Toilets overflow on flushing. Water won’t go down the drain. After the plunger, what next? Your drain is plugged. Drains are like arteries and they can become clogged. As the sewage flows through the drain, solids in suspension may fall out of the stream, building up deposits that eventually close off the drain pipe.
Clogged Trap in Basement, Kitchen or Bathroom Drain Pipes
It may be that the trap is clogged. This is the curly pipe looking contraption under the sink. They fill with water and prevent odors from drain sewage seeping into the house. But they are curved. If you pull the plug, water will force its way through the trap and out. But running water from a slow stream faucet may not be able to move the solids in the trap. If you’re a DIY type, they can easily be removed and cleaned. Hair is the usual culprit. But also grease in the kitchen or petroleum jelly or bath oils and lotions can contribute to the problem, especially combined with a “hair ball”.
Plunger or Liquid Drain Cleaner
Many reach for the plunger or chemical drain cleaners. But these may not be the solution if your children have flushed your perfume bottle or a roll of toilet paper. Toilets have to be removed and sometimes dismantled to remove the obstruction. And for those who wonder, toilet traps are built into the toilet while showers and bath tubs have their traps located in the floor, which can be problematical if located in a concrete slab.
Plumbing Drain Snake
If the clog is close to the drain opening or the toilet, you should be able to handle the problem with a hand or drill operated “snake”. These have a spiral wound steel wire cable with a hooking device at one end and a cranking device at the other. Plumbing Snakes may also include a connection for a cordless drill to turn the snake. A cage of some sort stores the cable, to be pushed out and down the drain. Most are limited to about 10 to 15 feet of cable.
Pressure Device Hose Attachment to Clear Drains
There are pressure devices that can clear drains. The water types are rubber and attach to the end of a garden hose. When the water is turned on they expand, sealing the opening and then discharge pressurized water, hopefully blowing out the obstruction.
Commercial Snake Rental or Hire a Professional Plumber?
But if your obstruction is located more than 15 feet from a drain access, then what? Your choices are to rent a commercial snake or have a professional plumber clear your drains. These machines cost in the thousands of dollars, and are not commonly found in a homeowner’s tool and equipment arsenal. As infrequent a deep drain obstruction is, a professional is the only cost effective way to resolve the problem. For those who have little or no mechanical skills, a professional plumber is essential.