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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Plumbing Category: Drains and Traps

Problem:

Bathtub drain is clogged.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Drain auger (plumber's snake)

  • Drill snake (drain snake attachment that is attached to a power drill)

  • Power drill

  • Rubber gloves

  • Strainer wrench

  • Screwdriver

  • Locking pliers / Channellock® pliers by Channellock, Inc.

  • Trash bag

  • Bucket

  • Plumber's putty

  • Bathtub cleaner, like Tilex® by The Clorox Company, or other detergents like Ajax® by Phoenix Brands, LLC.

  • Cloths/rags

  • Adjustable wrench

Solution:

 

Over the course of the use of your bathtub, you may find that your bathtub becomes clogged, causing water to drain down unusually slow or not at all upon having taken your bath.  With some effort, this annoying clog can be unclogged.

Caution: When dealing with drainage maintenance, such as snaking a drain, make sure you take precautions, including wearing rubber gloves; read all product manufacturer instructions.

Unclog your bathtub drain in a few steps, and here's how:

You may unclog your drain either through your bathtub's strainer and/or your bathtub's overflow stopper.  Both ways are covered here for your convenience.

Overflow stopper.

  1. First, remove the bathtub overflow stopper by using a screwdriver to unscrew the two screws that usually hold the overflow plate in place.

  2. With the overflow plate removed, use a drain auger or drill snake (attached to a power drill) to remove the clog from the bathtub drain; follow the drain auger or drill snake manufacturer's instructions in snaking the drain uncovered by the removal of the overflow stopper plate until the clog is reached and removed; be careful to have a trash bag or bucket on hand to contain the mess as you retrieve and recoil your auger snake/plumber's snake and discard the clogging substance.

  3. Then, place the overflow plate back into position and secure it with the two screws you previously removed, using a screwdriver.

  4. To ensure that you maintain a clean, safe bathtub, after snaking the bathtub drain, clean the bathtub, using a bathtub cleaner and cloths/rags; read the bathtub cleaner manufacturer's instructions.

Strainer.

  1. First, remove the bathtub strainer that screens the drain in the bathtub:  Use locking pliers or Channellock pliers in the reverse position by inserting the handle ends of the pliers into the strainer of the bathtub and then turn these pliers counterclockwise in an effort to unscrew--remove the strainer from the bathtub; if the strainer proves to be more difficult to remove, for added turning power, place a screwdriver in between the handles of the inserted pliers and then press against this screwdriver (along with the pliers' handles) in attempting to move counterclockwise.  If you are still unable to dislodge and remove the bathtub strainer, purchase and use a strainer wrench to do the job; follow the strainer wrench manufacturer's instructions on how to use this wrench properly to easily remove the strainer of your bathtub.

  1. With the strainer removed, use a drain auger or drill snake (attached to a power drill) to remove the clog from the bathtub drain; follow the drain auger or drill snake manufacturer's instructions in snaking the drain uncovered by the removal of the strainer until the clog is reached and removed; be careful to have a trash bag or bucket on hand to contain the mess as you retrieve and recoil your auger snake/plumber's snake and discard the clogging substance.

  2. Then, in preparation to put the bathtub strainer back into the bathtub, in its place, apply some plumber's putty around the inner circular edge of the strainer that will meet the bathtub floor when the strainer is screwed back into place.

  3. After applying the plumber's putty, go ahead and screw the bathtub strainer back into place.  Wipe off any excess putty that secretes from the strainer as it is tightened in position in the bathtub, and put this excess putty back into the putty container.

  4. To ensure that you maintain a clean, safe bathtub, after snaking the bathtub drain, clean the bathtub, using a bathtub cleaner and cloths/rags; read the bathtub cleaner manufacturer's instructions.

For the uncommon drum-trap scenario:  In some instances, bathtubs that are relatively old have drum traps that are in the floor or, alternatively, in another room adjacent to the bathroom, behind an access panel.  In such instances, you'll need to tap into these drum traps to snake out the clogging substance.  In order to do this, you'll need an adjustable wrench to (counterclockwise) turn open the the drum trap plate to gain access to the bathtub drain and to send your auger snake/plumber's snake down there to reach and retrieve any clogging substance that may be there; be careful to have a trash bag or bucket on hand to contain the mess as you retrieve and recoil your auger snake/plumber's snake and discard the clogging substance. 

That's what it takes to unclog a bathtub drain.

Ed the Handyman

            &

Your Handyman Zone Team

 

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