It can be frustrating as a homeowner to have a drain that drains slowly and is smelly. Thankfully, you can take some simple steps to keep your drains flowing properly.
1. An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
When it comes to what you pour down the kitchen drain, exercise caution. Avoid pouring fats, oils, and grease. They contribute to nearly 50% of clogged drains in the United States.
Steer Clear of Coffee Grounds
Never pour coffee grounds down the drain, as the small particles can accumulate in the pipes, leading to blockages.
Say No to Rice and Pasta
Rice and pasta do not disintegrate in pipes. Instead, they swell up and cause clogs. Dispose of them in the trash or compost bin rather than down the drain.
Tackle Hair Clogs
Hair is a significant culprit for bathroom sink clogs. Use a hair strainer to catch hair before it goes down the drain.
Avoid Tough Items
Putting tough organic matter like corn husks, eggshells, and onion skins down the drain invites trouble. These items can cling to the inside of pipes, leading to major clogs.
2. Use a Screen
Installing a drain screen is the best way to keep solids out of your drain. When you wash your dishes, scrape as much food into the trash bin as possible, rinse them, and put them in the dishwasher. The small drain screen will catch any pieces of food that did not make it into the trash can. A hair screen will do the same thing in your bathroom and prevent soap from combining with hair to clog your drains.
3. Use Hot Water and Dish Soap
Dish soap is designed to break down grease. Periodically running extremely hot water down the drain, followed by grease-dissolving dish soap, can help remove grease and other debris that has accumulated on your drain pipes. Some also try a foaming mixture of equal parts vinegar and baking soda. This provides a more natural way to remove grease and other clog-forming materials from the drain pipe.
4. Salt, Cream of Tartar, and Baking Soda
A popular homemade drain cleaning solution uses two cups of baking soda, around two teaspoons of cream of tartar and half a cup of salt. Combine everything well and add a few cups of hot or boiling water. Pour the mixture down the drain and let it sit for around 60 minutes. The cream of tartar cleans the metal in the drain, while the baking soda and the salt help dissolve the grease and fat there.
Another popular homemade solution is to pour hot water down the drain, then pour ¼ cup of salt, vinegar, and Borax, followed by two cups of hot water. Let the mixture sit for between one hour and 90 minutes. Then, pour hot or boiling water down the drain again.
5. Avoid Store-Bought Drain Cleaners
A variety of drain cleaners available in Knoxville stores promise to quickly remove clogs in your drain. However, these often do more harm than good.
Drain cleaners contain caustic chemicals that can weaken your pipes over time. The chemicals dissolve the clog, but many work by releasing heat, which can be especially harmful to PVC pipes. The worst-case scenario is that store-bought chemicals weaken the pipes and create the potential for a burst pipe.
Another reason to avoid store-bought drain cleaners is their negative impact on the environment and your health. If your home has a septic tank, these chemicals can flow through the drain field into your tank. Eventually, they find their way into the water supply, potentially harming people and wildlife. Additionally, these cleaners can emit dangerous fumes, affecting your family’s health. It’s essential to remember that these fumes don’t just disappear when you pour the cleaner down the drain. They linger in your home even after the cleaner has been used.
Signs Indicating Your Drains Require Servicing
The performance of your drains reflects the overall health of your plumbing system. Prompt attention is crucial if you have a clogged drain. Here are some signs that indicate your drains might need servicing.
If your sink fills up when you brush your teeth or wash your hands, it indicates the presence of hair, soap, grease, or other foreign objects in your drain pipe. Immediate cleaning of your drains is necessary. The blockage may not be deep if the issue is isolated to one sink. However, the blockage might have reached your sewer line if multiple drains were slow.
While most people experience a clogged drain at some point, recurring clogs after being fixed could indicate a more serious blockage. Professional plumbers possess the necessary tools and equipment to address such issues.
The presence of water sitting in your washing machine, sink, or drainage pipe suggests a clog in your pipes. Standing water around a basement floor drain is another sign, and these situations may require immediate attention from your plumber.
A waste-like smell emanating from a pipe or plumbing fixture can be addressed by running water down the drain, especially in unused sinks, to fill the P-trap and prevent sewage gases from backing up. However, if the sink is regularly used or the P-trap method doesn’t work, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.
Pests and Flies
The presence of fruit flies or small rodents could be linked to accumulated food and debris in your pipes. These pests may enter through clogged drain pipes, requiring attention to resolve the underlying plumbing issue.
Importance of Regular Plumbing Maintenance
Regular professional plumbing maintenance plays a crucial role in your plumbing system’s short- and long-term functionality. Neglecting this aspect can result in costly repairs and inconvenient disruptions if issues arise within your plumbing network.
Save Money in the Long Run
While investing in professional plumbing maintenance involves immediate costs, it helps you avoid more expensive repairs by taking preventative measures. This includes identifying and addressing leaks and potential problems before they escalate into more serious issues.
Reduce Health Risks
Clogged drains and other plumbing issues can lead to stagnant water, creating a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Even pipe leaks may introduce impurities that could impact your family’s health over time. Properly maintained plumbing prevents mold growth and other forms of contamination.
Enhance Property Value
Routine plumbing maintenance contributes to increasing the value of your property. It keeps your home in good condition, making it more attractive to potential buyers. Additionally, a well-maintained plumbing system helps keep energy costs down, as it ensures the efficient operation of your HVAC system, which is appealing to prospective buyers.
Extend the Lifespan of Your Plumbing System and Appliances
Regular inspections and maintenance of your plumbing system identify problems early, making them easier and less expensive. This preventive approach helps prevent major damage, ensuring that your home’s plumbing system remains in good condition for years to come. The same principle applies to appliances such as your washing machine or dishwasher connected to your home’s plumbing system. Faulty plumbing can cause these appliances to break down prematurely, leading to additional expenses.
Ensuring Peaceful Pipes and Lives in Knoxville, Tennessee
At Tennessee Standard Plumbing, we are more than just plumbers. We are your partners in delivering peace of mind and comfort within your home. Our locally owned business has deep roots in the community. Things like clear communication and punctuality are our hallmarks. We offer residential and commercial services.
Our services include drain cleaning, leak detection, sewer lines, tankless water heater installation, and commercial plumbing. Contact Tennessee Standard Plumbing today and let us help you get your plumbing problems fixed quickly and precisely.