Plumbing With A Purpose

Plumbing With a Purpose

Causes Of Slow Drains

Joann Gardner

Slow drains can be especially frustrating since the drain still works, albeit slowly. Many homeowners ignore a slow drain while hoping the problem solves itself. This can be a major mistake since a slowly moving drain can put stresses on the joints in the pipes, causing a slow leak somewhere in the plumbing. Knowing the causes of a slow drain can help you avoid problems and know when to call a plumber.


Biofilm is often the culprit in bathroom sink and tub drains. Biofilm is a slimy substance consisting of soap scum, dead skin, hair, and bacterial colonies living on and feasting on the above. Using hair catchers or screening the drains can cut down on some biofilm buildup, since it traps the hair so you can remove it before it gets into the drain. Yet some buildup can still occur even without hair in the drain. Periodic drain cleaning is the answer. You can simply poor boiling water down the drains weekly to melt away any collect soap scum or developing bacterial colonies. This is a good way to maintain clean drains. If the drains are already clogged with biofilm, then you will need to have them cleared before this maintenance will have a major effect.

Clogged traps

Every sink drain has a trap, which is usually called a J-trap or P-trap. This is the oddly curved pipe that dips down below your sink. It is there to trap a small amount of water so that sewage gas can't come up the drain. Sometimes food or other debris gets stuck in the trap, though, which makes the water drain more slowly. You can clean out your own trap with the help of a plumber's wrench and a bucket. Place the bucket beneath the trap and then use the wrench to loosen the rings holding the trap pipe in place. Remove the pipe and clean out any debris, then replace it. Run water through the drain, leaving the bucket in place, and make sure the joints are tightened enough to prevent leaks.

Stuck garbage disposal

On sinks with a garbage disposal a stuck or poorly grinding disposal can slow the drain. You can try to clear the items affecting the disposal with an Allen wrench. Locate the hex nut on the bottom of the disposal unit. Using the Allen wrench, turn it counterclockwise slowly to break through the clog. Once the wrench turns freely the disposal should run properly and the drain should work better.

For more help, contact a plumber in your area


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About Me
Plumbing With A Purpose

When was the last time you realized that you had a serious plumbing problem? About a month ago, I knew that I had to make some big changes, so I began talking with different plumbers about getting the job done. I told them that I wanted to replace the bathtub in the bathroom and the sink and faucet in the kitchen, and they took my requests in stride. Before I knew it, my entire home was updated and I felt great about the work. I wanted to start this blog to help other people to learn more about plumbing and repair.