What causes my kitchen sink and washing machine drains to clog?
In most homes, the kitchen and laundry drains are connected. When the lint from the laundry drains meets the grease buildup from soap and food products, a nearly solid substance is formed, causing blockage.
Using filters and strainers will help, but you’ll also need to get the drains snaked periodically as well.
Should I close and open the main water supply shutoff valve periodically?
Yes. You want to make sure they’re not stuck in the open position just when you have a water emergency! Do the same periodic check for the shutoff valves on your sinks, tubs, and toilets, too.
Why do I hear a vibrating noise in my pipes?
Noises can be fairly common in plumbing supply lines. If a washer in a faucet or valve is loose, you’ll hear it rattling or knocking. If the sound occurs when you open and close faucets rapidly, it generally means pipes are loose, and can be corrected by anchoring pipes more securely. If it really bothers you, you can add air chambers at the end of long pipe runs. Their installation will probably require a plumbing professional.
What can I do about a sewer line blockage?
The main culprit is tree roots, and once they’ve blocked the line, there is very little you can do. A plumbing professional can snake the line to get it as clear as possible, and then use copper sulfide products to kill the remaining vegetation. But odds are the sewer line will most likely need to be replaced.
Are caustic liquid drain openers (like Drano or Liquid Plumber) harmful to pipes?
For minor clogs, they’re fine, but never use them on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients are trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them. If you can’t snake the drain yourself, contact a professional to do so. Never use caustic drain openers in a drain that has a garbage disposal.