Turn on the comfort with timothy off! Turn on the comfort
with timothy off!
West Chester’s Experts in Heating, Air, & Plumbing West Chester’s Heating,
Air & Plumbing Experts


How To Unclog a Drain

 Woman unclogging a kitchen sink drain with a plunger.

Clogged drains are bound to happen to West Chester homeowners sooner or later. Although clogged drains are a nuisance, they can often be managed at home with inexpensive solutions. But beware: Some at-home and DIY solutions can do more harm than good.

Here, Timothy Off Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing will share some affordable, effective ways to unclog a home drain and provide tips to prevent future drain clogs. Keep this helpful guide handy so you know what to do and not do when your sink, tub, or floor drains start gurgling.

Typical Causes of Drain Clogs

Most Pennsylvania homes have multiple drains throughout the interior, plumbing that connects them to a main line, and a larger outdoor line that feeds into a city sewage system or septic tank. Unfortunately, clogs can happen just about anywhere in this complex system.

Here are a few of the most common causes our drain experts see.

Kitchen & Bathroom Sink Clogs

The most common clogs occur just under the kitchen or bathroom sink. This is why you’ll find an elbow joint designed to catch foreign material before it makes its way further down the pipeline.

Kitchen clogs typically consist of small food particles, grease, and dirt. Bathroom sink clogs usually consist of hair and soap residue. You may also have the same type of clog in your shower drains.

Clogged Toilets

Toilet clogs can be caused by large amounts of toilet paper being flushed down at once. Occasionally, non-flushable products such as facial tissue, toilet paper, “flushable” wipes, feminine or baby products, or even foreign objects like toys can clog the toilet drain.

Major Appliance-Related Drain Clogs

Larger clogs around bigger appliances, including your washing machine or dishwasher, are more difficult to clear. Items like rocks, coins, safety pins, and fiber buildup can clog your washing machine drain. 

Sewer Line Clogs

At some point, if you notice all your sinks, toilets, and appliances aren’t functioning properly, you probably have a clog in your home’s main line that sits between your home and the main sewer line. This can be caused by tree roots, outdoor dirt, or yard waste accumulation, as well as foreign materials from your home. 

Recommended At-Home Drain Clog Solutions

Before running to the store for a harsh commercial drain cleaner, try some of the gentler methods below for unclogging a drain. Chemical drain cleaners may be ineffective, damage pipes in the long run, and aren’t always healthy for your family or the environment.

Remove Sink Clogs With Natural Methods

First, pull out any visible clogs from the sink itself. Then, pour boiling water down the drain with some salt. This can be effective for grease clogs. For additional power, let a fizzy mix of vinegar and baking soda sit in the drain for a few minutes before adding the boiling water.

Your sink will also have a drain trap. If you’re confident in your plumbing knowledge, you can attempt to empty those drain traps yourself.

Bathroom Clog Best Practices

For toilet clogs, use a quality plunger and be sure you have a good seal to maximize the suction. You could also try a drain snake or an auger. However, be sure you use a tool that’s properly sized for the specific job.

Try the vinegar and baking soda mixture or boiling water method for bathroom sink clogs. As for clogged showers and tub drains, see if you can pry out clogs yourself, which are usually hair or foreign objects. 

How To Address Appliance Clogs

For washing machine clogs, you can try an enzyme-based drain cleaner to eat through the clog.

If your dishwasher seems to be clogged, check the filter basket, which is designed to keep food scraps from getting into your pipes. If cleaning out the basket doesn’t help, check the hose connecting the dishwasher to your kitchen sink drain for a blockage.

Signs It’s Time To Call a Professional Plumber

When the DIY drain clog remedies don’t work, you need a professional plumber to handle the issue. Here are a few other signs it’s time to call Timothy Off for help:

  • Your drains are emitting foul odors.
  • Gurgling sounds are coming from your drains.
  • You notice slow drainage.
  • There’s visible standing water or pooling water around drains.
  • It’s been years since your drains have been professionally cleaned.
  • It’s been years since your sewer lines have been inspected.

Keep Your Drains Clog-Free With Preventative Efforts

While you can’t prevent every drain from clogging, there are easy steps you can take at home to keep them at bay. Consider these preventative measures to keep your drains clog-free:

  • Install drain catchers or strainers in bathroom and kitchen drains.
  • Regularly run hot water through your drains.
  • Consider flushing your drains with vinegar and baking soda every month or two.
  • Follow appliance manuals for cleaning best practices for dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Schedule annual plumbing and drain inspections with a professional plumber.

Call Us To Unclog Your Drain

If you can’t unclog your drain yourself, call Timothy Off Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing in West Chester, PA. Our professional plumbers would be happy to come out and take care of the problem quickly and efficiently.

Ready to schedule an appointment with the trusted plumbers in West Chester? Call Timothy Off to request service today.

Request Service

Request Service

Ease Comfort Logo Ease Comfort Logo
Go Next Level with EASE Comfort®

We understand that installing a new heating or air conditioning system can be a significant investment. We help take the stress out of your installation project by offering the EASE Comfort® Program. Through this exclusive program, you’ll enjoy a new, high-efficiency system installation with no money down, no unexpected fees, and a no-hassle maintenance program tailored to your needs.