A Guide to Fixing a Slow Draining Bathroom Sink
A slow draining sink in the bathroom can be a really smelly annoyance, but it’s a problem that a fairly handy DIY person can probably fix. In this blog we’ll explain the steps needed to, in most cases, fix the slow drain problem. But if taking on a job like this is not your cup of tea, call the plumbing experts at Wilbur’s Air Conditioning, Heating, & Plumbing, and one of our technicians will be right over to fix the problem.
Before we begin, however, a word of warning. When confronted with a sink that’s draining slowly or not at all, the first solution many think of is using a chemical drain cleaner to flush out the clog. At Wilbur’s we don’t recommend that approach for a couple of reasons. First, over time the chemicals in those solutions can actually damage your pipes, and second, if you’re not careful, those harsh chemicals can also burn your skin and damage your eyes.
Steps to Unclog Your Drain
With that warning in mind, here are the steps most any DIY-er can take to unclog that stubborn bathroom sink.
Take a Picture
Use the camera in your phone to take a picture of the pipes underneath the sink. This picture can be very helpful in putting things back together once the drain is unclogged, especially if you’ve never tried this type of fix before.
Take the Under-the-Sink Structure Apart
You should be able to disassemble the pipes by hand, but if they’re a little too tight, a pipe wrench can do the job for you. Once the pipes are loosened, lower the p trap (the u shaped part of the structure), and there’s a good chance there’ll be a sludge build up there that you can see.
Remove the Sink Stopper
Hair and other gunk like to build up where the stopper lever connects to the drain. What you’ll need to do is unscrew the housing nut and slide the stopper lever out.
Now, lift the stopper itself out and clean off any debris, like hair and soap scum, that’s accumulated on it.
Clean the Drain
Check for any buildup of gunk in your disassembled drain pipes and push a paper towel through them to remove any of the stuff that’s accumulated there over time.
Wash the Pipes
The next step is to fill the kitchen sink with hot water. Unscrew the drain pipe and thoroughly wash and clean it and the p trap in the water in the sink. Use an old toothbrush to clean out any crooks and crannies where small particles of debris may have accumulated. Obviously, what you’re trying to do is to get your drain pipes as clean as possible.
Reassemble and Reconnect
Once everything’s clean, it’s time to reassemble. Start by screwing the drain pipe back in, hand tight and make sure the stopper hole is facing backward so that the stopper lever can be slipped back into the base of the stopper.
Screw the housing nut of the stopper mechanism back into place and reattach the lever to the lift rod strap.
Reassemble the Pipes and Hand Tighten the Connections
Here’s where the picture you took earlier comes in handy. Use it as a guide to reassemble all the pipes. Once everything is in its proper position, tighten the connections, and remember, hand tight is all you really need.
Fill the Sink and Check for Leaks
After everything is tightened and you’ve reconnected the stopper, fill the sink with water, then drain it to check for any leaks to make sure everything has been reassembled properly.
Call Wilbur’s for Expert Plumbing Service
Hopefully, these steps will help you take care of your drain issue, and if you need some visual assistance in doing the job, you might want to look at this YouTube video.
Finally, as we have said, if this kind of self-help is just not your thing, expert plumbing help in the greater Birmingham area from Willbur’s is only a phone call away. Give us a call at 205-655-2396, and one of our plumbing technicians will be right over to assist you.