Man cleaning a drain

What You Need to Know About Clogged Drains

If you're like most homeowners, the thought of a slow, gurgling or blocked drain sends you into a state of panic. Fortunately, there are easy steps that you can take to minimize the risk of these issues occurring. Let's look at some of these specific actions that you can take to keep your home in good condition without creating a financial hardship.

Use a Drain Cover

A kitchen sink will typically start to run slowly because of grease or fat built up in the drain. A bathroom sink will generally run slowly because the drain is lined with soap, toothpaste, or hair. It may be possible to reduce the amount of material that gets into the drainpipe by using a cover. The cover will trap hair, soap shavings, and excess toothpaste until you have a chance to remove it or wipe it away.

Don't Pour Grease or Fat Down the Kitchen Sink

It's generally a good idea to pour grease, fat, or similar materials into containers instead of directly down the drain. The containers themselves can typically be thrown into the trash without causing any type of environmental issue. It's also possible that someone will pay you to acquire your unused cooking grease.

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Try Using Dishwasher Tablets

Dishwasher tablets are made from ingredients that effectively remove materials that coat the sink, tub, and other drains. These tablets will dissolve as they make their way through the pipe, which means that you don't have to worry about them getting stuck on the way down. As a bonus, they can make a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room smell like lemons or flowers.

Test Your Drains at Least Once a Month

Generally speaking, clogs take many weeks, months, or years to form. Therefore, it may be possible to spot the signs of a potential issue long before it causes any damage to your home. Testing your drains on a monthly basis can be an effective way to stay alert to any problems that should be addressed while they are still easy and inexpensive to fix.

What Should You Do When a Tub or Sink Isn't Draining Properly?

If you think that a buildup of organic material causes the issue, you can try removing it with a combination of vinegar and baking soda. When mixed, they create a chemical reaction that results in a significant amount of heat.

The heat that is generated by this reaction is often enough to eliminate a clog and allow the sink or tub to work as it's supposed to. Ideally, you will use baking soda or vinegar because it is less likely to damage a pipe as opposed to caustic chemicals.

As a last resort, you can attempt to snake the drain to remove whatever gunk is causing your plumbing problem. If you don't have a snake at home, you may be able to buy one for $10 at a local hardware store. Alternatively, you can rent one for an hour, day or weekend.

In some cases, water won't flow down a drain because a foreign object is inside of it. Typically, foreign objects will be too large to advance very far down a drain pipe. Therefore, it may be possible to fish the item out with something small enough to fit inside the pipe. If that doesn't work, you'll need to take the drain apart to remove a ring, razor blade cover, or child's toy.

If you are unsure why your sink, tub, or washing machine won't drain, don't hesitate to call a professional for help. However, you must know that many issues can be fixed in a matter of minutes, even if you aren't handy or have a lot of specialized equipment in your home.