How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with a Garbage Disposal
After a clogged toilet, having a clogged sink has to be the second most annoying plumbing emergency, but don’t despair; the solution may be easier than you think.
Your first reaction might be to drive to the nearest hardware store, buy a bottle of drain opener and pour it down the drain; There is no question that most drain solutions are effective; however, they do damage your drain pipes before you do that, let’s try a couple of different options.
Let’s plunge the sink.
Let’s start by unplugging the garbage disposal; if you have a lot of water, it might be easier to work if you remove some of the water in both bowls using a bowl and a bucket.
Cover the drain hole on the bowl that does not have the garbage disposal; you can use a rag, a balled-up plastic bag, just about anything that will block air or water from going up into the bowl.
Slide the plunger cup to cover the drain opening on the bowl that has the garbage disposal. In other words, allow water, not air, to get under your plunger cup. Pump your plunger 20 times. Remove the plunger and see if there is any indication that the water is draining.
If it’s not draining, try again.
Check the Clean-Out
Most homes will have a clean-out somewhere on the outside wall opposite the kitchen sink.
Prepare a large bucket to drain any sewage. Using a pipe wrench, carefully remove the clean-out cover. If you have a large amount of sewage draining out of the opening, that may mean that your blockage is beyond the clean-out access point.
If no sewage drains out of the clean-out then your blockage is somewhere between the kitchen sink drain and the clean-out.
Check the “P” Trap
If you determined that the blockage is between the sink and the clean-out, place a bucket under the “P” trap and loosen the nut securing the drain pipe from the garbage disposal to the “P” trap.
Then remove the other end.
Inspect the line for any blockage as well as the garbage disposal outlet. You may need to use a piece of wire to dislodge any possible debris blocking the drain. If you did not discover a probable cause for the blockage, loosen the nut securing the “P” trap to the sink strainer, and inspect it for blockage.
Snake the Drain
However, if you determine that the blockage is below the clean-out, you can quickly remedy that issue by inserting a drain snake.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Once you’re done, re-thread the clean-out plug.