Figuring out why your bathroom sink drains slowly may feel like a mystery. After all, the only things that go down it are toothpaste, water and soap. Why is water backing up all of a sudden?
To resolve your issue, we’ve narrowed what might be clogging your sink down to four common suspects along with ways to unclog them. If your bathroom sink keeps filling up with water, read on to learn how to get it flowing again.
Hair in your sink is the most common reason your bathroom sink keeps clogging. Because hair clumps together when wet, it’s the perfect drain clogging material. Pipe walls catch those clumps on their way down and the more pressure the water in your drain exerts on hair, the harder it will clump together. Wet hair in your drain collects more wet hair, until the gross clump fully resists water flow inside the pipe. To make matters worse, that hairy clump collects anything else that’s trying to head down the drain.
A particularly pernicious myth about hair in drains is that only some “types” of hair cause clogs. This is not true. Facial hair and pet fur are just as good at clogging drains as any other kind. No matter how fine or thin the hairs are, they will catch on the pipe on their way down. Installing a drain straining device is a quick and effective way to fix a bathroom sink that keeps backing up and prevents hair from clogging your drain.
Your P-Trap is Clogged
The P-trap is the bending part of your bathroom sink drain pipe. It’s located directly beneath the sink and connects the sink’s drain to the larger drain pipe leading to the sewer. P-traps bend to prevent toxic and foul-smelling sewer gas from floating back up through the drain. The bend in the P-trap also holds water, which helps create the suction required for a drain to clear. The problem is that bathroom sink P-traps also tend to catch other things, too and may explain why you have water backing up in your sink.
Smaller items than you’d think can get caught in the p-trap. Rings, earrings, chunks of soap, and even grease can form clogs in your P-trap. If your P-trap is not draining , you may hear a strange stuttering noise when water flushes down the drain. You can manually remove most p-traps from under the sink easily. In most cases, cleaning out the p-trap with an old toothbrush or similar implement will effectively solve the problem. Make sure you have a bucket underneath when you take the P-trap off!
Soap scum usually occurs when chemicals in soap react with calcium and magnesium ions present in water. It’s a chalky, filmy substance that clings to the sides of pipe walls and builds up over time. Like hair, this substance catches itself and other falling materials, creating a slow-growing clog. Soap scum can create particularly frustrating clogs because it’s sticky. You may find it difficult to pry accumulated soap scum away from pipe walls without a snake or other professional tool.
Though less common, soap-related clogs can still happen if you use a water softener. If excess quantities of soap pour down the drain, some could stick the walls and begin to build up. Heavier chunks of soap may also catch in the p-trap, causing the clogs outlined above. Particularly strong, coarse soap could even damage the pipes, leading to corrosion or rust clogs. To clean soap scum from your pipes, pour a pot of hot water down your drains and then run the hot water tap for a minute.
Numerous types of pipe damage may explain why your sink keeps filling up with water. When pipes corrode, the rust built up on the inner pipe walls can constrict water flow. Dented pipes will constrict or completely block off water flow if they’re damaged significantly enough. Even pipe joints can wear out or come apart, which could cause pipes to sag and block water flow. If pipes aren’t securely fastened, they could shift over time until they become displaced or disconnected.
Pipe damage is difficult to avoid entirely. All pipes get old over time, and when they get old enough, they’ll start to corrode, become clogged or break down. When that happens, the only reliable solution is to install new replacement pipes. Are your pipes securely fastened? Are they in a place where they’re easily damaged? If it seems your sink is draining slowly with no blockage, it could be a pipe issue further down the line. When this is the case, it’s time to call in the pros to replace the damaged pipes.
Why is My Bathroom Sink Not Draining?
Hopefully you’ve discovered the source of your problem. If your bathroom sink is clogged and you’ve tried everything, it may be time to call in the pros. There is a solution and if you’re at your wit’s end about what to do, let us handle it. Give Mike Diamond a call. We’ll solve your bathroom sink puzzle and have your drains working again.