DIY Home Fixes

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Problem: There's a Clog in Your Bathtub or Sink

Time Commitment: Less than an hour

Repair Kit

DIY Solution
Back away from the chemical clog remover! According to plumbing experts, these formulas can damage your pipes -- and the environment. Instead, try a safer method to unclog your sink and tub.

Most sink clogs occur in the P-trap, that pipe under your sink that looks like a U. The P-trap may have two slip nuts. One connects it to the tailpipe, the pipe coming out of the sink, and the other connects it to the pipe going into the wall. Put a bucket under the sink and loosen both slip nuts with a pair of pliers; let the P-trap drop out and clean it over a trash can. Next, reach into the tailpipe to make sure nothing is stuck in there. Then reattach the P-trap and run the water to be sure you've removed the clog.

When your bathtub won't drain, try to remove the stopper and strainer. Fill the tub with about an inch of water and plunge. If that doesn't do the trick you'll need an auger (a.k.a. snake), available at hardware stores. Slowly lower it into the drain until you feel it hit the blockage. Rotate the auger, pushing through the clog, then pull the auger back up, cleaning the cable as you go. Run hot water down the drain to wash away any remaining debris.

To maintain your newly cleaned pipes, use a bacteria-producing drain cleaner that contains microbes or enzymes on a weekly or monthly basis, suggests Charlie Wallace, a vice president of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

A Pro Costs: $190
Your Cost: $15 (for the auger)
Total Savings: $175

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