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How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink Drain With Home Tools

Solutions Plumbing

Your kitchen sink may clog due to food scraps or grease which naturally block drains over time. Although you may need to hire a plumber to unclog your kitchen drain, sometimes you can do it yourself. Here are steps to follow when unclogging your kitchen drain:

Run hot water into the drain

You need to run a steady stream of hot water into the clogged drain for a few minutes to dissolve any built up grease or grim. It is recommended to run hot water into your drain every week to prevent future drain clogging. Since you wash your utensils in your sink, you probably have grease clogging your drains, and one of the easiest ways to fix the problem is using hot water. After running hot water into the drain for a couple of minutes, wait for about 15 minutes for the grease and fats to melt and unblock the pipes. However, if you still have a clogged drain, you need to do something more drastic.

Plunge the sink drain

If using hot water did not help to unclog, you can try plunging the drain. To plunge effectively, use a wet rag to ensure force exerted during plunging is concentrated on the source of the clog. The wet rag also prevents the overflow of the sink or the drain in case you’ve a double sink from overflowing. Fill the sink with a small amount of water to facilitate plunging. Then, hold the head of the plunger firmly over the clogged drain. Push and pull vigorously for a few minutes. The pressure exerted will help unclog the drain.

A drain snake is a useful and cheap tool that can be bought at hardware stores to unclog drains

Snake the drain

Snaking the drain is recommended if hot water and plunging did not unclog the drains. You will have to remove the trap and the tail piece which attaches the pipe to the floor or the wall. You can begin the snaking process by placing a bucket under the drain pipe to collect water that will flow out when the trap is removed. This reduces the cleaning process and also reduces flooding or water damage in your kitchen. You can then use a wrench to twist and remove the trap.

You will have to use a hand auger to snake the drain pipe. To prevent the auger from getting caught inside the drain, insert the corkscrewed end of the auger only. Then, turn the handle in a clockwise direction and then drive it down the drain slowly until you are unable to turn the handle. When you cannot turn the handle, it means you’ve come into contact with the source of the clog. Try turning the handle, if possible, to penetrate the clog using the snake end. You will have to be careful when turning the auger handle to prevent damaging the pipes. When you’ve penetrated the clog, you will have to turn the handle in an anticlockwise direction to remove the auger from the drain.

Before reassembling the trap, you can clean it using warm water and mild soap to remove any fats or oils. To prevent further clogging, you should run hot water through the drain pipe at least once a week.

Six Important Times To Call An Emergency Plumber

Solutions Plumbing

Since plumbing emergencies can happen at any time, you need to make sure you have the contact information of an emergency plumber. This is important because it will help you save time and cost, making it easier for you to get the problem solved. Most emergency plumbers charge higher rates than normal plumbers due to the urgency of the situation and limited time to have the problem fixed. Here are six emergency situations where you need to call an emergency plumber:

1. Flooding

Flooding is common when you have leaking faucets, broken or bursted pipes in your home. You are required to call an emergency plumber if you have flooding in your home to assess the cause of the problem and fix it. Flooding causes water damage, and if the problem is not fixed fast, it could cause permanent damage to your house. Therefore, you can reduce water losses by shutting off the main water valve or securing your household items by moving them outside the house. Also, make sure that the emergency plumber you’ve called will not take too much time before coming to fix the problem.

2. Burst pipe

A burst pipe is one of the main causes of flooding in a house. However, even if the pipe is not causing flooding, you need to have it fixed to prevent water damage e.g. moulds and mildew growth. You can start by clearing household items from the area to ease movement and reduce losses before you call the plumber. Most PVC pipes are prone to bursting due to high pressure, frozen water or when hit with a hard object.

3. Clogged drain

Clogged drains do not pose high risks, but when water backs up to your kitchen sink, you need to hire an emergency plumber to unblock your drain. Sometimes, you may do it yourself, but if you don’t have necessary skills and equipment, hiring an emergency plumber is the best option to avoid making the problem even worse. Besides, the plumber may fix other related problems when repairing a clogged drain, preventing problems in future.

4. Frozen pipes

During cold seasons, pipes around your home may freeze, stopping the water from flowing into your faucets. Although there are numerous articles and videos online on how to thaw your frozen pipes yourself, you need to get some experience before trying these DIY methods. You can end up having burst pipes while trying to thaw the pipes and this could end up being a bigger problem than frozen pipes.

Therefore, calling an emergency plumber is advisable because he is both skilled and experienced in handling frozen pipes. Also, he is capable of fixing a burst pipe in case he ends up having one when thawing the pipes.

5. Toilet overflow

Toilet overflow is not only disgusting but also unhygienic. Getting it fixed right away is the only solution. No matter how simple the overflow looks, having an expert fix it is the best option because you can amplify the problem or expose yourself to other health risks if you try to do it yourself.

6. Sewer back-up

There are many reasons why sewer back-up can happen e.g. failing sump pump and blocked pipes. Since you often do not know the real cause of the problem, you need to contact an emergency plumber to assess and fix the problem. You should remove valuable items from your bathroom while clearing space to make it easy for the plumber to maneuver while fixing the problem. It is important to understand that sewer back up does not only affect your home, but it may also result due to other associated problems in your neighbourhood, and only an experienced plumber can help you fix this problem.

Easy Plumbing Repairs a Homeowner Can Undertake Themselves

Solutions Plumbing

The plumbing system in the average home is far more complex than most people realize, and naturally, the more rooms that have water supplied to them the more piping there is, which in turn means the more opportunities there are for plumbing issues to arise. Some simple plumbing issues can be rectified easily by the homeowner, but it is important to recognize when the problem is major and it is time to call in a professional.

Bathtub/Sink Caulking –

It is imperative to do periodic spot checks on caulking around sinks and tubs. By checking regularly, any cracks can be discovered quickly and remedied before water can seep through and cause damage. Re-caulking is a task that most people can undertake themselves.

Begin by removing all of the old caulking. Be sure to leave no traces of the old caulking and wipe down the surface with rubbing alcohol to remove any residue. The cleaner the surface, the better the new caulking will be able to adhere. Using a caulking gun neatly apply a continuous line of caulk. Use your dampened fingers to smooth out any unevenness and give you a professional finish. Caulk dries rapidly, so you must work quickly and efficiently. If you are not happy with the finish, you can remove the caulking and do it again. If after re-caulking you are still experiencing a leak, call a plumber to inspect the piping.

Showerhead –

Replacing an old showerhead is a straightforward task and usually involves unscrewing the old one and screwing on the new. Occasionally the old showerhead may be difficult to remove, and you may have to resort to using a set of tongue and groove pliers to get a good grip on it. If you don’t own a set you can rent them from a local hardware store’s tool rental section, or if you are concerned that you may cause damage to the piping by wrenching on the showerhead too hard call a professional plumber. This is a job that can be tacked onto another plumbing job if the replacement of the showerhead is not urgent.

Faucet Leaks –

Typically a leaking faucet is a result of wear and tear and often may only require the replacement of a washer. This largely depends on the style of faucet. Rotary ball faucets are usually an easy fix, with your local hardware store stocking replacement parts. Cartridge and ceramic disc faucets can be more difficult to find replacement parts for, however.

As with most plumbing repairs, the first step is to turn off the water supply to the house. The main water supply shut-off is usually located on the outside of the house. If you are not familiar with its location now is a good time to explore to discover where it is. This is information that will serve you well should you ever suffer a serious water leak.

Replacing a Faucet –

This is another job that is quite easy for a homeowner to undertake. First, shut off the water supply. Now remove the old faucet, taking note of where the connections are located. Unless you are very confident in being able to relocate pipes it is best to replace the old faucet with one that will fit the existing connection points. Most new faucet packaging includes directions to follow that show how to install your new faucet.

More extensive remodeling that requires a number of plumbing replacements and upgrades should be undertaken by a professional plumber. He or she can also advise you on the best products currently on the market, with his or her recommendations for your specific circumstances.

Continually Running Toilet –

As well as it being a waste of water (and therefore money), a toilet that runs continuously can be irritating. Jiggling the handle will work in many cases, but this can become a tedious task every time the toilet is used. Eventually, a repair is going to be required, usually involving replacement of either the stop valve or floater valve. Both replacements can be undertaken by the homeowner. Shut the water off and replace the failed part by following the instructions on the packaging of the replacement part. Parts are readily available from most hardware stores.

If, on the other hand, your toilet will not flush this could be as a result of blockage either in the trap or the drain. You can try using a plunger to loosen the blockage. If this doesn’t work try snaking it. If you are still unable to get the blockage to clear this could be an indication of a more serious problem, and you should call in a professional plumber to investigate the cause.

Water Pressure Issues –

Hard water buildup is a common problem and will affect water pressure over time. The most noticeable place for this is in the shower. Check the showerhead for signs of lime buildup. If it clearly shows a problem, remove it and soak it in a descaling solution. Once clean you can rinse it off and replace it.

If you are regularly running into plumbing issues, ask your preferred plumber if he or she offers a plumbing maintenance program or plumbing protection plan. Plumbing repair costs can quickly mount up, and a plumbing maintenance program can save you money and provide peace of mind.

Washing Machine Hose Replacement –

You should inspect your washing machine hoses regularly for leaks. If one or both needs replacement, shut off the water supply and the electricity supply. Unhook the hoses from the washing machine. Replace the hoses and then turn the electricity and water supplies back on. Test to ensure that there are no leaks and that water flows freely through the hoses.

Having a good understanding of how your plumbing system works and where pipes are located is helpful should a plumbing emergency arise. At the very least a homeowner should know where the main water supply shut off valve is located so that it can be turned off quickly. If you feel that plumbing is something you are not willing to tackle, hire a professional to undertake repairs for you.

Blocked Drains –

Periodically, drains become clogged. While prevention is best when a drain becomes clogged, it can be tempting to resort to using chemicals to clear the blockage, but these should be avoided as they cause erosion to the pipes over time. Call a plumber to investigate and clear any clogged drains.

Preventative measures will substantially reduce the opportunity for drains to become blocked. Using a hair filter over the shower drain is the best way to prevent a buildup in the pipe. The filter should be emptied of hair every time the shower is used. Being careful not to put food particles down your kitchen sink will help prevent blockages, and fat and grease should never be poured down the drain. Be aware of the things your garbage disposal can handle and use it as infrequently as possible.

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