If someone asks me what is the easiest way to save money on plumbing repairs I always tell them to learn how to clear clogged drains.Clogs of one kind or another are one of the most common plumbing problems.They are so common, in fact, that some entire companies specialize in drain cleaning. Since most drains will eventually get clogged you can save a bundle by learning to fix clogged drains, including clogged tub drains, clogged kitchen drains and other clogged sink drains with no special tools and a little know how.
Clogged Tub Drains
Let’s start with something fairly simple, clogged tub drains. If your tub isn’t draining well it’s very likely the result of hair around the stopper. Plunging probably won’t help this. You will need to remove the stopper and clear the hair out.
There are two common types of tub stoppers, the “trip lever” type and the “lift and turn” or “tip toe” type. The “trip lever” ones have been in use for at least 50 years, the others are a little more recent. They both accomplish the same thing but do so very differently.
Trip Lever Drains
The “trip lever” has a lever on the overflow plate near the top of the tub. There is a linkage rod inside the overflow pipe which connects to the stopper. Some styles have the actual stopper inside the piping and other styles just use the linkage to operate the stopper in the tub.
The first thing to check is the drain in the bottom of the tub. Removing any hair or debris with a pair of needle nose pliers may solve your problem. If not you need to go a little further. Remove the overflow plate and pull the linkage and stopper out through the hole (or remove it from the drain in the tub). Remove any hair or debris that comes out with the stopper, make sure the tub drains now and put everything back together..
Lift and Turn Drains
The “lift and turn” and “tip toe” type are very similar and use a stopper that is connected at the tub drain itself. These have to be unscrewed from the tub drain to clean them out. There’s a trick to unscrewing a lift and turn type stopper. If you open it all the way and try to unscrew it it will just turn forever. You have to barely lift it up and hold it in that position while you unscrew it. A pair of needle nose pliers is very helpful for removing the hair that is usually clogging the drain.
If your tub drains now pat yourself on the back and go to dinner and a movie with the money you just saved. If things are still clogged the next step is to auger, or snake, the drain. This is done with a small cable snake through the overflow opening. Depending on your skill or confidence level this may be a job for the pros.
Clogged Sink Drains…