Troubleshoot Your Slow Drain

Troubleshoot Your Slow Drain
crawfordmech February 25, 2016

f you are like most people, you probably ignore slow drains thinking they will take care of themselves. The truth is, this seldom works. Once drains become sluggish they tend to become worse over time until they can no longer be ignored. So, if your drains are slow or sluggish, bite the bullet and find out why before it’s too late. Follow these steps to troubleshoot and correct slow or sluggish drains.

Check the Drain Stopper

The drain stopper rests in the mouth of the drain and prevents objects from entering the plumbing system. Because the drain stopper catches hair and other debris, soap scum, hair and other junk can build up, stopping the flow of water down the drain. Pull out the stopper (wearing rubber gloves, of course) and clean the junk from the stopper. Some drains, such as shower drains, have a screen instead of a stopper. For these drains, you will need an old coat hanger or a drain weasel to pull the hair out of the drain.

Check the Sink Overflow

The tiny hole near the top of your bathroom sink is designed to drain excess water if your sink overfills, but that’s not its only job. The sink overflow hole also provides the air needed to for your sink to drain properly. If the hole is blocked or clogged, it will create a vacuum and your sink will drain slowly. Clean the sink overflow hole with an old toothbrush.

Empty the Trap

The sink trap is located under the sink. It can get clogged from items dropped in the drain and slow or stop the flow of water down your drain. Open the trap and clean it out to restore the flow of water from your sink. Make sure to place a bucket or shallow pan under the drain before removing it as it is filled with water.

Use a Drain Snake

You can purchase a snake at the hardware store and snake the drain yourself. A drain snake will often remove clogs in the pipes between your sink and the sewer system.

Check the Outside Drain Vent

This pipe is typically located on the roof or along the side of the building. If the drain vent gets clogged it will prevent your drains from draining properly. Common reasons for a clogged drain vent are ice and snow, fallen leaves, birds or rodents that have fallen in the vent pipe. If you notice a gurgling sound when your pipes finally drain, there is a good chance the drain vent is clogged. To prevent future problems, place a screen over the end of the vent pipe to prevent debris from falling inside.

Call the Plumber

If the above remedies fail it’s time to call in a professional. Your slow or sluggish drains may be due to an overfilled septic system or improperly installed plumbing fixtures. An experienced plumber can assess the problem and get your drains running smoothly again.

If you have problems with slow or sluggish drains that are interfering with your busy lifestyle, contact us today. We provide 24-hour emergency services so we’re always here when you need us.