Plumbers get more calls to open clogged drains than
for any other service. Many such calls could be prevented by greater care
in the use of drains. The most-used drain is the one in the kitchen sink
and that is the drain most often clogged.
Preventing this situation can be done by carefully
watching what is emptied into the sink drain and by the regular use of
a safe biodegradable waste digester. Your plumber can give you more information
on these products.
Sink stoppages are usually caused by liquid fats,
emulsified by warm dishwater and carried through the pipes. The water
cools as it proceeds to the main sewer and leaves the fatty deposits along
the way. A film of grease forms on the pipe wall, then another and another.
Coffee grounds and bits of food add to this accumulation layer until the
pipe becomes impassible.
Pour excess grease into a tin can and throw it out
with the garbage, not down the sink drain. When using a food disposer,
always let sufficient cold water run to carry the particles down and into
the main line to prevent buildup in the smaller waste lines.
In the event of a stoppage, you should have a "plumber's
friend," or plunger - a large rubber suction cup with a wooden handle.
Cup it tightly over the drain and plunge it vigorously several times.
If it is a double drain sink, make sure you seal the other drain, so water
will not splash out into the other bowl or on you. Drain piping can also
be cleaned by removing the J-bend on the trap below the fixture. First
place adhesive tape around the packing nut or wrap the wrench jaws with
cloth to prevent scratching the metal surface. If plastic piping is in
place, do not grip the nuts too tightly with the wrench, as they can crack
Place a bucket directly under the pipe to catch any
dripping from the open pipe. Pull out the clogging material with a piece
of wire or small hand-turned cable. If you take the trap off, have some
new gaskets ready to slip into the joints.