Every home will eventually have a clogged drain there is really not much you can do to prevent it so it is important that you prepare for the situation, not panic when it happens and have the tools you need to get things working again.
Although in some cases you may need to call in a professional if a pipe needs to be replaced or a line needs to be cleared between your house and the sewer lines in the road or your septic system you can probably bet that 95% of the time the clog will be within about a foot of your sink opening, within your toilet or other appliance.
The primary location that will contain clogs is your trap. Every appliance or fixture that is hooked up to your waste lines must have a trap to stop sewer gasses from backing up into your home.
To get an idea of what a trap looks like you can look under your bathroom sink and you will see a U shaped pipe that extends lower then the exiting waste line. When the trap is functioning properly a small amount of water will remain in the pipe after you wash your hands.
It is important to run the water in the sink for a short time after using it to remove soap and other debris and force them into the waste line.
Unfortunately you almost never get all of the buildup out and this not only occurs in your bathroom sink but in every location. This is why you can depend on clogs happening.
To clear the clog there are a number of different tools you can use.
In sinks and toilets you can use a plunger to get the clog free in just a few moments.
This mechanical method is a good way to remove most clogs however when bacteria buildup occurs or buildup of other oils and nasty stuff you will have a hard time identifying fill the pipe a simple plunger will not get the job done.
Pipe Snakes are another option and can get through clogs that plungers can’t force open.
Snakes are usually made of metal and are forced through the pipe to free debris. The larger the pipe the larger the snake needs to be.
For sinks you can usually get away with a small hand snake that is about 1/4 inch in diameter.
For Toilets you will want to use a dedicated toilet snake that has a protective sheath that will protect the ceramic part of the toilet bowl as you use it.
If the clog is in a larger pipe of 2 inches or bigger then you will need a snake that can expand to scrape the walls of the pipe clean as it travels through the clog.
Removing clogs in pipes
If you are attempting to remove a clog in a larger pipe you may want to rent a pipe snake that has a specialized tip, longer length of up to 50 feet or more and works from an electric motor or gasoline operated engine.
These larger snakes can be somewhat dangerous to use on your pipes especially if you have deteriorated cast iron or plastic pvc lines. Some skill is required. For this reason if you find that the clog is between your home and your sewer or septic system you may be better off calling a technician if they can perform the work at a reasonable price.