Clogged Tubs: Unblocking a Backed up Drain Using the Right Techniques and Tools

At some point, every home will experience a clogged tub, where the drain has become blocked by debris, soap residue and hair. Clearing the drain can be either a very simple process, or one that requires the skills and tools of a licensed Bill Fenwick Plumbing plumber.

Generally, a bathtub will become clogged over time. Every time there is a little more buildup of hair or soap residue, the free-flowing dimensions of the interior of the pipe become narrower. At the first sign of a problem, it is sometimes easy to simply unscrew the top screen that covers the drainpipe and use some type of bent hanger or wire to dig out the affected area containing soap scum and hair. Some tubs are not crafted with a simple screen with a screw, but instead have a pop up drain plug.

The process of removing the pop-up is a little trickier. It requires that the lever be raised so it remains in the open position. By grabbing the stopper and holding it up from the drain hole, there should be a screw holding it in place. By backing off the screw slightly, the pop-up should easily come off. When removed, check for any signs of hair or scum buildup that needs to be pulled out.
Plunging the Problem Away

While plunging can at times unplug the problem, usually the underlying issues will likely require a licensed plumber. Although it is simple to use a plunger in a toilet to remove the blockage and have the clog travel down the drain pipe, performing a plunging action in a bathtub is not as simple because of the overflow pipe located far above the drain.
Using a Cable Auger

If digging out the hair and scum does not work, and the plunger is ineffective, it is likely time to call a licensed plumbing professional that can use a cable auger. The experienced plumber will likely need to remove the pop-up valve or the screen covering the drain pipe. They will feed the cable auger approximately 2.5 feet down the overflow pipe (after removing the cover plate). They will use a motorized auger that has the ability to capture any build up of hair or debris that can be pulled back out of the pipe. The process is often tricky, and does not necessarily guarantee the removal of the clog.

At some point, the cable will make its way to the P-trap located somewhere underneath the bathtub. If there is any blockage in the drain, the auger has likely captured it or pushed it down the pipe. If this fails, the Bill Fenwick plumber has other options they can use, including using the auger system from the rooftop or clean outs positioned around the home.

If the auger, plunger and wire proved to be ineffective at unplugging the clogged bathtub, the issue may be farther down the line. At this point, unclogging the bathtub drain pipe will typically require extensive work by reputable licensed contractor, that has all the tools necessary to unblock the drain from the bathtub.

Bill Fenwick Plumbing professionals use cameras on cables that can be pushed down the drain pipe to determine exactly what is causing the blockage. This effective tool can locate the problem, and measure the distance down the pipe, so the plumber can determine exactly where the issue is located in the house, and how to best remedy the situation.

While homeowners often believe that they can unplug any clogged drain, many times the issue is too severe to handle with a plunger or drain cleaner. It is always best to seek out the advice of an experienced Bill Fenwick Plumbing professional before sewage backs up into the home.

Press to Call