Clogged Drains? Here Are A Few Tips To Avoid Them
About 20% of our phone calls are for clogged drains in San Diego. Most of these phone clogged drains could have been avoided. There is a big misconception that you can put whatever you want down your drain pipes and they will be ok. This is very untrue. Below we will go over our most common drain calls and what could have been done to avoid them
1. Clogged Toilet
Toilets now days don’t use as much water as they used to. Generally they use 1.28 Gallons Per Flush (GPF). Back in the old days they would use 3.5 GPF. Why is this bad? Because the less water that is being used to flush, the less water that can take the solids and toilet paper down the drain pipe. This is especially problematic in older homes with older drain pipes. So what can you do to avoid this? If you are going #2, flush the toilet several times while you go. This will ensure that you are getting enough water to go down the toilet and into the drain to carry the wastes away.
2. Clogged Sewer Line
Sometimes a clogged toilet will be the symptom of a deeper issue, a clogged sewer line. The sewer line is the main drain pipe that all the drains connect to in the house. If this pipe is backed up, then generally nothing in the house will drain. The most common cause that we see of clogged sewer lines are feminine products being flushed down the toilet. These products do not dissolve like toilet paper do and since there is not enough water with the new low flow toilets to carry them down the drain pipe, they will sit in the drain pipe, collect and cause a stoppage. Unfortunately it is best to just throw them in a trash can
Wipes are the next thing we see that clog up a sewer line. Even if the package says that they are flushable, they do not dissolve like toilet paper does and they will have the same effect that feminine products do. They will sit in the pipe because there is not enough water to take them down and this will eventually cause a buildup and a clog. Again, it is best to just use them and throw them in the trash
The third most common problem that we see with clogged sewer lines is tree roots. This is especially common in older homes in San Diego. These older homes have older metal sewer pipes that have a tendency of leaking water. Since trees need water to grow, the tree roots will naturally go where water is. This will cause tree roots to invade the sewer line and sometimes completely collapse it. So how do you fix this? There are strong chemicals that you can poor down the drains, but they are dangerous to use and often only solve the problem for a short period of time. You can either have regular maintenance done to your sewer line to continually clear out the roots, or the other more expensive alternative would be to replace or line the sewer line.
3. Clogged Kitchen Drain
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot put anything down your garbage disposal. While the garbage disposal itself can grind up many things, it is the drain pipes that cannot handle anything. Specifically stringy things like carrot peels, celery and potato peelings. Egg shells are another thing you want to avoid putting down the drain. These tings will stick to the walls of the drain pipe and eventually cause a buildup. You also want to avoid putting grease down the drain. Grease is heavier than water so it will tend to just sit in the drain pipe as opposed to washing out. It’s better to put the excess grease in the trash can. So what can you put down the kitchen drain? We recommend as little as possible, but table scraps are fine. Put as much as you can into the trash can.
4. Clogged Bathtub Or Shower
The most common cause of this is excess hair down the drain. There are two things you can do here. The first being, put a strainer to collect the hair over the drain. You can get a cover like this at Home Depot or Ace Hardware. This will catch the hair before it goes down the drain, then you can clean it as you need to. The second thing you can do is when you are washing your hair and some hair comes out, stick it on the wall of the shower. Then when you are done with your shower take some toilet paper and grab the hair off the wall and put it into the trash can.
5. Clogged Sink Drain
Another common issue here is hair down the drain. Follow the same steps above for collecting hair. The second common cause for a clogged sink drain is shaving cream build up. Once you are done shaving in the sink, fill up the sink to the top with hot water and dump it. Do this twice. The hot water will help break down the shaving cream that sticks to the walls of the drain pipe and the head pressure from filling up the sink will help to blow out the excess.
If all these things fail, we are here if you need us.