Common Household Clogs: How to Avoid Them and What to do When They Happen
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The Kitchen Sink
The kitchen can be a busy place and your kitchen sink can see a lot of action. Having it clog can turn the 'heart' of your home into a headache. Even with a disposal system, food can easily cause slow drainage, or even clog the drain completely, here are some examples:
Grease, fats and oils going down the sink can easily solidify and cause backups in your pipes. TIP: Collect any fats that may have gone down the sink in a jar or container and dispose of it in the proper fashion when full to save your drains.
There are a number of food wastes that were not meant for even disposal systems and can easily build up and, worst of all, backup a sink. TIP: Make sure items such as coffee grounds, starchy peels, grains such a rice, and fibrous vegetables like celery or citrus fruits go into the compost instead of down the drain.
The Bathroom/Shower Drain
No one wants their relaxing shower or bath interrupted by a clogged drain. The culprits in the shower drain can be pretty predictable but frustrating all the same.
Hair Clogs. Hair can naturally end up in our drains, unfortunately hair also loves to bind to grease and slime that naturally occurs in our pipes, eventually leading to a clog. TIP: Investing in an affordable hair catcher or "drain plug" can easily prevent unnecessary hair from going down the drain.
Soap. Who knew right?! Soap can nonetheless cause blockages and build up in your bathroom drains (along with other pipes in your house). The fats and grease which are necessary ingredients in most soaps can bind with minerals that naturally occur in our water, causing what we know as soap scum. Not only does it make your bathroom fixtures look grimy, soap scum can also coat pipes causing low drainage and even clogs. TIP: Using a soap-free washing agent can prevent build up especially if you have water with dense mineral content, otherwise known as "hard water".
Ugh. A bad toilet clog is NEVER something anyone wants to deal with and always seems to come at a bad time. Fingers crossed it is a simple fix with your handy-dandy plunger, however if your clogs are persistent, reoccurring or you hear a bubbling from your toilet bowl, old pipes or a deeper underlying problem may be at work and require professional assessment. TIP: make sure the only thing that goes down your toilet is toilet paper and human waste (we know, yuck!) but anything else isn't meant to go down and will almost certainly lead to a clog; up to and including paper towels, wipes, diapers and feminine hygiene products.
These common household Clogs can be a kink in your day but with these tricks they might not ruin it.
A good flush with boiling water can definitely help resolve a lot of common household clogs, especially those in the kitchen.
PROTip: Pour the water slowly to allow the hot water to soften whatever is clogging the drain.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Using a mix of half baking soda and half vinegar can help errode blockages and clean out your drains. Allow this mix about a half hour to fully work in your drain before flushing it with some water.
PROTip: Flush this mix with boiling water to really knock the clog out.
Using a drain snake can help get any big build up (especially hair) out of the way by manually breaking it up or pulling it out.
PROTip: Use your drain snake in conjunction with boiling water and the baking soda & vinegar mix for best results.
Trying to resolve clogs yourself can be a time saving and cost effective way to fix your drains but remember, if these tricks don't work, or the clog quickly returns, you may have a bigger underlying problem on your hands and for that you should always seek the assistance of a professional. In these cases make sure you call Plumbers 911 and you will be connected immediately to quality plumbing companies in your area!