How to Clear Drain and Floor Trap Choke in Singapore

This article will explain the different type of chokes and blockages for drains and floor traps and what to do in order to clear it. Clogged drain pipes are one of the more common problems our plumbers are asked to help solve.

Sanitary pipes are often choked from an accumulation of hair, food waste, toilet paper, and other debris. Older pipes can be more prone to chokages due to a build-up of mineral deposits, rust, and sludge around its inner walls, reducing their diameter and impeding the flow of wastewater.

Save yourself the hassle

It will cost you some money to hire a plumber to help clear the choke in your drain or floor trap, but it also means savings hours of your own time. Our plumbers can answer your questions and provide you with information about price and availability before you decide what to do next. We can usually clear your choke on the same day.

How to clear a choke and unclog your pipe

When faced with a clogged drain, there are two primary methods for clearing the obstruction: mechanical and chemical. Each method has its own applications and associated risks, making it important to choose the most appropriate technique based on the situation.

Mechanical Methods

Mechanical methods for clearing chokes involve physically manipulating the blockage. This can be achieved through several techniques:

  • Forcing the Blockage: This involves pushing the obstruction further down the pipeline until it reaches a wider section of the plumbing where it can pass through more easily.
  • Breaking the Blockage: Tools like plumbers’ snakes or augers are used to break down the blockage into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Extraction: In some cases, it may be possible to extract the blockage completely from the drain using hooks or specialized grabbing tools.

These methods are generally preferred because they directly remove or reduce the blockage without the use of harsh chemicals, which can be safer for both the plumbing system and the environment.

Chemical Methods

Chemical methods involve the use of chemical cleaners to dissolve the blockage. These cleaners typically contain substances that react with the blockage material to break it down chemically, allowing it to be washed away by the flow of water. However, there are significant risks associated with chemical cleaners:

  • Corrosiveness: Many chemical drain cleaners are extremely corrosive, capable of causing severe damage to pipes, especially if they are old or made of more vulnerable materials like PVC.
  • Health Hazards: The fumes and splashes from chemical cleaners can pose serious health risks, including burns and respiratory issues.
  • Environmental Impact: If not used carefully, chemical cleaners can contribute to environmental pollution when they eventually make their way into waterways.

Due to these risks, chemical methods are generally not recommended unless other, less invasive methods have failed. Mechanical clearing methods are preferred for their effectiveness and safety, ensuring the integrity of plumbing systems and the well-being of individuals and the environment.

You can clear a choke with mechanical and chemical methods. Mechanical methods involve forcing the blockage down the pipe, breaking the blockage into small pieces, or extracting the blockage. And chemical methods involve dissolving the blockage to allow it to pass through your sanitary system. We always recommend mechanical methods because chemical drain cleaners are extremely corrosive and can pose a signficiant hazard to the safety of you and your loved ones.

Plunger

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of clearing a choke is probably a red plunger with a wooden handle. A plunger is a tool used to clear blockages in pipes and drains. It has a rubber suction cup attached to a handle.

Position the plunger over the drain opening and firmly push down, then sharply pull up. Repeat this action for several minutes to dislodge and clear the blockage. It is a good way to clear small chokes but might take a long time.

For a plunger to be effective in clearing a choke, you need one with a suction cup that can form a tight seal around the pipe or drain. Plungers come in many different shapes and sizes, if your plunger does not seal the drain opening properly, it will not be able to clear the blockage.

Chemical drain cleaner

We do not recommend using chemical drain cleaners because they are strong and dangerous chemicals that can do serious harm in the event of an accident. But if you choose to use one, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and take extra precaution to keep yourself safe.

Before using a chemical cleaner, make sure there is adequate ventilation to avoid inhaling fumes. Pour the recommended amount of cleaner down the drain, let it sit for the specified time, then flush thoroughly with hot water or in accordance to its instructions. Chemical drain cleaners can dissolve hair, oils, and other organic materials.

If you have previously used a chemical drain cleaner that did not resolve the issue, inform any plumber you call for follow-up service. This is important because plumbers focus on mechanical means of choke clearing, which can lead to dangerous situations where water mixed with chemicals might spray out, coming into contact with the plumber. Knowing that chemicals have been used allows the plumber to prepare by using protective gear and appropriate tools to avoid any hazardous interactions.

Metal wire

A metal wire from something like a clothes hanger can act like a plumber’s snake or drain auger, which is a flexible tool that can reach deep into pipes to remove tougher clogs that a plunger can’t clear.

To use it, you simply feed the wire into the drain until it reaches the obstruction. Then, turn the handle to twist the wire, which helps break up or capture the debris, allowing you to pull it out or push it further down the pipe where it can disperse safely.

Baking soda, hot water, and vinegar

This natural method is a safer alternative to chemical drain cleaners. Start by pouring a pot of boiling hot water down the drain. Then, add a half cup of baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes. Follow this with a mixture of one cup vinegar and one cup very hot water poured down the drain. Cover the drain with a plug and wait 5-10 minutes. Flush one more time with a pot of boiling water. The chemical reaction from the baking soda and vinegar helps break up fatty acids, allowing the small blockage to wash down the drain.

Heavy duty tools we might have to use

For particularly stubborn blockages, we might need to resort to more heavy-duty tools such as a power auger or a hydro-jet. A power auger is similar to a hand-held drain auger but is powered by electricity, making it capable of cutting through very tough blockages. A hydro-jet uses high-pressure water to blast through blockages and scrub the inside of the pipes, effectively clearing them of any residue that could cause future clogs.

These tools are generally used by professional plumbers, as they require special handling to avoid damaging the pipes or causing injury. If your home remedies fail to clear the blockage, it might be time to call a professional who has access to these powerful tools. Always consult with a trusted professional to ensure that the appropriate methods are used for your specific plumbing situation.

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