Homeowners keep plumbers busy with calls to take care of clogged drains. The older your home, the better you know your plumber because older homes tend to have more issues with plumbing. That's not to say you'll never have a clogged drain in a new home, so it's still good to understand clogs and how to prevent them. If you don't already have a home maintenance checklist, consider creating one and include these five tips to prevent clogged drains.
The Laundry Sink
Look at the laundry sink. If the drain for your washing machine dumps into a sink, you're at risk of drain clogs. Water from the washing machine tends to contain lint, which goes right down the drain. Install a lint screen on the end of the drain hose. Be aware that depending on the age of your machine, it may have a built-in lint screen. Check your owner's manual to locate the screen and make sure you clean it out periodically.
Treat Tree Roots
If you live in a newer home and are just putting in landscaping, be careful where you plant trees. Trees expected to spread 70 feet should be planted at least 20 feet away from your home. If trees are already established, you may eventually deal with drain clogs caused by tree roots. Some homeowners choose to remove old trees as preventative measure. The alternative is to use a root killer, which is flushed down your toilets in the fall and spring when roots are forming. Tree roots that have invaded pipes will be killed but the tree won't be harmed.
Be Careful What You Put in the Kitchen Sink
Never assume that just because you have a garbage disposal, anything and everything goes down the drain. The obvious fats, grease, and oils should never be dumped down the drain, but did you know pasta, rice, potatoes, and beans are not drain-friendly? They tend to swell with water and can contribute to clogs. Coffee grounds are another clog causing culprit! The best option is to keep a small trash can or bag in the kitchen for food garbage. It can be emptied each day to prevent unpleasant odors.
Hair in the Bathroom Sink
Hair in the bathroom is unavoidable. It's a natural occurrence. Hair falls out and it usually falls out in the sink or tub. What isn't natural is the relationship between hair and drains. They don't get along well. Hair doesn't disintegrate quickly, but it can quickly turn into a mess in your drain. Don't put hair in the sink. Don't flush it down the toilet. The same caution should be taken with the tub or shower drain. There are plastic or mesh hair catchers you can buy for just a few dollars. It's worth it to take the extra few seconds to make sure hair isn't going where it shouldn't.
Natural Clog Prevention
Hot water is one of the best things to prevent clogs. It's easy to run hot water in the kitchen sink after washing the dishes. Whether you regularly use natural cleaning products or not, there are a few economical and more natural things you can use to prevent clogs. Items that most people have in their kitchen pantry. Baking soda. Salt. Vinegar. These three household staples can be used in combination to help prevent grease build-up in kitchen drains. A plunger. Always keep one in each bathroom and don't hesitate to use it whenever you have a slow or weak flush. Don't wait for a total backup of the toilet.
Most homeowners will experience occasional drain clogs. Prevention, however, is worth the time and the few dollars it takes to buy a lint trap or hair trap. Use those economical household products in your kitchen drain. Buy a plunger. These small steps may save you hundreds of dollars. Finally, make sure you schedule a yearly plumbing inspection to detect problems, so they can be taken care of before they grow too large or costly.