Monday, April 1, 2013

Clogged Drains

Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you’re home or off in your LD - the same pesky problems can crop up. Here are a couple of suggestions for dealing with a clogged sink or shower drain.

LD uses ABS plastic for the drain pipes and holding tanks, the same material used in modern home drain pipes.  Household drain chemicals, used according to directions, can be used without harming the plumbing.

The first suggestion uses Baking soda and vinegar.  When the drain is relatively dry, pour about 1/2 box of baking powder in the drain.  Add about 1 cup of vinegar and then plug the drain opening with a rag or something, as you are basically causing a mini-volcano, and you want it going downward in the drain, not back up through the opening.  After about 30 minutes, pour a tea kettle of boiling water down the drain.  May have to do it 1 or 2 times, but that should do the trick.

Putting this mix down the drain about once a month will help keep it open as well.

Instead of chemicals, you can use a garden hose with a pistol-type nozzle to clean the sink and shower drains. Push the nozzle into the drain and pull the trigger. Try to leave a 1/4-1/2" gap between the nozzle and the drain, just in case the blockage is total and doesn't clear. You don't want to blow a pipe fitting apart. Expect to get splashed a little.

Another approach is use a hose with a rag wrapped around the end. Insert the hose into the drain and use the rag to block air from coming back up. Have someone turn on the water full-force, standing by to shut it off quickly if the blockage doesn't budge. If doing the kitchen sink, you'll need to block the drain of the other side of the sink. We make a habit of doing this once a year whether or not we're having a problem.

Do this regularly as  preventative maintenance or when a drain starts draining slowly.

If all else fails, you’ll have to resort to removing the trap and mechanically scraping/flushing the offending material from the pipes.

Drop-in drain screens will help prevent future problems.

Updated: 24 Sep 2015

Contributors: Alan Menn, Larry Wade, wxtoad