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How to Bust (and Prevent) Drain Clogs

Try these DIY tips before calling a plumber

Every plumbing system clogs from time to time. But if you’re seeing standing water in your shower or sink, or if the toilet in your Philadelphia home is plugged, you can often reach for some simple solutions instead of reaching for the phone. Most drain clogs can be removed on your own with the right tools and a little persistence, and you’ll save yourself some money, too. Just follow these tips.

Clog Busting DIY

  1. Boiling Water. For clogged sink or bathtub drains, try boiling a pot of water and pouring it slowly down the drain, waiting a minute or so between each pour. Adding salt to the water can also help dissolve a clog without harsh chemicals.
  2. Plunger. Every homeowner should have at least one plunger on hand, and it’s worth it to spend a little more on a high-quality plunger. This go-to tool is perfect for handling simple clogs anywhere in your house, not just the toilet. If you are using it on a sink or bathtub, make sure there is some standing water. Plug the overflow drain or the other drain in a double sink with a wet rag. Place the plunger over the drain and move up and down in a regular rhythm.
  3. Bent Hanger. Grab a wire hanger out of the closet and unbend it, but leave the hook at the end. Insert this down the drain and use the hook to draw debris out of the drain. Wear gloves, because this is a messy job.
  4. Sink Trap. Place a bucket under the curved portion of pipe under the sink. Unscrew the trap from the pipes that run up to the sink and back into the wall. Use an old toothbrush or other cleaning tool to remove gunk from the trap and the two pipes, then replace the trap.
  5. Wet/Dry Shop Vac. This is a great tool to help unclog a sink or bathtub. Plug the other sink drain of a double sink or the overflow drain and place the shop vac nozzle as tightly as you can over the drain hole. The suction will draw the clog back up the pipe.

Clog Prevention DIY

You can also put some these practices into place in your Philadelphia home to avoid clogs.

  • Never pour fats, oils or grease down your drains. Instead, pour cooking grease into a container and store it in the fridge until you can throw it away.
  • Install a hair filter in your bathtub or shower drain.
  • Dispose of food waste in the trash, not down the drain.
  • Flush your kitchen drains with boiling water once a month to prevent greasy build-up.
If these tips don’t work at clearing your drains, or if you just need help with your plumbing problem, the pros at Joseph Giannone Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning are happy to help. Contact us today to schedule a service call!
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