How to Fix a Slow Flowing Drain

One of the most common plumbing issues that people in Missoula face is a slow-flowing drain. This problem can occur in any sink, whether it be at a home or in the office. However,  it most commonly occurs in bathroom sinks and bathtubs. Because of all the junk that goes down these drains, such as hair, it can easily become congested. There are many other ways a sink can become clogged, though. It is an annoying problem that often leaves gross residue behind by the time water finishes draining, which can create an odor in addition to a plethora of potential long-term plumbing issues. In most cases, a clogged drain is simply unavoidable. If just one drain is clogged, the problem may pertain to that particular drain alone. However, if it is a multiple-drain issue, there could be something wrong with the septic system. Whatever the case, a backed-up drain needs to be fixed. Luckily, there are multiple ways to go about accomplishing this goal. 

Store-Bought Drain Cleaner

One of the most commonly used solutions to a backed-up drain is using a store-bought drain cleaner. They tend to be fairly cheap and offer a fast solution. However, be wary of using these products. A store-bought cleaner may break up the clog, but it often leaves residue in the drain, which sets up future problems. The containers they come in are also full of warning labels, and for good reason. Several chemicals in them can cause damage to the drain, your plumbing and most importantly your health.

Again, these products are easy to get anywhere in Missoula and promise quick results. Still, there are better methods for cleaning out your drain. Many of these options are just as quick and much more safe and effective. 

Homemade Remedies 

If you are looking for a quick-fix to a backed-up drain, you may be able to take care of it with items you have around the house. One homemade remedy, requires salt, baking soda and vinegar. Simply pour a half cup of salt down into the drain followed by an equal amount of baking soda. Finish by pouring a half cup of vinegar on top of all of that and walk away for about a half-hour. Once the mixture has set in, run hot water down the train for a few minutes to help flush out most of the loose debris that was stuck in the drain. With smaller congestive issues, using this mixture one time should be sufficient to unclog the drain. This process can be repeated as many times as necessary, though, for extremely overloaded drains. 

Lemon juice is another kitchen ingredient you can use to unclog your drain. Simply repeat the previous method. But, instead of using vinegar, use lemon juice. This option is a good alternative for those who do not like the smell of vinegar. Cream of tartar can also be used as a substitute for vinegar. However, you will need only two tablespoons as opposed to half a cup. Also, dish soap and hot water is another pairing you can use.

The idea with these methods is that the acidity from the mixtures will break down whatever is clogging the drain. Once it begins to settle and uplift the gunk, the hot water will flush it down and out.

Using home remedies allows you to take care of the issue yourself and forego calling in a plumbing expert. All you need to do is gather what you need from home or the store and get started.

Use a Snake

Using a snake can also be considered a home remedy, but it does not require mixing any products together. Snaking a drain consists of sticking a long piece of wire down the drain to clear out whatever is causing the problem. Some heavy-duty problems could require a snake that runs all the way to the street, but single-drain issues will not require that serious of an effort. You can use any type of wire to get this job done. Many people use a straightened-out wire coat hanger from their closet. All you need to do is wiggle it around and feel around for the spot causing the issue. Gently work away at the spot until you feel that it has been cleared or loosened up. Then, run hot water down the drain for a few minutes. If it is still not flowing correctly, you can repeat the process as many times as necessary.

If after multiple tries the drain is still clogged, try combining this process with one of the aforementioned at-home remedies. Once the acidity from the mixture breaks down the clog, the wire will have an easier time cleaning out whatever is inside.

Clean The Stopper

Another place to start when fixing a slow flowing drain is with the stopper. The stopper is the little metal piece that sits in your drain that controls the water flow. It often gets dirty and the buildup can cause a backup in the sink.

Newer stoppers are easier to clean than older ones, as they can simply be unscrewed and taken out. Old-school stoppers require a bit more work. Clear out everything underneath the sink. You should be able to see a plunger rod that runs down from the back of the faucet. You will also need to find a clip that holds both this rod and the stopper rod. After that, look on the sidewall of the drainpipe where you can see a nut. Remove it and squeeze the ends of the clip. This action will free up the stopper rod and allow you to remove the stopper. After cleaning it, do that process in reverse to put everything back in place.

Use a Plunger

Most people tend to associate plungers with unclogging a toilet. However, sink plungers also exist to help fix a backed-up drain. As opposed to a toilet plunger, sink plungers are typically much smaller and cup-shaped.  Before you start, cover the overflow hole with a rag. Pressure builds when you plunge something, and the rag prevents water from being shot out of the hole. Next, fill the sink with just enough water so that it covers the cup of the plunger. After that, plunge the sink as you would a toilet, using small, quick movements. You will know the problem is fixed if the water begins to flow normally down the drain. 

Preventative Measures

Once a drain is clogged there is nothing you can do except try and clear it out. However, maintaining a sink is no different than caring for any other part of the home. A little work now can save a lot of work and money later. Everyday acts like shaving can end up causing a clogged sink. Instead of washing the hair down the sink, take a few extra minutes to clean everything out of the sink. Those few extra minutes can save you a huge headache down the line.

The home remedies can also be used even when the sink is not experiencing drainage issues. Taking preventative measures on an occasional basis will clear out debris that builds up in the drain and prevent it from clogging the sink entirely.

Garden City Plumbing

While many drain-related issues with sinks can be fixed via DIY solutions, there are plenty of issues that will require the assistance of professionals. That is when Garden City Plumbing can step in and help. Since 1985, Garden City Plumbing has been delivering high-quality service and promising customer satisfaction for the residents of Missoula. They promise to respect their customer’s time by completing the job with cleanliness and care. The business is family-owned and operated and they know the importance of keeping their clients happy. Contact Garden City Plumbing today to schedule an appointment.