How to fix blocked drains


Unblock drains without the need of a plumber

Anyone who shares a bathroom with a person with long hair will at times find that the water gradually takes longer to drain from the vanity sink until it seems completely clogged. Fixing this drainage problem is quite often far easier than you would ever imagine, without a need to call a plumber. In most cases, the problem with the blocked drain lies inside the trap or u-bend, a device engineered to prevent septic backflow, but which also can lead to a build-up of undesirable material blocking the water’s path.

Step 1

The first step is to open the cupboard door under the vanity that is blocked. It is best to remove any items residing in that cupboard in order for them not to get wet. Find a bucket that will fit under the plastic piping that leads from the vanity sink, in particular the so-called u-bend or trap.

Step 2

The next step involves removing the trap or u-bend from the other plastic piping. Locate the two closest threaded caps on either side of the bend and gently untwist them. There will be some water in the trap, so make certain you empty it into the bucket as you get it loose.

Step 3

Once you have removed the trap or u-bend from the other plumbing, it is time to investigate what caused the blockage. Quite often you will find items that do not travel easily through pipes such as hairpins, or other items that ends up sitting in the trap instead of being flushed past it with the water, such as hair. When the hair builds up, it can create an almost impenetrable force, which the water will have a hard time to filter through. Make certain that you remove any materials blocking the u-bend. You can use a flexible steel wire to ensure you get around the bend. To fully clean it out, flush some water through it, while making certain the bucket is in the right position to catch the water from the drainpipe. At the same time, it is a good idea to poke the steel wire down through the plughole to remove any material that may be residing in the pipe leading down from the sink.

Step 4

When you have completed the above steps, you can reattach the u-bend to the existing piping where you found it. Reverse the procedure by screwing the threaded caps back in place. Make certain that you do not have a leak by running the tap while checking for water leaking down the u-bend. If you have a leak, you will need to screw the caps tighter on.

Drain still blocked?

If the water still is not draining, the blockage will lie in a place further along the piping. A plumber can detect the location of the blockages by using a CCTV camera, remove blockages with an “electric eel”, or blast the blocked materials into smithereens with a jet blast.

Other options

If this procedure sounds too complicated and you do not wish to get a plumber, you can try pouring a corrosive drain cleaner down the drain. The chemical reaction will lead to a bad smell in your bathroom while it is reacting, and it will only work on organic material such as hair. The chemical substance is also quite bad for the environment, and it will add contaminants to the water as it makes it journey through the water waste solution.


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