Keep the Pipes Flowing in a Home

Clogged pipes can be anything from a nuisance to a real emergency. Maintenance and preparation can help prevent these problems. Avoid visits from the plumber by keeping your pipes running smoothly.

Plumber man with tools in the kitchen. Plumbing and renovation.

Major causes of kitchen sink backups include food debris and cooking grease. If you have a garbage disposal use it only for small food scraps. Large pieces of food, especially those that do not dissolve in water, should be thrown in the trash, not given to the disposal to break down.

Whether the sink has a garbage disposal or not a drain screen should be in place to catch food scraps. It can be lifted out when the disposal is in use, but things that should not be ground up are much easier to retrieve from a drain screen than from a disposal. Toddler spoons, candy wrappers, bottle openers and even coins can damage and be damaged by garbage disposals.

Cooking grease is liquid when hot, but can congeal into a drain-clogging glob when it cools. Hot grease will melt a garbage bag so it is best disposed of by pouring it into a can and then placing in the trash can.

Keeping Bathroom Sinks Clog Free

water drain, water is discharged into the drain

Hair is the most common cause of slow-draining or backed up bathroom sinks. Soap sticks to strands of hair in the pipe and gets caught on the stopper or the pivot rod. If you notice your sink getting slow try lifting out the stopper and seeing what comes with it when you remove it. If it won’t lift out easily it is probably held in place by a pivot rod. This will be under the sink and held in place by a nut. Unscrew the nut, remove the pivot rod and then the stopper should lift out easily. Once the stopper is out use a small piece of wire with a hook at the end to fish out whatever is clogging the drain. Then replace the stopper either by dropping it into place (if you have no pivot rod) or by dropping the stopper in, lining up the pivot rod with the slot in the stopper and then tightening the nut. Run some water and tighten the nut if you see any water dripping from the area around the pivot rod.

Preventing clogged Toilets

A backed up toilet can wreak havoc in your household. Keep it flowing by flushing only solid waste and toilet paper. Even wipes labeled “flushable” can clog pipes and cause backup. Ever find yourself out of toilet paper and rushing around the house looking for a substitute? Go ahead and use facial tissues if you have the, they disintegrate quickly in water. If you have to use paper towel as a last resort it must be thrown in the trash, never flushed. Things you find while cleaning your bathroom (like bits of soap or hair) should also go in the trash. They can build up over time and cause toilet problems later.

Preventing clogged drains in the Bath and Shower

Prevention is the best cure for clogged drains in the bath and shower. Baths with lift and turn style stoppers are less likely to clog than one’s with lever-style drains. A strainer or screen placed over the drain will catch most of the hair so it never reaches the pipes where it can cause problems. Dispose of hair caught in the strainer in the trash, not the toilet. Otherwise you are just moving clog-causing material from one set of pipes to another.

Clog free Wash Basins

If your washing machine drains into a basin you’ll need to take steps to keep the basin drain from clogging. Hair, lint, pet fur and even stray threads can find their way into your drain and cause problems. One solution is to use a drain screen for the basin drain. Make sure to check this frequently because debris from the laundry can fill it quickly. Another useful tool in keeping the laundry room pipes flowing is a washing machine lint trap. These are either nylon or aluminium and attach to the end of the drain hose. They can catch a lot of debris before it ever reaches your pipes and need to be checked from time to time. Unlike drain screens they are not reusable so they must be replaced when they are full.