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Troubleshooting Your Plumbing: Clogged Drains

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If you have a clogged drain, then you might not know whether you need to call a professional. To help you troubleshoot the problem yourself, here is a quick breakdown on some of the most common methods for dealing with a clogged drain:

Visually Inspect and Probe for the Clog

A clogged drain can either be incredibly simple to deal with or incredibly difficult. If you are lucky, then you can easily handle the clog on your own. Your first step in diagnosing the extent of the clog is to remove the drain cover and look down into the drain with a flashlight. If you can see a clog, then you can probably fish it out. If you can't see it, find a long, thin instrument to probe into the drain. A wire hanger is an excellent choice because it can be bent into the ideal shape: that of a cane. Use your implement to probe around for the clog. If all you feel is water, then the problem will require a little more work.

Utilize a Plunger

Next, you should try using a plunger if the problem is in your toilet or shower drain. Run a bit of water over the clogged drain so that it forms a thin layer and then plunge about 15-20 times. If this doesn't loosen up the clog, wait a minute and try again. If the clog remains after several rounds of plunging, then you might need to resort to more extreme measures.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Before calling a professional, you should try baking soda and vinegar. The expansion of the reaction between the two could knock the clog free. First, add about 1/2 a cup of baking soda to the clogged drain. Pour a bit of hot water down the drain and wait. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar (white vinegar is fine) and a cup of very hot water. The reaction should cause some foaming; this is perfectly normal. Wait about 15 minutes and then check to see whether the clog is clear. Run some hot water down the drain for about a minute to see if the clog is totally gone.

If the clog is still there, don't worry. Repeat the process several more times and there is a good chance that your clog will clear up. If it doesn't, then it might be time to call a professional. You don't want to pour harmful chemicals down your drain or to start dismantling your plumbing, so it's best to leave such things to the pros.

For more information on plumbing, contact a professional like Allcounty Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.