until removed.
  • Toilet paper. Though toilet paper disintegrates in water, it can cause clogs in your toilet. When too much goes down the toilet, it does not disintegrate like it should. Instead, it blocks any water from draining. This, of course, causes clogs that lead to backups or slow drainage.
  • Soap seems like an odd choice to put on this list. However, when soap dries, it becomes hard and sticks to the sides of pipes. Over time, soap builds up in the drain and coats the pipe. With soap, one of the more likely symptoms
  • Wet wipes. Unlike toilet paper, wet wipes do not disintegrate to any degree. Instead, they sit in pipes and cause blockages. Any kind of wet wipe does this—make-up wipes, baby wipes, and others. When you finish using a wipe of any kind, throw it in the trash instead of the toilet.
  • Cotton swabs. Cotton expands in water, which means they clog your drains. Plus, the cardboard stick doesn’t disintegrate, so that provides another way to block a drain. After you use a cotton swab, be sure to throw it in the trash to avoid any cotton swab related clogs. These items have to be physically removed to unclog drains.
  • Over long periods of time, dirt collects in the pipe system—especially if you find yourself washing dirt off your hands a lot. Those who work outside frequently tend to build up dirt faster than those who don’t, but dirt accumulates no matter what. It’s only a matter of how long it takes to create a clog.
  • Mineral buildup. All water contains minerals. Unless you have a strong filter on your faucets, these minerals travel down the drain and build up over time. If you ever notice white specks on your faucet, you’ve found mineral deposits. These deposits are not harmful in any way, but they do cause clogs if they build up enough over long periods of time.

How to Unclog Drains

To unclog drains, homeowners require very little in terms of supplies. Most materials needed can already be found around your home. If not, a quick trip to the hardware store will get you ready. Luckily, there are plenty of at-home solutions for a clogged drain!

  • Vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar and baking soda combined triggers a chemical reaction used to unclog drains—and provide kids with cool science projects. Put the two ingredients down the drain with a wet cloth covering the second drain if there is one. The reaction breaks through the clog after about 5 to 10 minutes. When it finishes, dump boiling water down the drain to clear away the solution.
  • Snake or auger. Next, try a snake or auger to remove the clog. These tools are made of metal or plastic and they have small teeth on the sides that hook on to clogs. This makes it easier for the clog to stick to the snake. Snakes and augers work particularly well for hair stuck in the shower drain. If you don’t have a snake, simply bend a wire hanger to the correct shape!
  • It’s a no-brainer to use a plunger for a toilet clog, but they are also useful when you unclog drains elsewhere. When a clog pops up in the sink or shower, use a plunger to remove it. Make sure to place a wet cloth in the second drain if it exists, then pump the plunger for about 20 seconds. When you release the suction, make sure water enters the drain instead of air to fully dislodge the clog.
  • Boiling water. If you think the clog can melt—like oil or dirt—then try pouring boiling water down the drain. The heat melts anything it can and dislodges the clog. Even if it only melts a small portion of the clog, it may dislodge enough to flow down the drain like normal.
  • Drain maintenance. Constant vigilance proves one of the best ways to prevent clogs from happening in the first place. Make sure you only fill your drains with things it can handle—which is mostly just liquids. The more you keep unwanted objects out, the fewer clogs you experience. Also, stay away from chemical cleaners. They cause corrosion to your pipes, which leads to leaks and potentially burst pipes!
  • Call a professional. If none of these solutions work for you, it’s time to call a professional plumber to unclog the drain for you. Sometimes clogs are deep in the pipeline and require a professional to disassemble the pipe to remove it. If nothing else works, definitely call a plumber.

Contact Us to Unclog Drains

Residents of Cincinnati, Ohio have nothing to fear when Thomas & Galbraith are on the scene. With these tips, homeowners across the area can confidently remove clogs from all of their drains. To unclog drains successfully, you have to know the cause.

Thomas & Galbraith helps with more than just clogged drains. For more information on our services, give us a call today. We offer free estimates on your service and you can schedule a maintenance check on the phone. We are here to help whenever you need us.

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