Sink Drains

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Every sink has a drain trap and a fixture drain line. Sink clogs usually are caused by a buildup of soap and hair in the trap or fixture drain line.

 

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Overview

Every sink has a drain trap and a fixture drain line. Sink clogs usually are caused by a buildup of soap and hair in the trap or fixture drain line. Remove clogs by using a plunger, disconnecting and cleaning the trap, or using a hand auger.
Many sinks hold water with a mechanical plug called a pop‑up stopper. If the sink will not hold standing water, or if water in the sink drains too slowly, the pop-up stopper must be cleaned and adjusted.
Clogged lavatory sinks can be cleared with a plunger (not to be confused with a flanged force-cup). Remove the pop-up drain plug and strainer first, and plug the overflow hole by stuffing a wet rag into it, allowing you to create air pressure with the plunger.
From: The Complete Guide to Plumbing, 978-1-58923-378-2

What You'll Need

Tools:

Plunger
Channel-type pliers
Small wire brush
Screwdriver
Flashlight
Rag
Bucket
Replacement gaskets
Teflon tape

Materials:

Plunger
Channel-type pliers
Small wire brush
Screwdriver
Flashlight
Rag
Bucket
Replacement gaskets
Teflon tape

 

Step 1

How to Clear a Sink Trap

Place bucket under trap to catch water and debris. Loosen slip nuts on trap bend with channel-type pliers. Unscrew nuts by hand and slide away from connections. Pull off trap bend.


Step 2

How to Clear a Sink Trap

Dump out debris. Clean trap bend with a small wire brush. Inspect slip nut washers for wear, and replace if necessary. Reinstall trap bend and tighten slip nuts.


Step 3

How to Clear a Kitchen Sink

Plunging a kitchen sink is not difficult, but you need to create an uninterrupted pressure lock between the plunger and the clog. If you have a dishwasher, the drain tube needs to be clamped shut and sealed off at the disposer or drain line. The pads on the clamp should be large enough to flatten the tube across its full diameter (or you can clamp the tube ends between small boards).


Step 4

How to Clear a Kitchen Sink

If there is a second basin, have a helper hold a basket strainer plug in its drain or put a large pot or bucket full of water on top of it. Unfold the skirt within the plunger and place this in the drain of the sink you are plunging. There should be enough water in the sink to cover the plunger head. Plunge rhythmically for six repetitions with increasing vigor, pulling up hard on the last repetition. Repeat this sequence until the clog is removed. Flush out a cleared clog with plenty of hot water.


Step 5

How to Use a Hand Auger at the Trap Arm

If plunging doesn’t work, remove the trap and clean it out. With the trap off, see if water flows freely from both sinks (if you have two). Sometimes clogs will lodge in the T-fitting or one of the waste pipes feeding it. These may be pulled out manually or cleared with a bottlebrush or wire. When reassembling the trap, apply Teflon tape clockwise to the male threads of metal waste pieces. Tighten with your channel-type pliers. Plastic pieces need no tape and should be hand tightened only.


Step 6

How to Use a Hand Auger at the Trap Arm

If you suspect the clog is downstream of the trap, remove the trap arm from the fitting at the wall. Look in the fixture drain with a flashlight. If you see water, that means the fixture drain is plugged. Clear it with a hand auger.


 
 

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