Drains clogging are a bigger issue than most take into consideration. When a drain clogs it’s usually due to debris making a blockage and not allowing the passage of water through. This clog can increase the pressure build up in pipes and cause them to tear or burst. You may have used certain tools to unclog a drain such as harsh chemicals or a plunger in the past, however you maybe causing a bigger future issue by causing damage to your plumbing. Harsh chemicals may dissolve your plumbing if you pour them down a plumbing system not intended to withstand the chemicals for example a common household “clog removal” product can weaken pvc pipes, crack toilets, corrode old pipes, and eat away at the glue holding pipes together. Plunging also adds pressure to the plumbing and if there is damage it could case a burst as well. The best solution is not get clogs in the first place. This article covers what not to put down the drain to help prevent future clogs.
If you find your drain already frequent clogs, you should call a plumber to do a video inspection to see where the issue is and have them use the proper tools to break up the partial clog and clear the line. They can also observe the condition of your plumbing to inspect for damage already done to prevent future issues.
The best solution is to prevent clogs from happening. The list below isn’t an exhaustive list, however, it may help give you an idea of what causes clogs and prevent you from pouring other things down the drain that can cause a clog.
Coffee grounds are a common thing that people will put down the drain while potentially washing out parts of the coffee maker or just because it would seem like the ground are so small they will go down easy, however coffee grounds stick together and can very easily clog a drain.
Oils, Fat, and Grease
Cooking oil and meat fat as well as things like leftover bacon grease can cause a really tough clog. When poured down the drain hot the grease is more liquid and when it cools it becomes more solid and can bind to other debris from partial clogs or cling to the walls of your plumbing.
Non food Items
These would include items from food such as pits, stems, and stickers from produce. While larger pieces like the pits and stems can become further debris if there is a partial clog, however some items like stickers can have their stickiness cause issues by making other things stick to it or leave the adhesive stuck to the plumbing walls leaving an area that can have bigger items stuck to it.
Eggshells have a membrane that can also bind to the sides or with other debris and create tough clogs. The other thing about eggshells is that they bring along their own debris, the shells, with the membrane and if you put down too many at once, it can create a clog all on their own.
Potato peels and other starchy foods can become almost like glue when attaching to the side of your plumbing walls. Be sure dispose of peels in the trash as it’s very common to have to call a plumber on a holiday due to clogging the sink when preparing a holiday meal.
Paper towels, and medical waste such as cotton balls and bandages.
Paper towels and napkins can sometimes get down the drain in pieces and can cling to the sides of the plumbing as well as cotton balls, which sometimes get put down the drain after a cleaning.
Medicine, Cleaners, Household Fluids
Medicine should not put down the drain or flushed not because of potential clogs, but rather because medication put down the drain or flushed can enter into the drinking water supply. Cleaners can not only affect the water supply as well, but can damage the plumbing, especially if mixed to create a harsher chemical. Household fluids such as engine oil and nail polish remover can also be toxins for the water supply.
Paints are made with chemicals and dyes made from many chemicals that are toxic to the water supply. They are considered so dangerous to the water supply that there are many municipalities that have regulation against putting down paint down the drain or disposing of it in the ground.
What not to flush
While putting things down the drain can cause clogs, there is another plumbing system that hasn’t been discussed – the toilet and sewer system. There are things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet for various reasons.
Depending on your plumbing system these can become clogged and risk causing a pipe to burst. Older systems are especially vulnerable as they aren’t made of stronger material and aren’t as wide allowing flushable wipes to easily pass.
Feminine products are frequently flushed rather than thrown away and aren’t designed to be flushed. Most of these won’t break down in water and can easily become lodged on other debris and create clogs further down the plumbing and underground, which makes it very hard for a plumber to clear and most likely will require a professional plumber to use professional tools to clear.