Prevent Plumbing Clogs During COVID-19
Prevent Plumbing Clogs During COVID-19
School, work, and events are cancelled, public places are closed, and you and your family are experiencing extra time at home.
More people at home means more bathroom usage. In fact, there’s a rumor this is what fueled the run on toilet paper. Rather than using restrooms and kitchens at schools, in workplaces, or restaurants, we are using those in our home.
Plumbing clogs can happen easier than we would like. We are obviously facing a really tough time right now; nobody would like for it to be even harder by having a plumbing backup at home. In the worst case scenario, you could block a main pipe, meaning your toilet wouldn’t flush, your shower wouldn’t drain, and your sink would back up.
In light of this, we want to offer some tips for reducing extra stress on your plumbing to help you through the crisis.
Prevent Plumbing Clogs During COVID-19: Kitchen Drains
Fat, oil, and grease can clog your drains and pipes. Food and substances that do not break down, including fibrous food, egg shells and non-food items, along with grease and oil, will build up in your pipes and create a clog in your drain over time.
Never pour hot oil or grease down the sink—whether or not you have a disposal.
What you can do to prevent plumbing clogs:
● Let plenty of water run down the drain by keeping the faucet open for up to a half a minute each day. Sink lines commonly get plugged because not enough water is flushed through them, especially after the garbage disposal is used. Run the faucet for about five seconds after you turn off the disposal. This helps flush the line.
● You can also maintain your drains by pouring hot water down them on a weekly basis, or by pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain, letting it sit for half an hour and then pouring two quarts of hot water down the drain.
Prevent Plumbing Clogs During COVID-19: Toilet
Flushing the wrong items is a major cause of toilet clogs.
If you are in a position where toilet paper is limited and you’ve resorted to using other products like wipes, napkins, or paper towel, use them sparingly and/or throw them in the trash instead of the toilet, especially if you are only urinating.
In addition, your drain could be clogged from flushing excessive amounts of toilet paper or flushing paper towels, tampons, and other objects down the commode. Don't flush wipes or your home plumbing might become clogged. Items such as dental floss, Q-Tips, baby wipes, or any other paper product cling to the roots in the sewer and cause an immediate blockage.
In short, stop flushing products that are not made to go down the toilet. Flush only the three p's. Pee, Poop and TP (toilet paper).
The California Water Resources Board says no wipes should ever be flushed, even if the label says they are flushable. Wipes do not break down in sewage systems and have been clogging pipes and treatment plants for years, but officials are worried the problem is suddenly getting a lot worse.
The massive number of people using sanitary wipes to disinfect during the coronavirus outbreak is threatening sewage plants and officials say the wipes can even pose a danger to your home plumbing.
Be sure to have a plunger available to prevent plumbing clogs. Flush the toilet more often to keep water moving through your drains to help flush the waste down. This will reduce the chance of problematic, immediate clogs, and future sewer line back-ups.
Prevent Plumbing Clogs During COVID-19: Bathtub and Shower
If you thought that the only pipes in your household that can clog and overflow are your toilet and kitchen sink, think again.
Your bathtub takes approximately the same amount of abuse each day with water, soap particles, hair care products and other solid objects passing through it en route to the sewers. Just like any other drainage, your bathtub drain can clog up and overflow, resulting in an indoor flood that can cause water damage on your property.
Hair can wash down the drain during showers or while washing your hair in the sink or combing and cutting it over the sink and will eventually create a clog.
If your hair tends to shed badly when you wash it, take a proactive approach. Make sure you have a guard over your drain to catch the hair more frequently. This advice works whether you wash your hair in the shower, sink or while soaking in your favorite bathtub.
Frequent shavers — especially those who share a bathroom with other frequent shavers — are no strangers to clogged pipes and slow-draining sinks. That daily barrage of thick whiskers and sticky lather might block even the widest of pipes given enough time.
Soap is another culprit. Sometimes, soap itself is not a problem, but when it is combined with hair and other substances, it can form into solid clumps, clogging your drain.
Avoid disposing of oily fluids by dumping them down the drain. Oil, grease and fats are known to linger in your drain, get bigger as more debris comes in, and cause a clog.
Educate your children on proper tub use. Kids love to play while they’re in the tub and sometimes they remove the drain covers and flush down toys. When this happens, you’ll have a clog that’s tough to remove and it can require plumbing services to clear.
Fortunately, preventing plumbing clogs that may lead to bathtub overflow isn’t the most complex thing in the world. You’ll just have to be careful not to let debris go down this drain as you and your family enjoy the comforts of refreshing baths and showers.
Investing in some kind of mesh sink strainer, which is incredibly cheap and generally do a good job of keeping nasty clumps of hair and syrupy products from building up in your drain, is a good idea.
Be sure to dump whatever the strainer catches into the trash on a regular basis, or else that kind of defeats the purpose. Keep the drain cover on at all times. This keeps most solid objects out of your tub’s drainage line.
Keep your tub clean and hair-free as much as possible. Your bath tub’s drain cover keeps most hair strands out, but some eventually get through. Over time, hair can accumulate in your drain and create a clog.
A Simple Pipe-clearing Trick to Help Prevent Plumbing Clogs During COVID-19
Here’s a simple solution to help keep your pipes clean and clog-free.
1. Remove the stopper (or mesh strainer) on your drain
2. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain
3. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain
4. Wait 10 minutes (heat some water while you’re waiting)
5. Carefully pour hot (but not boiling!) water down the drain
A monthly or even a quarterly treatment of the drain using this method should clear your pipes of soap products, shaving cream, and even whiskers. Plus, it doesn’t involve caustic chemicals, and it’s easy — most people have baking soda and white vinegar laying around the house.
Many people try chemicals before hiring a drain cleaning expert because they want to save money. Then they call the drain cleaner anyway because the chemical hasn’t cleared the drain.
Chemicals can solidify in a drain line and aggravate the blockage. If the chemical doesn’t eat through the blockage, therefore not flushing down the drain, the chemical sits in your sink line. It crystallizes, and then there is no way you can easily clean a sink line after chemicals harden in it.
It’s a good idea to keep a simple plumbing snake in your home. The snake can help you unclog your sink, bathtub, or shower drain if hair and other gunk happens to block them.
Symptoms of a Clogged Pipe
When your sewer is plugged or your septic tank needs pumping, here’s what will happen:
● Water backs up out of your tub drain when you flush your toilet
● When you empty your bathtub, the water stops flowing and bubbles back at you or bubbles into the toilet
● When you empty your kitchen sink, the sink water backs up into the toilet
● When you flush your toilet, sewer water backs up through an outside downspout, patio drain, driveway drain, or the lowest floor drain in your house
● When you run a load of laundry, soapy water comes up into a toilet, shower, or floor drain
When In Doubt, Call the Professionals at So Cal Services
We at So Cal Services understand that unclogging a tub isn't necessarily something you’ll want to or can do yourself. In that event, give us a call and our friendly staff can give you information on how we can help you.
We have technicians trained and prepared to help you get the comfort and safety you need in your home. Contact us today at (951) 926-1978 for more information or to get scheduled for your plumbing needs.
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