Understanding Plumbing Basics
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Understanding Plumbing Basics

As a new homeowner, I can tell you that things aren't always as simple as they appear. I started thinking about it a few years ago, and I realized that there were some serious problems with our plumbing system. We had issues with drains working correctly and toilets flushing like they should, so I started focusing more heavily on understanding the basics of our plumbing system. Within a few short months the entire system was operating more fluidly because of a few changes that I made, so I wanted to create a blog all about my journey. Check out these articles to learn more about the plumbing basics.


Understanding Plumbing Basics

How To Clear A Clogged Shower Drain

Jorge Alexander

Standing in ankle-deep water while showering or waiting hours for a tub to drain is no fun. When a shower drain gets clogged, prompt cleaning is necessary to keep the problem from becoming worse. In some cases, you may be able to handle the issue yourself.

Remove the Drain Cover

The first task is to remove the drain cover so that you can access the clog in the drain. There are three common types of covers found in most bathrooms.


Pop-up covers are typically twisted downward to close and twisted upward to open. In some cases, you may simply need to push or pull them, no twisting required. These are usually the easiest to remove, as you can simply pull them out completely or twist them until they are released from the drain.


Push down covers are designed to be operated with your toes if need be. You push them down once to close. When you need to open the drain, you push down a second time and it should pop up. These drain covers typically have a screw in the center. push the drain to open, then unscrew from the center so you can lift the drain cover off.


Strainer style drains look like a flat metal strainer. These drains either have a screw in the center or screws along the edge that hold them in place. A few models may only be held in place by friction. Remove the screws to remove the cover. If you have a friction fit model, you can use needle-nose pliers or tweezers to grip the screen so you can pull it out.

Clear the Drain

Once you have opened the drain you may be able to clean it out on your own.

Hair Removal Tool

Plastic hair removal tools are long strips of plastic with toothy protrusions up the side. Insert these deep into the drain and pull them out. The teeth catch the hair so it is easily removed from the drain.


Sometimes you may need to loosen the obstruction. A small flat plunger, designed for use on drains, may help. Cover the drain with the plunger completely and press down several times rapidly. You may need to repeat the process several times to clear the obstruction.

Scum Removal

Sometimes soap scum buildup is the problem. Avoid chemicals, as these can splash up and cause injury. Instead, pour boiling water down the drain to melt the scum. Repeat the process several times to ensure all of the scum is removed.

Contact a drain cleaning service if these methods don't get the drain flowing properly again. Ignoring even a slow drain can lead to bigger problems, such as overflows or even broken drain pipes.