A clogged drain or sewage overflow can be stressful and disruptive. Knowing how to care for your drainage system can help you prevent many situations. If an issue emerges, a plumbing professional can help you address it with advanced tools and expertise, often before it turns into a major problem.
Limit What Goes Down Your Drain
A key step to preventing clogs is keeping problematic items out of your drains. Even products that seem to flush down the toilet or disappear down the sink might stop along the way or combine with other objects. Make sure that members of your household know the best practices. If an item is wedged in your system or can’t be gently retrieved, don’t ignore it or push it downward. It’s best to call a clogged drain plumber to make sure the item doesn’t cause complications in your pipes or main sewer line.
Don’t Treat Your Sink Like a Trash Can
It might be tempting to dispose of many foods in your sink so that you don’t have to take them out in the trash, but certain items can be troublemakers. Collect fatty substances like oil and bacon grease elsewhere since they can turn into a gooey glob in your pipes. Be careful with your disposal as well. Consider composting the more fibrous and less soluble foods to avoid buildup. These include celery stalks, fruit pits and rinds, cat litter, potato peels, meat, bones and coffee grounds. Some premium disposals can tackle tougher tasks, but read your manual and don’t dispose of too many scraps at the same time.
Don’t Flush Your Budget
Most toilets can be troublesome over time if you flush materials besides human waste and biodegradable paper. Among the common culprits are cardboard, wrappers, not-so-flushable wipes, feminine items, cat litter and toys of all kinds. Make sure your bathroom has a wastebasket where people can discard items that aren’t meant for the toilet. If you have toddlers, consider lid locks and easy-to-understand signs on nearby walls to help educate them.
If you see items like hair or toothpaste starting to build up in the drain, gently remove them. Install traps to capture hair and other small items before they get into the drain. You can find various recipes for a do-it-yourself bubbly solution of hot water, vinegar and soda to help keep your drain clear. A common recipe involves a gallon of hot water, followed by a half cup of baking soda, and then a cup of hot water mixed with a cup of vinegar.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
If you see that drains are slowing down, smell persistent odors or hear gurgling sounds, it’s time to call a professional. Your pipes might need to be inspected and cleaned. A professional can help isolate the source based on a number of factors, such as how various components are laid out and interact. They can use video if needed to find out more details below the surface.
Get the Full Picture
If an issue isn’t obvious at surface level, your plumbing professional can use a camera that goes deep into your system. Cameras can also detect precious items, like your grandmother’s heirloom ring. Pipes might be leaking, which can lead to failure if the leakage softens the earth or causes a pipe to move or break. Cameras can also check for tree roots, which can intrude and damage your system.
Sooner is better than later when dealing with drainage issues. Prevent issues when possible by learning more about your system. Seek help if you see signs of an emerging problem so that it doesn’t escalate into something more expensive or disrupt your life. The last thing you need is a plumbing fiasco right before a family visit or a big trip.