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					                                   How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain

How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain


      • From: "Ablang" <ron916@xxxxxxxxx>
      • Date: 25 Mar 2007 14:33:40 −0700

How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain
Don't Call a Plumber − Do it Yourself!

Clogged bathtub or sink drains are one of the most common reasons for
calling a professional plumber, but homeowners can easily unclog
bathtub or sink drains themselves using chemicals, a plunger, auger,
or by removing and cleaning the drain trap. The price of drain
chemicals, a plunger, or other tools are minuscule compared to the
expense of a professional plumber. Even the most inexperienced
homeowner can repair a clogged bathtub or sink quickly and easily.

Removing a Sink Stopper

If the clogged sink is equipt with a stopper, it is first necessary to
remove the stopper before attempting to unclog the drain. Some
connected sink stoppers simply lift out, but others must be
disconnected under the sink. Some sink stoppers are connected to a
pull control, so if the stopper doesn't come out simply and easily,
look underneath the sink. You will probably find a nut connected to
the stopper pull. Remove the nut, and the stopper should come out

Removing a Bathtub Stopper

Bathtub stoppers come in a number of varieties, and some are easier to
remove than others. Some bathtub stoppers are simply unscrewed at the
drain. Others must be disconnected at the overflow plate. If your
bathtub is clogged, the first step is to remove the stopper. If the
stopper doesn't simply unscrew, remove the overflow plate. Most
overflow plates are attached by one simple screw. Internally, the
overflow plate will be attached to an assembly that is linked to the
stopper. After removing the screw and the overflow plate, gently move
the assembly until it comes off.

Cleaning the Drain by Hand

Bathtub and sink drains become easily clogged with hair, soap scum,
and other unidentifiable substances. Sometimes a clogged drain,
especially a bathtub, can be easily cleaned by hand. After removing

How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain                                                             1
                                  How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain
the stopper, look at the hardware that supports the drain. Chances are
it's wrapped with hair and clogged with other debris. Although it's an
unpleasant task, try removing the hair by grasping it from the grates
and pulling it out. A straightened wire coat hanger can assist in this
task. Bend the end of a coat hanger, and use it as a tool to remove
visible hair and matter. This is sometimes all that is necessary to
clear a clogged drain.

Try a Plunger

A drain plunger is the next easiest and most inexpensive device for
unclogging a drain, so plunging a clogged drain should be tried if the
clog is not within reach. Before plunging the clogged sink or bathtub
drain, cover the overflow drain with a damp cloth. Covering the
overflow in this manner will create a strong vacuum that will help
loosen the clog. Place the plunger over the center of the clogged
drain. The sink should contain a sufficient amount of water to cover
the base of the plunger. Tip the plunger to release any trapped air,
and douse it up and down eight to ten times using direct pressure.
Quickly remove the plunger, and if the clog has released, the water
should go down the drain. If this method of unclogging the drain
doesn't work the first time, repeat the process a few times before
trying another method.

Drain Cleaner

Drain cleaner may sound like the easiest solution for a clogged drain,
but chemicals should be avoided if at all possible. Chemicals can
cause burns, and not all drain cleaners are safe for every type of
clogged bathtub or sink. Drain cleaners can cause permanent etching
and damage to some surfaces. Unclogging a drain the easiest way isn't
worth ruining the surface of a sink or bathtub, so read label
precautions carefully before attempting to unclog a drain with
chemicals, and follow label instructions precisely should you decide
to try drain cleaner.

Augers and Snakes

If chemicals don't work to unclog the drain, or if they are not safe
for your bathtub or sink, and if a plunger fails, it may be necessary
to try a snake or auger. A plumbing snake, otherwise known as an
auger, is a flexible wire with a coiled spring on the tip. This strong
flexible wire is attached to a handle that turns clockwise. Begin by
guiding the wire into the clogged drain while turning the handle in a
dextral manner. Hopefully the clog is within reach and not beyond the
drain trap. If the clog is beyond the drain trap, try guiding the
snake or auger through the opening of the overflow. Hopefully this
method works to sufficiently unclog the sink or bathtub drain.

Remove the Drain Trap

How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain                                     2
                                 How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain
Lastly, a stubborn clog in a sink or drain that hasn't been cleared
through simple methods may require a more direct approach to clog
busting. It might be necessary to take the sink drain apart and remove
the trap for cleaning. Most sink traps are connected by chrome or
plastic coupling nuts. Locate the two coupling nuts under the drain.
Position a small basin beneath the drain to catch the water. If the
nuts are made of chrome, be sure to place a rag over the nuts before
loosening them in order to prevent damage. Remove the trap, and clean
out the clog. Replace the trap, and make sure the coupling nuts aren't
secured too tightly. If the nuts are secured too tightly, the
connections might spring a leak.


How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub Drain                                                       3