As far as routine residential plumbing problems go, clogged drains are among the most common. In most cases, they’re little more than an annoyance. However, if they’re chronic or left unaddressed, even a simple clogged drain can turn into a costly plumbing problem. Over time, standing water in your plumbing caused by a clogged drain can damage your pipes, leading to leaks and flooding. The worst part about that, however, is that clogged drains are easy to prevent. Here are nine ways to prevent clogged drains in your Tucson home or business.
1. Avoid Putting Foods and Coffee Grounds Down the Drain
Believe it or not, one of the most common causes of clogged drains is when you put things like food and coffee grounds down your drains. Even small bits of food are problematic, despite their benign appearance. Coffee, in particular, is a nightmare for your drains. When it absorbs water, it expands a bit and forms clumps. That makes the odds of coffee grounds forming a clog quite high.
Bits of food, on the other hand, lead to clogs because of their propensity for settling in drain traps and catching on fittings. Then the trapped food acts like a magnet, catching more and more detritus until your drain gets clogged. Once this happens, you might struggle to break up the clog using at-home drain cleaning products, making a call to a plumber all but inevitable.
2. Deploy Drain Strainers
Since most people use the sinks in their homes for all kinds of messy tasks, it’s often impossible to prevent clog-causing materials from getting into their drains. That’s why it’s a good idea to use drain strainers. They’re small mesh drain protectors that screen out foreign material before it can go down the drain. They’re simple, cheap, and effective at reducing the odds of developing clogs in your home.
3. Clean Your Stoppers Now and Then
Even though it’s not a task most people look forward to, keeping your home’s drain stoppers clean is a great way to prevent drain clogs. Drain stoppers often accumulate hair and other clog-causing gunk that will find its way into your drain if you don’t remove it. If you haven’t cleaned your drain stopper for a while, you might need to start by soaking your stopper in a mixture of vinegar and water to loosen any buildup. Then you can scrub the stoppers with an old toothbrush until they’re clean. After that, try to stick to a once-per-month cleaning schedule so your stoppers won’t contribute to any future drain clogs.
4. Install a Shower Hair Catcher
In most homes, tub and shower drains are prime candidates for developing clogs. That’s because the average human loses between 50 and 100 hairs per day, many of them as they wash their hair. Those hairs can slip down your shower drain and eventually end up clogging it. Fortunately, there’s an inexpensive way to prevent that. All you have to do is install a shower hair catcher. They’re simple devices, typically made of silicone, plastic, or metal, that sit atop your shower drain and catch hair before it goes down the drain. That allows you to remove the hair after each shower to prevent a clog from forming.
5. Brush Your Hair Thoroughly Before You Shower
In the same vein, you should also make it a habit to brush your hair before you shower or otherwise wash your hair. That will minimize how much hair goes down your drain. It will also make cleanup much easier if you have installed a hair catcher in keeping with our last tip. If you’re diligent enough at doing this, you may even be able to avoid the need for hair catchers altogether!
6. Be Careful What You Flush
Although it’s not always obvious, there are a variety of toiletries that shouldn’t go anywhere near a toilet. A perfect example is the majority of wet wipes and other similar products that seem made for flushing. Many — if not most — of those products aren’t safe to flush and may clog your toilet. This is even true for products that claim they’re flushable. Depending on your home’s plumbing, it may not be safe to use such products, even if they indicate they’re safe to flush. The same thing goes for tampons and sanitary napkins, both of which cause toilets to clog.
7. Use Your Garbage Disposal Judiciously
In the interest of full disclosure, we’d like to mention that garbage disposals should have a different name. That’s because they’re not meant for garbage at all but rather for disposing of food waste. And even though most people know not to put garbage into their disposals, not everyone knows that some kinds of food waste shouldn’t go in them, either.
For example, things like pasta, rice, and bread shouldn’t go into a garbage disposal. Like coffee grounds, those things swell up when wet and can clog your drain even after passing through the disposal. The same goes for potato and banana peels, which can slip through the disposal and end up lodged in your drain. The truth is that there are so many things that you shouldn’t put into a garbage disposal that we could fill a whole other article with them!
8. Flush Your Drains Periodically
Sometimes, regular maintenance is the best way to prevent your drains from clogging. The good news is that maintaining your home’s drains is quite easy. All you have to do is fill up a bucket with hot water and slowly pour some down each drain in your home. This will dislodge or dissolve most of the kinds of buildup that cause clogs. If you do this once every few months, it should do a good job of preventing most drain clogs. Just be careful never to use boiling water for this task since it may harm some of your fixtures and plumbing.
9. Know When to Call in a Professional Plumber
The last way to prevent drain clogs in your home is to recognize when you need help. For example, if you notice that multiple drains in your home tend to clog simultaneously, there’s a good chance the problem isn’t located near the drains themselves. To solve the problem, you’ll need a professional plumber like the ones here at Cal’s Plumbing. Our plumbers have the tools, knowledge, and experience to locate the source of your problem and solve it. They’ll do a much more thorough job than you could do on your own. That means fewer future clogs and less risk to your home’s plumbing system. So, the next time you’re in over your head with a clogged drain, don’t take chances and call for some professional backup.
Your Go-To Plumbing Company
With some luck, following the advice above should help you to avoid most things that could clog the drains in your home. However, Cal’s Plumbing stands ready to help you when you need us. We offer comprehensive plumbing services that go well beyond clearing up clogged drains. We handle water heaters, water treatment systems, and gas lines, too! So, when you need plumbing help in the Tucson area, we’re the only name you’ll ever need to know.
For drain cleaning and all other plumbing services, call the professionals at Cal’s Plumbing today!