10 Sep Emergency Plumber Tips: How to Use a Plunger to Unclog Your Floor Drain
A clogged drain is probably one of the last things most homeowners want to have to deal with. Dealing with a clogged sink or toilet is bad enough, but a floor drain clog? That usually leads to a myriad of issues—like flooding—that can be a headache to deal with.
Floor drains are usually found in shower stalls, laundry areas … anywhere, really, where water is likely to accumulate on the floor and needs to be drained. Fortunately, just as with other kinds of clogs, you don’t have to reach for the phone to call an emergency plumber right then and there—unless the situation worsens, of course. You can always try and unclog the drain yourself.
But what could cause a floor drain to clog in the first place, and why don’t you need to call for an emergency plumber? Well, this plumbing fixture is meant to catch runoff such as lint and soap scum from appliances, or water and dirt in the shower. Even grease and hair strands can make its way into the drain, although it’s usually covered with a strainer to keep out larger objects like soap chunks, pebbles, larger grime particles, and formidable clumps of hair.
Unfortunately, the strainer doesn’t catch 100% of what it’s supposed to prevent from going down the drain all the time. Over time, grease can build up in the pipe, trapping other small objects until the clog is just big enough to block the pipe. This would cause liquids to drain more slowly at first, but eventually, you’d be left looking at water that just won’t drain. And with that, you have a clogged floor drain.
That being said, let’s take a look at the steps you need to take in such a situation.
Step 1: Grab a plunger. A plunger is made to create enough suction to break the clog up even just a little in order for the water to start draining again. You’ll want to make sure yours is big enough to cover the floor drain. It doesn’t matter if you use the old-fashioned plunger with the wooden handle or the more modern ones that use compressed air.
Step 2: Align the plunger with the drain, then depress it. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it still bears mentioning because, if the plunger doesn’t cover every part of the drain, you won’t generate enough suction. You don’t need to be an emergency plumber to know that without enough suction, the plunger can’t do its job, no matter how many times you depress it and regardless of how forcefully you do so.
Step 3: Grab some petroleum jelly. If your first few attempts to unclog didn’t work, try and see how you fare when you add petroleum jelly to the mix. You may think that this substance will make the plunger more slippery, but it’s the opposite that’s true. Many an emergency plumber will tell you that smearing petroleum jelly on the edge of the plunger will help ensure a tighter seal and will – hopefully – make it easier to get rid of the clog.
If you’ve tried unclogging a toilet or sink before, then you can see there’s not much difference between using a plunger on those versus using a plunger on a floor drain. That means you can use other ways to unclog a drain, like the vinegar-and-baking soda concoction, if the plunger alone doesn’t work.
However, if you’re still not making any headway, you may not be dealing with a simple clog after all. In such cases, it’d be best to call an emergency plumber to take care of the problem for you. That way, you can avoid accidentally damaging your pipes which could lead to a more expensive repair job in the future.