DIY or Call a Pro? The Best Solutions for a Washer Drain Clogged

February 15, 2024

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Washer drains, like any other home component, face their fair share of issues; among the most common problems is a washer drain clogged. When your washer begins to back up, it's the start of a laundry list of worries, needing quick attention. But is it something you can fix yourself, or should you be calling in a professional to handle the dirty work?

In this extensive guide, we will delve into diagnosing washing machine discharge issues and provide a step-by-step approach to unclogging it. We'll also give you a clear set of criteria to help you decide if the situation demands your tender loving care or a professional's expertise. Read on.

The Initial Is-It-Clogged Check

The first step to solving a washer drain issue is to confirm that it is indeed clogged. Some signs that point to a drain clog include water not draining properly, the washer shaking and moving excessively, the washing machine making unusual noises during the cycle, or simply a foul odor creeping up from the washer or nearby area.

Besides these observable hints, it's always prudent to check the drain itself. Remove the drain hose from the washer and inspect it for any visible blockages. Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as a bobby pin or a small piece of clothing that escaped to cause mayhem.

DIY Clog-Busting Techniques

Before reaching for the phone to dial a pro, let's walk through some DIY methods that might fix the clog and prevent future issues. Here are some effective drain-clearing methods.

Hot Water and Detergent

Sometimes the clog can be a collection of built-up residue in the pipe. Fill a bucket with hot water, mix in some detergent, and pour it down the drain. The hot water can help to break down any grease that may be holding the clog together, and the detergent works on any residual grime.

The Classic Snake Method

plumbing snake, more commonly referred to as an auger, is a coiled spiral snake that can physically break up clogs. Remove as much water as you can from the washer and place a bucket under the drain to catch additional water. Insert the snake and start cranking it down the pipe. When you feel resistance, continue to crank until the snake pushes through the blockage.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This age-old combination is a powerful yet safe way to clean drains. Start with a pot of boiling water to soften the clog, then pour a cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow it with another cup of vinegar, and plug the drain to keep the fizzy reaction in place.

This solution can clear minor clogs and also serves as a useful maintenance step to keep drains flowing freely. It is also known to be one of the most reliable drain-cleaning solutions.

When to Dial the Pro

Despite the simplicity of these DIY methods, some situations demand a professional's touch. Here are red flags that should prompt you to call experts like Home Team Plumbing drain cleaning service:

Stubborn Clogs

If the simple methods above don't work, it could be a sign of a more serious clog. Stubborn clogs may indicate a deeper issue in the pipework that requires the expertise and specialized equipment that only a professional can provide.

Frequent Clogs

If your washer or other drains in the house frequently clog, there may be a larger issue, such as a collapsed pipe, that requires professional inspection and repair. Consistent clogs are not a problem to be constantly managed; it is a sign that the underlying issue should be addressed.

Foul Odor

A washer drain should not give off a foul smell. An unpleasant odor could be an indication of something more severe than a simple clog, such as a sewer line issue, which should never be tackled by an amateur.

The Professional's Process

So, you've decided to bring in professional help. What can you expect from the process of effective drain cleaners?

Step 1: Inspection

The plumber will start by inspecting the drain and possibly the machine to determine the cause of the clog. This step often involves the use of specialized cameras to look deep into the piping system.

Step 2: Clearing the Clog

Once the plumber has identified the issue, they will clear the clog using professional-grade tools, which may include motorized snakes, hydro-jetting, or sewer line cameras for more challenging cases.

Step 3: Repair and Maintenance

If the clog points to a more severe underlying issue, such as a damaged pipe or an incorrectly installed washer, the professional will discuss options for repair with you. They will also provide advice on maintenance to prevent future issues.

Preventing Future Clogs

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are steps you can take to prevent clogs from occurring in the first place:

Use a Lint Trap

When installed correctly, a good lint trap can catch those little laundry remnants that can cause clogs in the first place.

Regular Cleaning

Simply running hot water down your washer drain once a week can help prevent build-up that causes clogs.

Be Mindful of What Goes Down

Check pockets before washing to prevent small items like coins or keys from going down the drain. Also, avoid washing items like small rugs that can shed a lot of fibers.

Dealing With a Washer Drain Clogged Problem

Dealing with a washer drain clogged can be a hassle, but it's a problem that, more often than not, has a manageable solution. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you should be equipped to handle most clogs yourself. However, in more severe cases or when the clog is a symptom of a larger issue, don't hesitate to bring in a professional.

Knowing when to DIY and when to call a pro isn't just about saving money; it's about saving time and knowing your limits. With the information provided here, you can take a proactive approach to your washer maintenance and drain health. This ensures that your laundry cycle runs smoothly every time.

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