Clogs 101: Tips to Prevent and Fix Clogs
One of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This wisdom can be applied to so very many areas of life.
Today, we are applying it clogs. Yes, clogs. You see, when the drains in our home are flowing freely, we tend to take them for granted. It’s not until they become stopped up, or worse, that we typically think about them.
Preventing most clogs can be accomplished just a little effort. By taking the time to perform a little routine maintenance and following some simple tips, you won’t be stuck during a party with a clogged kitchen sink drain or worse!
In the kitchen:
Does your sink have an off-putting odor?
Try this fix- pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain, let it stand for 30 minutes, then rinse with hot water.
Is there an odor wafting up from your garbage disposal?
Disposals can retain food bacteria in the blades, causing that odor. Pour a cup of white vinegar into the disposal, follow with a flush of very hot water.
Is the sink stopped up?
One of the biggest culprits of clogged kitchen sinks is grease. Pouring grease down the kitchen sink is a no-no. If you have a stopped up sink, begin by pouring very hot water down the drain to try to warm the grease enough to push it on through. Do this by heating the water on the stove. Don’t run the water until it heats up because you’re just adding to the problem.
If the hot water doesn’t work, you can heat the pipe with a heating pad to melt the grease. This method takes longer but is a safe method.
If neither of these methods works, you’ll need to use a plunger. Be sure there is some water in the sink to ensure a good seal. If it’s a double sink, plug the opposite drain to prevent excess air from getting in the line.
In the bathroom:
Keep two plungers in your bathroom.
Is the sink stopped up?
Use the sink plunger to clear it. Add a few inches of water to the sink to provide a good seal around the plunger. Next, stuff a wet rag into the overflow opening(s) of the sink. You want to try to completely fill the opening so that you get a good seal. No air can reach the drain with this blocking in place, which greatly increases the effectiveness of the plunger. Finally, plunge away. This should clear most clogs. Typically these clogs are caused by hair or hair products.
Is the toilet plugged?
Trust me, I don’t think that anyone likes to plunge a toilet. It took me a long time to even try this job on my own. But, we have only one bathroom in our home for 6 people. A plugged toilet is never a good thing. Use the toilet plunger in the same manner as the sink plunger. Obviously, there are no other openings to cover, so be sure there is some water in the toilet, place the plunger over the opening, and plunge away. This may take a few plunges but it generally clears the toilet. Flush when this job is complete to flush away the stoppage and know that the line is clear.
To avoid these problems in the first place, here are some simple steps to follow:
Preventing clogs is a two-part job. First, you should be careful about what goes down the drain. Second, you need to take regular action to clear small deposits that inevitably form in any drain before they become larger problems.
1. Never pour grease down the drain. Clean greasy pots and pans as thoroughly as possible with a paper towel before cleaning in hot water in the sink.
2. Use drain screens in the bathroom sink and tub to keep hair, soap scum, and other solids from going down the drain. Clean these screens regularly.
3. Never dump chemicals down a drain (such as paint or paint thinners.)
4. A utility sink is to be treated as any other sink– no chemicals, grease, etc. Use a drain screen.
5. Once a week or so, pour boiling hot water down your drains.
6. Two words of caution here- never put boiling water down a toilet and never add another cleaner to bleach. Although it seems like this might help to break up a clog, the water in the toilet is cold (in winter, it may be very cold) and the difference in temperature can lead to damage to your toilet or pipes. If for any reason you put bleach into the toilet, do not combine it with any other cleaner or chemical clog remover. The combination could create deadly chlorine gas.
In spite of your routine maintenance and diligence in ensuring nothing incorrect goes down the drain, clogs do still happen. They are typically not too time-consuming or expensive to combat. Follow these tips and suggestions to keep your drains running free!
There are plumbing fixes that you can do yourself! Click on over to read this post!
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