Despite its importance, the plumbing and drain system in a home is often one of the parts that gets neglected the most. This is why many people often experience issues with clogs or a drain that starts leaking. Regular drain cleaning and maintenance is an easy way to prevent these issues. Here we’ll explain why and what benefits these services provide to a home.

Preventing Clogs and Overcoming Nasty Drain Odors

Drain clogs are by far one of the most common plumbing problems and something that virtually everyone has to deal with on occasion. Being diligent about what you flush down a drain definitely helps in preventing clogs, but even this often isn’t enough. Shower, tub and bathroom sink drains tend to collect lots of hair that then traps grease and oil from your bath products and body. This can lead to a major clog or prevent water from properly draining away. Similarly, food scraps, fat, oil and grease tend to build up inside kitchen sink drains and create the same issues.

One reason that drains can be so prone to clogging is due to the P-trap underneath them. This trap has a belly or bend in the bottom that serves two primary purposes. The first is that it holds water inside it to create an airtight seal that traps noxious sewer gases in the drain pipe. This is so that they can’t flow up out of the drain. The other purpose is to trap larger or heavier solid materials that get washed down the drain. This is important since these solids could create a clog further down in the drain pipe or in the main sewer line if they got washed down.

The problem is that the solids can continually build up inside the P-trap until it starts to clog and the drain no longer works properly. In fact, the vast majority of times when you’re dealing with a clogged drain, it’s because the P-trap and not the drain itself is clogged.

Having your drains professionally cleaned on a regular basis is an easy way to prevent clogs. It will also help to prevent and overcome nasty drain odors that result when solid materials inside the drain and P-trap start to rot and are fed on by odor-causing bacteria.

Leak Prevention and Protecting Your Plumbing

Maintenance is also essential for ensuring that all of the drains, traps and drain pipes in your home are in good condition. Most homes now have PVC drain pipes. However, there is usually still a metal fitting underneath the sink in between the drain and the piece of pipe that connects it to the P-trap. This fitting is highly prone to corroding over time and leading to water leaking out around it any time you use the sink. All of the various other connections or fittings that connect the drain to the P-trap and the trap to the drain pipe will often loosen over time. They could also break and lead to a leak.

Leaks underneath a kitchen or bathroom sink cabinet are typically easy to spot. The problem is that shower drains and toilet drains can also experience issues that lead to them leaking. These leaks can be much more difficult to spot until you start seeing visible water damage on the floor or the ceiling below the shower or toilet. An especially major issue is if the toilet flange or wax ring that secures the toilet to the drain pipe underneath it breaks or wears out. In this case, you’ll end up with wastewater and sewage that can contain harmful pathogens leaking out inside your home.

Having a plumber inspect and maintain your drains regularly can help to prevent leaks. In this way, you can hopefully ensure that you don’t have to deal with major water damage or pay for costly home and plumbing repairs.

Signs You Need to Have Your Drains Cleaned

Most plumbers recommend having your drains professionally cleaned and maintained at least once a year. You should also call to schedule a drain cleaning service or for repairs if you notice any leaks or issues with any drains. In most cases, a drain won’t just suddenly clog unless you try to wash lots of food scraps or other solids down it at one time. Instead, you will usually first notice issues like the water draining slower than normal or making a gurgling or bubbling noise as it goes down the drain. You may also notice that the drain has recently started to smell bad.

These issues can occur due to a problem with the drain itself, your main sewer line or the plumbing vent that sticks up through your roof. This is something you can easily check by seeing if the issues are limited to one drain or occur in all of your plumbing fixtures. If none of your drains are working properly, you should immediately call a plumber to check your sewer system. If not, the problem is almost guaranteed to get worse. This can lead to your sewer line clogging and causing sewage to start backing up inside your home and flowing out of floor and shower drains.

Tips for Preventing Drain Issues

While annual drain cleaning and maintenance is important, there are also steps you can take to help prevent you from needing to have your drains cleaned more often. One of the best and easiest ways to prevent clogs and drain issues is to use a sink strainer in all kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and shower drains.

If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you also need to make sure you use it correctly. This means never trying to overload it, always running cold water when using it and only putting certain types of food scraps into it. Specifically, you should avoid putting any starchy, fibrous or hard food into the disposal.

Especially important is ensuring that you try never to put fats, oils or grease down a drain or into your garbage disposal. This is because fat, oil and grease are generally the biggest contributors to clogs and drain or sewer issues. The reason is that they tend to cling to the inside of pipes and will start to capture or trap other solids, leading to the pipe slowly clogging.

One final thing that any professional plumber will tell you is to never try to clear a clog or overcome drain issues with any type of drain cleaner. If you can’t eliminate the clog with a sink plunger, you’re always best to call a plumber for help. The reason is that the chemicals in drain cleaning products are extremely harsh and can basically start to eat through drain pipes, especially PVC piping. Some products also work by producing a chemical reaction when they come into contact with water. This reaction produces extreme heat that will often cause PVC to warp and increase the chances of the drain leaking.

Your Trusted Plumbing Professionals

If you need to have your drains cleaned or inspected and maintained, Bryant Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric is always here to help. We’ve been serving Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio residents for over 80 years. We are the company to trust for all of your plumbing needs or if you need any electrical, heating or air conditioning service. If you want to ensure your plumbing works properly, contact us today to get your drain cleaning and maintenance needs taken care of promptly and professionally.

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