Everyone, at one time or another, has had a run-in with their plumbing system. Whether it’s a clogged toilet, jammed garbage disposal, or a leaky pipe, it’s something we just can’t avoid. The good news is that there is a way to dramatically reduce the instance of problems in your home or vacation rental simply by following a few simple tips. Here are five steps to a healthier plumbing system:
1. Protect your drains from unwanted objects
Sink drain screens and shower drain covers are low-cost ways to keep food, hair and other objects out of your plumbing drains. For your bathroom sink and shower drains, hair can be a serious clog culprit. Hair is not water soluble and difficult to dissolve. With the average person losing as much as 100 strands of hair each day, you can bet that most of it is lost while washing your hair.
2. Do not put grease or oil down your drains or in the toilet
Grease and oil may solidify once it’s down your drain, which can act as a conduit for other debris and food particles to collect, eventually growing to a size that can clog your drain in a section of pipe that is not easy to reach and make it difficult to dislodge. Even if these oils are not solids, they still offer properties that cause other objects to cling and collect, causing clogged drains.
3. When cleaning your sink, include your drain
Even for those who are most diligent about keeping their drains clear, there is still the possibility that grease, and other debris can collect in your drain when washing or rinsing off dishes. Make a habit of cleaning your sink several times a week (daily is best) and be sure to run hot water down the drain for 15-20 seconds to clear particles that may be clinging to drain pipes. For a more thorough cleaning, you can sprinkle baking soda down the drain, wait a couple of minutes, then rinse the drain with hot (or even boiling) water. Baking soda can be a great cleaning agent while absorbing odors.
4. Toilets are for #1’s and #2’s
Your toilets are designed for toilet paper and human waste, and those are the only things that should be flushed down the drain. Even wipes and other items that claim to be ‘flushable’ should be avoided where possible. This includes paper towels and facial tissues because these items are not able to break down as easily as toilet paper when in contact with water.
5. Avoid caustic/chemical drain cleaners
The chemical makeup in these cleaners can do serious damage to your pipes while they are actively ‘clearing’ your clog. The chemicals in these cleaners can do damage to PVC, galvanized steel, copper and even iron pipes, possibly causing a leak. Even more important, these cleaners are toxic and can be harmful to those who come in contact with them. For serious clogs that cannot be resolved with a plunger or snake, it’s important that you reach out to a plumbing professional for help.
Following these tips can save you time, trouble and money! Treat your plumbing system with the TLC it deserves.