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How to prevent plumbing back ups and drain problems

Walking into the bathroom or kitchen to find a sink full of standing water is never a pleasant experience. And the same goes for finding a slow moving drain in the bathtub or shower, or backed up water in the basement drain. Rather than preparing to deal with these scenarios, though, most homeowners would rather find a way to prevent the sink back-ups and home drain problems from happening in first place.

Being proactive prevents home plumbing drain problems before they start, and can help maintain the integrity of your home’s drains, sinks, and pipes, solving potential headaches before they can occur. Many of the most effective tips for preventing clogged or backed-up drains are easy to employ, or just minor adjustments to everyday life. So make some minor adjustments to the weekly chore list and you’re on the way to building up the health of your home’s drains and pipes, and preventing drain problems before they can start.

Safeguard the Kitchen Sink

Water should primarily be the only substance entering the kitchen sink, with very few exceptions. Any cooking oil or grease should be deposited into a separate receptacle — such as a can or jar — rather than being poured directly down the sink, where it will cool, congeal, and cause a massive clog. Any food waste created during meal prep, or any leftovers after eating, should be thrown out or composted. It can seem like it’s much simpler to just wash these items down the drain, but this will cause major blockages and damage, leading to serious drain maintenance down the line.

A good practice to get into after every meal is to let hot water run through the drain for a minute or two, as this will help move minor blockage inducing substances through the pipes, such as soap scum buildup. While hot water directly from the faucet works just fine in most cases, pouring a pot of boiling water can specifically help slow-moving and minor drain clogs.

Avoid Hairy Situations — Remove Hair from Drains

A drain maintenance tip to work into the weekly cleaning schedule is the removal of hair and build-up from the bathroom drains. As more hair builds up in sink, shower, and bathtub drains, the drains will become slower, and more hair will be washed down the pipes, increasing the chances of a hairball clog that’s much harder to reach. All the drains in bathroom fixtures are common spots to become clogged up with hair, but these same fixtures also commonly use pop-up drains that are easy to unscrew, open up, and remove the offending hair clumps.

If either drain has a larger opening, or if the drain itself is more difficult to open up, investing in a simple drain screen can be a good idea. This will help catch hair outside of the drain for easy removal, meaning fewer strands that can weave their way inside the drain, and reducing the potential for a back-up or a clogged drain.

Consult a Professional Before Using Over the Counter Products

Major big-box retail and grocery stores stock a variety of advertised drain cleaning and clog removing chemical products, but these products typically cause more harm than good. When looking over these bottles and thinking about a slow draining sink at home, you can be easily tempted by convenience to pick one off the shelf and use it to try and clear up a clogged drain issue. However, while it may make water flow more easily in the short term, the caustic chemicals contained within these products can quickly degrade the integrity of the pipes, leading to cracks and massive leaks. And these small openings create the opportunity for much larger problems — like pipe leaks and bursts — and require much more costly solutions to fix.

Rather than gambling on the chemical cocktails in a bottle, a much safer and more reliable drain tip is to schedule regular maintenance for all of the home’s plumbing fixtures and drains. A professional plumber will be able to much more easily diagnose and clear a drain safely and soundly without risking damage to your pipes or creating more problems for your home’s plumbing. These professionals are also able to detect larger issues before those issues get out of hand, and look at places potentially overlooked — or considered unrelated — when a clogged drain is just another symptom of a unknown issue. 

Clogged drains are never fun, and always best dealt with before they happen. To ensure that your drains are receiving the correct maintenance, or if you have any questions about additional preventative techniques, reach out the experts at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling today! The plumbing professionals at Duane Blanton have over three decades of experience helping homeowners keep their water flowing when and where they want it. Reach out to the team at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling today, at (815) 781-2567, or give them a shout through their online scheduling portal. Professional and certified, the plumbers of Duane Blanton are happy to help you with any plumbing needs. 

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