Plumbing Emergency Tips: Blocked Drains

Welcome to the second in our series of four common plumbing emergencies that may happen in your home.

Part 1 – a burst pipe – can cause havoc and severe damage to your home.

Part 2 – a clogged drain pipe – can be frustrating, messy, and expensive if you are unprepared to remedy the situation immediately.



How To Fix A Blocked Drain Pipe

There are several ways to attack that blocked drain pipe which usually occurs in the kitchen, shower, or bathtub.


The easiest and fastest way is to use a common household plunger. It’s a good idea to have one on hand to quickly remedy the situation.  If you are dealing with your kitchen sink that has food particles stuck, a plunger will work almost 100% of the time.


Use care, though; grease and soap gunk are harder to plunge and you may accidentally cause a bigger stoppage if you plunge too hard and force the blockage further down the drain.


Another option is a Zip-It drain tool, which can be purchased at Home Depot or any other hardware store. This is a good option for bathroom drain pipe clogs. It’s a long plastic tool with small “teeth” on it that grabs hair and other debris that is stuck in the drain. This is an inexpensive and effective way to clear the drain.

Hose Commercial Drain Opener

If you have an unusual amount of hair and soap debris that cannot be cleared with a Zip-It drain tool, try using a commercial drain opener that attaches to a common garden hose. The water pressure is what forces the clog to be cleared.


If, after trying a plunger and drain cleaning tools, you still have a nasty clog, it’s time to actually remove the trap below the sink and start searching for the cause of the problem. You can use a sturdy bottle brush to remove the clog, being sure when you replace the trap, you clean it thoroughly with warm, soapy water.

If, after opening the trap you can’t see a clog, you probably have a blockage inside the pipe. Before using chemicals, you can try an auger, most commonly known as a “snake.” An auger has a handle and you crank it, trying to remove whatever is in the drain pipe.


If the above fails, you may have to use a liquid drain opener. We recommend using an environmentally friendly one and ALWAYS wear rubber gloves and eye protection.  Be sure to carefully read the directions, especially if you choose to use something with very strong chemicals.

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