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Plumbing Articles from Orange County, CA
How to Prevent Clogged Drains for Good
The average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every day. All that water has to go somewhere and that “somewhere” is down the drains in your house.
When those drains are free of clogs, the water flows smoothly and never backs up into your home. But when you have a clog somewhere in the pipe, you have a major problem.
Luckily, it’s easy to prevent clogged drains whether your plumbing is brand new or several decades old. You just need to do a few simple tasks to get started. Here are a few tried and true ways to keep your drains free and clear year-round.
Never Treat Your Toilet Like a Trash Can
When you’re in the bathroom, it’s tempting to use your toilet as a makeshift trash can. After all, it can handle toilet paper and solid waste without an issue.
But that’s all it’s meant to handle. Flushing anything other than toilet paper can spell disaster for your home’s plumbing.
Think of it this way: toilet paper is thin and breaks down under the intense water pressure as the wastewater flows toward the sewer line. It doesn’t expand when wet.
Cotton balls, old first-aid products, feminine hygiene products, and cotton swabs all collect moisture and expand. When enough of them get flushed down the drain, they can clog the pipes.
At best, you’ll end up with slow-flowing drains. At worst, you’ll have a clogged sewer line that eventually backs up into your home. No homeowner wants to deal with raw sewage coming out of their drains and toilets!
Instead of flushing those items, toss them in the trash.
Collect Grease and Throw Away Cooking Oil
Grease is a natural part of the cooking process. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to sauté food and get that perfect brown color that imparts so much flavor.
Unfortunately, even small bits of grease getting washed down the drain will build up over time. When they do, those grease bits collect food particles, hair, and soap scum, eventually leading to clogs in the pipes.
You can spare yourself the frustration by collecting used cooking grease and oil in a disposable container and throwing it out with the garbage. The less grease that goes down the drains, the better off your home will be.
Take Regular Baths
You use your bathroom every day and you always expect the drain in your bathtub to work properly. But all that use can create buildup inside the pipes.
Soap scum and hair can get trapped beneath the drain plug and inside the pipes. The easiest way to get rid of that buildup is to flush hot water down the lines. Don’t worry—it’s easier than you think.
You just have to let gravity do the work.
Take a long, hot bath without bubbles, oils, or bath bombs, at least one a month or fill the tub with hot water. Once you’re done, open the drain back up and let the water flow out completely.
The weight of the water flowing down the drains can often break up small clogs before they can cause a problem in your pipes.
If you do end up using a bath bomb or bath oils, let the water drain and fill the tub again. This will help flush any residue down the pipes and can help prevent future clogs.
Rinse with Vinegar
People have used vinegar as a natural cleaner for centuries. While it’s ideal for cleaning surfaces, it’s also great for cleaning and deodorizing your drains.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to choose some fancy vinegar to get the job done. All you need is standard white vinegar commonly found in most grocery stores.
For best results, pour one cup of vinegar down the most-used drains in your house anytime you notice them starting to slow down or smell something strange coming up from the drain.
The vinegar is acidic enough to break down small amounts of grime without being so caustic as to damage the pipes.
Use Strainers to Cover the Drains
Clogs won’t happen if you can keep the debris and particles from going down the drain in the first place. The best way to do this is with mesh drain strainers.
These small strainers rest along the lip of the drain and cover the opening completely. The mesh is large enough to allow water to pass through easily but small enough to catch food particles, hair, and other gunk.
Once you notice buildup in the strainer, empty it into the trashcan, wipe away any remaining debris, and put the strainer back.
The strainers come in many different sizes, so you’ll be able to find the right ones for your drains.
Skip the Commercial Drain Cleaners
Commercial drain cleaner may seem convenient, but it’s one of the worst things you can do for your home’s plumbing.
The cleaner will break up debris and particulates inside the pipes. However, it does it with the use of harsh chemicals and cleaning agents.
Not only are these cleaning agents bad for the environment, but they also start to eat away at your pipes and the seals keeping water from leaking through the joints. If the damage is severe enough, you could end up needing to replace the pipes entirely.
Schedule Annual Inspections to Prevent Clogged Drains
The best thing you can do to prevent clogged drains for good is to schedule annual pipe inspections with your plumber. During these inspections, they’ll be able to check your pipes for any damage or clogs starting to form.
If they see any, they’ll be able to clean them out without damaging the pipes or your home.
Worried About Clogged Pipes?
Clogged pipes and slow drains are a major hassle. These tips and tricks should help you prevent clogged drains throughout the year with ease.
Just make sure that you monitor the way your drains work throughout the year. If anything seems off or you think you have a clog, don’t try to fix the problem yourself.
Contact our team to schedule an appointment and let our pros get your pipes running properly.
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