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Drain Health 101: The Do's, Don'ts, and What-Ifs

Drains Can Clog When You Least Expect Them To

One thing is certain that all homeowners can agree on: a drain — whether it be in a sink or shower — can clog when you least expect it. And although it may seem inevitable that you’ll experience a clog here and there, knowing ahead of time what can cause a clogged drain and how to prevent one can help in the long run.

Before you begin your journey to clog-free drains, it’s imperative to see if one may already be forming in your humble abode:

Signs of a Clogged Drain

You Smell a Four Odor

We’ve all been there: As you hover over the drain of your plumbing fixture, you may smell a foul odor coming from it. No, that doesn’t mean that there’s garbage down there, but there may be hair, food particles, soap scum, or all three lingering in the drain.

When this happens, over time, it not only creates that putrid smell but causes the drain to narrow — leaving little-to-no room for water to escape.

Water Drains Slowly

One of the most common signs that indicate that you have a clog on your hands is when water drains slowly (or not at all). Whether it be in the sink, shower, or bathtub, if water doesn’t exit promptly, that could mean that something is obstructing the drain, preventing that H2O from leaving your home.

If you’re a tad perplexed as to what could have caused that clog in the first place, there are a few different objects or actions that could have made that happen.

Things That Can Clog a Drain

Using it as a Trash Can

No matter how big or small an object may be, using a nearby drain to dispose of it should never be a solution. Believe it or not, plumbing drains are misused daily — from feeding dental floss down the bathroom sink to forcing plastic safety seals down the shower drain.

Even if you have a garbage disposal installed, there are still certain limitations on how you can properly use the device without running into a plumbing nightmare. Here are a few of the many objects you should always toss into a nearby garbage can — not a plumbing drain:

  • Animal bones

  • Small pieces of paper

  • Coffee grounds

  • Produce stickers

  • Cotton products

  • Peanut butter

  • Salad dressing

  • Cooking grease

Speaking of cooking grease, not only is this one of the most popular items that many dispose of in their drain, but it’s also one of the most dangerous — here’s why.

Disposing of Cooking Grease

When whipping up a meal on the stove, there’s a chance that you’ll have some leftover cooking grease left behind by your culinary dish. And when that’s the case, many homeowners will feel inclined to dispose of the hot liquid down a nearby drain.

However, when this happens, the plumbing pipe’s chill will harden the grease — causing a blockage to form over time. To properly dispose of a hot cooking byproduct, it’s best to dispose of it into a nearby garbage can — but before doing that, consider taking these steps to do so in the safest manner possible:

  1. Locate an old reusable container or a tin can and place it in a safe spot on your counter — not in your sink.

  2. After you’ve finished cooking a meal and have grease leftover, carefully pour the remaining cooking byproduct into the container or can and let it harden.

  3. Once it appears that the grease has cooled and solidified within the canister, carefully bring the container to a nearby garbage can and toss it out.

While this is one surefire way to help prevent a blockage in your drains, there are a few other helpful tips that can help keep your plumbing in tip-top shape in the years to come.

Ways to Prevent a Clogged Drain

Purchase a Drain Guard

One of the best inexpensive items you can purchase for your home is a drain guard. Whether it be made from mesh, metal, or silicone, this little device can help prevent an unpleasant plumbing situation from occurring within your home (and can prevent precious heirlooms — such as a treasured ring — from falling down the drain).

Run Water While Using the Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal, there are few important rules to know when using it — such as making sure that there is always a stream of water running when it's on. Failure to have H2O flowing can jam not only your device but also cause a clog within your drain.

Have it Professionally Cleaned

A service that any homeowner can benefit from is having a stubborn drain cleaned by a professional plumber. While many store-bought products on the market claim to clean drains within seconds, those products may cause irreversible damage to the pipe, leading to a slew of plumbing problems down the road.

Meanwhile, a professional plumber has the proper tools to help give your drain a thorough cleaning without the corrosive chemicals. They’ll be able to locate any clogs at the source and bring your drain back to top-performance in no time at all!

Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Services in Metairie, LA

To learn more about our plumbing services or to schedule your appointment with our team of pros, give Stuart Services a call at (888) 650-5655 or fill out a form on our website! We look forward to helping you and your family!
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