Nobody wants to spend their weekend Googling how to unclog a drain. We’ve all been there, up to our elbows in smelly, backed-up water, questioning every decision we’ve ever made because of a clogged drain. What if I told you that you could avoid clogged drains with very minimal effort? Well, buckle up. Here are the essential drain maintenance tips to prevent clogged drains and keep your pipes flowing.
Keep Your Pipes Flowing With These Drain Maintenance Tips
Be Careful What Goes Down Your Drains
Drains and pipes are only designed for water and human waste, so they don’t do too well when other objects or materials make their way into the system. Keeping this in mind can help keep your pipes and drains clear of clogs.
One of the biggest threats to drains and pipes, especially in the kitchen, is “fog”. No, I don’t mean the haze hanging over your lawn in the morning; Fat, Oil, and Grease, or F.O.G., builds up in your pipes over time, causing tons of problems. As it solidifies, F.O.G. chokes off your pipes resulting in slow draining or a clogged drain.
The best way to prevent a clogged drain is by being mindful of what you’re putting down your drains. Never pour grease or oil down the drain. Instead, use something like an empty coffee can or mason jars to trap and store your F.O.G. so you can properly dispose of it later. You can get added protection for your pipes by using a drain cover with a strainer, making sure to clean it off daily.
Common Items That’ll Clog Your Drain
- Fat, Oil, and Grease (F.O.G.)
- Coffee Grounds
- Egg Shells
- Pasta and Rice
- Cat Litter
- Paper Towels and Non-Flushable Paper Products
- “Flushable Wipes” (they lie)
Flush Your Drains With Hot Water
Another easy way to maintain your pipes and prevent a clog is by regularly flushing your pipes out with hot water. Boiling water and pouring it down the drain helps break down materials that have built up in your pipes, allowing them to flow all the way through.
The idea is to pour enough hot water down the drain to melt away any disgusting “fatbergs” blocking up the pipes. Eventually the F.O.G. breaks down enough to flow through the system. For most pipes, the best way to do this is by boiling a few quarts of water and pouring it right down the drain.
Keep in mind if you have PVC pipes, then don’t use boiling water as this could damage your pipes. Instead, you can just use really hot water.
Clean Your Drains Weekly
You can also keep your pipes clear by cleaning them out once a week, no tools necessary. Using just baking soda, white vinegar, and warm water, you can set your pipes up for success. This simple task can help save you lots of money and stress down the line.
Once per week, pour ½ cup of baking soda down your drive, followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. Immediately plug up the drain and leave it covered for at least one hour. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar agitates and breaks down any material that’s built-up in your pipes. Finish the process by pouring boiling water down the drain.
There are lots of different DIY methods for cleaning out drains, but some of them do more damage than good. Steer clear of any method that uses Coca-Cola as the phosphoric acid can actually damage your pipes.
Safe DIY Methods to Clean Your Pipes and Drains
- Baking Soda and Salt – Mix ½ cup of each, leave in pipes 30+ minutes, flush with hot/boiling water.
- Baking Soda and Lemon Juice – ½ cup of baking soda followed by ½ cup of lemon juice, plug drain, let sit for at least one hour, flush with hot/boiling water.
Invest In Yearly Drain Cleaning Services
The final piece to the perfect drain maintenance puzzle is investing in yearly drain cleaning services. There’s only so much you can do without the tools, training, and experience of a professional plumber. By investing in yearly drain cleaning services, you ensure your pipes stay clear all year while reducing the chance of developing a clog or damaging the pipes.
Professional drain cleaning services start with a video inspection of the inside of your pipes. A plumber’s camera scopes through the pipes, searching for clogs and damage, giving your plumber an accurate picture of your pipe’s overall health.
After the camera scope, a plumber’s snake is used to break up any of the built up debris throughout the pipes. This once-per-year service helps keep your pipes clear all year long and is a great way to avoid extensive and expensive damage later on.