The Most Common Drain Stoppages

Hair stoppages are very common in homes, especially homes with members that have long hair.  Shower stoppages and tub stoppages are very often hair stoppages.  We see how much hair builds up on our combs and hairbrushes, well the very same thing happens in our drain lines.  Hair washes from our heads and slides down the drain and gets caught in the collar and p-trap.

Your first instinct may be to go to the hardware store down the road and grab a handy bottle of chemical drain cleaner.  I want you to resist that urge for a minute and hear me out.  Chemical drain cleaners can sometimes cause more harm than good.  Chemical drain cleaners eat through stoppages, but they can also eat through your plumbing. 

Most chemical drain cleaners are meant to be used in plastic lines, like ABS.  Many homes in the Phoenix area don’t have ABS or plastic drain lines though.  Many of our homes have drain lines that are cast iron, or even Orangeburg.  Cast iron lines are metal and are often fragile due to rust buildup and corrosion.  Chemical drain cleaners can further weaken these pipes and can even eat a hole through them creating the need for a major repair.  If the p-trap for your shower or tub is eaten through it usually requires the removal of your tub or shower pan in order to access the line to make a repair.

There is a safer way to remove hair from your shower, tubs and bathroom sinks.  If you have a wire coat hanger hanging around your house this is a quick and easy tool for retrieving that hair from your drain.  You will want to unwind the top of it to make a long stick.  Make the curling end have a smaller hook, like you’re fishing for hair.  That is the end you will want to gently stick down your drain line and wiggle around to retrieve the hair.  You will want to have a trash bag readily available and be prepared, this is not for the faint of heart.  Wet matted hair is just nasty.  If you don’t want to make a hook you can easily buy hair remover from your local hardware store or even Amazon.

Preventing hair stoppages is preferable to having to clean one, so short of shaving your head there are several options for screens that go over your tub drain.  This is a great way to prevent hair stoppages and a call from the plumber.