Nobody wants to call the plumber at midnight when the toilet is overflowing onto the floor or sewage is spewing out of the bathroom sink. Even having to call for a plugged sink drain in the middle of the day is annoying and costly! Instead of sitting and hoping you never have to make that emergency call to the plumber, why not be proactive? There are five simple habits you can adopt that will greatly reduce your chances of common plumbing issues including backups, overflows and plugged drains.
Human Waste and Toilet Paper; Nothing Else Gets Flushed
If it's not number one, number two, or toilet paper, it has no business getting flushed down your toilet. If a little toilet paper gets stuck in a pipe, it will break down and free itself within a period of several hours. However, personal wipes, feminine hygiene products, condoms, and other items take much longer to break down -- months in many cases. If one of these items becomes stuck in your toilet drain pipe, it will be there until someone physically frees it. Even if the products says "flushable," you should avoid flushing it down the toilet. Following this rule will greatly reduce your chances of a backed up or overflowing toilet.
Wipe Your Plates Before Washing Them
Hopefully you already know not to pour grease, like cooking oil or bacon fat, down your drain. But did you know that the smaller amounts of grease you rinse off of plates and into the kitchen sink can also be harmful? These little amounts of grease can slowly build up in a drain over time, grabbing onto other little food particles that flow past them and eventually leading to a clog. Scrape your plates with a spatula before rinsing them in the sink, and if they are notably greasy, wipe them down with a paper towel that you place in the trash before washing them, too. You should suffer fewer clogs in your kitchen sink as a result.
Keep Hair From Going Down the Drain
One of the most common contributors to clogged and backed up bathroom drains is human hair. Even if you don't realize it, you shed hair every time you take a shower. That hair goes down the drain, where its unique texture makes for some remarkably stubborn clogs. Put hair traps in each of your shower and tub drains to catch this hair, and empty them regularly. Plastic hair traps are only a few dollars at home improvement stores, and for just a little more, you can buy some very nice looking metal ones. If you ever wash your hair (or a pet's hair) in the sink, you should put a hair trap in that sink, too.
Put a Screen On Your Washing Machine's Drain Hose
You know how much lint comes off of your clothes and gets stuck in your dryer's lint trap? Well, lint comes off of your clothes in the washer, too, and it ends up in the drains where it can cause clogs. Place a metal screen over the end of your washer's drain hose to catch this debris, and change the screen regularly. Metal screens that fit over the end of washer hoses and can be secured with zip ties are sold regularly in home improvement stores and hardware stores.
Rinse Your Drains With Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you clean your drains regularly, you'll get rid of any grime that's building up before it becomes substantial enough to cause a clog. Stay away from liquid drain cleaners. They're hazardous to your health, and most plumbers recommend against them because they can cause pipes to corrode. Instead, clean your drains with a safe mixture of baking soda and vinegar. The foaming action and acidic nature of this mixture will loosen grime, and you don't have to worry about it eating away at your pipes or burning your hands. Just pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, and then pour in a cup or two of vinegar. Let the mixture foam away for about a half hour, and then rinse it away with hot water. Do this to each of your drains about once a month, and clogs should be a thing of the past.
If you follow the tips above, your chances of having to wake your plumber up at midnight will be greatly reduced. For more tips, contact a company like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.