How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink (and Happy Halloween Weekend!)

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Happy Halloween weekend from everyone at Boulden! We hope you have a fantastically spooky time! And since nothing can ruin your night like a clogged drain, here are some quick tips on how to fix it.

There are lots of reasons why kitchen sinks clog. And in order to unclog the sink, it is important to know why it clogged up in the first place. It is easy to suggest a simple solution but the “one size fits all” philosophy doesn’t always work.

As simple as it sounds, you don’t want to use a grease dissolving agent on a clog caused by a fork that is stuck sideways in a pipe. You also don’t want to mess around with the plumbing if the solution is as simple as using a snake or pouring some dissolver down the drain. If the clog is obvious you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.

If the drain is clogged in your West Grove home, the easiest thing to do is to operate the garbage disposal, provided it is tied into the drain. But you don’t want to turn on the disposal until you have checked for obstructions in the drain, namely utensils. Remove any utensils before turning on the garbage disposal. Sometimes even the smallest amount of debris can stop up a drain and a simple flip of the disposal switch clears it away.

If that solution doesn’t work you may want to do the following procedures – in order – to unclog the drain.

  • Run extremely hot water in the sink. This can sometimes dissolve whatever is clogging the drain by breaking down the debris.
  • Use a plunger. A blast of forced air from a plunger can often do the trick. If the clogged drain is connected by pipe to another drain (a sink with two basins), you would need to plug the other drain when plunging. Forced air will find the least path of resistance and may bypass the clog and exit out another opening.
  • Use a liquid or granulated dissolver, poured directly into the clogged drain. There are many products on the market for this task. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before dumping chemicals into your drain.
  • Snake out the pipes. Stubborn clogs that are resistant to the above solutions may require that you use a hand-held or portable snake in the pipes leading to the drain. Again, read the instructions on how to operate the snake in order to avoid damage to the pipes, drain, or yourself!
  • If the clog persists, there may be a bigger problem going on. At this point you have to ask yourself if you feel comfortable taking the plumbing apart to find the cause of the clog. There could be other more serious problems going on further down the plumbing circuit, i.e. roots in the pipes.

The last “resort” may require the help of a plumbing professional. You have to ask yourself if you have the time and the knowledge to disassemble your drain and pipes. It may cost you more in the long run if you damage any parts during the procedure or create other “add-on” problems.

Remember to try the easiest solutions first and if you are still unable to unclog your drain, call a qualified plumber who will save you time and peace of mind.