If you’re a new Thornton homeowner, you may discover that homeownership comes with a bit of a learning curve. Now that you’re in charge of your home’s maintenance, you may find yourself wanting to know how to take care of your home’s various systems, including your drains.
The good news is that with a little know-how and preventative care, you can usually keep your drains free of clogs. The bad news is that by the time you’re looking for this information, you might have a big clog on your hands.
Today, we’re going to let you in on some of the secrets of drain maintenance so that you can avoid more nasty clogs in the future.
Read on for five drain cleaning tips that every Thornton, CO homeowner should know.
1. Put Down the Chemical Cleaners
If you’re concerned about a backup or your sink is starting to drain slowly, it can feel tempting to reach for chemical-based drain cleaners. Yes, these drain cleaners can often dissolve the substances that are clogging your drains, but they can also take a toll on your plumbing. Those same chemicals and acids that break down grease and solid matter can also erode your pipes, particularly if the cleaning fluid gets stuck behind a stubborn clog.
If you decide to go forward with the chemical cleaners, make sure to practice safety in the process. Some chemicals used in drain cleaners, such as sodium hydroxide, can cause serious side effects if inhaled, swallowed, or touched with bare skin.
If you’re looking for a chemical-free alternative, consider using enzyme cleaners. These cleaners rely on natural bacteria and enzymes to break down any organic materials that are starting to build up in your drain, and they’re safer for your body and your pipes.
2. Keep the Drains Clear of Clogging Culprits
Drain cleaning isn’t all about the act of cleaning your drain. It’s also about what you do to prevent your drain from needing serious intervention. In other words, by knowing what can and can’t go down your drain, you can prevent the clogs that require significant drain maintenance, in the first place.
The list of things you shouldn’t put down your drain includes:
- coffee grounds
- fat and oils
- paper products like paper towels or toilet paper
- pasta and rice
Why shouldn’t you wash these things down the drain? These substances don’t break down properly and are bound to create a clog. For example, while grease is viscous when hot, it becomes denser when cooled, and cooling grease will congeal in the drain, blocking the passage of water.
3. Practice Some DIY Drain Cleaning Remedies
Clogs aren’t the only issue that homeowners may notice when trying to keep their drains clean. Drains can develop unpleasant odors that linger even when you run water down them for several minutes. The good news is that there are some DIY drain-cleaning remedies you can use every few weeks or months to keep those drains clean and odor-free.
One common suggestion is to pour boiling water down the drain. While this may help to remove whatever substances are causing a smell, it’s not the best choice for everyone. For example, large amounts of boiling water can cause porcelain sink basins to crack.
Instead, we encourage you to grab some white vinegar and baking soda, which can help to break down clogs and disinfect your drain. Sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda into the drain before pouring one to two cups of white vinegar into the drain. Make sure never to mix vinegar with other cleaning chemicals like bleach, which can cause dangerous chemical reactions.
4. Don't Forget Your Waste Disposal Units
If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, you’ll want to include it in your drain cleaning efforts. Many of the tips we’ve already offered apply, particularly knowing what to avoid putting into them. While garbage disposals are effective at breaking down soft foods like certain vegetable and fruit cuttings, they aren’t meant to break down hard materials like bones, nuts, or pits.
If your garbage disposal isn’t working efficiently, you may need to sharpen the blades. Run the disposal and drop a few ice cubes into it to sharpen the blades and dislodge any materials that may be stuck.
To prevent unwanted materials from ending up in your garbage disposal, cover the drain with a mesh guard when washing dishes. Always run water when using your garbage disposal or any of the food scraps that the disposal breaks down will form a clog.
5. Don't Hesitate to Call a Professional
Chances are, you’re going to encounter a drain problem that you can’t fix on your own. You may discover a clog that’s stubborn or lodged deep within your pipes. You may find that the drain pipe is leaking into the cabinet below.
The good news is that you don’t have to become an expert plumber now that you’re a homeowner. Doctor Fix It Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric is here to address any serious plumbing issues in your Denver-area home. There’s no drain, sewer, or plumbing problem that we can’t fix.
Need Help With Drain Cleaning? Your Thornton Plumber Can Help
Now that you know the basics of drain cleaning, you can take steps to prevent major issues from occurring. When major issues do occur, don’t sweat it. Instead, call Doctor Fix It Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric!
Doctor Fix It Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric is proud to provide plumbing, heating, and cooling services in Thornton, Denver, Parker, Aurora, and elsewhere. We offer regular promotions and financing options to make sure that you can access the services you need when you need them. If you’ve got a drain problem that DIY methods won’t fix, contact us today.