Home Drain Encyclopedia

Drains in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and garage each can get clogged in their own Way.

It often goes unconsidered until a problem arises just how many different drains there are in the home, and how dependent we are on them all functioning properly. Whether you’ve put up with a slow shower drain for long enough, or are here on more pressing matters, you’ll find help here to get things back in order.

Finding the Help You Need

It does not take long for a clogged toilet to become the top priority around the house. Other drains such as those in basement floors may only be needed once in a while, but when the time comes, they had better work. Maintenance, repair, and the cleaning and clearing of drains is an uncomplicated and unglamorous topic. The well prepared homeowner will have plungers and augers for toilets and sinks in the house, and so be prepared for just about any eventuality.

  • How to Unclog a Toilet
    Tips & Tricks for Clearing Plugged Commodes
    Diagnosing a Clogged Toilet

    Clogged toilets are a common household problem, although with a bit of family or roomie education and some common sense, many times they could have been avoided.

    A clogged toilet or commode does not drain when flushed. Water held in the tank of the toilet flows into the bowl, but does not wash away the contents down the drain. Instead the toilet bowl and drain become backed up behind a clog of waste, and the water stays in the bowl. When this happens, do not flush again! Most toilets can hold the contents of a single tank or flush of water without overflowing, but flushing an already backed up toilet is sure to cause a disgusting mess as the sewage flows over the rim of the bowl onto the bathroom floor.

  • Kitchen Sink Clog Prevention
    Learn to Avoid a Costly Call to a Plumber with these Handy Hints and Tips

    When it comes to clog prevention, all you have to do is avoid dropping certain things down the drain. Kitchen sink clogs frequently build up over time, slowly restricting water flow until eventually the drain is blocked. Other times something particular has been washed down the drain and is clogging the pipes.

  • How to Unclog a Laundry Sink
    Utility sinks are the deep basins found in garages and laundry rooms

    Often the drain will be narrow with a screen to catch debris. If this area has been cleared, but the drain remains slow or stopped, then a clog has formed in the U-trap or even farther down the pipes. In these cases a plunger or handheld drain auger is the proper tool for the job, but some clogs can be cleared without the need for either.

  • How to Unclog Floor Drains
    Cleaning floor and basement drains

    Clogged floor and basement drains pose special problems.  Access to the pipes from below is restricted. Basement drains and any drain that may flow either directly into the ground or to storm drain runoff should always have backflow prevention devices installed. Backflow prevention devices work by plugging up the drain if water starts to flow the wrong way, thus preventing water backing up and flooding your basement.

    Most floor drains however will be connected to pipes carrying wastewater and sewage away from the house. When this is the case, the drain will have a trap somewhere nearby along the line. In sinks, showers and tubs the trap is just underneath, but floor drains may flow horizontally some distance before meeting the gas trap. Floor drain traps are U-shaped, with pipes flowing to and from the drain meeting the U on the sides. The U itself is capped on both ends with threaded plugs, which can be removed to provide access to the pipes surrounding the trap. Floor drain traps often have only these end-caps exposed, with the pipes running below the floor. To find the U-trap for your floor drain, look nearby for two large capped end-pipes.