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"The water in my sink won’t go down, what should I do?"
Clogged sinks can be a common household problem. Depending on the severity of the clog, you may be able to unclog the sink yourself using a few DIY methods. These include:
Plunging the drain with sink (i.e., cup) plunger.
Pouring boiling water into the drain. This method works best when you remove the standing water from the sink using a cup, first. (One caveat: Don’t try this technique if your drain is connected to a PVC pipe, since boiling water can damage the material.)
Pouring 1/2 cup table salt down the drain, followed by boiling water.
Pouring a mixture of about 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar into the drain. (The mixture will fizz up.) Wait for at least 15 minutes, then run hot water.
Using a wet/dry vacuum. Set the vacuum for wet use, following the manufacturer’s instructors, and position the hose at the drain. Turn on the vacuum to dislodge the clog.
If none of these methods work, call a plumber. Plumbers usually come equipped with a drain snake that was developed to clear drains.
"I think one of my pipes is leaking, who should I call?"
Call a professional plumber if one of your pipes is leaking. Leaky pipes can cause water damage that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair, depending on the extent of the leak.
Once you discover a leak, turn off the water supply to your home using the water shut-off valve. This will help prevent more water from leaking out. While there are temporary repairs you can make to some pipes — including applying epoxy putter or using self-fusing silicone tape over the leak — you will want to call a professional plumber to permanently fix the problem.
"My shower drain is clogged, what should I do?"
There’s a good chance you can unclog a shower drain yourself, using a few supplies you already have on hand.
A clog is almost always caused by hair that collects in the drain trap, i.e., a curved pipe that’s installed beneath the shower. If you can’t see the hair, try using a sink plunger to bring it closer to the surface, where you can reach it with your fingers.
If that doesn’t work, you can use a drain snake (which you can find at a home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowes) or a straightened wire coat hanger with a small hook at the end to fish the clog out of the drain.
"Should I use a drain cleaning product to clear my drain?"
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells people to avoid using chemical drain openers for clogged sinks or bathtubs. Doing so can kill some of the natural organisms that are present in your septic system. Inhaling or touching the chemicals in drain cleaners can also be harmful to your health.
Instead of using a chemical cleaner, try unclogging your drain using a DIY method or a natural cleaning solution (such as baking soda and vinegar) first. If those options don’t work, call a plumber to clear the drain.
"What should I do if I have a frozen pipe?"
If you have a frozen pipe, try to thaw it as soon as possible. When water freezes, it expands, which can put pressure on the pipes and cause them to break. Thawing a frozen pipe right away can prevent the pipe from bursting — something that could cost $1,000 to $4,000 in water damage cleanup and repair fees, according to HomeAdvisor.
To thaw a frozen pipe, keep the faucet open. Running water freezes at lower temperatures than still water, and helps melt the ice in the pipe. Apply heat to the pipe with a towel that’s been soaked in hot water or an electric hair dryer, and allow heated air to reach the pipes by opening the cabinet doors in the bathroom and kitchen sinks.
If you can’t find or reach the frozen pipe, or you aren’t able to de-thaw the pipe yourself, call a licensed plumber right away. If the pipes burst, shut off the main water line immediately to prevent extensive water damage.