As most homeowners already know, plumbing problems are probably the number one house call that contractors make. There is more that can go wrong with hot water tanks, pipes, valves, faucets and of course drains, than any other part of the home. Clogged drains will eventually happen to every person in the civilized world, and more than once. Before you call a plumber there are a lot of things you can do to clear things up, and then prevent it from happening again.


Kitchen Drains Get Clogged Frequently


Because of the food, grease, soaps, coffee grounds, and many other strange things that get poured down a kitchen sink, they're one of the most clogged drains in the home. One problem is that each different kind of clog may need a different method in order to clear it.


Grease clogs for instance can many times be cleared up with hot water, maybe from the tap, but better from a hot tea kettle to make sure you get it all. And, there is most likely other ingredients that have embedded themselves into the grease, making it more difficult. If hot water doesn't work, drain cleaner crystals might be the next step. They create their own heat, and eat grease rapidly, look for sodium hydroxide for the main ingredient there.


Food clogs in the kitchen sink can be some of the hardest to clear, because not many things will eat them up or dissolve them. For food it's best to try and remove the food with a wire first, then try to undo the trap below the sink if that doesn't work. Most food items will get stuck in the trap, and you can remove it, clean it out, then return it in about 20 minutes. Never put strong drain cleaners into the drain, just before removing the trap, though.


A kitchen sink clogged with hair is another hard job, but you should again look into the drain to see if the hair is near the top, if so, use a hooked wire to pull it up and out. Many times it will all come out in one long string if you keep pulling. Some commercial drain cleaners say they'll dissolve hair, but most won't, so using a hooked wire and removing the trap are really the best methods, then use a strainer in the sink when shampooing hair to catch it before it gets down into the drain.


If you have a difficult clog you can use a plunger in the sink, it's best not to use it on hair because you'll only move the hair to a more difficult place to remove. It will work on food particles, but if you have a double kitchen sink, you'll usually have to block the other side for the plunger to have any effect at all. Plungers work best on toilets, where the blockage just needs to go a little further and it's gone.


Learning to unclog your drains is something that every homeowner should learn, and have the tools to do. Otherwise you may end up calling an expensive plumber on a regular basis, which takes time and money that you would rather spend elsewhere.