4 Professional Tips to Keeping Your Plumbing Drains Clear
Drains are the most common spot for plumbing problems, but that doesn't mean your system is doomed. Instead, a thorough action plan will keep your drains free and clear of trouble spots.
Here are some signs of trouble; if you can hear your drain gurgling, the chances are good that something is clogging it. Unfortunately, you won't be able to predict the size or source of the problem easily. For example, a loud noise could simply mean the hair has collected in a pipe; it could also signal a tree root growing within inches from your foundation and slowly cracking the main sewer line under pressure.
There are, however, likely culprits for drain blockages, such as grease from cooking. If you have a garbage disposal, clean it regularly; also, rinse off any greasy food scraps after cleaning dishes. Using the dishwasher can keep your sink's drain lines clear if you cannot run water down them often enough.
Anytime you drop something down the drain that isn't supposed to be flushed away—soap or cigarette butts—clean out the pipes immediately with a plunger or snake (a long auger-like device). Anything trapped in your sewer lines will eventually work its way into the main system and cause problems at the city treatment plant.
Step 1: Clean out the gunk
Clogs can start small and snowball into major headaches. So how do you prevent them? Some simple-but-effective steps include cleaning hair from the shower drain after every use; keeping food particles picked up when cooking; rinsing out grease traps in the kitchen; using strainers on all drains to catch hair, slivers, etc.; not pouring fats or oils down any drains, and regularly plunging or snaking toilets.
It can also be a good idea to increase the water pressure. Clogged drains can often be attributed to low water pressure. Weak pressure makes it difficult to flush debris from pipes. To boost your water supply, ask your plumber about installing an additional supply line or booster pump. If your house is on a septic system with no access for adding more piping, you can also purchase a small generator that plugs into an electrical outlet and kicks in whenever needed.
Step 2: Get a Maintenance Check
If you've been taking the right steps to protect your plumbing, it's still possible for clogs to happen. A professional can find and fix issues that aren't immediately apparent. In addition to cleaning out pipes, they can use high-tech tools like video cameras to pinpoint blockages.
Step 3: Replace Your Pipes
Sometimes no amount of maintenance will keep drains clear if your pipes are old and worn out. In particular, concrete or clay pipes often need replacing because grout fills them with cracks and crevices that hold on to gunk like a sponge. A corroded metal pipe is also prone to clogging. If you have an older plumbing system, consult with a professional about replacing it with PVC or copper pipes. Make sure that your new system is installed correctly to avoid future problems early on.
Step 4: Look into Drain Strainers
If you have an older sink and drain system, you might consider installing a drain strainer. These simple gadgets are inexpensive and can significantly reduce the amount of gunk that builds up in drains. They also catch hair before it goes down the pipes, which will help keep drains clear longer.
A clogged drain can be a frustrating problem, but knowing what causes them and how to prevent them will keep your plumbing system working smoothly for years to come.
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*article by David Jackson
The Elkins Home Selling Team with Elite Realty Group provides services with Morristown TN Real Estate For Sale and Morristown TN Homes For Sale to home buyers and home sellers in Morristown Tennessee, Whitesburg, Talbott, Russellville, Sevierville, Bean Station, Dandridge, Pigeon Forge and surrounding communities.
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