‘Tis the season for plumbing problems: Tips and tricks to prevent or clear a clogged drain

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HOUSTON – Thanksgiving and the day after are the busiest days of the year for most plumbers across the country. But there are some things you can do to avoid having to call one yourself (and avoid what could be a big repair bill).

Right now, while your sink is draining properly, find your "clean-out." If your kitchen sink backs up to an exterior wall, you will usually find the clean-out just outside your home on that wall.

You should be able to use a wrench or adjustable pliers to remove the cap to the clean-out. If your sink stops up and the water will not drain, go outside and take the cap off.

"So if your sinks are both full of water (in a double sink), and you take the clean-out off outside and the water comes out, you don't need to do anything in here. You just need to do the snake from the outside," explained Doug Turner, owner of Doug Turner Plumbing.

Turner says if no water comes out when you unscrew the clean-out from the outside, your clog is likely inside. He showed Davis which piece of the pipe to remove under the sink and where to insert a plumbing snake. You can get one at Home Depot for less than $20.

You've got a clean-out for your toilets too. It's generally within three feet from your home, coming out of the ground. It has a white cap with a square plug.

"And if your line stops up, you want to try to take that off, and that will allow the waste to go out in the yard instead of come up in your house until the plumber can come," Turner explained.

If you have a slow drain now, you really want to try and clear that up before you’re using your sink and drain overtime on Thanksgiving. Turner says you can fill up your sink with super hot water all the way to the top. Then let it drain. That hot water and the pressure from it can sometimes clear clogs if they are close to the sink.

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