Keep Your Drains Running Smoothly

Odor-free drains

odor free drainsKeep a drain odor-free by running very hot tap water through it after each use. About once a week, throw in a handful of baking soda, followed by hot water through the drain. According to the plumbing of Santa Cruz experts, you can pour in 1 cup of vinegar, let it stand for 30 minutes, then run very hot water through the drain.

It’s easier to avoid one than dealing with blocked drains. Pour cooking grease into an empty can or a milk carton – never into the sink. The same applies to coffee grounds and other bits of garbage.

Unclogging a drain

  1. Remove the sink stopper or strainer. Clean out any material stuck in the top of the drain or on the stopper. Test water flow. If there is an overflow opening, block it with a wet cloth; fill the sink about half full.
  2. Place a plunger over the drain and rapidly pump it up and down 10 times, abruptly lifting it from the water on the last stroke. If the water rushes out, you’ve unclogged the drain. Otherwise try several more times before giving up.
  3. If the plunger fails, you’ll have to get into the trap under the sink. Place a bucket beneath the trap, unscrew the plug on the bottom of the trap with a wrench, and let the water run out.
  4. If there’s no plug, remove the trap itself by unscrewing the two coupling nuts, beginning with the higher one. Clear the stoppage by hand or with a wire. Replace the plug or the trap.
  5. If you still can’t reach the clog, you’ll need a snake (available at your local Santa Cruz plumbing supply or hardware stores). Twist the handle of the snake clockwise, pushing into and pulling out of the drain, until you reach the obstruction and clear it.

PLUMBING TRADE SECRETS: Call your local Santa Cruz plumber if all of these steps fail to clear the drain. Do not, under any circumstances use chemical drain cleaner and plunge your drain. It can cause serious burns to your skin and create a problem for the plumber.

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Scott Duncan

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