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How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain

Most blockages in the tub and shower drain involve the drain stopper. Depending on the stopper’s model, there are perhaps some parts running through the drainpipe, allowing you to easily open and shut the drain. The problem is, these components catch hair strands and other wastes that block the drain over time. What’s the solution to this kind of problem?

1. First, disassemble and then clean the drain stopper.

2. Provide protection to the surface of the tub. Spread a piece of cloth or towel on your tub to lay your plumbing tools on, so the surface of your tub will not get damaged.

3. Detach tub’s drain stopper. Raise the lever of the stopper for you to open the drain and take off the drain stopper. If the stopper has a strainer grating over the drain, remove the screw that holds it in place after you open the drain.

4. Next step is cleaning the stopper assembly. Remove any strands of hair wrapped around the stopper or the armature that is linked to the stopper assembly. Remove any hair stuck in the drain under the stopper or strainer which you just removed, using needle-nose pliers. Scrub or soak the strainer in a solution of half parts water and half parts vinegar to eliminate contaminants like mineral build up.

5. Detach the overflow plate. Do this by backing out the two screws anchoring the plate in place. Pull and wiggle to loosen and free the overflow plate and any attached stopper that’s running through the overflow pipe.

6. Cover the overflow plate’s opening, using a duct tape. This is to make sure that there is no air leak in the pipe, so see to it that the hole is absolutely sealed.

7. Plunge the bathtub drain. Run hot water until you have one to two inches of water. Place your plunger over the tub drain and apply a rapid up-and-down movement 5-6 times. While you work, you will notice the duct tape move slightly. This means that you have established a vacuum. Such vacuum will push the clog through the pipe as you work on the tool. Lift the plunger regularly to allow debris to move. Repeat the plunging process. If after around 15 minutes your tub remains in the same condition, perform the next method:

8. Snake your tub’s drain. Feed about 30 inches of cable down the drain through the overflow’s opening and not the opening of the drain. Feel the wire as you work. A pipe with no clog shouldn’t have any resistance. But, a blocked pipe will have a slight resistance, especially when the line is going through the P-trap under the bathtub. Older houses might have drum traps instead of P-traps with a clean-out cap near the tub. In this case, snake through the drum from this point. Retrieve the cable and perform the process again if you did not get the clog out.

9. Flush. Run hot water through your tub’s drain. Put some salt and then freshly boiling water. This will completely flush the drainpipe.

If you need help getting the blockage out of your tub drain, do not make the problem worse, call an expert plumber like Scott Berkefeld at guardian plumbing in Victoria.

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