Let’s face it – owning a home is not easy. The truth is, knowing everything there is to know about proper home maintenance can be a full-time job in and of itself. It can become particularly daunting when you consider all the levels of your home that you can’t even see, let alone get to – things like the foundation, insulation, and your home’s drainage systems.
For many homeowners, drain maintenance is something that can be quite intimidating – largely because they aren’t able to visualize how the system works, and have no idea how to go about it. This lack of knowledge and experience generally leads to a system that degrades over time, resulting in a frantic call to the plumber. Thankfully, a little knowledge can go a long way to decreasing the feeling of intimidation associated with drain maintenance and allowing homeowners to perform the kind of maintenance that will save a lot of time and money down the road.
Drain Clearing – It’s A Dirty Job And You Have To Do It
Drain clearing is likely the most common drain maintenance activity you will undertake and, depending on the size of the clog, can be a relatively simple process. There are three items you need to be aware of when you come face to face with a blockage, all of which can be found at your local hardware store.
- Hand-held drill-style drain cleaners: This handy tool can help dislodge a moderately stubborn blockage using a motorized spinning cable system. These types of drain cleaners can be equipped with cables of various lengths and allow you to penetrate deep into your home’s pipes to break up a clog.
- Power drain cleaning machines: If you have a particularly stubborn clog in an underground drain, a power drain machine is the way to go as the substantial horsepower and versatility of being able to equip a variety of different cable thicknesses means that you will be able to bust through many clogs that smaller equipment just can’t handle.
- Liquid drain cleaners: More often than not, you’ll use liquid drain cleaners to break down the buildup of organics in your drains. If you’re concerned about the negative environmental impact using such a product might cause, consider opting for an Eco-friendly liquid cleaner. These types of cleaners use a combination of natural bacteria and enzymes to create a mixture that will break down deposits without harming the environment.
Remove your building trap if you have one
Drain traps are one of the most important parts of your drainage system. They prevent nasty sewer odors from emanating throughout your house. However, there is one type of trap that is no longer required by code and should definitely be removed from your drainage system. This is the underground “building trap” that is in many older homes. Call a plumber to see if you have one of these in your drainage system, because this is a disaster just waiting to happen
You know what they say about an ounce of prevention. It’s far better to tackle this issue before any loss of property and insurance claims have to happen.
Like To DIY? Concoct Your Own Drain Cleaner On The Cheap
These days it seems there is no shortage of DIY solutions to common household problems. Mixing up a batch of your own liquid drain cleaner will not only save you time and money, but you can also be certain that it won’t be harmful to the environment. Follow the steps below to clear your sink or shower drain.
- Syphon the baking soda down the drain
- Pour in half the vinegar and cover the drain opening so that the mixture is forced down, not up
- Repeat step 2 with the remaining half cup of vinegar
- Allow the mixture to work for 15 minutes
- Flush the drain with boiling water
Prevent Foul Odors From Entering Your Home (From Your Pipes)
When it comes to floor drains, being out of sight and out of mind can lead to some pretty nasty situations. A typical floor drain has a built-in trap that, under normal conditions, is filled with water. This barrier of water is vital to keeping sewer gases like methane where they belong – in the sewer. If a floor drain goes unused for a long enough period of time, there is a chance that the water may evaporate, meaning there is nothing between your home and the horrid stench that one can only associate with a sewer.
In addition to allowing sewer gases into your home, a dry floor drain is also an open invitation to all manners of crawling sewer creatures including but not limited to flies and cockroaches. Prevention is easy enough – simply add water to the drain every now and again and use an enzyme-based mixture regularly to keep the bacteria level in check.
Cleanouts, Cleanouts Everywhere
A drain cleanout is an essential part of your drain maintenance system. This is an easily removable drain cover that will allow you to easily inspect for drain problems, and perhaps even solve them on your own. It will also make any professional plumber’s job faster and easier, which definitely means easier on your wallet as well. You will need to call a plumber to do this installation, but it is worth every penny.
Home maintenance may at times be difficult, but following the simple tips listed above and knowing which tools to use along the way should make regular drain maintenance a relatively simple process.
Watch how to fix a clogged sink drain with instructions how to remove the mechanical sink stopper.