How Often Should You Clean Your Drain?
Proper home care is essential to extend the life of plumbing. My bathroom sink has always been slow since the day I moved into my home. Beyond heeding to the warnings of not shoving nails, glue, tacks, paper, and automobile oil down your sink there are a few other things to do. Below is what I do.
First, once a week slowly pour a quart of boiling water down the sink. Of course it is vital to use great care with boiling water. My plumber recommended this method.
The second item is the P-Trap under your sink (pictured above). Each sink should be connected to a P-Trap, as it keeps sewer gases and rodents from entering from the drain. If water is not draining from your sink you may need to clean out the U-shaped portion of the P-Trap. If there is a leak in the P-Trap, then it will need to be replaced.
To Clean the U-shaped Pipe or Remove the P-Trap
The first step before the first step: Purchase a P-Trap, thread seal tape, bottle-brush, and a plumbing snake. This will lower the stress level of the non-professional plumber. No need to make several trips to the store or to have your sink bathroom out of commission for a long time.
1. Clean out the area under the sink so you have room to work.
2. Place a layer of towels under the sink and shutoff valves.
3. Place a large bucket or pan under the pipes, this will catch water and debris. Make sure to have an extra pan in case more water comes out of the pipe than expected.
4. Locate the slip-nuts on the P-Trap and unscrew them by hand.
5. After the slip-nuts are unscrewed you will then place the U-shaped portion in the bucket and remove any water and debris. This will require a bottle-brush or maybe a screwdriver. Do not rinse out the debris into a sink, instead rinse it out over the bucket.
6. Place a clean rag into the pipe coming from the wall to prevent sewer gases from coming into your bathroom.
7. Replace the U-shaped pipe and screw back on by hand. It is easy to break plastic pipes, that is the frustrating part for the non-professional.
Move on to step 8 if removing the entire P-Trap
8. If the sink is still not draining follow steps 1 through 7 again, then unscrew and remove the pipe leading from the U-shaped pipe to the wall.
9. Inspect for any other clogs to remove leading to the wall.
10. Put the pipes back together or place a new P-Trap on, tighten the slip nuts by hand, and test for leaks. Sometimes thread seal tape is needed before screwing the pipes back on under the sink. If this does not work it may be time to snake the drain.
11. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to snake the pipe. Caution: If you have another sink on the other side of the wall in your home, condominium, or apartment, use the snake slowly and have someone monitor the sink on the other side. Sometimes snakes can go through to the neighboring pipes.
12. If this process does not clear the drain it is probably time for a plumber.
*Reminder: Take a moment right now to mark your calendar with the day each week you will flush the drain with a quart of boiling water. This is also essential to demonstrate to your older children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. A good thing to know for when they move into their own place.