You want to keep your water flowing, but you suspect you may have a problem. Flushing your pipes looks the same whether you can see those pipes or they are hidden behind the wall. There are a variety of signs to look out for that will let you know when it is time to get cleaning. For example, your water drains slowly, from sinks or showers, or you notice water trickling from the faucet as you turn it on. You can flush your water lines and finish the job by descaling your pipes.
85% of the US population has hard water and that results in the build-up of calcium deposits. The longer you leave these deposits, the more trouble you are likely to have with your water service. For this reason, you should aim to clean your pipes at least once a quarter. This will help prevent any issues, this is particularly important if you live in a hard water region.
For a maintenance clean, you can regularly descale your pipes to keep them ticking over. It is a fairly simple process, you just need a pot of hot water per drain you plan to clean. For example, you intend to tackle every drain in your home and you have a kitchen sink and three bathrooms, then you will need four pots of hot water. If you want to get your showers or tubs involved in the process, then factor them into the equation as well.
The next step is to turn off the water supply to your home, as well as your water heater. Now you may run the faucets until there is nothing left. Before you turn your faucets off, give each toilet a flush.
Add your chosen cleaner (we will discuss your options below) and allow it to work as instructed by the packaging. Chemical cleaners usually take as little as 15 minutes, but a natural option may take hours. Once the appropriate time has elapsed, you can pour your pots of hot water down the drains. From there you can turn your water heater and water supply back on. Then you will need to run all of your faucets to allow the deposits to clear from your pipes.
Now, let’s discuss your cleaning options!
Cleaning With Chemicals
Chemical cleaners will do an effective job at breaking up any build-up in your pipes. These generally use lye, acid, or bleach to create heat that breaks everything down. They are a fast and easy solution, however, as they are caustic they can damage your pipes. If you have PVC pipes, you should opt for a natural cleaner. If you have older pipes, then you will not want to risk chemical corrosion. The purpose of this exercise is to clean your water pipes so the last thing you want to end up with is leaking pipes. If you are unsure of what material the pipes behind your walls are, then you have two options – you can either call in the professionals to tackle the project or you can opt for a natural cleaner to avoid any risks.
Cleaning With Natural Cleaners
Nature cleaners can be just as effective, particularly if you stay on top of your pipe cleaning.
The most popular, and effective, natural solution is baking soda and vinegar. The two work together to break up all of the calcium build-up in your pipes. All you need is two or three gallons of vinegar and three to five cups of baking soda to create a top-tier home cleaner. The baking soda reacts to the vinegar so there’s a good chance you will see it bubbling up your drain, that just means it’s working!
The best way to tackle this solution is to start by pouring boiling water down each drain. Each drain should then have a cup of baking soda poured down it before adding a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain and continue to the next. Give the solution 5-10 minutes to work and then finish by pouring a pot of boiling water down each drain.
Of course, there are plenty of natural cleaners available on the shelves of your local market as well, many of which work by introducing bacteria that will eat away at clogs and build-up.
If you have tried everything, you might need to call in the professionals. There might just be a bigger issue at play. The worst-case outcome is pipe replacement. If your issue continues, then a water softener for your water supply might be the right move to prevent the build-up issue in the first place. Either way, a specialist can help.