Plumbing is a fundamental feature of any property. We rely heavily on effective plumbing for our hygiene and health. That said, we may be unknowingly causing damage to our plumbing with our daily actions. Here are some ways that you can take care of your plumbing system so that it can continue to take care of you and your family members.
Clean up your cleansing ritual
If you look around your bathroom, you may notice soap scum on the surface of your tiles or bathtub. Just like soap residue can accumulate in visible areas, it can also build up on the inside of your pipes. The sticky soap scum catches other debris flowing down your drains to create a large clump that can clog up your pipes. To avoid this problem, switch out your soap bar for a body wash. Since body wash stays liquid the entire time, it eliminates the issue of soap-related blockages.
Body scrubs can create the same issue as well. Organic particles in your body scrub such as coffee grounds can still create clogs and non-organic particles like microplastic beads are almost impossible to break down. Look for body scrubs made with dissolvable elements like salt or make your own body scrub with raw sugar. Better yet, use an exfoliating mitt that can be reused numerous times and forgo the commercial body scrub.
Catch debris before they become clogs
Hair is one of the most common causes of bathroom clogs. The average person can shed up to a hundred strands of hairs daily, especially when washing their hair. Therefore, you should always have your bathroom drains fitted with a hair catcher. If you shave in the shower, look for fine-mesh hair catchers instead of those with bigger holes. Very short hairs from shaving can find their way past typical hair catchers and get caught on soap scum or shaving cream residue on the inside of pipes.
The same rule applies to your kitchen. Residue from cooking or rinsing your dishes may seem harmless, but these little bits of food can get stuck further along the pipes. Coffee grounds are notorious for causing serious clogs and food items like pasta can swell after soaking up water and create a blockage. To greatly reduce the possibility of having a clog, use a kitchen drain sink basket to catch all non-liquid items. Do not be tempted to wash food residue down the sink, no matter how small.
Watch what you wash down the drain
Many items that are marked ‘flushable’ are in fact responsible for causing clogs in your pipes. Flushable cat litter, baby wipes, and even some types of toilet paper do not dissolve quickly in your pipes and can get stuck in bends or become attached to sticky surfaces. Despite what the labels say, it may be best to have a separate bin in your bathroom for such items instead of flushing them down the toilet.
In the kitchen, never flush cooking oil, grease, or batter down the sink. You may think that these substances will be quickly flushed through your piping with water but they can get attached to the rough surfaces and build up over time, coating the inside of your pipes and making it harder for water to flow. Furthermore, grease can seep into your pipe joints and cause corrosion to the metal components of your sewage system.
Rinse off before coming in
People who garden frequently may rinse off soil in the shower. Similarly, if you live near the beach or have a sandbox installed for your children, you may often be washing sand down your shower drains. Soil and sand can accumulate in the bends or on the rough surfaces of your pipe and cause frequent blockages. The best way to avoid this problem is to install an outdoor tap or to use a garden hose to rinse off all sand and soil before entering the house. Although this may seem like an extra step, it is much more convenient than having to repair a broken shower drain.
Never use caustic cleaning chemicals
You may be thinking that it is no big deal if you get a clog. You just have to pour a powerful drainage cleaning product down the pipe and it will all be fine, right? Unfortunately, strong chemical drain cleaners may solve your immediate issue but can cause serious problems over the long run. Commercial drainage cleaners contain caustic chemicals such as bleach and lye that create chemical reactions to disintegrate blockages. However, the same chemical reactions can corrode your pipes. The heat generated from certain products can even cause your porcelain toilet bowls to crack.
Stay on top of your plumbing
A surefire way to keep your plumbing healthy is to identify potential issues before they occur. Schedule routine plumbing maintenance to be alerted to any bad habits that need changing. Be informed about the signs of plumbing problems such as leaks, slow drainage, rattling pipes, fluctuating water pressure, and rising water bills. Having a reliable plumbing professional on speed dial can make a huge difference to the health of your plumbing system. Look for a plumber that responds quickly and offers a 24/7 emergency plumbing service.