Tips About Plumbing Drains that All Homeowners Should Know
One of the most essential elements of your plumbing system is drains. These "highways" help remove "used water" from your home and transport it to the sewer system, where it will eventually end up at an H2O treatment facility — and the rest is history. However, while drains seem to be self-sustaining and require little-to-no maintenance, there is a chance that a drain in your humble abode has seen better days or may be on the brink of repair.
In a conscious effort to make sure that your home's drains are as healthy as can be, here are some essential things your plumber wants you to know about them.
How Do Drains Clog in the First Place?
Before you can learn the art of keeping your drains clean, you must first understand some of the most common reasons behind drain clogs. Let's dive in, shall we?
Do you have hard water present in your home? If you're unsure, there's a chance that you do — and you might not be aware of it. While hard water isn't detrimental to your health, it can be harmful to the well-being of your plumbing fixtures, appliances, and, of course, your drains.
Unfortunately, the reason why hard water wrecks havoc on your drain is because of the minerals found within its composition. When this happens, those minerals can cause build-up and ultimately lead to a clogged drain in your home (as well as those pesky water calcium marks on stainless steel fixtures).
Misusing the Drain
Another common reason why a drain clogs is due to plumbing malpractice. Sadly, some homeowners are eager to use their plumbing drains (i.e., sink, toilet, etcetera) as an extension of their garbage can. And when this happens, you'll be looking at a pretty severe, nasty clog.
Some items that should never be disposed of down the drain, even if you have a garbage disposal, are:
Paper products (i.e., paper towels)
Cotton products (i.e., cotton swabs)
Loose garbage (i.e., produce stickers)
Animal bones (i.e., chicken wings)
Grease/oil (i.e., the byproduct from cooking), and more
What are the Signs of a Drain Clog?
While it may seem rather evident that your drain is clogged, it may be tricky to tell when your "highway" for water is on the verge of clogging; here's what you need to look out for:
Every time you take a shower, bath, or wash your hands in the sink, any "used" water should plummet down the drain immediately once the H2O has been shut off. However, if your drain has seen better days, you may be surprised to see water exiting at a glacial pace — or worse, it won't depart at all.
Now, if the water is exiting your home as it usually would, that's great — but if your drain has a foul stench every time you hover over it, that should raise some concern. Whether it's due to drain misuse or the drain is overdue for a cleaning, that stench (which is typically caused by the build-up of bacteria lingering on the drain pipe's walls) can usually indicate that your drain might clog in the near but distant, future.
What Are Some Ways to Prevent Drain Clogs at Home?
When it comes to keeping your drains worry-free at home, there are a few different ways to make this plumbing dream a reality. Here's what you should consider:
Book a Professional Drain Cleaning
One of the best ways to keep your plumbing drains as clean as possible is to schedule a professional drain cleaning appointment with a professional. Often during this service, a plumber will inspect your drain with a specialized drain camera — that way, they can look for anything out of the ordinary and address the issue before it becomes a problem.
From there, the plumber will use the best solution (i.e., hydro jetting or "jetting") they feel will thoroughly clean and remove pesky, lingering debris off of your drain pipes and wash it away down the line.
Be Mindful of Your Plumbing Habits
As mentioned earlier, it's crucial to make sure that you're not misusing your plumbing drain and disposing of things that shouldn't be tossed down (i.e., cotton swabs). If you're ever unsure about what you can put down the drain, consider taking the safe route and toss it out into a nearby garbage can.
Now, if you've run into a clog and what to take matters into your own hands, please refrain from using a chemical drain cleaner. As it turns out, chemical drain cleaning solutions are quick fixes and cause more harm than good — since they can melt PVC pipes (or old, metal pipes) from continued use.
If you're looking for a quick fix, before calling your trusted plumber to save the day, consider using an enzyme-based drain cleaner — which can help break up the clog in the safest way possible (again, this is just a temporary fix)!