Step-By-Step Guide to Unclog Drain Blockages in Kelowna, BC

Posted in Clogged Drains

Need to Unclog Drain Blockages in Your Shower, Sink, or Bathtub? We Can Help!

Are you standing ankle-deep in dirty water by the time you finish your shower? Or waiting for what seems like forever for water to move through slow-flowing drains in your kitchen or bathroom sinks? Clogged drains affect everyone sooner or later—but that doesn’t make them any less of an aggravating, unsanitary nuisance. Luckily, your local plumbing company is always here to help!

If you’re trying to figure out how to unclog drain jams in your shower, sink, or bathtub, you’ve come to the right place! This expert advice from your local Kelowna plumbers will help you get the water flowing freely again so you can use your plumbing system without worry.

When you need help with a clogged drain or a full range of other frustrating plumbing problems, call on your friendly neighbourhood plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. Whether you’re in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, West Bank, or another nearby area, we’re ready to tackle your plumbing system and get the water flowing smoothly again, any time of the day or night!

What Are the Signs of a Clogged Drain in Kelowna?

You may think you know exactly what a drain clog looks like in your Kelowna home—the water doesn’t go down the drain—but the need to unclog drain blockage is not always that blatantly obvious. 

Here are a few other symptoms that indicate you need to unclog drain fixtures:

  • Water takes a long time to drain out of fixtures
  • Toilet gurgles or bubbles when you use the sink
  • Water is backing up into fixtures
  • Puddles of water forming under or near fixtures
  • Strange noises from drains, such as gurgling, sucking, or grinding
  • Foul odours from drains that smell like sewage, sulphur, or rotting food

Why is My Drain Clogged?

We won’t know for sure what caused your clogged drain until we’re able to inspect it in person, but the most likely culprit in Kelowna is foreign objects or substances that weren’t supposed to be washed down the drain made their way into your pipes. Technically there’s only three things that should be going down your drain: waste, water, and toilet paper. Anything else is a clog waiting to happen.


Fat, oil, and grease are among the worst things that you could pour down your drain. They’re so bad, they have their own acronym in the plumbing industry: FOG. While FOG substances may be in liquid form when you pour them into the sink, they quickly solidify and coat the inside of your pipe with a thick, sticky layer that catches and holds anything that follows it down, creating a nasty mess that could totally block-off water flow. 

Harmful Materials

The main villain in Kelowna’s bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtub drains is a build-up of hair and soap scum, while kitchen sink drains are commonly plagued by food particles that really shouldn’t have been washed down, along with all that fat, oil, and grease we just mentioned. 

You shouldn’t really be letting any food go down your drain, although you might get away with some food scraps if you have an in-sink garbage disposal. Always avoid substances that will be ground into a sand-like texture, such as coffee grounds and eggshells, because even your garbage disposal can’t deal with stuff like that effectively. The need to unclog drain fixtures is already bad enough without adding a jammed garbage disposal to the problem.

Step-By-Step Guide to Unclog Drain Blockages in Kelowna

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get that drain unclogged? Here’s a five-step guide from the Kelowna plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. to walk you through the process.

Step 1: Prepare the Area (and Yourself)

The very first thing you should do is take some basic precautions that keep the mess to a minimum, because—we’re going to level with you here—there could be some splashing of nasty substances that occurs while you unclog drain jams. 

Putting down some old newspapers or rags around the fixture you’re working on should make cleaning up a lot faster and easier. We also recommend changing into old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and putting on some rubber gloves that cover your forearms (trust us on this one).

Step 2: Try to Pull the Clog Out

Before you start plunging away, check to see if it’s possible to simply unclog drain jams by pulling out the debris with your hand. If an item has fallen down the drain or there’s a big clump of hair in there, it might be pretty close to the surface. 

You’ll need to remove the drain cover if there is one. Then, with your rubber gloves on, reach into the drain opening and feel around for anything that may be blocking water flow, like a chunk of soap or a clump of hair. If you don’t find anything, it was worth a try. If you pull something out and the water begins to drain properly, congratulations, you’ve done it! That was easy. 

Step 3: Use a Plunger

Now it’s time to try a classic method, used by many plumbers and homeowners to unclog drain jams: the plunger. But first, you need to make sure you’re using the correct plunger. Many people aren’t even aware that there are different plungers for different purposes. Using the wrong type might be totally futile. 

For flat (or flattish) drains in sinks, bathtubs, and showers, you need a cup-shaped plunger. The kind that forms a seal around drain holes. Bell or ball-shaped plungers with a flange at the bottom and accordion plungers are both for toilets only.

If you’re plunging one side of a double sink or a fixture with an overflow drain, plug up the other side’s drain or the overflow with a rag. There may already be standing water in your clogged fixture as a result of the blockage, but if there’s not, you should also pour water into the fixture until it’s an inch or two deep.

Then, place your cup-shaped plunger head over the hole. Push down and pull up steadily to create a vacuum that pulls the clog up out of the pipe. Start slow to make sure it’s suctioned on, and then just plunge… and plunge… and plunge some more. 

Don’t get frustrated if nothing happens at first. It could take quite a bit of elbow grease, but it’s often possible to unclog drains simply with consistent plunging. If you hear a squelching sound and the standing water begins to drain, that means your clog is gone! Success!

Step 4: Use a Drain Snake

No luck with the plunger? There’s one more thing you could try to unclog drain backups—it’s time to go fishing. Not the fun kind of fishing; this is the kind where you retrieve a big, nasty clump of mystery clog out of your pipe. 

You may not have an actual plumbing snake (which is also called an auger) just lying around, but that’s okay. You can buy a simple, inexpensive plumbing auger at most Kelowna hardware stores, or you could just make your own out of a regular wire coat hanger by straightening it out and bending one end into a long, narrow hook.

Lower your plumbing snake into the drain until you feel resistance from the blockage, then push the hook through the clog until you don’t feel resistance anymore. Then, slowly pull the snake up and out. Hopefully, the blockage will be dangling from the hook and your pipe will be free and clear. To confirm that you won’t have to unclog drain backups again soon, run some hot water in the fixture to wash away any remnants and ensure your system is back in good working order.

Step 5: Call Your Kelowna Plumbers.

If you’ve tried everything we listed above and that difficult clog refuses to budge (or if you’ve tried none of the above and don’t intend to), it’s time to call your local Kelowna plumbers at 911 Plumbing Drainage Heating Ltd. 

We have the equipment, experience, and know-how to unclog drain blockages of all types. Dealing with a Kelowna plumbing emergency after hours or on a holiday? No problem! We provide 24/7 emergency service, so you never have to struggle with a clogged drain or any other plumbing issue on your own.

Keep in mind that when you’re not able to unclog drain pipes—or you get one unclogged, and then the same thing happens again right away—the problem may be bigger than just a standard blockage. For example, it could be something like tree root intrusion. 

Even trees that are relatively far away have far-reaching roots that can wrap themselves around buried pipes and constrict, squeezing the pipe until it cracks. Once the roots get inside and touch water, they begin to grow rapidly and partially or completely restrict the flow of water, and there’s no amount of plunging that is going to fix that issue. 

911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. has advanced technology such as video camera inspection equipment that allows us to pinpoint the problem and come up with a repair solution that gets your plumbing system back in perfect working order.

How NOT to Unclog Drain Jams in Kelowna

If you’ve been searching for “unclog drain” online, you’ve probably come across a few homemade solutions that recommend pouring substances you already have in your kitchen down the drain, such as:

  • Baking soda and a cup of vinegar
  • Cup of dish detergent
  • Cola
  • Pot of boiling water
  • Harsh chemical drain cleaner

It’s true that baking soda and vinegar can create an explosive chemical reaction in a closed environment like a capped bottle, but your pipe is not closed. Those DIY drain cleaning mixtures normally just fizzle harmlessly for a minute while the gas escapes—and your drain will still be clogged afterward. The truth is, none of these substances are going to work as well as plunging and snaking. In all likelihood, they won’t have any effect at all. By using them, you’ll likely just waste your own time—and add more material to the clog. 

Harsh chemical drain cleaners can be more effective when used to unclog drains than dish detergent or cola, but if you use them too frequently, they can seriously damage your pipes—which means they’ll need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Those chemicals can also seep into Kelowna’s groundwater and make their way into our rivers and lakes, which is obviously terrible for the local environment. 

Carrying a pot of boiling water from your kitchen to your bathroom is just plain dangerous (not to mention largely ineffective). Don’t scald yourself trying to unclog a drain, just call 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. to take care of it for you!

How Do You Avoid Having to Unclog Drain Obstacles in the Future?

The best way to avoid any issues with your pipes such as nasty drain clogs is regular drain cleaning by a professional plumber. We have advanced tools such as hydro jetting that will leave your pipes sparkling clean and help to prevent clog-causing substances from building up so easily in the future. Proper maintenance will also extend the lifespan of your pipes, so you can prevent the need for a costly replacement, and it’ll remove the stress of having to deal with a drain clog.

That being said, there are a few steps anybody in Kelowna can take that will help prevent having to unclog drain jams.

  • Say No to FOG: Never pour fat, oil, or grease down your drain! It should be disposed of in the trash in a closed container or Ziploc bag to prevent dripping. 
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Use a hair catcher in your shower and bathtub to prevent long strands of hair from washing down the drain and forming a big, knotted clump in your pipe.
  • Take the Strain: Cover kitchen sink drains with a sink strainer so scraps of food and other debris can’t fall down the drain.

Trying to Unclog Drain Jams? Call Your Local Kelowna Plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd!

Whether you’re in Kelowna or a nearby area such as West Kelowna, Lake Country, or West Bank, you can rely on the Kelowna plumbers at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. for expert service that will get your plumbing system back in great condition quickly and efficiently.

Give us a call today at 250-801-0911—or contact us online—to schedule an appointment and find out why we’re Kelowna’s top choice for reliable plumbing services!



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