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We Have the Answers to Your Plumbing Questions

Posted on January 13, 2017

The magic of indoor plumbing is a great mystery, right? The process of bringing potable water into our homes and removing the wastewater is an unsolved puzzle for many of us. With that in mind, we thought providing the answers to some common plumbing questions may be of help, so here goes:

Question 1 – Mayday! Mayday! My son flushed a full roll of toilet paper down the bowl and now I have a big-time backup. How do I get it out?

  • The first step is to take your plunger or a toilet brush and try to pry it loose. Sometimes it’s just that simple if the roll isn’t wedged too far in.
  • Place a tablet of dishwasher detergent in the toilet bowl and let it soak for 30 minutes. This will result in the roll soaking up more water and getting softer. Take out the tablet and try flushing the toilet 3 or 4 times. Hopefully, the roll is soft enough to be flushed on through. If it is still stuck, go to work with the plunger again with 4 or 5 compressions then try flushing once more.
  • Still stuck? The next step is a drain snake (if you have one) or a wire coat hanger; you may be able to work it free with either one.
  • If that fails, admit defeat and call your plumbing company, General Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Then suspend your son’s allowance until he’s old enough to know better.

Question 2 – My drain empties very slow in my bathroom sink (or shower). What can I do?

  • Chances are, the drain is clogged with hair and other debris. The good news is that it is often an easy fix if you don’t mind getting a little messy.
  • If it’s a sink, the first step is removing the stopper. Look in the cabinet underneath the sink and you should be able to disengage the stopper from the rod that opens and closes the drain.
  • OK, now remove the stopper. But be warned, a clogged drain is not pretty; a lot of gross stuff that normally exits your house has been trapped there for a while. A pair of rubber gloves is recommended.
  • After you remove the hair and other goo from the stopper and drain opening, run some water to make sure there are no other stoppages. Then reattach the stopper.
  • If the shower drain is stopped up, repeat the process with one exception: you will probably need a screwdriver to remove the plate covering the drain.
  • In either case, if slow drainage continues, you may need to reuse the drain snake or call in the professionals at General.
  • And please don’t dump chemical drain cleaners into the drain; they generally don’t work well and are very toxic chemicals. Instead check out natural solutions such as BioSmart™.

A final bit of advice from your friends at General: while some plumbing repairs and routine maintenance can be handled yourself, don’t overstep your bounds. The damage caused by plumbing mishaps can be expensive and catastrophic. When in doubt, give us a call for your plumbing needs.