Slow draining sinks can wreak havoc on even the most unsuspecting homeowners. Whether it’s your kitchen sink that’s full of food scraps and cooking grease or a bathroom sink that’s fully blocked, a clog is not an uncommon problem. Fear not! This cheat sheet will ensure you’re prepared with the best prevention methods for keeping your drains flowing smoothly. Drains already clogged? Don’t worry! That will be covered here too in order to fix your slow drains.
Causes of Slow Draining Sinks
This may sound obvious, but the first drainage risk is physical blockages at the entrance of your drain. It’s important to check if any toys or small objects accidentally got wedged toward the top of your drain. The next slow draining cause is a physical blockage further down your drain or pipe.
Most often this shows up as food in your kitchen sink or hair in the bathroom sink. A clog even further down the line could be caused by tree roots in your sewer line. Any clog in your sewer line is something that should be tended to immediately due to the risk of sewage backing up into your home.
The next type of drainage issue happens when scum builds up on the inside of your drain and pipes. As the grime gets thicker and thicker, less and less water will be able to flow down your drain. This will be more of an issue if you put a lot of oil or oil-based products down your drain, though regular usage allows for some buildup as well.
How Plumbers Are Fixing Slow Drains
There are a few methods of clearing used by plumbers to fix slow drainage problems. The solution is largely based on the type of clog being dealt with. If there is something physically blocking drainage in the drain or pipe inside the home, a plumber’s snake will likely be used. A skinny flexible auger is inserted into the drain and pipe in a coiled motion. This knocks debris off the walls of the pipe and either breaks the clog up or entangles it in its grasp, so it can be removed when the snake is removed.
If the clog is further down your home’s piping system, such as in the sewer line, a more powerful motorized snake may be needed to bust up tree roots. This particular problem would likely affect more than just one drain in your home.
Another method of drain cleaning is necessary when the clog happens due to scum buildup inside the pipe. A plumber will insert a hose into the pipe that has a high-powered stream of water blasting out of it. The water blasts off the buildup on the interior walls of the pipe, which allows for water to drain down it again.
Tips For Preventing Slow Drains Before They Happen
The first thing you’ll want to do to prevent slow drains is by preventing known clogging suspects from entering your drain in the first place. This might include a screen or grate that can catch food or hair before it can get into your pipes:
- Be sure to pour oil and coffee grounds into a separate container to dispose of in the garbage, rather than pouring them down the sink or disposal. This will cut down on the amount of grime that builds up inside your pipes.
- Plumbing maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your drains running smoothly. Even if you don't notice any obvious drainage issues, you should schedule professional drain cleaning every two years as regular plumbing maintenance to ensure smooth sailing. A home with regular drainage issues may need this done more frequently.
- Lastly, it’s also good practice to get in the habit of flushing your sinks with hot water after every use. This will flush as much down the pipe as possible, reducing the chance for it to get stuck or hardened. Throwing a handful of baking soda in your drain or pouring 1 cup of vinegar, followed by a hot water flush are both great cleaning agents for oily buildup and soap scum in your pipes too.
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