Drain problems can be a nightmare! It doesn’t matter if it’s a slow sink drain or a toilet that is clogged and overflowing, they never occur at a convenient time. For this month’s article, we will discuss some basic tips that can save you the headache of experiencing the ever annoying drain problem.
First we will give a basic description of a typical drainage layout for reference. Most residential homes in the more urban areas are on city sewer. Rural homes will most likely be on a septic system. Both systems work in a similar ID-10043728fashion. Essentially each home has one “main” drain, or main line, that exits the home into either a sewer or septic system. This line is a minimum of 3″ in diameter and is often 4″. This “main” line is connected to all the drain lines in your home and is directly connected to your toilets. All smaller drain lines, such as a sink, are tied into this main line. These ‘Branch” lines are usually one and one half inches to two inches in diameter. Now that we have established the basic drainage design we can move on to some common causes of drain problems, and, more importantly, some prevention methods to avoid these troublesome issues. When we are called out to a residence for a drain problem it is almost always a situation that could have been prevented. I say that because, while there are certainly some unavoidable instances, most problems arise from abusive use. We have seen various items ranging from cell phones to tooth brushes flushed down toilets. This is a statement of the obvious, however, if followed, can save you literally hundreds of dollars. Do not flush anything down the toilet except the items it was designed for. Toilet paper ONLY! No wipes, paper towels, napkins of any kind, trash, paint, food, or any other imaginable item other than the designed for, and intended, objects. Often times we are told by a homeowner that the packaging said “toilet safe”. Not always. We do not recommend taking the risk. Again, this information is common sense and basic to most people, but without fail, we see many homeowners each week who find themselves in this situation.
So far we have been on the subject of toilets because these are the most common types of clogs we encounter. The second most abused drain in the home is the kitchen sink. I say abused because food, dish detergent, hand soaps of all kinds, and often times grease, are put down these drain lines. Technically water is the only thing these drains are designed to carry. Most people are not willing to alter their habits, (myself included), so the recommendation we make is to invest in a small sink strainer. These can be purchased from most hardware stores for a nominal cost and are well worth the investment. We make the same recommendation for shower and tub drains. Most households with females experience hair in the tubs and showers. This is a natural occurrence of course but it is also one that can be costly if not addressed. Removing hair from the bottom of the tub or shower after each use instead of washing it down the drain will result in better drainage and a greatly reduced cost of repair. Again, common sense, but often ignored prevention methods can really pay off. Most of our customers are not happy to see us arrive because they realize too late that the reason that they had to call us was preventable.
These measures are all simple and cost-effective ways to avoid having your friendly AllGood Plumbing technician pay you a visit. However, we do love our customers, and would be delighted to offer our assistance!