Every home has its little quirks. The creaky stair, the laundry light that flickers, the occasional rumble when your neighbor runs their laundry machines. You get used to these things, and most of them are not that inconvenient. For New Yorkers, slow and clogging drains is just another one of those common features you get used to about a house. Over the years we all develop a few special tricks for hooking out tangles of hair, and breaking up whatever tends to accumulate in our drains.
However, the vast majority of people are using makeshift tools and supplies found around the house for their DIY drain work. If you really want to take control of the regular drain problems, the best solution is to hire a professional. However, you can also build yourself a drain cleaning kit that can handle some issues on your own. This drain cleaning kit should be able to address several kinds of clogs when it becomes time to ‘encourage’ one of your drains to clear.
How to Pack Your Emergency Drain Cleaning Kit
The first thing to decide is what you’re going to put your drain kit in to make it easy to pack and carry around as a single all-inclusive unit. There are a variety of options mostly dependent on just how mobile you want the kit to be. If you want something that lives under the bathroom sink, a shower caddy is a great approach. You can also pack it in a large reusable grocery bag, a toolbox, or a mop bucket. Most people stick with the bucket or shower caddy.
Cannister of Salt
The first thing you want to start with is a canister of salt which will act as little pellets to break up debris that has gathered in your pipes to form the clog. For this reason, you may also consider using rock salt or sea salt which tends to come in larger crystals. Make sure the salt is carefully protected against exposure to any moisture. Almost all DIY drain solutions include salt and water or salt and vinegar.
Bottle of Vinegar
Your second item should be a bottle of white vinegar like you might cook or clean water deposit spots with. Vinegar is slightly acidic, and will therefore effectively break up many of the things that can build up in your pipes. Some people combine vinegar with baking soda for the volcano effect while others make a hot vinegar and salt solution. Both have been found to be effective.
Kettle or Cooking Pot
One pot of boiling hot water is often enough to break up minor clogs. Boiling water is especially effective on clogs caused by soap scum or hardened grease. Boiling water provides both heat that melts things and dissolution to carry debris and softened build-up away. You can also combine boiling water or heated vinegar with a half cup of salt for a combined effect. Of course, using boiling water is most effective when the clog is close to the point you introduce the boiling water.
Plungers aren’t just for toilets. You can plunge your sink or bathtub with a few inches of water around the drain which is going to happen anyway if your drain is clogged. By creating pressure in the drain with the plunger, you can force a clog to move along. Also note that there are two distinctly different styles of plungers; one for toilets and one for sinks. You should purchase both. For sanitary reasons, keep your drain kit plunger separate from your toilet plunger.
Roll of Duct Tape
Leaks that occur during the rigors of breaking up a clog are bad news. While duct tape isn’t a great long-term solution, it can hold things together until a professional plumber can take a look at the situation. Duct tape has been the go-to solution for temporary plumbing for decades.
Plumbing projects of any sort can get messy, but you do not want to get your nice bath towels involved. Choose some older towels to soak up any spills or splashes. If you are working on a sink drain, you can lay it on the counter to keep your clothes dry or you can kneel on it to work on a tub drain.
Bottle of Dish Soap
For the kitchen sink and sometimes for bathroom sinks, oil and grease can build up into a serious clog by dramatically narrowing the pipe inside. Add a generous dollop of dish soap to the hot water to do what it does best, breaking up grease.
The Number for Your Plumbing and Sewer Services
As every New Yorker knows, sometimes your drain problem just isn’t you. Issues with the city sewers are notorious and have been a NYC tradition for over a century. If the problem goes beyond this drain cleaning kit, it’s time to call an expert who understands the city sewers. Therefore, you might as well keep the number of the drain cleaning services close at hand.
For more helpful plumbing and sewer tips for New Yorkers or if your drains are acting up in a way your drain cleaning kit cannot solve, contact Balkan Drain Cleaning today.