Have you ever walked into the kitchen and the first thing that met your eye was stagnant water in the sink? Have you ever run the tap to have it overflow? Is water draining too slowly?
First and foremost it is important to know what is blocking your sink. Sink blocking is inevitable; however, some of the causes can be easily avoided. The most notorious substance is fat. Usually this happens over a long time, and then one morning the sink wont drain any more. A warning sign is that the sink is taking longer to drain than normal. Fat tends to stick to the sides of the pipe.
It's time for a story folks. One day as I was running the water in the sink I noticed that it wasn't draining. I tried to make a plunger with my hand – you know how you do over the sink plug hole? Well that didn't make a difference, so I tried pouring boiling water into the sink, but nope the water went nowhere. At this point I resigned myself to the fact I would have to pull apart the plumbing, which I was even less keen to do now there was water in the sink. I tapped each of the pipes to see if I could hear where there was a build up. I'm not sure if it works, but I couldn't tell where the build up was. So, I went for the first U-bend in the system below the plug hoping what ever was blocking the pipes hadn't gone far.
Pulling apart the plumbing wasn't difficult, but the mess! I just covered the area in old towels and all the water gushed out over them. Looking into the U-bend it was chocked full of fat! Our housemate, it turned out, had bought a cheap meatloaf from the supermarket and when he cooked it and realized how much fat was it in, he poured the fat out... down the sink! It was such a messy job scooping the fat out and then washing the pipe.
Now I will explain to you what I should have done.
The reason that it is not wise to pull apart the plumbing before you have tried other techniques is that if your plumbing is screwed together it can be very easy to thread the connections.
There are two things to try before you pull apart the plumbing:
- Try a plunger – they work really well if it is just debris in the pipe and sometimes it will loosen the fat enough that you can try another tip.
- Tip 2, try hot (boiling water) – if it is fat blocking the pipe it can be melted away sometimes.
- Sometimes drain blockers work – this would be a last resort before pulling apart plumbing.
Once you have tried other methods, pulling apart the plumbing just requires you to be careful and to try not to make too much mess. Note: If I had thought about it I would have scooped as much water out of the sink as I could before hand!
To start pulling apart the plumbing, the plug hole usually joins the rest of the plumbing with a screw type join which is easily unscrewed. You may at this point be able to see what is down the plumbing and fish it out.
There will be other screw type joins in the plumbing, but just remember that where there is a U-bend water will have accumulated. These bends where water accumulates is to stop the smell from coming back up the pipes – but it makes pulling them apart quite messy. After you have pulled apart the piping it will be time to put it back together, now make sure that you don't thread the joins! To make sure you won't do this, make sure that the parts are lined up perfectly straight and do it slowly.
Tip: If you do happen to thread a pipe, one trick is to get plumbers tape and wrap it around the screw bits of the pipe. When you try to screw the pipe back together it will stop any water getting out.
The next step is to test the water to make sure there are no leaks in your plumbing now. Run the water for a few minutes and watch under the sink. Drying the area first will help you identify any potential leaks. Touch the piping joins too as your fingers may pick up what your eyes missed.