Dealing with a blocked shower drain can be a frustrating experience. Blockages are some of the most common problems with residential plumbing Brisbane wide, and they can easily disrupt your day or cause water damage to your home. If you’re struggling with blocked drains there are a few things you can do to deal with the issue yourself. In this article we’ll go over how you can clear a blocked shower drain and what you should do to prevent further issues.
The Causes of Blocked Shower Drains
Blocked drains are some of the most common plumbing problems around the home. And, because you use your shower every day, blocked shower drains are a particular problem. Most blocked drains are caused by things like:
- Build ups of hair
- Soap deposits and soap scum
- Dirt and silt
- Foreign objects
These types of blockages are usually fairly easy to resolve. Unfortunately though, blocked drains can also be caused by bigger problems like invading tree roots. If that’s the case then you’ll need a plumber’s help to fix the issue.
How to Clear a Blocked Shower Drain
A blocked drain can be a small nuisance. It can also be a serious problem that results in significant amounts of water damage to your home. If your shower is blocked or draining slowly, you can clear the blockage by:
- Checking that the drain is clear – remove the drain grate and look down into the pipes. Remove any obstructions like clumps of hair or soap.
- Using a disposable drain snake – drain snakes are flexible tools that can be inserted into a drain to dislodge and remove blockages. The disposable variety is made of plastic that won’t damage your pipes, and they’re an effective way to remove clumps of hair. Avoid using metal drain snakes – these can damage pipes and are better left to professional plumbers.
- Pouring boiling water down the drain – if you’re dealing with a blockage you can’t see, try pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain. Boiling water is good for dissolving and dislodging build ups of soap that are deep in your pipework. You can repeat this several times, just be careful not to overflow your shower.
- Making a natural drain cleaner – you may need chemical help to get rid of particularly stubborn blockages. A natural cleaner made of 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda will deal with most soap-based blockages. After pouring boiling water down the drain, add the baking soda and then the vinegar and allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with more boiling water.
- Contacting a professional plumber – sometimes you simply won’t be able to clear a blocked shower drain. The only option left is to call a professional plumber. Plumbers have specialty tools that can be used to locate and clear blockages without damaging your pipes.
Are Drain Cleaners Safe to Use?
You might have noticed above that we didn’t recommend using chemical drain cleaners. Chemical cleaners are a controversial topic in the plumbing world. While they can be effective, they’re rarely as good as the manufacturers claim, and they can do serious damage to your pipes.
Chemical cleaners are usually a mix of lye, bleach and other caustic chemicals. These are effective at dissolving things like soap and hair, but they can also eat into PVC, copper and iron pipes. Used regularly, chemical drain cleaners can eat all the way through your pipes and you could find yourself replacing large sections of your plumbing. If you’re going to use a chemical drain cleaner then we recommend doing so very sparingly.
Preventing Blocked Drains in Showers
Preventing blockages is the best way to avoid blocked drains in your residential plumbing Brisbane. While it’s almost impossible to avoid blockages entirely, these simple steps can reduce the likelihood of blocked drains:
- Clean the shower regularly with natural cleaners that are designed to remove soap scum (such as baking soda and vinegar)
- Clear hair and other debris out of the drain after showering
- Don’t use the shower to rise off large amounts of things like dirt, dust, lint or grass clippings
- Clean the drain on a weekly basis using a mix of boiling water, baking soda and vinegar
Regular cleaning is the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of developing blocked drains. You should also avoid the temptation to use your shower for things like shaking out rugs or rinsing off dirty pets. Excessive amounts of debris can become stuck in soap deposits and make blockages worse.