How To Spot Trouble With Your Drains And Keep Them Clean

It seems like a clogged drain always happens when you're expecting company or cooking the family dinner. Clogs are annoying and a major disruption when you're preparing a meal or expecting guests, but they usually don't strike out of the blue. There are often signs before the day your drain stops up. Here are some things that signal drain problems and what you can do about it.

The Shower Doesn't Drain As Fast

When you notice the bathtub doesn't empty as fast as it used to or when you take a shower, you stand in water because it doesn't drain out quickly, it's time to think about a drain clog. Clogs in the shower or tub are usually formed by a combination of soap scum and hair. Fortunately, these clogs are fairly easy to fish out because they stay close to the top of the drain.

The best way to get the clog out is to use an inexpensive tool from a hardware store that's made for the purpose. This tool has jagged teeth, so when you stick it in the drain it gets caught in the hair clog. When you pull out the tool, the clog comes out with it. You should clear out a clog in your shower, tub, or bathroom sink as soon as you notice the drain slowing down so you can prevent a complete clog that inconveniences you and needs a plumber to clear.

The Toilet Flush Is Weak

Another sign of drain problems is a toilet that seems to have a weak flush. The bowl fills up and takes longer to drain. You may even have to use the plunger more and more often. A problem with the toilet drain should be looked at by a plumber as soon as possible because you don't want the toilet to overflow in your house if it gets severely clogged.

Your plumber may look into the drain to see if it has tree roots or paper clogs. He or she can use a drain snake to chop up the roots or a jet of water to blast away the clog. If roots are the source of the problem, you may need to call the plumber every few years to clear out the roots when they grow back.

The Kitchen Sink Backs Up

Clogs in a kitchen sink are very common because of all the food, grease, and soap scum that gets into the drain. Even if you're careful about what goes in your drains, a certain amount of grease and food bits go in when you wash the dishes. This waste creates a gummy residue on your drains that narrows the diameter and makes it easier for clogs to form. Plus, the sticky residue grabs onto solids that pass by, which causes build up on the drain. Your drains get slow to empty and there may be an odor wafting out.

Before you experience a complete clog, try pouring hot water you've heated on the stove down the drains to melt the clog and push it through. You can also try pouring baking soda in the drain followed by vinegar to create a fizzy cleaning solution. If you clean the drains early, you might clear the problem. If you wait too long, you may have to call in a plumber to clean the drain if plunging doesn't work.

You can buy chemical drain cleaners from the grocery store, but you may want to think twice before you use one of those. If the clog doesn't clear, you'll have a sink of toxic water to dump out and dispose of. Drain cleaners are dangerous if not used properly and they create a mess for plumbers to deal with if the chemicals are ineffective. Call a plumber, like Coastal Plumbing Inc., for more help.