Many property owners neglect their floor drains because they work efficiently, and there’s little need to check them until it’s too late. The primary purpose of a floor drain is to remove liquid from its surrounding surface environment, particularly useful for rooms that regularly deal with water. Without these plumbing systems, laundry areas, bathrooms, and the outdoor perimeter of your home become more susceptible to flooding.
These essential pieces of plumbing also work hard to swallow all kinds of hair, lint, dirt, and scum to keep your floors clean and dry. When devoid of any drain maintenance, the consequences can become messy.
If left unchecked, floor drains can overload and become clogged. In a mild case, the water may still drain slowly for a while, and the clog will resolve itself. However, completely blocked floor drains can cause water backup or even flooding. In addition to flooding, a clogged drain may create other issues, such as extensive water damage, cracked pipes, or sewage odors seeping into your property.
Fortunately, floor drain maintenance is reasonably straightforward and doesn’t take a lot of time. Here are some of our maintenance tips to keep your plumbing clean.
Keep the Floor Drain Area Clean
Regularly cleaning your floor drain area is the easiest way to prevent any potential blockage. Dirt and other contaminants can quickly accumulate when left unchecked. When these particles get sucked into the drain all at once, the pipe system won’t be able to handle it, causing a clog or slow drainage.
Sweep the surrounding area and be sure to thoroughly clean corners and crevices using a small brush. After you’ve removed the debris, wash the floor with soapy water. This liquid helps maintain your floor drain and will clear out smaller blockages.
Refill the Traps Regularly
Every floor drain has a “trap” component that prevents sewage gasses from entering a property through the pipes. These traps need water to function, so make sure to regularly pour down about a gallon of water to your floor drains, especially ones that aren’t getting a lot of use. As the pipes get filled with water, they become an effective odor barrier.
If you notice any undesirable smells coming from your drains, this might indicate a potential leak or a dry trap. Rule out the latter first by refilling the trap with water to see if the odor dissipates. If it persists, open the drain and examine the trap for any damage.
Performing a DIY repair on a broken or cracked pipe can lead to a disaster if you don’t have the right tools and know-how. If you suspect that pipe damage is the culprit of the foul smell, you can rely on MT Drains & Plumbing to help you out.
Dealing with Clogs
You might be reading our guide too late, and you’re already experiencing some clogging. If that’s the case, don’t worry. Most of the time, blockages are easily resolved by following a few simple steps. It’s crucial to catch the clog as early as possible to lessen the risk of permanent damage or flooding.
A tell-tale sign that you might have an overloaded pipe is slower draining. If it gets any worse, the water inside the drain may even back up and eventually accumulate in the surrounding area. Try clearing out the clog by applying the following methods, which only require simple and inexpensive tools.
Use a Plunger
Plungers are one of the most basic tools every homeowner should have (it’s not too late to get one if you don’t!) One simple trick is to smear the plunger’s edges with petroleum jelly to create a solid seal. Then, press the plunger deeply and forcefully a couple of times. Afterward, pour down some water and see if the drain is working correctly.
Pour Baking Soda and Vinegar into the Drain
When combined, baking soda and vinegar form an acid-base reaction that’s a very effective cleaner. If the plunger wasn’t successful, add a bit of baking soda in the drain and then pour in some vinegar. Then, pour boiling water to help the soda and vinegar reach the pipe’s deeper regions and hopefully remove the clog.
Try a Plumber’s Snake
When all else fails, a manual plumber’s snake may prove more effective. If your clogs are comprised of denser substances, you can use a snake to break them apart. Insert the snake and slowly rotate it. You know you’ve reached the obstruction once you feel some resistance.
Try hooking the snake onto the blockage and make pushing motions to break it down. Then, withdraw the snake while slowly rotating it. Clean the snake tool and repeat the process as needed.
Removing Residue and Buildup from the Inner Pipes
After you’ve removed the clogs, flush the pipes with water. Pour hot water mixed with a bit of dishwashing soap to cut through any grime and grease buildup on the pipe’s walls. If you don’t have hot water, you can use liberal amounts of room-temperature water instead.
At the very least, flush the drain with enough water to re-establish the drain’s water seal against the sewer odors mentioned previously. If you’ve followed all of these instructions and the draining is still slow, or there’s an undesirable smell, then it’s time to contact an expert.
Prevention of Expensive Repairs
Regularly maintaining your floor drain can save you from a potential headache in the future. Merely keeping the drain’s surroundings clean is usually enough to keep it from clogging. Otherwise, you risk permanently damaging your plumbing, a bigger issue that takes more time (and money) to resolve. By diligently following our tips, you can keep your drainage systems in peak condition.
If you think you need the help of a professional, we’re the right team for the job. MT Drains & Plumbing provides quality drain maintenance and repair services to restore the performance of your drains. Contact us today for a free onsite estimate at (905) 761-5551, so we can assess and fix all of your drain-related issues.