Clogged drains and stopped-up pipes really suck. Or, don’t suck – which is worse. Unclogging a clogged drain or fixing a leaking pipe can take up a lot of time and money, depending on how much damage is done. This is especially inconvenient in a restaurant or medical environment where routine cleaning is necessary. Luckily, you can avoid channeling your inner Mario by taking steps to protect your plumbing before it gets out of hand.
Clogged drains are probably the number one offender when it comes to plumbing problems. Reduce the chances of getting a clogged drain by installing sink strainers in kitchen or industrial sinks. Sink strainers can help reduce the amount of food, hair, debris or whatever else gets caught in your drain by stopping it at the surface of the sink.
Avoid pouring grease, fat or oil down the kitchen sink, since these can build up over time and clog the drain. Likewise, don’t treat your garbage disposal like a trash can – only run food through the disposal. Never flush anything down the toilet besides toilet paper.
Clean drains regularly
One way to keep clogs from building up and causing serious damage is to clean the drains regularly. Cleaning with a wet/dry vacuum can effectively extract any hair and soap residue from shower and sink drains. Another method is to flush drains with unclogging liquids or boiling water to break up clogs that are forming in your drains. Using a snake to reach the depths of the drain to unearth any clogs is an alternate method of removing buildup.
Be aware that some methods are better than others depending on how bad of a clog you’re dealing with. For example, it’s better not to use chemicals on a completely stopped up drain because they can cause damage to the pipes. Instead, use a snake or an auger to remove the clog.
Watch out for leaks
Never disregard leaks as minor problems. Even small leaks waste water and money, and they could turn into bigger leaks if left unrepaired. If you’re not sure whether your toilet is leaking, pour a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the bowl has food coloring in it the next morning, replace the flush valve to stop the leak.
Keep a toolkit handy with plumbing tools like a pipe wrench, plumbing pliers, pipe cutter and fitting brush in case a pretty serious leak springs up. But make sure you know what you’re doing before trying to solve a plumbing problem. Otherwise, you could make things worse and have to pay more for repairs.
By taking care of your drains and using preventative measures, you can avoid having to do massive repairs to your plumbing. Using common sense in deciding what to put down the drain and regularly maintaining the drains will help you avert high plumbing bills.