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Is Your Sink Draining Slowly?
Plumbing issues are generally annoying, but dealing with a slow draining sink is one of the most frustrating issues. Slow draining sinks are only partially clogged and can still drain to some extent.
However, a sink that drains slowly can also become non-functional as it becomes fully clogged. Many things could result from a slow draining sink. Apart from the fact that it will be impossible for you to effectively use the sink, a slow draining sink will eventually cause mould, mildew, and other microorganisms to grow within the pipe. This can subsequently cause the sink to become fully clogged.
Another potential effect that could result from a slow drain is that it would start to give off a bad smell. The blockage that's causing the sink to drain slowly may also stain the sink, and you may need drain cleaners or other measures to clear the blockage.
A Slow Sink Drain
Regardless of what's making your sink drain slowly, it can disrupt your daily life, especially when it comes to using your bathroom or kitchen. In some instances, you may have to contact a professional to check why your sink is draining slowly and fix the problem.
However, you must understand the possible reasons that could cause your sink to drain slowly. This will help you know whether you should call a professional or not. It's important to note that you should be prepared for the risks and challenges if you try to fix a slow draining sink yourself.
In this article, we have provided everything you need to know to help you troubleshoot the problem yourself. Feel free to call a professional plumber if you're unable to do it independently.
Signs Of A Blocked Drain
Many different factors can cause blocked drains, but the good thing is that it usually gives off signs to notify you of a potential blockage. These are some of the signs that accompany a fully or partially blocked drain:
This is most likely going to be the first thing you'll notice if your sink is wholly or partially clogged. It's mostly a sewage-like smell that will leave you wondering if someone used the toilet a while ago and forgot to flush it.
Another indicator of a clogged sink is that you'll notice water spilling back up the drain. It's ideal to have everything flow down the drain, but if you observe that the drain starts to overflow, then it means there's a blockage somewhere down the drain.
This is also an indicator to show that your drain is blocked. The gurgling sound shows that water is pushing or pooling against the pipes. This case arises whenever there's a blockage.
Slow draining is equally a sign that your pipe is partially blocked. Whenever you empty your sink, you may notice water taking longer to drain. The problem may worsen with time if unattended to. A slow draining sink shows that there's a blockage in the pipes.
Causes Of A Blocked Drain
People are primarily conscious of how they use their drains, but it's completely normal to make mistakes that can cause the drain to block. The blockage may also be a result of daily use. These are the most common causes of a blocked drain:
This may sound absurd, and you may wonder how tree roots can block your drain. Although they can't directly block the sink drain, they can alter the piping system by growing through them until they are breached, thereby causing a blockage.
These are the most prevalent causes of drain blockages. Tissues, wipes, and other similar materials can cause the drains to block. It's best to avoid dumping these materials inside the sink.
There's a greater chance of random materials blocking your sink for a home with kids. This is because children tend to throw different items in the sink, which can get trapped in the piping system, causing a blockage.
Do not pour cooking oil into the sink because it's denser than water and won't flow freely. In fact, the oil will only bring food debris and clumps together to cause a blockage.
Like oil, food scraps can also block the drain system, especially if it's coffee grounds. Avoid pouring coffee grounds down the drain.
Minerals like calcium can accumulate within your pipes to cause constriction. Even though this is not a direct cause of the blockage, it can also lead to other types of blockages.
This only applies to solid soap bars, as liquid soap won't cause drain blockages. Soap bars can get stuck within the pipes and will only get freed up when they break down. You can easily avoid this by utilising a mesh wire guard over plug holes.
Having long hair is beautiful, but this can be a curse if it gets stuck in your sink drain. Whenever you wash your hair in the shower or bath, you'll notice a few strands drop out, mixing with other substances and causing the drain to block.
This can get deposited into outdoor drains, especially drains that aren't protected by gutter guards. Natural debris includes twigs, leaves, and dirt, all of which can block your drain.
Cat litter clumps together whenever it's exposed to water, and this causes it to expand. If the cat litter goes down, it'll cause a blockage due to this expansion.
Fixing The Blocked Drain
Now that you know the likely signs of a blocked sink, and the potential causes, the next thing is to fix the drain so that it won't drain slowly anymore. But how do you clear your blocked drain? This will depend on the cause of the blockage. There are a lot of home remedies that you could apply, so here are a few methods that you might want to try:
This is the first solution to run to whenever you notice your sink draining slowly. Boiling water will easily remove and solve blockages caused by conditioners, grease, and other similar toiletries. Most of these substances have a very low melting point, and the heat from the water will quickly break them up. You only need to boil water and pour it down the drain to clear out the blockage.
Another option is to use natural drain cleaners to cause a fizzing effect that can break down the blockages. For this, you'll first need to pour hot water down the sink drain before adding a mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Allow the combination to sit for ten minutes, and rinse with hot water. Combining hot water with natural cleaners is a faster way to break the blockages in your drain.
This is also an option for sink drain cleaning, and you can find caustic cleaners in many stores. These cleaners dissolve oils, fats, and grease, all of which are tough blockages. The cleaners come with user instructions, and you only need to follow them to get the job done.
This is the most straightforward tool that you can use to dislodge the particles causing the blockages. Plungers form a seal around the plughole, and with a vacuum effect, you can clear out the blockages.
You can easily create a DIY drain snake, and for this, you only need to get a thin metal wire, like a coat hanger. Insert the hanger into the plughole with the hook on one end. Use the straight hanger to clear out blockages, especially those caused by hair or other similar substances.
Alternatively, you can use a plumber drain snake, which is a more advanced plumbing tool. Plumbers mostly use the tool because it allows them to go deeper into the pipes to remove blockages.
This option utilises a sharp and intense burst of water that can clear out different particles within the pipes. This approach is usually employed together with other methods mentioned earlier. Doing this will effectively remove the bulk of the particles clogging the sink.
There are extreme cases that may call for drastic measures like an excavation. An excavation involves digging around the drain to replace or repair the pipework. This approach is not always required, but it may help you prevent the pipework damage from extending.
Damaged pipes can equally cause blockages, in which case a pipe relining may be required. You'll need to contact a professional for this, but you can be sure that it's an effective and efficient alternative to pipe replacement.
Some professionals use this method, especially when they want to identify what's causing the blockage and how severe it may be. The process involves placing a camera with a tool that looks like a snake into the plughole. Once this is done and the blockage cause has been found, the next thing will be to develop a plan to solve the problem.
Plumbers Know Best
There are so many reasons that could cause a sink to drain slowly. Some of these reasons are very obvious, as we have highlighted above, while for others, you may need professional help before you can spot them. Whenever you notice anything like a foul smell, gurgling noise, or slow draining, it's a sign that the drain is blocked.
You may not need to call a professional to help if you notice some of these problems. However, you should contact a plumber if you don't feel comfortable fixing the problem yourself or if none of the solutions we have mentioned above works out.