In the typical home you will encounter a number of different drains, each with their specific use and function. Kitchen sinks for example, will frequently have a garbage disposal attached, and can accept kinds of waste that would not be acceptable in a bathroom–or lavatory–sink. There are types of drains that will be found in every building or home. Knowing their purposes and capabilities will allow for best clog prevention practices, and the quickest clearing of any troubles that do arise.
In the home, kitchen drains are attached to sinks and dishwashers. Restaurants and related businesses will also have floor drains found in kitchens.
A common thought is that if a sink has a garbage disposal that just anything can be tossed in as long as the disposal is run. This belief has paid the college tuition for many a plumber’s kid. The fact is, garbage disposals can grind certain food and waste into particles small enough to flush away, but a disposal drain is just as vulnerable as any other to the most common causes of clogging: fats, oils, greases, and grits. Fatty substances will congeal on the interiors of pipes, and will ignore garbage disposals on the way. Then grit like coffee grounds, egg shells, or disposal residue sticks to the grease, and eventually flow through the pipes is constricted.
To prevent clogs in kitchen drains always dispose of fats and grease by pouring into a can and tossing it in the trash. Pouring grease down the drain is asking for trouble, but if a blockage does develop, there are still many do-it-yourself options available for clearing the clog.
The other common drain in home kitchens carries wastewater away from the dishwashing machine. To prevent clogs in drains from older model dishwashers, scraping and pre-rinsing of dishes is advised. Newer model dishwashers will be attached to the nearby garbage disposal, and will be able to handle larger particles of waste, but plates should still be scraped before placing in the dishwasher.
Laundry drains, shop sink drains, floor drains, pool drains and the like fall in to the category of utility drains. Each of these will have particular expectations about what it can carry away.
To prevent clogs in utility drains, they should always be properly assembled. Cover all open drains with attached strainers to prevent solid objects from falling in. Floor drains should have backflow prevention devices installed in addition to protective straining plates.
Also common in the same area as laundry machines or work sinks are floor drains. These are some of the least used but most important drains in the home. Floor drains generally exist for the purpose of flood prevention–they allow water in the area to drain away. But when floor drains fall into disrepair through damage or neglected upkeep, they may not function properly. When this happens water can not only be prevented from flowing away, but in worst case scenarios can even back up from the sewer into the building, causing flooding and potentially destroying property. For this reason, floor and even patio drains should be equipped with well maintained backflow prevention valves.
No other room has more drains than the bathroom. A typical bathroom will have a lavatory basin drain, a shower or bathtub drain, and perhaps the most important drain in the house, the toilet.
Shower drains must have straining plates in place to prevent objects like bottle caps and soap shards from falling in. Longer hair can also build up and slow the drain over time. Plates will prevent this by catching much of the debris for easy removal.
Tubs and bathroom sinks will have stopper assemblies. Their design will differ, but most work by means of a linked leverage to raise and lower the stopper device. This linkage assembly will serve the purpose of a strainer, and catch quite a bit of debris which will build up over time.
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