So – in my last blog entry I talked about drain cleaning liquids not being effective or safe to use in DIY clog-busting. What’s a homeowner to do? The safest way to go after a stopped up or slow drain is to use a tool to reach down and pull it up – using a drain snake. You can see a simple version on the left, called a Zip-It, which is available at any home improvement or hardware store for about $3 -$5. It has “hairs” on the sides, and sometimes a hook on the end, to snare clogs common in bathroom sinks or tubs. This is probably your first line of defense in the bathroom.
Hair is the most common clog, and it will not dissolve or go down easily; it needs to be pulled back up and thrown into the trash. There’s a diagram of how to use it to the right. It can often go around the pop-up drain assembly in your faucet, or try going in through the overflow hole in the sink. However, if you need to take off the pop-up drain assembly, it can be frustrating to put it back together. A helper is often necessary, with one person under the sink threading the pieces back together, so dis-assembling the pop-up should only be done if you’re pretty confident in your handyman skills.
The next step up in drain cleaning snakes is a tool you attach to your own drill. Ridgid makes a good tool called a Power Spin for about $40. This is a good investment for any homeowner’s DIY tool kit. To use this tool on a bathtub, our plumbers recommend going in through the overflow in the tub to keep your drain assembly in place. Simply unscrew the overflow for the bathtub, feed the snake down the overflow, put 7 – 10 gallons of water in the tub, and turn it on. You’ll know when the water goes down that you’ve hit the clog and unseated it. Then, push the snake another foot or so into the overflow chute after the water has all drained out, and give it another go. Drag the snake out and dispose of the clog in the trash.
For toilets, there really isn’t anything that is effective and safe for a homeowner to use – these snakes will scratch the porcelain on the toilet, and the Zip It snakes won’t do anything to unseat the clog.
None of this works? Give Jake the Plumber a call at 651-212-5253 – or use the handy Book Now button on our home page. We’ll get your drains running with professional equipment.
– Deb at Jake the Plumber