If you live in a residence with plumbing, you’ll almost certainly have to deal with a clogged drain at some point in time. In fact, clogged drains are the number one home plumbing problem. That means you need to know about both sides of clogs: preventing them and dealing with them. Here’s a rundown on both:
How to Avoid Clogged Drains
You can prevent most serious clogs (and a number of other plumbing repairs) by being careful about what goes down your drains. If you remember only one thing about home plumbing, it should be this: Your drains are not garbage cans. In the kitchen, use a screen to prevent food scraps from going down the sink, and never pour oil or grease down the drain. In fact, grease shouldn’t even go down a garbage disposal, because it solidifies as it cools and sticks to the walls of your pipes.
In the bathroom, cover drains with screens to prevent hair clogs — especially if you or anyone else in your household has long hair. And when it comes to your toilet, flush only toilet paper and waste. That means no personal hygiene wipes, no paper towels, and no goldfish.
If You Do Get a Clogged Drain
If you do get a clog in your plumbing system, you can try plunging or a gentle snaking to clear it. But it’s important you not rely on the chemical drain cleaners you can buy in the store, as these can cause permanent damage to your pipes and leave you with a bill for more extensive plumbing repairs. That means it’s more affordable, in the long run, to hire a professional plumber for removing difficult clogs.
It’s a good opportunity to get a small tune-up on your plumbing system anyway, fixing any little drips or leaks you’ve been ignoring. Those types of things may seem small, but a leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons of water in a single day; in fact, doing easy plumbing repairs like fixing leaks can shave about 10% off your monthly water bill. It’s good for the environment, too.
Do you have any other questions or caveats about drain clogs? Join the discussion in the comments.