Clogs are inevitable problem for most homes. Some clogs happen immediately. Others slowly restrict pipes until it is completely blocked. The best clog (if there is such a thing!) is located in the p-trap. It is the one place where you know the problem can fixed without any extensive measures.
Start by placing a bucket under the trap. Loosen the coupling nuts with a pliers and pull the trap off while being careful to dump all water into the bucket. Then push the clog through with a coat hanger and flush with water. Before putting the piping back together, check the washers and nuts to see if they need to be replaced. Put the p-trap back into place and hand tighten the nuts. Over tightening nuts with a pliers will strip the threads. Turn on the water and check for leaks. Tighten the nuts slightly with a pliers until all leaks disappear.
If the clog isn’t in the p-trap, it is probably in a drain pipe. There are 3 measures you can take to fix a clog in a drain pipe before resorting to calling in a plumber: homemade vinegar cleaner, plumbing snake, and commercial drain cleaner. The vinegar cleaner is a concoction of household products. First, dump some baking soda down the drain. Then dump a couple cups of vinegar down the drain and cover the opening. The mix should react and create a fizzing effect. Lastly, pour approximately half a gallon of boiling water down the drain to help flush the clog.
The next possible fix is to break down the clog with a plumbing snake. A snake can be purchased at any local hardware store and is a good tool to have at your disposal. After breaking down a clog with a snake, wash what remains of the clog down with a combination of vinegar and boiling water.
If the clog is out of the reach of a snake, the next option is a commercial drain cleaner. Find the product that you feel suits your situation best and follow the instructions. If this doesn’t work and you know the problem is in the drain pipe, it is probably time to call a plumber. Also, if water is draining slowly in all bathrooms and the kitchen, the problem is probably is the main sewer line and will require a plumber.
If water is not draining smoothly or the toilet flushes when the shower is running, it is most likely a plugged vent. The vents are located on the roof and can be susceptible to bird’s nests, rodents, leaves, and other debris. Use a ladder to reach the vent and clear the debris with a wire hanger or water from a hose. Be cautious if you use a hose as the pipe is connected to the drains in the house and could lead to water overflowing. It is best to have someone inside the house to coordinate with you while using a hose.
A toilet clog is typically the result of an object that should never be in a toilet being flushed down. The most common culprits are paper towels and feminine products. The result is a clog in the toilet section of the plumbing before it reaches the drain pipe.
The first and easiest fix is the plunger. Make sure to form a good seal on the surface before “plunging.” The pressure should push the obstruction through to the drain pipe. If this does not work, try using a snake. Bend through the hole up to the clog and poke a couple holes in it. After loosening some of the material, the plunger can handle the rest.
If the problem is a running toilet, try to use the food coloring toilet leak check.