Keeping your drains clean not only saves you a headache by preventing an unpleasant drain clog, but it also protects you and your family from harmful bacteria, infestations of drain insects, and odors originating in your home’s drains and plumbing systems.
When a drain clogs, you can attempt to unclog the pipe with simple home solutions without calling a plumbing company, but it is always important to remember certain safety measures when taking on do-it-yourself plumbing projects.
Why Are Clogged Drains Harmful to Health?
The worst case scenario caused by blockages in drains is sewage back-flow, but even when the clogging is minor and no sewage is present, other problems like drain insects breeding on the insides of the pipes and persistent drain odors threaten the well-being of your household.
Backed-up Drains and Sewage
If at any time you notice sewage backing up in your shower drain or bathroom drains, you should take caution to minimize exposure to the contaminant because it contains numerous bacteria that cause disease. Immediately protect yourself by following this check list:
- Make sure children, pets and the elderly are not allowed in the exposed area; they are the most vulnerable to bacteria threatening health.
- When in contact with sewage backing up from the clogged drain, use gloves and a face mask, and avoid skin contact with the material
- Clean up the contaminated area and every item that came to contact with the sewage (especially toys) with diluted bleach (1 cup bleach for every 5 gallons of water)
- Be sure to carefully wash your hands with soap after treating the sewage from the clogged drain
- If you or a family member has symptoms such as fever, chills, or vomiting, it is a sign of exposure to sewage, and medical attention may be needed.
Drains Flies and Insect Infestations in Drains
Drain flies, also called moth flies or sewer flies, breed in drains, and while they do not bite, they sometimes spread bacteria and microorganisms from the location of breeding around your home. Cleaning drains professionally not only eliminates clogs, but will also make sure that the breeding areas for drain flies are disinfected. You can also locate the drain or drain trap where the flies are coming from, and use an appropriate drain cleaner meant for removing organic debris from the interior of the pipes.
In homes, the most common areas for drain flies to breed in are the bathroom drains, most likely the shower drain. You can place masking tape on the drain opening, and if numerous flies get caught, you have probably found the source. Beware that the flies might not be coming from just one drain, but areas like sump pump pits and sewers in the basement are also common homes for the drain flies.
Regular drain cleaning ensures that your drains remain free from odors, insect infestations, and minor clogs. Clogged drains are only one of the nuisances involving drains, and protecting the health of the members of your household requires keeping the plumbing in your home running smoothly, even if that means calling in the pros every now and then.