Preventative Maintenance for Happy Pipes and Drains
Everybody wants happy pipes and drains. Pipe problems cause homeowners and commercial property owners a lot of grief. The funny thing about pipes is that we don’t see them often. It’s easy to believe that just because something is flushed down the drain or the toilet, it is gone forever, and we no longer have to think about it. Out of sight, out of mind. Right? Well, not really. This is true to some extent, as long as what we’re flushing down the drain is meant to go down the drain. That is, until a clog, or a sneaky tree root, or your toddler’s favorite toy that “accidentally: fell into the toilet starts messing with the happiness of free-flowing pipes. Until that happens, we don’t give our pipes much of a thought. Staying vigilant and having a routine can make a world of difference in avoiding catastrophic plumbing problems.
Keep an Eye for Slow Drains
If you start to notice a slow drain or accumulating water in the bathtub when you shower, don’t just shrug your shoulders and say you’ll worry about it next time. We all know that ‘next time’ so very often turns into six months from now when you have to call the plumber at 3 in the morning. If you notice a slow drain, use common drain solutions to clear the problem. This will only work on minor obstructions or a little bit of gunk. It’s not a fix-all, of course. It just helps keep things flowing.
The common household remedies include:
- Baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. A quick favorite for many homeowners is the simple combination that produces a little fizzy action. Baking soda is used as a base, and vinegar is an acid, which means the two produce a reaction, and when measured appropriately, this fizzy reaction can help get rid of some of that gunky stuff that loves to collect in our bathroom sink and kitchen sink drains. The rule of thumb is one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Pour the cup of baking soda first and then the vinegar. Wait a moment or two. Follow this with a few cups of boiling water.
- Good old boiling water. Boiling a big pan of water semi-regularly and pouring it down the drain is a great way to keep oil and slimy stuff from collecting. This clears solidified fats and oils that like to congregate within your pipes. Simply boil water in a big pan on the stove and then carefully pour the boiling hot water (be careful with splashing or damaging plastic fixtures) down your drain. Do this once a month or so, and it serves as good maintenance.
Use Strainers, Baskets, & Sink Stoppers
It is not uncommon for us to find that many people simply forget or neglect to replace their strainers or bathroom sink stoppers. At most, it is a ten-dollar purchase at your local hardware store, and it serves a very specific purpose: to catch things before they disappear into the drains. Here’s what you need to know about these pipe-guarding thingamajigs that so seldom get the credit they deserve. If you’ve never wandered down the plumbing aisle of the hardware store, you might never know that there are several styles and types of stoppers and strainers! A whole assortment of great drain protectors.
The Sink Stopper:
Knowing what kind you have will help you replace them and make sure you don’t go for months without having this trusted gadget in your home.
- Lift-and-Turn: You’ll know this one when you see it. It has a small knob on the cap that allows you to twist it and turn it.
- Push-and-Pull: Like the above lift-and-turn stopper, it is pushed down to close and pulled up to open.
- Toe-Touch: This one is equipped with a spring that allows for the stopper to be activated or ‘opened’ with the touch of your toe. It is handy in bathtub situations.
- Trip-Lever: This one is a little more involved in the installation process. It requires a flip switch installed to open and close the tub’s drain pipe.
The Sink-Strainer will do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to catching things that you don’t want or need going down your drain. There are different types of strainers, and the main difference lies in the size of the screen and thus the size of the ‘stuff’ it lets through. The mesh can catch anything from larger food particles to a small grain of rice. A sink strainer will also be very handy when it comes to saving your garbage disposal from having to deal with stuff it doesn’t want to deal with. In other words, it prevents small lids, forks, spoons, etc., from going down into the disposal and causing a ruckus. There are several types of strainers. The most common include:
- Locknut attachment sink strainer
- Bell Washer Attachment sink strainer
For the Ultimate Happy Pipes, Call a Trusted Plumber
Preventative maintenance is great for avoiding unnecessary plumbing disasters. However, sometimes even when you try your best, those pipes get clogged up with something or other. Whether it is kitchen grease, soap, food, or any number of things, your pipes might need the eyes of a professional.
Are you having pipe problems? Are your drains clogging or smelling funny. Call the experts at New Age Plumbing and go back to your happy pipes! Connect with us today!