Your home's plumbing is prone to many common problems, including clogs, overflows and slow drains. Since you use your plumbing everyday, it's likely that you've encountered at least one of these issues. In many cases, you can solve the problem yourself, using one of these simple solutions.
A clogged drain prevents proper flushing of water through your home's plumbing. Clogs can happen because of trapped grease, inappropriate items in the pipe, clumps of hair from the shower, or other reasons.
First, try pouring a bucket of boiling hot water down the drain. If the problem is congealed grease, this will melt the fat and allow it to flow through to unclog the drain. Next, try using a plunger to dislodge anything that may be blocking the drain. The item may either come up, or change its position so it can flow smoothly down the pipe. Finally, try using a plumbing snake to dislodge and remove any clumps of hair that may be blocking the flow.
A toilet overflows if something is blocking the exit of the water in the basin. While clean water floods in from the tank, the basin water is designed to escape down the drain, unless there is a problem.
If you flush the toilet and it begins to overflow, remove the tank lid and close the rubber flapper to prevent more water from entering. If this is not an option, reach down behind the toilet and close the handle on the water valve. Rotate it in a clockwise direction until no more water is flowing into the basin. This will stop the overflow. Plunge the toilet to unblock it, then turn the water back on to continue with the flushing action.
Kitchen sinks are susceptible to slow drain problems. Since this is where food and cooking waste enters the pipes, it's common for the sides of kitchen drain pipes to gather gunk from food debris, which narrows the opening inside the pipe.
Often, a simple baking soda and vinegar solution works to loosen this debris. Just pour a generous amount of baking soda into the sink drain. Follow it with a heavy pour of vinegar. The bubbling action may effectively solve the problem of the slow drain.
If you find that you have chronic plumbing problems, or that these solutions are not effective, it's time to call a plumber. There may be underlying issues why your drains are not clearing, or why your toilet seems to overflow every time you flush. A professional plumber, like Bill Rhiner's Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, will be able to perform a thorough inspection that may yield insight into why your household plumbing doesn't function as well as it should.