Maintaining your drains is one of the most important things a homeowner can do. Plumbing issues can be tricky to fix and can result in all sorts of issues around your home. These include mould, inconsistent water pressure, and flooding to name a few.
For big issues, a plumber is the only option. However, there are some things you can do to decrease the chances of ever needing a plumber in the first place.
Here are nine eye-opening Newmarket drain maintenance tips for you to try.
1. Always Use a Strainer in the Kitchen
One of the most common problems facing kitchen sinks is clogs. Kitchen sink clogs can be very frustrating. Not only do they stop you from washing dishes efficiently, but all that stagnant water can stink up your entire kitchen!
It only takes a little bit too much food or grease to clog a sink. To avoid this common drain issue, purchase a basket strainer for your drain.
A basket strainer fits snuggly over your drain opening. It's typically made of some sort of metal, making it durable against hot liquids and cleaning chemicals. They work the same way food stainers do -- the little holes allow the liquid to pass through but stop food and scraps in their tracks.
A basket strainer is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to maintain your kitchen sink.
You might also try installing one into your shower or bathroom sink! If you or a family member is constantly clogging the bathroom sink with beard trimmings or hair, a strainer might be able to put an end to this. This goes doubly with the shower, arguably the most difficult to avoid clogging spot in your home (and the most unpleasant to unclog).
You can get basket strainers that fit every size of drain. You'll be very happy you did.
2. Try to Avoid Drain Cleaning Chemicals
When it comes to cleaning out the drains, most people go the chemical route. Chemical drain cleaners get the job done fast, efficiently, and without hassle. However, these chemical solutions might be doing more damage to your pipes than they're doing good.
Think about it. Drain cleaning chemicals are exactly that: chemicals. They're made to clean out drains with force, often by breaking down or outright destroying what's clogging your drain.
If you can't get it on your skin what could it possibly be doing to the insides of your drains? A bad drain cleaning chemical will tear down the insides of your drains over time. This weakens their build, and may even cause leaks!
Instead, try going with something natural and organic. There are plenty of naturally-made drain cleaners out there. They use ingredients like baking soda and vinegar to break down drain clogs without harming your drain.
Plus, these products are green! If you want to help save the environment, this is the move for you.
You don't have to stop using your favourite chemical cleaner completely. But minimizing use to just those stubborn clogs will give your drain some much-needed relief.
3. Keep Grease out of Your Drain
Grease, whether it be olive oil or the leftovers from a big pan of bacon, is one of the worst things for your drain.
Pouring oil down the drain, even if it doesn't seem like much, is a good way to get an instant clog. The grease and oil builds up on the walls of your drain, causing a nasty clog that's a real pain to dislodge. A bad grease clog frequently means making a call to your local plumbing company.
To avoid this, don't pour any grease or oil down your drain. Instead, wait for it to harden and then scrape it into the compost. You can also save the grease in a container and refrigerate it for later use in cooking.
The drain may seem like the most logical place for liquids like grease, but that isn't the case at all. You'll save yourself a lot of grief and de-clogging by following this simple tip.
4. Invest in Some Good Drain Cleaning Tools
Whether you experience regulating clogging or not, everyone should have a drain cleaning toolbox. Being prepared for a clog will save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run. Plus, you won't have to rush out to the store for supplies once a clog happens.
One of the best clog-busting tools you can get is a drain snake. A drain snake looks something like a corkscrew attached to a long, metal body. You simply feed the snake down your drain cork-screw end first, then dig away at the clog.
A drain snake mixed with a good drain-cleaning solution will take care of the majority of your clogs. If it doesn't work, that probably means your clog is deep within the drain. In that case, it's time to contact your local plumber.
Other essential drain maintenance tools might include a mini sink-plunger, a wire brush, and a good cleaning solution. You'll also want to invest in some PPE, like rubber cleaning gloves and a face mask. There's no reason you need to breathe in dangerous cleaning chemicals while on the job.
You won't have to break the bank to get all the drain cleaning tools you need. Plus, spending a little for the right tools is much better than resorting to a coathanger bent straight.
5. Do Regular Leak Checks
Leaks are tricky. They can pop up one day from what seems like nowhere. Most leaks will start with a gentle drip that you might not even notice for days or weeks at a time!
Considering how much trouble leaks can cause, it's important to perform regular leak checks.
Every so often, take a good look under every sink in your home. Turn the sink on and leave it running while you perform your check. That way, water is flowing through the drain pipes, which will cause a leak if there is one present.
A surefire sign that you've got a leak is a wet stain under your sink's plumbing. If left long enough, you'll notice mould where the drain has been leaking. This is a whole other issue in and of itself and a good enough reason alone to perform regular leak checks.
When you find a leak, don't just duct-tape it up or try to fix it with no experience. Call a trusted residential plumber and get them on top of the issue. They'll fix the leak and let you know how to avoid further leaks.
6. Test Your Sump Pump
If you have a sump pump, it's one of the most important drains to maintain in your home.
The sump pump keeps the most at-risk areas of your home (typically the basement) from flooding. If the sump pump isn't working, you could be looking at a lot of mould and destroyed furniture. Flooding can cause unfathomable amounts of damage, resulting in huge repair costs.
The best time to test your sump pump is right before spring, before any heavy rain hits. Thankfully, testing your sump pump is an easy task. Just get a big bucket of water and fill the pump's basin right to the top.
The pump should start working right when the basin is full. It'll kick in and start pumping the water out, thinking a leak is happening. If your sump pump doesn't do this, you're going to need to get it fixed ASAP.
The issue could be a simple clog, or it could be something broken internally. Try giving the pump a cleaning first. If that doesn't work, the only real solution is to call a plumber and get it dealt with.
7. Try the Soda Trick, DIY Drain Cleaners
Did you know you can clean out some drain clogs with nothing but a can of soda? It's true!
All you need to do is pour a can of soda (Coke, Pepsi -- anything sugary will do) down your clogged drain. You don't need to mix it with anything special or get any tools. Just pour it down, let it sit for a while, then flush it out with hot water.
Soda is filled with phosphoric acid, which will dissolve stubborn stains like they're nothing. It's surprising just how effective this method is, and makes you question exactly what you're doing to your body when drinking a can of soda. But hey, at least your drain is fixed!
If the soda trick doesn't do it for you, there are plenty of DIY drain cleaning recipes out there. One of the most popular ones is a simple mix of baking soda and vinegar. Just mix around a 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar (heated) and let it do its magic.
If it worked, the mixture will start to bubble up. Cover the drain opening to keep the mixture in there for a more effective clean. Let that sit for about 20 minutes, then run hot water through the drain.
This works great to loosen simple clogs, and just clean the drain in general!
8. Find Your Main Water Valve, Consider Separate Fixtures
A lot of homeowners don't know where their main water valve is. There's no shame in it -- plumbing isn't taught in school, and most of the time you don't need it. But if an unexpected issue happens with your drains, you're going to need to know how to shut your water off.
Imagine, for example, if your pipes burst! If you don't turn your water off fast enough, you could be looking at a lot of interior damage. Your home might even flood!
The basement is a common location for your water valve. If you're unable to locate it, you might want to contact a plumber. They'll be able to locate your main water valve and teach you how to use it.
The only issue with turning off the main valve is that it turns the water off for your whole home. If you can't get a plumber to you immediately, this might be an issue. In that case, consider getting separate shut-off valves installed.
This is a bit of a project, but your local plumber will be able to get it done. It'll be worth it if you have a burst pipe in your kitchen, and are still able to shower without worry.
9. Call a Trusted Plumber for the Big Issues
Let's face it: you're not a plumber. There are certain things you can do to maintain your drain pipes, but some issues can't be fixed by the average person. In these cases, you should call a trusted, local plumber as soon as possible.
Whether it's a major leak or a burst pipe, your local plumber has seen it all. They have all the tools and equipment necessary to handle any sized problem. They'll also be happy to give you an arsenal of helpful tips for maintaining your drains and pipes.
In fact, when it comes to big issues like burst pipes, it's probably better that you don't even try to fix it on your own. Trial-and-error fixing can lead to further issues with your plumbing in the worst-case scenario. That means a higher bill from your plumber, and a lot more time getting it fixed.
There's no shame in hiring a plumber for your drain issues. You may even learn something new for future drain issues!
Get Your Newmarket Drain Help Today
Maintaining your drains is an afterthought for many, but it shouldn't be. Without properly maintained drains, you're likely to experience flooding, mould, and burst pipes. Follow these nine tips above and you'll save a ton of money hiring a plumbing service.
If you have a big plumbing emergency, though, don't hesitate. Call Mr. Rooter, your Newmarket drain solution, and ask about our plumbing emergency service. We'll be there as soon as possible to fix your issue.