Backups in your Shower/Tub Drain

Don’t damage your drains, prevent tub backup correctly

While all drains have the potential to back up, your shower/tub drain is perhaps the most vulnerable, due to the hair that naturally washes off of us when we shower.  In fact, 99 percent of all tub and shower clogs are caused by hair.  You can purchase metal strainers for your drain, and these are quite effective in blocking larger objects, such as rings, razors, and toothpaste caps.  Unfortunately, there is no strainer fine enough to block hair from going through.

Luckily, pipes are meant to be self-cleaning, and there are ways you can use this to your advantage.  First, if you are using a strainer screen on your drain, make sure it is of extremely fine mesh, as this is the only kind that will not decrease the pressure of the water moving through the drain.  For the best possible cleaning, you want the water moving through the pipes rapidly.  To assist with this process, you will definitely want to remove any hair that has collected at the top of the drain.  Your first step is to remove the screen from the drain and pull out the clumps of hair and soap underneath.  You may find that this completely eliminates any issue of slow drainage you were experiencing.  If it does not, use a small cup plunger to try to dislodge the blockage.  Follow this by sending several gallons of hot tap water down the drain.

If the above ideas fail, you may be tempted to use a drain snake or commercial cleaner to break up the clog.  Unfortunately, if you are inexperienced with using a snake, you can cause damage to your pipes with it, and chemical drain cleaners aren’t typically effective against the types of blockages found in shower/tub pipes.  At this point, your best bet would be to call a licensed plumber to investigate the issue further.