Blocked showers are a common problem among households. If you are showering and water is rising above your ankles, there is likely a clogged pipe at play. The good news is that just because your shower is not draining properly doesn’t automatically mean you need to call a plumber. In most cases, you can get the shower drain flowing freely again yourself.
Common causes of shower blockages
Hair. When showering, strands of hair will always fall out and if not stopped, go straight down your drain. All this hair will accumulate in your pipes with soap, grease and eventually cause them to block.
Soap and scum build-up. Fats that dissolve from soap mix with minerals in the water that unfortunately forms a residue on your pipes that inevitably builds up and causes pipes to block.
Minerals. Depending on your water, minerals can also collect in your pipes and create masses that will have an effect on the flow of water.
Tree roots. If you have small cracks in your pipes, tree roots may be able to penetrate. Once they are inside your pipes they continue to grow and can cause significant blockages. If you do get to the point of calling a plumber, this is something they will determine and advise on, it is definitely not something you can fix yourself!
How to unblock a shower that is not draining properly
Boiling water. If a build-up of soap, fat, or grease causing the build-ups in your pipes then it may be as simple as using boiling water to solve your problems! Boil a kettle and slowly pour the boiling water down the drain, repeat 2-3 times, and see if this gets the water flowing.
Plunging. If boiling water doesn’t have the water flowing freely, you may need to try using a plunger to dislodge the blockage. Hopefully, by now, the boiling water has broken the mass down somewhat. Using the plunger use a forceful up and downward movement and plunge 5-6 times. If the plunger has worked, the shower will drain properly.
DIY drain cleaning solution. Next, try using a simple, natural solution of baking soda and vinegar to try and break down your blockage. First, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain. After a few minutes, pour a cup of vinegar down. Leave for at least an hour then pour boiling water down the drain.
Get handy. If hair is the cause of your blocked drain, you may be able to remove it by hand. Remove the drain cover and if you see a clog within reach, pull it out. You can use a wire hook or coat hanger if you can see a clog but can’t reach it with your bare hands, or try a plumbers snake if it’s further down the pipe than the eye can see.
Chemical drain cleaners. If all else fails, you may need to try a chemical drain cleaner. These should be used as a last resort as they are extremely tox. A variety of chemical drain cleaners are available at your local supermarket, be sure to read the instructions as they are dangerous and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
When to call a plumber
If the DIY unblocking tactics have exhausted or is accompanied by water or sewerage backing up from bathroom drains or toilets then it’s time to call a plumber. The experts at AMS will get your shower draining properly in no time and check your other pipes to ensure there isn’t a more pesky plumbing problem at hand!