“Down the Drain” is Never as Simple as It Sounds:

June 14, 2024

Preventing drain clogs is easier than fixing them

When we say something has “gone down the drain,” we’re saying it’s gone forever, not to be seen or encountered again. That’s not always true in plumbing. Keeping drains functioning well is like some other plumbing tasks – easy but only if you know how.

Kitchen drains may take the most abuse of any drain in your household. Preventing clogged drains there may just be a matter of changing a few habits.

The drain is the worst place for grease left over from bacon, fried chicken or any other cooking. That grease congeals, settles in the trap under the sink and inevitably causes slow, clogged drains. Our mothers and grandmothers had the right idea — pour the grease into an empty coffee can and save it for the next time you fry something. Whether or not you cook like they did, treat grease they way they did. Keep it out of the drain.

Bits of food leftover on plates or in cooking vessels also find a way down the drain far more often than they should. Even the most aggressive dishwasher still won’t obliterate food particles, grease, coffee grounds, egg shells, citrus rinds or other common culprits enough to prevent drain problems. Take a few extra steps, and don’t over-rely on the garbage disposal for big stuff, and your drains will flow more smoothly for longer.

Whether you use a dishwasher or wash your plates, pots and pans by hand , do your best to make certain only the hot soapy water goes down the drain.

Bathroom drains get a lot of use, too.

Although kitchen drains get more abuse, bathroom drains may be a bigger nuisance when they clog. Standing water in the sink when shaving or getting ready to spit out the toothpaste is unpleasant. Equally unpleasant is the thought or the feel of tepid standing water in the tub when you first hop into the shower.

There is another very important plumbing fixture in the bathroom, and it is one that absolutely no one wants to have a clog. That one is a little more delicate to talk about, so let’s just say that almost no product labeled “flushable” actually is. There is only one truly flushable product. It comes on a roll, and it’s usually stored on a holder within easy reach of that one place no one ever wants a clog.

Just like in the kitchen, clogs are easier to keep from happening than they are to fix. Running extra water down the sink after shaving and tooth brushing helps flush everything that would otherwise build up in the trap or past it where it is even harder to reach. Make sure that pop-up drain stopper in the sink stays attached. Don’t pull it out, either. It’s too easy for too much of the wrong thing to go down that drain. In the bathtub, a simple basket strainer will keep the worst of the clog culprits (hair, bits of bar soap and so on) from going down the drain.

Sanitary Drainwork: Out of sight should be top-of-mind

Remember that the drains beneath sinks and tubs are only part of the drain network through your home. Ultimately, everything goes through those smaller drains and on through larger sanitary drains. They get clogged, too. Keeping the wrong things out of smaller drains also protects the bigger ones against clogging.

Still, there are some extra influences on sanitary drain lines, and you’ll want to know about them.

The bigger drains are susceptible to another problem. Tree roots, especially those of the sturdy live oaks we have in our part of Florida, will sometimes grow to conflict with underground drain lines. Those are some thirsty trees, and they will look for water wherever they can find it. Don’t worry. We have dealt with that one before, and we are happy to do it again.

Older drainage lines sometimes develop “bellies.” That is, they can develop a low spot, lower than the part of the line before or after. The waste will flow down into that low spot, but it won’t flow back up out of it at the other end of that low spot. Eventually, that causes a blockage, and that will cause slow drainage.

Drains: Know more and worry less

If these tips and observations helped you and helped your drain lines, we’re glad. If either you or your drains need a little extra help, call on Ross Plumbing. We’re happy to fix any plumbing problem that shows up. We know that, rather than dealing with standing water and obstructed drains, you would rather put that time and effort into your dream bathroom or an extra-efficient water heater. Don’t worry, we’re happy to help with those upgrades, too.

Calling (352) 728-6053 or sending us a message here, is the first step towards getting rid of a drain clog or any other plumbing problem.

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