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Old broken sludge polypropylene plumbing pipes with red rust and limescale

How Do I Avoid Clogged Pipes?

Clogged pipes can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Unexpected plumbing issues can disrupt your daily routine and sometimes result in costly repairs.

The good news is that there are effective ways to prevent clogged pipes and avoid unnecessary headaches.

Problems Caused By Clogged Pipes

Clogged pipes can lead to a variety of problems, ranging from minor inconveniences to significant and costly issues. Here are some common problems that can be caused by clogged pipes:

Slow Draining Fixtures

One of the initial signs of clogged pipes is slow drainage from sinks, showers, and bathtubs. When pipes are partially blocked, water takes longer to drain, which can be frustrating.

Foul Odors

Clogs can trap debris and organic matter, leading to foul odors emanating from drains. These odors can be unpleasant and impact the overall comfort of your living space.

How Do I Avoid Clogged Pipes

Backed-Up Toilets

Clogged pipes can cause toilets to back up, resulting in the inability to flush waste properly. This is not only inconvenient but also unhygienic.

Water Damage

In severe cases, clogs can cause water to back up and overflow. This can lead to water damage to your floors, walls, and ceilings, requiring costly repairs.

Reduced Water Pressure

Clogs can restrict water flow in your pipes, leading to reduced water pressure in faucets and showers. This can make daily tasks like washing dishes and taking showers less efficient.

If you are experiencing Reduced Water Pressure, it might be caused by another problem. You can learn more in the article about Low Water Pressure.

Pipe Corrosion

Clogs can accelerate pipe corrosion. The buildup of debris and water pressure changes can weaken pipe materials over time, leading to leaks or burst pipes.

Mold and Mildew Growth

Clogs can create stagnant water pockets in your plumbing system, which provide an ideal environment for mold and mildew growth. This can not only damage your pipes but also pose health risks.

Expensive Repairs

If clogs are not addressed promptly, they can lead to more extensive and costly plumbing repairs. This includes replacing damaged pipes or dealing with structural damage caused by water leaks.

Plumber in Lakeland repairing a sink in a kitchen.

Insect and Pest Infestations

Stagnant water in clogged pipes can attract insects and pests. Some pests, like cockroaches, thrive in dark, damp environments and can enter your home through drainpipes.

Sewage Backup

In extreme cases, clogs in the main sewer line can cause sewage backup into your home. This is a severe health hazard and requires immediate professional intervention.

Reduced Lifespan of Appliances

Clogged pipes can affect the performance and lifespan of appliances like water heaters and dishwashers, leading to more frequent repairs and replacements.

Increased Utility Bills

A clogged pipe can make your plumbing system work harder to maintain water flow. This can result in higher water and energy bills due to increased usage.

To prevent these problems, it’s essential to practice regular maintenance and take preventive measures to keep your pipes clear and functioning properly. Address clogs promptly when they occur to avoid more significant issues down the road.

Prevention is Better than Cure

The first step in clogged pipes prevention is understanding what causes them. Most clogs in bathroom drains are due to the accumulation of hair, soap, and dirt. In kitchens, clogs often result from cooking grease, food particles, and coffee grounds that go down the drain.

Proactive measures to avoid clogged pipes can save you from frustration and expense. Below are some preventative measures you can adopt.

Kitchen

  • Don’t put grease, oil, or fat down the drain. These substances can cool and solidify in your pipes, causing clogs. Instead, pour them into a sealable container and throw it away in the trash.
  • Use a strainer to catch food particles before they go down the drain. This is especially important for sinks without garbage disposals.
  • Rinse your dishes with hot water before putting them in the dishwasher. This will help to loosen any food particles that may be stuck on.
  • Clean your garbage disposal regularly. Run cold water and grind up ice cubes or citrus peels to help clean the blades and remove any built-up food particles.
  • Pour hot water down the drain once a week to help dissolve any grease or fat that may have accumulated.

If you are experiencing a kitchen sink clog and looking for a solution, read our article about ‘How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink‘.

Bathroom

  • Many bathroom clogs are caused by hair and other debris, so an effective way of avoiding bathroom drain clogs is to simply use a mesh strainer in the shower or bathtub.
  • Clean your drain stoppers regularly. Hair, soap scum, and other gunk can collect on the stoppers and cause clogs.
  • Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. This includes things like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and diapers. These items can easily clog your toilet and/or sewer line.

General

  • Have your pipes professionally inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. This will help to identify any potential problems before they cause clogs.
  • Be aware of the types of products you are using in your drains. Some products, such as heavy-duty drain cleaners, can damage your pipes and lead to clogs.
Hand of woman in pink rubber glove taking of hair clump from water drain, blocked pipe in bath.

What to Do If You Have a Clogged Drain

If you’re already dealing with a clogged drain, you may be able to fix it yourself if you have the proper tools and experience. Here are the steps:

  1. Identify the Problem. Start by identifying where the clog is. Is it in the sink, bathtub, or toilet? This will determine the method you use to unclog the drain.
    (Note that, if the problem is in the main sewage pipe, your options for unclogging are limited, and you will most likely need the services of a professional plumber.)
  2. Try a Plunger. For most clogs, a plunger can be an effective tool. Note that the type of plunger you use depends on where the clog is; there are different types for toilets than for kitchen sinks. Ensure the plunger cup fully covers the drain opening and apply forceful plunges to clear the clog. If you’re dealing with a double sink, seal the other drain with a stopper or a wet cloth before you start plunging.
  3. Use a Hand Auger or Plumbing Snake. If the plunger doesn’t work, you can use a hand auger or a plumbing snake. Insert the snake into the drain and turn the handle to break up the clog.
  4. Try a Drain Bladder: This method is for severe clogs and should not be used on fragile or plastic pipes. Insert the bladder into the drain, and as it expands, it should clear the clog.
  5. Use a Homemade Drain Cleaner. You can make a non-toxic drain cleaner using vinegar and baking soda. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Wait 15-20 minutes and then rinse with hot water.
  6. Use Chemical Drain Cleaner (With Caution). If all else fails, you may need to use a chemical drain cleaner. Do not use this method on plastic or fragile pipes and be sure to follow the instructions closely.

Remember, it’s always better to prevent clogs than to deal with them. By following the preventative steps outlined above, you can save yourself the time, expense, and frustration of dealing with clogged pipes.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

Despite your best efforts, you may still encounter stubborn clogs. That’s when it’s time to call a professional plumbing company. They have the expertise and tools to effectively address and fix clogged pipes.

Remember, attempting to fix a severe clog yourself can sometimes cause more harm than good. So, when in doubt, it’s always best to reach out to a professional plumber.

Stronghold Plumbing In & Near Lakeland

If you have clogged pipes or if it’s time for a plumbing inspection or other plumbing services, contact the best plumbers in and near Lakeland – Stronghold Plumbing. We are proud to be one of the fastest-growing Florida plumbing companies, and we look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate why so many of your friends and neighbors choose us instead of searching for “plumbers near me.”

Contact us today for a free plumbing estimate!

FAQ’s – Clogged Pipes

What is the best way to avoid clogged pipes?

The best way to avoid clogged pipes is with regular maintenance and prevention. Be sure to install strainers in your drains, clean your stoppers regularly, and avoid putting grease, oil, fat or other debris down the drain. Additionally, have your pipes professionally inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.

What should I do if my pipe is already clogged?

If your pipe is already clogged, you may be able to fix it yourself if you have the proper tools and experience. Start by identifying where the clog is and attempting to clear it with a plunger. If that doesn’t work, you can try using a hand auger or plumbing snake, a drain bladder, or a homemade drain cleaner. If all else fails, you may need to use a chemical drain cleaner. However, it is always best to consult with a professional plumber for severe clogs as attempting to fix them yourself can sometimes cause more harm than good.

When should I contact a professional plumbing company?

If you’re dealing with a stubborn clog or if it’s time for a plumbing inspection or other plumbing services, contact a professional plumbing company. They have the expertise and tools to effectively address and fix clogged pipes. Remember, attempting to fix a severe clog yourself can sometimes cause more harm than good, so when in doubt, reach out to a professional plumber. 

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