How To Avoid Clogged Drains

Posted on: 10 August 2015

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While clogged drains are sometimes unavoidable, there are some actions you can take to minimize the number of clogs. This includes keeping major clog producers out of your drains as much as possible. These include:

Hair

Hair is the primary clogged of bathroom drains. While single hairs don't present a problem, an accumulation of hair can form a nearly indestructible clump that gathers additional materials, such as soap and toothpaste, to produce an impenetrable clog.

You can reduce the risk of hair clogs by using a drain guard designed specifically to catch hair over your drain. They are simple, inexpensive round discs with holes to allow water to drain while the hair remains.

Drain guards should be cleaned of hair daily. The accumulated hair may fall into the drain if the drain guard is kicked or otherwise dislodged.

Drains should also be checked periodically for clumps of hair that may be hanging from the drain spokes. Although you may only see a few strands of hair stretched across the drain spokes, you can be assured that there is a mass of hair and muck hanging inside the drain opening.

You will need scissors to cut the hair strands. If you attempt to pull the strands and the hanging clump and they refuse to budge, wrap the strands of hair around a screwdriver to gain leverage. Keep in mind that the hair clump will be covered in muck and will be unpleasant to handle, so use rubber gloves to pull it out.

If the lump is too large to pull through the drain spokes, cut the clump into smaller pieces with scissors as you pull the wrapped strands. You may need to cut inside the drain, so you should use small scissors.

Grease or cooking oils

This is primarily a kitchen sink clogging issue and can be avoided by never dumping grease or cooking oils down the drain. Animal fat or oils that were used to cook foods with fats are solid at room temperature and will coagulate inside the drain pipes.

Pouring hot water into the drain after dumping liquid fats will only allow the liquified fat to travel farther into the drain before coagulating. This causes a buildup along the inside of the drain pipe, which impedes the flow of waste water and allows other materials to become stuck in the solidified fat.

Foreign objects

Items such as hair accessories, earrings and other jewelry, toothpaste caps, dental floss, and a myriad of other small objects can slip into your drain and cause a major blockage as they gather and collect other objects.

Drain guards should be placed over all drains to prevent anything but waste water from entering a drain. They are available in the aforementioned flat plastic disk style, which are convenient but easily dislodged; or a cup style, which resemble a round closed funnel that fits into your drain opening. 

Both styles need to be cleaned daily, but this is a small price to pay to avoid the need to call plumbers to unclog your drain.