hand removing drain guard from stainless steel kitchen sink

The 7 Best Things You Can Do for Your Drains This Year

With how busy life can be, no one wants to get slowed down by a leak or clog--or an even worse plumbing problem. While drain problems like clogs and leaks are among the most common plumbing issues people encounter, they’re also easy to avoid by adopting good habits around the house.

Use these tips to keep your home’s drains healthy and clog-free.

1. Never pour DIY or craft supplies down your drains.

When it’s time to clean up after working on your latest project, make sure you know the correct way to dispose of excess materials like paint, glue, grout, and mortar mix. When these substances solidify, they can wreak havoc on your pipes and be difficult to remove. Plus, specific materials, like latex- and oil-based paints need to be disposed of at hazardous waste collection sites and kept out of sewer systems altogether.

2. Keep grease, fat, and oil out of the sink.

Grease, cooking oil, lard, fat, you name it--all are responsible for contributing to plumbing clogs because of the way they solidify as they cool down. What’s worse, the grease that makes it into city sewers congeals with trash and sewage to create enormous “fatbergs.” Instead of pouring cooking grease into your sink, collect it in a container or some foil until you’re ready to throw it away on garbage day.

3. Run hot water down your sink drain after washing dishes.

No matter how careful you are about keeping grease out of your sink, some globs will still end up down the drain when you wash dishes and cookware. You can help break up the grease and move it through your pipes by running hot, soapy water down the drain for about 20 seconds after you’re done washing dishes.

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4. Ditch corrosive chemical drain cleaners.

While a chemical drain cleaner might seem like the easiest solution to a clog, it can result in bigger problems in the near and distant future. These liquid solutions work to clear blockages by creating a chemical reaction in your pipes. Some cleaners will get hot enough to melt the clog, while others are so corrosive that they’ll eat through it. The chemicals required to do that aren’t great for your health or plumbing pipes.

Drain cleaners that contain concentrated sulfuric acid pose acute safety risks and are responsible for hospital visits every year. Just touching a sulfuric acid mixture can give you a heat burn, and breathing in the fumes can burn your respiratory tract. Aside from these dangers, these caustic drain cleaners weaken your plumbing pipes over time, making them more brittle and prone to leaks.

5. Use drain guards in your kitchen and bathroom.

Many showers and sinks come with drain guards, but if the holes are large, they won’t be guarding against clog-causers very effectively. For your kitchen, consider a metallic mesh guard that will keep pieces of food from entering your pipes. In bathrooms, you’ll want drain guards that are designed to catch hair--another infamous clog-causer.

6. Give your garbage disposal a break.

Contrary to their name, garbage disposals aren’t meant to serve as garbage cans. They’re designed for grinding up small, relatively soft food remnants--essentially, the tiny bits of food left on your plate after you’re done eating.

At no point should you put anything hard, tough, or fibrous down your garbage disposal. That means things like bones, gristle, fruit peels, and vegetable stalks are out of the question. You should also avoid using your garbage disposal to grind starchy foods like pasta, rice, and potatoes, as this can create a gummy paste that can cause clogs and jammed components.

7. If drains are “slow” or smelly, get them cleaned.

If water takes a while to disappear down the drain or if it gurgles as it makes its way down, you probably have a clog-in-the-making. You can also tell a clog is forming if a drain smells terrible or has flies buzzing around the opening. If only one or two of your drains has this problem, you can clear the blockage with a drain snake or contact a plumber to remove it for you.

If there are multiple “slow-draining” drains in your home, or if you experience clogs frequently, you may want to consider hiring a plumber to perform hydro jetting. Hydro jetting is a chemical-free process that involves a plumber running a high-powered hose through your plumbing system. The hose shoots out jets of water in multiple directions that are powerful enough to blast away grease, sediment, tree roots, and anything else that’s blocking your pipes and making their interiors narrower.

At The Rooter Works Plumbing and Drains, our Columbus drain cleaning experts provide service that is guaranteed to last. If you’re having trouble with a clog, call us today at (614) 412-3324 or contact us online.