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3 Tips for Avoiding Clogs in Your Plumbing

Clogged plumbing is not only a big inconvenience, but it can also lead to a big mess. The three common plumbing fixtures that often get clogged are toilets, kitchen sinks and bath/shower drains. Fortunately, in many cases clogs can be prevented by following some basic rules that will help you take care of your pipes. It’s always a good idea to have the phone number of your trusted Maryland plumber on hand in case something happens. But if you follow these tips you might not have to use it after all.

Clogged Toilet Drain

The drain connected to your toilet might be one of the widest of the drain pipes, but it has its limits of what kind of waste can safely pass through. Generally, toilet paper is your only safe bet. Even if it’s a wet wipe labeled “safe to flush,” it’s better not to take this risk when possible. Keep a small trashcan in the bathroom near the toilet so that you don’t have the temptation to flush something you shouldn’t. Cotton balls, q-tips and pads for makeup removal should never be thrown into a toilet. Essentially, anything that is capable of absorbing water should be disposed of in the trash. Make sure other members of your household, especially children, understand this as well.

Clogged Kitchen Drain

If you have a kitchen drain with a garbage disposal, keep in mind that it’s not the same as your trashcan. Garbage disposal is mainly for food remains that end up in the sink. If it’s not in the sink (e.g. on your kitchen counter or a cutting board), dispose of it in the trashcan. Also be careful with pouring large amounts of grease down the drain. Grease sticks to the sides of the pipe and can make it narrower over time, especially if it’s poured in cold weather when it’s more likely to solidify. Whenever possible, pour the grease in a jar and dispose in the trash. If you are using the drain, run cold water for at least 15 seconds after you pour the grease.

Clogged Shower Drain

Make sure your bath/shower drains are covered with properly-sized strainers. Stainless steel is usually the best material for a strainer, as it doesn’t disintegrate from heat and moisture unlike plastic. Empty the strainers as frequently as needed and never shower without one. If your home has “slow” drains and many family members who shower around the same time, ask them to wait 10-15min between the showers, so that the drains have time to empty.

Have a Plan of Action

Sometimes, your plumbing can clog and back up no matter how well you care for it. Invasive tree roots and calcified piping aren’t easy to detect and can do a lot of damage. Make sure you know where water shut-off valves are for every plumbing fixture in your house. This is your first line of defense in case your plumbing backs up. Next, you could try plunging or using store-bought drain cleaners. However, if you don’t know what you are doing it’s better to find a plumber in Maryland who can help you. And Michael Runk Plumbing and Heating is always happy to help. Give us a call or contact us online if you need help with clogged pipes or any other plumbing issue.

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