Dealing with clogged drains can be a real pain that can end up costing you a lot of time and money. Poking around in your plumbing by yourself can leave you frustrated and even more confused than you started. Hiring a plumber often isn't any better and you can end up with a big bill for a procedure that you could've easily done yourself. To make your life easier, here are some troubleshooting ideas to combat this common plumbing problem.

Hot Water

The first thing you should try is flushing hot water down the drain. This can break up blockages and effectively remove the clog. You'll want to be careful about the temperature of the water if there is a rubber seal around your drain. Boiling water can damage such seals and compromise their integrity.

Manual Probing

If hot water doesn't work, then you can try to open up the drain yourself. At most, you might need a screwdriver to open up the drain. Once it is open, shine a flashlight down the drain to see if you can spot any obvious blockages. If not, poke around with a long, thin object (preferably one that is curved in order to reach around the bend in the pipe).

Plungers

Next, you'll want to try using a plunger. Cover the drain with water so that there is a small layer. Plunge the drain vigorously and then wait a minute. Take care that the seal of the plunger against the surface isn't broken. You want a vacuum beneath the plunger to force air and water downwards to break up the clog.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

You can try a baking soda and vinegar solution in your drain, which creates an expanding reaction that should explosively dislodge the blockage. While many chemicals can do the same job, baking soda and vinegar is totally safe and easily acquired.

Put half a cup to a cup of baking soda in the drain with a cup or so of hot (but not boiling) water. Wait a minute or two, then add around a cup of vinegar. The precise amount isn't especially important.

If possible, cover the drain up so that the reaction is forced downwards, towards the blockage. Wait 15-20 minutes and then add a few cups of hot water to flush the solution down the system. If everything worked, then your drain should be in working condition.

For more information, assistance, or supplies, visit resources like http://gopherplumbing.com.

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