There are several ways to minimize clogging in plumbing fixtures. Some of these involve the way you use the sinks, tub or shower after installation, and some can be built in when the fixtures are installed. While most are inexpensive or free, some can mean a substantial investment. Get some valuable tips below on how to keep your plumbing fixtures running clog-free.
Avoid Putting Clog-Forming Substances Down the Pipes
Avoid as much as possible putting any greasy or sticky substances down your pipes. These include meat fats, syrups, gelatins, whole milk and other dairy products, toothpaste, and even those rich moisturizing soaps with ¼ cold cream. All of these will stick to the pipes, narrowing the area for water flow. Being adhesive, they will catch and hold crumbs, hair and dust particles that get rinsed down the drain, slowly creating a massive clog.
If you use a liquid fabric softener in your washer, run the second rinse feature to rinse away as much of the liquid as you can. It will settle in the water pipes at the 90-degree bend just beyond the washer and will flood over your rinse tub sooner or later. Put a clog trap in the drain hole of the shower, tub, bathroom sink and washer rinse tub to catch hair and dust that can form clogs.
Choose the Narrowest Pipe Possible
Use the narrowest pipe possible for sinks, showers and tubs. The narrow pipe forces water to travel faster than a wide pipe, which will allow water to spread and stand at 90-degree angles in the pipes. Most plumbing codes state you should use 3-inch diameter pipe for toilets, 2-inch pipe for laundry plumbing and 1.5-inch diameter pipe for sinks. Install 2-inch pipe for the shower and bathtub so you can insert a drain snake to clear a clog.
Minimize Horizontal and 90-Degree Piping
When putting in pipes that must run horizontally, build in a slope of 3/8 inch per lateral foot of distance. Install as few 90-degree angled pipes as possible and keep them short. This will enable water pressure from the vertical section of pipe to force water through the angle at a high speed. Use 2 pipes at 45 degrees to make your 90-degree turn wherever you can.
If you have cast-iron or galvanized pipes in your house, over time the interior surfaces of these become roughened with scale from hard water and other causes, and will catch grease, creamy soaps, hair and waste particles to form clogs. Replace these pipes with up-to-date copper or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes at your first opportunity.
Flush Out Sinks and Tubs Regularly
Fill each sink in the house full with hot water, and then release the sink stopper. The water weight will push the water through the pipes fast, dislodging and rinsing away clog-forming materials.
Use Less Toothpaste
Even for adults, a dab of toothpaste the size of a large pea is ample to brush the teeth. A strip of toothpaste the length of the bristle head is not necessary. Change from a thick white toothpaste to a gel, which dissolves more quickly in water.