How To Unclog a Sink

Welcome to Yeah, We Do That’s tip of the week. This week I will talk about how to unclog a kitchen or Weekly Tipsbathroom sink. In most cases these are simple clogs that you can fix yourself.

You will need a few tools; I recommend a large pair of channel lock pliers , an old bowl or small bucket to catch the water in the p-trap, some rags, rubber gloves and an old tooth brush or small long handle cleaning brush.

First you will want to clear out anything you have under the sink so you have room to work and none of the water gets on anything as it tends to be pretty smelly. Referring to the picture place your bowl or bucket under the p-trap and loosen the slip nuts holding it. Try loosening them by hand first and if they won’t come loose use the channel locks on them to get them started. Once you have the slip nuts loosened all the way you should be able to gently wiggle the p-trap free from the other pipes. This piece will be full of water so remove it slowly and then pour it into the bucket. Set this piece aside and repeat the process for the pipe that goes into the wall (note: sometimes this pipe is glued in place and cannot be removed). Loosen the slip nut where is connect at the wall then wiggle the piece free, emptying anything that will come out into the bucket and set this piece aside too. If this is a bathroom sink there is one more step, again referring to the picture where you see the gray pipe, on the back of this pipe is a small nut with a rod coming out of it that pivots up and down, this is the rod that raises and lowers your stopper. Raise the stopper and loosen this nut. Hold the stopper with one hand and reach under the sink and pull the rod out gently while at the same time lifting up on the stopper, once the rod is clear the stopper will come out.

We now have what we need disassembled. Leaving the bucket in place take your brush and scrub the inside of the pipe starting from the sink, I like to use downward strokes to push the gunk towards the opening and bucket below. Next from under the sink clean the other end of the pipe pulling everything down and out into the bucket. Repeat the process with the pipe in the wall; reaching in as far as you can without losing your cleaning tool and pulling everything out into the bucket. Last I take the two pipes we disconnect and set aside either to a laundry tub or outside to the garden hose and run a hard stream of water through them to clean them out.

Now go back and reconnect all the pieces together in reverse order. Start by putting the stopper in while putting the rod back in place, this is done by feel and trial and error. You know you have it when you cannot pull the stopper out and it moves up and down with the rod. Don’t forget to re-tighten the nut on the back of the rod to the pipe. Reconnect the rest of the pipes, only tighten the slip nuts hand tight to start with then check for leaks. I like to put the stopper down and fill the sink up. Then release the stopper and check for leaks under maximum flow. If there is a drip gently snug the slip nut with the channel locks until the leak stops. Over tightening these nuts can strip them and then you will have to replace the pipe and nut. Your Sink should run free now, if it does not there is a blockage further down the pipes in the walls and you should call to have them snaked out.

I hope that you have found this article helpful and feel free to share it with your friends by clicking one or more of the social media buttons below.  You may also ask a question or leave a comment by clicking the comment button.

If you would like to see a How-To guide on a particular topic you can request it by e-mailing me and I will see what I can do.

–Greg

 

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