How to Prevent Clogged Drains During the Holidays

2017 Dec 06
Posted in: Plumbing
what home improvements require a permit

We’re in the midst of the holidays, which means more cooking. And more cooking means a much higher risk of clogging your kitchen drains—or worse, clogging the main sewer line.

A clogged drain costs you money and makes for an unpleasant experience for hosts and guests alike.

Want to avoid the hassle and embarrassment of a clogged drain? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Just follow these 7 tips…

Tip #1: Never pour grease down the drains

This is easily the #1 mistake homeowners make throughout the year. When you pour grease or any kind of fats or oils down the drain, you’re just asking for a catastrophic clog.

You see, when you pour grease, oils or fats down the drain, it might seem harmless since it’s a liquid. But the liquid quickly cools, congeals and then becomes a sticky trap that catches anything else going down the drain. And eventually, it becomes one big congealed clog that’s completely blocking your drain.

Instead, we suggest that you collect oils, fats and grease into a resealable can that can safely be tossed into the garbage.

Tip #2: Don’t put these items down your garbage disposal

  • Bones
  • Fibrous fruits/vegetables (celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, onions)
  • Coffee grinds
  • Fruit pits (avocado pits, peach pits, etc.)
  • Corn husks
  • Egg shells
  • Potato peels
  • Pasta, rice and breads

Why? Well, these foods are notorious for either clogging your drains or for tangling themselves around your disposal’s blades (which can cause the disposal drain to back up). 

Instead of using your disposal for these foods, we suggest throwing them in the garbage can. We also suggest making a mental list of all these foods and make sure everyone in the house knows to avoid putting these foods down the disposal as well.

Tip #3: Don’t flush these items down the toilet

  • Baby wipes (or any wipe—EVEN if they’re labeled “flushable”)
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Dental floss
  • Paper towels/tissues
  • Hair
  • Kitty litter

All the products above can get lodged in the drain connected to your toilet. So to avoid that classic clogged-toilet scene from Dumb and Dumber, make sure you toss these items in the trash and never flush them down the toilet.

Tip #4: Regularly flush your drains with dawn and hot water

After cooking or cleaning, we suggest pouring half a cup of Dawn dishwashing detergent down the drain followed by lukewarm water. Because Dawn is designed to turn grease into a more soluble liquid, this will help remove any built-up grease from your drains.

Note: Do not pour hot or boiling water down the drain. According to Uniform Plumbing Code, any water over 140 degrees can damage the piping in your home.

Tip #5: Clean your pop-up assemblies

Many showers and sinks have what’s called “pop-up” assemblies. These devices get easily clogged by debris, hair and soap scum.

We suggest removing the pop-up assembly before you expect guests and remove anything that’s stuck to them. This will help prevent slow moving drains and ultimately helps to prevent the drain from clogging.

Additionally, you should clean out the overflow opening in your sinks that lead to the pop-up assembly. This prevents that embarrassing “sewer smell” that’s caused by gunk/bacteria buildup in overflow openings.

To clean out your overflow opening, follow these directions:

  1. Close the pop-up assembly 
  2. Fill sink until the water barely runs into the overflow opening
  3. Pour a cup of bleach into the water
  4. Keep the faucet running for about 10 minutes (make sure water is still barely flowing into overflow opening during this time)

Tip #6: Brush hair before showering

This may sound odd but brushing your hair before stepping into the shower dramatically cuts down on the amount of hair that will reach your drain (and potentially clog it).

Brushing your hair helps to remove the loose hairs that would have ended up in your drain. Simply collect the hair and toss it in the trash (don’t flush it!).

Tip #7: Call a professional if multiple drains are clogging

If you have several drains that are backing up at the same time, have a professional take a look

You see, if it's just one drain that's clogging, you may be able to unclog it yourself. But multiple drains is a sign of a clog in the main sewer line, which you'll definitely need a professional to fix. And you'll want to call a professional immediately because the longer you wait, the higher the chance of other appliances clogging and potentially causing water damage.

Related: 3 Warning Signs You’ve Got a Clogged Sewer Line

Need an Arizona plumber?

See the signs of a clogged sewer line? Or have a single drain that’s clogged and giving you trouble?

We can help.

Just contact us. We’ll send over a qualified and trusted plumber to clear your drains and get your home back to tip-top shape for the Holidays.

 

Related reading: