There’s nothing more infuriating than having a clogged drain or toilet on your hands. Whether it’s a random occurrence or caused by plumbing malpractice you’ve recently taken, clogs can induce a headache within a flash. Luckily, these unfortunate situations can be avoided when you learn the ins and outs of plumbing clogs!
Before another clog appears in your home, understand some of the most common ways clogs can form, how to remove them, and how to prevent them from happening again!
How Do Plumbing Clogs Form?
Ah, the toilet — what would a home be without one (or a few)? When it comes to your humble abode’s “throne,” this plumbing fixture should be treated with the utmost care, because after all, without it, you wouldn’t have the proper plumbing to “do your business.” That being said, it should be known that not everything is meant to be flushed down it.
While it may be tempting to flush more than just fecal matter and toilet paper, doing so could cause a pretty severe blockage — one that a plunger might not be able to remove. Some of the many items you should refrain from flushing include, but are not limited to:
Feminine hygiene products
Cotton products — such as cotton swabs
Plastic, and more
If you must dispose of any of these items, it’s best to place them in a nearby trash receptacle to avoid a potentially massive plumbing problem. Now that we’ve spoken about the “throne,” let’s talk about another commonly-clogged fixture: your sink.
Whether it’s located in the kitchen or the bathroom, sinks are just as prone to sustaining clogs as toilets are. It may seem as if anything can be “plunked” down the dark and winding abyss of the drain pipe — but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even if you have a garbage disposal installed in your kitchen sink, for example, there’s a chance that not only can you clog the drain, but you can even damage the blades (and ultimately the device itself). Just like your toilet, your sink drain — and any drain, for that matter — should be treated with the utmost respect.
Items that should be tossed into your garbage can, rather than risked down the sink, include:
Animal bones (i.e., chicken wings)
Stringy foods (i.e., onions), and more
Keeping these tips top-of-mind can help prevent a dreaded clog, as well as a potential plumbing repair. Speaking of drain clog repairs, how can a blockage be removed? Luckily, there are a few different ways to do so.
How Can Plumbing Clogs Be Removed?
Before deeming that a clog is nearly impossible to be removed, you’ll want to start by using a plunger. However, there are two types of plungers to be aware of — a flat plunger for your sink and a bell-shaped plunger (an extension flange plunger) for your toilet.
Depending on the type of clog you’re facing, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the correct plunger, as well as applying the appropriate amount of force that can create a powerful suction to “plunge” the obstruction into oblivion (or your sewer line).
If the clog seems to be a little more complicated, then it may require snaking. Like the anatomy of the slithering reptile, this thin device (also known as an auger) is inserted into the opening of the drain or the trap of the toilet. Once it “slithers” it’s way down, and the handle of the auger is cranked, the device will work its magic to remove the clog — creating a pathway for water to travel.
How Can Plumbing Clogs Be Prevented?
Have Your Drains Professionally Cleaned
Be honest — when was the last time you had a drain in your home professionally cleaned? If you cannot recall, it may be wise to look into having this service performed. The reason is that cleaning will safely remove any lingering debris that’s stuck to the drainpipe walls.
This is essential to help restore efficiency to your drain and help prevent another clog from forming down the line. Another benefit of a drain cleaning is that it can remove any foul odors that may linger in the drain — created by things such as old food particles and soap scum.
Continue to Follow Best Practices for Plumbing
As mentioned earlier, you can often prevent a plumbing clog from forming just by being mindful of what you’re disposing of down the drain or a toilet. Another thing to consider is never to consider using a chemical drain cleaner to remove a clog.
While the clog-removing “potion” can help move the blockage, the cleaner can cause your pipes to corrode from the inside, as well as be extremely detrimental to your well being.