Drain Cleaning tips and advice from local area plumbers, learn the leading cause of household drain issue and how to solve them.


Knowing Where to Look for Common Dishwasher Clogs

There are many appliances in today’s technologically advanced world, especially when it comes to the plumbing system. One appliance that has been around for quite a while but once upon a time helped lessen our cleaning load in the kitchen drastically is the dishwasher. It continues to make our everyday life a bit easier, but, getting used to its convenience, we sometimes panic if the machine has some type of issue. Normally, this is not something that we can’t identify, so no need to worry. Below, we will discuss the three more than likely spots to check for Common Dishwasher Clogs.

There are many ways that you can run into Common Dishwasher Clogs, actually. Sometimes this can be as simple as a label from some container coming loose and clogging the machine. Regardless of what or how you experience these Common Dishwasher Clogs, they usually can be rectified fairly easily and with some basic tools. Thus, when you notice a dishwasher problem, below are the three common areas it most likely will be found.

Where are the Three Most Common Dishwasher Clogs Located?

The three main areas in which you will find Common Dishwasher Clogs are the air gap, the drain hose, and the filtration system. Below, we will detail each of these areas as well as how and where to look for each. Likewise, we will explain how to fix the problem in each area.

1- Air Gap

If your dishwasher uses an air gap, it could be the location of your Common Dishwasher Clogs. It is located on top of your sink near the faucet. The purpose of an air gap is to allow the dishwasher to drain without waste or dirty water from the sink backing up into the machine. Obviously, from that description, you can tell that a clogged air gap could lead to problems.

To clean out Common Dishwasher Clogs in the air gap:

  • Take off the cover and plastic cap on the sink to access the drain hose from the dishwasher
  • Use either an air gap brush or bottle brush to clean around your drain hose
  • Push the brush through the line that runs to the sink until you can see it when looking into the drain.

2- Dishwasher Drain Hose

The drain hose attaches either to the air gap or directly to your sink and garbage disposal. If the Common Dishwasher Clogs are through the drain hose, below are steps to take to stop the problem.

  • First, go to your breaker box and make sure the power to the dishwasher is shut off. If you have a garbage disposal, be sure that it too is off
  • Shut off the water supply that runs to the dishwasher
  • Place a towel with a shallow pan on top of it under your sink to catch and spilling or splashing water
  • Using the owner’s manual for your dishwasher, locate and then detach both ends of the drain hose
  • Use a flexible brush to clean out any debris in the hose and all hose fittings, too
  • Flush the drain hose with water using either a garden hose or the bathroom sink
  • Reattach both ends of your drain hose
  • Turn your power to these plumbing appliances back on and turn water back on. Finally, run the dishwasher through its drain cycle

3- Filtration System

Our third and final location to look for Common Dishwasher Clogs is the filtration system. If you are not familiar with the filtration system, it is located under the spray arm on the bottom part of your dishwasher. With a filtration system, they can be slightly different depending on the brand or model of your dishwasher. So be sure to consult that owner’s manual (or look it up online) before cleaning it out.

If your filtration system is the issue, there is a more than likely chance that the problem was the cause of a “non-food” item. The reasoning behind assuming this is because the filtration system is good at taking care of chunks of food and the like. Regardless of what is causing the clog, you’ll be happy to know the most advanced piece of equipment you’ll need to get rid of this clog is a screwdriver.

If These Common Dishwasher Clogs Aren’t the Problem

In the case that you walked through all f these areas and still have Common Dishwasher Clogs, they may not be quite so common as initially thought. The problem could be one with your garbage disposal or even the sewer line. If this turns out to be, no need to worry. Just give us a call here at Poole’s Plumbing and we are happy to assist with all your plumbing needs.

To contact the most trusted name in Raleigh plumbers, visit poolesplumbing.com.

Toilet-Paper-Alternatives-Pooles Plumbing

Toilet Paper Alternatives and More: What is Safe to Flush?

Toilet Paper. Two words that given the recent situation our entire country and the world, for that matter, have been faced with have maybe never received so much attention. For reasons unbeknownst to this writer, the general public upon hearing of the spread of a dangerous and potentially deadly virus sought out toilet paper. That’s actually putting it mildly. Toilet Paper Alternatives. Three words that we’d never think would have as much relativity as they recently have. Basically, our entire country went mad, racing to stores and hoarding as much “bathroom tissue” as they could carry to a cash register. To analyze the psyche and overall rationale of his reaction thankfully is not my job. However, by people stockpiling toilet paper it became and still is next to impossible without planning ahead to find the product in the store. This would create the need for the American public to seek Toilet Paper Alternatives.

What is a “Safe Flush???”

(You couldn’t make this stuff up…and you all know that if we weren’t currently living through it, the paragraph above would read as some type of joke or nonsense…but since it is our current reality, I digress… let’s move on…) So, back to our Toilet Paper Alternatives. We know there is a lot of uncertainty and reluctance when it comes to things we flush. In this article, we will take a closer look at whether these Toilet Paper Alternatives are safe to flush. Likewise, we will also take the time to educate you on items that you might possibly feel are a “safe flush.” We will explain some of these items can lead to a clog or blockage. A clog or blockage from Toilet Paper Alternatives could eventually “snowball” into your needing expensive and extensive plumbing repairs.
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth about Flushable Wipes
So, what’s in a name, right? Flushable wipes…seems to be a no-brainer, may as well just overfill the shopping cart with these Toilet Paper Alternatives right now, right? Actually, wrong. While these wipes may come in handy when potty training a child or on a camping trip, it is a bad idea to flush these down your toilet.
To be clear on this, again, flushable wipes are useful in many situations as Toilet Paper Alternatives, but you don’t want them in your plumbing system. Yes, eventually these wipes will break down, but nowhere near as fast as regular toilet paper would. More likely than not, the continued and frequent usage of these type wipes will lead to a clog, which in turn will lead to an expensive fix for you.

Items such as bathroom wipes are not safe to put into your toilet for flushing.

The Garbage Can is for Garbage, a Toilet is Not (Chalk Up Another Headline that This Guy Never Thought Would Need Public Explaining to Functioning Adults )

So, we have now established that “flushable wipes” are not safe to flush into your system. “There’s got to be something I can use,” you must be thinking in regard to Toilet Paper Alternatives as images of barren and empty grocery store shelves dance in your head. Unfortunately, in case you skimmed over the sub headline above this paragraph, there are no safe Toilet Paper Alternatives. Neither toilets nor your plumbing system is made to have anything flushed down them with the exception of human waste, water, and the ever-elusive toilet paper.
Due to the emptiness of toilet paper aisles, we want to help so you know what Toilet Paper Alternatives are safe. Thus below is a list of items the should NOT be flushed down your toilet. As tempting as it may seem (?!?!), very clearly stated none of these items should be flushed:
  • Facial Tissues
  • Baby Wipes, Disinfectant Wipes, etc.
  • Toilet Bowl Scrub Pads
  • Napkins and Paper Towel
  • Dental Floss
  • Eggshells or Nutshells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Oils and Greases
  • Hair
  • Sanitary Napkins, Tampons, Condoms, etc.
  • Cotton Balls or Q-Tips
  • Any Plastic at all
  • Diapers
  • Vitamins, Medi, or Pharmaceuticals
So, What Should I Do if I am “All Out”?
Basically, you can’t flush anything but toilet paper down your toilet without eventually it leading to a clog. Even the thicker style of toilet paper tends to build up and leads to a clog. This is yet anpother reason to be sure of your choice of Toilet Paper Alternatives.
So, if you are without toilet paper, we do have a couple suggestions. First,  inquired you=r grocery store about what time they get deliveries in and then be there that day when the store is restocking. This is one way  to be sure and replenish your supply. One other way around flushing at all would be available to anyone who has clean water. That alternative would be either having a bidet installed or using another alternative cleaning method, the “peri” bottle.
To explain, a bidet is a fixture that usually has spigots in which clean water comes through and cleans you. Likewise, a perineal irrigation bottle or peri-bottle can serve that same purpose. The peri-bottle provides and easy thorough cleaning and keeps you from flushing any Toilet Paper Alternatives down the drain.

In the End, If You Aren’t Sure….Don’t Flush Toilet Paper Alternatives

Ok, so given the topic, we gave a slightly sarcastic approach here in a few brief spots. However, here at Poole’s Plumbing, we realize that through these uncertain times there really was a big issuefinding toilet paper. This is why we wanted to remind you to not put things down your toilet that will lead to clogging. Consequently,  even Toilet Paper Alternatives appearing to be safe for flushing, can end up being anything but funny. It could even prove quinsy and costly. To conclude, we sincerely wish you all the best in your ongoing pursuit of toilet paper and for any of your home plumbing needs, check us out at poolesplumbing.com.

You Can Do It: Identify and Clear a Clogged Drain

In this, the final entry in our series on clogged drains, we will once again advise on how to identify and Clear a Clogged Drain. Continuing where we left off in our second blog entry, these pointers from Poole’s Plumbing can help achieve early detection and likewise, detect and Clear a Clogged Drain before there is a huge mess.

Removing the drain stopper and any debris is a good start to clearing the drain.

Trust in Poole’s Plumbing and Clear Your Mind…oh, and Your Sink Drain!

Once again, we are aware of the common thoughts when one realizes they have any plumbing issue. However, your trusted friends at Poole’s Plumbing once again can set a worried mind at ease. With some easy to remember pointers, you can locate and Clear a Clogged Drain and feel confident doing so.

We will use the example of a clogged kitchen sink to walk you through several steps. To begin on your path to Clear a Clogged Drain, first, take these simple measures.

  • Remove the Sink’s Drain Stoppers
  • Carefully Remove any Visible Debris
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In the case of a double bowl sink, be sure to use a wet rag to block the second drain.

Keeping it Clean: Dishwasher and Clear Drains

We are confident with some advice from the Raleigh plumbing experts at Poole’s that you can Clear a Clogged Drain. Certainly though, “keeping it clean,” or avoiding a messy situation in doing so is something you want to keep in mind. 

Staying true to our mission to Clear a Clogged Drain in the kitchen sink, there are several areas to secure to keep things as dry as possible. These steps below are two you would want to be sure are done before going further in this process.

  • Clamp the dishwasher hose where it is attached to the drain line or disposal under the sink. This will prevent dirty water from backing up into the dishwasher.
  • In the case of a “double bowl” sink, block off one of the drains with a wet rag.

Do not plunge the drain if you have used and chemicals or drain cleaners.

Safety Reminders Before You “Plunge In”

With the hose clamped and second drain blocked, its time to “take a plunge,” literally. Note that there are some precautions to take if you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink. Thus, you must refer to the list below on disposals to be certain that the disposal is tended to properly as well.

In contrast, another point of note is that if any cleaners or chemicals have been poured down the drain, you do not want to take these next steps. This would seem obvious, but inhaling these type fumes can be extremely harmful. Similarly, plunging when these chemicals are present in a drain could lead to costly damage.


Using a disposal wrench or Allen wrench, rotate to open and clean debris from disposal

Garbage Disposal “Check Points” 

  • If there is a disposal, and it’s not working or is making a loud humming noise when turned on, it is likely jammed with something. 
  • If the disposal is jammed, first, turn it off. Next, either unplug the cord under the sink if it has a plug or turn off the circuit breaker in your main panel box for safety.
  • Once sure the circuit is turned off, insert the disposal wrench. If you don’t have it use an Allen wrench. Put either up into the center of the bottom of the disposal. Rotate accordingly to be sure the disposal is clear of any debris.
  • If initially when turned on the disposal made no noise, check the internal circuit breaker. This is located at the bottom of the unit. Make sure it is not popped out. If it is, press it inward to reset it.
  • Lastly, plug the disposal back in or turn the circuit breaker in the panel box back on, and turn the disposal on again. If still not working, you still can Clear a Clogged Drain. However, you will want to consult the pros at Poole’s Plumbing to regarding the disposal.

Now the Simple Solution to Clear a Clogged Drain

With all safety items checked off, now we are ready to “pop” that drain clear. By following the two simple steps below, you should have your drain running free and clear. 

  • Fill the sink with 3 to 4 inches of water.
  • Use a plunger to plunge the open drain, keeping the other side blocked. Plunge until the standing water swirls down the drain unimpeded. 

While this concludes our three-part series on how to Clear a Clogged Drain, in our next post we will still be “unclogging.” Taking it a step further, Raleigh’s most trusted plumbers, Poole’s Plumbing will move from the smaller drains to the bigger issue of clearing a sewer drain.