Long-Haired Family? How Can You Prevent Clogged Drains And Vacuums?

Posted on: 23 September 2015

If you're living with someone with long, luxurious locks, or have a shaggy pet you frequently bathe in the bathtub, you may be regularly facing clogged drains -- no matter how many preventive steps you take to prevent hair from escaping down the drain. And if your home has carpet, it's likely you find yourself pulling or even cutting clumps of hair out of the vacuum cleaner every few months when it's been rendered inactive. What can you do to minimize the impact of regular human or animal shedding on your home? Read on to learn more about protecting your plumbing and vacuum cleaner. 

What can you do to prevent hair from clogging your drains? 

Finding a drain filter that will prevent all hair from escaping while allowing water to be quickly drained can be tricky. Several innovative designers have created filters that have several thin layers that help sift out any hair or even the smallest bits of debris. To help supplement your efforts to keep any hair from entering your drain, there are thin hooks you can attach to your shower or sink drain that dangle a few inches into the pipe and will help catch any hair that does manage to slip through. 

If you need to clear your drain before your clog-reducing steps make a noticeable impact, there are a few easy steps you can take to restore your pipes to free-flowing status. Because of hair's length and texture, it tends to form clogs fairly high in the drain -- this means you can usually fix clogs yourself. You can purchase a drain snake at a hardware or home supply store, or you can simply untwist a wire clothes hanger  to make a small hook. Remove the drain stopper and use the hook or snake to reach down the pipe and snag the clog. If you can feel the clog, but can't quite remove it, you may be able to remove the top part of the pipe and force the clog out from below. 

While it's usually OK to use a commercial drain cleaner to dissolve a stubborn clog if you're on a public sewer system, the chemicals in many of these cleaners aren't advised for homes with septic tanks. You may still have some success with a natural or septic-safe drain cleaner. 

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How can you reduce the impact of long hair on your vacuum cleaner? 

Unlike hardwood or tile floors that quickly show hair and dirt, carpets can absorb quite a bit of hair before it becomes noticeable. If you have a canister vacuum, you may not think to check it for hair frequently, as the amount of hair that makes it from the roller to the canister is much less than the amount removed from the carpet and tangled around the roller. However, checking and cleaning your vacuum after each use is the most efficient way to prevent it from losing suction. You may want to use a toothbrush or small comb to remove and dispose of tangled hair.

If your vacuum has developed a serious clog that can't be budged, you'll need to use a pair of angled scissors or a carpenter's knife to cut the hair in several spots on the roller and remove it piece by piece. Depending upon how easy it is to remove the roller from the vacuum, you may want to do this so that you can check behind the roller for any additional hair. 

And while it may seem counterintuitive, vacuuming your home more frequently (and checking and cleaning the vacuum after each use) should go a long way toward reducing vacuum clogs. By cleaning up hair before it has a chance to be tangled in your carpet, you'll prevent buildup that can make your carpet look dull or matted.   

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Knowing When It’s Time to Call the Plumber

My name is Jason Lawrence, or around my house I’m sometimes known as “Daddy Fix-It.” My wife Sarah and I have four children all under the age of ten. I didn’t start out as a guy who was handy around the house, but I am learning to become a do-it-yourselfer for sure. Did I mention that I’m a bit stubborn? There are times I struggle with projects a little too long, and it takes my wife stepping in to convince me that it’s time to call a professional. I’ve become especially handy with plumbing projects. I don’t know why kids think toys belong in the toilet and doll hair is good for the bathtub drain, but around here those are weekly events. I’m going to share some of my experiences, how I fixed some of our plumbing problems, and when it becomes time to call the plumber.

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