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How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Taking a hot, leisurely shower is a luxury. It can help wash down the day’s stresses, give you respite from daily responsibilities, warmth during a cold day and — of course — keep you clean. It can also become a source of additional stress if you notice that water is not draining properly — or even worse, not draining at all. What can you do to identify signs that there’s a looming problem, how can you unclog existing blockages, and what can you do to prevent them from happening again?

Causes of a Clogged Shower Drain

There are several things that can lead to shower drain blockages. These include:

Hard water: Florida is notorious for having hard water. All you have to do is notice the chalky white stains anywhere near a faucet — or on your dishes and kitchen utensils when you pull them out of the dishwasher — to notice it. Over a period of time, this type of mineral buildup narrows the space water has to flow through your shower’s plumbing.

Soap scum: Soap scum is sticky and can attach to the walls of pipes. This makes it easier for other items to become trapped in them — such as dead skin cells and hair.

Hair: This is most likely the case if anyone in your household has long hair. Every time they shampoo, hundreds of strands go down the drain. Give it enough time, and you’ll end up with Chewbacca blocking the plumbing.

Debris: These can include small, random items that are generally part of your personal care routine — such as plastic razor coverings, aluminum seals from shampoo and conditioner bottles, and toothpaste caps, to name a few. If you have small children in your home, the possibilities are endless.

Signs It’s Time to Unclog Your Shower Drain

While the most obvious signs are slow draining water or water that won’t drain at all, there are other indications that there’s something blocking the flow in your shower plumbing. These include:

  • Changes in water pressure
  • Unpleasant smells
  • Water backing up into the shower stall or bathtub
  • Puddles of water near the shower

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, do not wait to get it fixed. Waiting too long could cause water to leak through pipe joints. This could result in water creeping into your walls, causing structural damage to your home. Plus, any standing water inside or outside your walls can lead to mold growth. Another consequence could be your bathroom getting flooded if the drain causes too much water to back up into your shower.

5 Ways to Unclog a Shower Drain

If the blockage is relatively minor, there are several DIY ways to try to unclog the drain:

1. Pour boiling water down the drain

Make sure to use a funnel to make it easier and to avoid spilling hot water on yourself.

2. Use a chemical cleaner

There are several brands you can purchase at any grocery or drug store. Always wear gloves and read the instructions on the back carefully. Avoid using this method regularly — when used too often, they could damage your pipes.

3. Pull out the clog

This one’s more on the unpleasant side, but sometimes, somebody’s got to do it. Take off the drain cover, locate the clog with a flashlight, and use a hanger to pull it out.

4. Use a plumber’s snake

If you can’t see the clog near the surface, push a plumbers snake down the pipe until you reach it. Run water afterward to see if it drains easily.

5. Call a plumber

If nothing else works, you’ll need a licensed plumber to do the work for you. Call a reputable technician to resolve your clog.

How to Prevent Future Clogs

Clogs are usually considered gross but play a typical role in the wear and tear of your plumbing. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to prevent clogs from happening again in the future.

Buy a hair catcher. It’s a cheap and simple way to prevent hair — and other small items — from washing down the drain. To keep it from getting unsightly, empty it into the garbage can after every shower.

Flush the drain on a weekly basis. Boil a large pot of water. Pour half of it down the drain. Wait a few minutes, then pour the rest. Doing this regularly prevents gunk — such as oils from personal care products — from building up in your pipes.

Clean the pipes every three months. Mix half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of distilled white vinegar. Pour it down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse it by letting hot water run for a few minutes.

Call Plumbing Professionals in Broward, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie

At Sansone Air Conditioning Electrical & Plumbing, we are always ready to help you. If you live in Broward, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie, we’ll make sure your shower drain is in optimal condition.

Call us to hear about our specials or to schedule an appointment.

Broward: (954) 800-2858
Palm Beach: (561) 701-8274
St. Lucie: (772) 879-5656

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