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Preventing Clogged Drains

While much depends on what is being sent down the drain, there are preventative measures that can be taken for keeping drain lines clear.

Sink Basins - Tubs - Showers

It's surprising how many basins are without screens for filtering the wastewater. The kitchen sink should have a strainer basket. Some now do simply turn loose to function as a strainer while turning it tighter serves to stop, for filling the sink. The sink that is without one however has the option of an adaptable generic model - although the best bet could be removing and replacing the entire threaded portion with a sink drain wrench and plumbers putty. A leaking one might be removed and inspected, before reseating with new putty.

Grease and food waste should never be put down the drain, regardless of its type. Just as the garbage disposal should never be subject to egg shells.

Bathroom sinks - have drain plungers that are not connected. Simply pull them out and clean of any hair and gunk. Drain swivel-pivots have to be disassembled from underneath and reset. Amazingly, soap is but one cause that contributes to plugging. The drain trap below should be pulled apart every so often and cleaned - this can be done with a bucket and a pair of channel locks (or loosening and tightening by hand).

Tubs and showers no longer seem to have internal drain screens that actually catch the hair. The options now are; the holed-cover that is screwed on, the plunger-style stops, and the aftermarket fine mesh drop-in-screens that do move about. Meaning that the only real choices now are to towel down the tub when done. And to use your own tool for the cleaning of tub drains.

Tip: tubs and showers on slab normally back up more quickly than on joist framing.

Pouring Hot Water

One cheap, simple and safe way to clean drains is by pouring hot water down them and doing this dissolves areas that are building up.

Chemical Cleaners

There are cleaners that claim to prevent clogging when used routinely, and some even for "hair clogs". The cleaners are more of a preventative measure, however, some do claim to clear up clogs that cause standing water.

These cleaners must be compatible with all the drain piping throughout like pvc, abs (plastic), pex, brass, copper or steel, and cast iron. Some pipes and fittings are more susceptible to corrosion than others. Some of the cleaners do contain acid, and lye. Always be sure of the cleaner if you are on a septic.

Acceptable liquid wastes should be diluted down the drain, and only those types safe for septics.

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