It is pretty rare for showers to become stopped up suddenly. A clog, which is an obstruction for water drainage in the shower, usually builds up gradually over a period of time. This slows the shower draining each passing day ultimately leading to the accumulation and stagnation of water on the shower drain. An appalling outcome of this is staining and molding.
In most cases, the number one cause for clogs in shower drains is human hair. The hair can usually get stuck on the grate covering of the drain-system or can flow through and get stuck beneath. However, any material that might fall into the shower drain like grime, small washcloth, jewelry, shampoo bottle caps can also result to blockage.
The next thing to certainly think of is how to unclog a shower drain! Unclogging can be done by a drain cleaner or plumber, or simply using some basic do-it-yourself tips, tools and materials without necessarily incurring costs.
There are various options of getting rid of a clogged shower drain. The easiest and safe, but costly way is by calling a plumber. Plumbers have the expertise required and will efficiently unblock the shower drain using the right method and tools. They have no risk of damaging the shower drainage system, and they also advise on the preventive measures to subsequent blockages and the risks thereof. Though they are for commercial work, in the long run they are considered the best bet.
There are generally two basic ways to clean out a shower drain. The first and most practiced is by fishing the clog out by oneself, be it by means of a plunger or manual extractor, or secondly by flushing the clog through the drain so that water can pass through again. However, the method to use depends on a number of factors primarily how the shower is constructed. Other factors include the composition of the clog and how the clog was formed. Debris of trapped hair or soap scum is relatively easy to get rid of even with basic technology as compared to clogs caused by calcium build-up in the drainage pipes which need in-pipe treatment.
Tools Used To Unclog A Shower Drain
To unblock a shower drain, there’s a range of tools one may need depending on the complexity of the clog. These include a plunger, needle nose pliers, rag, Allen wrench, multi-head screw driver, hacksaw, a metal coat hanger, and maybe a paperclip and a small snake. Substances such as vinegar solution, baking soda and water are also used as they are not hazardous to the pipes or environment and are non-toxic. Plumbers discourage habitual use of chemical based solutions, as they can degrade the pipes over time, as well as cause harm if breathed in or spilled.
Steps of Unclogging a shower drain
To start with, a paperclip can be used to fetch any hair that is trapped on the top of the shower strainer or the drain. The strainer screen plate should also be removed over the shower drain to ease the unclogging process. A piece of wire, e.g. from a coat hanger can be used to fish out any debris that can be seen. In many cases this cures the problem. Incase of persistence, an inch of water is spilled on the drain opening, and a plunger used to dislodge the clog. These simple initial steps most of the time will work for minor clogs.
For a more difficult clog, a cup of baking soda is poured down the drain and after a few minutes a cup of vinegar is also poured down the drain and covered with a plug so nothing escapes. After like 20 minutes sufficient amount of hot water is poured down the drain to check if the clog has been removed. If the clog is still present, the drain cover is removed for the clog to be located. If it is found and is within reach, the hanger is used to remove it; but if it is not found, a plunger is used.
Using a plumber’s snake is a further step for eliminating a clog within the shower drain. The snake is simply engaged into the drain and the crank twisted clockwise to grab and dislodge the debris stuck in the pipe. The obstruction can either be broken up or the snake can be pulled out to dispose off the clump. Hot water should then be flushed through the pipe to help break off any residual chunks. Ultimately, for deeper, tougher and stubborn type clogs, a plumber’s auger is used.
Incase of persistent clog up, it’s always best to consult a plumber to resolve the problem.