There are many old homes in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, and they come with all the plumbing problems familiar to homes built long ago: Bad repairs by previous owners, antiquated pipes, and shifting foundations and drains. All of these factors can lead to frequent drain clogging.
Drain clogs are one of those messy, unpleasant home problems that no one wants to handle. Most kitchen sink or dishwasher drain clogs result from foreign objects, grease, or food. For bathroom clogs, the culprit is usually dirt, skin flakes, or hair that binds to soap scum in your pipes. In either instance, clearing these clogs up is an urgent yet unwelcome task.
Ways to Protect Your Pipes
One of the best ways to avoid clearing a clog is to prevent it in the first place. Consider some of these ways to keep your pipes clear.
Keep the Junk Out
One of the simplest ways to prevent a drain clog is to keep the garbage out of your pipes in the first place.
Remove as much grease and oil as possible from your dishes before putting them in the sink or dishwasher. Make sure the barbecue plates have been scraped thoroughly of those beef drippings and sauce. Remember scrape grease and large chunks of food into the garbage can, not the sink!
As for your bathroom drains, practice regular drain cleaning to remove hair and other debris from your drain. That way, the buildup won’t go down the pipe and affect your plumbing.
Hot Water Treatment
Pour boiling water down your pipes periodically to help loosen the buildup of any scum or debris. Then run hot tap water to rinse away whatever debris you loosened. Boiling water can also break up and clear away some minor clogs.
If you don’t have drain covers, think about getting them. They can prevent the need for drain cleaning when used properly. You can usually find different cover sizes and styles at any hardware store. Those little wire nets that fit most drains will keep a tremendous amount of hair and other junk out of your plumbing, preventing a severe clog for a minimal investment.
Keep Drain Covers Clean
Once you’ve invested in those drain protectors, make sure you keep them clean. Don’t let gunk build up in the drain covers! Occasionally, you may want to pull the drain covers off the drains and run them through a dishwasher cycle. Washing them will make sure they’re free of any slime, oil, or grease buildup.
Ways to Clear Your Drains
If you haven’t kept up with your drain cleaning or some other drain-related disaster has occurred, you may want to try some of these standard drain cleaning remedies before calling the professionals.
Remove a Visible Clog
If you can see the debris causing the clog, try to remove it by hand. Put on rubber gloves, then use tweezers or a wire coat hanger so that you’re not directly touching whatever gunky mess there is. Both of these utensils make excellent clog removal tools.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
One of the simplest methods of drain cleaning involves standard household supplies. Mix one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Pour that mixture down the drain and let it sit for at least three hours. Next, pour boiling water down the drain. You can repeat this several times if necessary.
Some people pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of table salt and a cup of white vinegar. If you choose this technique, let the mixture sit for ten minutes, then flush the drain with boiling water.
If you have a drain snake (also known as a plumber’s snake), you can run it down the drain to break up or displace the clog. Drain snakes are great for drain cleaning, and they come as reusable or disposable. If yours is reusable, make sure to wash it after the job is done.
Plungers work on any drain where you can create suction. They may be a challenge to use if your drain has an overflow valve (also known as a relief valve) because this device will prevent you from generating suction. Still, plungers are a valuable tool if you can cover the drain and get the power you need to pull out or push forward the clog.
Sometimes, the most straightforward drain cleaning remedy is the best. Try pouring boiling water down your clogged drain. If the clog results from grease or soap scum, the water may well melt through it. You can repeat this strategy as many times as necessary.
Commercial Drain Cleaners
Chemical caustic or acidic drain cleaners may work well on your clog, but they have many downsides. These drain cleaning agents can damage your pipes, and if misused, can cause gusher-like backup and chemical burns or blisters on your bathroom fixtures.
Drain cleaners also put poisonous chemicals into the water supply and can create toxic fumes in their efforts to de-clog your drain.
Enzymatic Drain Cleaners
Today, there are also enzymatic drain cleaners that consist of bacteria used to feed on your clogs. You can use these cleaners periodically as a preventative measure as well as a cleanser. Monthly treatment with this type of product can keep your drains running clean.
Clean the Drain Trap
If you’re confident and somewhat skilled, you can remove the U-shaped portion of your pipe (also known as a P-trap) at the bottom of your drain and clean it out. Most plumbers recommend you leave this task to the professionals, as an error can cost you money in repairs.
Bring in the Experts
Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to keep your drains clean or how hard you’ve tried to clear a problem on your own, you are still stuck with a stubbornly clogged drain. In that case, you’ll wonder, “how do I find someone to do a plumbing repair near me?” That’s when you should call a skilled plumbing professional who can diagnose your clog and use the appropriate tools to fix it promptly, safely, and expertly.
At Sirius Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we’re just those professionals! Give us a call if you need assistance with drain cleaning or de-clogging.