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Fixing Drain Clogs

The hygiene products that make life easy and comfortable for us unfortunately wreak havoc on our drains. While modern chemistry continues to make advances in improving our health drain clogs still remain a problem.

There are numerous ways to fix a clogged drain or pipe; some traditional and others modern.

For metal pipes you can boil a pot of water and slowly pour it down the sink. This works well for clearing blockages of hair and soap. If you have pipes made of plastic you don't want to use this method as it may soften the joints where pipes are joined which could cause leaks.

If you have a clogged drain that hot water couldn't take care of you can try using a cup plunger. Be sure to use the cup style rather than the flange style (used on toilets). If you have a double-sided sink you may have to plug the other side while plunging. In most cases you can get away with using a towel for this; other times you may need to use something like a heavy pot. Your thrusts with the plunger should be short and sharp. If the clog appears to have cleared give it a few more thrusts and rinse with hot water.

If hot water and plungers still don't clear your clog an augur may be needed, or if you don't have access to one a shortened wire coat hanger. If you're not sure what an augur is it's a coiled wire with a handle for moving the wire. Take care when using the augur not to puncture the pipes or drain taps. Also before trying to clear the clog remove the drain stop. Insert the augur into the drain a few inches until you reach resistance. It's not easy for someone who's not a professional plumber to recognize resistance from the pipes versus resistance from the clog so be careful. Once resistance is reached give the augur's handle a turn. Also be careful not to break filters that may be in the pipes or traps in the pipes.

When all of the above methods fail to free the blockage you can use one of the many chemical drain cleaners available at your supermarket or hardware store. Read the label to make sure that they are safe for the materials that your pipes are made of. When using these products be sure to wear eye protection and to wash your hands afterwards.

A really severe clog that cannot be resolved by water, augurs, or chemicals may need the pipe removed and the clog cleared manually. For clogs this severe you should hire a professional plumber.

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