Why Wont My Bathtub Or Shower Drain Right
Youre taking a shower, and the water is collecting at your feet, with no sign of going down the drain. Youve just taken a bath and pull the plug to drain the water, but nothing happens. If youre experiencing problems with your bathtub or shower not draining rightor not draining at alltheres a reason.
Your bathtub or shower might not be draining because:
If youre experiencing problems with your tub or shower, you can find professional, friendly help from the Durham plumbers at JD Service Now. Give us a call at 626-3626 for emergency or routine plumbing and HVAC services!
How To Unclog A Shower Drain Using Chemicals
- Read and follow the directions on the packaging, including the correct amount of the product to use. The amount you use will vary.
- Use gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes.
- Don’t combine different chemicals, as this can create poisonous gas.
- Pour chemicals down the drain opening.
Note: Chemicals should not be treated lightly. They can cause damage to your drainage pipes, especially if used repeatedly. However, using chemicals is typically a fast, straightforward, and affordable method with a fairly high success rate in my experience. You can reduce the need for chemicals by preventing future blockages from occurring !
Use A Plunger To Clean Off The Drainage
If you dont have a plumbing snake or auger in your hand, you may use a plunger. The plunger will get hold of the debris to ease them out of the bathroom sink.
- Use a small old rag to block the hole in the sink overflow section. Now, place the sink plunger right over the drainage of the bathroom sink.
- Fill the plunger cup with water. For this, you will need to fill the basin.
- Now, move the plunger up and down with as much force as possible. It will unclog the drain, and you will see the water from the basin disappearing through the pipes.
The use of the plunger and plumbing auger is quite similar. The difference is that the auger will reach deep inside the pipes, which the plunger fails.
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Slow Draining Bathtub Home Remedies
Baking Soda and Vinegar Drain Unplug Remedy
If neither of these fixes the problem, the most popular and enduring option is the combination of baking soda and white vinegar, often with a bit of table salt thrown into the mix. The individual chemicals of the soda and vinegar react, creating a powerful carbon dioxide gas that scours whatever it touches. The salt is thrown in for a bit of extra scraping power but isnt completely necessary.
Take one cup of baking soda, one cup of vinegar, and one of salt, if you want some extra power, and make sure theres no water in the tub. Dump the baking soda into the drain, followed by the salt, and finally the vinegar. If everything goes to plan, you should see a lot of froth satisfying, if nothing else. This signals that the mixture is scouring the inside of the pipe and hopefully eating away at the blockage. Give it around ten minutes, then flush it out with boiling water and test the tub to see if it drains.
Another popular option involves using the aforementioned baking soda and vinegar combo, but immediately afterward plugging up the tub and filling it with water. You can then release the water, which will flood down the pipe at once, and clear away any of the blockages that remain using sheer pressure.
Using a Plumbing Snake
No More Clogged Bathtub Drains Ever
Theres few things more annoying than standing in ankle-deep water while youre trying to shower. The dingy pool at your feet prevents you from getting clean, but it also sloshes and splashes to help create an irritating start to your morning. When this common occurrence takes place, it makes it impossible to rinse and clean your body efficiently, and when you finish your shower, youll have to take extra steps if you want to eliminate the soapy bubbles and residual dirt left on the bottom of your bathtub. Unless you take drastic action before your next shower, youll be faced with a repeat episode of puddle splashing the very next day.
Most people just pour gallons of toxic liquids down the drain to free anything thats stuck inside, but its really not necessary, and it can amount to a huge waste of money. Even worse, those liquid plumbers will always leave some of the gunk behind, and it accumulates, over time, inside your drain pipes. With enough abuse, you may be forced to call in the professionals, and that can be really expensive. If you have a spare minute, and if youre willing to make a small investment, you can easily prevent clogged bathtub drains forever.
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Why Drano Doesnt Always Work
Before we get into why Drano can fail, its worth reviewing what makes it effective most of the time.
The main ingredients in Drano include:
- Sodium hydroxide
- Sodium hypochlorite
These ingredients work in tandem to cling to, break down, and remove clogs by producing chemical heat. The heat loosens the clogged material from the pipe walls.
Once loosened, you can flush the clog with hot water. That step also prevents the clog from recurring.
So, the question remains why does Drano sometimes fail to remove a drain clog?
Understand that clogs vary. Drano is ideal for removing clogs made of organic and soluble matter such as hair, grease, or soap scum. Unfortunately, non-organic or more stubborn clogs may persist after using Drano.
These clogs can be made up of a solid object lodged in the pipe, or it can be due to a softer but dense material, such as clay or cosmetics. In these situations, the material will remain inert when exposed to Drano, so the clog will either stay in place or only partially break down.
Its also possible that the clog is simply too severe and too significant for Drano to remove. In this instance, you will likely need to remove the clog via manual means or call a professional to diagnose and fix the problem.
Finally, you may be using Drano wrong or ineffectively, making it less efficient. Examples include not using enough Drano to fix the clog, using the wrong Drano product, or rinsing your drain too soon after applying Drano.
Seek Help From A Reputable Professional
If youve tried everything, but your bathtub wont drain, you have no other choice but to call in a reputable plumber. Since you are welcoming a stranger into your home, you want to contact a firm like San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining. We vet our plumbers with a complete background check. Our firm also possesses the proper license, accreditation, and insurance to keep you and our staff protected.
Remember, complex drain, and pipe issues require the right tools and breadth of experience that an ordinary homeowner like you doesnt possess. At San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining, we aim to provide premium service that wont break your pocketbook. Apart from skilled technicians, we use quality materials to ensure that repairs are durable. We know you dislike downtimes we do, too. We also hate back jobs, so we do our work right so you can continue living in comfort.
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How To Clear A Completely Clogged Bathtub Drain
The above methods work for slow drains but are not effective against a completely clogged drain. From easiest to most difficult, here are three ways to clear a clogged bathtub drain:
1. Clean the Strainer and Stopper
The strainer is meant to catch large items but some things like soap and hair can slip by. There are several types of bathtub drain stoppers and some are easier to remove and clean than others.
Once you remove the drain stopper, you may be able to see what is clogging the drain and remove it using a pair of tweezers or a homemade hook. Sometimes, the strainer and bottom of the stopper have become clogged with grime and hair and simply needed to be thoroughly cleaned. If cleaning the strainer and stopper doesnt solve the problem, its time to try a plunger.
2. Use a Plunger
There are specific plungers made for sinks and bathtubs. There should only be a couple of inches of water in the tub in order to get the proper suction. If there is an excessive amount of standing water in the tub, remove as much as possible before proceeding.
Plungers work on suction power so you will need to seal the overflow drain with duct tape before plunging. Place the plunger directly over the drain and then press and pull the plunger in rapid succession several times. Repeat the process until the drain starts to flow freely. If plunging several times doesnt clear the clog, the drain needs to be snaked.
3. Snake the Overflow Drain
Another Component Creating Clogged Drains High Mineral Content In Tap Water
If you try using one of the hooks or hair snakes to clean out your bathtub drain, youll likely notice whitish crusty particles attached to the hair. Most of those particles are calcium deposits. Those calcium deposits are spiky and latch onto debris and hair. They even latch onto metal pipes. That adds to the tipping point to clog a drain.
Our tap water in Fallbrook, Temecula, Oceanside and Vista is particularly hard. That means we have a higher mineral content like calcium and magnesium in our water. Those minerals are not hazardous to our health. However, they are not good for our plumbing pipes or any water appliance. And they just add to the reasons for our many clogged drains in Southern California.
Find the mineral content under water hardness for each city here:
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Why Do Clogged Drains Smell So Bad
If your drain gets blocked, you may notice a musty, sulfurous smell in your bathroom.
This is because the clog collects all the soap scum and dirt that gets washed down the drain and is also a breeding place for mold and bacteria, which create that awful stink.
This is the same reason you should be ready for a foul odor if you manage to hook a blockage out of your drain.
How To Use Chemicals To Unclog A Shower Drain
- The instructions on the box, including how much of the product to use, should be read and followed. The quantity you use will differ.
- To protect your hands and eyes, wear gloves and goggles.
- Avoid combining different chemicals as this might produce harmful gas.
- Pour chemicals down the drain.
Note: You should not handle chemicals carelessly. They can damage your drainage pipes, particularly if you use them often.
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How To Prevent A Slow Shower Or Tub Drain
While you probably cant resolve a slow draining shower or bathtub yourself, there are definitely things you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.
First, buy a shower drain strainer that captures hair and other things that should not be put down the drain. Second, dont pour food, chemicals, or other substances down your shower drain. Soap, conditioner and water are the only things your shower drain should have to handle. Last but not least, consider that your drain itself might be the problem. Even the best drain lines arent meant to last forever, and all of them need to be replaced eventually. 20-30 years is generally the lifespan of a shower drain line, but other factors can greatly skew those numbers.
How Do I Snake A Bathtub Drain
Tub drains get clogged gradually, and odds are that youll see your tub initially draining slower and slower before its completely clogged. If you can, try plunging the drain as soon as you notice its draining slower. Sometimes this problem cant be avoided, however. Luckily, its not difficult to snake a tub drain. To clear a clogged bathtub drain, youll need a plumbing snake, some work gloves and some basic cleaning supplies.
Unscrew the overflow plate, which is the plate under the faucet and above the drain in the tub. Be sure to put the screws where they wont fall into the tub drain, then pull the stopper from the drain, which should be connected to the overflow plate.
For this part, youll probably want some work gloves. Clean any hair and soap off of the overflow plate and the stopper mechanism. This may be the source of the clog. Run the faucet to check. If it still overflows, then you havent found the clog, and youll have to snake the drain.
To snake the drain, insert the beginning of the snake wire into the opening, and crank out about 30 inches of wire. Continue to crank and press forward into the drain until you feel the snake meet the obstruction. Twist the cable with the handle until the snake has penetrated the obstruction. Now you can crank in reverse, bringing the snake back through the drain with the clog. A clogged tub drain can get pretty messy, so have some paper towels and cleaning supplies nearby.
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Six Ways To Fix A Slow
I will go into each of the above methods in detail below. Generally speaking, the list starts with the easier, less-involved, and cheaper methods and progresses to more-involved and expensive methods. So if in doubt, start with #1 and work your way down the list.
In my experience, clearing a clogged bathtub drain can often requires a combination of more than one of these methods.
Before You Begin. . .
Plumbing is messy work. Put on some old clothes before you start. You may want to lay down some old towels around the work area to soak up any water that spills. Stagnant water is unsanitary, so a pair of rubber gloves will protect your hands from germs.
Clogged Bathtub Boiling Water:
Did you think that pouring boiling water down the bathtub is going to help you with your clogging problem? If you did not, then you can try it out by boiling a couple of pints of water and pour it in the bathtub hole. However, this method is not going to be effective if you will have standing water in your bathtub. This is because the boiling water will be not able to get into your drains because it will be blocked from the water that is already in your bathtub.
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Plunger Works Best When Water Is Standing In The Bathtub
Plunger for unclogging a bathtub. Works best with standing water in the tub.
This Forced Pressure plunger may be an old school solution, but it often still works! It works best if you have standing water. So if there is not at least enough water to submerge the plunger, fill more until there is.
As you push the plunder up and down, it uses water pressure to suction debris in the pipe and push it further down into the drain pipe.
Standing Water Hazardous Due to Bathtub Clogs So Fix it Fast
Just a note of caution about not waiting too long to unclog your bathtub drain, especially if you have standing water inside. Even a slow-draining bathtub that isnt used often has standing water.
As you probably know, standing water breads bacteria and mould. Left standing too long, it also attracts insects like mosquitos that breed and can pass along disease to family members and pets.
So if these safe and easy fixes havent worked, Call US! Thats what were here for.
Push The Coat Hanger Into The Drain And Try To Hook Out The Blockage
Push the coat hanger into the drain to see if you can feel any soft resistance. If you can, it means youve reached the blockage, so try to hook it out with the coat hanger.
If you manage to hook anything, pull it up and put it into the plastic bag. Be warned that it will probably be quite nasty and have an unpleasant smell.
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How To Unclog A Bathtub Drain With Drain Snake
If the coat hanger method doesnt work, it means the blockage is probably further down the drain, in which case, youll need to try using a drain snake also known as a plumbers snake.
Drain snakes are coils of metal cord with hooks on the end that are designed to go much deeper into the drain to hook out blockages that are further down. Heres how to use one.
How To Unclog A Bathtub Drain Using Baking Soda And Vinegar
Note: The main advantages of this method are that it is ecologically preferable and won’t cause damage to plastic pipes. It is not so effective on serious blockages, though, and you may still end up having to resort to chemicals. For other natural remedies, read about 5 Homemade Drain Cleaners for Clogged Drains.
Try using a plunger to dislodge the clog and clear the blockage.
Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons
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