Helpful Tips and Tricks

Water Drainage, How to Keep it Flowing

Water Drainage and Clogged Drain
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  ARG_Flickr

Hey everyone! Today I wanted to do a quick post on household water drainage and how to handle a clogged drain. Yep, having proper water drainage in your household pipes is very important.
All the drains in your house will eventually find their way to the sewer. The main drain line will run from your house to either a main sewer system operated by the city, or to a septic tank buried in your yard. But either way, if you don’t have proper water drainage then you could begin getting foul smelling pipes and possible back flow through your water drainage system. Let me tell ya, that stuff doesn’t smell pretty either.
So it’s very important to maintain clean pipes in order to have the proper water drainage. This is not going to be some extensive training course in plumbing, but for anyone that lives in a home or apartment that has running water, this may be helpful in preventing a clogged sink drain or clogged shower drain.
Well, usually Fridays are the day I post a new part to my Amazing Animals of the World series. But there hasn’t seemed to be a whole lot of interest in that series, so I think I may discontinue it for now. It hit 10 editions, so that sounded like a nice round number to stop at for now. If anyone would like to see it return, please let me know. Anyway, on to the Water Drainage Goodies!

Water Drainage for the Kitchen Sink

The kitchen sink in your household probably gets more use than any other drain in the house, except maybe the shower or bathtub. So it’s very important to keep good water drainage to ensure you don’t encounter any plumbing problems.
It’s a good idea to run the faucet for at least 30 seconds a day and let that water drain through the pipes. In fact this is a good idea for all sinks in the house. One common reason that sinks get stopped up is because not enough water is being flushed through them. This is especially the case if you have a garbage disposal and use it very often. Always allow the water to run for at least five seconds after turning off the garbage disposal, this will help flush any particles down the drain.
Hot grease can be terrible for water drainage and you should never pour it down the sink. It doesn’t matter if you have a disposal or not, hot grease down your drain can cause other forms of grease like soap to congeal and can cause a clogged sewer & drain.
It is not uncommon for some grease buildup to be present in a sink drain even if you haven’t directly poured hot grease down it. So once a month fill your sink to the top with scalding hot water. Then reach in with something (not your hand or you may get burned) and remove the stopper. The hot water swirling down the drain will help remove any residue or grease buildup that may be present.

Unclog a Plugged Toilet

Your toilet is another thing that will possibly get clogged with foreign objects. So never put anything down there that doesn’t belong. Your natural goodies and toilet paper are the only recommended items that should pass through your toilet.
Be sure to never try and flush q-tips, baby wipes, plastic items or any course paper products. These objects will cling to the roots in the sewer and can cause immediate blockage in your sewer lines. This can cause poor water drainage between your home and the main sewer line.
If you do get clogged from foreign objects like the ones mentioned, it is very expensive to have a professional come out and remove them.

Water Drainage: Signs that It’s Gone too Far

It’s a common misconception that a slow moving shower drain or sink drain means that you actually have a clogged drain somewhere. It may simply mean that your lines need to be cleaned. You can try a little vinegar and baking soda and follow that with boiling water, but if that doesn’t work consult a professional.
There are a few sure fire signs to a sewage or septic clog.

  1. Water will back up from your tub when ever you flush the toilet.
  2. When emptying the bathtub, water drainage may stop or may possibly bubble back at you either through the tub drain or even the toilet.
  3. Emptying your kitchen sink may cause water to back up into the toilet.
  4. Flushing the toilet may cause sewer water to back up through other household drains such as an outside downspout, patio drain or through house foundation water drainage.
  5. You may notice soapy water backing up through your toilet, shower or floor drain when doing laundry.


Never use Chemicals to Treat your Clogged Drain

First of all, drain cleaning chemicals are quite dangerous and toxic to keep in your home. Not only are they dangerous to children and the environment, but if they splash onto your skin or in eyes, then you have a severe problem on your hands.
There are many instances where someone will try to use these drain chemicals to fix their clogged sink drain instead of calling a professional. But what happens is, they wind up calling a pro anyway because the chemicals will not wash free. The professionals will know how to deal with chemical clogged drains, but by all means never try to run a hanger or cable through a clogged drain that has chemicals in it.
What happens is, when the chemicals enter the clogged drain, they can solidify and make it worse. This usually happens when there is something blocking the line that the chemical can not eat through. Then the chemical will sit behind the clog and crystallize. There is no easy way to clean a clogged drain once the chemicals have hardened in it.
This will normally lead to calling a plumber out to fix the pipes. So if you’re going to call one anyway, why not call them first if you are unable to fix the problem with a simple flush with vinegar, baking soda and boiling water. This will save you money in the long run because the chemical clog will make much more work for the plumber, which means they will charge you more!
One more thing to keep in mind when attempting to rescue your water drainage with chemicals is what they can do to your pipes and drainage system. Such chemicals can eat through copper, dissolve rubber gaskets and even cause galvanized pipes to corrode. Even though they are this destructive, they normally will not be able to eat through the simplest clog of a potato peel. I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true.
So the best fix for poor water drainage is of course preventive maintenance. Not to get the clogged drain in the first place is the key. Be sure to run your faucets on a regular basis, at least 30 seconds a day and fill your sinks with hot water and let it drain through to help flush down any foreign substances. If you do experience a clogged drain or you think you’re getting a clog, then try the vinegar, baking soda and boiling water flush first. And if none of that works, by all means call the professionals and leave the nasty chemicals out of it, unless you like learning the hard way.
I know, I know, some of you may disagree with this, but to each his own. I would love for you to share your experience either way, whether you are for or against chemical cleaners. Let’s have those opinions folks. 🙂

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66 thoughts on “Water Drainage, How to Keep it Flowing
  1. Similarly, know how to shut off water to sinks, toilets, washing machines and water-using appliances like the refrigerator’s icemaker. Should they misbehave, knowing the location of the shut-off valve will save the day and a lot of wet cleanup.

  2. Thank you for sharing this article about drain clogs. Unfortunately, my bathroom has been experiencing almost all of the symptoms of very clogged drains. Sewage smell coming from the sink, bubbling in the toilet when showering, toilet overflowing when using the sink, etc. It is very frustrating. Is it possible that I will need a professional to clean out my drains? This seems like something I wouldn’t be able to fix myself.

    1. Hi Wendy and thanks for commenting…It wounds like you’ve got quite the mess on your hands. I would most definitely recommend seeking the help of a professional in your case.

  3. Hello I was wondering if the shower water from the drain comes out full force into my face, do I have to worry about catching any bacteria diseases or hepatitis a This happened at another persons residence within an apartment complex

  4. I definitely was under the impression that slow water drainage meant a clogged drain. however, it is good to know that sewer lines might be the culprit, if after many drain cleanings, things are still going slowly! I will have to make sure to look out for that in the future so that I can avoid having a sewer disaster.

  5. One thing I could not understand that despite the developments that we’ve seen in the change of pipes, drains, sewers, there is still no way to completely avoid drain clogs.

  6. I like your explanation of some signs of a septic clog. If draining one appliance leads to water backing up in another appliance, then you probably have a septic clog. I also like your advice to never use chemicals to treat clogged drains and to perform proper maintenance instead. Thanks for the article.

  7. I didn’t realize that chemical pipe cleaners were so dangerous. I’ve avoided them because I didn’t want to pollute the water, but I didn’t realize that they could actually eat through copper or plastic! I’ll definitely be avoiding them in the future and leaving the chemicals to the professionals! Thanks for the information.

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