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  • Unclog a Shower Drain Using Household Items | Roto-Rooter

    Unclog a Shower Drain Using Household ItemsUse household items to unclog the hair from your shower drain.

    It's very common to experience backed up drains around the house. Food is probably responsible for most of the blockage in the kitchen. Luckily, flipping on the garbage disposal will get rid of that problem almost immediately. But in the shower, it's a different story. More likely than not, the hair that's sometimes shed while bathing is the main culprit. And since there's no garbage disposal in the shower, it may be time to get a little more creative when figuring out how to unclog these drains.

    Don't worry, you don't need to run out to the store to buy some product to pour down the drain. Instead, you can find all of the materials you need around your house to successfully unclog most shower drains. Here are a few different ways to do it:

    Boiling water
    This is probably the simplest way to clear a clogged drain. Simply boil water and slowly pour it down the drain. With any luck, you won't need any additional supplies or steps and you'll have a clear drain once again.

    Coat hanger
    Go grab a coat hanger from your closet. Shape one end into a small hook (using your hands or a pair of pliers if necessary). Fish it down into the shower drain to grab the built-up hair and draw it out. Depending on how long it has been since you last did this, you may want to remove the drain itself (unscrew it) so that you can more easily get your coat hanger hook all the way down.

    Baking soda and vinegar (or salt) mix
    You can do this two different ways but they will both require equal parts of baking soda and vinegar or salt (1/2 cup each). The first method is to mix the baking soda and vinegar before pouring it down the drain. You will notice a chemical reaction taking place by a bubbling or fizzing when the two substances mix together. If you prefer, you can pour the baking soda down the drain first followed by the vinegar (or salt followed by boiling water). The mixture is a great way to remove the tough grime, grease and hair that has built up. Make sure you run hot water through the shower drain before showering again, especially if you use vinegar.

    Dish detergent
    If your drain is still clogged, try using a thicker lubricant to loosen the built-up hair that has accumulated to block the drain. Pour 1/4 cup of your dish detergent down the drain followed by boiling water. The thick dish detergent should free the hairs from being stuck to the side of your drain and the water will rinse the rest of the unwanted gunk out.

  • Fixing a Clogged Drain is Easier Than You Think. 3 Simple Ways to Get the Job Done Right

    Keep your drains clearWe've all been there before, either when taking a shower that feels more like a bath, or using a sink that you can't fill up too high. Clogged drains are an everyday inconvenience, but fortunately, fixing a clogged drain yourself is usually simple. First, you'll just need to gather some basic household tools and supplies, and then get to work with your DIY clogged drain repair.

    First step: Plunging

    The most trustworthy tool in the at-home plumber's arsenal is the plunger. This time-tested device is proven to defeat some of the toughest drain clogs, but only when used properly. Many people have a plunger on hand for their toilet, but it works just as effectively on a bath or sink drain. However, you may want to disinfect the surface of the plunger before using it in these places.

    If you're plunging a bathtub or sink drain, first remove the stopper or strainer within the drain if possible. Next, run the faucet for a few seconds to build up some standing water in the basin of the tub or sink. This will provide some extra force to work against the blockage. To focus as much pressure as possible into the drain, use your hands or a towel to cover up any overflow holes in the tub or sink.

    Once you're ready, apply rapid force to the drain with the plunger, making sure not to break the seal. Run the water to test the drain out and clear away any debris.

    Second step: Chemicals

    If plunging doesn't do the trick, you might have some luck using drain-clearing chemicals that you can find at most hardware stores. These usually include directions for use, but generally you will want to make sure you pour the solution directly into the drain, wait a few minutes and then flush with hot water. You could also make your own drain cleaner by first pouring a half cup of baking soda into the drain, then dumping one cup of vinegar mixed with one cup of hot water.

    Third step: Call the pros

    If nothing else works, be sure to call  Roto-Rooter to have your drains inspected and cleared in no time.

  • Effectively Remove Clogs in Your Bathroom Plumbing

    When you are standing in a pool of water by the time your shower ends, you know there is a clog building up somewhere in the drain. At first, the pool of water is small. However, as the clog grows bigger the drain will run slower and the depth of the pool will increase. If you let it go too long, the water will quit draining all together. At that time you may need to call a plumbing company to clean the drain. Long before that happens, however, you can implement a few preventive maintenance ideas to help take care of clogs when they are small.

    Basic Causes of Shower Clogs

    Understanding what causes a clog is the first step in preventing them from occurring. Hair, soap, shampoo and other products slip down the drain. Soap scum tends to build up and combine with the hair to make a clog. Usually clogs occur in the bends underneath the shower or tub which are fairly close to the surface.

    If you catch them early enough with the following methods, you can effectively prevent many shower clogs and avoid the need to call a plumber.

    Use a Plunger

    One of the best-kept secrets for unclogging tub and shower drains is the plunger. Whenever water starts to drain slowly, pull out the plunger and go to work.

    Pour Hot Water in the Drain

    Once a week pour three to four gallons of boiling water down the drain. The hot water helps dissolve the soap scum and grime and carries it down the pipes.

    Vinegar and Baking Soda

    Dump baking soda in the drain then pour vinegar into the drain. The chemical reaction may help dislodge clogs and dissolve grime.

    Environmentally-Safe Drain Cleaners

    Once a month use an environmentally safe product such as Roto-Rooter Pipe Shield®, a preventive drain maintenance product that will provide a protective coating on your pipes to help prevent grime from building up in the first place.

    Carefully Use Chemicals

    There are many chemicals on the market that are designed to help remove clogs in your drain. Many of these chemicals are very dangerous and can harm you if ingested or spilled on your skin. They are also hard on the environment. On the other hand, there are many chemicals recommended by plumbers that you can use that are safe for you and the environment.

  • Have a Clogged Drain? 3 Tips to Unclog Your Drain Today

    A lot of stuff makes its way down the drains in your home. Bits of food in the kitchen sink and hairs in the bathroom, all combine with soap and can clog your drains. The good news is there are easy ways to fix this problem. Here are a few tips:

    1. Try boiling water

    Commercial products for bathroom clogs often have harsh smells. If you'd rather go the natural route when unclogging a drain, break out your teapot. Boil a full kettle of water and slowly pour it down the problem drain. The heat will break up any residue that is causing the clog, allowing you to get back to business as usual.

    2. Use a wet vacuum

    If you have a wet/dry vacuum, you have a great tool for unclogging drains. Simply turn it to the wet setting and cover the drain. Wearing a rubber glove, you can use your hand to make a good seal by creating an "O" shape over the drain and placing the vacuum wand on the other end. Try not to let any air escape. This will suck up whatever is causing the clog and you'll be using the sink again in no time.

    3. Break out the plunger

    No, not the toilet plunger. These devices have different shapes for various plumbing needs. Sink plungers have a flat head, whereas ones for the toilet have a smaller opening and a more mushroom-like shape. Simply place the plunger over the sink and push down on the handle until the clog has been forced out. Sometimes the mess comes up with the plunger and on other occasions it goes down the pipe and dissolves. Either way, you'll be able to clean up the area and use it normally.

  • Tips on How to Retrieve a Valuable Item Down the Sink

    Tips For Removing a Valuable or Personal Item From Your Drain

    We've all had that "Oh no!" moment after dropping something down the drain. Earrings, contact lenses and even toothbrushes sometimes manage to make their way into the pipes. When this happens, what do you do? Here are some tips:

    Try a coat hanger

    It seems silly, but if you are able to remove the drain catch, try and feel around in the pipe with a bent coat hanger. For smaller items, this may not work, but you can remove toothbrushes and other larger things with this method.

    Take the sink apart

    Anyone can take their sink apart to find a lost ring or earring. The first thing to do is turn off the water. Then, put something under the sink plug (what keeps gunk from going into the pipes) so it doesn't close. Place a bucket under your sink plumbing (usually under the sink cabinet) so water will fall into it. Unscrew the J​-pipe from the end near the sink and the side closest to the wall. Dump the water (and hopefully your lost item) into your bucket. 

    If you don't see your item, it may be stuck in the P-trap (J-shaped pipe). This means you'll have to reach into the drain from the top. The best device for the job? A magnetic retrieval tool (if what you are trying to retrieve is not silver or gold) or a pronged retrieval tool. These tiny lifesavers look like the antennae on your radio and often telescope so they can be made longer or shorter as necessary. You can purchase one at a hardware or plumbing store. Just slip it into your drain and use a flashlight to spot the item and grip it with the magnet or tongs. Pull the item out and give it a good scrub.

    Call a plumber

    If the above methods don't work, call Roto-Rooter. Don't use the sink, or your item may be swept away into your water system. Instead, keep the water off and let a professional do the job.

  • Pet Owners: 4 Plumbing Tips To Keep Drains & Pipes Clean

    If you have a furry friend or two, you may have experienced the unique plumbing issues that come with them. All that hair can clog drains during bath time, and you've probably found Fido sipping from the toilet at some point. Here are some plumbing-related tips that are helpful to know as a pet owner:

    Use a drain strainer

    When your dog or cat needs a bath, it's a good idea to use a drain strainer to keep their hair from causing a clog. Even if you don't think they're shedding at the time that they hop in the tub, you may be surprised just how much fur comes off once you start scrubbing.

    Be careful what you flush

    "A 'flushable​' label doesn't mean a product's good for your toilet."

    Some cat litters may say "flushable" on the label, but it's best to scoop used litter into a bag and toss it into the trash. Cats sometimes eat things they cannot fully digest, like bones. These items will likely cause issues with your plumbing system. Avoid this entirely by not flushing your cat's litter.

    Replace pets' water often

    If your pup or kitty is turning to the toilet for water to drink, you may need to refresh their water dish. ASPCA recommends washing your pets' water bowls and refilling them twice a day. It's important to keep an eye on their water levels, especially when it's hot out, as you may need to give them more water during higher temperatures.

    Hide exposed pipes and drains

    Animals love to chew, and an exposed pipe or drain may seem like the perfect toy. Prevent unnecessary pet-related plumbing emergencies by moving furniture or other items so your canine and feline friends cannot access pipes or open drains. You can also purchase drain covers that make it difficult to get to them. Roto-Rooter has seen many instances of puppies and kittens finding their way into open drains then requiring pet rescues (click this link for Roto-Rooter pet rescue videos) from deep inside a pipeline.

  • Recover Jewelry Stuck in a Bathroom Drain | Roto-Rooter

    jewelry_and_drainWhether you took your ring off to wash your hands, or placed it on the counter where it slipped down the drain, losing jewelry in your bathroom drain can happen to anyone.

    When you are trying to recover jewelry from a drain, you can consider the DIY method or call your local Roto-Rooter plumbing expert for professional assistance.

    Here are two ways to recover jewelry stuck in your drain:

    The magnet trick

    Try retrieving jewelry stuck in your drain with a heavy duty magnet. Simply tie the magnet to a piece of string and slowly lower it down the drain. Fish around until you are able to pull up the jewelry.

    Dismantle the P-trap and J-bend

    Sometimes dismantling the P-trap located underneath the sink can be the easiest and most effective way to recover jewelry from a drain. Dismantling the P-trap and J-bend can actually be quite easy and on plastic drains, it can be done without using tools.

    *Always remember to turn off the main water supply off first to help prevent the item from being flushed into the sewer line.

    Locate the P-trap, which is the J-shaped pipe under the sink. Place a bucket underneath the J-bend to help capture any water that flows out. Next, unscrew the trap by loosening the slip nuts (an object allowing a flexible yet watertight connection between drain pipes and their traps) on either side of the J-bend. Once the nuts are removed, the pipe will become loose and (along with the obvious debris, hair and grime), you will hopefully find your jewelry.

    For more information, view Roto-Rooter’s helpful tips to locate and retrieve jewelry from sink drains online. Our informative video on How to Recover Jewelry from a Drain demonstrates a few retrieval methods from the professionals.  

    For additional help on how to dismantle the P-­trap and J­-bend, contact your local Roto-­Rooter professional or schedule service today.

  • How to Prevent Drain Clogs in Sarasota, FL | Roto-Rooter

    The best way to avoid drain clogs is to be mindful of what you put in it. Instead of using harmful chemicals to clean your pipes, follow these simple tips to help keep your drains clear:

    The Kitchen Sink with a Garbage Disposal

    Avoid tossing thick or sticky items into your kitchen sink. Food like thick fruit, vegetable peels, eggshells and pasta do not grind well and can cause a drain clog. Remember to toss your used coffee grounds or excess food scraps in the garbage or a compost pile rather than down your kitchen sink.

    When using your garbage disposal, run a heavy stream of water down the drain, which will allow any waste material to run entirely through the drainage system. Clean your system out weekly by pouring boiling water down your most used drains.

    For the Kitchen Sink without a Garbage Disposal

    Never pour excess cooking grease in the garbage disposal or down the sink drain. Grease can stick to the inside walls of your pipes, leading to a drain clog. To prevent drain clogs, always dispose of grease directly into the trash can.

    When you don’t have garbage disposal, a drain strainer will help prevent food scraps from trickling down the drain.

    Once a week, pour boiling water down your drain to clean out the system, which will help melt away the weeks' worth of grease that has accumulated inside your pipes.

    The Bathroom  

    In your bathroom, it is best to use a screen or drain grate that covers the drain’s opening. A screen or drain grate will minimize the amount of hair and soap scum that accumulates in the shower and/or bathtub drain. Routinely clean these screens and grates to ensure that water doesn’t pool up due to all of the excess hair and scum on the screen.

    In addition, always be mindful of what you flush down the toilet. Certain paper products like paper towels or baby wipes can easily cause clogging throughout your entire sewer and drain system.

    Universal Suggestions

    Call your local Sarasota, Florida Roto-Rooter plumbing expert annually to inspect your home’s plumbing system. Your service professional can snake all the drain lines in your home to remove any potential buildup before any severe clogging can occur. Depending upon how many people live in the house, your septic tank should be pumped every few years. If your home is attached to a municipal sewer system, your main sewer pipe should be cleaned periodically to prevent drain clogs. Older homes are more susceptible to clogs because they have sewer pipes that are made of clay, concrete or cast iron. Plastic pipes are less likely to experience root intrusion so they have fewer clogs.

    Periodically, toss a handful of baking soda down the drain, followed by a stream of hot water. This combination will allow food particles to run down the drain and not stick to the side of the pipes. Baking soda also helps to absorb foul odors. You can also use vinegar to clean your sink, as it contain acetic acid, which helps in removing build-up. Pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and let it sit for about 30 minutes, then thoroughly rinse out the pipes by letting hot water stream down your sink.

    Ultimately, to prevent drain clogs, do not treat your disposal, toilet, sink or shower like a dumpster. Pipes are narrow which means they are not meant to accommodate the size of every item you are attempting to flush. Always be mindful about what you're tossing into your drain.

  • Unclog a Drain Naturally | Roto-Rooter

    Unclog your drain naturally

    If you have standing water in your shower, sink or bathtub you might have a clogged drain. Things like hair, dirt and debris can easily create back-ups, causing clogs.

    Make a home solution

    Often a cleaning solution is needed when you have a clogged drain. While most chemical drain cleaners are toxic and can be harmful to ourselves and the environment, there are simple eco-friendly and non-toxic ways to unclog a drain that include:

    Self - cleaning

    Assess the situation and try to clear the blocked drain by hand.  Unscrew the plug stopper while using a handy tool like a wire coat hanger to search for any debris. Remember to use gloves during this cleaning process as much of what you will pull out will be black, messy and odorous.

     All natural cleaning solution

    When a simple hand drain cleaning isn’t enough, sometimes, a natural drain cleaning solution will do the trick. Making a chemical-free cleaning solution can be done easily with just a few simple, common household items. Follow the steps below to unclog a drain naturally:

    • Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain.

    • Pour in a cup of vinegar (let it work on the drain for about 15 minutes).

    • During this time – boil a pot of water.

    • Pour boiling pot of water down the drain.

    • Repeat the process another time or two if necessary.

    Call in the plumbing professionals

    When you have tried everything and self-cleaning and homemade drain cleaners just aren’t working, it is time to call in the plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter. We are here to help 24/7 including holidays when you need service most. Our team of expert plumbers are here to handle all of your residential plumbing needs.  We will come out to assess the situation and give you a timeline and cost for repairs.

  • 4 Reasons to Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners | Roto-Rooter

    Many chemical drain cleaners can clear a clogged drain quickly. However, there are many reasons why Seattle residents should avoid chemical cleaners at all costs, here are just a few:

    Highly toxic

    Chemical drain cleaners are not only high in toxicity but are an extreme health hazard. Chemical drain cleaners produce hazardous fumes that get released into the air. Fumes can linger for hours, creating irritation to your lungs, eyes, nose, throat and skin.  Chemical cleaners will not only incite a reaction in humans, your pets are just as vulnerable. Toxins end up in landfills and water supplies, which is harmful to both humans and the environment.

    Damaging to your pipes

    Chemical drain cleaners are harmful to your pipes. The hydrochloric acid in the cleaning solution is so powerful that it can eat away at your plumbing. Over time and with frequent use of chemical drain cleaners, holes can form in your pipes. These harsh cleaners also gradually eat away at the enamel on your sinks and bathtubs, causing even more damage and at some point, the additional cost of replacement parts. Curing a minor clog can turn into a much more costly plumbing emergency. See our helpful information online to learn more about effective yet safe cleaning alternatives with our recommended residential drain cleaning products.

    Environmental impact

    Residue from harmful chemical cleaners ends up in landfills and our water-supply system, causing both harm to the environment, humans and wildlife. When toxins seep through the soil, they are resurrected through bodies of water -that same water that gets consumed by you and your family. A simple solution of baking soda and water can attack that clogged drain the eco-friendly way without damaging our environment.

    Septic system damage

    Septic tanks utilize natural bacteria to help breakdown water. Chemical cleaners that are poured down the drain kill off these natural organic bacteria, making your septic system less effective. After frequent use of damaging cleaning agents, at some point your entire septic system will need to be cleaned to counteract the damage.

    Call in the plumbing professionals

    For non-toxic cleaning advice to help with clogged drains, septic repair and more – contact your experienced Seattle Roto-Rooter plumbing professional to assist with all your residential plumbing needs

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