Water is an integral part of our daily lives. Most people in America use 300 gallons of water every day for things like showering and flushing our toilets.
This means that if something goes wrong with your plumbing and pipes, you'll find you have a lot of water with nowhere to go. Clogged drains could result in serious damage to your home and the rest of your property, especially if you are not performing regular drain cleaning maintenance.
It's extremely important that you know how to stay on top of your drainage system and ensure that it doesn't get clogged. Small, everyday steps could stop you from experiencing much bigger draining problems in the future!
Want to know what you can do to stop yourself from getting clogged drains? Then you're in the right place.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the importance of keeping your drains clear and what you can do to ensure this happens.
Why Are Clogged Drains Dangerous?
Your drains are part of a big network that draws used water away from your home. This network usually involves a series of pipes that connect throughout your building. These join up to a bigger disposal pipe away from your property.
You'll find these pipes throughout your home. If your property also has a lot of land, you may find that you have a drainage system to stop this from getting waterlogged as well.
A clog in these pipes can happen quite easily and is a common problem in lots of households. To begin with, it'll only cause slow drainage, but it can lead to a lot of damage if left untreated.
Over time, a clog can turn into a blockage. This means that whenever water flows along the pipe, there's less and less space for it to move through. Continuing to use the pipe without fixing a blockage puts a lot of pressure on the pipework itself and can lead to leaking and burst pipes.
The result is that you'll start to get water leaking throughout your property. This can cause structural damage, mold, and damage to any property within it. In some cases, a burst pipe can lead to flooding within your home.
If you have a leaking disposal pipe outside your home, this can pose a threat to your health as well. Household drain water or sullage can contain pathogens that pollute other sources of groundwater and lead to disease. Similarly, any stormwater that remains stagnant forms the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
So staying on top of your drainage system is an important way to protect your home and your health. To understand more about exactly how to do this, let's take a look at some of the things that cause clogged drains.
What Causes Clogged Drains?
Clogged drains occur when objects or substances get washed down the sink, along with water, and stick along the pipes. This can be something that builds up over time or it might happen when a specific item gets washes down the drain.
The drains you'll find you have the most problems with are ones that you use most regularly. This is because the more you use them, the more gets washed down them along with water.
The cause of drain blockages can vary depending on what you use the drain for.
For example, a common cause of bathroom drain blockages is hair and soap. In particular, old-fashioned bars of soap often solidify inside pipes instead of washing through like liquid soaps. When they combine with hair, they can cause clogs that are difficult to get rid of.
Food waste is a common cause of a clogged sink in the kitchen. Small bits of food can all build up in the pipeworks and block your kitchen sink drain.
Other common causes of clogged drains include:
- Buildup of minerals
- Small objects in the pipeworks
- Toilet paper buildup
- Tree roots growing in the pipes
When it comes to keeping your drains clear, preventing a blockage is much better than having to fix one. So let's take a look at some of the things you can do in order to stop your drains from getting clogged in the first place.
Put Waste Catchers in Place
If you can stop waste from going down your plugholes, then you can reduce the risk of getting clogged pipes. Waste catchers are a great way to do this.
Stopping food waste going down your plughole will mean you don't get a kitchen sink clogged up with it. Similarly, waste catchers will also stop hair from going down your bathroom drains.
Remember to clear these out regularly. It might be an unpleasant job, but it's a lot nicer than having dirty water coming through your kitchen ceiling!
Create a Compost Heap
Creating a compost heap in your garden is another great way to ensure that you don't wash food scraps down the sink in your home.
Invest in a small compost bin for your kitchen which you can scrape your plates into. Then simply empty this into the garden regularly and let nature do the rest.
This will mean that your drains stay clear of excess waste and you'll get a great fertilizer for your garden, free of charge! As the food waste breaks down in the compost pile, it releases all its nourishing minerals, which you can dig in with your plants.
This is a great way to make sure that your garbage disposal doesn't get bombarded with too much waste and stays in working order for longer.
Be Careful What You Flush
You can protect yourself from this by being careful about what you flush down your toilet.
Avoid flushing things like baby wipes, sanitary products, and paper towels down your system. These are more likely to get caught in the pipes as they travel through them and cause blockages. If your system is particularly sensitive, you may also find that flushing too much toilet paper causes a problem.
To deter people from flushing unnecessary waste down the toilet, make sure you always have a bathroom trash can on hand. If you have lots of visitors coming, it may be worth putting a note on the toilet to remind them not to flush certain bathroom products.
Use Soap With Care
As we've already mentioned, old-fashioned bars of soap can dry out and solidify in your pipes, leading to a blockage. Once a clog of bar soap has formed, it doesn't wear down easily.
There are several ways to avoid this problem.
You could switch to liquid soap. Liquid soaps, such as bubble bath or dispenser soaps, wash down drains much more easily than bar soaps. They also don't mix up with hair and other dirt waste as much, so they're less likely to contribute to blockages.
If you don't want to switch to liquid soap, then you should definitely invest in a waste catcher. This will stop lumps of bar soap from going down the plughole and clogging the drain.
You should also invest in a water softener. Soft water lathers much more easily with bar soap than hard water. This means your soap lather will be less likely to dry out in your drains as it washes through them.
Don't Wash Your Pet in the Bath
When you wash your dog or cat in the bath, a lot of hair and dirt go down the plughole. Even with a waste catcher in place, you're exposing your drain to a lot of potential blockages.
If you can, try to wash your pet outside as much as possible. If you do this on a lawn or by a bigger outdoor drain, the waste will wash away easily. This means you won't put any extra unnecessary strain on your house's plumbing system.
If you do have to wash your pet indoors, then try to vary whereabouts you do this. If you've got more than one bath or shower, switch between the one that you use. This means you won't expose a particular pipe to large amounts of extra waste on a regular basis.
By switching bathrooms each time, you give the pipes the opportunity to wash away any waste deposits before more buildup.
Flush the Drain out Regularly
Sometimes, it simply isn't possible to stop extra waste from washing down your drains, and deposits build up naturally. This is why you should flush your drains out at least once a month to clear away any potential blockages.
If you're not sure how to unclog a sink, start by boiling a whole kettle of water and pouring this down your plughole. This will heat any grease or scum inside the pipework and help to shift it along.
You shouldn't pour boiling water down your toilet though, as this can damage its linoleum.
For extra help clearing your drains out, you can do an extra clear out every three or four months. Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda down and chase this with another half a cup of vinegar. Leave this in the pipes for about a minute and then follow it with boiling water.
Signs of Clogged Drains
Even if you follow all of these tips, nevertheless, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of clogged drains.
This is because some blockages may be caused by things out of your control, such as tree roots growing into the pipes. If you live with other people, particularly young children, you also can't guarantee what has been flushed down your toilet!
One of the first signs of a clogged pipe in your home is slow water drainage. This is because the water has to work its way through the clog before it can filter way. So you may notice that the water takes longer to drain from your sink or your bath than usual.
As the clog progresses, you may also start to notice an unpleasant smell coming from the drain. This is especially true if you have anything rotting in your pipework, such as old food or a dead rodent (another potential cause of your blockage!).
If your sewage pipes become blocked, you'll start to notice that your toilet bowl doesn't empty when you flush it. In fact, the water may start to rise.
When this happens, make sure you don't keep trying to flush it. Doing this could mean that the bowl fills and overflows, covering your bathroom in waste!
A clogged pipe may also show itself outside your home, as well as inside it. When a pipe starts leaking outside your property, you may notice water starting to pool on your lawn. When this happens, it's often the sign of a serious clog in your pipework.
Unclogging Blocked Drains
The best way to unclog your drains depends a lot on the severity of your blockage.
Before a blockage has really taken hold, it may be possible to clear out the drain yourself. You can do this by using boiling water and the baking soda/vinegar mixture we mentioned earlier. It's a good idea to do this the minute that your water drainage starts slowing down.
If you start to get signs of a serious blockage, then you may be looking at a much bigger drain repair job. This involves removing sections of the pipework that have become blocked and replacing them with clear ones.
Don't Ignore the Signs of Clogged Drains
Clogged drains are a common problem in households across America and can cause serious problems if left untreated. Fortunately, a clog in your drain is quick and easy to fix if you get to it in time.