Help! What happens when your sink, full of dirty water, refuses to drain and it’s 9pm at night and you cannot call your plumber?
There are tricks you can do to clear the drain yourself, without using corrosive and environmentally unfriendly chemicals.
Firstly: Check the other drains in your house to see if the problem is local or something to do with the main pipes leading away from your home.
1. If the other drains do not clear you will need to contact your plumber.
2. If it is isolated to one drain, such as your sink for example, try the following:
3. Don’t use corrosive chemicals. While they generally do work, they are very hard on the environment and potentially dangerous to your eyes if there is splash back.
4. Take the strainer that forms part of the drain plug out if you can. Feed a stiff wire coat-hanger down and catch any hair wads. See if you can dislodge a blockage. Alternatively:
5. Use a sink plunger. This is a very useful tool to buy and keep for that ‘unfortunate moment’. Run about 1 inch water into the sink. Place the plunger over the plug and depress and release gently at first. Plunging madly will have the unfortunate result of water all over the place although most often will dislodge the blockage. (and wet you in the process)
6. Follow up with half a cup of 40 volume hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen Peroxide is not dangerous to the environment and because it reacts with bacteria and organic matter, it bubbles and fizzes madly, which will clear any residual blockage, as well as go some way to sterilizing your trap. However, be careful you do not get any splash back into your eyes. If you do, flush well with water.
7. Last resort is to remove the trap. This is the curved, U- shaped portion of the pipe under your sink. Some traps have a seal you can open with a wrench, in which case, place a large bucket under the trap when you open the seal. You may have to reach in to feel for the blockage so wear some dish-washing gloves. Some traps however, have no seal and are all rubber. They are connected by a metal collar on both sides of the pipe. You will need a screw driver to release the collars. Place a bucket underneath, or thick newspaper, to catch any flooding. Remove the U shaped trap and take it outside to the hose. Shove the hose down as far as you can and turn it on full. Watch out for back flow towards you if the blockage doesn’t clear. You can also massage the rubber pipe to work out the blockage.
8. Replace the U pipe and tighten the collars at both ends.
9. If this still doesn’t work, close the bathroom and kitchen door, go to bed and call your plumber in the morning.