Clear Out the Gunk
by Kathleen Brenton 03/12/2019
If you've lived in your home for very long, you know that lots of places collect dust, lint, grime, hair, fuzz and, well, gunk. Often, we become so busy in our daily lives that we neglect to remove the gunk until it causes a significant problem such as a clogged drain or even a fire in the dryer vent.
So, what to do? Get out the gunk, of course.
Put your gunk patrol on a schedule. Once every month, or more often if needed, check these areas and remove any debris built up there that can cause expensive calls to a plumber, electrician, or the fire department.
- Vanity drains: In the bathrooms, the vanity drain collects hair, fuzz, slivers of soap and other junk that causes clogs. To clear the plug area, push the plunger in as far as it goes, reach into the drain area with tweezers and pull out any hair and slimy gunk hiding in there. New quick-release plugs with removable baskets make this job a snap. If the drain already has a clog, turn off the water access under the sink. Then gently remove the trap—the curved piece of pipe—to see if you can locate the clog there. If the trap is stuck, you’ll want to call in a plumbing professional.
- Shower and tub drains: Similar to vanities, these drains clog with hair and other debris that washes down. Pull what you can from the upper side. If your shower grate has removable screws, you can loosen them and lift it off to access any clog. Tubs are more difficult because you cannot access the drain or the trap, so you may need to call a plumber for a plugged tub. To protect against this problem, place a hair screen (available at hardware stores) over the drain and clean it out daily.
- Dryer lint hose: In the same way that lint builds up in the dryer lint trap, it also collects in the hose leading to the outside vent. Often, dryer hoses become kinked when pushing the dryer into place, so carefully pull out the unit and carefully unhook the hose from both the dryer side and the wall. Carry the hose outside and shake it out over a trash bin. Look through the hose to make sure you've removed all the collected lint. If necessary, use a bent wire coat hanger or broom handle to remove any lint you can't reach. Carefully replace the hose, making sure the clips are in place, and the hose remains un-kinked when you push back the dryer. Remember, built up lint causes more than just an inefficient dryer, it can also cause house fires.
Just a few moments each month can save a homeowner from tons of costly repairs. If you'd prefer to hire someone to take care of servicing these items for you, reach out to your real estate professional for a referral.