Taking good care of your household drainage system
For you to take care of your drains, you firstly need to understand just what they are all about, and how putting different things down toilets can have differing affects.
All of the pipes that lead from your sinks, showers, toilets and bathtubs, including outside drains, all feed into one main drain pipe which connects to the residential drain line, eventually taking your waste away with all neighbouring houses’ to the main sewer. As you imagine it, water goes down your sink, into your main drain line, and flows freely into the residential drain pipe to be carried away, but when drains are first constructed, it has to be built as we know it, back to front.
Your drains are constructed at the very early stage of when a house is built, installing a large diameter drain line from the residential line into the boundaries of your home, ready for all of your water outlets to be connected to. This drain pipe has to be larger than the ones leading from your water outlets in your home, as it needs to be able to cope with waste water coming from a minimum of 3 drain lines at any one time.
An example of this would be someone running the kitchen sink, another person using the toilet, and a third person using the shower all at the same time, hence why the main pipe has to be large than the ones connected to your sinks, toilets, baths and showers. Once the house has been further constructed, it is then time to connect all the water outlets within your home, to the main drain line.
Why it is so very important to understand the above, is so you can get a picture of how the architecture looks understanding the stress that your main drain pipe can be put under, if items are put down the drains which shouldn’t be.
It would be useful also, simply taking a look at the size of the pipes which take your water away from your kitchen sink, in most cases, you will be able to reach around the whole pipe with the breadth of one hand, again, taking into consideration the stress you can put these drains under, if incorrectly used.
A blocked drain disaster occurs – example
Imagine the above scenario, it is Christmas day, you are catering for a larger size group of family/friends than you usually would, so you have someone running the cold tap whilst peeling potatoes, another person using the toilet, a third person taking a shower and a fourth person brushing their teeth, all in different areas of the house. This would mean a huge influx of water in to the drain all at one time, potentially filling the drain up and causing a miniature backlog in the newest of drains. Now picture the person using the toilet using excessive toilet paper, baby wipes, or even both, the person peeling the potatoes forcing potato peel down the sink, the person in the shower crumbling soap up to use on themself which is emptying through the drain, and finally the fourth person putting their used toothpaste down the sink. This now creates even more stress on the main drain line, including the much smaller pipes connecting each outlet to the main drain.
This could cause one or both of two problems.
- Firstly, the pipe which connects the toilet with the main drain line, could become blocked, due to excessive toilet paper/baby wipes, or a build-up of this if it has happened on more than one occasion.
- But secondly, if there is a slight area on the main drain line where any one of the above could snag or cause a slight blockage, then the rest of the articles that follow will simply add to the build-up. This is when you could encounter a blocked drain, or at least the start of one.
A good idea to try and avoid the above would be to run the hot water tap for some time, on a regular occasion to help break down any obstructions in your drain whatsoever, including using a chemical drain cleaner perhaps once a month. The best idea however, would be to only use the drain pipes for the purpose that they were built for, to take water away, and water only. You may be set back by a small cost of having to buy the drain cleaner, but it could save you the huge cost of having to call a professional drain unblocking company out. Unfortunately drains usually block at the most inconvenient of times, as per the example above of Christmas day, as it is usually when your drainage system is put under more stress that it is used to coping with.
There are steps you can take to try and unblock your own drain, and in most cases your more local drain pipes which are within the reach of your sinks and bathtubs etc. it is quite easy to clear the blockage, however, if the blockage occurs in the main drain, then it is more than likely that the you will need to call out a drain clearance company to reach further down using specialist equipment to clear the obstruction.
Don’t be caught out, a little maintenance could save a lot of cost.