Turn on the shower and take a look at the drain. Is the water draining slowly, or is it going down quickly, as it should? Take it from experienced plumbers: you don't want to wait until your drains are backed up. Take action. Use these drain maintenance tips to keep your drains flowing smoothly and to prevent costly clogged drains.
Long Term Plan: Protect Those Drains
One of the best things you can do is invest in drain catchers for each of your drains. You'll see that drain catchers come in a variety of styles, each designed to protect a different type of drain. For sinks, make sure you have a basket-style drain catcher that will prevent pieces of food and debris from going down the drain. Bathtubs and showers will benefit from a drain catcher like the TubShroom or the Drain Wig, both of which will collect hair so you don't end up with a nasty drain clog.
Spend some time looking into drain catchers and protect each drain in your home with an appropriate drain catcher. Most cost less than $5 and will last for years.
Monthly Plan: Clean 'Em Out
After you've invested in basic drain protection (yay for drain catchers!), you'll want to mark your calendar for a monthly super-quick drain cleaning session. Once a month, do the following:
- Start by using a plastic disposable Zip-It to pull out any hair or gunk you can easily reach with the Zip-It.
- Pour a drain clearing solution down each drain. You want to use something that will eat away at the gunk that lines your pipes, so either make your own solution of baking soda and vinegar (dump 1/2 cup of baking soda into each drain, and then follow with one cup of plain vinegar per drain - watch it bubble and clean away the gunk!), or use a preventative enzyme-based drain cleaner every month. Just pour it on in and let it do its work.
Note: do not use caustic drain cleaners like Drano. Stay away from chemical drain cleaners, and stick to natural or enzyme-based cleaners.
- After you've poured drain cleaner down each drain, run hot water for a couple minutes down each drain.
When Water Drains Slowly: Professional Drain Cleaning
If you really want to keep those drains sparkling, you'll invest in a professional drain cleaning service to flush out anything lining your pipes. While drain cleaners and the methods mentioned above help significantly, a professional drain clearing is the only way to truly get rid of the build up deep in your plumbing system.
Think of your pipes as your arteries. Much like our arteries can end up with a build up of plaque if we don't eat right, your pipes will build up a lining of grease and gunk inside. If you have been using caustic drain cleaners or if your pipes are made of vulnerable materials (read about problematic piping materials here), you may have corrosion problems inside your pipes, making it more likely that grease and hair and other stuff that goes down your pipes will get stuck on the rough inside of your pipes. This is also true if you haven't regularly been cleaning your pipes over the years using the tips mentioned above.
Many homeowners (especially those of older homes) really benefit from a comprehensive drain cleaning. If your pipes are in good shape, you will be able to keep the drains flowing smoothly by using drain cleaning best practices. However, if your pipes are corroding, you will need an annual professional drain cleaning to keep things from building up and clogging your pipes.
Need Help With a Clogged Drain in Charlotte?
Give us a call or use our online contact form to talk to a plumbing technician today. We're open 24/7, 365 days a year, so we're available when you need us. Schedule an appointment that works with your schedule, even if it's after typical business hours or on the weekend. There's never an extra charge, and we are considered the Charlotte drain cleaning experts. We'll help you unclog drains and then will help you learn helpful drain maintenance tips that will keep your drains clear for the long run.