Category: Plumbing

The Secret Red Button That Could Solve Your Garbage Disposal Problems

Every once in a great while, we stumble across a tip that’s just too handy not to pass on. Lucky for you, today is that day. At Herrmann Services, our plumbers fix dozens of plumbing problems every day. They also know all the tricks of the trade. Today, we’re sharing a garbage disposal tip that just may help you out of a jam (literally) and save you a service call.

When the Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

Safety reminder: Never put your hand down into the garbage disposal (grinding chamber). Use a wooden spoon or another tool to dislodge anything stuck.

Your garbage disposal is smarter than you think. It is designed to turn off automatically when the disposal gets clogged, if it overheats, or if there is something wrong with the motor. The simple fix you probably didn’t know about is the little red reset button on the bottom of your disposal.

First, make sure the disposal is turned off. Look for a red button underneath the disposal. If it has popped out about a quarter of an inch, simply press it back in and try running the disposal. Sometimes this is all it takes. Don’t forget to check the electrical panel to see if the breaker needs to be flipped back on.  

If the garbage disposal reset button still will not stay in, or if you have to repeatedly reset the breaker, the disposal may be jammed. Read on to troubleshoot a garbage disposal jam.

Garbage Disposal Bottom

When the Motor Hums But Won’t Grind

If the motor hums, but there is no grinding sound, that means the flywheel is stuck. Either the reset button will trip or the fuse or circuit breaker in your electrical service panel will trip and turn off the disposal. The flywheel is stuck because something is lodged between it or the impeller(s) and the shredder ring. Learn about the anatomy of a garbage disposal below:

Parts of A Garbage Disposal

How to Dislodge the Jam

Here’s another handy trick to know about your garbage disposal. You can turn the flywheel from under the disposal as well. Just take the offset wrench that came with the disposal and insert it into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit. If you don’t see a wrench, it’s just a simple Allen wrench and you can pick one up from the hardware store. Turn the wrench clockwise to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. When it dislodges, you’ll feel the flywheel turn freely.

Once freed, turn the power back on at the electrical panel and press the reset button before trying the disposal. But don’t turn on the disposal yet. Run water and quickly flip the switch on and off to spin the flywheel, dislodge any obstruction, and rinse it down the drain. If you don’t see an obstruction and the disposal will not run, it may require service or replacement.

10 Things You Should Never Put Down Garbage Disposal

  • Grease – it will coat your pipes
  • Bones – they’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades
  • Celery – the fibrous strings get tangled around the disposal blades
  • Coffee grounds – the oil in coffee grounds becomes a sticky sludge
  • Eggshells – ground egg shells become sand-like particles that stick to grease
  • Corn husks – the fibers get caught in the blades
  • Artichokes – again, too fibrous
  • Fruit pits – pits are very hard and can jam the disposal blades
  • Potato peels – starchy vegetables and even pasta can cause a sticky mess
  • Your hand – nuff said

If these tips don’t work, call the plumbers in Cincinnati at Herrmann Services and we’ll be there in a jiffy to fix that garbage disposal or replace it if necessary.

Call us at (513) 407-5177 or contact us online.

DIY drain cleaning like a pro

8 Easy Plumbing Tips to Avoid Plumbing Problems

Easy Plumbing Tips

When it comes to owning a home, simple preventative measures can help you avoid massive problems in all areas of your house. This is especially true for plumbing. Broken pipes and clogged drains can lead to inconvenience as well as expensive repairs. No one wants to deal with water damage. The team at Herrmann Services put this list together to help you avoid plumbing problems before they happen. Follow these tips and hopefully, you won’t have to call us anytime soon.

1. Flush Your Kitchen Drain

Grease and soap can accumulate in your drain. Rather than wait for the drain to back up, treat the kitchen drain with a maintenance product like total-c. Total-c is an environmentally friendly product that helps eat away grease buildup and keep drains open longer.

2. Clean Your Sink and Tub Drains Monthly

Believe it or not, a ninety-nine cent plastic drain stick can save you a lot of trouble. Go to the home improvement store and buy one. It’s a little piece of plastic about a foot long with teeth along either side. These teeth grab hair and other items that build up in your drain and pull them out. Doing this once a month or so will prevent buildup and clogs. Bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers will all benefit from regular cleaning.

3. Inspect Laundry Hoses

Laundry hoses are notorious for causing water damage. They can burst at the worst times (like when no one is home) and flood entire rooms with five gallons of water per minute! Don’t take the chance. Inspect your hoses every few months for cracks, bulges and leaks. Replace them immediately if you see signs of wear and tear. An even better idea is to replace them with metal hoses that won’t burst. Replace the dishwasher hose while you’re at it.

4. Inspect the Water Heater

A leaky water heater is another cause of potential large-scale water damage. Your water heater tank holds 30-80 gallons of water depending on the size you have. If it decides to leak, that’s a lot of water that can do a lot of damage before anyone notices you’re out of hot water and checks. Inspect your water heater for leaks and/or rust. If you notice a leak, call us right away to have your water heater replaced.

5. Unhook Hoses from Outdoor Faucets When It Gets Cold

Even after you turn off the water, there’s some water left in the pipe. When you unhook the hose, this water can drain. If you leave the hose there, it cannot. When it gets cold, the leftover water freezes, which can cause your pipe to crack and could result in a large leak once the outdoor temperature rises. Unhook your hoses before the first freeze is predicted.

6. Reduce Your Home’s Water Pressure

Water pressure makes your pipe joints, faucets, and appliance valves work harder. It’s easy to measure your water pressure with a hose bib gauge, available at the home improvement store for under $20. Attach it to an outside spigot and open the line. Normal pressure is between 40 and 80 psi. If it’s above that range, consider hiring a plumber to install a pressure reducing valve.

7. Know Where Your Main Shut-Off Valve Is Located

In the event of an emergency, you won’t have time to search for the main water shut-off valve. If you don’t know where it is, go find it as soon as you’re done reading this, and make sure everyone in your house knows where it is, too.

8. Clean the Main Sewer Line

Avoid the grossest of all plumbing problems, the sewer backup, by having a plumber run an inspection camera through your sewer every couple of years. It will determine if there are tree roots invading the pipe or possibly buildup that may catch paper and cause a future problem. Finding these issues early can make the solution more cost effective and avoid the high cost of cleanup after a sewage backup.

Hopefully a little preventative maintenance will help you avoid some big problems! Unfortunately, even with our best efforts, leaky pipes, broken water heaters, overflowing toilets, and backed-up drains can happen. When that’s the case, we’re here for you.

 

For the month of September, Herrmann Services will donate a percentage of sales to the Pink Ribbon Girls – an organization created by women with breast cancer to support and empower others who are currently in the fight against breast and reproductive cancers. PRG serves anyone in the greater Cincinnati, Columbus, or Dayton areas who is fighting breast or women’s reproductive cancer. Pink Ribbon Girls provides healthy meals, housecleaning, transportation to treatment and peer support to individuals with breast and women’s reproductive cancers free of charge. Everyone at Herrmann services will be wearing pink shirts for the month of October. We love social media and want to get the word out about the pink ribbon girls so feel free to snap a picture of a tech in pink and tag us.

If you have any plumbing problems, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online. The Herrmann plumbing team is here to help!

7 Steps to Avoid a Plumbing Disaster While Away on Vacay

Avoid Plumbing Disasters on VacationVacations are great, but returning home to a flooded house or another plumbing disaster is definitely not. Before you leave for several days at a time, take a few plumbing precautions to prevent a disaster. Simply checking on a few appliances before you leave will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle later. Follow these steps and enjoy the peace of mind on your next vacation.

Shut Off the Main Water Valve


Shutting off the main water valve takes seconds, but it is the single most important thing you can do to protect your home from water damage. If one of your appliances springs a leak, a washer hose bursts, or a toilet valve leaks, you won’t have water gushing for days. If a special tool is required to turn the valve on and off, it should be kept nearby.

TIP: Once a year, test the operation of the valve. If it’s frozen or hard to turn, don’t force it—contact a plumber.

Shut Off Individual Appliances if Main Valve Must Stay On


If you have to leave your water supply on, for instance, if you have a sprinkler system that you want to continue to water your lawn while you’re away, make sure to turn off the valves that supply the individual appliances. Include the toilets, washing machine, and individual sinks.

TIP:  Steel reinforced hoses are much safer than rubber hoses. They will not burst. Replace rubber hoses on your washing machine with steel reinforced hoses.

Drain the Lines in Wintertime


If you’re going on vacation in the winter, be aware that pipes can freeze. Make sure the temperature inside the house is no lower than 56 degrees and turn off the main water valve. After you turn it off, open the faucets indoor and the outdoor faucets as well to drain the water remaining in the pipes.

TIP: Leave yourself a note on the main water valve to remind yourself that the faucets are open.

Fix Small Leaks before You Leave


If you notice small drips or leaks, make sure to have them checked and fixed. Minor leaks in water supply lines are often a sign of corrosion you can’t see. This is like a time bomb waiting to burst just when the timing is worst. Pay attention to your water heater too. If there are signs of rust or leaking, the tank is probably corroded and could fail at any time leaving a giant mess.

TIP: Set your water heater to “vacation mode” to keep your heating bill down. Just remember to turn it back up when you return.

Test Your Sump Pump


If you have a sump pump, check to see if it works before you leave for your vacation. In case of heavy rain, you’ll want to be sure your sump pump can remove excess water and keep your lower level from flooding.

TIP: To test your sump pump, simply fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. Take the lid off of the sump pump pit and pour the water in. The sump pump should kick on immediately and drain the water in the pit. If it does not, your sump pump may be broken. Have it checked by a professional.

Check Drains and Garbage Disposal


Be sure to check all of your drains to be sure they’re free of debris and clogs. Turn on your garbage disposal and run some water to be sure there’s nothing left that could create a bad smell while you’re away.  

Tip: Don’t forget to empty all trash cans so you don’t come home to foul-smelling trash.

Have a Neighbor Check In

If you have a trusted friend or neighbor, ask them to take a look around your house every few days, to catch any plumbing emergencies. At the very least, make your neighbors aware of your absence so that when they find the sprinkler system leaking or when other emergencies pop up, they can call you to get it taken care of immediately.

TIP: Cancel your mail and newspaper service or have a neighbor pick it up for you so it is not so obvious that your home is empty.

With a plan in place, you can protect your home and keep your peace of mind while you’re away. Call us today at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online for help with your plumbing.

4 Tips to Protect Your Home from Spring Thunderstorms

Protect Home From Spring ThunderstormsIt’s no secret that weather can be unpredictable in the spring. Storms tend to pop up without notice and can sometimes be severe, leaving you little time to prevent damage to your home. Fortunately, with a few tips and tricks, you can troubleshoot nearly every problem that comes your way. Here are four great tips to weather spring storms in Ohio from the team at Herrmann Services.

 

1. Protect Your Sump Pump

Some homes’ foundations are built below the water table line and their basements are prone to flooding. Sump pumps serve as an excellent defense to keep basements dry by pumping out excess water. Occasionally sump pumps fail during severe storms after becoming overwhelmed with the amount of water coming in. To protect your home, ensure that your system is up to the challenge by checking to following:

  • Be sure that you have a battery backup sump pump. During storms, your power can go out leaving your sump pump unable to operate. Your basement can flood if you don’t have an alternate power source to keep your pump operational.
  • Protect your system from clogs. Keeping your discharge lines clear and covered will help to protect them from clogging and backing up into your home.
  • Keep up with your inspections. Consult your owner’s manual to decide how often you should have your pump inspected and serviced. If you suspect any problems, have your system looked at right away. One quick way to test your sump pump is to take the lid off the sump pit and pour a five-gallon bucket of water into the pit. The motor should kick on and drain the water immediately. If it doesn’t, you may have to call for service.

2. Secure Outdoor Hazards

In the event of inclement weather, make sure to check outdoors for items that need to be secured or put away. Common items that could cause damage to your home during high winds include patio umbrellas, tables, chairs, yard decorations, grills, and stacked firewood.

3. Check Doors and Windows

It sounds like a no-brainer, but simply checking to make sure windows are closed and storm doors are latched will save you costly damage caused by water coming into your home or a loose storm door blowing in high winds.

4. Turn Off Your Air Conditioner

A power surge can cause significant damage to an air conditioning unit during a storm. Cutting power to your unit at the circuit breaker, or turning the unit off at your thermostat can prevent costly damage in the event of a lightning strike. Your home may get a little stuffy, but as soon as the storm is over, you can turn in back on.

With a quick plan in place, you can take precaution to protect your home and systems in the event of a spring thunderstorm. Call us today at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online for more information.

6 Ways to Inspect Plumbing When Buying a Home

 

plumbing inspection when buying a homeOf course, you want to have a professional plumbing inspection, once you decide to buy a home, but in the beginning stages, there are some things to look for that could help you identify problems or negotiate for repairs/replacements when haggling over the price. Because much of the plumbing in a home is hidden behind walls and under floors, you’ll want to pay attention to these six items:

1. Flush the Toilets

By simply flushing the toilets in each bathroom, you can see if there are any clogging or slow-running issues. It could mean there’s trouble down the line or the pipes are too small.

2. Look for Lead Pipes

Typically, the service line leading from outside is one of the most common places to find lead pipes. Look for pipes that are a dark matte gray color. If you scrape it with a screwdriver, the metal will be soft and look silvery shiny underneath.

A brownish, copper color will tell you you have copper pipes which are safe. You can also use a magnet to help determine which metal it is made of. If it’s steel, a magnet will stick to it. If it’s lead or copper, a magnet will not stick to it.

3. Check Water Pressure in Showers

Turn on the shower and place your hand in the stream to see how powerful it feels. Lack of pressure could mean smaller pipes, but many shower heads are also equipped with a water-saving pressure reducer in the head.

4. Pay Attention to the Basement & Crawl Space

When touring the basement, pay special attention to the walls and floor and don’t forget about the crawl space. Look for water damage or signs of previous leaks. This could be a sign of past problems or shoddy repairs.

5. Look for Corrosion on the Water Heater

Corrosion around the bottom of the water heater is a sign of rust and a sign it is ready to spring a leak. Ask when it was last serviced. If it looks very old, you may want to ask for it to be replaced.

6. Check the Size of the Pipes

Look for ¾” pipes from the water source to the home and ½” pipes to faucets to ensure proper water pressure. Smaller pipes will result in lower water pressure which can be aggravating.

We hope these tips will help you when you search for a new house. In the meantime, if you need any help with your plumbing in Cincinnati, the team at Herrmann Services is ready and waiting to help. If you need plumbing help, just give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.
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5 Tips to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing

Here in Cincinnati, we know that our winters are COLD. Strike that – with average low temperatures in the 20s, cold is probably an understatement. With the freezing weather comes the increased risk of freezing pipes. But if you know what causes pipes to freeze and how you can prevent it, you can save yourself a lot of heartache, hassle, and money.

Understanding Frozen Pipes

We know that water freezes when the temperature dips below 32º F. In the winter, that’s a daily occurrence. The problem is that when water freezes, it expands. This puts a great deal of pressure on the pipe that’s holding it. If the water expands too much, the pipe will burst. If this happens, the pipe will have to be replaced. If the burst pipe is inside your house, when it thaws, it can cause a lot of damage.

What Pipes Are Most Vulnerable?

  • Outside pipes
  • Interior pipes in colder areas (the garage, basement, or underneath sinks)
  • Pipes in exterior walls

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

how to keep your pipes from freezingThere are plenty of ways you can and should protect your plumbing. Luckily, most are inexpensive and simple. Prevention is key, so make sure your house is ready before the first big freeze. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t end up needing a visit from the plumber or worse.

  • Ensure you have adequate insulation in colder areas of the house. This may mean adding a little insulation to keep the area warmer.
  • Disconnect exterior hoses. If the water inside the hose freezes, the pressure can put a strain on your entire plumbing system and cause a lot of damage. While you’re disconnecting the hose, be sure to turn off the outside faucets too.
  • Keep the heat on. Even if you plan on going out of town, you need to keep the house warm. Saving a few dollars on your electric bill is not worth coming home to a flooded house.
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets open. This will allow the warm air to circulate under the sink.
  • Consider foam insulation or heating tape for under the sink if keeping the doors open doesn’t keep the pipes warm enough.
  • If you have a sink or shower valve that has frozen in the past, let it drip a little overnight (very slight drip) as flowing water will not freeze.

Protect your pipes this winter and avoid disaster. If you’re in Cincinnati and need help with any plumbing in your home, call the pros at Herrmann Services at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

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The One Lesson Holiday Guests Will Teach You about Your Water Heater

Your home runs pretty much seamlessly every day. The furnace keeps you warm. Your washer and dryer keep producing clean clothes. Your toilets flush properly and your TV transmits the shows you love to watch. That’s how it should be! But what happens when you overload the system? This is the time of year when many families discover that having too many people in their home causes some not-so-ordinary problems.

The Water Heater SurprisePlumber Cincinnati

Traditional water heaters have a set capacity. They can hold and heat 30, 40, or even 50 gallons of water depending on which size you own. They do a great job servicing the occupants of your home. However, they can only provide a limited amount of water in a set amount of time. Then, they must refill and reheat the water which can take an hour or more. When there are additional people showering and bathing consecutively, the hot water runs out! Now, you’ve got guests who either can’t take a shower or worse, are caught in the shower when the hot water runs out. Yikes! Not good.

Related Read: Tankless vs Traditional Water Heaters

The Tankless Solution

The above scenario is exactly why we get lots of requests for tankless water heaters after the holidays. The beauty of a tankless water heater is that you get endless hot water. Because the water is superheated on demand, instead of pulled from a tank of preheated water, you can use as much as you want with no restrictions. As long as you have cold water…you have hot water.

Never Run Out of Hot Water

If you’ve ever waited to do a load of laundry in hot water because you were planning to fill a whirlpool tub for a nice long bath, you could use a tankless water heater. With a tankless water heater, you’ll never worry about having enough hot water again. The tankless water heater costs more upfront, but it also saves you money on energy bills because unlike a traditional water heater, which has to keep gallons of water hot 24/7, it only uses energy when hot water is in demand (when the faucet is on).

If you’d like to find out more about tankless water heaters, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online. The Herrmann plumbing pros will be happy to answer all of your questions.

15-Point Homeowner’s Winter Checklist

Is your hose unhooked from the outside of your house? Is your ceiling fan blowing upward? Are your gutters cleaned? If you want to make sure your home is ready for winter and avoid annoying, dangerous and costly problems due to cold weather, check this list to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important.

Winter Maintenance Inside the House

Protect Your Pipes

Insulate any pipes on outside walls and in uninsulated spaces, such as  crawlspaces and attics. Insulate them with foam insulation at a minimum. Ideally, you should wrap them with electrical heating tape first, then insulate them. Pipe insulation is cheap and easily available at home improvement stores. Fixing frozen pipes and the leaks they cause is not cheap.

Fix Leaky Windows and Doors

Caulk around windows and doors and use weatherstripping. Install foam outlet insulators to prevent cold air from entering your home through electrical outlets.

Check Attic Insulation

check your insulation

Because heat rises, the biggest heat loss typically occurs through the attic. If your home feels cold and drafty or heating bills are high, check to make sure that you have enough insulation.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Direction

To help circulate warm air away from the ceiling and down to the living spaces flip the switch on your ceiling fan to reverse the direction the fan blades spin. When looking up at your fan, the blades should spin in a clockwise direction. In the summer, you want the fan to blow air straight down, so the blades need to turn in a counterclockwise direction. The warmer it is, the higher the speed should be.

Check your Fireplace

Small animals build nests and creosote builds up in your fireplace over time. Have an annual inspection before building your first fire of the season. Also check to make sure the damper is closed when not in use so precious hot air is not lost up the chimney.

Change Your Thermostat

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, add it to your to-do list. Programmable thermostats let you customize your schedule to save money on heating and cooling bills. It will pay for itself in energy savings in the first year of use.

Activate Your Humidifier

If you have a humidifier attached to your furnace, make sure it is turned on for winter. Check the drain line to make sure it is clear and the filter to make sure it is clean. Check to make sure that the humidistat is calling for humidity when the furnace is running. Open the water supply to the humidifier and turn the power on to the furnace. When the furnace begins running, the humidistat should call for humidity, the solenoid valve should open, and water should come out of the water inlet tube and drain into the humidifier drain. If it doesn’t, you may need service.

Change Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This is a good time of year to change the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to ensure they work properly when needed.

Test Your Sump Pump

Look for signs of moisture. Open the lid and pour a five-gallon bucket of water into the sump pit. I should activate. If nothing happens and the pump doesn’t turn on, you may need service.

If your sump pump runs often, you may want to consider purchasing a  battery backup sump pump to avoid disaster.

Outside Home Maintenance

Outdoor Faucets

Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets, drain the water from the hose and disconnect it from the outdoor faucet. You may also want to consider an insulated cover for the outdoor faucet for extra protection.

Clean the Gutters

Leaves and debris that accumulates in your gutter can cause clogs and ice dams which can damage your roof and shingles, cause leaks in your ceiling and can also be dangerous for people passing under your eaves.

Drain Your Sprinkler System

Make sure you do this before the first hard freeze. Be sure all of the water is out so underground pipes won’t freeze and break.

Bring in Outdoor Furniture/Planters

Freezing temperatures, snow, and ice can damage outdoor furniture, clay pots, grills, etc. If you have room, store them in the garage, basement, or garden shed. Otherwise, cover them to reduce damage from the elements. If you have a gas grill with a propane tank, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank first. It must be stored outside.

Stock up on Snow & Ice Gear

Ice melt, shovels, gloves, etc. all sell out with the first big snow. Make sure you have yours BEFORE the first snowstorm or you may be left high and dry with slippery sidewalks and deep snow. If you have a snow blower, inspect it before the first snowfall to ensure it’s working properly.

Don’t Forget Your Vehicle

If you change your tires to winter tread, change them now. Carry sand or kitty litter for traction in case you get stuck on ice or snow-packed roads. Create an emergency kit in your car in case you get stuck or stranded in cold weather. Include gloves, boots, blanket or sleeping bag, shovel, ice scraper, flashlight and extra batteries, sand or kitty litter for traction, a tow chain or rope, jumper cables, cell phone adapter to plug into car, snacks like granola bars or energy bars and bottled water.

Be safe and comfortable this winter with a little help from your friends at Herrmann Services. Should you need any heating, plumbing or electrical help, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

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Don’t Let a Clogged Bathroom Sink Put a Drain on Your Holiday Fun

how to unclog bathroom sink drain

The leaves are turning crimson and gold, there is a decidedly autumnal crispness to the air, and school is well underway. That can only mean one thing…the holiday season is coming! And while there is much to love about the holidays, hosting guests can be stressful. Whether for drinks, dinner, or an extended stay, odds are your guests are going to need to visit the bathroom. So, while you are putting out fresh linens and pretty soaps, take a good look at your sink. Is it draining normally or is water backing up and sitting in it?

Sink or Swim? Find Out Now

Bathroom sinks see a lot of action – hand washing, tooth brushing, hair brushing, and shaving can all cause buildup and clogs that can lead to a slow or clogged drain. Add in a few guests and increase the number of bathroom visits for a couple of days, and that slow drain might lead to a catastrophic evening.

Not good! Test your sinks, showers and tubs to make sure all the water is flowing fine. Don’t wait until it’s too late,

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain

So, what should you do? You can try the following do-it-yourself remedies before you call your plumber:

  • Check the sink pop-up – the shape of the pop-up can lead to clog-causing debris and buildup;
  • Check the overflow. The overflow is the little hole toward the top of your sink. It serves two purposes: to drain a sink if it is too full and to provide air that allows the sink to drain faster. If it is plugged, your sink drains slowly. Make sure it is clear.
  • Use a plunger; be sure to plug the overflow with a rag or cover with some duct tape, or your plunging will not be effective.
  • Use a zip strip. The  most common clog cause in bathroom drains is hair. Luckily, these clogs usually occur right below the drain. There’s a simple solution. It’s called a zip strip and it costs just a couple of dollars at the hardware store. It’s a flat, plastic flexible stick with tiny points along both sides. Simply push it as far into the drain as you can, wiggle it a bit and pull back. It’s best to have a small bucket handy to put the hairy mess in. It is kind of gross, but usually very effective and a quick, easy fix.

After you remove the clog with any of these methods, be sure to run plenty of hot water down the drain to flush out any additional buildup or residue.

If these attempts do not work, give Herrmann Services a call at (513) 407-5177 or contact us online for a professional plumber in cincinnati to get that sink draining again before your guests arrive. Dealing with your in-laws is stressful enough – don’t let a slow sink drain add to that stress!

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How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain – 4 Simple Fixes

how to unclog kitchen sink

Any slow draining sink is a nuisance. But different sinks tend to have different clogs. For instance, shower drains tend to collect hair. Kitchen drains, on the other hand, tend to have more problems with grease and food particles. The team at Herrmann Services put together these tips specifically for how to unclog kitchen sinks and garbage disposals.

1. Don’t Get Boiling Mad, Just Get Boiling

When grease, or greasy liquids, get poured down your kitchen sink, they go down the drain in a liquid state, but as they move through your pipes, the fat cools. As the fat becomes solid, it coats the inside of the pipes.

This coating will get thicker and thicker as more grease builds up until you get a slow draining sink or a completely clogged sink.

To unclog a slow draining kitchen sink, before you go out and buy drain cleaner, try this first. Boil a pan full of water on the stove. A tea kettle will do nicely as well. Pour a half cup of baking soda down your drain followed by a half cup of white vinegar. Let it fizz and bubble for five to ten minutes or so.

Then, carefully pour the pot or kettle full of boiling water down the drain. Turn the faucet on and see if it’s draining faster. Because the clog usually contains a lot of grease, the boiling water melts the grease, thus removing the clog.

2. Take the Plunge

If hot water doesn’t improve the problem, the culprit may be something other than grease buildup. It’s time to pull out the plunger. If there is standing water in the sink, remove it until there is only an inch or two so you can see what’s going on.

Place the cup of the plunger over the drain opening and pump up and down rapidly several times. Quickly pull the plunger off the drain opening. If this did not dislodge the clog, it may be trapped in the P-trap. Don’t forget to plunge both sides of the sink.

3. Remove the P-Trap

Large food particles like vegetable peels that become trapped in the curved pipe beneath the sink (known as the P-trap) are another common cause of kitchen drain clogs. Removing the P-trap sounds difficult, but is really not that involved.

You will need a channel-type pliers. Have a bucket handy, because water will spill from the drain when you remove this piece. Dump out any debris you find and rinse the pipe thoroughly before replacing it.

clogged kitchen sink drain and how to fix it

4. Use a Drain Snake to Unclog Your Sink

If the P-trap doesn’t appear to be the problem, the clog may be located further down the pipe. If that’s the case, you can use a drain snake to try to remove it. Most homeowners don’t have these on hand, and they are not cheap to rent or buy. At this point, it may be best to call a qualified plumber.

5. Keep Pipes Clean with Enzymes

Natural enzymes eat organic matter and were originally used to reduce the amount of organic waste buildup in septic tanks. Enzymes are now available for all types of plumbing needs, and if properly maintained, enzymes will help keep the pipes free and clear of buildup when used on a regular basis.

Enzymes are not as effective at removing an existing clog immediately, but regular use will keep your pipes clear of any organic buildup which helps you avoid clogs in the first place. Plus, natural enzymes are very easy on your pipes, unlike chemical drain cleaners.

9 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Kitchen Sink or Garbage Disposal

  • Grease – it will coat your pipes
  • Bones – they’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades
  • Celery – the fibrous strings get tangled around the disposal’s blades
  • Coffee grounds – the oil in coffee grounds becomes a sticky sludge
  • Egg shells – ground egg shells become sand-like particles that stick to grease
  • Corn husks – the fibers get caught in the blades
  • Artichokes – again, too fibrous
  • Fruit pits – pits are very hard and can jam the disposal blades
  • Potato peels – starchy vegetables and even pasta can cause a sticky mess

If your kitchen sink defies all of your efforts to clear the clog, give Herrmann Services a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online and we’ll send a skilled plumber to your home.

drain cleaning guide for diy