California has designated plumbers as an “essential” service during the pandemic of Covid-19. Should you have an emergency, plumbers are available to keep your home functioning. At the same time, avoiding any unnecessary contact is good advice and a few try-it-at-home steps may avoid an emergency visit.

Practice safe household management to prevent avoidable plumbing emergencies. Avoid flushing things like facial tissues, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes and dental floss, and make sure you have a good plunger on standby. Stagger the demand on drains by spreading your use of dishwasher, washing machine, and showers to avoid sudden large demands.

Clogs make up the bulk of emergency calls. Here are some steps to try before the emergency call:

Boiling Water: For a minor clog, boiling water may dissolve the clog and restore free flow. First, remove any standing water so that the sink is empty. Then bring at least a quart of water to a full boil. Pour the water into the drain in one continuous pour. Wait at least ten minutes and then turn on the water full force.

Salt + Boiling Water: Remove the standing water so that the sink is empty. Take a half cup of salt and pour it down the drain. Bring at least a quart of water to a full boil and pour it down the drain. Wait five minutes for the mixture to work, and run hot water to complete the removal of the clog.

Baking Soda + White Vinegar: A bit of home chemistry may help. Remove all standing water from the sink. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow this with a cup of vinegar. This will begin to fizz and bubble. Place the sink stopper in or cover the drain with a cloth and wait 15 minutes. Remove the stopper and run hot water to flush away the mixture and the clog.

Baking Soda + Salt: This method uses a cup of baking soda and a half cup of salt mixed together and poured into the drain. Let the mixture remain there for several hours and pour a quart of boiling water to flush the drain.

Trap: Traps are located under sinks to catch clogs before they create larger problems in your wastewater system. The trap is a U-shaped bend which can be removed by the careful application of a wrench. Place a pan under the trap to capture water and debris, remove the trap and clear and blockage. Replace the trap.

Plunger: Plungers can be useful for unclogging sink drains. Fill the sink about halfway with hot water and place the plunger directly over the drain. Move the plunger up and down quickly, and then remove it. It may take several tries to remove a clog with this method so repeat as necessary.

Coat Hanger: Good for more than holding clothes, a straightened metal clothes hanger can bend through your drainage and dislodge clogs.

Should all these at home methods fail, it is time to call for professional help. SoCal Plumbers  will provide emergency service anywhere in Southern California. Our plumbers will arrive with face masks, gloves, and protective gear for both your and their protection. They will disinfect the area they work in both before and after they work. They will observe social distancing good practice and ask that you do so as well.