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Always Plumbing & Heating

300 - 17633 114 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB T5S 2R9 CA

A Homeowner’s Guide to Understanding and Preventing Clogs

A Homeowner

Homeownership brings many joys and responsibilities, and one common woe that can dampen the spirits is dealing with clogged drains. Let’s embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries, understand the causes, and equip you with the tools to keep your drains in top-notch condition.

Identifying Common Culprits

The usual suspects behind clogged drains are often hiding in plain sight. Hair, soap scum, food waste, mineral buildup, and the notorious toilet paper (or tissue!) monster can wreak havoc. Dive into each culprit, understanding their role in creating drain blockades.

1. Hair 

Hair is a major player in drain clogs. Strands easily intertwine, creating a mesh that traps other debris and slows down the water flow.

2. Soap Scum 

The residue from soap and body wash can accumulate over time, forming a stubborn layer known as soap scum. It not only looks unpleasant but can contribute to drainage issues.

3. Food Waste 

In the kitchen, food particles are frequent troublemakers. From grease to small food scraps, these can stick to the pipe walls, causing blockages.

4. Mineral Buildup

Minerals present in hard water can accumulate in pipes, leading to mineral buildup. Over time, this buildup can narrow the pipe diameter, restricting water flow.

5. Toilet Paper 

While toilet paper is designed to break down easily, excessive use or the introduction of tissues can create a mess in your plumbing. These materials don’t dissolve as easily, leading to potential clogs.

6. Invading Tree Roots

Nature can be an unexpected intruder. Tree roots, seeking moisture, may find their way into your pipes, causing serious blockages.

7. Jewelry, Toys, and Bobby Pins

Small objects like jewelry, toys, Q-tips, and bobby pins have a knack for finding their way into drains. They can lodge in pipes, creating obstacles for water flow.

Body Wash Woes: Does It Clog Drains?

We all love a good lather, but could your favorite body wash be silently contributing to drain issues? Body wash, with its luxurious lather and enticing fragrances, is a staple in our daily hygiene routine. However, the very ingredients that make it a shower-time favorite can sometimes pose challenges for your drains.

Ingredients to Watch Out For:

  • Oils and Emollients: Body wash often contains oils and emollients to moisturize the skin. While fantastic for your skin, these substances can leave a residue on pipes, contributing to the formation of soap scum.
  • Thickening Agents: Some body washes use thickening agents to enhance their consistency. These agents can add to the viscosity of wastewater, potentially slowing down its journey through the pipes.

Soap Scum Buildup:

The combination of oils, emollients, and thickening agents can lead to the creation of soap scum. This stubborn residue accumulates on the inner surfaces of pipes, reducing their diameter and impeding water flow.

While body wash can contribute to drain issues over time, being mindful of its ingredients and adopting preventive measures can keep your drains flowing smoothly. 

3. Prevention Strategies: Keeping Clogs at Bay

Prevention is the key to a hassle-free drainage system. Discover practical and effective strategies to prevent clogs, from regular maintenance routines to simple everyday habits that can make a significant difference.

4. What NOT to Use: A Cautionary Tale

In the quest to unclog drains, some substances can do more harm than good. Learn about the villains in this story – sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, potassium hydroxide, and the risky mix of bleach and vinegar. Uncover safer alternatives for a DIY drain rescue.

5. Hygiene Practices Impact: Teeth Brushing and Bath Bombs

Ever wondered if your morning routine could be contributing to drain issues? Find out the impact of brushing your teeth in the shower and whether those indulgent bath bombs are friends or foes to your drains.

6. Beauty Products and the Drain Dilemma

Bid farewell to old beauty products responsibly. Understand why the drain is not their final destination and discover eco-friendly alternatives for disposal.

7. Seeking Professional Help: When DIY Isn’t Enough

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, drains need professional attention. Learn when to call in the experts, ensuring your plumbing stays in top shape.

Preventing Clogged Drains

Maintaining a clog-free plumbing system is a homeowner’s dream. Let’s explore some practical prevention strategies to ensure your drains stay clear and your pipes flow freely.

1. Regular Maintenance Routine:

Just like any other part of your home, your plumbing needs regular attention. Incorporate a maintenance routine that includes checking for early signs of clogs and addressing them promptly. Prevention is often more effective than a cure.

2. Mesh Screens for Drains:

Invest in mesh screens for your drains, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. These screens act as filters, trapping hair, food particles, and other debris before they have a chance to journey down your pipes.

3. Mindful Disposal in the Kitchen:

In the kitchen, be mindful of what goes down the drain. Avoid pouring grease or large food scraps down the sink. Dispose of cooking oil in a separate container for proper disposal, preventing it from solidifying in your pipes.

4. Hot Water Flush:

Regularly flush your drains with hot water. This simple yet effective practice helps break down soap scum, grease, and other substances that may be clinging to the inner surfaces of your pipes.

5. DIY Natural Cleaners:

Consider using DIY natural cleaners to keep your drains fresh and clear. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar can work wonders. Pour it down the drain, let it sit, and follow up with hot water to help break down the buildup.

6. Watch What Goes Down the Toilet:

Toilets can be sensitive to what gets flushed. Educate household members about what can and cannot be flushed. Items like cotton swabs, wipes, and certain hygiene products can contribute to clogs.

7. Professional Drain Cleaning:

Schedule periodic professional drain cleaning. A plumber can use specialized tools to clear out any stubborn buildup that may be lurking in your pipes, ensuring everything is flowing smoothly.

8. Tree Root Inspection:

If you have trees on your property, schedule regular inspections for intrusive roots. A proactive approach can prevent root-related pipe damage before it becomes a major issue.

9. Educate Household Members:

Share knowledge about drain-friendly practices with everyone in your household. From proper disposal habits to understanding the impact of certain activities on drains, awareness goes a long way in preventing issues.

10. Act Promptly on Warning Signs:

If you notice slow drainage or hear gurgling sounds, don’t ignore them. These could be early warnings of potential clogs. Addressing issues promptly can prevent them from escalating into more significant problems.

By incorporating these prevention strategies into your homeowner routine, you’ll be taking proactive steps to keep your plumbing in excellent condition. 

Can some cleaners make the situation worse or damage pipes? Yes, certain cleaners, if used improperly or excessively, can contribute to clogs or damage drains. You should never use products that contain sodium hydroxide or hydrochloric acid. They are caustic and can eat through pipes and can cause severe skin and eye irritation from the fumes.

Always Plumbing and Heating uses an eco-friendly solution known as Bio Smart. We never use any type of harsh chemicals because they are dangerous to people and their pets. If you are experiencing problems from a clogged pipe, give us a call. We have over 20 years of experience dealing with all types of plumbing issues. If you need plumbing repair or preventative maintenance, our friendly staff are happy to help.

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