Clogged drains happen to the best of us at the worst times, and can often lead to bigger problems if left alone for extended periods. While we sometimes have the “out of sight, out of mind” attitude, that mindset doesn’t work when dealing with plumbing issues. The more junk and grease that goes down the drain, the quicker it can become completely clogged, and the next thing you know, a plumber is needed. The following are some tips to help prevent most drain clogs and keep your plumbing running smoothly:
Don't Wait for a Mainline Blockage
If you have a blocked mainline every year or so, don’t just keep getting it cleaned. Call a plumber and have them 'scope' the line to see what's causing the problem. This usually involves running a camera down the line for a visual inspection of the pipes. The mainline blockage could be caused by tree roots growing up into your pipes, a partially collapsed pipe or even rotted out pipe that is allowing soil to fall into the line. Getting to the “root” of the problem rather than paying for recurring sewer cleaning bills can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Don’t pour grease down the drain!
Cooking oils are notorious for creating clogs. Examples are mayonnaise, salad dressing, butter, and grease. Grease is one of the worst things to pour down your drain. It flows smoothly until it cools and stiffens. Other things can get stuck in your drain and soon you’ll have a major clog. Instead of pouring grease down your drain, keep a jar handy to collect grease and throw it away when the jar gets full.
Flush Your Drains
Occasionally, flushing your pipes with a large flow of water helps prevent buildup in your pipes and mainline. Do this by filling a large 5-gallon bucket with water and pour it into your toilet while simultaneously flushing your toilet. Also fill your bathtub and sinks with hot water and release it down the drain to help flush out the mainline.
Prevent Hair from Going Down Your Drain
Hair is a big issue with shower drains, especially if you have long hair. Preventing the hair from going down the drain is as easy as buying a mesh screen created for the purpose of collecting hair. Also, don’t brush your hair around the bathroom sink or clean your brush and flush hair down the drain. Hair and soap combine in drains and can create clogs that may end up requiring a drain snake to remove. But if you use preventative measures before it gets there, you may be able to avoid digging those hairballs out of your drain.
Keep Your Sink Stoppers Clean
The stopper on your sink is a magnet for hair and things like dental floss. A stopper helps prevent unwanted substances from going down the drain. However, if you notice that your bathroom sink is draining slowly, it’s time to remove the stopper and clean it off.
Be Extra Careful
Things like concrete, grout, or joint compound are materials that harden by a chemical reaction. Often this will happen even under water, so if one of these substances settles in your drains, it can create a rock-solid clog. Another big clogger is sand. It is heavy and settles quickly into pipes and can cause clogs that are very difficult to remove. Instead of rinsing these compounds down your drains, rinse them out in a container and let the hardening materials settle. Then dump the water in a far unused part of your yard and the remaining sludge into the trash can.
Collect Your Food Waste
While the garbage disposal is so convenient for grinding up food and sending it down the drain, there are so many things that should never be put down your drain or in your garbage disposal. Things like pasta, beans and rice tend to swell up as they get wet and form a paste-like substance that will eventually clog your pipes or disposal trap. Celery, lettuce, carrots, onion skins, banana peels, corn husks, and other fibrous foods tangle around disposal blades and stop the motor. Instead, consider collecting your organic waste in a containers and composting it. If you are going to use the garbage disposal, remember to run cold water before and after you use your disposal to help flush any waste through your main line.
Don't Use the Toilet as a Wastebasket
Your toilet is not a trash can. This is another thing we have an “out of sight, out of mind” policy with. When you flush something down the big drain hole it feels like you never have to worry about it again. However just because things like dental floss, hair, paper towels, or personal wipes go down the drain, that doesn’t mean that they make it to the main sewer. They could catch on something in your pipes and start a clog. In fact several personal care products are not really made to decompose easily and this adds a burden to the water treatment facility that has to filter out these materials.
If you’re having any plumbing issues, A#1 Air’s plumbing professionals are here to help. Call us today!