How to Keep Drains Clean

 

Let’s talk about draining. One of the most frustrating things a homeowner or renter can encounter is a nonworking draining.   Sometimes the drain is slow. How slow? Slower than the water coming in, so the basin fills while you use the sink. Then the sink slowly drains over the next 15 minutes to an hour.   Slow drains are a special kind of annoying because they don’t outride fail and they can’t be fixed the same as a completely stopped drain. Stopped drains are the worst. When a drain stops, you have to deal with it.   

The post is going to give you some concepts to think about right now for you clogged drain. Consider this information and see if it helps you fix your drain.  If you don’t want to deal with your slow or stopped drain, call us and we will deal with it for you. If you do want to deal with it read on and we will discuss the science of drains and how to deal with a clogged drain. 

  • How does a drain work?

Lets talk about drain physics.  A drain is basically a hole where water goes down.  Gravity causes things to have weight. That force of weight wants to go towards the earth.  It is like gravity is always sucking things down. Because water is pretty loose (low viscosity) it moves easily.  The direction it wants to move is down the drain pipe. By moving down the drain pipe it empties the sink.   

  • How strong is gravity though?

Gravity isn’t all that strong by itself.  You are stronger than gravity you slurp a milkshake up through a straw or when you pick up a paperclip with a magnet.  So how strong is gravity? If you look in a text book, you will see about 10 meters per second. Likely you don’t think in meter per second.   Let’s think about it in miles per hour. 10 meters per second is the force of 22 miles per hour. Can you imagine your sink emptying at 22 miles per hour.  That would be quite some drain. It’s important to pause and remember we are looking at the strength of gravity and not the speed of gravity. The drain speed has more to do with how big the pipe is.  The more water you have the more weight and pressure it exerts on the drain.  

  • What is a clog?

Let us get back to the drain clog.  In a working drain, any water that enters the sink will leave the sink.  There will be no left over water. In a drain that is clogged, no water is able to go down the drain pipe.  This means any water which enters the sink will stay in the sink. The only thing that makes water go down the sink is pull of gravity on the water down into the drain.  Remember gravity is weaker than a magnet. So if your clog is more powerful than a magnet than it can stop water. 

To dig down just a little deeper, when there is something blocking the pipe, it provides a force which pushes against the water.  If the push is stronger than the force of water, then the water doesn’t drain.   

  1. What causes clogs?

  If the drain is in the bathroom, there is a good chance the clog is caused by hair.  If the drain is in the kitchen, there is a good chance that food residue is blocking the drain.  There could be other reasons too, sometimes the pipes have mineralized. When pipes mineralize, there is less space inside them.  They can also become rough. It is harder for water to move through narrow pipes than wide pipes.   

  1. What can I do?

An easy solution to try for a fully clogged kitchen drain is to pour Boiling water directly into the drain.  It’s cheap and easy. Let the hot water sit in the drain.  Try this method a few times if it doesn’t work after about 10 minutes.  You can also try snaking the drain.  Snaking is really helpful in the bathroom where there might be hair clogging the drain.   Once the hair is removed the drain will work.