Nothing ruins your day quite like water backed up in your floor drain. Whether it’s a clogged shower drain or sink, a flood from a blocked basement drain, or standing water in the garage, a blocked floor drain can quickly turn your home into a mess. Learning how to clear floor drain clogs is an important home maintenance skill.
In this post, we’ll cover some simple tips and tricks for unblocking floor drains throughout your home. We’ll discuss common causes of drain clogs and easy solutions you can try yourself before calling a plumber. From using a drain snake to dissolving clogs with chemicals, you’ll walk away with practical advice for keeping your floor drains flowing freely and preventing messy backups.
Why Floor Drains Get Clogged
There are several common reasons why floor drains become clogged over time. One of the primary causes is the accumulation of hair and debris in the drain.
Hair from bathing or showering routinely goes down drains, as does dust, pet hair, and other particles. The buildup of soap scum and hard mineral deposits from bathing products can also form obstructions in drain lines.
Small particles from normal water usage, such as dirt, sand, rust, and silt, will settle at the bottom of the drains if they are not cleaned out. Tree roots are another frequent culprit, as their fine root hairs can penetrate cracks in drainage pipes externally.
Grease, oils, and fat poured down the kitchen sink drain can congeal into solid drain blockages. Sometimes, larger items like toys or washcloths may also accidentally fall into clogged drains.
Additionally, ageing cast iron or clay drainage pipes underneath homes are susceptible to corrosion and cracking over decades, allowing tree roots to exploit openings and spread. Proper preventative drain maintenance helps reduce clogs, but blockages can still occur even with regular cleaning.
Tools Needed to Unclog a Drain
A few basic tools are useful to have on hand to clear common drain clogs around the home. A plunger is an essential tool for all drain issues.
Plungers use water pressure created by quick up and down motions to break up clogs in sinks, tubs, or floor drains. Another important item is a drain snake, which is a flexible coiled wire with a grabber or brush attachment at the end used to pull hair and debris out of clogged pipes.
Note: Drain snakes are good at unclogging drains but can damage pipes if not used correctly.
Chemical drain cleaners can help dissolve grease, soap scum, or mineral blockages. Enzymatic drain cleaners are gentle alternatives. A wet or dry vacuum quickly takes out standing water in cleared drains.
Small brushes or rods are handy for scrubbing soap scum or loosening debris in hard-to-reach drains. For tougher blockages, a rental drain rooter machine may be needed to mechanically clear tree root intrusions in main waste lines.
How to Unblock a Floor Drain
1. Remove the P-trap.
The P-trap is the curved drain pipe under the drain that traps water. Loosen the slip nuts or screws to detach it.
2. Clear debris in the P-trap.
Use a small bottle brush or screw to scrub inside and remove any buildup of hair, grime, etc. blocking the flow.
3. Snaking time.
Feed a drain auger or drain snake down the drain opening and turn clockwise to pull out any clogs further down the pipe. Start gently.
4. Drain cleaner.
Pour a chemical drain cleaner solution or baking soda and vinegar down the drain and let it sit to dissolve grease, soap scum.
5. Plunge it.
Use a plunger vigorously to create pressure waves that break up clogs farther down the drain line.
6. Wet vacuum
After plunging, turn the water on and use a wet or dry vacuum to suck out any loosened debris through the drain.
7. Repeat if needed.
You may need to repeat steps 2 through 6 a few times to clear stubborn blockages fully.
8. Flush with boiling water.
Run boiling hot water down the drain when finished to clear out any residual grime or cleaning agents completely. Be sure to collect any hair that’s lodged in the drain, and remember –action figures, cosmetics, and dental floss aren’t made for flushing! It’s worth keeping a small wastebasket beside the loo for all other sanitary, cosmetic, and grooming product waste. The last thing you want is a blocked toilet drain that doesn’t flush.
9. Reassemble P-trap.
Slide the P-trap back into place, hand-tighten the slip nuts, and test that the water drains freely.
Prevent Future Clogs
It is important to maintain drains regularly to prevent a blocked drain from recurring. One of the best preventative measures is to remove hair from blocked drains after each shower.
This can be as simple as grabbing loose strands and pulling them out. Do not pour fats, oils, and grease down the drain for sinks, as these will quickly solidify and block pipes.
An easy way to collect food scraps is to wipe sinks after use and deposit solids in the trash. Periodically running hot water or a baking soda or vinegar solution down drains also helps to dissolve mild buildups.
Outlets on roof guttering and basement floor drains should be kept clear of debris. It’s also a good idea to treat sewer lines prone to roots every 6-12 months using a root growth inhibitor treatment. Using basic plumbing maintenance steps, floor drains can be kept clean and clear to continue working properly for years.
When to Call a Plumber
While many minor drain clogs can be easily addressed at home, there are times when it’s best to contact professional blocked drain experts for assistance. If clearing attempts with a plunger, snake, or chemical treatments have been unsuccessful after repeated tries over several hours or days, it may indicate a larger blockage.
Standing water that does not fully drain even after snaking is also a sign of a serious clog. Flooding or backup in multiple drains or bathroom sink drains is generally beyond a do-it-yourself job.
Likewise, blocked main sewer or outdoor drain lines often require power tools or equipment to access. It’s also wise to call a plumber if tree roots completely obstruct a drain.
Professionals have the right machinery, tools, and expertise to clear large blockages quickly before costly damage occurs. In situations involving gas lines, determining structural issues, or potential health hazards, a plumber should always be consulted right away for safety.
Easy DIY Techniques To Unclog Your Drain Fast
We hope this overview of tips and troubleshooting advice proves useful if you experience a blocked floor drain. With some basic tools and know-how, many clogs can be bust unblocked in a short time. However, as discussed, larger issues may require an experienced plumber’s skill set. If drain cleaning attempts are unsuccessful or you face major sewer line problems, don’t hesitate to contact a professional.
Fixed Today Plumbing offers reliable plumbing system repairs and drain cleaning services to keep your drains flowing freely. With state-licensed technicians and cutting-edge equipment, we can diagnose drain issues quickly and fix problems before damage occurs. We strive for transparent pricing and great customer service.
If drain maintenance is ever needed, trust the team at Fixed Today Plumbing. You can schedule a service call online or give us a call at 1800-012-647. Our drain experts are standing by to answer any questions about plumbing systems.