One of the most common plumbing problems for homeowners are clogged drains and the most common reason for clogged drains is neglect. In the kitchen, drain problems often come from failing to use the drain strainer to prevent food from falling into the pipes, or from grease that accumulates in the drainpipes. In the bathroom, using excessive toilet paper, flushing inappropriate items (like paper towels or tampons) down the toilet, will often result in blockage. In the bathroom sinks and bathtubs, hair, hair gel, toothpaste, dental floss and other items can cause drain problems as well.
Prevention is the key to stopping these clogs before they happen. Below are some tips to help you be more proactive in preventing clogs:
- Do not pour grease down the drain. Pour it instead into cans and throw them away in the trash.
- When using a garbage disposal, run plenty of cold water to flush food particles that stick to the sides of the pipe.
- Don’t empty coffee grounds into the sink.
- Never dump any chemicals down the drain, such as paint or paint thinner.
- Don’t comb or brush your hair in the shower or bath.
- Avoid styling hair over the sink.
- Use strainers in all bathroom drains to intercept hair before it enters the drain.
- Clean sink stoppers regularly.
- Make it a practice each month to empty one half cup of baking soda down each drain, followed by one half cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain and let it stand for a few minutes; then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain. (This mixture dissolves fatty acids, which start to collect and gives your drain a fresh, clean smell).
- Do not pour boiling water into your toilet or bidet. This can cause the fixture to crack and/or break.
- Keep sewer pipes free of tree roots. If you have roots in your drain line it is best to hire a professional.
Whatever the cause, once the drain once the drain is thoroughly blocked, call a plumber for a professional drain cleaning. At this point the expense of clearing your drain will be less than if you let the problem go and it causes further problems or damage.