Does water always back up in your sink? While slow-draining sinks are easy to ignore at first, they tend to get progressively worse until you find yourself washing your hands over a backlog of dirty water. Eventually, a slow drain can turn into a full clog that’s difficult to clear. Here are four common causes of slow-draining sinks and how to fix them before they turn into a bigger problem.
Slow-draining bathroom sinks and showers are often the result of hair clogging the drain. Hair clogs can also happen in kitchen sinks if you use them to wash your hair or bathe pets. The first step in removing a hair clog is to grab a pipe snake and physically remove as much hair as possible. If the sink still drains slowly, use baking soda to dislodge any remaining hair.
Grease or Soap Build-Up
A slow drain in the kitchen sink is usually caused by all the grease, food debris, and dish soap that gets poured down it every day. The most effective solution for grease and soap build-up is a caustic drain cleaner, but use it sparingly because the harsh chemicals can damage your pipes. To prevent future clogs, avoid pouring grease and oil down the drain, scrape dishes over the trash can before washing, and rinse the drain with hot water for a few seconds after washing the dishes.
While slow drains are most commonly caused by debris blocking the pipes, sometimes your plumbing is the problem. Pipes that are worn, broken or improperly installed can cause water to drain slowly or back up in the sink. If you have tried clearing your drain with a pipe snake and drain cleaner with no success, it’s time to call a plumber.
Sewer or Septic Problems
Is every drain in your house emptying slowly? The problem may lie outside your home in the sewer system or your septic tank. A full septic tank can cause drains to back up, so consider having yours inspected if it’s been more than three years since the last time it was pumped. Sewer issues can be more difficult to address because your city maintains the system, but the first step is filing a complaint.
Whatever the cause of your clogged drain, remember to exercise caution when attempting do-it-yourself fixes. Using overly harsh chemicals can lead to costly pipe damage, so consider calling a professional plumber who can correctly identify and fix your slow drain.