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Piping up About Pipe Maintenance

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When was the last time you thought about your pipes? Maybe it was when one became clogged and you needed to dump a half gallon of drain cleaner down the drain. Or perhaps it was when one sprung a leak and got your basement all wet. Have you noticed a theme here? Like most people, you probably only think about your pipes when there's a problem. This is a common mindset, but it's not the best one. If you take a more preventative approach and think about your pipes before there's a problem, then amazingly enough, you'll have a lot fewer problems. So what does taking a preventative approach to pipe problems look like? Here's an overview.

Not flushing anything other than toilet paper

Items like facial tissue and paper towels can get stuck in your larger drain pipes, contributing to clogs over time. These paper products break down far more slowly than toilet paper, so clogs made from them don't budge. Stop flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper, and your drain pipes will thank you.

Not using real soap

Real soap has its fans. It's often touted as preferable to liquid detergent soaps because it is natural. However, even though soap is natural, it does cause more trouble for your drains. It generates soap scum, and once that scum starts coating the insides of your pipes, clogs are just around the corner. Switch to liquid body wash and facial soaps, and you'll have far fewer clogs.

Never pour grease down the drain

Put bacon fat and any leftover cooking grease in the garbage, not down the drain. Also, stop scraping fatty sauces off your plates and down the drain. Never put fat trimmings or butter down the garbage disposal, either. Nothing clogs a pipe faster than grease.

Have your drains hydrojetted once a year

Once a year, have your plumber come perform plumbing maintenance on your system. You can even look into hydrojetting your drains. This means they will use a very fast-traveling stream of water to blast any residue off the inside of the pipes. (Even if you've been limiting the amount of grease and soap that go down your drains, some will go down there — and hydrojetting will remove them.) Hydrojetting also removes tree roots from your sewer line, which helps prevent more extensive pipe blockages.

Your pipes demand a preventative approach. Follow the advice above for fewer headaches, fewer leaks, and fewer clogged drain pipes.