Every homeowner has encountered the inevitable clogged drain. It’s tempting to fill your sinks and showers with Drano and to forget about them, but this comes at a high cost. Lye-based unclogging products eat away at glue holding your pipes together, and as the chemicals react with the other chemicals in your plumbing system, they can generate heat that results in any number of plumbing disasters. Here, we’ll look at four of the biggest causes of clogged drains, what you can do to prevent them, and how you’ll know when it’s time to bring in a professional.
Grease, Fat, and Oil
Plumbing experts agree that buildups of cooking grease and fat can cause major blockages in your kitchen draining system if they accumulate over time. It may be tempting to put all of your cooking leftovers down the garbage disposal, but unless you have a grease disposal, leftover fats from products like bacon should be disposed of away from the sink.
Just as grease accumulates regularly in your pipes, hair binds to sticky substancesthat accumulate in your drains and can cause blockages. If you’ve had excessive clogging in your shower or bathroom sink, consider getting a drain guard to catch any stray hairs. If you’re regularly trimming your own hair, such as a beard or bangs, you can lay a paper towel over the sink to catch your discarded strands and throw them away when finished to prevent a clogged drain.
If you’re consistently noticing damage to your pipes, tree roots may be the culprit. This occurs because the roots seek out water and nutrients, which they can usually find underneath the house. Your home may be especially at risk if it was built between 1920 and 1970, when many builders were using clay pipes that are susceptible to breakage. Consult with a trusted plumbing service to ask about installing a modern system.
Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of clogged drains also appears in your sinks and showers daily. Much like grease and fat, soap accumulates <along the sides of your pipes over a long period of time, eventually resulting in scum that causes blockages. Experts recommend having your entire plumbing and septic system inspected every three years to detect any buildup of scum and grime before it results in a plumbing emergency.
Ultimately, a professional will know how to diagnose a clogged drain and will have the tools and skills available to keep everything running smoothly, so to speak. Taking care of your pipes by knowing what does, and does not, belong in your drains can prolong their life, and investing in a modern plumbing system in an older home will help prevent system failure later on.