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How to Tackle Home Drain Cleaning

How to Tackle Home Drain Cleaning - Mississauga Homeowner's Guide

Every day each Canadian uses around 329 litres of water and most of us don't even realize we're doing it! We use this when we cook, when we wash ourselves or our clothes, and when we flush the toilet. This also means that a lot of water passes through our homes every day.

That is why drain cleaning in Mississauga is extremely important. Getting a clog or blockage in one of your drains puts a lot of pressure on your home's plumbing system and could easily lead to a leak. In fact, every year, 50% of insurance claims in Canada are due to this kind of water damage.

Not sure about how to clean your drains properly, and then keep them clean? In that case, you are in the right place!

We've put together a handy guide on everything you need to know about cleaning drains from preventing buildup to major blockages. Read on to find out more!

Why is Cleaning Drains Important?

Whether you realize it or not, hundreds of litres of water pass through your home on a daily basis via your plumbing system. Because of this, it is extremely important to keep your plumbing system healthy at all times. A big part of this is cleaning your drains.

Every plumbing system is made up of a network of pipes that bring water in and out of your home. However, these pipes are not invincible. In fact, you need to take good care of them for them to continue working properly.

Buildup happens naturally in everyone's pipes as residue passes along them. Over time, however, this buildup can reduce how much water can pass along a pipe and may even lead to a blockage.

At best, blockages in your pipes will lead to delays in your water drainage. At worst, they can cause leaks, damage to the pipes themselves, or water back-up. This happens when the water has nowhere else to go, putting pressure on the pipes themselves.

A leak in your home can cause extensive damage throughout it and means you will almost certainly need to call an emergency plumber. This can mean you end up paying a lot to deal with the problem.

However, a clogged and leaking drain doesn't just have a financial impact. It can also put your family's health at risk. A leaking sewage pipe can release hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other toxic gasses into your home. It can also contaminate any groundwater around your home with pathogens.

Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to look after your drains and keep them clear. Let's have a look at them.

Top Tips for Preventing Buildup in Your Drains

Before we take a look at some of the ways to clean out a drain, it is important to keep in mind how you can prevent buildup in the long run. This is impossible to stop entirely but you can help to protect your home by keeping these tips in mind.

1. Be careful what goes down the drain

You can prevent a lot of common household drainage clogs by being mindful of what you pour down your drain.

In the kitchen, grease, oil, and fat are common causes of household drainage blockages because when they cool they stick to the sides of your pipes. When bits of food or other matter get stuck in this it quickly creates a clog. So make sure you put food in the bin and dispose of oil properly.

In the bathroom, excess hair going down the drain can also become tangled and lead to blockages. Make sure not to flush baby wipes or sanitary products into your pipes as this can also create clogs.

2. Use drain screens

Drain screens are a useful way to stop things from blocking your pipes. Just pop one over the drain and take it off to clean it out regularly.

3. Wash your pets outside

Washing your pet in the bath or shower sends a lot of extra hair down your drain, which can cause blockages.

If you have space, try to hose them down outside. If you do have to wash them inside, try to alternate where you do this and don't do it too often.

4. Switch to liquid soap

Hard soap solidifies as it dries out, which means that it can end up sticking to the sides of your pipes. Switching to liquid soap stops this from happening.

Getting Rid of Buildup in Your Drains

The easiest and best way to clean drains is to do this before a problem occurs. This means that you regularly clean your drains to combat buildup. There are several ways to do this.

Cleaning your drains of buildup involves pouring a corrosive agent down them to break up buildup in the pipe. You can do this using a shop-bought biological cleaner, such as Zep or Citra-Drain. Make sure to choose carefully as some drain cleaners do more damage than good.

You can also keep things simple by using an at-home drain cleaning concoction. For this you will need:

  • Half a cup of baking soda
  • Half a cup of white vinegar
  • A kettle full of boiling water

Pour the baking soda down your drain followed by the white vinegar and let this sit for fifteen minutes in your pipes. This is also a really handy combination for cleaning stains off of the drainage pipes in your home.

After fifteen minutes, pour your boiling water down the drain. This water will clean everything away and will leave your drains smelling fresh. If you find that the vinegar smell is still lingering just boil some more water and pour this down the drain again.

You can also clean out your garbage disposal quickly and easily using:

  • A few cups of ice cubes
  • A handful of salt (ideally coarse salt)
  • Some lemon peels

Put all of this together into your garbage disposal and it will grind together to clear out any buildup from the system. This mixture is also great as it won't damage the unit's grinders.

All of these methods will help you to shift minor buildup in your pipes. Now, let's take a look at what to do if you encounter a bigger blockage.

Heating Pipes to Deal with Clogs

In some cases, you may be able to help loosen up clogs in your drains from the outside of your pipes. This depends a little on the type of blockage you are dealing with.

If you want to clean a drain in your kitchen then you may well be dealing with an oil or grease-related blockage. In that case, warming your pipes from the outside can help to melt the blockage inside. This means it will move along the pipe more easily.

You can warm the pipe up by applying a heating pad or hot flannel to the outside of it. Obviously, this only works if you can get access to the pipes. It is, for example, ideal for fixing clogs in the pipe under your kitchen sink.

Once you have applied the heat for a while, try using one of the buildup removal mixtures we have mentioned above.

If this does not work then you may need to try a blockage removal cleaner that sits in your pipes overnight. In that case, make sure you go for a biological cleaner rather than a chemical one. This is much safer for you to use even if it takes a little longer to work.

Removing Clogs from Your Drains

Some clogs are harder to move than others and will require specialist equipment to shift or break them up. If the clog is near the top of your drain there are several things you can do to clear it.

Most people think that plungers are only suitable for toilet clogs but this is far from true. In fact, they are a really effective way to deal with clogs in any of your drains.

When using a plunger in a sink, shower or tub, make sure to run the water so that it covers the plughole and the bottom of the tub or sink. Then press it down on your drain to create a seal and give it several fast pumps. This will help to bring up the clog and clean your pipe.

If you do use a plunger, make sure you keep a spare for your toilet rather than using the same one for your sink!

You can also use a barbed cleaning tool to break up clogs inside your pipe. This is easier with a larger or removable plughole.

You simply push the cleaner into the drain and push it up and down several times. This will help to check any blocking elements on the barbs and pull them up and out of the drain. These are great for clearing bathroom blockages caused by hair.

If you want to take a slightly less hands-on approach, you could try using an aerosol or water drain cleaner. These blast water or compressed gas along your pipes to help clear out blockages.

Before you use one of these make sure that you have the right type of adapter for your sink. This will stop the nozzle from wriggling free of the drain and flying around the room!

Using an Auger

Some blockages are tough to clear or may have occurred too far along your pipe to clear with a plunger or barbed tool. In that case, using an auger is a great way to clean your drains.

You can buy one of these new or rent one from your local hardware store.

If possible, try to figure out which pipe your blockage is affecting as this can help you decide where to use your auger from. For example, you should always clean your sewage pipe from outside, while kitchen pipes can be accessed from inside your home.

To help identify which pipe you need to clear, look at which drains have been affected. A blockage in your sewage pipe will affect your toilet and bathroom drainage quite drastically. So if you notice backup coming up in your toilet or shower but not in your kitchen the issue is probably with your sewage pipe.

A professional plumber will be able to help identify the affected area using a video camera.

Augers work by snaking along your pipes until they reach the blockage. When you hit the blockage, you crank the auger's handle to start clearing it. Some augers also come with automated cranking, which is useful for bigger blockages.

Once the blockage is clear, turn the handle the opposite way to remove the auger cable. Removing the auger from your pipes can be a messy business so make sure that you wear protective clothing and put down mats. These will catch any splashes as the auger comes out!

Before storing the auger away, make sure that you hose it down thoroughly. It is always a good idea to test your drains to see if they are working to check that the blockage has been cleared.

Get Help With Your Drain Cleaning in Mississauga Today!

When it comes to drain cleaning in Mississauga there are lots of options. Doing what you can to maintain your drains properly can really help in the long run when it comes to preventing blockages. If your drains do become blocked then it is important to deal with this problem sooner rather than later.

If you aren't sure how to clean your drains or want help, you can also get professional help from an experienced plumber. Get in touch with Mr Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga ON for more information or call (905) 817-0210 to book an appointment today!