How to Unclog a Drain

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How to Unclog a Drain

A clogged drain disrupts your day in more ways than one. Trying to unclog your drain can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’ve tried just about everything. There are a few other things you can try before contacting us for Twin Cities plumbing services. Below, McQuillan Bros shares a few tips on how to unclog a drain in your home

5 Methods for Unclogging a Drain

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What Equipment Do I Require to Unclog My Drain?

Unclogging your drain can require a few of the following items. If you’re not well equipped to unclog your drain, you may want to consider hiring a local plumber. Here’s what you need:

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Flange Plunger
  • Handheld snake
  • Boiling water

What Causes a Clogged Drain?

Clogs can form when debris buildup, which prevents liquid from going to the sewer. Most commonly, a clogged bathroom sink is caused by the accumulation of soap and hair over time. Your kitchen sink will likely clog because of built-up food or oil.

Whatever the source, it’s critical to get it out of the way as soon as possible so you can go back to your day. While major clogs may necessitate the services of a local plumber, you can try a few tactics to help remove your blockage before contacting the professionals.

Unclogging a Shower Drain with Wired Coat Hanger & Hot Water

It’s worth your time to look into the pipe before renting a plumber’s snake. Tangled hair in your shower drain might only take a pair of rubber gloves, boiling hot water, and a wire hanger.

How? Hot water can sometimes be sufficient to dislodge a clog. Binding substances such as dirt, grease, and soap degrade when heat is applied. Boiling water can be used to unclog a drain. Note: You may need to repeat this numerous times until the clog is freed, but don’t give up! 

What you’ll need to accomplish is as follows:

  • Remove the drain guard and any hair you see to get access. Be cautious not to aggravate the obstruction.
  • Then, you can pour the boiling water down the drain to loosen and clear the remaining material. 
  • Use the wire coat hanger to remove any clumps of hair. 

Bathroom and Kitchen Drain Plungers

A plunger can clear the majority of clogs before you open a bottle of commercial drain cleaner or make an appointment with a local drain cleaner. Not all plungers are compatible with all drains.

The cup plunger is a well-known plunger that has a suction cup attached to a wooden handle. In contrast, a flange plunger has a piece of rubber protruding from the cup. This extra rubber is perfect for toilets and shop floor drains, whereas a cup plunger is most suited for drains with flat surfaces, such as kitchen sinks or showers.

When plunged, the correct plunger forms a solid seal around the drain, enhancing suction power. Continuous plunging in 30-second intervals should help dislodge the clog and clean the drain. It’s also a great arm workout!

Unclog a Drain With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Your plunger may want some assistance from time to time. Pouring drain cleaner onto the clog can release tightly matted hair and filth.

Popular liquid and foam drain cleaners use harsh chemicals to liquefy the material obstructing the drain, allowing the clog to be removed. Our friends at Maid for Muddy Paws, who offer cleaning service in Magnolia, highly recommend baking soda and vinegar. 

When vinegar and baking soda are together, they react to form foam. The chemical reaction created by the vinegar and soda will unclog the drain. After that, flushing the drain with boiling water will aid in the removal of the clog.

Here’s how to manufacture your own environmentally friendly drain cleaner:

  • One cup of baking soda needs to be poured down the drain.
  • One cup of vinegar poured down the drain.
  • Once the reaction has subsided, pour a gallon of hot water down the drain.

How to Use a Hand-Operated Drain Snake to Unclog a Drain

Deep clogs that are beyond the reach of a wire hanger may necessitate the use of a handheld snake tool.

Hand-operated snakes are smaller versions of the tools used by professional plumbers and can be purchased for between $10 and $30 at your local hardware shop. A drain snake is a long steel wire with a wire hook on the end that can bend around curved pipes. Spin the snake around and pull out all the gunk in your drain. 

Contact McQuillan Bros

Now that you know how to unclog a drain, you hit the floor running! If you’re still having trouble unclogging your drain, please don’t hesitate to contact McQuillan Bros for our drain clearing services. Our plumbers are happy to help. We provide 24/7 emergency plumbing in the Twin Cities area and beyond! 


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Biggest Plumbing Myths

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4 Biggest Plumbing Myths

Whether a building is commercial or residential, the health of your plumbing is crucial to the overall health of the building and its occupants. However, for those who aren’t professional plumbers, most plumbing issues might as well be rocket science. 



The last thing you want as a business or homeowner is leaking or damaged pipes. The subsequent water damage and mold can result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, trigger allergic reactions, and cause long term respiratory health problems. The best way to avoid this nightmare is to contact an emergency plumber in Stillwater before the problem gets worse.

Ultimately, you can’t pinpoint plumbing issues accurately if you aren’t aware of the right information. With most of the plumbing hidden away from sight, myths and misconceptions about how it really works are bound to arise. These false beliefs about plumbing could create catastrophic issues and cost you thousands of dollars in damage.  Below, we explore some of the biggest plumbing myths to date.

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Plumbing Myth: A Leaking Faucet is No Big Deal.

There’s no way it can be, right? Wrong. Though it may seem like a few drops of water dripping throughout the day is harmless, it does much more damage than you may think. Not only can it hike up your water bill, but it also leads to more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The excess moisture isn’t good for your home, either. It can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause allergic reactions and affect respiratory health in general.

Additionally, the extra moisture damages and corrodes the faucet’s features, ultimately reducing its lifespan. A leaking faucet may be indicative of a larger underlying issue, such as defective gaskets, corrosion, or mineral deposits in the internal parts, which may require professional help. Don’t ignore a leaking faucet. Call your trusted Stillwater plumbing company to have it fixed as soon as possible.

Plumbing Myth: Low Water Pressure is Something You Put Up With Occasionally

There’s nothing like turning on the shower and having the water jump at you. Sometimes the water pressure is too low, though, and many of us don’t really question it. In some instances, this can originate at the municipal water supply. Tureks Plumbing, a Fox Valley plumbing company, says that this can also be caused by turning on too many plumbing fixtures at the same time, faulty fixtures, a broken pressure regulator, or closed valves.

However, it is usually a sign that something isn’t right deep within the plumbing. Low water pressure can be a sign of clogged, corroded, or leaking pipes, and ignoring the issue could result in substantial structural damage due to water damage. Instead of putting up with low water pressure, contact McQuillan Bros ASAP. You may be saving yourself a lot of hassle and money down the line.

Plumbing Myth: There’s Nothing Bad About Hard Water

While hard water can be good for your health by providing essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, the same can’t be said for your plumbing’s health. Hard water, ‘hard’ because it is mineral-rich, can be quite rough on the plumbing. The calcium in the water leaves deposits throughout the plumbing system. If you notice a white or yellow build up on fixtures like sinks, faucets, and showerheads, you may have hard water.

The deposits build up quickly soon after being washed off, and they make fixtures look dirty and unattractive. Since most of the plumbing is hidden away and inaccessible, the calcium deposits will accumulate in the interior of the pipes over time. This ends up lining the pipes and making them narrower. While the calcium deposits are unlikely to completely block off the pipes, they will reduce water pressure and increase the chances of a clog developing. Additionally, the mineral deposits can corrode the water heater tank and ultimately cause the water heater to fail. 

You can confirm whether you have hard water by inspecting your showerhead for white or yellow flaky buildup. If you have trouble creating a lather while showering or washing, you may have hard water. Residential plumbing professionals recommend that you invest in a water softening unit. This will keep your appliances from being damaged and extend their lifetime.

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Plumbing Myth: Small Water Stains Aren’t So Bad

Water stains, whether large or small, should be a cause for worry. Water stains are indicative of a leaking or damaged pipe and are usually a precursor to water damage. Don’t ignore a small water stain on the drywall, ceiling, or floor. You may end up looking at mold, rot, severe structural damage. This could cost thousands of dollars in repairs. On top of that, a history of water damage and mold will drive the value of the building down, making it impossible to recoup the funds spent fixing and renovating the building. 

If you spot water stains, especially on the ceiling, walls, or floors, contact an emergency plumber in Stillwater, MN, ASAP. Fixing or replacing any leaking pipes will protect the building’s structural integrity. Ultimately, this will prevent you from spending thousands of dollars in repairs down the line.

As we’ve said before, plumbing is essential to a building’s health. So, knowing the truth about these plumbing myths will allow you to stay on top of your plumbing problems. Noticed leaky faucets or small water stains on your premises? Contact residential plumbing and commercial plumbing at McQuillan Bros for a plumbing inspection today. Our team is available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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Leaking Pipes: Problems, Causes, & Solutions

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Leaking Pipes: Problems, Causes, & Solutions

As a business or homeowner in St. Paul, the last thing you need is leaky pipes. The plumbing serves as a building’s circulatory system, bringing in clean water and taking away waste material. However, the very nature of their work puts plumbing under a lot of strain, and this constant wear and tear can lead to leaky pipes.

When you have a leaky pipe, water seeps into the walls and foundations, degrading and weakening fixtures critical to a building’s structural integrity. Most importantly, leaky pipes will eventually create a damp and moldy environment that can lead to several health issues. If you notice a leaky pipe in your home or business, contact McQuillan Bros for emergency plumbing services. Our company has specialized in commercial plumbing and residential plumbing for over 135 years. That’s why we’re Minnesota’s most trusted plumbing company.

Ultimately, prevention is key to avoiding plumbing nightmares. When a small plumbing problem arises, fix it immediately. The plumbers at McQuillan Bros recommend staying on top of your plumbing repairs to save you time and money. And to do that, you’ll have to know some of the most common causes of leaking pipes. This way, you can watch out for some of the signs of unhealthy plumbing and alert an emergency plumber in Minneapolis.

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Causes of Leaking Pipes

Leaky faucets and pipes should be addressed right away as they may be a symptom of a larger underlying issue such as:

Pipe Corrosion

Over time, pipes will undergo corrosion or deterioration, especially if they’re made out of a certain material. Piping made from copper and iron is more likely to corrode as the metal reacts with the water. While modern pipes are made from PVC, which is more corrosion-resistant, older pipes were usually made from metal and cannot withstand corrosion. Metallic corrosion can lead to discolored water with an unpleasant smell and odor and eventually result in clogged and leaky pipes.

Tree Roots

Roots may just be your plumbing’s biggest enemy, especially the pipes that transport waste material. Our friends at Gilmore Heating and Air, a heating and plumbing company in Sacramento, says that tiny cracks or loose joints in the piping will allow water vapor to escape into the soil, and as the tree roots search for moisture, they can force their way through the cracks and invade the pipe. If your building still has clay sewer pipes, you should be extremely wary of tree roots invasion. If this happens, you may first notice gurgling and a slow-flowing drain. Additionally, an underground pipe compromised by roots may result in extra green or lush patches of greenery, foul smells, and sinkholes. 

High Water Pressure.

Who doesn’t love super high water pressure? While it may feel great when you’re taking a shower, it gives your pipes quite the beating. As the water flies through your pipes, the high speed, and pressure exert put the pipes under immense strain. This can lead to pinhole leaks, which weaken the pipes’ structural integrity and increases their risk of bursting. Banging noises in the pipes, leaking faucets, running toilets, and quickly running out of hot water may be signs that the water pressure in your system is too high.

Extreme Temperature Changes

Extreme drops in temperature cause the water in pipes to freeze and expand, which increases the pressure pipes are under. If the pipes are put under enough pressure, they can crack or even burst.

What Happens if Leaky Pipes are Not Fixed?

Like most plumbing issues, leaky pipes require prompt attention from an emergency plumber in Minneapolis. Not only does a leaking pipe waste tons of water at your expense, but it will also affect the building’s structural integrity and the health of its occupants. A continuously leaking pipe inevitably leads to water damage and mold. While addressing mild cases of mold is quite straightforward, it becomes more difficult when there are mold spores in the air: it may trigger allergic reactions in some people, respiratory infections in others, and lead to negative long term health effects.

Water damage can result from even a tiny little leak as long as it isn’t addressed and fixed early enough. Depending on the leak’s size and how long it’s been going on, you may be looking at thousands of dollars’ worth of damage due to damaged wiring, gas lines. You’ll also have to worry about structural damage on top of that. Drywall, ceilings, and wooden floors may be warped from absorbing water leaking from a pipe, and eventually, deteriorate. Additionally, a history of water damage and even mold will ultimately drive the value of your property down.

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The Solution to Leaking Pipes

If your faucets produce discolored or smelly water, there is a sudden reduction in water pressure, or you notice stained or warped walls, you may have a leaking pipe. The best thing you could do is to contact an emergency plumber in Minneapolis. Leaking pipes are often indicative of a deeper issue, and only a professional will accurately fix the problem.
Do you suspect you have leaking pipes? Have questions concerning plumbing and heating in St. Paul, MN? Contact McQuillan Bros today for a free estimate.

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Common Plumbing Problems

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Common Plumbing Problems in St. Paul

Plumbing problems are a property owner’s worse nightmare. Things are bound to break eventually, which is why so many homeowners in St. Paul turn to McQuillan Bros for their emergency plumbing services. Our plumbing team is here to resolve any plumbing issues day or night. Here are some of the plumbing emergencies that our emergency plumbers in Minneapolis address on a routine basis.

An Overflowing Toilet

This is one of the worst plumbing mishaps that any homeowner can ever face because of the unhygienic mess, the water damage, and the inconvenience of being unable to use the toilet when you need to.
24/7 Emergency plumbers in St. Paul, MN, recommend that you quickly locate and shut off the inflowing water at the valve located at the back of the toilet. Thereafter, contact McQuillan Bros immediately so that this problem can be resolved quickly.
As you wait for our help, use towels to soak up the water that had overflown. This will protect your flooring from sustaining water damage.

Your Wedding Ring Drops Down the Drain

You’d be surprised to see how many wedding rings end up down the drain. Don’t panic. We understand how important these pieces of jewelry are and will work extra hard to make sure you get back your precious piece of jewelry. 
Until then, Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing, an HVAC and plumbing company in Sacramento, says to avoid pouring any water down the drain. Doing so could send the ring tumbling down the drainpipe, and it will be harder to recover if it goes beyond the p-trap.

Burst Sewer or Water Lines

Our emergency plumbers in Minneapolis are often called to respond to this emergency during the colder months of the year. Sewer and water pipes can freeze over and burst during winter due to the extreme pressure exerted upon their walls by the ice inside the pipes.
Don’t try to resolve this plumbing emergency on your own. Instead, find the main shutoff valve and cut the water supply to the home until one of our emergency plumbers at McQuillan Bros gets to you after receiving an emergency call from you.

Blocked Sewer Lines

A sewer line in your Saint Paul, MN home, may be blocked if you notice that several drains aren’t working properly. Blocked vents can also result in system-wide drainage problems. If you notice gurgling in drains, or water pools around floor drains, contact McQuillan Bros immediately.
You may have a blocked sewer line on your property, and sewage could soon backup inside your home. One of our emergency plumbers will quickly restore normalcy to your Twin Peaks home before things get out of hand.

Water Heater Malfunctions

Imagine stepping into the shower on a cold winter afternoon, and after soaping up with your favorite body wash, you turn the shower handle only to receive a jet of ice-cold water.
This scenario often plays out when something has gone amiss with your water heater, and this qualifies as a plumbing emergency because hot water is an absolute necessity during winter. A plumber from McQuillan Bros will rush to your residence to do a full inspection. Sometimes, the problem may be with the municipal utility company, so it is important that you contact a professional. If the problem is traced outside your property, then the utility company may take charge of fixing it.
When you’re experiencing a plumbing crisis, you call McQuillan Bros. We have seen just about every plumbing problem there is. We’ve served generations of customers over the course of our century-old legacy. Homeowners and property managers trust us as their go-to plumbing company in Minneapolis. If you have any questions about common plumbing problems or are experiencing a plumbing emergency, contact us today.