Your garbage disposal is a welcome addition to your kitchen sink, helping to grind down particles of food and other debris that would otherwise cause clogging, Unfortunately, garbage disposals often get jammed by foreign objects that get stuck inside its inner grinding blades, leading to clogging. A clogged up garbage disposal will then result in a clogged up sink. If not unclogged in time during winter, the sink drain often retains water from the sink that then freezes, blocking the pipe or the trench that the drain grate covers.
While unclogging the garbage disposal might be easily done using a wrench, unclogging the frozen drain could prove more difficult. Calling in a plumber to fix the problem is always a viable solution, but you can always unblock the frozen drain yourself using the right tools.
How to unclogging a frozen sink drain
The first step is to remove the grate over your drain hole - which is usually in place to both prevent debris from clogging the drain and to provide an easy access point during drain cleaning - and rid it of any frozen dirt and debris. You can then use a shovel to remove frozen debris at the mouth of the drain hole where the clogging will most likely have occurred, allowing the drain hole to let in water from the kitchen sink. Hot water can then be poured into the drain to thaw any deep-lying ice that can't be removed manually until it runs freely once again. To avoid a similar problem in the future, routinely remove and clean the drain grate so as to prevent chunks of frozen dirt from infiltrating the drain hole and causing a blockage.
If hot water does not do the trick, you will need a more complex thawing solution to get your sink drain running again. Fill a bucket with hot water, and then add water softener and salt until it no longer dissolves. This mixture should then be poured into the clogged up drain opening and allowed to sit until it eventually thaws up the ice in the pipes. De-icing compounds or even commercial drain-thawing solutions can also work, but they should be used sparingly due to their toxic nature. These chemicals will eventually find their way into your drainage field, affecting the runoff area when new plants grow come spring.
A clogged sink drain can wreck a perfectly good evening, leaving you with a sink full of stinking, backed-up water. If water collects inside the drains and freezes your drain hole, you should be able to effectively employ the thawing solutions discussed above and save yourself a plumbing nightmare. If you do need plumbing assistance, contact professionals like those at DBR Plumbing.