03 Sep What’s Clogging Your Drain?
A Sacramento Plumber Explains 3 Steps for Fixing a Slow Drain
Is It Hair? Scum? Something Worse?!
Best Drain Cleaning | Sacramento Plumber
Our parents and teachers have told us for years that what’s inside is what matters most. While that may be true when it comes to character, it’s also true when it comes to pipes. And it’s especially true when it comes to slow or clogged bathroom sinks. At Sacramento’s Always Affordable Plumbing, we get it. When you’re dealing with a sink that won’t drain, your first thought is to unstick the clog—whatever that clog may be. Take it from our experienced team: Putting a little thought into figuring out the type of blockage you have can help determine the best solution. In other words, not all clogs are the same. If you can identify the nature of the clog you’re dealing with, you’re already well on your way to getting rid of it. After that, you can choose the best solution and enjoy clear, fast-moving pipes once again.
1. Take a Look
Can you see down your drain? In a bathroom sink, you may need to lift the stopper out in order to get a good look. If you take a peek into the pipes and see a wad of hair, you may have quickly identified your problem. No, your sink is not in need of a shave. On the other hand, your shaving may have contributed to the blockage. While hair often washes down pipes along with some help from water, longer strands can tangle and snag. All it takes is a few, which can catch onto more as they pass by. Soon, you’ve got a wad that won’t let anything past—not even water.
If this is the case, you may be able to fish the clump out with some tweezers. It may be gross, but this method can be quite satisfying. Alternatively, you can use an inexpensive drain snake from your local Walmart or hardware store. Most importantly, be sure you have a trash can handy for throwing the hair away. Keep in mind that a wad of hair is not just hair by the time is becomes a sink plug. Old toothpaste, mucus, and anything else that goes down the drain can be trapped, too. In other words, this is a fertile ground for bacteria. Wash your hands well, and clean out the sink, too.
2. Nothing Obvious? Try This Trick
If you don’t see a nasty, hairy lump in your drain, you may be relieved—but don’t heave a sigh just yet. That means you’re going to have to keep searching for the problem. Take another good look. You may notice thicker pipe walls than you would expect based on the size of your drain. Soap scum is another common bathroom sink problem. The material builds up over time, gradually constricting the pipe. This can more easily catch debris—like hair—but it can also cause pipes to become more sluggish on their own.
Here is a classic and inexpensive remedy to help clean out your pipes. Combine some baking soda and vinegar to make a frothy, foamy mess, and pour it down the drain. The combo works to break down scum and build up. Let the mixture stand in the pipes for about 10 minutes, and then flush with water. Also, if you have metal pipes that are not too old, consider pouring very hot water down the drain to soften and break up built-up soap residue. This won’t clear clogs further down your pipes, but can definitely help clean up superficial build up. A more serious problem will require a different solution. The best drain cleaning requires professional pipe inspection and the right professional tools from a licensed plumber.
3. Today’s Letter is ‘P’
Now we’re getting to some more involved investigations. You may not see anything wrong when you look into your drain. As a result, you may have to go under the sink and do a little disassembly. Firstly, be sure to close any knobs below your sink to stop water flow. That is to say, turn both the hot and cold water valves clockwise until they will not turn any more. Test that they’re closed by opening the faucet. If no water comes out, you’re good to go.
In short, you can take apart the curvy pipes beneath your sink, known as a “P trap,” to see if anything is stuck inside. This part of your plumbing earns its name, since items dropped down the drain can become trapped. (Actually, it’s made to prevent sewer gases—and their smells—from entering your home via the sink.) Did you lose a ring anytime recently? Have you been missing a pin or brooch or some other small item? It may very well be dwelling at the low point of your P trap. There, it does what just about any object does in a pipe. Put simply, it impedes water flow and becomes a sticking point for other materials. A small piece of jewelry can soon become the center of a wad of hair, soap scum, and worse.
Think of it like a pearl. A gross, gross pearl.
Bringing in the Experts
If you’ve eliminated hair, scum, and lost items from your clog list, it may be time to give us a call. AAP provides the best drain cleaning service in Sacramento, at the best price! Mystery clogs are not just a nuisance, but can indicate more serious problems in your pipes. A slow or blocked drain may be due to a larger clog farther in the system, root intrusion, or pipe collapse. We have the tools to see far beyond the drain, discovering the source of your slow drain. Call Always Affordable Plumbing at (916) 970-009 for a whole home inspection. Once we determine the type of clog you have, we can offer you an affordable solution.
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Best Drain Cleaning | Sacramento Plumber