Guest Post: 5 Steps to Unclog Your Sink

This guest post is submitted by Home Improvement Writer David Glenn.
5 Steps To Unclogging Your Sink
Do you have a clogged sink or bathroom drain? If so, it may be an easy fix. By following a few simple steps, you can probably clear the drain yourself. Of course, if it’s in major problem, you’ll need to call a plumber. Most home warranty plans cover plumbing problems, so if it ends up being a bigger challenge than just a clogged drain, this option will help. To see of its a clogged drain, you will first need to invest in a couple of simple tools–a plunger and a snake.

Two Important Tools

Most hardware stores carry plungers and snakes. Make sure that the plunger that you buy has a strong, sturdy handle. This will allow you to apply a good deal of force when it’s time to unclog your sink. As for the snake, you’ll want something with an auger that is 20 feet long and 3/8 of an inch thick. Along with those items, keep a bucket, flashlight and some rubber gloves on hand.

Check Your Disposal

The first step that you will want to take to unclog your sink is to check your garbage disposal. If you flip it on and only hear a low buzzing sound, it’s probably stuck with debris. Make sure that the unit is turned off and unplugged from the wall, and proceed to free the blades by manually turning them with an allen wrench. Many units have an area underneath the disposal that has a hole for an allen wrench. After you have turned the blades, plug the unit back in and flip the switch on to see if that clears your clogging problem.

Clear Any Blockage

If your disposal isn’t the culprit, attempt to plunge the drain. If you’ve got a dishwasher hooked up, you’ll need to clamp off the drain hose. After that, fill your sink with about 5 inches of water to ensure a nice tight seal with your plunger. If you have a double sink, put a wet rag over the other opening to help increase suction from the plunger. Your next step is to plunge away. Be sure to force only water down the sink. This step may take several minutes to complete.

Cleaning the Sink Trap

If plunging the sink fails to work, the next step is to disassemble your sink trap and remove any grease, gunk or other debris. First, arm yourself with some gloves and loosen the slip nut that holds the P-trap in place. Keep your bucket handy so dirty water doesn’t end up everywhere. You may need a pair of slip joint pliers to initially break the slip nut free. Pull off the P-trap and clean it out with a screwdriver. If it doesn’t seem to have any debris, your clog may be further down the drain pipe. In this case, you will need to use a snake.

Snaking Your Drain Pipe

Loosen the set screw of your snake and pull out about 10 inches of cable. Tighten your set screw and swirl the snake down the open hole in the drain pipe. Release your set screw and pull out the rest of the cable. Tighten the set screw and continue moving the snake into the drain line. You may hit obstructions along the way. Switch the spin on the auger so that it turns counterclockwise and pull the cable out. It will probably be full of a lot of gunk that needs to be removed. Continue this process until you don’t feel any obstructions.

Final Steps

After you have finished snaking your sink, it’s time to flush it with warm water. Use a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda to help with the process. A half cup of each should be enough. Pour the mixture down the drain of your sink and let it react for a couple of minutes. Flush with warm water and repeat the process. By combining vinegar and baking soda, you should remove any foul odors and break down any leftover residue.

Completing this process will take some time and the proper tools, but it will also free you up from having to pay a plumber, and really should be part of your home maintenance checklist.

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