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Drain Cleaning 101: Why Fall is the Best Time to Act

If you ask the average person how often they clean their home, they’ll probably say pretty regularly. If you ask them how much they clean their drains specifically, chances are it’s not nearly as often.

For some reason, homeowners tend to neglect their drains even though we rely on them for cooking, washing, and cleaning every single day. But in order to keep them flowing smoothly, regular cleaning is important! Any water from your drainpipes is sent to the sewer line or your septic tank, so if they’re clogged and dirty, you’ll get stuck with slow or standing water — and a lot of issues you don’t need.

The good news is that Fall is a great time to prioritize your drain cleaning. So when you’re planning out all the other chores on your seasonal home maintenance to-do list, make sure your drains are close to the top!


Why Fall is the Best Time for Drain Cleaning

  • There’s more debris during the fall and winter. With the changing colors of autumn comes lots of yard waste. Everything from leaves, twigs, and dirt are determined to find their way into your drains, increasing the risks of clogs and backup. And if you don’t pay attention when the impact is minimal, you can expect much bigger issues with your sewer system — with much larger price tags. 
  • To avoid issues after Halloween. ‘Tis almost the season for hosting and cooking! Just think about all the pumpkin insides, Thanksgiving spreads, and holiday baking soon to get sent down the garbage disposal and into the dishwasher. If your drains aren’t ready, or you let each holiday’s festivities pile up, you could be in for a very tricky situation this winter. 
  • To prepare for holiday hosting. Speaking of the holidays, in order to use your sinks, showers, washing machines, and toilets a lot more in the next couple of months, you need them to actually work! If you do experience water backup as guests come to visit, what’s your backup plan? Give yourself the reassurance that every festivity will go smoothly by cleaning your drains now. 
  • Trees start to change. During the spring and summer, trees will get their moisture above ground because of all the participation in the atmosphere. But as that rainfall sets into the soil, they soak it up through their roots — and that affects your sewer lines. If the line is clogged, those trees will look to your pipes to find nourishment. 
  • It’s just good sense. The kids are back in their school routines, the house is quiet during the day — why not get your drains tested and cleaned!? And at this time of year, the groundwater level is optimal for cleaning because it’s less likely to get washed into the drain.


Your Drain Cleaning Checklist:

Now that you know why you should clean your drains, here’s how you can go about doing that.

  1. Snake your drains. If you suspect a blog in your pipes, put the plunger away, and grab a drain snake from your local hardware or home store. These long, flexible wire-like tools are perfect for hard-to-reach areas, snagging all the hair and debris that gets stuck in your shower, tub, and sink drains.
  2. Check your drain strainers. Each drain has a mesh, metal, or plastic strainer that serves as your first line of defense against food, hair, and debris. So cleaning them out regularly and replacing them when needed are the best way to keep them functioning properly.
  3. Throw away grease or oil! If you’re currently just dumping the leftover grease and oil from dinner down the drain, that’s a major no-no! While the grease may be a liquid when you dispose of it, it will harden as it cools, causing clogs and damage to your drains.
  4. Ditch the chemical cleaners. The chemicals in your over-the-counter cleaners are strong and harsh. And while these toxins may be powerful against clogs, they’re also brutal on your pipes. They can cause serious damage to your plumbing system in the long run, and also harmful to skin and eyes as you use them. Leave it to the experts to choose the right cleaners and do the job for you.
  5. Try home remedies. In between professional cleanings, stick to safer, more natural solutions. A combo of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water can tackle tough grime. Start with the baking soda before adding the vinegar, and let it sit for about 5 min. Then flush it out with boiling hot water once, and again about 30 min later. And try a little lemon juice to remove even the worst odors.


To learn more about the importance of cleaning your drains this fall, or to schedule an appointment with one of our plumbing professionals, contact Madsen today.