How to Unclog Clogged Drains

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Clogged drains are a common household nuisance that quickly turn into inconveniences and often lead to costly repairs. Leaving clogs for another day only turns them into larger clogs. From standing water in the shower to toilets that won’t flush, it’s important for homeowners to get to the root causes and solutions to save time, stress, and money.

Take a proactive approach to your plumbing with these actionable tips for unclogging drains, preventative measures to keep them flowing smoothly, and advice on when to call in the professionals.

Of course, the licensed Brooklyn drain experts at Petri Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Drain Cleaning are always here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need to schedule drain cleaning in Brooklyn!

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How to Unclog a Toilet

person using plunger to unclog a toilet

For most homeowners, one of the worst things that can happen to their home’s plumbing is to have a toilet that won’t flush.

This is usually caused by flushing things down the toilet that should not be flushed, like “flushable” wipes. Contrary to their name, they don’t disintegrate easily and often lead to clogs, especially in older homes and apartments.

Regardless of what’s causing the clog, here are five ways to unclog your toilet.

1) Plunger

A must-have tool for any home, a good quality plunger can often dislodge clogs. To use the plunger successfully, make sure the plunger is fully engulfed in water. If there isn’t enough water in the bowl, add some. This helps the plunger create a good seal and helps you push and pull water through the opening. Ensure a tight seal around the toilet bowl and use vigorous plunging motions to create pressure that can break up the blockage.

2) Enzyme Waste Removers

Since most of what is clogging your toilet is probably organic, products that contain enzymes can liquify the clog. This allows the clog to go down on its own. While t products can break down organic matter in clogs, they won’t work for toilet blockages caused by foreign objects.

3) Baking Soda and Vinegar

This gentle, natural method involves pouring a mixture of baking soda and vinegar into the toilet, which can help dissolve organic clogs. Pour about a half cup of baking soda into the opening and then add a half cup of vinegar followed by some hot water. This will create a “volcano” of baking soda “lava” that will safely dislodge many common clogs. You may need to leave the mixture overnight to ensure it dissolves the clog.

4) Plumbing Snake

For more stubborn clogs, a plumbing snake can navigate through the pipes to break up or retrieve the obstruction. You can pick one up at your local hardware star, just make sure to get one that is designed for toilets. This auger is made of a flexible coil of wire that can be cranked far down into your toilet drain, reaching the clog and breaking it up so that it will go down the drain on its own.

5) Call in a Professional

If you’ve tried all of these methods and the clog still stands, it may be time to call in the professionals. At Petri, we understand how a stopped-up toilet can ruin your day. Give us a call or contact us online. We’ll get a technician out as soon as possible to help!

How to Unclog a Sink, Shower or Bathtub Drain

clogged shower drain in brooklyn home

Clogs are often caused by fats, oils and greases in the kitchen. In the bathtub and shower, they can be caused by hair, especially combined with soap scum. Here are five things you can try to help clear a clogged sink, shower or bathtub drain.

1) Boiling Water

A simple and quick fix for greasy or soap-based clogs, boiling water can dissolve the substances causing the blockage. lowly pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain can help dissolve that buildup and clear the way. For a little more power without harsh chemicals, add salt to the water.

2) Plunger

Similar to its use for toilets, a plunger can also be effective for sinks and bathtubs. If you’re using it on a double sink, be sure to plug the other drain with a wet cloth. If you’re using it in the shower or bathroom sink, plug the overflow drain. Fill with water, if it’s not already full, position the plunger over the hole and create a good seal around the drain. Plunge in a regular rhythm with consistent pressure until you feel the clog release or see the water begin draining.

3) Wire Hanger

Straighten out a wire hanger to create a makeshift hook for fishing out hair and debris from drains.

4) Vinegar and Baking Soda

This combination can also work wonders for sink and bathtub drains, creating a fizzy reaction that helps break down clogs. Pour one cup of baking soda, one cup of vinegar and a half gallon of hot water down the drain and let the makeshift volcano gently break apart the clog. You may have to wait 15 minutes to an hour for this method to work, but it is much more gentle on your pipes than chemical cleaners.

5) Shop Vac

If available, a wet/dry vacuum set to wet mode can suck out clogs from sinks and bathtubs effectively. Put the nozzle on the drain and get as tight of a seal as you can. You could even remove the rubber part of an old plunger and insert the shop vac nozzle in the hole to get a better seal.

Preventative Tips

Maintaining clear drains is preferable to dealing with clogs. Here are some preventative measures you can take:

  • Avoid flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet.
  • Do not pour grease, oil, or fat down kitchen sinks. Dispose of these substances in the trash.
  • Regularly clean drain stoppers and use strainers to catch hair and food particles before they enter the drain.
  • Monthly, pour boiling water down drains to dissolve any budding clogs before they become problematic.
  • Consider replacing old piping susceptible to tree root invasion with more durable materials like PVC to prevent outdoor drainage issues.

When to Call a Professional for Drain Cleaning

Clogged drains are a hassle, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can often resolve them yourself. Regular maintenance and cautious use of your drains can prevent many clogs from occurring in the first place.

However, some situations require professional intervention. If you’ve tried multiple methods without success, if the problem recurs frequently, or if multiple drains in your home are affected, it might be time to call in a professional Brooklyn plumber. Professionals have the tools, expertise, and experience to diagnose and resolve complex issues efficiently.

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