Blocked drains can be a real pain in the neck, and nobody wants to have to call out a plumber to resolve the issue. Thankfully there are plenty of things you can do to prevent a blocked drain. By giving your drains a little TLC from time to time, you can prolong their life and hopefully avoid any costly mishaps along the way. Here are our top tips for basic drain maintenance:
- Think twice about chemical drain clearing products. These look great on the TV ads, and may even solve the problem sometimes – but many of them are very corrosive and while they’re burning away the blockage in your pipes they might also be burning away the lining of your pipes. Also, as a general rule a chemical drain clearing product doesn’t remove the entire blockage – it just burns a hole big enough to get things up and running again. But with parts of the blockage still sitting in the pipe, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes clogged again.
- Think carefully about what goes down the drain. We all know by now (hopefully!) to put a hair trap in the bath or shower plug hole to avoid too much hair going down, but it’s important we also think about what ends up getting washed down the kitchen sink. Your fancy washing up liquid might boast that it removes grease, but where do you think all that fat goes? Into the water, to be washed down the sink, cool down and then get stuck to your pipes. If you’ve been cooking with any kind of fat, it’s always worth using a paper towel to remove as much fat as possible from your pans before washing them. And of course we hope it goes without saying that you really need to scrape all leftover food off plates before washing them. Just because it fits down the plughole doesn’t mean it won’t cause a problem further along the pipe!
- Learn where your stop cock is – and make sure everyone in the house knows. That’s not really drain maintenance, but it can be an absolute life saver in the event of a leak.
- Rinse your drains regularly. A quick blast of hot water will help to prevent undesirable things from sticking to the inside of the drains. A great way to do this is to boil extra water for your morning cuppa from time to time, and tip the excess down the kitchen sink immediately.
- For an added blast, pour some vinegar down the drain first and leave for half an hour before rinsing with hot water. The acetic acid in vinegar is a great natural cleaning product and can actually be quite effective at cutting through the grease and grime that can clog drain pipes.
- Never, ever flush nappies or sanitary products. If they don’t block your toilet, you can be sure they will block some pipe, somewhere along the line. It’s always wise to keep a bin in your bathroom for any waste so that people are not tempted to flush things!