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Drain Cleaning – How to Prevent Drain Problems

Drain cleaning removes organic build-up, clogs, and unpleasant odors from your home’s plumbing drain pipes. Having your drains cleaned regularly will also protect their performance and longevity over time.

Drain Cleaning

Most DIY drain cleaners are composed of baking soda and vinegar, which you likely already have in your pantry. This mixture is effective at breaking down loose materials and can be easily poured into clogged drains, followed by boiling water. Visit https://www.draincleaningphiladelphia.com/ to learn more.

A clogged drain or pipe can be more than just a minor nuisance. It can obstruct water flow, create backups, and even lead to serious damage and flooding in your home. It can also be expensive to fix. Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid many common drain problems by understanding what causes them and taking preventative steps.

The most common drain clogs are caused by hard-to-dissolve food waste, hair, and grease. These issues typically form in kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and tubs, and laundry drains.

Putting a strainer on your drains can help catch larger items before they can go down the pipes, but it may not be enough to stop everything.

Another common cause of clogged drains is tree roots, which can make their way into cracked or damaged plumbing pipes. If you have trees near your drain lines, regularly check for root intrusions and take precautions to protect them.

It’s important to be careful about what you put down your drains, especially if you have young children or pets. Grease, cooking oil, and other fats can solidify into tough clogs in your kitchen drains, while hair and pet hair can build up over time to block toilet drains.

The best home drain unclogging methods vary depending on where the clog forms and what’s causing it. Boiling water can often clear a clog in the center of a pipe near the drain opening, while a hand-held snake can be used to dislodge stubborn food waste from garbage disposal drains.

If all else fails, store-bought chemical drain cleaners can be effective at breaking up clogs, but they’re usually harsh on pipes and should be used as a last resort. For particularly stubborn clogs, try using a rudimentary wire hanger to pull out the clog (wrap a rag around the end of the wire to avoid a painful burn). If you’re willing to spend a little more money, professional drain cleaning services can be an excellent investment in your home’s plumbing.

Clogged Sinks

If water drains more slowly than usual or you notice foul odors coming from your sink, it could be a sign of a blockage. But don’t panic—with a few household items, you can clear most sink clogs without calling in a professional.

Hair, soap scum, food scraps, and other debris can build up on pipe walls over time, creating a clog that’s hard to reach with a plunger or chemical drain cleaners. A clogged kitchen sink is often caused by fat and grease, fibrous foods like celery, or starchy items such as pasta and potatoes. But even if you use a garbage disposal, the drain can still become blocked by leftover grunge.

Sinks, tubs, and showers all connect to larger drain pipes, which sometimes clog as well. Fortunately, code requires that at least one clean-out fitting be installed in each plumbing branch, so you can remove the cap to clear a pipe stub out of a sink or toilet.

Pouring boiling water down a sink drain can dissolve scum and loosen gunk that’s stuck in the pipes, Sokolowski says. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar can also dislodge trapped clogs. If these methods fail, try a drain snake. Loosen the setscrew at the tip of the snake and pull out six- to 10-inches of cable. Then, insert the snake into the drain and crank the handle to break up the clog and push it through the pipe.

If the above steps don’t work, it might be time to call a plumber. But before you do, give plunging a try. Fill the sink with water until the rubber bell is fully submerged, then pump the handle up and down several times. If the clog moves or breaks apart, run the water for a minute or two and then check the drain to see whether it’s clear. If not, repeat the process. For severe clogs that these DIY solutions can’t resolve, you might need to replace the drain pipe. To do this, you’ll need to remove the P-trap—the curved section of pipe under your sink. You’ll need a bucket to catch the water and a wrench, if necessary, to loosen the slip nuts on both ends of the trap.

Clogged Toilets

The toilet is an under-appreciated part of the plumbing system, at least until it gets clogged. A clogged toilet can be embarrassing and disruptive to your daily routine. Fortunately, you can often resolve a clogged toilet with items you probably already have at home. However, for repeated clogs, it’s usually best to call a professional.

The most common reason for clogged toilets is people flushing things that should not be flushed. Allegedly “flushable” wipes, cotton balls, facial tissue, q-tips, and other non-disposable items are some of the most common culprits we see when cleaning drains in homes. These items don’t dissolve in water and can easily form a blockage in the toilet, which then extends down the branch drain line or even into the sewer.

In some cases, a clog may be so tightly formed that a plunger cannot dislodge it. In these instances, you will need a special tool that can be pulled through the toilet’s drain, known as a closet snake or toilet auger. This tool is made specifically for clogged toilets, with a long flexible tube to snake down the piping and a sleeve that protects the porcelain from scratches and abrasions.

Using a clog-fighting solution like baking soda and vinegar is another great way to clean a toilet without calling in a professional plumber. Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet, then follow it with two cups of white vinegar to create a chemical reaction that fizzes and cuts through a stubborn clog. Be sure to wear rubber gloves for safety, as these solutions can be abrasive and could damage your pipes and toilet if used incorrectly.

Regularly cleaning your home’s air vents is also important, as these allow fresh air to enter the plumbing system and keep drainage pipes flowing properly. In some homes, toilets and other drains are blocked by leaves or debris that collect in the air vent, which can prevent proper ventilation and cause a loss of pressure that leads to clogs. If you are concerned about a blocked toilet vent, it is best to contact a professional to prevent any serious damage.

Clogged Sewers

A clogged sewer line can cause serious problems, not only because it prevents water from draining into your home, but also because it allows sewage to back up into your yard. This is a huge health hazard and needs to be addressed immediately! Sewage contains dangerous bacteria, so you will want to stay away from the contaminated area. Unlike most household drains, which can be cleared with a plunger or snake, a clogged sewer line usually requires a professional-grade pipe auger. You can rent a power auger from most hardware stores.

To begin, locate the main sewer cleanout pipe. This is a screw-on cap located near your house’s drainage lines and in the basement. It is usually red in color, so it’s easy to spot. Before you open the cleanout cap, be sure to wear rubber work gloves and a face mask! When you remove the cap, waste will likely spill out. Step away quickly to avoid being sprayed by the sewage.

Once you have located the sewer cleanout pipe, unscrew the cap. This can be quite difficult and may require a pipe wrench. Once the cap is removed, look for signs of a clog such as gurgling sounds when toilets are flushed. You should also check the water meter to see if it is turning on and off. If the meter is registering water use, this indicates that there is a clog in the city sewer line and you will need to call a plumber right away!

You should also consider having your sewer lines regularly cleaned with an enzyme cleaner. This will help to reduce clogs by removing fats, oils, and grease. Additionally, you should remove older trees that are close to your home or septic system, as roots can infiltrate and block your sewer lines.

Keeping your drains and toilets clear is the best way to prevent serious clogs. Installing drain covers and screens will stop hair, food scraps, and other debris from entering the pipes. Regularly using a plunger and drain snake will also help keep your drains clear. Chemical drain cleaners should be used as a last resort, as they can damage your pipes if overused.