How Can You Fix a Blocked Drain Pipe?

A blocked drain pipe often occurs in the shower, bathtub and especially the kitchen. It’s annoying, the water will not drain away, it will become foul pretty quickly, and you need to clear the drain pipe as soon as you can. Many people call their plumber straight away, but sometimes this isn’t necessary; some minor blockages can be cleared by someone without any formal plumbing experience. Let’s take a look at some common methods to clear a blocked drain pipe in your home.

Chemical Cleaning Products

The first thing many people reach for is a commercial chemical cleaning products that they pour in the drain, leave for a time and then flush with water. This may seem like a simple solution, but many of these cleaners contain caustic chemicals that can burn your skin and damage your plumbing pipes. In many cases, the blockage may appear to have been removed, but it will return later, and the drain pipe will have to be cleared again. The safest and most effective way to remove a drain pipe blockage is manual removal using some plumbing tools.

Surface Drain Clogs

If the blockage is very close to the drain pipe plug in your sink, you may be able to see it and reach in to remove it by hand. There may be hairs or other tangled debris that you can reach and pull out with your fingers. Once the material has been used run the tap to flush plenty of water into the drain to remove any remaining parts of the minor clog.

The Household Plunger

Many homes already have a household plunger on hand for the removal of minor blockages, and it’s highly effective at clearing kitchen drains. A blockage in a kitchen drain is often caused by larger particles of food that can be cleared quickly with your plunger. Simply place the head over the drain and move it up and down a few times to create a vacuum. Periodically stop and run the water again to check if the drain is draining normally and if it isn’t, repeat the process. Be careful not to be too aggressive when using the plunger, deposits of soap scum and grease are harder to remove, and you could even force a blockage further down into the drain where it will be harder to remove.

A Plumbing Augur

This is a drain tool that can be purchased at most hardware stores; there are smaller cheaper units and more expensive ones that a plumber would need. An augur is a flexible length of plastic or metal that has a drill bit or a set of teeth at the end. The tool is fed into the drain until an obstruction is encountered and then it’s twisted, or a handle on the side is turned to drill into the blockage and break it up. This is very effective, but a basic augur will not be able to reach clogs that have developed or moved farther into the drain line. If you cannot seem to clear the blockage it’s time to call a certified plumber; they have the training, experience and specialized equipment to manually remove the clog without damaging your plumbing pipes.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.