Clogged Drains in Your Building? What to Do Before the Plumber Arrives
A clogged drain in your commercial building can be the cause of extreme inconvenience, an unpleasant mess, or even significant damage to the building or its interior. Serious clogs will require the attention of a plumber, but there are some drain-clearing techniques you can try before the plumber arrives. Some of them may work well enough to clear the drain and prevent a costly professional visit. The next time your drains slow down, try one or more of the following tips.
Loosen or Break Up the Clog
Serious clogs or clogs that are deep in the plumbing or drainage system will most likely require professional attention. However, if you can loosen or break up the clog on your own, the problems will be solved without the need for a plumber’s assistance. Here are some ways that you might be able to dislodge the clog.
- Use a plunger: A standard bathroom plunger is a good first line of defense against clogs. They can be used on toilets, sinks, and even floor drains. Make sure the plunger has a good seal and that the pressure it creates can effectively get into the drain. Work the plunger up and down several times, then try the drain again. Don’t get discouraged if the first few hits with the plunger doesn’t remove the clog. Repeated pressure may be necessary to loosen the clog, so try the plunger multiple times before giving up.
- Use a drain auger: Before using a drain auger make sure you read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions and safety warnings. A drain auger, sometimes called a “snake,” is a long, flexible metal tube that is designed to fit down a drain. The tube will have a wire head that is designed to cut through clogs to loosen them up. Often the snake can be turned to allow the cutting head to drill into the clog. Drain augers for home or non-professional commercial use are usually a few feet long up to 50 feet long. They can be extremely effective at removing clogs.
- Use air pressure: Some drain-cleaning systems use concentrated air pressure to physically dislodge the clog. This works much like a plunger, except the air pressure is higher. Pressurized drain openers are usually available in retail stores. Commercial equipment suppliers will often carry more advanced devices that you may be able to use without a plumber’s assistance.
Use a Liquid Drain Cleaner
Liquid drain cleaners are very common, and some can be very effective.
- Apply a liquid drain cleaner: Liquid drain cleaners can be found at grocery and department stores, home improvement centers, and other retail centers. Follow the directions carefully when using these types of drain cleaners. Some of them might contain potentially harmful chemicals or substances that could cause injury if they get on your skin.
- Use an environmentally friendly cleaner: Some types of cleaners are more environmentally friendly than standard liquid drain cleaners. Consider using an enzymatic drain cleaner that applies clog-eating microorganisms to the blockage in your drain. Baking soda can also be an amazingly effective drain cleaner.
The best way to deal with a clogged drain is simply to keep it from happening.
- Install a strainer: A drain strainer is a piece of wire mesh that keeps large pieces of debris from getting into your drainage pipes. This will help prevent clogs make up of food pieces or other objects.
- Watch what goes in: Be careful about what gets put down your commercial building’s drains. Grease, cooking oil, or other food-related items can accumulate and congeal and cause a severely clogged drain. Paper towels, facial tissues, cotton balls, cigarettes, hygiene products, diapers, baby wipes, and similar items should not be flushed down a toilet.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on what you can do to fix a clogged drain in your commercial building, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
Photo Credit: Rubbermaid Products via Compfight cc