Clogged drains have a knack for happening at the least opportune moments, and they can actually cause a lot of damage in a house, not to mention the smell they carry. Getting a plumber isn't cheap, depending on the extent of damage, and sometimes you may not be able to get emergency plumbing services. Clogs can also come from main lines and back up into your home, even if all your drains are actually clear. All these can be avoided with a few simple and cheap maintenance hacks, some of which are highlighted below.
1. Treat the cause, not the symptoms
If you keep getting clogged drains, you need to do more than just getting it unclogged every time it happens. Recurrent clogging is often a result of a deeper problem, either in your own plumbing system or your main supply line.
Talk to your plumber about diagnostic services such as scoping – a remote camera is sent down your pipes for visual inspection. Sometimes you may find tree roots in pipes, rusted iron pipes allowing soil into the pipes or collapsed pipes as the reason behind your headache. Instead of paying for emergency unclogging every so often, pay for diagnostic service so that the cause is addressed once and for all.
2. Introduce catchers at source
Your sinks and drains should be fitted with particle catchers to prevent small particles such as lint or fabric bits from clothes, small food remains on dishes and dirt particles from getting into the drain in the first place. While benign from the outset, small particles may begin accumulating in your drain systems (especially if you pass grease through it), eventually forming a proper clog.
Place a lint trap at the end of your washing machine's drain hose to capture lint and sieves fitting in sink/bathroom drains to capture food and dirt particles. You can easily find these on the cheap at local hardware or home improvement stores.
3. Use pipe-friendly unclogging options
Unclogging chemicals such as borax are effective for clearing clogs, but these come at a cost. Often, they will also corrode your pipes as they work on the clogs. If you use too often, you'll find yourself needing new pipes before long. There are more friendly options for cleaning out drains, which are:
- Bacteria – there's a type of bacteria that can break down organic matter causing drain blockages. They can be bought in liquid or granular form, and will be effective against bacteria without harming your pipes. In addition, these bacteria will not affect bacterial action in your septic tank, which chemicals like borax do.
- Baking soda, hot water and vinegar – this home remedy has been shown to be very effective not only for drain clogs, but also for regular drain cleanings. These are readily available ingredients in your home, and if used regularly, can keep your drains clog-free for years and years.