masterplumber.netthe logo

Help with common drain problems.

I get so many questions about drain problems, there is not a standard, simple answer to any drain problem you may be having.

But this is kind of a guide to the warning signs, and a "what not to do" plan.

Most people will say "I have this clog and I used every kind of drain cleaner from Drano to liquid plumber and I even cleaned out the trap and ran a snake down the drain and nothing, it is still clogged".

Let me say this first:

If you have a small amount of hair in the trap, yes it will clean that, but a plunger will do the same.
Please save your money and don't buy that junk.

Cleaning out the trap is great if the clog is in the trap.
Sometimes it is, Most times it is further down the line than the trap. So what do you do?

If the clog is persistent, it may not be a DIY situation. You should find a real plumber to complete the job for you.
Lets start with a kitchen Sink clog.

In a single bowl sink, (with water in the sink) put the plunger in the sink over the drain and push and pull with out letting the plunger come away from the sink till you pull it away to see if it worked.

Don't spend more then 5 minutes on this. If you did not clear it in 5 minutes, you will not clear it with a plunger.

In a double bowl sink you will need to have someone hold the stopper down tight in one bowl while you plunge the other Bowl. If you have a disposal Plunge the side with out the disposal. If you have a dishwasher without an air gap (see Air Gap)

you may be plunging this dirty water into your dishwasher, and if you used chemicals this can be a bad thing, another reason not to use chemicals.

As with the single bowl, if you don't get it in 5 minutes give up.

Now it's time deal with the fact that this clogged drain is more then just a dirty trap.

You have two choices 1 Call a plumber. 2 go rent a snake from the local tool rental store.

In the long run, for many reasons, you would be far better off, just calling a plumber.

But if you are willing to take the risks and possible end up calling a plumber anyway, go rent the snake.

Note: drain cleaning machines can be very dangerous; you can be badly injured with it.

You will need a snake long enough to go from under your kitchen all the way to the main drain line in the house. So a small hand snake may not do anything, because it did not reach the clog.

If a drain line goes 50 feet and the clogged section of the pipe is between 20 and 30 feet down the line, A 25 foot snake will not clear the clog.

When I run water down my sink water comes up in the sink or tub down stair.

This happens when the two drain lines are tied together before they run into the main drain.

When the drain gets clogged passed the lower fixture, the water from the upper fixture has no place to go so it backs up in the lower fixture.

To solve this you will need to run a snake from the lower fixture to the main drain.

When I run my washing machine water backs up in the tub and my toilet bubbles.

This may be a local stoppage, or a main line stoppage, If you have a septic tank, it may be full.

I know you want to try to fix this yourself, but you are much better off calling a Plumber and or a septic contractor.

This is why, If your septic tank is full, there is nothing you can do, but have it cleaned.

You may need a large powerful drain cleaning machine, running a machine like this is extremely dangerous, the snake can get stuck in the pipe, costing you thousands of dollars and damage to your home to remove it. Not to mention you may damage the pipe under the ground, or your septic tank.

The snake may go the wrong way in the pipe and destroy one of your toilets (I have destroyed a toilet)

You can spend the whole day fighting with this and still end up having to call a plumber

To see my cheesy animations of some basic clogged drains please Click Here 
To Prevent some clogs, with out the use of harsh chemicals Use Bio-Clean" As directed, on a regular bases.
Keep your drains from clogging up in the first place. Follow The Green Link
Do you need help now? use the 24/7 Help Line.