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Home plumbing systems are designed to handle heavy usage. When everything is working as it should, toilets flush, showers drain properly, and sink basins empty of water in a snap. But when a clog is present in a system, water can quickly back up.
There are various techniques to clear clogged drains. Minor clogs may be cleared without the help of a plumber or even any tools. More significant blockages will require more elbow grease.
The first step to clearing a clog is to locate the problem. Drainage issues that affect a particular sink or toilet may be isolated to that fixture. Clogs that are present throughout the house may be indicative of a larger problem in the plumbing that is directing waste away from the house and into the sewer system.
Sometimes a clog can be freed by pouring boiling hot water or a combination of baking soda and vinegar down the drain. If that doesn't help, move on to a plunger, advise the experts at This Old House. By creating pressure within the pipes, a plunger can dislodge whatever is causing the backup. If the clog seems to be further down the drain, hair or grime may have become trapped. An auger, often referred to as a "plumber's snake," can be inserted into the drain to remove the grime and free up the water flow. Homeowners without access to an auger can try to fish the clog out of the drain with a wire hanger.
If clogs cannot be alleviated, drain traps may need to be accessed. Those who do not know their way around pipes and wrenches should hire a professional.