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How to Keep your Drains Clog Free

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Our household drains take a lot of beating because it seems like a convenient way to get rid of unwanted liquid waste, but have you ever stopped to think about where all that water goes once it leaves your sight?

plumber fixing an apartment sink drain

Most of us don’t consider the ultimate destination of all that waste, but the fact remains that a lot of what goes down your drain will eventually end up back in natural waterways and maybe even back at your own faucet someday.

Before you casually flush waste down your drain, consider how it could not only cause a plumbing emergency, but also wreak havoc on our water treatment facilities and waterways. Here are a few simple tips regarding items you should never put down the drain to keep them clog free.

1. Coffee grounds, tea leaves and eggshells

Most plumbers agree that nothing can cause more blockages than coffee grounds, tea leaves and eggshells. The small particles from these three items love to cling on to the inner workings of the pipes, slowing down the water flow and eventually clogging the pipes and backing the system up. Even if you have a garbage disposal unit in the kitchen, throw your coffee grinds, loose tea leaves (including tea bags) and eggshells in the bucket.

2. Grease, fats, and oils

Although it can be tempting to just wash oil and grease down the drain with the dishwater, they can quickly cause all sorts of problems since they solidify once the warm water stops. This slippery slime can clog pipes and wreck your plumbing and sewage treatment plants. Items like cooked fat from meats, poultry, gravy, dairy, cooking oils, salad dressing, condiments and mayonnaise are all culprits. The best option to get rid of them is to recycle through city programs that accept kitchen waste, or put them in a jar by your stove and drop it off when full.

Grease, fats and oils are the worst offenders because they can disrupt the natural balance of waterways if they get out to the environment, so be environmentally conscious when you dispose of them. Avoid these substances from interfering with plants, fish, and other wildlife.

3. Medications

Most of us have been left with expired or non-necessary medication at some point in our life, but disposing of leftover medication down the drain is ill advised. Much like other types of chemicals, dumping medicine down the drain will find its way into natural waterways, so you’ll want to avoid this potentially dangerous occurrence. Sadly, studies have shown everything from antibiotics, ibuprofens to antidepressants have been found in drinking water supplies throughout the country.

To help this situation, find a medicine take-back program in your area. There are lots of local organizations that join together with pharmacies, law enforcement, and hospitals to collect and responsibly dispose of everything. If this is not available, mix the pills with something like kitty litter or coffee grounds and include them with your regular trash.

4. Paper towels, cotton balls, pre-moistened wipes, scrub pads, etc.

How many time have you grabbed a piece of paper towel to wipe up something and thrown in the toilet? If so, think again. While toilet paper is made up of material to break down and dissolve in a sewer or septic tank, other paper products are designed to stand up to abuse.

Because paper products are meant to be sturdy, even though they are biodegradable, it’s also the very reason they’re likely to clog up pipes and increase the chance of sewer backups and overflows. Even if the product claims to be flushable, it’s more prudent to keep them out of your sewage system.

5. Miscellaneous items

There are many other types of miscellaneous items that you should avoid flushing down the drain such as produce stickers, flushable cat litter, condoms, paint, conventional cleaning products, car fluids, etc. These items can get stuck in your drain and pipes, harbour parasites, not break down at all (like latex), produce chemical toxicity, endanger wildlife or sea life and a host of other dangerous situations.

6. Responsibility

Everyone has to do their part to keep their home and the environment safe. By being aware of what you are putting down your drain, you can protect your plumbing system and be a responsible citizen in your community. If you do run into drain problems, such as a clogged drain, Wentworth Plumbing is here to help.

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