I'm confident that many people know they'll have to deal with a a backed up drain. Generally it's just an inconvenience, but a hassle nonetheless. Many of us instinctively reach for the liquid plumber first. Chemical products are just one choice that could work, though only if the blockage is the right type. We've all heard the products and their brand names are commonplace, so you may be tempted to pour them down a clogged drain first and look at other ideas later. Chemicals aren't always the right choice for every blockage. You can find better alternatives to chemicals that will do the job better and with less, or no harmfull effects.
Popular choices are de-clogging wires with teeth that are long enough to get down to the clog below your drain, without being so long they're overkill. Unless you're a plumber, you don't need a massive rotary snake system.
Here are the steps for tackling this yourself:
1) Determine your clogged point. Sometimes the clog is visible from the drain opening when you shine a light down there. It's not usually a pretty sight, but if you can see it, you can easily take care of it.
When only one is flowing slowly, expect that the clog is in the trap below the sink or tub. If more than one drain is slow, it may indicate a problem in the sewer outflow pipe that connects to your septic system or the city sewer system. If this is the case, it'd be smart to call a plumbing technician immediately. You'll save pulling your hair out in the long run.
2) Now that you know where it is, you can sort out the problem if it doesn't require a plumber. Take out and inspect the strainer. In many bathtubs, there is an additional strainer an inch or so below the first grate (usually there as a mount point for the primary strainer). This is one of the most normal spot for stray hair to get caught. Most chemical cleaners aren't made for this, as they sit below the point of buildup. A wire snake, a pair of grabbers, and protective gloves are normally all you require to handle most clogs. Be prepared to get a screwdriver if need be.
3) Thirdly, after clearing the strainers of whatever you find the drain still isn't working properly, pour hot water down it to weaken the buildup stuck. Let it rest for a bit, and then take a plunger to it. The work of using it properly should loosen most of your clog and allow it to be flushed out. Sometimes though, if you have an old plumbing system, there may be multiple points of blockage, and this could simply move that chunk from one spot to another point along the way.
4) The next thing to try is take off and clean up your drain's trap. Search the internet for a complete walkthrough of this step. This is a project for a real do-it-yourselfer. If you're not ready to tackle this yourself, make a call to a drain specialist. Any plumber worth his salt is more than happy to come out for these smaller jobs and make a good impression.
These hints from the good people at http://www.A1PlumbingNV.com
, who remind you to do right by your pipes, and they should last a very long time.