PREVENTING BATHROOM DRAIN CLOGS – A HOMEOWNER’S GUIDE
As professional plumbers, we get more calls to clear a clogged bathroom drain, tub or toilet than any other plumbing issue.
Ounce of prevention better than pound of cure
When a drain becomes clogged, it needs to be cleared. If you know what you’re doing, and if you have the right equipment, you might be able to clear the drains yourself. If not, you will need the services of a professional plumber.
But you should know that the majority of bathroom drain clogs could have been prevented with the right maintenance. Follow these tips and you will experience fewer bathroom drain clogs.
PRINCIPAL CAUSES OF BATHROOM DRAIN CLOGS
The most common cause of clogged bathroom drains is hair and soap. The most common cause of toilet clogs is paper towels and those “flushable” wipes (which are not flushable).
PREVENTING BATHROOM DRAIN CLOGS
You can effectively prevent toilet clogs by following this one: nothing goes into the toilet except toilet paper. Paper towels should never be flushed – they are the principal cause of toilet clogs. And those so called “flushable” wipes: they are not flushable. Never put these in the toilet.
The best thing to do is to place a wastebasket in the bathroom and train your family members to put everything but toilet paper into the wastebasket. If you entertain a lot of house guests or dinner guests, put up a sign informing people not to throw anything but toilet paper into the toilet.
To keep bathroom drains flowing, people often turn to chemical solutions. Whether you use Drano or something more caustic, you should use these with caution: they often don’t work, they can damage your pipes depending on the type of piping you have, and they can often back up and cause injury to you, your family, or the plumbing technician. If you have used a chemical solution and now need a plumber, please tell him that you have poured a chemical down the drain. If he knows this, he can prevent any injury to himself when he accesses the drain.
If used sparingly – we suggest no more often than once every few months, you might get good results with a cleaner containing sodium nitrate or sodium hydroxide.
Pay attention to those little strainers covering most bathroom drains. These must be cleaned regularly. Many tubs, showers, and basement floor drains have a strainer that is screwed down onto the covering of the drain. With a screwdriver, remove these strainers, and you can now access the drain.
On a regular basis, use a wire hanger and get inside the drain and clear out any hair or other material that might build up and cause a blockage. And always scrub the strainer itself before screwing it back down onto the drain cover. If you have pop-up stoppers in your bathroom sink and/or tub, you should clean these out regularly. Life them out once a week and rinse them thoroughly.
About three or four times a year, it is a good idea to remove the overflow plate on the bathtub and pull up the pop-up assembly mechanism until you can access the spring or rocker arm. This is where hair get trapped. Remove any accumulated hair you find and then rinse the mechanism thoroughly.
IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING SEWER LINES UNCLOGGED
Your sewer line is the only way out for your household waste. It is very important to keep your sewer lines clear year-round. If you start experiencing backups every time you flush a toilet or run water into a sink, it is an indication that you have a sewer line problem. If so, you will need the services of a qualified plumber who has the right equipment to do the job. Sometimes, a cabling/auguring device will do the trick.
But sometimes the cable merely drills a small hole through the obstruction without fully clearing it: and it will become clogged again very soon.
The best method of clearing a sewer line is with a hydro jet machine. These incredible machines develop a powerful jet of water which blasts away the obstruction and washes it down the line. Hydro jetting will also clean and scour the insides of your pipes, allowing water and waste to flow again in the way they were designed.
If you have mature trees on your property, you may need to clean out your sewer line about once every year, since tree roots invade the pipes, continuing to grow inside, and will eventually cause the pipe to become clogged. Hydro jetting removes these tree roots and allows your water and waste to flow normally again.
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