Slow Drains and What They Mean Slow Drains and What They Mean
Slow drains are every household’s worst nightmare. You use the kitchen sink and it takes ages to empty. You take a shower and you are ankle deep in water. After using the tumble dryer you find that a good quantity of water is still present in the dryer and when you flush the toilet, the bathroom sink overflows with very bad smelling liquid you never imagined could ever be present in your pipe work.
These problems normally happen after years of use due to blockages but in some occasions they can also result after the installation of new pipe work due to either the wrong choice of pipe size, or because of the lack of leverage of the pipes or in some rare occasions, even because of the wrong choice of p-trap.
Shower and bathtubs normally get clogged because of hair and washing products getting trapped just beneath the stopper. Most stoppers can be removed easily by unscrewing the screw and removing the hair manually. If the stopper cannot be removed, or the clog cannot be reached by hand, you can always straighten a wire coat hanger and try pulling out the clog. When the clog cannot be reached even by using the coat hanger, a toilet plunger can sometimes work to suck back the clog. Another remedy is by using chemical or homemade uncloggers which will be discussed later in this article.
Kitchen and Bathroom Sink
Slow kitchen drains are normally due to either deposits of grease around the vertical pipe work or accumulation of food products in the trap. If the water backs up immediately after draining, the problem is most probably close to the sink stopper. A toilet plunger can pull the blockage which is close to the stopper and it can then be easily removed manually but anything clogging the trap would remain there. To unclog the trap you will have to remove the p-trap and empty anything which was blocking it. The use of homemade remedies or chemical uncloggers can also be used in this case if you don’t want to remove the trap.
New Pipe Work
Even if rare, sometimes slow drains occur as soon as new pipes are installed. This normally happens for a number of reasons which include the use of small pipes or the use of small p-traps, both of which would slow down the draining of water. Another common mistake to look for when someone inexperienced is installing pipe work is the inclination of the pipes. No inclination, or inclination towards the wrong direction, will slow down the drain or even make water back up. A small inclination towards the main drain pipes is normally enough to make sure that water will drain easily and in the right direction.
When more harsh methods are needed to unclog your drains, there are four main options. Using a toilet plunger, a homemade remedy that involves baking soda, white vinegar and warm water, harsher chemicals (some of which may be toxic and also harsh on your pipes) or calling a plumber. You can decide which of these options to work with depending on your budget, which is also proportional with how difficult the blockage is.