If you expect a lot of guests this weekend but have an ailing drainage system in your home, take steps to clean and secure it right away. Older drainage systems, such as those found in your vanity sink and bathtub, can back up unexpectedly. If the bad drains block the flow of water in your main sewer line, raw sewage can back up into your home. Here's how you clean out and secure your ailing drainage system before your guests arrive.
Get Your Supplies Ready
The first step in cleaning and securing your drainage system is to get all of your supplies ready. Here's what you do:
Mix Your Safe Drain Cleaner
Mix white vinegar, baking soda and hot water in at least five gallon-sized containers. The natural acids found in white vinegar and baking soda break through clogged drains without damaging the rest of your plumbing. White vinegar and baking soda also contain special neutralizers that clear away bad odors from mildew, old toothpaste, hair, and mold, which can be hazardous to your health if you have allergies or sinus problems.
You don't want to use caustic chemicals, such as drain openings made with lye, when you unclog the drains. If your home contains old, damaged plumbing pipes, you can actually make the problem worse if the chemicals eat through the lines or corrode them.
Purchase Your Supplies
Purchase a snake or auger from your local hardware store. The auger should be at least 25 feet in length, but you can purchase a larger drain snake just in case you need a bigger tool later. You control how much of the auger to insert inside your bathroom and kitchen drains, so you shouldn't worry about damaging the pipes in your home.
Buy a plunger with a firm rubber cup. Softer cups may not stick securely over your clogged drains. In addition, you want to form a strong suction over the clogged drain openings, which helps pull up, push down or release any debris that sticks to the lining of your plumbing pipes.
Buy Your Safety Wear
Obtain eye goggles to protect your eyes from accidental splashes. You also need a pair of thin but strong vinyl gloves for your hands. The gloves should feature grips on the palm and fingers, which helps you hold onto the auger and plunger safely when you use them.
Now, you're ready to unclog the drains.
Unclog the Drains
There are two quick ways you can locate clogged drains in your home. The most common sign of a clogged drain is slow water drainage. Water will sit inside sinks and drain out slowly when there's a clog in the pipelines. You may even smell a foul sulfur odor when there are clogs.
The other sign of a clogged drain is sound. Clogged drains gurgle, bubble and burp when you pour water down them or in the case of a toilet, flush it.
Now, do follow these steps:
- Put on your safety gear.
- Pour one gallon of vinegar, baking soda and water mix into each bad drain you find, then let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Turn on the taps and use the snake to work the drains. Once the water runs down fast and clear, you've removed the clogs. Be sure to repeat this step with every clogged drain.
- Flush your toilet to see if the water goes down properly. If not, pour 1/2 gallon of drain-cleaning mixture into the toilet, then wait 15 minutes for it to penetrate the clog.
- Flush the toilet again, then pour the rest of the mixture into the bowl and wait 20 additional minutes.
- Use the plunger to suction or push the clog through to the sewer line attached to the base of the toilet.
Flush the toilet one final time. If the water goes down correctly, you've fixed the problem. If not, contact a plumber and schedule services. There might be a bigger problem, such as tree roots, in your sewer line, which requires the expertise of plumber to remove and repair.
If you have concerns about sewer and drain cleaning contact your plumber for a detailed inspection and repairs.