What You Should Know About Unclogging Your Bathtub Drain

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
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A clogged drain can be a pain, but you may be able to fix it yourself instead of calling a plumber. Many drains can be cleared easily by using a few inexpensive tools. It is important to know when and how you can clear a drain yourself to avoid further damaging your plumbing. The following are a few things you need to know to unclog a bathtub drain on your own.

How plumbing drains are constructed

All drains are similarly constructed. The bottom of the drainpipe is a curved section called a trap. The trap under the sink is shaped like a U. The majority of bathtubs have a different type of drain, with a slight curve to keep water in the trap. This function keeps sewer gases from moving up the pipe. Both types of drain traps may become clogged over time due to a blockage created by hair and soap scum. A slow running drain is likely partially blocked.

Clearing out a simple clog

See if you can spot what is blocking the drain. Clogs in bathtub drains are often caused by soap scum and hair. If you can see hair creating a clog, you can often reach in and pull it out. Try using a bent coat hanger to hook onto the clog and pull it out. You can also use a pair of tweezers or needle nose pliers to pull the hair out.

Using a plunger to remove a clog

If the clog is too deep within the bathtub drain, you may not be able to see it or pull it out. If this is the case, you can try using a plunger. Put enough water in the bathtub to cover the plunger. Be sure to block the overflow outlet with a rag before putting the plunger over the drain. Push up and down five to six times. The pressure should clear the clog and open the pipe. The water should drain away as you lift up the plunger. If these steps do not work the first time, keep trying.

Snaking a bathtub drain

If a plunger does not work to clear a blockage, you may have to use a pipe snake. This tool is a long, flexible steel cable with a handle. The snake must be fed down the overflow plate opening. Start by feeding about three feet of the cable into the opening, turning as you push forward. The snake should break up the clog by pushing it through the pipe. The snake can also grab hold of the clog so you can pull it out. You can also call a plumbing company to remove these difficult clogs.

Using chemicals to clear clogs

Some people use chemicals to clear a bathtub drain, but chemicals can cause damage to your plumbing. Chemical drain cleaners work to dissolve clogs, but be aware that they are highly caustic. Plumbers do not use chemicals to remove clogs because of these reasons, so you should try to avoid them as well.

Preventing clogs in your bathtub drain

It is best to prevent clogs from happening in the first place. There are a few things you can do to prevent clogging your bathtub drain. Don’t drop small pieces of soap down the drain because they will build up. You can also use strainers to stop hair and soap from creating clogs in your bathtub.

Consider pouring a cup full of boiling water into the drain about once a month to melt away grease before it accumulates. You can also pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain every few months. The baking soda should be washed away with about half a cup of vinegar. This mixture should sit in the drain for several minutes before you follow with hot water.

Need the help of a professional plumber?

Some bathtub drain clogs are too tough to remove on your own. If you have a clog in your drain that requires professional help, contact the experts at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo, Texas today. We offer heavy industrial, commercial, and residential services throughout the Texas Panhandle and Tri-State area, including Amarillo, Borger, Dumas, and Pampa. Feel free to give us a call at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us via email for more information. You can also stop by our location at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo to learn more about how we can help you.