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How to Break Up with your Bathtub: Drainage Problems 101

We all come to that unfortunate fork in the road when you need to have “the talk” with your bathtub. Granted, you’ve spent many wonderful nights together, and even some quick morning interactions, but it’s time. You have to bite the bullet and address your drainage problem (before things get out of hand). Debris stuck in your drain pipes can keep catching hair and other obstructive objects until the water is completely backed up, calling for some emergency action. Here’s some tips on how to have the it’s you, not me conversation with your bathtub.

Find the Problem

Honesty from the start is the only way you two can find a solution to your relationship’s drainage problems. Water in your bathtub that refuses to go away can indicate major bathtub drainage problems in your plumbing system. Apart from being totally gross, drainpipe-blocking goo is a breeding ground for disease festering bacteria and can pose a serious health threat to your entire family. However, before you panic, find the root of the toxicity in the relationship.

Nature of the drainage problem…

To figure out what’s causing your bathtub drainage problems, take a look at the nature of the issue. You might have a single bathtub that drains slowly, or maybe multiple tubs that are fully blocked. Your tub might even be receiving backup water from sinks and toilets, forever ruining your bath-time sanctuary.


Simple accumulation of miscellaneous gunk can lend to all kinds of bathtub drainage problems. If you have a slow draining tub, it is most likely a non-serious partial blockage caused by hair, soap, or hard water particles. It’s a good idea to remove the drain stopper to check if the blockage is superficial and can be dealt with instantly. If not, then there might be trapped hairballs and soap residue further down the drain pipes.

Vent Pipe Blockage?

The vent pipe is usually overlooked when bathtub drainage problems occur, but can be a major cause of backed-up water. This pipe runs the sewer gasses and access trapped air in the drain pipes out through the roof, and a blockage in this can cause the air pressure to push drainage water out through your bathtub drain.

Snake the Drain

The most effective way to deal with bathtub drainage problems is to use a Drain Snake. You will have to remove the drain cover and trip level unit in order to extend the snake down the drain, but from here on out it will easily clear obstructions and collect debris on the way. It can be extended up to 15-25 feet and can clear any obstructions with ease, and is usually the go-to tool for most professional plumbers. It might be obtrusive, but it must be done, if the plunger fails.

While it might be tempting to go for the easy solution and just pour some harsh chemicals down the bathtub drain, you want relationship solutions that will work in the long run (i.e. no corrosion). Some home remedies can work well for smaller obstructions; just pour some baking soda, followed by vinegar. Cover and leave for 30 minutes and flush with hot water.

Call in the Professionals

If all else fails, or if you lack the tools and expertise or maybe have a bigger problem at hand, it is always wise to call a professional plumbing service. Most bathtub drainage problems are easy fixes, but if you prefer to save yourself some time and effort, and keep from going in over your head (literally) with overflowing bathtubs and blocked sewage lines, visit our the Deer Valley Plumbing services page.

Get in contact with our bathtub drainage experts and sort this relationship out before its too late to save it! 602.832.8418