We touched on this briefly back in November, but we wanted to focus on drains and less on sewers this time around.
You will probably have to call for service for various aspects of your home or car during your lifetime. However, you can make these visits rarer by doing some preventative work on your own. Changing the oil in your car, even if you have someone else do it, will make your car last vastly much longer than if you fail to do so.
So it is with your humble household drains. A little care goes a long way in time, labor, and money.
- The sewer
If your sewer line seems to clog every year or two, you might as well bite the proverbial bullet by getting a diagnosis on the line and paying to have it fixed. You’ll save money and a headache in the long game by clearing out the tree roots, fixing the cracked pipe, or whatever the cause of the clog may be.
- Lint catcher
Every time you wash clothes bits and pieces of fabric come off and end up in the drain. These particles can add up to a clog. To prevent this a mesh trap purchased from a hardware store or even an old nylon stocking can keep the lint from accumulating in your drain.
- Drain cleaner
Fight the marketing! Don’t pour acid cleaners down your drains. Instead, if you’re going for preventative maintenance, use a granular bacterial cleaner. It’s safe for all kinds of pipes and traps and you can use it in a septic system, too. You want to break up beginning clogs, not corrode your pipes.
- Ban the FOG
Perhaps your mother told you never to pour fat, oil, or grease (FOG) down the kitchen sink drain–or perhaps not. To those mothers who did, they were right. Sure, it may be hot and liquid going down the drain now, but soon it will cool and congeal, creating a nifty block somewhere in your line waiting to grab more debris. Someday that little blob could grow to stop everything you send at it.
- Cement? Really?
If you’ve got a DIYer in the house, he or she may have been tempted to dump the leftover cement, grout, joint compounds, or whatever other sealing substance in your sink. Get them to stop–NOW! Just like FOG, that stuff can accumulate, grabbing other particles, eventually prompting a call to a plumber. Save yourself some cash, don’t dump it in the sink.
- Ewww! Hair!
Sometimes you just have to clean out the shower drain. You can make it slightly less icky by installing a screen for the tub/shower drain. It’s your call.
- Not everything goes in the garbage disposal
Instead of squandering all the goodness that is food waste, you could easily compost and make some free fertilizer for your garden or give it away to a gardener. The point is garbage disposals are meant to grind up smaller pieces of food waste. Dumping your leftovers down the drain is only asking for a clog sooner or later.
Do the right thing (if possible) and compost your plant waste.
- This one is embarrassing…and the plumber knows when you’re lying.
We’ve seen it in public restrooms…people using the toilet as a wastebasket. Sure, bodily waste belongs IN the toilet, and the associated paper, but nothing else. Plumbers will tell you that some people practice that behavior with their home toilet. If you want to avoid paying a plumber for something easily avoided, don’t put anything that should go in a wastebasket into your toilet.
There will be times that you simply have to call a plumber to help you with a problem that is beyond your skill or time available. But you can skip calling one as often if you follow these few tips to keep your plumbing systems relatively clog free.