Clogged drains are one of the more common plumber callouts. They can cause serious damage to your plumbing and home if not dealt with quickly. This is why prevention is key.
When a drain becomes clogged, water can back up and overflow from plumbed amenities. This can then cause water damage to your home and possessions. You may need to then replace items and complete extensive repairs to your home, all because you allowed a drain to become clogged.
Similarly, a clogged drain is harmful to your overall plumbing system. It can place increased pressure on other pipes, as well as damaging the clogged pipe. You may then have to repair or replace significant portions of your home’s plumbing. And these repairs will not come cheap.
Clogged drains can also impact your health. The build-up of material inside the pipe can be the perfect place for bacteria to grow. When you are around this drain, you may then be exposed to the bacteria, making you ill. You may notice symptoms like skin irritation or shortness of breath.
Additionally, the bacteria may spread through your plumbing, contaminating your water. You may then be at risk of contracting serious water-borne diseases like legionnaires disease.
So, what can you do to prevent clogged drains in your home?
- Be careful about what you put down the drain
Your pipes are designed to transport water and little else. But many of us are guilty of rinsing away or flushing products that we shouldn’t. Over time, these products can cause blockages in your pipes.
Top culprits include cooking grease, food scraps, coffee grounds and non-flushable toiletries. Make a rule in your house that only water and bodily waste is to go down your drains.
- Use a drain grate
Hair and soap scum can block your bathroom plumbing. Over time, these materials can build up into an impressive plug. But don’t worry, you don’t need to forsake bathing. You just need to add drain grates.
Drain grates can catch hair and soap scum before they go down the pipe. Then, whenever you clean the bathroom, you can remove these would-be clogs from the drain grate so it can continue to work effectively.
- Add a lint catcher to washing machine
Ensure there is a lint catcher on your washing machine. It will stop lint going down the drain and forming a blockage. Regularly cleaning the lint catcher will stop it from becoming overloaded and failing to keep lint from getting into your pipes.
- Compost rather than use garbage disposal
While a sink garbage disposal can be handy when cleaning up after cooking, it’s not the best solution for your pipes or the environment. The garbage disposal empties into the pipes, so even though it may break matter down into small pieces, these pieces still have the ability to clog your pipes.
A better option is to start composting instead. Not only is there no risk of your pipes becoming clogged, but it also helps the environment. Composting ensures that no food goes to waste — even scraps. Additionally, it reduces the methane emissions from food and other organic material breaking down. You can also use the compost to help provide your garden with essential nutrients.
- Don’t plant trees near drainage
Not all clogged pipes are caused by flushing or rinsing something down a drain. Instead, they can be caused by plant roots growing through the pipe. As these roots infiltrate the pipe, that can create a serious blockage that can be very difficult to remove. A plumber may be required to dig up sections of your garden to reach the affected pipe. Therefore, it’s best to avoid the situation altogether. You can achieve this by ensuring no plants, particularly trees, grow near or around any pipes from your house.
- Regularly clean your pipes
Along with closely monitoring what goes down your pipes, you should also be regularly cleaning them. You can do this in a number of ways.
For instance, make a habit of running hot water down your sink after each use. This can help to stop oils and other organic material from building up in your pipes. The hot water loosens the matter’s bond with the pipe so that it can be properly flushed away.
You can also try pouring some baking soda down the drain, followed by hot water. The baking soda can also help to loosen any matter in your pipes. Additionally, it will absorb any bad smells.
For a more thorough clean, you can use a cup of vinegar. Pour it down the drain and leave it for 30 minutes. As vinegar is acidic, it will help to dissolve and soften any organic matter in the pipes. You can then run hot water through the pipes to flush out anything the vinegar has loosened.
Avoid using chemical drain cleaners where possible. The powerful chemicals can corrode your pipes, as well as poison wildlife. Further, exposure to these chemicals can irritate your skin and eyes. They can also be fatal if consumed.
- Get plumbing checked every few years
Have a plumber check your plumbing every few years to ensure that all your preventative measures are working. If there are any issues, like roots growing into pipes or a build-up of matter in a drain, they can then fix it before it becomes a problem.
Preventing clogged drains is easy, you just have to pay attention to what you put through your home’s plumbing. It can also help to regularly clean your pipes to remove any build-up.