At A1 Choice Plumbing & Drain, we get calls all the time about a clogged bathtub that won’t drain, or drains very slowly. A tub full of still water is a plumbing issue we don’t take lightly. Standing water anywhere in your house can lead to moisture problems, bacteria growth, rust problems, even insect problems. A clogged bathtub is not a problem to be ignored. Lots of times it’s a problem that can be fixed in 5 minutes or less, without the use of harsh chemicals, or an expensive plumbing bill.
How does a clogged bathtub happen?
The most common reason bathtubs get clogged is from hair, soap, and other product residues. Hair gets tangled around the drain crossbars or gathers in a bend in the pipes. Once hair starts to gather it acts as a net and catches product residues which can build up even more and prevent water from draining.
Why shouldn’t you use chemicals to unclog a bathtub?
Many people go straight for a chemical solution like Drano or Liquid Plumber when they encounter a clog. After all, it seems like a cost-effective, and easy solution. You just dump the liquid in and don’t have to do any physical labour or get your hands dirty. But many people don’t know that these chemicals can be harmful to you, your home, and the environment.
These chemicals are designed to erode through materials that can clog up drains, in doing so they can also erode your homes plumbing systems. The chemical reaction that occurs can eat away at metal and PVC pipes and weaken them, eventually leading to leaks.
When washed down the drain these chemicals can also cause problems in your cities sewage treatment plants. Many treatment centers aren’t equipped to properly deal with these chemicals so they end up back in our lakes, rivers, and oceans where they wreak havoc on the environment.
These chemicals are extremely toxic and should never come in contact with your skin or eyes, it can even be harmful to inhale the air when in use.
Tools you’ll need to fix a clogged bathtub
You’ll need a screwdriver, rubber gloves, a plunger, and a drain snake. We recommend wearing gloves when dealing with drain gunk to protect your skin from any cleaning product residue, or bacteria. If your tub is full of standing water you’ll want gloves to stay dry as well. If you’ve poured drain clearing chemicals recently you’ll definitely want gloves to protect your skin.
Steps to unclog a bathtub
The first step in removing the clog is to remove the tub drain cover. Depending on what kind of drain cover you have you may or may not need a screwdriver. Once removed you may find that the clog comes right out along with the cover if there’s any sort of crossbars for hair and gunk to catch on.
Remove any hair or debris that’s visible inside the drain. Once you’ve cleared out anything you can see, test the drain by running some water. If it drains smoothly, replace the drain cover and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
If the tub still won’t drain try plunging it. You’ll need to cover the overflow plate while you plunge so that pressure can build up and not escape out the holes under the plate. Cover the overflow plate with a second plunger if you have one, or with a damp towel. You’ll want the holes to be as airtight as possible. Plunge and test the drain again by running some water. This could take some time and some serious elbow grease, so don’t give up if it doesn’t come unclogged right away.
If the drain still doesn’t come unclogged from plunging you’ll need to snake the drain. You should never snake the drain on the tub floor. The pipes below can easily be damaged by a snake if it’s not being wielded by an experienced plumber. Instead, remove the overflow plate with your screwdriver and insert the snake down the hole behind the plate.
If you’re unable to get to the clog out with a snake you may need to call your local plumber for help. Clogs are usually close to the surface of the drain, so if it doesn’t come out by using either of these methods, there could be another plumbing issue preventing you.
What to do if you can’t unclog your bathtub
If by using these methods you’re unable to unclog the tub, call your local plumber. By trying to solve a clogged drain issue yourself you could end up doing more damage than there was to start, so if the blockage can’t be easily removed, calling a professional is your best bet. At A1 Choice Plumbing & Drain we have special tools and processes for unclogging drains professionally. A procedure we use with great results is video camera inspection, where we use a state of the art camera to identify the blockage, taking the guesswork out of unclogging your drain. Using this procedure we can also make informed recommendations regarding the care of the pipe in order to avoid recurring problems.
By hiring a professional plumber to unclog a drain, you can rest assured knowing that the issue will be resolved quickly and effectively, without doing any further damage.
How to prevent a clogged bathtub?
If you want to prevent your bathtub from clogging in the future, keep in mind what comes out when you or your plumber unclog it. It’s most likely hair. To prevent hair from going down the drain and clogging your tub, buy a mesh drain catcher to catch all the hair before it gets washed down. Empty the drain catcher each time you shower so it doesn’t build up and prevent water from draining. Make sure everyone in your house is aware of the problem and does what they can to reduce the amount of hair going down the drain.
A1 Choice Plumbing & Drain – Your Okanagan Plumbing Experts
If you’re experiencing a clogged drain or any other plumbing issues, call A1 Choice today and have our experts take a look.
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