What’s Actually Going On In My Drain?

Here at Garvin’s we’ve told you many times “don’t pour this” or “don’t flush that.” We know we sound like broken record, but preventing things from going down the drain is the first step to keeping a clean drain.

But sometimes we forget to tell you exactly why you shouldn’t be sending these things down the drain. Let’s take a look at some of the scientific reasons you should avoid the most common drain cloggers.

Grease: Grease is a fat, meaning that it is soft and solid at room temperature (oils, on the other hand, are liquid at room temperature). Grease is hydrophobic, meaning that it doesn’t mix with water;  as you know from having touched it in the past, grease is very slick and doesn’t wash off your hands without soap  What that means for your sink is that the grease trapped in your pipes is constantly sloughing off the water that’s going past it, and the cold water doesn’t nothing to move it along.

Hot water, on the other hand, can liquify it and send it further down your pipes. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good thing, as hot water only stays hot in your drain and sewer  pipes for a very short time before hitting the cold water or cold pipes and re-solidifying. Now you have grease blogs that are even further out of reach, which by itself might require professional sewer cleaning

Grease might repel water, but it simply attracts more grease as it goes down the drain. Once the grease blog gets big enough, it also grabs everything else heading down the drain. Once that happens, your trickling drain becomes a completely clogged drain, which, if it’s deep enough in your sewer pipes, can cause slow toilets, sinks, and showers.

Hair: What is hair, anyway? Hair is made mostly of keratin, the second toughest natural biological substance (after chitin, found in the exoskeleton of lobsters and insects). While our hair falls out every day, each strand is actually very strong whether it’s on your head or down your drain. This is the first problem with hair… it’s very tough and doesn’t degrade very quickly.

The other clogging problem comes with the way that it tangles when it goes down your drain. It grabs other hairs, combines with them, is in turned grabbed by the grease we mentioned above. At that point you’ve got the stickiness of grease mixed with the entangling nature of the hair. At that point, the clog monster has the ability to grab just about anything you send down.

Dental floss: Think of dental floss as “super hair.” If you’ve ever tried to break it by hand, you know that it’s almost impossible, and it won’t biodegrade in your pipes.

Band Aids, Condoms, Tampons: Here’s what most people think when they flush these things: “I want to get this away from me right now.” Well that’s not reason to destroy your plumbing! Of course, none of these things degrade in the pipes, and they just get worse the more water they absorb. Do yourself a favor and just put them in the trash.

Remember, just because something goes down the drain or flushes doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. If you do end up getting a clog from these, give us a call for rooter service…we’ll bring the blades or the sewer jetter and get your pipes healthy again.