DIY Plumbing Tips to Avoid Calling a Plumber Part One
Clean Out Your Traps to Avoid Slow Drains
Most of our calls here involves slow drains. These calls can be costly, especially if you call the wrong plumber. The thing most people don’t know is that 90% of all slow drain calls are completely avoidable. This is especially true when it comes to bathtubs, showers, and bathroom sinks. Every plumbing fixture in your home is protected by what is known in the plumbing world as a p-trap. A p-trap is, simply put, a trap that keeps a small amount of water in them in order to prevent sewer gasses from escaping. This keeps your bathroom smelling like daisies instead of what you just put down the drain. Unfortunately, these p-traps can also trap other things. The main contributor: hair.
Most of us are losing our hair, there I said it. Whether you are a man, woman or child we all lose hair when we take a bath or shower. Mix this hair loss with a dense material like conditioner and you have a mixture that can remain trapped in the bottom of the p-trap which, over time, will cause the drain to run slowly. This is true for sink drains as well, toothpaste, shaving cream, and small hair all get caught in the bottom of the p-trap slowing down the flow of water. Not only do these small clogs slow down the water in the pipe they can also create noxious odours.
So how do you fix this? There are two solutions to the problem; you can use a special tool available at any home improvement store for under $10 called a Zipstrip, that can be slid down a drain opening and into the p-trap, the ridges on this tool catch on the hairball mixture that is built up and when you pull it back out of the drain opening it brings this bombastic hairy abomination back up with it.
Another method to clean your sink p-traps is to place a bucket under them and unscrew the union joints that attach it to your sink piping, slowly work the bottom half of the trap off and dump its contents into the bucket and then tighten the trap back into place. Just insure that the joints the the p-trap are tight or you could end up with a leak.
Whichever method you choose to deal with your hairy dilemma, one last tip is to avoid products that use chemicals to remove clogs. Often times these products will sit at the clogged area to melt their way through. The potential harm comes if you have metal piping, these chemicals will also wear holes in the pipe, leading to a much bigger problem than a slow drain.
That was just tip one. Follow the blog for the rest of our series on avoidable plumbing calls.