Fall is the ideal season to do your general drain cleanup. It can be done in preparation for the possible plumbing problems that winter often brings. These problems include freezing pipes and malfunctioning water heater. While a clean drain doesn’t directly stop such issues from happening, it lessens the risks of clogged and leaky pipes. Keep in mind that faulty pipes are harder to repair during winter.
Doing a general cleanup of your kitchen and bathroom drains is never pleasant. However, you can’t skip it unless you want to deal with slow-draining, nasty-smelling and filthy-looking drains everyday. To help you get through the chore, below are 5 tips you can follow:
1. Clean or replace strainers.
Strainers are your pipes’ first line of defense against food bits, hair, or any other items that may clog them. Most mesh and plastic strainers can be removed just by twisting or pulling them upwards. As for stainless steel ones, you may need to unscrew them first.
Ideally, you should clean mesh strainers on a weekly basis while their stainless steel counterparts should be cleaned at least once a month. Cleaning them on a weekly or monthly basis may simply involve picking up the bits and hair that got stuck on them. If there’s grime or mineral buildup, you’ll have to do some scrubbing using old toothbrushes, regular dishwashing liquid, and water. These will make the annual cleanup a lot easier.
During your annual drain maintenance, you have to inspect your strainers. Some mesh or plastic strainers may need replacement. The same goes with the screws of stainless steel strainers.
2. Repurpose old wire hangers.
Instead of throwing your old wire hangers, you can turn them into your own plumber snakes. While they may not be as efficient as the actual plumber snakes, wire hangers work fine in reducing mineral buildup inside the pipes. They can be used to pull up or push down the items that are clogging the pipes.
3. Stay away from chemical drain cleaners.
Chemical drain cleaners seem like the most convenient solution when you have dirty or clogged drains. In reality, however, they can do more harm than good. The toxic chemicals in them can damage parts of your plumbing system in the long run. Exposure to the said cleaning products may have health implications as well. It’s also important to note that they aren’t that effective in clearing clogs.
4. Use baking soda, vinegar and boiling water to clean.
The combination of baking soda, vinegar and water is a better alternative to chemical drain cleaners. For this tip, you’ll need to prepare a half-cup of baking soda, a half-cup of vinegar and a pot full of boiling water. The first thing you need to pour on your drain is the baking soda. Vinegar comes next. Leave the two substances for five minutes or longer.
Afterwards, pour the half of the boiling water directly on the drain. Never pour it over the sink or shower floor. After 30 minutes, pour the remaining water. As much as possible, do this at night when no one’s likely to use the sink or shower.
5. Make the most out of lemons.
To get rid of the strong smells on your drains, squeeze a lemon on each one of them. You may also leave the lemon peels on the drains for a few hours.
Aside from cleaning your drains, you should also hire a professional to inspect them every three years. Have your water heater and sewer system checked as well. For these services, you can count on Spartan Plumbing. They have professionals who can take care of your plumbing inspection, maintenance and repair needs regardless of the season.