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Everything You Need to Know About Your Drains and More

We rely upon the drains in our homes to drain water away from taking showers, baths, brushing our teeth, flushing the toilet, doing laundry, running the dishwasher, and more. You would be surprised by how many questions our Katy and Houston plumbers receive about drains—like these questions:

Q. How does the water drain away?

There are pipes, vents, and traps that allow gravity to move the water down into the drain lines and out of the home. Gases are vented out the roof through air vents, while U-shaped pipes act as traps to prevent water from coming back up the drain.

Q. Where does the water go?

Plumber talking to a client about her kitchen sink

It depends on whether you have a septic system or are connected to the city’s sewer system. With a septic system, typically, waste goes into the septic tank and grey water (from laundry, showers, etc.) flows out drainpipes and is released back into the ground.

With city sewer systems, the water eventually ends up at a treatment plant where it is recycled in some manner and used for other purposes or treated and released back into nature.

Q. Why are there foul odors coming from my drains?

Foul odors are the result of built-up “gunk” in the drainpipes like hair, grease, soap, shampoo, food, etc. You can try to get rid of the smell by pouring boiling hot water down the drain. If that doesn’t work, then call your local plumber and schedule a drain cleaning.

Q. How often and when should my drains be cleaned?

Regular drain cleaning can help prevent clogged drains, prevent foul odors, and keep drains working correctly. Depending on the size of your household and how much “stuff” goes down your drains, you may need drain cleaning annually, every 18 months, or every two years. Your plumber can let you know what schedule works best for your household.

Q. Is it safe to use store-bought drain cleaners and clog removers?

These products contain harsh chemicals. They also do not clean or remove clogs from all types of drainpipes. Furthermore, some of these products can be so toxic that they can burn the skin, damage drainpipes, are not safe to use around pets and kids, and are not safe for the environment.

If you have slow-draining drains or a clog, the best tool to use is a plunger. If that doesn’t work, then call your plumber for assistance.

Q. Why are my drains gurgling?

Professional Plumber

Gurgling drains can mean a few different things. There could be air trapped in the pipes, a clog that is starting to form, a damaged sewer line, or your backflow preventer could be damaged. A plumbing inspection can help find out the exact cause for gurgling drains.

Q. Is it safe to flush “flushable” wipes and cat litter?

The problem with “flushable” wipes is they do not break down quickly and they get stuck in drainpipes. “Flushable” cat litter can also be problematic, and it leads to eventual clogs.

It is better to get a diaper pail for your “flushable” wipes and to scoop cat litter into plastic grocery sacks. Then dispose of these things in your regular trash.

Q. Is there any way to prevent clogs?

You can slow down the progression of clogs by using screens over your drains to keep hair, food particles, and other things from going down the drain. With toilets, only flush toilet paper and waste. With garbage disposals, only put foods in them that was designed to break down.

If you have further questions about drains or drain cleaning or if you need help with clogged drains, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing at 281-599-3336 today! We service the greater Houston, Katy, Cypress, Sugar Land, Spring, and The Woodlands areas.

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