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Question DetailsAsked on 10/22/2014

How much does it typically cost to unplug a clogged kitchen sink drain?

I was using the garbage disposal in the right basin of my double sink and water/ground up food started coming out of the drain in the left basin. Now the left sink is draining at a snail's pace - and quickly fills up with water when the faucet is running.

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I presume the right and left drain are BOTH draining equally slowly. I would give about 20:1 odds the trap is plugged up - in newer plumbing with PVC or ABS (white or black plastic) with threaded fittings it is pretty easy to do yourself - loosen both the top and outbound fittings on the trap (the downward gooseneck part) a bit (with a bucket under it, then holding with one hand loosen the fittings the rest of the way with the other, being careful not to lose the bevelled gaskets in the process AND pay attention to which way the gaskets face, then when totally loose and gaskets are off carefully dump into bucket. Clean out with twisted up paper towel to get all the gunk out, then reassemble - being careful to get gaskets back same direction as before, and tighten down good strong hand-tight - if weak handed, then snug with channel-locks but don't reef on it - will crack the plastic. Lots of videos on web on how to remove and clean a sink trap.


After reassembling and testing, put some toilet paper under the trap for a day or so - will clearly show if you have any drips at the joints, rather than let it accumulate under there for days and go stinky and rotten. That is a good idea for ANY home pipe repair, except where the paper would be a fire hazard, like near furnaces.


Sometimes the spiky drain cleaner tools will reach down from the non-disposal (left in your case ?) sink far enough to clean the trap enough to get it flowing, but takes about an 18-24" one to do it.


Drain cleaner is NOT likely to help with this, because a lot of the blockage will not dissolve readily, though sometimes some baking soda and vinegar down the non-disposal side may clear it enough to get it flowing, then flush out with a lot of hot water - but usually that is temporary and reclogging will occur pretty quickly - especially if dosposal has been used for things like nut or egg shell, fibrous material like vegetable scraps, or greasy things like meat trimmings.


One hint - do NOT do what a lot of people do and think - oh, I'll wash the trap out before I put it back in - and floosh, water all over the area under the sink because the trap is out and the bucket was moved out or is not right under the pipe. I can tell you from experience - easy to do if you have a brain freeze.


Also - do not dump that trap crud down the sink or toilet to promote another clog - liquid can go down toilet, but collect the solids in paper towel and put in garbage (in tied plastic bag straight to dumpster or outdoor garbage can, because it will stink).


If metal pipes or you don't want to do the above, I would call a plumber - minimum trip charge of probably about $75-150 (up to $250 in a few major cities) should handle it, likely no or very minor parts (maybe a couple of new gaskets if plastic pipe, maybe a few dollars parts if copper or galvanized - probably not over $10 unless badly corroded pipes).


I hate to say it if you are a garbage disposal fan, but while they are nice to chew up food bits from the dish washing sink that would otherwise block the trap quickly, using them to actually chew up food debris that couldhave gone into the garbage can promotes trap clogging, sewer pipe buildup, and eventual sewer blockages. Even worse for septic tanks because most of that solids builds up in the tank, resulting in a need for more frequent pumpings and more buildup of slime in the leach field, shortening its life.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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