Tag Archives: kitchen sink

Trick or treat? Halloween risk to drains.

Pumpkins at Halloween

Image via Wikipedia

When I was a lad (it was some time ago) Halloween was not something that figured large on our calendar. It is only in recent years that ‘trick or treat’ and pumpkin lanterns have become commonplace in the UK at the end of October.

According to Mr Rooter, Drain Doctor’s sister company in the USA and Canada, we may be in danger of importing some other Halloween traditions – like drains blocked with pumpkin waste.

But the trick to keeping pumpkin pulp and seeds from turning Halloween into a plumbing nightmare is as easy as pie.

“Instead of carving your jack-o’-lantern in or by the kitchen sink, try a newspaper,” advises Stacy Miskew of Mr Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton. “You need to be cautious when removing and disposing of the pumpkin’s sticky substance.”

When pumpkin pulp goes down the kitchen sink drain, the orange substance hardens and sticks to the pipes. Pumpkin carvers can end up with clogged drains if they aren’t careful.

That is a Halloween tradition we probably do not want to import to the UK.

Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/dump+pumpkin+pulp+down+sink/3716658/story.html#ixzz13HfgzlY2

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Avoiding blocked drains

You are most likely to call a drainage technician because you have blocked drains or traps.  Blockages can cause bad smells and in the worst cases flooding.  There are a few things that you can do to avoid them. 

The kitchen sink is the most heavily used sink in the house, so it is the most likely to get blocked.  

  • Watch what you empty into the sink.  Don’t throw food waste, fats or cooking oils down the drain.  Fats solidify in warm water and get deposited on the pipes.  Layers of fat will build up over time and block the pipe.
  • Wipe out greasy pans with kitchen towel before you wash them.
  • Take food waste out of the sink rather than poking it down the plughole.  Use an empty milk carton or similar to store used fat in until you can throw it in the bin.
  • Remove hairs that get caught in the bath plughole each time you bathe.  Leaving hair to build up will clog the drain.  You can get strainers which fit in the plug hole that will catch and collect loose hair.  Clear soapy residue from plugholes by pouring disinfectant down them every once in a while.
  • Only use the recommended amounts of detergent in washing machines and dishwashers.  A build up of soapy residue over time will cause a blockage.
  • Don’t flush bulky disposable items like nappies, sanitary towels or bags of animal waste down the toilet.
  • Check your drains.  Lift covers and inspect for blockages regularly and make sure drain grids are free of leaves, moss and residue from the washing machine or other material that could cause a blockage.
  • Make sure that all the drains and gullies are covered and replace damaged covers to prevent blockages.
  • Keep an eye on guttering and down pipes (which take water from the gutters to the drains) and make sure that they are not blocked with leaves and debris. 

If the kitchen sink is blocked or slow to empty there is probably a build up of grease or debris in the trap and waste pipe.

To clear the blockage, rub petroleum jelly around the plug hole to protect the chrome and sink from damage, then use caustic soda, an enzyme or chemical cleaner according to its manufacturer’s instructions.  Hook any debris (such as hair or kitchen paper) clinging to the plug hole grid with a hook made from a piece of wire. 

If the sink is completely blocked, and water will not run away at all, place a sink plunger over the plug hole, block the overflow then firmly pump the plunger up and down for a few minutes to clear the blockage.  If this doesn’t clear the blockage, place a bucket under the sink, remove and clean the trap. If none of this works then it is time to call Drain Doctor for specialist assistance.

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