Why Do Pipes Get Clogged?
Modern plumbing is a convenience we don’t think much about. Until it no longer works the way it should.
Unfortunately, clogged drains are a part of having indoor plumbing. At some point, you’ll face a toilet that won’t flush, a sink that backs up when the water simply won’t go down the drain.
The good news is there are easy ways to troubleshoot the most common drain problems, and even more ways to prevent the clog from happening again.
Bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers
The most common place for backups to occur is in your bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers. Dirt, skin flakes, and hair are combined with soap scum and sent down these drains in high quantity everyday. Over time, this makes a sticky gunk that attaches itself to your plumbing pipes and reduces the water flow.
Make it a regular part of your cleaning process to remove and clean out the drain stopper. When things backup, a drain plunger often works; just be sure to block the overflow drain for maximum results. If your drain is still clogged, it’s time to remove the drain elbow joint and clean it out. Deeper problems may require a visit from a plumbing professional.
Toilets are considered the nastiest clogs in the house. These clogs are mainly caused by trying to flush things that aren’t meant to go down: feminine hygiene products, cotton swabs, pre-moistened wipes, dental floss, etc.
The first step for breaking up clogs is to use a toilet plunger to add force behind the clog and break it up. If that doesn’t work, you can use a hand auger to reach down several feet into the pipes and attempt to break the clog up. If the clog is more stubborn, or you can’t reach it, it’s time to call in a professional.
A lot of material goes down the kitchen sink each day: cooking grease, starchy foods, rice, fibrous materials. Add in a little soap scum from detergents and it’s the perfect storm creating a mess.
Kitchen sinks can be handled in the same manner as your bathroom sinks. Run hot water down the drain regularly to keep the clogs soft and the water flowing. Then clean out the drain stopper, using a plunger as necessary.
Be wary of using chemical drain cleaners, as they often do more harm than good. If they splash back into your face, then can cause severe damage to your eyes, nose, and skin.
If you reach the point where the clog won’t move, it’s best to seek professional help.