One of the little frustrations in life is a clogged sink.  Fortunately, with a little knowledge and effort, you can often take care of the problem yourself, and get your drain moving again quickly.

Many TV commercials would have you running for a drain cleaning chemical at the first sign of a clog. We don’t recommend them – if they’re not successful (and they often aren’t) they’ll exacerbate the problem by giving you a pipe full of standing water and caustic chemicals.

The first line of defense; the plunger.

If you’re able to seal the drain properly, a simple plunger can often remove a clog.  If you’re working on a double sink, common in most kitchens, simply plug one of the drains and apply the plunger to the other.  If it’s a bathroom sink, plug the vent holes (like a small drain, located near the top of the sink) before you plunge.  Fill the sink with enough water to let the plunger seal over the drain, and go.

Opening the trap
Most sinks have a cleanout in the trap (the first bend in the pipe underneath).  Make sure you place a bucket underneath before opening it.  If, when you open it, the sink doesn’t empty, you know that the clog is located in that few inches of pipe between the drain and the cleanout.  If it empties, the clog is downstream of the trap.

Using a snake
A snake is a flexible length of metal that you can use to shove into your drainpipe and dislodge the material that is preventing proper flow.  They’re relatively cheap to buy, and you can even rent them if you need.  We recommend a hand-operated snake 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in diameter, up to 20 feet long.

Feed the snake into the pipe, as close to the wall or floor as you can (you may have to remove part of the trap).  Push it in until you feel it hit the clog, and then use the sliding handle to twist the snake, using it as an auger to drill into the clog.  You’ll know you’ve gotten past when you feel the tension on the snake let go.  Make sure your bucket and some sacrificial rags are handy when you pull the snake back out, because it’s likely to be covered with some pretty ugly stuff.

If you’re unable to clear the drain yourself, or if the clog reoccurs, contact On Time Group online or by telephone at (204) 774-1474.