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Help! My Shower Drain is Slow but Not Clogged

help! my shower drain is slow but not clogged

When you’re taking a shower and find yourself in standing water to your ankles, it’s time for a plumbing intervention. A shower drain that is slow but not clogged can and should be fixed. If not, that slow draining may stop altogether. Here’s what you need to know about your shower’s potential problems and how you can resolve them.

Note: if you’re dealing with a slow bathtub, instead of a slow shower, this advice still applies.

Why Is My Shower Drain Slow?

Without taking a scope into your shower drain, we can only guess at why the drain is moving so slowly. Two main possibilities might be the culprit:

  • Partial clog issue: If your shower drain were completely clogged, then your shower water would be completely stuck. When you have a slow drain, it’s a sign that a clog is developing. Partial clogs limit water flow and are likely to get worse with time.
  • Vent issue: This may surprise you, but plumbing systems have vents. They need vents to release the air pressure generated by water as it drains out. If your show drain vent becomes clogged or partly clogged, your shower will drain much slower. Vent clogs can also become worse and begin to affect the other plumbing fixtures in your bathroom.

Homeowners typically do not have the knowledge or equipment to tackle these plumbing problems, so we suggest you call your plumber to handle your slow draining shower.

What Will My Plumber Do About A Slow Shower Drain?

After your plumber arrives to clear up your shower drain, they will inspect it to determine the cause. If they think a clog is most likely, they will use equipment to clean out the partial clog. What equipment they use depends on where the clog is.

If the plumber does not find a clog or has reason to believe the issue is a vent problem instead, they will need to find the vent clog and clear it out. The clog may be right near the shower drain or in the main plumbing vent.

What Should I Not Do About A Slow Shower Drain?

A slow shower drain is such a frustrating problem that many homeowners try to tackle it themselves. Unfortunately, these DIY drain fixes most often make the problem worse.

For example, pouring chemicals down your shower drain in an attempt to clear it up can pull gunk off the side of the drain before the clog. That debris then adds to the clog and makes it worse. Other home remedies, such as vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water, can cause similar problems and are generally not recommended.

Home plumbing snakes and plungers may also end up pushing the clog further down the pipe, rather than pulling it out altogether. In the end, it’s best to call a plumber.

How to Prevent a Slow Shower or Tub Drain

While you probably can’t resolve a slow draining shower or bathtub yourself, there are definitely things you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.

First, buy a shower drain strainer that captures hair and other things that should not be put down the drain. Second, don’t pour food, chemicals, or other substances down your shower drain. Soap, conditioner and water are the only things your shower drain should have to handle. Last but not least, consider that your drain itself might be the problem. Even the best drain lines aren’t meant to last forever, and all of them need to be replaced eventually. 20-30 years is generally the lifespan of a shower drain line, but other factors can greatly skew those numbers.

Need more help? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local plumber in Concord.