How to open clogged drains
Sooner or later every homeowner encounters a clogged drain. Most clogs are not due to faulty plumbing but to the slow buildup of solids that sink drains arenít intended to cope with. With a few basic tools, you can clear most clogs and get the system flowing again. Buy or rent a power auger or an augering attachment for a drill. Use only nonacid drain cleaners (sodium hydroxide and copper sulfide are safe) To maintain a smooth flowing drain, every week or so run very hot water into the drain for a minute or two.
Unclogging bathroom sinks
Clearing a sink may involve nothing more than removing the strainer or stopper from the drain opening. Push the stopper up and pull away any soap, hair, food matter, or other debris that may clog the opening.
Plunging a sink
A plunger uses water pressure to blast out obstructions and suction to bring stuff up. The plungerís rubber cup must seal tightly around the drain opening. Water in the sink helps create a seal, rubbing petroleum jelly on the plunger rim also helps. Stuff a rag into any opening, such as an overflow outlet. Push and pull rapidly with the plunger.
Augering a sink
If plunging doesnít work, fit an auger down the drain. Cranking the auger handle rotates a stiff spring that bores through a stubborn blockage. Augering may push blockage through, or it may snag something so you can pull it up and out.
If a shower stall drains sluggishly, try filling the base with an inch of water and plunging. If the clogged shower drain does not respond to plunging, remove the strainer and attempt to clear the blockage by pushing an auger down the drain and through the trap. Push and pull to remove a soap clog. If the auger hits a blockage, pull out the auger. The blockage may come with it.
Try plunging first. If your tub has a pop up stopper, remove it before plunging. If plunging doesnít work, thread in an auger. This method will reach only to the tree fitting. If the clog is father down, youíll have to go through the overflow tube.
When a toilet clogs, do not continue to flush it. Additional flushing will not push objects through and may flood the bathroom floor. Instead bail out the toilet until the bowl is about half full. More water than this can lead to a slushy mess while plunging, but too little water will prevent the plunger from making a tight seal around the bowlís outlet. Work up and down vigorously for about a dozen strokes, and then quickly yank away the plunger. If the water disappears with a glug, itís likely the plunging has succeeded. But donít flush yet. First pour in more water. Until the bowl empties several times. If plunging doesnít work, the toilet will have to be augered.