La Grange Plumbers

Plumbing repair La Grange Illinois

Unclogging Bathtub Drains

A blocked or clogged bathtub drain is a major nuisance, but still a problem most homeowners can handle, depending on the severity of the blockage.  Unclogging  bathtub drains can be done with some basic advice and simple tools.

Take a look down the drain, often times you will be able to see the blockage easily enough.  Most clogged bathtub drains are an accumulation of hair along with greasy body and hair products mixed together.  If you can see the blockage, try pulling it out with the hooked end of a wire coat hanger.  Often times it’s just this easy.

If you don’t see the blockage, or is still persists after you have removed what you can reach, then the next step is to use a plunger.  Make sure there is enough water in the tub to cover the plunger and also block the overflow outlet with a rag or washcloth, to create a good seal.  Now push down on the plunger vigorously 10-12 times.  If you have a good seal this should create enough pressure to clear most clogs. You will know because the water should drain quickly when you remove the plunger.  If it does not, try again a second and third time.  It might take this effort to fully push the blockage out of the drain pipe.

If the plunger fails to dislodge the block then either you or a plumber needs to try a “snake”.  The snake is not fed down the drain, but in through the overflow plate opening.  This overflow pipe is normally covered by a shield of sorts with 2 screws.  Remove the screws and the plate and then feed in the snake, gradually.  As the snake feeds in, you rotate it as you push.  This driving, rotating action should drive the snake through the blockage and break it up.  Or when you remove the snake, the hook on the end of the snake could drag the blockage out.

You will feel some resistance as you push and rotate the snake through the overflow pipe.  And then the resistance should lessen as you break through or break down the clog.  Run some water as you do this process, and when it empties quickly then the clog has been dislodged.  You may have to try the snake 2 or 3 times to break down a particularly thick clog.

May homeowners will ask the question “What about chemical drain cleaners to unclog the bathtub drain?”  Well, these chemical solutions are very caustic and can damage not only your pipes but harm our environment as well.  For these reasons professional plumbers do not use these chemical drain cleaners, which should tell us something.