Clogs seem to be an inevitable problem in all homes, but they don’t have to be with a little prevention. The biggest step is to be cautious about what is flushed down drains. The other preventive action to take is cleaning out the drain pipes and strainers.
Items to Avoid
There are particular items that seem to wreck havoc on drain pipes. The two most common problematic items that clog toilets are paper towels and feminine products. Put garbage next to the toilet to make sure these items don’t get flushed down.
For garbage disposals and kitchen sinks avoid placing pasta, cooking grease, and coffee grounds into the drain. Pasta and coffee grounds expand and can restrict flow if it gets caught. Cooking grease is one of the worst because it solidifies as it cools. This effect can create a slow build up on the walls of the pipes.
For tub and shower drains hair and soap scum are the worst culprits. Both can prevented with a drain strainer that catches items before being washed down. Just make sure to empty the strainer after each use of the shower or tub. Additionally, soap scum can be avoided all together with a water softener. It is not a cheap fix. However, soap scum is only possible with hard water so the problem will be eliminated.
Vinegar is the best chemical for fighting clogs. It is a cheap product that is found is most households already. All you have to do is dump a cup or two down each drain every month. This will help to remove buildup and other debris that could potentially lead to a clog.
If you want to make a more potent mixture, add baking soda and hot water. First, drop baking soda down the drain. Then follow up with vinegar. The two should react in a fizzling action. Finally, flush it down with a gallon of boiling water. The same concoction can be used to fix a drain clog. The only change is many clogs require multiple applications whereas preventive care only needs only one application.
One other area to inspect is the drain vent. This might not be intuitive. Most homeowners do not associate the drain vent with clog problems, but is a completely different type of problem. The vent allows waste to drain without creating a vacuum effect to disrupt flow.
The vent is located on the roof and is susceptible to blockage from time to time. If is draining in a sporadic method with air bubbles bursting through, the vent might be plugged. You will have to climb to the roof or call a plumbing engineering firm to clear the debris. Make sure there is a guard around the vent to prevent these types of problems.