My Sink Won’t Drain When I Plunge it – How Do I Unclog the Sink Trap?

We’ve all been there. We notice the sink draining more and more slowly. We find ourselves having to plunge it from time to time. Most of the time, one plunge does the trick and we’re back to full-speed draining and washing dishes like normal.
Sometimes, though, things don’t go back to normal after a plunge. At times like these – you don’t necessarily have to rush to call a plumber. If you’re a little bit handy, cleaning out your sink trap can be an affordable way to solve the problem.
Your sink trap is a U-shaped pipe under the sink. The shape of this pipe is extremely beneficial to your nostrils, as it helps keep the stink of your sewage from creeping into your kitchen or bathroom. Unfortunately, the shape also makes it easier for gunk to accumulate.

What You Need:

    • Bucket or Dish Pan (depending on how much room you have under your U Pipe)
    • Cleaning Brush
    • Optional: Old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, and a soft knee pad to protect your joints.

First, you will want to clean out under the sink and place your bucket/dish pan underneath the U-pipe.
Next, you will notice there are two slip joints at each end of the U (or J) shape. These can be unscrewed (carefully) by hand.
Let the debris spill out of the U joint and into the bucket. Take your brush and clean out the clog.
Reattach the sink trap and run the water, slowly at first to check for leaks, then more quickly to verify there are no leaks where you were working.
Once you have confirmed that there are no leaks, let your water flow a while to see if your drainage problem is solved. If there is a blockage further down the line, it may take a minute for the water to back up through the pipe, so be sure the sink trap was the problem before calling it a day.
If you find that your sink trap was not the source of the problem, and that you still have drainage issues, then you’ll know that a plumber is your next best step. Keep in mind that harsh chemicals that are advertised to clean your drains can cause damage to your pipes – and damaged pipes can cost you a lot of money in residual repairs.
It’s best to either snake the line or call Jersey Plumbing Service to get your drains flowing the way they were meant to.

Jersey Plumbing Service
PO Box 7371
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
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Fax: 1-908-647-1517

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