Have you thrown leftover food particles in the kitchen sink? Washed a dirty paintbrush in the bathroom? Flushed makeup wipes down the toilet?
We’ve all done it, but these small actions can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. You may get lucky with small clogs you can fix easily, but eventually, you may end up spending thousands on major plumbing repairs.
Clogged drains are more than a nuisance. They’re the tip of the iceberg, hiding hazards deeper in your plumbing system. Here’s everything you need to know about the hidden dangers of clogged drains and how to avoid them from the experts at Adeedo.
The Common Culprits Behind Clogged Drains
Before you can understand the hidden dangers of a clogged drain, you have to know the common culprits that lead to drain blockages. Here are the usual sources of clogs:
Hair is a really common source of clogs. Loose hair accumulates in the shower and bathroom drains, leading to slow drains or clogs. Worse yet, when it combines with soap scum and debris, it can form a stubborn blockage that’s hard to clear.
Food waste is the leading cause of clogs in the kitchen. We often rinse pots and pans, dishes, and flatware in the sink, sending food particles and grease down the drain. Over time, these substances solidify and create a nearly impenetrable barrier.
Soap scum and the minerals found in hard water can gradually accumulate inside your pipes, reducing the flow of water and increasing the risk of clogs. This is worse if you have hard water, which has a higher concentration of minerals that can damage your pipes.
Whether accidentally or intentionally, foreign objects like jewelry, toys, or sanitary products can make their way into drains. Unfortunately, a lot of products that are marketed as “flushable” aren’t, including feminine hygiene products, moist wipes, and makeup remover wipes.
In outdoor drainage systems, tree roots can infiltrate pipes and may cause significant blockages and damage to your plumbing system.
Understanding the Hidden Dangers of Clogged Drains
If you think your clogged drain is just an annoyance, it’s much more than that. Here are some dangers of a clogged drain:
When your drains are clogged, the pressure inside the pipes increases. With nowhere to go, the pressure can cause the pipe to burst, leaving you with water damage, an emergency plumber call, and costly repairs.
Clogged drains can cause water to drain slowly, which is frustrating and a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Standing water is an ideal environment for microorganisms to thrive, posing a health hazard to your family.
As water and waste materials become trapped in a clogged drain, foul odors can build up. Eventually, these odors make their way into your home. In extreme cases, you may not be able to eliminate these odors without professional help as they permeate your home.
Clogged drains can lead to health risks due to the harmful bacteria and mold that grows in stagnant water. These pathogens can cause everything from respiratory problems to skin issues to allergic reactions, especially in people with compromised immune systems.
The water that stagnates in a clogged drain can attract pests like flies, mosquitoes, and roaches. They come in seeking water and a moist, dark environment to thrive. While some insects are more of a nuisance, many can carry diseases and create an unsanitary living environment.
If you neglect a slow or clogged drain, the problem doesn’t just go away. Over time, a clogged drain may cause pipe corrosion and structural damage that can be costly, time consuming, and inconvenient to repair.
Clogged drains often lead to overflow, releasing pollutants and contaminants into the environment. Along with your home, these contaminants can negatively affect local bodies of water and ecosystems.
How to Avoid Clogged Drains
If you have a stubborn clog, don’t try to fix it on your own. Contact a professional plumber to get to the root of the problem, fix it properly, and ensure your family’s safety and well-being.
Once the clog is fixed, here are some ways to prevent it from happening again:
Use Drain Screens
Install drain screens in your sinks, tubs, and showers to capture food particles, hair, and other debris before it can end up in your pipes. Make sure to clean and empty these screens to keep them working as they should.
Dispose of Food Waste Properly
When you’re cooking or cleaning up from dinner, make sure to dispose of food waste properly. Use a garbage disposal if you have one but be careful what you put into it. Grease and fat may go down as liquid, but it will cool and solidify, causing blockages and gumming up your pipes. You should also avoid putting anything hard into the garbage disposal, such as corn cobs or fibrous vegetables.
If you don’t have a garbage disposal, you should be even more careful. Install a drain screen, but also be careful about what you rinse in the sink. Dispose of liquid grease by allowing it to cool and then tossing out the hardened grease. Any solid food particles should be scraped off of your dishes and disposed of in the trash, not the sink. You could even take it a step further and wipe off the excess sauce or oil on your dishes before putting them in the sink or dishwasher to spare your pipes.
Regularly Clean Your Drains
Implement a routine drain cleaning schedule using safe and eco-friendly drain cleaning products. Regular maintenance can help your drains stay free of the accumulation of soap scum, mineral deposits, and other substances the contribute to clogs.
Be Mindful of What You Put in the Drain
You can develop good drain habits, but it’s crucial that the other members of your household follow the same rules. Have a family or house meeting to discuss the products that shouldn’t go into the plumbing. For example, sanitary products, cotton balls, and paper towels should not be flushed down the toilet. Disposing of these items properly can prevent blockages.
Dispose of Grease Properly
As mentioned, instead of pouring grease down the drain, collect it in a sealable container and dispose of it in the trash. This simple step can prevent grease-related clogs and protect your plumbing from stubborn clogs.
Tree Root Management
If you have outdoor drains, be proactive about tree root management. Speak with a landscaper and regularly trim or remove trees and shrubs that have roots near your drainage system. Though it’s a big undertaking, this step can prevent major damage – and costly repairs – that the roots can cause in your plumbing system.
We tend to forget about our plumbing system’s health until a problem arises. This is one of the most important systems in your home, however, and you can keep it running its best with regular inspections from a professional plumber.
These inspections check every aspect of your plumbing system, from the drains to the wall pipes to the components, including your sewer. Having a professional inspect your system helps you identify minor problems and get them repaired before they can cause major breakdowns.
Keep Up with Drain Maintenance
It’s easy to slip up with new habits. Make sure you continually educate your family about the importance of drain maintenance and what should and shouldn’t go into the drain – particularly with children. Repetition builds strong habits, so make this a regular conversation in your home.
Avoid DIY Remedies
DIY remedies are often the go-to for homeowners with a clog or slow drain. Reaching for a chemical drain cleaner may seem like the best solution, but these cleaners have harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes over time. The same is true of other DIY methods, such as using a wire coat hanger.
If you want to tackle some clogs on your own, you can use a natural, gentle method with common household ingredients. Slow drains may be remedied by pouring boiling water down the drain or using a solution of baking soda and vinegar, which can help break down some of the buildup. If these methods don’t work, it’s time for a professional like Adeedo.
Seek Professional Help
When a drain clog can’t be fixed by simple and safe DIY methods, it’s best to call a professional plumber. They have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to clear stubborn clogs safely and efficiently. Better yet, they also know when a clog is caused by something more serious, ensuring that you can get it repaired before bigger problems occur.
Contact Adeedo for Your Plumbing System
Clogged drains are more than a nuisance. Leaving a clog go can cause major issues like costly repairs, health risks, pest infestations, water damage, and more. Preventing clogs through proper maintenance and responsible habits is essential to keeping your drains flowing normally and your home safe.
Need plumbing repairs or maintenance? Contact the pros at Adeedo to schedule your appointment!