3 Common Causes Of Drain Clogs And How To Avoid Them

clogged drainNot only are drain clogs frustrating, but in the warm Los Angeles area, they can also lead to offensive odors. Knowing what typically causes clogs to form is the first step in preventing them.

  1. The wrong kind of debris – Some substances should never be poured down any drain due to their tendency to cause clogs. This includes fats (grease, cooking oil, butter), starchy foods (pasta, flour, raw dough), and coffee grounds. These should be thrown in the trash. Over time, though, even dirt and soap scum can lead to drain clogs. To keep your drains clear, flush them once a month by pouring in a few tablespoons of liquid soap followed by a pot or two of boiling hot water.
  2. Hair buildup – You don’t need to have waist-length hair to end up with hair clogs. Even short hair can bind with soap scum and other debris to form stubborn clogs. The easiest way to avoid these clogs is to use a mesh drain strainer, also known as a hair catcher, in your shower or bathtub drain.
  3. Mineral buildup – The Los Angeles area has some of the hardest water in the country. Hard water, which is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron, can leave mineral scale on the insides of your pipes. As this scale builds up and traps other passing debris, it restricts the flow of water through your pipes. You can keep scale at bay by periodically pouring 1/2 cup each of vinegar and baking soda into the drain, letting the mixture foam for five to 10 minutes, then flushing the drain with a pot of hot water. For a long-term solution, consider installing a whole-house water softener.

Because clogs can also come from issues you can’t see, such as a tree root in your sewer line, scheduling a professional plumbing inspection once a year is the best way to keep your drains clear.