Nobody wants to have to call an emergency residential plumber at 2 am when the toilet won't flush or there's sewage coming up through the sinks. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to decrease your risk of a major or emergency plumbing problem in the future. Here are four quick tips to get you started.
Don't let hair down the drain.
Many clogs in bathrooms are caused by hair that sneaks down the drain. Hair may also catch on rough patches further down the pipes, contributing to more serious clogs and sewage backups. If there is a metal basket in your shower drain, make sure you use it. If you don't have a basket in your drain, you can purchase an inexpensive plastic insert at a home goods store. If you ever wash your hair in the sink, it's a good idea to put one in there, too.
Never rinse grease down the drain.
You should never pour grease down the drain in your kitchen. As soon as it hits the cooler pipes, it will congeal inside of them. If it does not immediately cause a clog, it will slowly build up over time and start sticking to other food particles and debris that gets washed down the drain, eventually leading to a huge plumbing problem.
Let grease come to room temperature, and then dispose of it in the trash. Do the same with greasy sauces.
Plunge at the first sign of a slow drain.
If you notice a drain start to slow down, take your plunger to it immediately rather than waiting for it to stop draining completely. This way, you'll dislodge the clogging material before the clog has a chance to get any larger. If the plunger itself does not work, try pouring some boiling water down the drain. It will help melt and break down any soap scum or grease that might be contributing to the issue.
Be careful what you flush.
If it's not urine, feces, or toilet paper, do not flush it down the toilet. Items like tampons and personal wipes may say "flushable," on the label, but if you have the beginnings of a clog in your main sewer line, these items may catch on the clogging material and cause the clog to grow larger. Make sure everyone in your household knows not to flush these items or paper towels, facial tissue, cotton swabs, and other hygiene items.