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Feed the Dog



























Unclogging Appliances

Safety First!
To prevent possible electric shock, turn off and unplug all electrical appliances you're trying to unclog or repair.







Dishwashers, clothes washers, and garbage disposal units have traps that will sometimes get clogged and cause poor performance.

Dishwasher Problems: First, try removing the drain port cover and thread a slim rod or auger down the drain pipe to clean the trap. You may also be able to drop the trap and clean it if you can safely get under the dishwasher.

If this does not solve the problem, then it could signify a malfunctioning drain valve solenoid. In that case, call the repairman.

Another problem may be the result of a clogged strainer at the bottom of the dishwasher inside the machine. This can easily be removed for cleaning. Rinse the ports under your sink tap, then place strainer back in position.

Preventive Maintenance: By properly cleaning dishes, glasses, pots, pans, etc. before you put them in your dishwasher you can avoid most clogged strainer problems.

Clothes Washer Problems: Generally, clothes washer problems are caused by two things: an improperly set control on the washer panel (make sure the machine and the timer have gone through a complete cycle); or, material blocking the discharge hose or trap.

The first thing to do is inspect the hose for any kinks, severe bends, or blockage.
You can inspect the hose for blockage by removing it from the machine. If there appears to be blockage, remove the clogging material with a wood rod or by aiming the end of a faucet into the hose opening and turning on the faucet to force out the debris.

If the water problem is a clogged trap, remove the drain hose. Then, insert an auger in the pipe and run the auger down through the trap and pipe.

Preventive Maintenance: To prevent most clogging problems is is always a good idea to clean the lint trap in your clothes washer after every washing.


Garbage Disposer Problems: Since garbage disposers have traps similar to sinks, the clogging problem will most likely be in the trap.

If the disposer is connected to the sink drain, your first step is to remove the connection and pipe, then clean out the pipe or the sink trap/pipe.

Because all types of garbage tend to stick to the inside of the disposer drain line and hold moisture, the main drain of your disposer unit can rust or corrode more quickly than the drain on a sink. It is a good idea to remove the drain line of your disposer unit every two or three years and clean it out. Although it is a messy job, it will help to ensure longer life for your drain line and save you a lot of clogging problems.

Preventive Maintenance: To avoid disposer clogging problems, you should use plenty of water during the disposer's food-grinding cycle. Use plenty of water to flush away the ground-up debris in the disposer.















Unclogging Drains & Traps


Drains: To unclog a sink or lavatory drain, you should begin by plunging the drain. Chemical drain cleaners are not recommended, because they can be dangerous to your plumbing.

1. First pour a quart of boiling water mixed with a cup of ammonia into the clogged drain and allow it to sit for half an hour.

2. Block all openings that are part of the sink or lavatory setup. It is advisable to stuff wet rags in any overflow holes. If you have a double sink, place a wet rag into the drain of the adjacent sink.

3. To create a tight seal between the rubber cup on the plunger and the drain, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the rim of the plunger.

4. Fill the basin with 2 to 3 inches of water and then place the plunger over the drain hold.
Push down on the plunger with steady, rhythmic, forceful downward strokes to clear the clog. Try 10 strokes the first time and test the water flow down the drain. Use up to 50 strokes if the clog is difficult. When the clog is cleared, run hot water for a few minutes to flush any residue down the drain.

5. If plunging doesn't clear the clog, you should drop and clean the drain trap.

6. If the trap is cleaned and the pipes are blocked, then you should resort to using a plumber's auger.

7. If you cannot reach the blockage with an auger, then you should call a professional plumber.

Preventive Maintenance: You can help keep kitchen drains unclogged by keeping grease and debris out of the sink. Pour grease from pans into a tin can to be thrown in the trash. Pouring hot water down the drain for a minute a day can help clear the trap and drain pipe.

All lavatory sinks should have small filtered screens to prevent hair and soap pieces from going down the drain and causing clogs.

Traps: These act as the primary drain blockers in most residential drainage systems. They are usually easier to clean than mechanical stoppers.

1. Before disassembling a trap, it is advisable to try a plunger first to clear the clog.

2. If your fixture has an overflow drain, plug it with a wet cloth to increase the suction of the cup. Put the suction cup of the plunger directly over the drain opening and fill the basin with 2-3 inches of water. The water will act as a seal and add suction to the cup. Work the handle up and down vigorously. If this does not do the trick, you will need to clean the trap.

Cleaning the Trap:

1. Remove the two couplings holding the trap together. If you cannot remove them by hand, then use a pipe wrench and pad the ridges in the jaws of the wrench with cloth so that the jaws do not damage the couplings.

2. Once loosened, slide the couplings from the trap piece. Note that this piece telescopes into the fixture's tailpiece and the beginning of the drain pipe. Complete the removal of the pipe and clear if of any debris which may be clogging it.

Clean-out plugs: If the trap has a clean-out plug at the base of the bend, you can clean debris from the trap using a bent-out wire coat hanger, rather than removing the trap itself.

3. If the trap is clear and the drain is still plugged, run an auger down through the drain hole, maneuvering it around bends.

4. If this proves insufficient to remove the clog, then remove the trap plug and insert the auger through the hole. Get the end of the auger against the clog and break up the clog by pushing and pulling the auger back and forth with a twisting motion.

























Unclogging Strainers & Stoppers


Blocked drain strainers in Kitchen sinks and blocked stoppers in lavatories and bathtubs are common problems which can easily be attended to.

Clearing Strainers:

1. First, remove the strainer by prying it up and out with the tip of a screwdriver. Be careful not to bend or mar the strainer.

2. If the strainer is held by screws, remove them and pry around the strainer with the tip of a screwdriver of knife.

3. Clean the strainer and wipe away any debris at the top of the strainer base.

Clearing Stoppers: Stoppers may be removed in several ways.

1. Some stoppers can be removed by turning it with your fingers. Others come out by unscrewing a pivot rod. You may need pliers to do this, and it is advisable to pad the jaws of the pliers with cloth or adhesive bandages to prevent marring of the drain finish.

2. After the stopper has been removed, clean it at the base of the drain opening.

Preventative Maintenance: If drain blockage occurs frequently, you can help to prevent it by giving all drains a weekly dose of water and ammonia, followed by plunging.






























Unclogging Toilets


Most toilet clogs are the result of too much tissue at time of flush, or trying to flush paper towels. Other causes might be washcloths, sponges, towels, or bath toys.

1. To clear a toilet, first try a plunger to break the clog.

2. If this proves ineffective, then use a closet auger with a corkscrew point on the end to open the clog. Because this tool is very flexible, it can easily turn in the trap in the bowl to dislodge or snag the object.

3. Before working with a closet auger, use a cup and a waste bucket to remove as much debris from the bowl as possible. Protect your hands and arms by sticking both into a heavy plastic garbage bag.

4. Move the closet auger under and down the bowl to locate the blockage and dislodge it.

5. Do not push the blockage down through the trap, because it can go into the main drain and clog it.

6. If you can't reach the clog with an auger and your toilet has a clean-out plug, you can resort to Plan B: Get a large bucket. Remove the plug and auger the pipe. There will be lots of trickle-down, water and debris.







































Grace under pressure


When you encounter grease, sand or ice in a pipe, nothing can clean it faster than a high-pressure water jet. When you use a snake, it will just go through the grease and still leave the line clogged.

A Water jet uses high pressure water to flush away sticky clogs such as grease, which cable machines have a hard time clearing. Cable machines don't replace jets in every instance, because jets can't clear heavy stoppages like tree roots.

Clear the ice

Water jets can be used to quickly clear ice clogs in both metal and plastic pipes. The larger gas jets can clear a foot of ice per minute in a 4-inch line, while electric jets take longer.

Stand back!

Because a water jet sprays most of the water backwards to pull the hose down the line, you should be sure get the hose around the first bend before you turn on the machine, or you'll have "old faithful" shooting out of the drain -- giving you an old faceful.

Check for a pulse.

When renting a jet, be sure it has a pulsation device. This makes the hose vibrate and overcome friction so that it will easily slide down the drain. Also make sure the machine is equipped with a back-flow prevention device to keep sewer water from getting into the fresh-water supply.