Why is my shower water draining slowly?
A bathtub that drains slowly can be annoying, especially if there are several people waiting to use the same bathtub or if you need to clean it right away. Luckily, fixing a slow-draining bathtub isn't that difficult, and most of the time you don't even need to call a plumber.
A slow draining tub is caused by hair, mineral deposits, soap scum, and other bathroom products collecting in the drain and siphon. This accumulation restricts the free flow of water and therefore the tub slowly drains.
It can also be caused by a clogged vent causing a vacuum to build up in the drain pipe. A clogged main house drain or a full septic tank can also cause your bathtub to drain slowly.
If a slow-draining tub is not repaired, the drain will become completely clogged, causing the tub to clog with stagnant water. Unclogging a bathtub with stagnant water is much more difficult than a bathtub with a slow drain.
To fix a slow drain tub, unplug the tub and pull out hair and other gums with a wire clip. Pour in equal parts baking soda and vinegar, and after 30 minutes, allow the hot water to run down the drain. If that doesn't work, use a plunger or drain snake to clean out the drain tube.
How a bathtub works
It's always important to know how something works when you're trying to fix it, and also to understand how to maintain it to avoid problems in the future.
A bathtub, like every other fixture in your home, has a small pipe just below the drain opening called a siphon. You may see a trap on the side of the toilet or under the sink in the bathroom or kitchen.
A siphon is a U-shaped piece of sewage pipe that always contains a small amount of water. The water acts as a barrier and prevents sewage gases from entering the house. So if you're away for a few days and the water evaporates from the drains, the smell of sewage gas stays in the house.
Another function of the siphon is to hold back any possible blockages in the drain and prevent them from clogging the drain further down the drain. Clearing a trap is much easier than an obstacle about 10 feet away.
If your bathtub is clogged or draining slowly, it means your siphon is clogged and the water in the bathtub is not draining freely.
Aventilation chimneyIt is the standpipe that starts from the main pipe of the house and goes through the roof of the house. It is responsible for removing residual gases from the sewer pipe, allowing the fittings to be drained without any problems. If the vent is clogged, the tub will slowly drain due to the air pressure trapped in the drain pipe.
A clogged chimney also affects other appliances in the house. If you notice your toilet gurgling when the tub drains, or your bathtub gurgling when the toilet flushes, then you have a clogged vent chimney or sometimes a clogged main house sewer pipe, a full septic tank, or a septic tank itself. It's covered
How to unclog a slow-draining bathtub
Unlike clogging a toilet, to successfully clean a slow-draining bathtub, you must first remove most of the dirt. As we've seen, most hair, grease, soap scum, and other debris is between the tub drain opening and the siphon.
To remove the dirt, you must first remove the bathtub drain plug. Unfortunately, there are about 5 types of bathtub plugs. While removing the tub plug is quick and easy, it's also not that obvious.
Let's look at the different types of bathtub plugs and how to remove them.
1. Bathtub plug with cranked lever
A trigger pan is a pan that is installed on the side of the pan (into the overflow drain) rather than on the bottom. It has a lever that opens to empty the tub and pushes down to close.
If this is the type of bathtub cover you have, you don't need to remove it just yet. All you have to do is remove the drain plug. The drain cover is usually attached to the drain flange with a screw.
Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw and save it so you don't drop the screw down the drain.
2. Lift and rotate the tub lid
A lift and rotate tub stopper is one with a small knob at the top of the plate. To open the drain, pull the knob up and turn it sideways. If you want to close the drain, turn the knob in the opposite direction and push it down.
To remove a riser and rotate your tub latch, you must first place it in the open position. Hold the cork body in one hand and the knob in the other.
Turn the knob counterclockwise to loosen. Once outside you will see a screw connecting the plug to the drain flange. Use a screwdriver or allen wrench to remove the screw.
Sometimes the screw is on the side of the cork. Pull the knob up, twist it until it hits the screw, and use a screwdriver to loosen it.
3. Push and pull the bathtub cover
A push/pull stopper feels like the lift and only twists the stopper when you need to open it, simply pull the knob up and down to close it. It also has a screw under the knob that connects it to the drain flange.
To remove a push/pull bumper, hold the bumper body down with one hand and loosen the knob with the other hand. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw under the knob.
4. Toe-Touch Shower Faucet
A toe stopper looks like a push-pull stopper, except it's flat on top (no button) and operated with a toe. This bathtub stopper is spring loaded and is usually attached to the drain flange with a screw under the cover.
To remove this type of tub plug, hold the base in one hand and twist the cap counter-clockwise to loosen and remove. Remove the screw with a screwdriver.
Sometimes the entire plug is screwed into the drain flange. Check if this is the case for you. You just have to twist the entire assembly to unscrew it.
5. Flip-It Bath Stop
A Flip-it bath plug is the easiest to remove. It is boltless and is not normally bolted to the tub flange.
To remove a Flip-it tub stopper, simply grab it, wiggle it and pull out. Be careful not to lose the O-ring on the bottom. You'll need it when you reinstall it to create a tight seal.
How to free a bathtub full of hair
Once the tub plug is removed, it's time to clean the tub. To free a slow-draining bathtub with a hanger or wire:
- Go to your closet and grab a wire hanger.
- Cut it and flatten it with pliers. If you can't find a wire hanger, look for a strong, thick wire about 12 inches long.
- Using the same pliers, make a small hook on one end of the wire.
- Insert the hooked end of the line into the tub drain and start fishing for hair and other grease. Remove as much junk as possible.
Clean a slow drain pan with baking soda and vinegar
Once you've removed most of the residue with the hook wire, it's time to dissolve any hair, soap scum, and mineral buildup with baking soda, vinegar, and hot water.
- Pour 1 cup baking soda down the bathtub drain.
- Slowly add 1 cup vinegar. I have to insist that you add the vinegar little by little as it reacts very quickly with the baking soda and can rise and splatter on your face. The reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar will loosen and loosen the clogs, allowing them to drain easily down the drain. Wait 30 minutes for the solution to take effect.
- After the time is up, run hot water down the tub drain for about a minute. The hot water further dissolves soap scum and limescale and removes loose hairs in the drain pipe.
This is one of the best ways to clean a slow-drain bathtub without a plunger or snake. It's also the best way to naturally clean a bathtub, especially for people with a septic tank, since chemical drain cleaners kill the good bacteria in a septic tank.
How to unclog a toilet without removing a plug
Although we've seen that removing a plug is a fairly simple task, there are still those who prefer to clean a bathtub without having to unplug it.
The best way to unclog a bathtub when you don't want to remove the plug is to use a plunger. While a plunger can suffice on its own, it's always good to complement it with other methods.
How to effectively soak a bathtub:
- Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the bathtub drain.
- Slowly add a cup of vinegar and wait about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, drain hot water from the tub drain.
Most likely, the above steps will suffice to clean a slow-draining bathtub without having to remove the lid. If not, this is where the piston comes into play.
- Place a plunger over the bathtub drain and make sure there is enough water in the bathtub to cover the bottom of the plunger.
- Before you start diving, plug the overflow drain. This will help you avoid pressure drops and result in a stronger siphon. If you have an extra plunger, have someone hold it firmly over the overflow. Stuff a rag in if you only have 1 flask.
- Begin by soaking the tub, start gently, then soak aggressively for 2 minutes.
- Check if the water in the bathtub drains faster now. If not, delve a little deeper.
Free a slow-draining bathtub with a drain snake
If soaking doesn't drain your tub faster, consider upgrading to a drain snake. A drain snake consists of a spring-shaped head, a flexible cable and a crank. The cable is usually wound onto a drum.
Please do not use a toilet drill to unclog a bathtub. A toilet snail was specially developed to unclog toilets and prevent scratches.
If your tub has a lever-type tub stopper, you will need to remove it. It is advisable to route the bathtub through the overflow drain rather than the drain hole.
How to remove a bathtub plug with a travel handle:
- Locate the 2 screws on the overflow drain cover plate. Remove them with a screwdriver.
- After removing the screws, take the cover plate and remove the entire assembly. First pull up and then out. If the cork has been in place for a long time, it may be sticky. Learn more about removing a bathtub plug with a stuck release leverHere.
Once the plug is removed, it's time to open the tub. How to clean a clogged bathtub:
- Loosen the barrel clamp. This will free the wire as you slide it down the drain.
- Carefully guide the snakehead through the overflow drain and begin to push the cable down until you meet resistance.
- Tighten the clamp on the drum.
- Slowly turn the crank clockwise. Whenever it feels difficult, reverse direction and start over. Not to force.
- If the handle is free, it means the obstacle has passed. Untie more cable and push it down when there are more obstacles.
- When satisfied that the tub is completely uncovered, reattach the cord to the drum. When pulling on the cable, hold a cloth around the cable to clean it.
- Replace the tub plug the same way you removed it, being careful not to tangle the two connecting rods.
Is the slow drain tub clogged? Unlock the ventilation shaft.
Dead birds, rodents, dry leaves, and even snow can clog your vent. In this case, the air cannot escape from the drain pipe and is therefore trapped in the pipes.
In order for the fittings to drain properly, air must circulate in the drain line. If this isn't due to a clogged vent, you have a bathtub that drains slowly and a poorly flushing toilet.
- He takes a ladder and climbs onto the roof of the house, garden hose in hand.
- Check the top of the tube for debris that you can easily remove by hand.
- Insert the garden hose into the vent to see if you feel a clog.
- If you notice a clog, have someone turn on the water hose. The weight of the water is usually enough to release the vent. Leaves or dead birds are washed down the drain.
- If the water doesn't clear the vent, upgrade to a more powerful tool, the drain snake.
- Pass the snake through the opening and run through it until it unlocks.
Is your sewer pipe clogged?
The drain pipe of the bathtub ends in the drain pipe of the main house. The main house's sewer pipe is connected to your city's sewer line.
If your main house drainpipe is clogged, your fixtures, including your bathtub, will slowly drain. Check if this is the case with your washing machine or kitchen sink.
The drain hose does not even have to be completely blocked. A partial clog in the drain means the water is running through slowly, and this could be one of the reasons why your bathtub is draining slowly as well.
Unfortunately, you can't just unclog a main house clog yourself. You will most likely need the services of a professional plumber.
Plumbers have drain cameras that will accurately diagnose the cause of any plumbing problem in your home. So don't hesitate to call one.