How to Unclog a Drain With Air Pressure

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A clogged drain can cause a headache to homeowners, especially when trying to decide what type of method to use to unclog the drain. While there are countless types of drain unclogging methods, such as chemicals, snakes and plungers, many plumbers use the kinetic forces of air pressure to unclog drains. With the proper use of a water ram, which you can rent at many hardware stores and commercial rental centers, you can quickly and effectively unclog a drain with air pressure.

Things You'll Need

  • Water ram
  • Wet cloth
  • Check your fixture's plumbing trap. Make sure that it is not rusted or corroded. You need to do this before you attempt to unclog a drain with air pressure because if the trap has corrosion, the air pressure could blow off the entire fixture.

  • Run the water slowly so those that the pipe and drain begins to fill up. If the drain is not fully clogged, then you should keep the water running as you perform the unclogging procedure. If the drain is fully clogged, then run the water until it just begins to fill the bottom of the sink. If your fixture has a vent, then have an assistant hold a wet rag over the vent, otherwise the air pressure won't affect the clog but will come out of the vent.

  • Move the rubber fitting on the bottom of the water ram over the drain opening and begin pumping the water ram. Look at the meter reading on top of the ram to see the pressure indicator. Try to pump to 20 psi first.

  • Pull the trigger toward you once you reach 20 psi. You will feel a powerful blast of air leave the ram and rush into the drain. This should clear even a large clog, but if it doesn't, then pump the ram again to 20 or 25 psi and pull the trigger again. Repeat until the air blasts away the clog.

  • Run the water for at least 10 minutes after dislodging the clog to make sure that it runs all the way out of your pipe system.

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