Unclogging a bathtub drain is an unfortunate and inconvenient fact of life. Most clogs occur as a result of a build-up of hair, grease and other organic matter on the interior walls of the plumbing pipes. This accumulation can, over time, become impassable and sticky and eventually, a wad of hair or clump of soap can become lodged and will hinder the flow until water begins to back up in the pipes.
Don’t Delay Drainage Fixes
Unclogging a bathtub drain should be done as soon as you notice that there is a blockage. Often, homeowners will continue to use the tub and put up with its slow emptying, but this is a problem that won’t go away on its own. Time to roll up your sleeves and fix it properly.
If the water backs up rapidly whenever you use the drain, it means the blockage is most likely close to the tub’s drain opening. You’ll often find that hair clogs will form around the stopper mechanism. Preventing this is easy.
Use a stainless steel strainer over the drain when you empty the tub. They only cost a dollar or so but they keep hair from going where it shouldn’t. Unclogging a bathtub drain is required far less frequently if you can avoid allowing hair to become a nuisance.
Sometimes you can actually grab hold of a few strands of hair in the drain and pull them, and you’ll find that a large clump will follow. Try using a wire coat hanger, bent to suit the purpose, or a pair of tweezers to grab the hairs.
Failing the above possibility, you can use a plumber’s “snake” tool to poke down into the drain and clear the blockage. Either you will dislodge it by pushing it with the snake allowing it to flow further down and out, or you might be able to hook it and pull it out.
Unclogging a bathroom drain can also call for the use of a rubber plunger. Remove the drain strainer and position the plunger over the mouth of the drain. Using a pumping action, the suction should help to dislodge the blockage. You’ll need to run the water to flush the debris out of the system.
When unclogging a bathtub drain, try taking off the overflow assembly plate and then remove the trip which works as a plunger and whose purpose is to trap hair. Unscrew the screws that hold the assembly plate on, take it off and you can remove the hair from the trip.
In some cases, it can be helpful unclogging a bathtub drain with chemical products. Sometimes what is needed is to dissolve and break down the greasy substances that collect on the pipes. Preferably, you will exhaust the other options mentioned above, since pouring chemicals down the drain is not particularly friendly to the environment.
Some unclogging products are made without harsh chemicals and they rely on natural acids to do the job.
If all your attempts at unclogging the bathtub drain have been unsuccessful, you might have to call a plumber to clear the blockage for you. He may remove the trap under the tub or may need to access the pipes via the basement so watch what he does in case the clogging happens again and you may be able to do it yourself the next time.
Still, preventing the blockage from happening in the first place will save a lot of hassle and inconvenience. Be aware of what you allow to flow down the drain, remove hair regularly and throw soap bits away before they have a chance to wash away through the plumbing.