You have probably heard the expression, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This philosophy applies quite well to drain clogs. While there are several methods that homeowners can try to remove clogs, you will find yourself dealing with this problem much less frequently if you treat your drains with care. Here are four tips for preventing drain clogs in your home.
Use your Garbage Disposal Carefully
Just because your sink has a garbage disposal doesn't mean that you can put any and all food waste into it. You have to choose what you put into the garbage disposal carefully to avoid damage to the disposal, drain clogging, and even damage to your septic tank. Examples of safe foods to put down a garbage disposal include egg shells, citrus rinds, and vegetables that aren't stringy.
Because grease is a liquid while it's hot, you may think that it's safe to put it down your drain. However, the problem arises when the oils and fats solidify as the grease cools, leading to a stubborn clog that your garbage disposal can't break up. Rice, pasta, and bread are also problem foods for sink clogging because they get sticky and expand when they get wet.
If you have accidentally put food waste down your drain that the garbage disposal can't handle, the best thing to do is to run hot water into the sink immediately afterward. Allow the water to run for five to ten minutes to reduce the chances that the food will stick and form a serious clog.
Flush Your Drains Regularly
Drain clogs usually don't occur overnight, and daily maintenance isn't required to prevent them. If you establish a monthly routine of flushing your drains, you can prevent clogs that develop from long-term buildup of food particles in your home's plumbing.
Pouring a pot of boiling water down your pipes is one way to flush them, but there are other ingredients you can use that can make the process even more effective. One method is to pour a half-cup each of baking soda and vinegar into your drains, wait for 10 minutes, and then pour the pot of boiling water. The fizzing action that occurs as the baking soda and vinegar react will scrub even the most stubborn foods off the insides of a drain pipe.
Install Drain Screens or Grates
While food waste is the common culprit behind drain clogs in the kitchen, non-food residues and debris such as hair and soap scum are usually the cause of drain clogs in the bathroom. The best way to keep these clog-causers out of your bathtub or shower drain is to use a mesh screen or metal grate on the drain.
If your bathroom drains don't already have screens or grates, you can find them at a local plumbing supply store. Take a picture of each drain you want to add a screen or grate to so you can find one that is compatible with each drain. After installing the screen or grate, be sure to pull it up and clean it regularly so it can continue to be effective at stopping clogs.
Hire a Plumber to Inspect Your Drains
No matter how careful you are to prevent drain clogs, clogs can sometimes develop that the homeowner can do nothing to prevent. Hiring a professional to inspect your home's plumbing at least once a year is the best way to identify hidden problems and resolve them before they cause serious clogs that can damage your plumbing system.
If you do these simple maintenance steps, you can greatly reduce how often drain clogs occur in your home. For more information, contact a plumbing company like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating.