Unclogging Drains Using an Auger
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Unclogging Drains Using an Auger

Using an auger to unclog drains, for bathtubs, toilets, and sinks. Do it yourself helpful tips.

Act promptly when you notice a drain emptying slower than usual. A slightly clogged drain is much easier to clear than a totally blocked one. In many cases, flushing the drain with liberal doses of boiling water will restore free flow, but do not use this method on plastic pipes, as they are not made for temperatures over 180 degrees F.

A plunger will often clear a totally blocked drain. Bail out most of the backed-up water, leaving only enough to cover the plunger cup. To increase pressure against the clog, plug the sink overflow opening with a damp rag. With the sink stopper removed, vigorously pump the plunger up and down, timing your strokes rhythmically to reinforce the surge in the pipe.

If the drain remains blocked, abandon the plunger and try a liquid drain opener. They are designed to sink through water, and so are more effective than dry drain chemicals.

Caution: Never use a chemical drain opener in conjunction with a plunger. Splashing onto face could cause serious injury.

Using An Auger.

Should the above methods fail, a drain auger is called for. Wear glasses and rubber gloves and work with extreme caution if the clog has been treated with drain chemicals, since the trapped water may now be highly caustic. If the auger also fails to work, a main may be clogged.

  • If a pipe has a sharp turn in it, such as a trap, and an auger is to be used to clear it, bend the tip of the auger in the direction of the turn before inserting it.
  • To clear a basin, insert auger into drain opening until it reaches trap, then rotate it slowly in one direction. Do not push blockage. Try to hook it or break it up.
  • If you cannot get the auger past the trap, enter pipe through cleanout plug. First, drain water by placing pan under trap, then unscrewing plug with pliers.
  • Turn handle as you feed auger through pipe. Do not force it; you may worsen the blockage, kink the auger, or damage the pipe. If drain does not clear, remove trap.
  • To remove trap, unscrew first coupling nut with wrench, while bracing trap with a wood dowel to relieve twisting strain. Support trap while removing second nut.
  • Feed auger in until it hits clog. Then, move auger back and forth, turning it as you crank. Once clog is pierced, continue churning to clear pipe.
  • Wipe auger clean as you remove it from pipe. Use newspaper or pan to catch sludge. Clean trap before reconnecting it. Flush drain with hot water as a final step.

Bathtub drain traps are often located near the drain hole. In this case, the auger may pass into pipe more easily if inserted into overflow opening rather than drain. For a bathtub with trap located away from drain, the easiest entry for auger will probably be through drain hole. Remove stopper before inserting auger.

For clogged toilets, use a toilet auger. Position shaft in mouth of outflow passage. Push auger into passage until it hits clog. Turn crank only after blockage is reached.

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Comments (1)

Good job on this article Tracy. Voted up.