Most people don’t think about what’s happening “down the drain” until there’s a problem. Routine drain maintenance isn’t likely on the agenda. But it should be. Keeping water flowing smoothly is vital. You want to catch little problems before they become big ones, right?
Simple day-to-day activities help prevent problems. Nationally, clogged and slow-running drains are the No. 1 problem homeowners report to plumbers. Clearing clogs can be difficult. Preventing them is a lot easier.
Focus On Kitchen Drain Maintenance
The kitchen sink earns special treatment. All kinds of debris goes down the drain into the garbage disposal system. Down there bacteria finds a home. Another top complaint is: “The garbage disposal stinks!” Blame the bacteria.
More goes down the kitchen sink drains than anywhere else in the house. Two-sided sinks are the most common installation – one side for cleanup and one side for the disposal. The disposal is the source of almost all kitchen sink clogs.
The first step in reducing kitchen drain problems is be aware of what goes into the disposal and how it works. When you use it:
- Always have a good flow of cold water into the disposer before adding food
- Never put in things like banana peels, potato skins, celery and similar materials that form a clogging mass
- Large fruit pits and animal bones should not go down your drain.
- Never put grease or oil down the disposal drain
- Always let cold water run at least 15 seconds after the disposal process is done to make sure everything is thoroughly flushed down the main line
In addition there extra steps you can take to make the system flow more smoothly:
- After every use wipe down the inside of the sink to loosen any lingering food particles so they are rinsed away
- Fill the disposal-side sink with hot water and liquid dish soap, clean it and rinse
- Pouring a large pot of boiling-hot water down the drain helps kill bacteria
- Add baking soda and rinse it down with 1 or 2 cups of heated distilled white vinegar – let it fizz for about 5 minutes to loosen debris, then rinse with cold water
- A leftover orange, grapefruit, lemon or lime rind in the disposal reduces odors
Don’t Overlook Bathroom Drains
The most “gunk” goes down the drain in your kitchen, but bathroom drains get their share of clogs. The No. 1 threat to bathrooms drains is hair. Masses of hair clog sink and shower drains regularly. To prevent clogs in bathroom sinks, tubs and showers consider:
- Make sure you have drain screens over the top of the drain to keep hair from getting deep into the pipes
- Don’t use a lot of bath oils, shower gels, etc. – they mix with hair in the drain to solidify into a clogging mass
- Inspect and clean the drain covers regularly
- Be aware the common every-day items like toothpaste and shaving cream naturally cling to hair in your pipes
Most of the sink and drain cleaning tips applied to the kitchen work well in the bathroom, too. Keeping sinks clean and drains well-flushed is easy. Pay attention to tub and shower drains because it’s here that potential clogging hair often sits. Chances are you’re using the sink several times each day. But, the shower may only be used once a day and the tub even less.
When you maintain free-flowing drains you’re heading off problems. It’s easier to keep sinks clean than it is to remove a clog, right?
Hidden Danger Of Clogged Drains
There’s never a “good time” for a sink to clog. But it seems when they do it’s always at the worst possible moment, right? When a sink, shower or tub clogs it is more than a nuisance. It means there’s potential damage to pipes and your home’s water system. A dirty sink is unsightly. A clogged drain is dangerous.
Blocked drains represent threats to you, your family and your house. Concerns include:
- Possible health issues – blocked drains house all kinds of microbes and it takes them no time at all to multiply. Bacteria grows along with mold and mildew. These ugly elements can trigger allergies and asthma.
- Pipe damage – especially important in older homes, clogs put added pressure on weak pipes and connections. Left undetected they cause leaks.
Drain Maintenance Extends the Life of Plumbing
Routine maintenance for your household drains is easy to do. And it’s even easier to forget. There was a popular advertising slogan a few years ago that said: “Pay me now, or pay me later.” Meaning to have your system checked and maintained by a professional now. So you prevent serious problems and have to pay the professional to fix it later. Maintenance saves money, time and aggravation. Routine inspections and cleaning for every drain in the house guards against the frustration and distress.
Our licensed, certified plumbers await your call to schedule an inspection – we, too, prefer heading off a backed up drain. Don’t wait until water and debris backs up in your drain. Contact Sauk Plains Plumbing – Call 608-798-2121. We’ll set up an annual plan for drain maintenance in your Cross Plains WI, Verona, Waunakee or Middleton WI home.