Smart Students Know How To… Unblock a Drain

smart-students-unblock-drain

 

Enjoying that refreshing shower but end up in a paddling pool? Letting out your evening bath and the water’s slow to drain? Washing up at the kitchen sink, pull the plug and nothing moves?

If this sounds familiar then let us help!

Clearing a blocked drain yourself can be simple and inexpensive if you know where to start. Hopefully we can give you some helpful pointers.

Is the reason for the blockage easy to spot? More often than not it is purely a build-up of hair and soap scum in bathroom drains, and food waste and fat in kitchen sinks.

  • The easiest way to clear this is to lift up or unscrew and remove the chrome cover on your drain, then run your finger around the inside, pulling out any offending waste! If it is not easy to remove with a finger, try an instrument that will help you grab and pull (pliers perhaps, or a coat hanger?)
  • If you have no joy here then try a cup type plunger. Make sure you have enough water in the bath or shower to submerge the plunger, but not too much. Ideally block off any other outlets eg sink drain/ overflow with a cloth. Move the plunger in a vertical up-and-down action keeping the handle straight and upright. You are trying to create suction to remove the blockage.
  • Try buying a cheap ‘snake’ (a long, flexible steel cable with handle) for around £10. Feed it slowly and gently down the drain (if unblocking bath you will need to go down the overflow), twisting as you go. This will allow you to break up the clog, or hook it and pull it back up.
  • For slow draining baths or showers, pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain followed by half a cup of baking soda and then a cup of white vinegar. Let it react (you may hear it bubbling!) Then wash it away with more boiling water after 5/10 mins.
  • Chemical based products: Last resort you can use Caustic Soda or Sulphuric acid which react to break down fats, so excellent at clearing blockages. Although cheap to buy, use with caution as both chemicals can seriously harm your skin and eyes and produce some horrible fumes. It has sometimes been known to crack or erode pipework or sealant within the pipes so use with care. Always follow the instructions very carefully.

And just so you know for next time, things not to put down any drain include: hot fat, hair, food waste, oil, coffee, baby wipes, medicine and paint!

For constructive advice on student living and first class student homes, look no further than www.studentrooms4u.co.uk