What to do in Case of Blocked Drains or a Plumbing Back-up (Pt. 1)

Blocked Drains

I’m sure most will think we’re going to say shut off the water and call a plumber in the case of a plumbing back-up or blocked drains right? Well….that’s part of the answer but we’ll try and give you a “what the heck can it be?” and a “what to do in case of” scenario.

So here are the different types of drains in your home or office building, the most common blockage and what to do about them if they back-up.


  • Food – That simple, vegetables, pasta, etc. all get caught in your sink drain.
  • Grease – If you pour bacon grease, or hamburger grease or whatever kind of grease you run the very real risk of a blockage


  • Blocked DrainsPlunge – with a cup plunger. You can take a cup plunger (not a a flange plunger which is for water closets) and move in an up and down motion using hydraulic action to remove the blockage.
  • Remove P-Trap – A large percentage of kitchen stoppages are located in the p-trap. Heavier food particles don’t get removed by the water and they sit in the bend of the p-trap. As more and more particles build up the trap way get smaller and a blockage occurs. If you remove the bend and you find a bunch of food and debris clear it out and reinstall.
  • Chemical Drain Cleaner – PLEASE USE WITH CAUTION, We are not huge fans of chemical drain cleaners for two reasons.
  1. they are extremely dangerous if not used with caution. If the drain clog doesn’t break up you are left with waste piping filled with acid. Your room for mistakes is small.
  2. if the drain is completely stopped and water is laying in the waste line the chemical does not make it full strength to the blockage and if the chemical can’t make it past the blockage to break it up these products are hit and miss. If we were to recommend one product that we know works and works well it would be THRIFT, however it needs some of the same parameters to work. The drain needs to be moving slowly but not completely blocked. There is another product called Bioclean that works but it is more a maintenance product. It uses active enzymes to gradually eat away organic debris.
  • Rodding – You can attempt to use any number of rodders like a tape rod or a hand held canister rod.
  • Call the Plumber – Again a trained plumber can sometimes cut some of these steps down just by knowing the nature of the clog. Most trained plumbers are pretty proficient at these types of stoppages.


  • Blocked DrainsForeign Objects – We will lump all foreign objects in this for instance toys, cell phones, tropical fish etc.
  • The Deuce – We don’t have to give the gory details you know the blockage well. If it’s you it’s usually at someone else’s house. The water level slowly rises, you say as many prayers as possible to will the water down so there are no friendly floaters in your pal’s bathroom.
  • Two Year Old Test Wipe – plumbing fixture manufacturers actually call one of the their toilet performance tests “the two year old” test. It is accomplished by taking your hand and starting to pull off toilet paper and winding it around the hand until 3/4 of the roll is gone.


  • Plunge – Using a flange plunger a move carefully in an up and down motion using water pressure to remove blockage.
  • Remove Toilet – If you have a foreign object wedged inside the toilet a lot of the time the only thing you can do to repair is by taking the toilet off an clearing the trap way from the outlet of the toilet.
  • Closet Auger – This is basically a 3 1/2ft or 6ft long toilet rod with an auger head and handle. You insert the rod into the toilet and turn the handle pushing the rod forward until you hit the stoppage. Hopefully the 6ft long version is long enough.

Remove Toilet and Power Rod – If the blockage it too far from the fixture and too tough for a closet auger another option is to remove the toilet and power rod. At this point it may not be a bad idea to CALL THE PLUMBER.

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