If all the sinks, toilets and tubs in your home are draining correctly, a clog is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But unless precautions are taken, many homeowners will experience a blocked drain at some point.
Most drain blockages are caused by debris that has built up in the pipes over time. So the best defense against a stubborn clog is to reduce the amount of problematic substances that are allowed to enter the drain in the first place.
That said, below are five simple precautions you can take to keep drain-clogging debris from making its way into your home’s plumbing system…
1. Place drain screens in all sink, tub and shower drains
One of the easiest ways to reduce the likelihood of a clog is to install drain screens. Also known as hair catchers, these stainless-steel strainers fit into the drain openings of sinks, bathtubs and showers. The small holes of the screen will trap hair and other debris before it can enter the drain pipe and cause a clog. Drain screens are inexpensive and very low maintenance. They just need to be emptied into the garbage periodically to maintain the proper drainage of water.
2. Never pour grease or oil down a drain
Bacon grease, meat drippings, cooking oils, butter, margarine, lard, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and other fatty substances can adhere to the walls of drain pipes. Even if poured down the sink in liquid form, these substances can solidify and lead to a serious clog. Instead of pouring grease or oil down the drain, put it into a jar or other suitable container. Once it has cooled, discard the sealed container in the trash.
3. Be mindful of what you flush down the toilet
The only things that should ever go down the toilet are liquid waste from the human urinary tract, solid waste from the human digestive system, and toilet paper. Any other substance has the potential to clog the drain. For example, facial tissue, paper towels, cosmetic wipes, baby wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, hair, cotton swabs, and bandages are all example of items that do not break down properly when flushed. Hence, any one of these common items could contribute to a clogged drain.
4) Use the garbage disposal wisely
The less food scraps that are put into the garbage disposal, the better the chance of avoiding a drain blockage. After all, a garbage disposal is merely intended to grind small particles of food that might end up in the drain after rinsing or washing the dishes. The trash can is actually a much better place for most food scraps, especially those that are dense or sticky, such as eggshells, coffee grounds, rice, pasta, and the peels of fruits and vegetables. Also, when operating the garbage disposal, always run the cold water to help move food particles through the disposal and down the drain pipe.
5) Keep drain stoppers free of gunk
Drain stoppers, particularly those in bathroom sinks, will often accumulate a mass of hair, toothpaste residue, soap scum, and other crud. Cleaning the stopper periodically will keep this build-up from making its way down the drain where it could contribute to a serious clog. Once or twice a month, take the preventative measure of pulling out the drain stoppers and removing any gunk that may be clung to them.
No homeowner wants to deal with the inconvenience and mess associated with a clogged drain. Fortunately, a little preventative maintenance will go a long way to help keep your drains functioning properly.
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