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Have you experienced a slow draining bathtub that takes too long to drain or even fails to do so completely? If yes, know that you’re not alone, as it’s a typical issue for both homeowners and renters.
A slow draining bathtub indicates that the water takes longer to drain than it is supposed to after unplugging it. In more acute cases, the water could remain in the tub indefinitely. Failing to address the drainage issue as soon as possible may worsen it over time.
This article will explore the reasons for the slow draining bathtub, how to fix it, and preventive measures that need to take to avoid the problem.
What Causes a Slow Draining Tub?
Some of the most common reasons for a slow draining bathtub are as follows:
Hair is a significant cause of blockages in drains. During showering and shaving, hair strands fall out and flow into the drain. As the hair moves through the pipes, it can get stuck on the pipe walls. As a result, the hair accumulates and catches other materials that also go down the drain. This accumulation can severely affect normal drainage.
2. Soap Scum and Shampoo Residue
Another frequent cause of bathtub clogs is the accumulation of soap scum and shampoo residue. They also flow down the drain and stick to the pipe walls, eventually solidifying. Over time, this buildup could lead to obstructions in the drain.
3. Dirt, Sand, and Debris
When children play outdoors, they often get dirt on their clothes or bodies, and even the sand when they play on the playground or in the garden. When taking a shower, the debris can accumulate in the drain and result in potential issues in the future.
4. Hard Water
Surprisingly, water can cause strikes in your bathtub. Hard water contains a large number of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which may not be visible directly but can lead to costly problems. Similar to how soap scum and hair accumulate, the minerals can stick to the pipe walls and accumulate over time, potentially leading to drain blockages.
5. Sewer Line Problems
The purpose of sewer lines is to transport wastewater and sewage away from your home. The accumulation of sludge (caused by flushing solids down the sewer system) and the intrusion of tree roots can gradually obstruct the sewer pipes, causing slow drains in your residence.
6. Clogged Vent Pipes
The vent pipes play a crucial role in balancing the air pressure inside the drain pipes, which prevents any suction force from affecting the drainage system. Nevertheless, as the vent pipes run through the roof, they can get obstructed by various elements such as leaves, twigs, or other debris. Additionally, animals or insects can also cause blockages in the vent pipes. Consequently, such blockages can lead to slow draining of water in your household plumbing.
What Are The Steps to Fix a Slow Draining Bathtub?
There are multiple methods you can use to fix a bathtub draining slowly, ranging from simple techniques by using materials available at home to more complicated and costly methods. We have arranged these techniques below, starting with the easiest ones.
1. Baking Soda and Vinegar
The same mixture commonly used in a science fair can also be applied to unclog your drain from minor to moderate blockages. By mixing baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid), carbon dioxide is released and creates expanding bubbles that can break down clogs in your bathtub drain. Here are the steps to use this chemical reaction to fix your bathtub draining slowly:
- Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain.
- Add one cup of white vinegar to the drain.
- Allow the mixture to foam for approximately five minutes.
- Run hot water in the bathtub for a few minutes.
- Check the drain to see if the water flow has improved.
This method is cost-effective, eco-friendly, and won’t harm your pipes, but it may not be effective for some severer blockages.
Using a plunger as a method to unclog your drain is a worthy attempt because it’s a low-cost and time-efficient solution. However, the success of plunging depends on factors such as the type of blockage, the clog location, and the drain design. Plungers use suction to work, so if the clog is located deep within the drain or primarily made of hair, plunging may not be effective. So how to fix a slow draining bathtub by using a plunger?
- Apply petroleum jelly to the plunger’s rim, to create a strong seal.
- Ensure that the head of the plunger is submerged in water by adding enough water to the bathtub.
- Pump the plunger up and down to plunge the bathtub drain opening vigorously.
3. Use a Plumber's Snake
This is an alternative low-cost approach to address a sluggish bathtub drain. If the problem is a blockage, this method has a high probability of success. A plumber’s snake, typically made of metal and lengthy, can aid in dislodging and extracting a blockage. These snakes can be purchased at hardware stores and are relatively inexpensive when compared to hiring a plumber. Here are steps to unclog your slow draining bathtub.
- There are two ways to access the drain: through the overflow by removing the stopper or through the drain opening by removing the strainer. To remove the clog, insert a snake down the drain until you reach it
- Turn the handle to pull the snake back up.
- Check if the drain is clear by running water through it.
Repeat this process multiple times.
How to Prevent a Bathtub From Slow Draining
Avoiding a blocked bathtub can prevent the hassle of repairing a slow draining bathtub. The best strategy for reducing the occurrence of bathtub blockages is to apply a good drain protector.
This gadget is positioned in or on the drain’s top and includes a thin mesh that captures hair, clusters of soap, toys, and other trash, preventing them from getting into the drain.
Moreover, a good-quality bathtub is key to preventing slow draining. LESSO bathtubs have a unique advantage in this aspect due to their design and material. They are made of high-quality acrylic material, which is non-porous and smooth.
Water does not easily cling to the surface of the tub, which helps prevent the accumulation of soap scum, hair, and other debris that could clog the drain and cause slow draining. And their special slope in the bottom of the tub helps prevent water from pooling in one area of the tub, which can lead to slow draining and the accumulation of debris. For more information, please visit LESSO.