Posted in Blog  
  on Dec 23, 2014

How To Fix a Clogged Bathtub

Bathtub drains are notorious for getting clogged up. Everything from hair build-up to sludge and mineral deposits can cause a drain to start running slowly. Instead of calling a plumber to fix the problem, you might be able to take care of the problem in 5 minutes or less and not even need chemical drain cleaners to do it. Hair causes 80% of the clogging issues that bathtubs face. The normal bathtub drain has an L shape to it and this traps longer hairs in the joint so that water has a difficult time flowing through it. If you take apart the top of the drain by unscrewing it and remove the hair, you'll be able to get the drain flowing quickly once again. Often all you need is a screwdriver and a small hook – one that can be fashioned from a bent wire clothes hanger.

The Type of Bathtub Drain You Have Is Important

There are three basic types of bathtub drains that are installed right now. The most common type is the drop stopper drain. These are the ones that have a screw which can be found underneath the cap of the drain. All you need to do is lift the stopper up and loosen the screw on the shaft. This will allow you to slide the stopper away. Then just remove the clog that you see and the job is done. If you have a drain that locks shut with a pushing mechanism, then removing a clog can be a little more difficult. You'll need to open up the drain and then lightly pull the stopper shaft up so you can fit a finger between it and the bathtub. From there, you should be able to unscrew the stopper top with your hands. Stuck stopper tops may need pliers, but be careful if you use them because you may scratch the finish of the drain. Then unscrew the shaft to access the clog. If you have a levered stopper, which is part of the overflow draining mechanism, then sometimes a clog can get pushed into this portion of the plumbing as well. You'll need to remove the screen and clean out the any potential clogs you see at the crossbars. Running a snake through the overflow tube may be necessary to dislodge a difficult clog. Adjust the linkage to help with draining, either tighter or looser, and you'll have unclogged your drain.

What If You Can't Find the Clog?

Sometimes the clogs in the plumbing of a bathtub drain are further down. When this happens, you may wish to consider using something that is slightly acidic to work on loosening up the clog so that it will dislodge naturally. A great product to use if you are trying to stay chemical free is vinegar. Any type of vinegar will work, but you will need to allow the product to set for about 2 hours before trying to dislodge the clog in its entirety. A chemical clog remover can clear out a drain in 15 minutes, but consistent exposure to the acids could degrade your PVC plumbing over time. If you wish to avoid this problem, then consider these repair alternatives. You will be able to know how to unclog a bathtub drain naturally and with remarkably little work.


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