Clogs are a significant problem in many households and one of the main reasons homeowners contact plumbers. However, clogs are also one of the most straightforward hassles to prevent. By taking a few proactive and preventive steps, you can avoid the clogs that can cause water to back up in your kitchen and bathrooms.
1. Don’t Pour Oil or Grease Down the Drain
Pouring oil or grease down the kitchen sink is one of the leading causes of clogged drains. When you pour these liquids down the drain, they bond with other solids — namely food particles — and create clogs over time. You may not see a clog for weeks or even months, but the more you pour down the drain, the greater the likelihood that you’ll cause a major clog.
Instead of pouring these liquids down the drain, use a tin can — such as one that holds coffee — or an aluminum can. Wait until the oil and grease cool down and solidify, then throw the entire can in the garbage.
2. Use a Mesh Strainer
If you want an affordable way to prevent clogs in your drains and pipes, a mesh sink strainer is effective and will only set you back about $2 or $3. These strainers sit in the drain’s opening and collect anything that’s not a liquid. In the kitchen, you’ll catch food particles; in the bathroom, hair will no longer be a problem. You simply need to clean them out periodically, and you’re set.
3. Put the Right Things in the Garbage Disposal
The garbage disposal is a handy feature in the kitchen, but it’s not made to devour every food byproduct from cooking. To prevent clogs in your drains and pipes, avoid putting these things in the garbage disposal:
- Coffee grounds
- Seeds and pits
- Stringy vegetables
You can also clean and improve the performance of your garbage disposal by running ice through it about once a month, followed by lemons for an improved scent.
5. Learn How To Use a Snake
Plumbers frequently use snakes to eliminate severe clogs, but if you can master them, you can clean minor to moderate clogs. Simple snakes are handheld devices that you push into the drain and move back and forth to remove a clog — super easy for almost anyone. For moderate clogs, you can also buy one that attaches to a drill and acts as an auger to remove clogs. Either way, you can remove clogs in a pinch with minimal effort or headache.
6. Master the Vinegar-Baking Soda Mix
Harsh drain cleaners may remove clogs but can also corrode your pipes and contaminate water. Instead of reaching for the Drano, try mixing vinegar and baking soda to clear minor clogs. These two substances react chemically, creating a foaming mixture and carbon dioxide-based bubbles. When poured into the drain, it effectively removes clogs that snakes or other methods can’t.
When All Else Fails, Call a Plumber
Sometimes, even the most vigilant person may find a clog in one of their drains — it’s one of the inevitabilities of homeownership. If natural cleaners, snakes, and preventive measures still result in a clog, give us a call as your local San Mateo Plumber.
Our experienced plumbers can diagnose the problem, fix any issues, and offer helpful advice to prevent similar occurrences. Even if you fancy yourself a DIYer, calling a professional can be the safer, smarter bet. We look forward to serving you.