As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prevention in this case is a sound home drain preventative maintenance program. Here are some tips to help you avoid drain, sewer and septic tank problems:
Kitchen problems generally occur when grease builds up in your pipes or when your garbage disposal drain becomes clogged with fibrous foods. Avoid pouring liquid grease down the drain. Before washing pots and pans, wipe out congealed grease with a paper towel. Run cold water through your garbage disposal both during and after each use. Don’t put fibrous or stringy fruits and vegetables like celery, corn silks or banana peels in the garbage disposal as these materials will eventually clog your drain. Once a week run hot water down the drain to keep it free-flowing and use drain cleaner once a month.
Laundry/Washer drain stoppages are usually caused by soap or lint build-up in the pipes. To keep this to a minimum, use moderate amounts of soaps and detergents which are biodegradable. If your washer has a lint trap, clean it out regularly. Use additional lint and hair traps where possible. For example, a piece of woman’s nylon stocking can be used as an extra trap on the hose that drains from your washer. Be sure to clean these traps and filters regularly and use drain cleaner once a month.
Tub and Shower clogs are generally caused by by build-up of soap, hair and bath and body oils. Make sure that each drain is fitted with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips. Clean each strainer regularly and use drain cleaner in these drains once a month.
Toilet backups are caused by trying to flush small objects or bulky paper products down the toilet. To avoid this, store small objects away from the toilet. Use only toilet paper in the toilet. Don’t try to flush diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, facial tissue or any other bulky products down the toilet. Be sure the toilet is operating properly. The tank should fill with water to the recommended level and the toilet should flush completely with force.
Sewer Laterals in many areas clog because of tree roots growing into the main sewer line. Some sewer lateral problems occur because of structural issues or because the lines begin to deteriorate. If you suspect there’s a problem, call a sewer and drain specialist. Catching problems early can often save you money and inconvenience. If tree roots are the problem, use root destroyer in the line as the chemical half of your established chemical/mechanical maintenance program.
Learn more about drain lines in this segment of Plumbing 101 from Building Wisconsin TV at the Plumbers 75 Training Center. And if you’re looking for a plumber in the Madison WI area, be sure to check out the Directory at MadisonAreaPlumbers.com.